10 Best Japanese Anime

This is a top ten list of the best in Japanese animate, with a brief plot synopsis and comments for each

With the ever-increasing popularity of shows such as "Pokemon" and "Sailor Moon", many Americans have decided to delve deeper into the exciting world of anime. If you'd like to watch more of this unique Japanese art form than what's offered on TV, this top ten list will steer you in the right direction.

10. X 3 Eyes: Perfect Collection

Yakumo just isn't having a great day. Not only does he meet the mysterious Pai (who claims to be the last of an immortal race of monsters), but he gets tangled up in her quest to become human. 3 X 3 Eyes: Perfect Collection is a splicing of the first four volumes in this six-part series based on the popular manga. Although the animation is run-of-the-mill, the character design is excellent - the cast is so believable and realistic they make the movie truly come to life.

9. Armitage III: Poly-Matrix

During the murder investigation of a popular singer, the robot Armitage discovers more than she bargained for. Along with her intrepid partner she discovers the truth behind the creation (and recent degeneration) of the Third Type robots, and finds out that her dream of becoming a mother may soon be a reality. With the high-profile talent of Elizabeth Berkley and Kiefer Sutherland, this "mecha" anime is anything but typical. It's a far cry from the standard shoot 'em up robot movies with little or no plot.

8. Dragon Half

Join Mink and her friends as they try to meet the dashing celebrity swordsman Dick Saucer. Things get complicated, however, when the King puts a price on Mink's head and Saucer takes up the challenge of slaying this pint-sized half-dragon. This movie, recently dubbed in English, is more fun than it has any right to be, especially with a theme song named "My Omelet". It's cute, it's light-hearted, and it's got to be the funniest anime on the market.

7. Ninja Scroll

This critically acclaimed movie follows the wanderer Jubei and the female ninja Kagero as they strive to foil the evil plans of a corrupt government in feudal Japan. But human greed isn't all they find - the supernatural also plays an unexpected role. One of most popular anime ever created, Ninja Scroll lives up to it's reputation, with excellent animation, intriguing plot, and a female character who, incredibly, wears a full compliment of clothes.

6. Green Legend Ran

In the distant future, the world has been turned into a desert wasteland and only the new world order can keep the human race alive. But not everyone is content to live under this tyranny, and a rebel group known as the Hazard has made it their goal to change the world for the better. Caught in the middle are two teenagers, who must journey far to discover the truth about their past. A highly developed plot with an emphasis on environmental awareness make this movie stand out, leaving you with a vivid glimpse of a future that could easily be our own.

5. Urusei Yatsura 2: Beautiful Dreamer

For the students of Tomobiki High School, life has taken a turn for the bizarre. They keep reliving the same day, and eventually discover that they are the only ones left on Earth. When ancient Japanese mythology and a Dream Demon get involved, everything reaches a new level of odd. You may have to watch this one several times before you can comprehend its sheer strangeness. But the weirdness that makes it initially so hard to understand is what actually makes it such a great anime.

4. Key the Metal Idol

Key just wants to be human (a pretty common theme in anime) but to do this she'll need 30,000 friends! How can a naïve robot survive in the big city, especially when a huge underground military experiment is the only thing linking her past to her future? This eight volume series has a storyline that, at first glance, may seem flat and unbelievable, but is in fact a complex and memorable plot that sheds some light on what truly makes us human.

3. Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture

To revenge his father's murder, a young man must find the six pieces of the legendary Armor of Mars. But when his quest turns him into a power-hungry killer, it's up to his twin sister to save him from himself. For that she'll need the help of world-class fighter Terry Bogard and his friends. Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture is just one of those all-around great, feel-good movies that gives you that warm fuzzy feeling inside.

2. Slayers

Lina Inverse isn't your typical sorceress, but, then again, this isn't your typical anime. Along with an unlikely group of friends, she will discover the truth behind the mysterious Rezo the Red Priest"¦and blow up numerous cities in the process. This series is great because, not only is it humorous, but it also manages (somehow) to work in a great plot. And, for more Slayers fun, there's always Slayers Next and Slayers Try, as well as a handful of feature-length movies.

And the number one anime"¦the one we should all run out and buy"¦the one that will change all our lives for the better"¦

1. Vampire Hunter D

This is the tale of "D", a half-vampire bent on slaying his own kind. But when he decides to protect a young girl and her brother, he's up against the strongest opponent he's ever faced - a 10,000-year-old vampire named Count Magnus Lee. Vampire Hunter D is the first anime many fans, including myself, saw, and it holds a special place in our hearts. If you haven't seen it yet you really are missing out on the greatest anime ever.

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