Well, most all of us are at home, and with nothing else to do, why not watch some anime? Here are five anime series I’ve watched recently, but one of them I would not recommend, even though it has a long heritage.
First, the bad news: “Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045” is out on Netflix, and having watch the first 12 episodes, I’m not impressed. It’s bad enough that the animation is rather obviously CGI. But they didn’t stop there. No, they use that medium to tell a story that, honestly, left me not really caring much what happened to most of the main characters. Gone are the paramilitary police officers who bent the rules to do some good. Now, they’re nothing but hired muscle, working as private military contractors and available to the highest bidder. After having hopes that the rather overly violent initial teaser would prove to be a one-off, what came out is far more a ‘shoot’em up’ cartoon than the occasionally thoughtful original anime was. No link provided because I don’t want to cause others to suffer through this anime.
For a very different experience, one you can enjoy, I’d recommend “Millionaire Detective: Balance Unlimited”. Imagine Bruce Wayne’s Batman, except instead of going out and catching the bad guys through hard work and determination, the protagonist bribes crooks to turn on each other, has far too much fondness for random destruction, and seems to feel that all he needs to do is spread more cash to pay for his mistakes. Now, team someone like that with an honest cop who’s sole goal is to do his job and keep people safe, and imagine how many ways things might go wrong. I’ve only watched the first two episodes, but not only does the story concept intrigue me, the animation is pretty damned good. Well worth watching: https://www.funimation.com/shows/the-millionaire-detective-balance-unlimited/
Crunchyroll has an interesting anime that it’s carrying exclusively, “Tower of God”. It tells the tale of Bam, a young boy with a mission. He is seeking Rachel, the girl who cared for him in what he finds is the basement of a vast structure called The Tower. But in her turn, Rachel had a dream: to escape the closed-in life she and Bam have lived and see the star-filled sky she has heard stories about. When she announces she’s leaves him, Bam begs her to take him with her, but she refuses, promising to come back for him one day. When she doesn’t, Bam follows her path out of the basement and is confronted by the mysteries of the tower and it’s many and varied residents. I’ve only had a chance to watch the first six episodes of this one, but like the previous anime, this one has promise and I think it’s worth the time to watch.
Last year, I enjoyed watching “Kaguya-sama: Love is War”. The story revolves around an over-achieving poor boy and an equally gifted rich girl who fall in love with each other. But being too proud to admit their feelings, each tries to get the other to admit their feelings first. The resulting machinations, which always fail miserably, were hilarious to watch. It’s back in “ Kaguya-sama: Love is War 2”, and things haven’t gotten any less confusing for the protagonists. Nor have the schemes they come up with gotten any more successful, or less entertaining. Worth a watch: https://www.justwatch.com/us/tv-show/kaguya-sama-love-is-war/season-2
Speaking of anime about two people who fall in love and can’t admit their feelings, I found this one by accident. “Science Fell in Love, So I Tried to Prove It” tells the story of a pair of science grad students who realize they have feelings for each other. In this case, their problem isn’t a reluctance to admit they have feelings, it’s an inability to admit that what they feel towards each other is love. So, being good scientists, they decide to research the problem, gather ‘data’ through numerous rather interesting ‘experiments’, so they can either prove or disprove the fact that they are in love. Silly? Yeah, it’s all that, but it has some moments that make you want to cheer the protagonists…and others that make you want to slap them for being so silly. Well worth watching. https://www.crunchyroll.com/science-fell-in-love-so-i-tried-to-prove-it
I’ll add this one as both a bonus and a teaser. I finally had a chance to watch “Weathering with You”, the most recent feature anime film from Mikoto Shinkai, the director of “Your Name”. It tells the story a young man who’s living a hard life as a runaway in Tokyo. Every day is a hustle, working for his somewhat sketchy boss who operates an urban legends web site. All that changes when he meets a girl who can literally pray the rain away. He helps her turn her gift into a business, and as they work together, he comes to love her. But what he doesn’t know is that her gift comes with a price. The story is equal parts compelling and touching, and features the same hyper-detailed animation that is Shinkai’s trademark. Unfortunately, I can’t offer you a link because it’s not available on any streaming services yet. But do keep an eye open for this one, it’s definitely worth watching.