Anime shows that are a must-watch this March
By Ed Ghost, Staff Writer
Last March was different than any other March I’ve ever had to face. The world seemed to grind to a halt, everyone was told to stay inside their homes, businesses shut down and we weren’t allowed to see anyone we didn’t already share a house with. People were bored — and justifiably scared — and we all had to find ways to entertain ourselves indoors. Some people learned how to make bread, others became internet detectives after watching Netflix’s Tiger King (we’re on to you, Carol). But me? Well, I decided to catch up on a whole bunch of anime.
I’ve always been an insufferable, unapologetic “weeb” and having a lot of downtime gave me an excuse to re-watch old favourites, as well as explore some new ones. rmed with a brain full of cartoony goodness, I’d like to make some suggestions to you, dear reader, of some animes that I think are worth checking out — in no particular order, because I know better than to start a fandom war — as we navigate the anniversary of our world in a pandemic.
Demon Slayer (Kimetsu no Yaiba)
This show focuses on a hardworking, sometimes annoyingly optimistic, Taishō-era boy named Tanjiro who has a nose so good that he can smell people’s intent, as well as otherworldly forces. His life falls apart when his sister is turned into a demon, and the rest of his family is killed. Looking for a way to cure the curse, he is suddenly thrown into an underground world of elemental magic, political turmoil and a mysterious warrior society called the Demon Slayer Corps.
Only the first season and the movie adaptation are out right now, but the film hasn’t been released in Canada yet, even though it broke many box office records. I liked the first season so much that I devoured the manga. It made me laugh and cry so many tears. I cannot wait to see how the production tackles the rest of the plot.
Mobile Suit Gundam Wing
This is the show that got me into anime in the first place 20 years ago. I re-watched it recently and I still loved every second of it. I freely admit that I’m very biased towards this show — but because I’ve liked it so long, that means it must be good, right? This anime is all about politics and war between the Earth and the inhabited colonies that surround it. Five young soldiers are sent to Earth in mobile suits disguised as shooting stars in an effort to overthrow the current government, but it doesn’t go as planned. Now, they need to blend in and adapt to complete their missions — but some of their political ideologies change once they meet who they’re up against.
Another oldie but surely a goodie, Cowboy Bebop can best be described as a “space opera”, but without the singing. This anime follows three struggling bounty hunters, a genius stowaway and her genetically engineered dog as they travel through space looking for easy targets to capture for rewards.
But, the show gets darker when the main character, Spike, is forced to reconcile with his past and face his old partner in crime in a battle to the death. Even if this series isn’t for you, you gotta check out the incredible jazz soundtrack.
Revolutionary Girl Utena
I can’t deny that this anime is weird, but oh man, did it ever have a part in my queer awakening. Not only is it a visually stunning series to watch, but it puts a really interesting twist on the whole “magical girl” trope.
Utena Tenjou was orphaned as a young girl, and one day meets a prince who gives her a ring, saying that they’ll meet again. Inspired by this interaction, she decides that she too will become a prince. Years later as she enters a prestigious high school, she witnesses the physical abuse of another student, named Anthy, who happens to be a princess. Anthy is considered a “prize” for students who win duels using swords. In order to save Anthy, Utena must win these duels, which later reveal a deeper connection. This anime is all about love triangles, magical girls and gender-bending, and I am here for it.
Neon Genesis Evangelion
I really waffled putting this on here, only because I don’t fully know how to explain it. Watching Evangelion is legitimately like watching an existential crisis. But, with the new movie shorts that recently came out — which not only give a cool alternative ending to the original series but also a bit more of an explanation — I think it’s safe to include it.
Regardless, this anime is infamous and you’d be hard-pressed to meet a fan who hasn’t seen it. The show starts after the “second impact” which was a global catastrophe that almost ended Earth as we know it. Viewers follow Shinji Ikari, a super melancholy teen thrown into an underground world where a war is being waged on aliens, known as “angels”, by Shinji’s absentee father. Shinji is forced to pilot a mobile suit known as an “eva” alongside other teenagers to save the world, but little does he know just how alive his eva unit is, or the identity of his real enemy.
Boogiepop Phantom, Serial Experiments Lain, Ghost in the Shell, Robotech, Ruroni Kenshin, Yu Yu Hakusho, and Gantz.
Don’t have the time or patience to binge a whole series? Here are some one-off anime movies to quench your thirst.
X/1999 is the movie retelling of the classic CLAMP series, X, which follows a boy named Kamui returning to his childhood home after his dying mother saw a prophecy in which it was his destiny to do so. After he returns, he is forced to choose between joining the Dragon of the Heavens gang, or the Dragons of the Earth, in a war that will decide the fate of humanity. It becomes even more complicated as the universe requires balance, so when Kamui makes his choice, his best friend, Fuma, must take him on as an enemy.
Blood: The Last Vampire
Saya looks like any other high school girl — sure, she’s a bit anti-social and she moves around a lot, but that isn’t sinister, is it? It sure is! Saya is a vampire hunter for the government. She uses a sword, and has no social nuances that give her any form of internal dialogue to, for example, give her the heads up that maybe she shouldn’t decapitate people on a very busy train. Not to worry — just as fast as the heads will roll, government agents are there to clean up her mess and give her the next assignment. Perhaps her lack of social tact means something, though — could she also be a vampire?
Paprika is one of the most trippy animes I’ve ever seen. In the future, there’s a device that allows an outside user to view other people’s dreams, which is invasive enough as it is. But then, the head Doctor starts using the machine illegally to help psychiatric patients leave the confines of the hospital. It gets more intense when the Doctor starts using the machine on herself, becoming her alter ego, Paprika. That’s when dreams and reality in this world start to merge and cause utter chaos.