Where Did All the Big Crazy Anime Go?

Posted: June 15, 2010 in Braak, Threat Quality
Tags: , , , ,

Did anime stop being awesome at some point, or has the awesome anime just become harder to find?

The question occurred to me when I started digging around in Netflix’s instant viewer collection. I realized it had been a long while since I’d watched an anime series that I really enjoyed. But back in college that happened with alarming frequency.

Which makes me think perhaps Cartoon Network just totally sucks nowadays. 

I would get home from class around 5, pop on the network’s Toonami lineup, and there would be just hours of fantastic awesomeness available. Where are these shows now? 11 PM to 2 AM on Saturday night.

Not exactly prime programming real estate.

But a cursory glance of the shows on now reveals a certain lack of what I like to call the Big Crazy. The Big Crazy is what happens when you try to describe the premise of a show and you realize it sounds like you’re describing some lunatic dream you had – and yet the person listening to you is totally picking up what you’re putting down.

To wit:

The Big O: “Okay, so picture, James Bond as Batman with a bad-ass Alfred and a sexy robot maid, and he pilots a giant robot to defend a city full of people who can’t remember anything.”

Outlaw Star: “Two space-mechanics steal a ship and fly off for adventure, while being pursued by a hot samurai assassin and an out-of-her-gourd cat-person.”

Gundam Wing: “A bunch of teenagers in varying stages of a complete mental breakdown use their battle robots to bring down the space government.”

Trigun: “Everyone is terrified of the bad-ass-looking outlaw, the most dangerous man in the galaxy – until he opens his mouth and you realize he’s actually a bit of an idiot.”

Tenchi: “So this kid’s trying to become a Buddhist monk, but it gets a lot harder when a bunch of hot women from space shack up with him.”

Cowboy Bebop: “The adventures of laconic space bounty hunters, a super-intelligent dog, and a poorly-wired 11-year-old computer genius, with a jazz/western soundtrack.”

Samurai Champloo: “These two ronin protect a sweet girl because they can’t finish their duel until repaying a debt they owe her, and go looking for her father, with nothing to go on but that he smells like sunflowers.”

FLCL: I do not even know where to begin with this one.

At a certain point, Cartoon Network stopped showing anything with the kind of lunatic streak, the Big Crazy, that makes the rest of these series so balls-out fun. Ghost in the Shell? Maybe some okay action scenes, but boring-as-shit the moment anyone slows down to talk.

Death Note, I have heard, is actually pretty cool, but it also sounds fairly deliberate in its pacing. The shows I described above do not make you wait very long for something cool to happen.

And because I can’t just try out every anime series listed in Netflix, and I haven’t cracked open an issue of Animerica in years – wait, do they still publish Animerica? – I’m left a bit stumped. There’s a pop energy there that seems missing from any new series I try out.

Any anime fans out there who can tell me what the next Big Crazy show is?

  1. Erin says:

    Death Note is very cool… for a while. The first third is awesome, the 2nd third is a little redundant, and the end… well, the end is kind of weird. But you’re right about the pacing: it’s certainly less zany than the others you’ve listed. Still, it’s worth checking out when you get a chance.

    I’m no expert, but I get the feeling the shift in tone is less a reflection of what’s being made than of what’s being imported.

  2. RixiM says:

    Umm, Ghost in the Shell is amazing, both seasons. Most of the episodes are really interesting in concept, I have no idea how those concepts come across in the dubbed version, it makes me throw up a little in my mouth. Both Fullmetal Alchemist are good; the second one is waaay better than the first. If you liked Gundam Wing, you should like Gundam Seed. Shigurui is truly amazing, it might change your life. Gankutsuou is pretty good. Ergo Proxy might be a little slow for your liking… If you don’t like dokuro chan, I give up, it’s sort of like FLCL with less sci-fi and way more blood. I really liked Diebuster, but it’s not really a fair sequel to gunbuster. Macross Frontier was everything one would expect from a long running series of space operas; one of my all time favorites, but YMMV. If you need more suggestions, get at me.

  3. braak says:

    Oh shit, yeah, I can second Fullmetal Alchemist. That show is rad.

  4. Sam says:

    Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagaan was a pretty sweet, very pretty, straightforward show about giant robots with faces in their chests fighting other robots with faces in their chests (mostly). By the FLCL people.

    I’m really digging The Tatami Galaxy on Hulu right now, which is sort of a Groundhog Day thing about a college student trying to find the perfect life. Crazy, snazzy art, but blisteringly fast subtitles.

    And I’m liking the new Fullmetal Alchemist : Brotherhood series (also on Hulu) better than I liked the first.

  5. Jeff Holland says:

    Wow – well done, gang. I can work with this.

  6. Jeff Holland says:

    Ah, question – since FMA: Brotherhood seems to have been more positively received than the first series, is there any chance I can just skip ahead?

  7. Jeff Holland says:

    Nevermind, Wikipedia has explained that I can skip the first FMA.

    And Netflix doesn’t have the first Gundam Seed series yet, so we’ll put that one on the backburner.

    But yes, a series titled “Death Frenzy” with the description, “legendary death match between allies-turned-rivals Fujiki Gennosuke, the one-armed swordsman, and Irako Seigen, the blind samurai” is more or less the kind of thing I was looking for.

  8. Sam says:

    The original series followed the original manga story and diverged pretty quickly. Some people prefer the first, some the second, but they are basically two different takes on the same universe and characters.

  9. Sandy says:

    Try Code Geass. It is action packed and batshit crazy, especially the second season of it. You will be entertained.

  10. […] full post on Anime – Google Blog Search This entry was written by admin, posted on June 16, 2010 at 1:51 am, filed under News and tagged […]

  11. Dmart says:

    I don’t watch nearly as much anime as I should, but I’d like to second Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagaan.
    Gurren Lagaan: “A mining prodigy with self-esteem issues and his magnificently bold adoptive older brother escape their subterranean society with the help of a barely-dressed female sniper so that they can fight the evil genocidal furries oppressing humanity with the power of robots that amplify the energy of human potential itself into giant drill attacks.” That’s just the first half, too, it gets crazier. It’s on Hulu, dubbed.

  12. […] remember how I was all bummed out that I couldn’t find any awesome anime series anymore? You guys were all really helpful, and I’ve got every available series on my Netflix […]

  13. AnonymusGeek says:

    Yeah I know what you mean. It sucks nowadays that hardly any anime is on tv. Your lucky if you can even catch it on Sci-Fi. CN should really bring back it’s 3-6pm weekday action/anime timeblock. Seems like nowadays the only people showing anime is 4Kids & Adult Swim.

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