herongale: (hitagi- thoughtful)

"If you feel like dying for this universe, just call us. We'll be waiting!"

I don't think it's any exaggeration to say that this series has not only become my favourite anime series for this season, it will probably go on my top twenty list of anime series of all time. It's just that good, and that much of a head trip.

somewhat spoilery content under cut, as well as more pics and a music download from the show )

That's good too.

I love this series. I am fascinated by it. You all should give it a try.
herongale: (maka- sparkly insane eye)
Alright, so [livejournal.com profile] cephiedvariable did this, wonderfully, in her own LJ. It looked like a lot of fun so despite the fact that I knew some of my choices would be identical to hers, I decided I'd share my own personal picks for top anime opening sequences of all time.

Cool, right? Cool! Let's proceed!

fifteen You Tube embeds under cut )


And that's it. This list was a ton of fun to compose, and I hope to see this catch on as a meme because I would like to see everyone's choices. XD
herongale: (scar x ed- otp 4ev)
I originally started working on this list years ago (literally years ago), but then I set it aside because my descriptions of each pairing were getting to be ridiculously long, and I was talking about the backstory and facts and all of this annoying stuff which really has nothing to do with why I like certain pairings.

So today I have decided to start over. Let's start at the top.

1. Scar/Ed. (Fullmetal Alchemist)

Anyone who knows me as Herongale knows this. I love Scar so much I had his array tramp-stamped to my body. I wrote epic fanfic for this pairing, some of the best writing I have ever done. Scar is an emotionally crippled man, uptight and judgmental. Ed is passionate and brutally smart, unconventional but also highly judgmental. The ideal chemistry between them is prickly and cautious developing into a beautiful emotional co-dependancy. I LOVE THEM SO MUCH.

2. Daisuke/Ken. (Digimon 02)

The pairing I made my name with; also the pairing that brought [livejournal.com profile] anax permanently into my life. There was a lot of flexibility in this pairing, and a lot of people preferred the kinky/messed up Kaizer/Daisuke side of things, but for me I was far more into what happened to them after Ken "found his heart." Both characters had flaws, big ones, and kind of needed the other to make up for these flaws. I will never get over how purely sweet this pairing is for me. This is love at its most innocent and fresh.


3. Raistlin/Caramon (Dragonlance)

A pairing that has lain dormant in my heart for a long time; I haven't revisited it in years. But I give it a high place, higher than several of my active loves, simply because it made a profound impression on me. I still love it very much. I never participated in any online fandom and I never wrote fanfic: I loved this before internet access was widely available. Raistlin was a very convincingly evil, bitter character, and Caramon was his heart. "Look Raist, bunnies!" The defense rests.

4. Nynaeve/Lan (Wheel of Time)

Nynaeve happens to be one of my single favourite characters of all time, and I identify with her almost as strongly as I do with Reki from Haibane Renmei. There is a lot to criticize about the WoT series, but Nynaeve's evolution remains one of the most well-laid out, complex evolutions of a major character I have ever seen. For one thing, she actively devolves over the course of several books: she starts out strong and comes off as very wise and impressive, but as she travels the world and begins to understand it better, she becomes foolish and weak. Silly. This all happens because she lets go of the mask she wore, the role of Village Wisdom. She found actual strength in that role, but it was only after losing all of that was she able to start finding strength in her self. Anyway, I don't think it's hyperbole to say that Lan is the catalyst of all this: she wants to better herself for him. Lan is a very noble man, but brittle and crippled in much the same way Scar is, and together the two have a chemistry I adore.

5. Megatron/Starscream (Transformers G1)

Starscream is my favourite male character of all time (yes, I love him more than Scar). He gets pride of place because I have loved him ever since I was 11 years old (Digidestined aged FYI). He is shallow, vain, petty, grasping, arrogant, cruel.... and totally, totally awesome. Anyone with half a brain cell can't help but note that he and Megatron have a very special chemistry, with Megatron singling him out for beatings and insults but also refusing to kill him even though Starscream is a blatant traitor who barely ever even tries to hide his ambitions. I love the rivalry, the brutal in-your-face aggression of their relationship. Plus, it's just so fucking precious. And unpretentious. I can't take myself seriously when I get to thinking about the two of them together, and I like that a lot.

