There has been some great anime released in the last few years and some cool ones on the horizon for 2012 too. I actually used to watch a lot of anime previously, but stopped around 2008; instead I read a lot of manga and left anime alone until recently. This article is for anyone like me who hasn’t watched any good anime movies or series for a while for whatever reason or for anyone who wants recommendations for cool anime released in the past few years.
Trigun: Badlands Rumble 2010
If you loved the Trigun series, you’ll love Trigun Badlands Rumble, and if you’ve not seen Trigun yet, then you should probably watch the series before watching this. A satisfying movie to watch with great animation and lots of action. Trigun has an awesome cast of characters, and with its wild west theme managing to mixing in emotion, comedy, technology and gun fights, it shouldn’t disappoint.
The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya – Suzumiya Haruhi no Shoushitsu 2010
Regarded as one of the best anime movies already, having only been released in 2010, this is an anime that is based on the popular Haruhi Suzumaya series. It is suggested to see the series before watching the movie, otherwise you probably won’t get much. The plot is intricate and compelling, people are obsessed with this series for the right reasons.
New Hunter x Hunter series 2011
This is a remake of the awesome TV series Hunter x Hunter released in 1999. If you’ve never heard of Hunter x Hunter, then you should definitely check it out. It’s one of my favourite manga, although personally I don’t think they needed to redo it, they could have just continued on from where the last OVAs ended. I think the reason they decided to start from the beginning of the story with a remake was to compete with the other popular anime currently showing. Hunter x Hunter has a following, but not as big a following as other series and I think management must have thought they could gain more fans of the series by starting over, rather than continuing with the plot, which might have had dwindling viewing numbers. However it’s still great to watch, and the remake has its own unique touches that improve on some things, supposedly the remake matches the manga more closer, but on the downside the violence seems more toned down, probably to suit a wider market.
King of Thorn 2009
I saw the trailer for King of Thorn a while back and it looked amazing. It’s based on Yuji Iwahara‘s manga by the same name, and a lot of people were quite excited by the trailer too. However I found out that the film isn’t as good as the trailer makes out, but it’s still a great movie to watch; so even though it didn’t meet all expectations for me, it’s still a quality animation.
Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Gurren-hen & Lagann-Hen 2008 & 2009
Two pretty epic anime films based on an amazing mecha sci-fi series. You could watch the series before watching the movies, but I guess it’s not totally needed as the movies form as an adaptation of the series. Either way these two movies are still quality pieces of films. Not to mention, the hot Yoko Littner is one of the main characters, our top voted most popular anime girl, so it’s easily worth checking out.
Gintama Series and Gintama: Shinyaku Benizakura-hen 2006 – 2011
A popular new series about a samurai, that took my interest after Bleach which I’ve just completely stopped reading. Based on an alternate reality where aliens arrive at earth instead of the US Fleet’s arrival ushering the end of the Shogunate, it follows Gintama and his gang creating trouble wherever they go. It’s a pretty cool anime and idea with some hilarious storylines and interesting characters. I think it’s aimed at everyone, which might be part of the reason why it’s so popular. It manages to mix in hilarity and seriousness into episodes flawlessly, a bit like One Piece manages.
Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood – 2009
FMA is a great manga and series and Brotherhood continues this. A lot of people thought Brotherhood might be just milking off the well-recieved first series and movie, but Brotherhood managed to exceed expectations and deliver an awesome anime series. It improves on the first season a lot and adds more depth to all the characters. Animation and fight scenes are done really well and it can definitely be considered as one of the quality series around that isn’t too lazy. However you should definitely check out the first series and movie before watching Brotherhood.
Break Blade 2010 – 2011
An awesome mecha anime that has been adapted into 6 movies from the manga series. It will remind you of a lot of other mecha animes, however the animation and plot are great and it’s definitely worth checking out even if you’re not massively into mecha animes which I haven’t been into since Gundam Wing. It reminds me a lot of Escaflowne too, which was an awesome series. At any rate, it’s already one of the best mecha animes out there so check it out!
Detective Conan Movie 15: Quarter of Silence – 2011
Everyone loves Detective Conan, so no wonder they keep releasing film after film. It’s debatable whether you can watch any of the films standalone but since I’ve been a fan of the series, I like to watch everything about Detective Conan so I can’t check whether it’s true or not. I’d say it’s more interesting watching the films with all the prior knowledge of the previous stuff, and even though there’s a lot, there is a reason this series is so popular.
Evangelion: 1.0 and 2.0 – 2007 & 2009
Just watch these movies, they are the first 2 of 4 films that remake the awesome Evangelion series. This isn’t a straight remake, there are loads of new scenes, settings and characters and the 4th film will bring in a completely new conclusion to the series. Look forward to 3.0 and the final film in late 2012. These films are visually amazing and basically it’s Eva so they can’t really go wrong with much. I think there’s a lot of improvement to the characters and story, since the first series came under cost problems and got rushed, so it’s great to see a remake done so well.
Berserk New films – Berserk Golden Age Arc – 2012
One of my favourite manga, again something of a remake of the events of the anime series, I wish they would have continued straight off where the last series ended, but I guess they are doing a similar thing to Hunter x Hunter – trying to get more hardcore fans by starting again. Berserk is pretty much the best medieval themed series out there, and the manga continues to make me go :O when reading. The plot and characters are just perfect and even though I don’t love the style of animation in this new remake, it’ll be worth watching anyway. I just hope it becomes popular so they make a series that catches up with the manga.
I know what some people might be thinking, just about all of these suggestions are either remakes of series or spin off movies from a series. It seems most of the new films in anime are things where you need to watch the series that precedes it, as there isn’t much in the way of completely original anime films anymore. This is probably because those are too risky and it’s safer to release a film based on a series that’s already popular. Since nearly all anime is based on manga, and most manga continue forever if they are popular, it’s difficult to find short popular stories that would just fit in one film.
The only company that continues to release one off completely original stuff seems to be Studio Ghibli. Unfortunately for me, their last two feature films, The Secret World of Arrietty and From up on Poppy Hill, I didn’t like them that much even though the animation is as always, jaw-dropping. Still maybe it was just me, and you should at least check them out. I pretty much love every other Ghibli film released. Their next film is supposedly The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, a famous ancient folktale in Japan, that has a lot of significance in storytelling relevance in Japanese culture, so that sounds promising.
I did an article on an amazing anime I watched recently from 2009, Redline. If only they released stuff like that every month.