My memorable anime from 2003

January 2, 2014

See the initial 2000 entry for the full background. I'm doing this based on the show's start date and memorable is not the same as either good or significant. Date information comes from Wikipedia and Anime-Planet.

(Because it may be relevant this year, I'm mostly listing things in alphabetical order instead of any implied quality or preference order.)


  • Fullmetal Alchemist: People argue about whether this or Brotherhood is the better FMA experience, but I hope that we can all agree that this is excellent regardless of which is the better version. The anime original ending doesn't bother me in the least and the journey there is full of excellent twists and turns and any number of great characters. There is so much good about this show that I have no real words for it.

    This is the best shonen action show that I've seen. (Shonen action shows are not the same thing as shonen fighting shows.)

  • Gunslinger Girl: On one level this is an exciting action story with a thin veneer of plausibility, and on that level it will not let you down although it will periodically disturb you, sometimes deeply. At another level this is a character story about a bunch of extremely broken people (some of them obviously so and some not). The ending is quiet and beautiful and a gut punch in its own way.

    (I was never able to take the followup series seriously. Read the manga instead.)

  • Twin Spica: This is an excellent adaptation of (part of) what I understand is an excellent manga. It features great characters, including the protagonist, good writing, and so on, all wrapped up in an affecting, heartfelt storyline, and the conclusion to the show warmed the cold cockles of my heart as few other endings ever have.

    (It's 20 episodes. That won't take long. Do check it out. Yes, this is another underappreciated series that I'm trying to sell you on.)

Standing out in a bad way:

Ordinarily memorable:

  • Dokkoida?!: You probably haven't heard of this but it's a quite charming and amusing show. It's the sort of comedy that makes me smile reliably (which is not common) and the characters are generally touching, especially once you get to know them.

  • Godannar: I've never been able to decide if this show is a straight up serious take on the Go Nagai part of the giant robot genre or a straight-faced affectionate parody of it. Whichever it is, it's epic. It has any number of plot twists, a bunch of cool characters (including secondary characters like the mechanics), and GIANT COMBINING ROBOTS in the Go Nagai tradition. Oh, and lots of fanservice of an old-fashioned style (that goes with the Go Nagai tradition, of course).

  • Narutaru (aka Shadow Star): This starts out as a pleasant bright series where a girl winds up with an alien pet and then things go all to hell. It's basically all the fault of people. The results are wrenching but memorable. Note that this is part of a manga so you won't get any real answers in the show (but by the end you probably won't care about that).

  • Stellvia: I have fond memories of watching this but I have to admit that many of the actual details of what happened in the show have faded by now. I'd probably enjoy a rewatch and I may do that someday. I remember the romance as one of the better ones that I've seen.

Honorable mentions:

  • Chrono Crusade (sometimes aka Chrno Crusade): I'll be honest; this is memorable in large part because of how it had a relative downer of an ending. But I remember it as well executed on the way there, with interesting characters (especially the protagonist).

  • Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu: This is okay, but I like the serious Full Metal Panic better than the full bore pratfalls comedy version.

  • Last Exile: Scamp's review has made me look back on this with more favour than I did at the time, partly by giving me a more optimistic take on what the show did to Lavie. Parts of it are great, parts of it I would have to rewatch to perhaps reassess, and parts of the ending are well over the top. Please note that the opening fleet combat segments are supposed to be absurd and stupid and ritualized and ineffectual. That's the point. The Guild wants them that way and what the Guild wants, it gets.

    (The resemblance to the stupider parts of World War I warfare is probably deliberate.)

  • Read Or Die the TV: Unsurprisingly the much longer TV series is much more character focused and has much less action (and it's lower-powered) than the OVA trilogy. It wasn't bad, though. Anita steals the show.

  • Scrapped Princess: Bagpipes in the opening, antagonists named after firearms, and an interesting explanation for everything that was going on. The show was not flawless and fumbles the execution at a few points.

  • Tsukihime: Apparently any number of people will assure you that this anime doesn't exist. I found it a perfectly fine show with a number of interesting concepts and interesting characters.

  • Yami to Boushi to Hon no Tabibito: See this Secret Santa review for a pretty good summary of the show. When I watched it I thought it was going to be deeper than it turned out to be and the ending is not the greatest, but the bits in the middle are genuinely fun and crazy.

I've seen a number of other shows from 2003 that don't make these lists for one reason or another.

Things I want to watch or that I know I should watch category:

  • The Big O (second season): I loved the first season but the second season dropped into the void of disappearing Toronto anime clubs.

  • Kino's Journey: I saw the first few episodes but no more for some reason. The few episodes I've seen have been enough to show me that I want to watch more.

  • Tokyo Godfathers

I saw a fair amount of Gad Guard at the time and kind of want to finish it off someday. It was a stylish show that took a significant plot swerve just where I stopped being able to see more.

Written on 02 January 2014.
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Last modified: Thu Jan 2 23:22:03 2014
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