Top 20 Modern Anime Series, Part I

Today I bring you a Guest Blogger, the kickass Mike Sheridan! Mike is the Curator of's US Politics channel and general political junkie- but he has another, nerdier addiction as well- Anime! After watching over 60 series of modern Anime titles, Mike has come up with his list of the Top 20- this is Part I, the first Top 5!

Anime-it’s generally stereotyped as a fad; one that’s childish and dismissible. However, the world of anime is far greater and better than the misconceptions that are attached to it. Anime brings fantastic stories of demons and samurai, of flawed heroes and psychopathic villains, of giant mecha and fascinating characters. Japanese animation constantly pushes the bar for animation standards and creates magnificent works of art. At its best it can produce top-notch action, philosophical dilemmas, epic quests, and strikingly original plots. The below titles are, in my opinion, the crème de le crème of modern anime series.
Popularity, originality, graphics, audio, plot, character development, funness and replay value were the major factors in assembling this list.

Rurouni Kenshin
Nobuhiro Watsuki’s epic story of a samurai (Himura Kenshin) seeking to atone for his past deeds has captured the hearts of many an anime fan. Kenshin sets a high bar for period dramas, and it’s one that’s rarely met. The series boasts a strong, coherent plot, a well developed set of characters and some of the best swordplay scenes in the anime world. The soundtrack is good, the first two seasons are faithful to the manga (skip the third season it’s just filler) and the comedy/action/drama balance is perfect. All of the characters have distinct personalities, each with their own code and sense of morality. The historical-fiction based series Rurouni Kenshin is the quintessential samurai anime and deserves a viewing by any fan interested in one man’s journey of conflict, friendship and atonement.

Neon Genesis Evangelion
In 1995 the anime known as Neon Genesis Evangelion made waves. It redefined the mecha genre with its psychologically broken characters, it’s strikingly original mecha designs, its Christian symbolism and it’s shockingly morbid ending. In addition, it utilizes classical/baroque music which is a rare pleasure in the world of anime. Evangelion has developed into a mutli-billion dollar franchise; it’s spawned two movies, an in-development Hollywood live-action adaptation and a re-make of the series. Though considered controversial and often over-hyped Neon Genesis Evangelion is a genre defining anime, and should not be missed by any anime fan.

Cowboy Bebop
Do I really need to tell you why Cowboy Bebop is on this list? Almost every American anime fan knows and respects the series and rightfully so. Bebop has it all, a cool jazzy soundtrack, a cast of kickass characters and a wholly accessible and interesting plot. It was [Adult Swim’s] first anime series and it’s still running. In addition, Bebop is credited for having popularized anime stateside. Simply put, Cowboy Bebop is one damn fine show that anyone can enjoy.

From the staff that brought you Evangelion comes one heck of a mini-series. FLCL is many things; wacky, off-beat, in-coherent and most of all, highly original. The series, though only six episodes long is a must see. It has a wacky, yet lovable cast, a great alternative/rock soundtrack and a highly original plot (if you could call it a plot). On top of all of this FLCL has some top notch animation that’s derived from multiple classic animation styles (and you CAN’T forget those manga scenes). FLCL may not have the most intelligible plot but it makes up for that with comedy, great graphics and a zany set of characters.

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
Ghost in the Shell is one of the most recognizable franchises in anime. The production team adeptly transforms the classic cyber-punk movie into a top-notch series that has a striking amount of originality. GITS: S.A.C. features excellent graphics, a fitting soundtrack by the legendary Yoko Kanno and an excellent plot which has strong literary references to American author J.D. Salinger’s works. The core of the series discusses complex issues including corruption, political power and what makes one human. Though some complain it’s too complex and overly philosophical Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex is, quite frankly, a masterpiece.

What do you think about this list? Sound off! And check back here for Mike's next 5, coming soon! You can check out more about Mike Sheridan on his blog, The Rationalist Review. Also, yell your nerd heart out at him by following him on Twitter!


GI Joe Movie Poster

Topless Robot
calls this bad boy "an Ode to Awfulness", and makes a convincing argument as to why! Check out their assessment and tell me, what's yours?


The Interactive Dress

DO WANT- First year MIT Grad Student Nadya Peek created this hip and clickable dress!

"The scenario: a Netcitizen’s photo on his/her social network platform indicates ‘clickable’ areas on the person’s clothing. By clicking on these areas on the Website the information will be transmitted via smartphone and bluetooth to the piezo speaker in the garment indicating via a click sound someone clicked on the image letting the wearer know he/she feels close right now. A creative concept which would guaranty a lot of interaction and fun - I leave it to your imagination what else one could do with a clickable garment."


Obama Fighting Aliens

"It's not enough that he has to rescue the free world from capitalistic greed and global terrorism and global warming and uncontrolled immigration and even give a rousing commencement speech to seemingly sedated students at ASU most who were either a) of another political party or b) just want to start the night's binge drinking.

Now Obama has been drafted to fight aliens.

In a 48-page June issue of the comic "Drafted: 100 Days," Obama joins the fray in an intergalactic war between the human race and a mysterious alien force. The plot is set prior to the presidential election, actually, so Obama can focus on saving Earth without having to worry about, well, saving Earth."


Jim Lee and Joe Quesada in NYC

"Joe Quesada, editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics, and Jim Lee creator/publisher of DC Comics' WildStorm Productions, will be co-Guests of Honor at "The 2009 National," October 16-18, 2009 at Pier 94 in Manhattan."

YES. It's been a long LONG time since I've been to a comic convention and I'm thinking this is the one to break my absence! I have about a million comics Jim Lee could sign but I can imagine what the lines will be like...


MORE awesome Lego stuff, this time from Etsy user Gr0glmann! I would rock this sweet geek gear all over the place!


That's Shady

These are awesome and I'm trying desperately to hunt down where you can buy them. They are apparently made by a company named Lynx Optique but they, and their website, are French. Perhaps I can just glue a few flat lego pieces to a pair of sunglasses and make my own?


For when you want to get Smurfed

Reblogged from Topless Robot which reblogged from The Beat, I bring you the Smurfette make-up case. I'm scared by the fact that I want this.


May 2nd is Free Comic Book Day!

"Free Comic Book Day is a single day - the first Saturday in May - when participating comic book shops across North America and around the world give away comic books absolutely FREE* to anyone who comes into their stores. *Check with your local shop for their participation and rules."


NES Mouse!

It looks awesome! Is it ergonomic? Not sure- but it sure screams "I'm a huge nerd"- which is something I like to scream!