6. Haseo/Skeith (.hack//G.U.)

Kind of surprising that this one only comes in at the six slot, considering how eagerly I love it, and how quickly it has become important to me. It's a pairing I share with Anax, and it's his fault that I love it at all. Skeith has almost no personality as far as official canon is concerned, but Anax has detailed via The Power of Imagination a richly complex, beautifully compelling version of this character. Skeith is a powerful AI, intelligent and dangerous, but also adorably naive. He doesn't know as much as he thinks he knows. Haseo has some of the prickliness and emotional standoffishness of Scar, mixed in with some of the youth and vigor of Ed... but with many qualities which are uniquely his own. It is both pathetic and amazing that he'd fall in love with an online AI. And trust me: very, very hot.

7. Katchoo/Francine (Strangers in Paradise)

First and only femmeslash pairing on this list. I followed their relationship through the comic as it was being released, and the fact that they spent several years away from each other, estranged, tore my heart to bits whenever I thought about it too hard. There's a lot of personal identification in this one: personality-wise, I am often like Francine, and Anax is a lot like Katchoo. Their arguments were so vivid to me. I have actually had fights just like that. I found the ending of the comic book to be a little too rushed and pat (I wanted to spend more time seeing them together damnnit), but the journey was hella moving. And hot: a Francine and Katchoo kiss is like a million times hotter than a frank sex scene for other, lesser characters.

8. Anne/Gilbert (Anne of Green Gables)

So sweet and pure. This was an innocent love of my early years. I never imagined them getting it on beyond kissing, but that was enough for me then. It remains enought for me now. I actually went to Prince Edward Island back in high school, so I got to walk in the world that Anne loved so much. I could imagine her and Gilbert together there.

9. Frodo/Sam (Lord of the Rings)

I have always had this thing for all-consuming devotion. I hardly even knew that I shipped these characters growing up; for many years I didn't even know what shipping was. The physical, carnal potential of the pairing mostly eludes me, since I am into it almost entirely for the love and the mutual willingness to sacrifice for the other. I don't care if they never have sex; I just like seeing them together. One of the reasons the end of the LotRs always fucks me over emotionally is having to stay with Sam as he waves goodbye to the greatest, deepest love of his life.

10. Skyfire/Starscream (Transformers G1)

First repeat customer! Starscream is literally millions of years old, so Skyfire kind of comes in as Starscream's "first love." They were scientists and explorers together, doing god knows what kind of research. Now they are enemies, but I think it's a kind of bittersweet thing. This is my "sweet" Starscream pairing with lots of emo, emo enough to rival Armada Starscream's entire career of emo. I believe that Skyfire truly loves Starscream and that they could even be in love again someday, if they both could forgive each other for their various betrayals.

11. Eric/Sheila (Dungeons and Dragons)

I wrote fanfiction for this pairing. I actually did. It will never see the light of day because it was so bad, but Eric hits my "snarky brittle lonely asshole" kink square on. I just love redemption cases, and he is this spoiled little rich brat. Most people pair him with Diana and he and she do have a kind of bickering sort of chemistry, but for me the appeal of that is lessened because Diana is already pretty well put together. She would never need Eric. Sheila, on the other hand, has weakness of her own, and although the show pushes pretty hard to pair her up with Hank, I think that putting the two emotional weaklings together makes for more interesting chemistry. Let Hank and Diana, the two heros, have sweet uncomplicated romance. I like the brokeness and awkwardness and hesitations of an Eric/Sheila pairing way too much to ever give it up. This pairing may deserve to even be higher in the rankings, but that's only because pairings 7-11 are all fairly equivalent, and my ordering in this set is fairly arbitrary.

12. Rick/Minmay (Robotech)

It just now occurs to me that May and Miriya didn't even make this list, and I love them so much. That just means that the 20 I included are all-stars in the Herongale pantheon. This was one of my first shared fandoms. Back in fifth grade my friend Michelle and I would meet every day to play, and we'd pretend each of us to be a Robotech character: she got Lisa, I was Minmay. I loved Minmay: she was awkward and childish and not very bright, but she had a very good heart. We were doing our little LARP during Robotech's first TV run, so neither of us knew who Rick was going to choose... it broke my heart when Rick ended up with Lisa, although I knew that was probably best for him, because I was sooo invested in him ending up with me Minmay. For a period of time, this pairing was alive for me in a way no pairing has ever been, before or since. I think the fact that it didn't work out actually helped ensure my continued love of the pairing, because I wanted sooo desperately to believe another reality was possible. I obsessed trying to think up ways it could happen.

13. Elizabeth/Mr. Darcy (Pride and Prejudice)

What does Mr. Darcy have in common with Scar, Ken, Starscream, Haseo, Eric, and Raistlin? Oh yes... in his own way, he's a little bit of an asshole. I love how he has to eat his pride once he falls for the girl he was so quick to scorn. This pairing is so lovingly and perfectly depicted in the source material (aka the novel) that I never felt the need to elaborate on it, not even in my fantasy life, but I really enjoyed reading certain scenes over and over (and over) again. Anyone who has read the book knows what I am talking about. In any case, this was the pairing that showed me that dialogue, when done right, is probably the hottest part of any relationship story. This is a lesson I have never forgotten.

14. Raistlin/Crysania (Dragonlance)

Another repeat offender! I fell for this pairing right away, the first time I read "Time of the Twins." I already was in love with Raistlin, in as far as I could be anyway, and then I read the first scene where Crysania shows up and is totally seduced by the evil mage. That scene turned me on SO HARD and as far as I knew or cared, Crysania was some kind of conveniently placed Mary Sue. And in some ways it turned out to be the case (okay, totally): but she never "saved" Raistlin. Instead, he used her to the bitter end, and she ends up alone and blind and I kind of fell in love with her for her own self. This relationship always felt so one-sided to me, which made it bittersweet.

15. Jo/Laurie (Little Women)

Why, oh why, oh why was this never canon? I liked Mr. Bhaer and Amy okay, but Jo and Laurie had freaking CHEMISTRY. I think the only reason Alcott decided against this pairing was that it was insufficiently moral, i.e. she couldn't make a moral tale of their love. Jo ends up with Mr. Bhaer and it's a lesson in "not judging by appearances" and "loving being poor," whereas Laurie needed to be with Amy so the both of them could learn how not to be superficial. Important life lessons to be sure, but I still feel cheated.

16. Osamu/Ken (Digimon 02)

Sick. Wrong. I KNOW. But somehow so, so right. I can't even talk about this one, it's too shameful.

17. Doumeki/Watanuki (xxxHolic)

Oh, CLAMP. This is only one in a long line of practically canonical shounen-ai pairings involving an eternal spiritual soulbonding relationship between male characters. Admitting to loving this almost feels like admitting to loving Burger King Whoppers: it's a pairing designed to appeal to the masses (sadly, in this case masses of pre-pubescent girls). I have been known to find myself theoretically supporting other not-quite-canon CLAMP pairings (Kurogane/Fai from Tsubasa Resevoir Chronicles and Toya/Yukito from Card Captor Sakura spring INSTANTLY to mind!), but this one has some features of authenticity that cause it to transcend the usual CLAMP stereotypes. It does not hurt that the emotional dynamic reminds me a little of Scar and Ed... but I think the thing that I really like is that Doumeki, the seemingly detached and "cool" one of the two, is also the one who is more consciously devoted: Watanuki, the spazz, spends almost all of his time brooding over Himawari, and he has a very hard time even admitting that Doumeki is a friend, let alone someoen he has a special connection to.

18. Madarame/Saki (Genshiken)

Nothing spells out "doomed" so well as Madarame's completely unrequited love for Saki: Saki is perfectly happy in a relationship with the man of her dreams, and she remains with her boyfriend throughout the series. It would be easy to describe my affection for this pairing in terms of the necessary geeky heartbreak, by concentrating only on Madarame's side of the equation. But the thing that makes this an OTP actually comes from Saki: as a militantly non-otaku person, she ends up with a very comfortable friendship with Madarame, and when she talks to him a lot more of her personality emerges than we ever see when she's with Kousaka. Were Madarame cute, he would be her ideal man: but he is not, and so she will never see it. They have real chemistry that is mutual, but the romantic feelings will always be his and his alone.

19. Haseo/Endrance (.hack//G.U.)

aka Ryou and Kaoru. Haseo is back, but this time with a hopelessly reclusive shut-in with absolutely zero real-life self confidence. Endrance is shamelessly smitten with Haseo, and is proud to advertise his feelings to anyone who will ask: but in real life he is super shy. It would take a lot for these two to meet IRL but that is the basis of most of the fan interest. Harukami wrote a series of fics for this pairing which kind of perfectly illustrate the wrongness and wonderfulness of Endrance's feelings, and even though I'm not actively crushing on it, I am confident this pairing will always be one I treasure.

20. Gokudera/Tsuna (Reborn)

It's a testament to how amazing this pairing is that I love it DESPITE massive canon failure. It's all about Gokudera's devotion for me: he is this awesome badass cranky teenager who just lights up whenever he sees Tsuna. He'd do anything for Tsuna. Tsuna I could take or leave, but Gokudera.... ;___;

And that's it. I just kind of wrote up whatever came to mind.

Here is the final tally:

slash: 11 pairings
het: 8 pairings
yuri: 1

So what say you? It's time for everyone to trot out their top twenties for inspection!
herongale: (Default)
Hey, do you all remember when I decided to do a countdown of my top ten anime episodes of all time? WAY BACK IN 2007? And how I did every single one EXCEPT FOR MY #1 EPISODE?

Well, you probably don't. But I do!

Unbeknownst to you all, I did do a write up, but I was not able to finish it and then I kind of left it to moulder. But now it is done, and now I can share it.

But before I do, here are some links for those who would refresh their memories on my other 9 top episode choices:

Countdown... 10 to 7.
10. Hikaru no Go, episode 60, Farewell Hikaru
09. Honey and Clover II, episode 12, "...I'm here"
08. Rozen Maiden Ouverture, episode 2, Vanity
07. Mushishi episode 20, The Sea of Brushes

6 to 5
06. Ghost in the Shell, Standalone Complex, episode 25, Smoke of Gunpowder, Hail of Bullets
05. Digimon 02, episode 8, Ken's Secret

04. Neon Genesis Evangelion, episode 22, Don't Be

03. .hack//Sign, episode 19, Recollection

02. Hikaru no Go, episode 75, That Same Old Smile

... and now. Finally. Finally.

At last, here it is: my number one most absolute favourite anime episode of all time!

01. Haibane Renmei, episode 13, Reki's World/A Prayer/Epilogue

[livejournal.com profile] nymeria, you called it, and I suspect it will not come as a surprise to anyone who knows me even a little. However, despite my deep love of Haibane Renmei, I do not recall ever making a very detailed post explaining exactly what it is about the series that moves me. I hope this corrects that.

To the people who have not seen this series (*), I strongly recommend that you not read this summary, and go watch Haibane Renmei instead. Really. It's only 13 episodes. The pacing is kind of slow and dreamy, especially at first, and initially there is a sort of otherworldly slice-of-life feel that might not appeal to everyone. But the payout at the end, as I am about to describe, is simply one of the most lovely things I have ever seen. Not just in anime, not just in art: in my lifetime.

Obviously, this series will not affect everyone as strongly as it has me. That's okay, because Haibane Renmei has sacrificed universal appeal in order to capture a more specific audience. I don't think it was created for people who think they are better than everyone else, nor do I think that liking this anime series is a sign of higher taste or a more evolved soul. It's just... well, you know how Michaelangelo's art has a sort of universal appeal, but Picasso's is more divisive? Haibane Renmei risks boring and alienating some in the hopes of burrowing more deeply into the hearts of those who appreciate it. By courting a minority audience, it aspires to be a life-changing art; for me, it succeeds.

So: before clicking on the cut, consider yourself and whether you think your taste might be similar to mine. If there is any chance you might fall in love with this series, do not read what I have to say about it until you have seen it through to the end.

Really, think about it!

That said, here it is:

Reki's World/A Prayer/Epilogue )

(*) excepting [livejournal.com profile] anax, who could not get beyond four episodes and refuses to watch any more on the principle that HR is "so not my thing" (and he's right, it's not).
herongale: (airgear- oh? *amused*)
When there's nothing left to burn, you have to set yourself on fire.
Stars, "Your Ex-Lover is Dead"

Note: All Spoilers Under Cut.

Avatar is not a series that needs me to recommend it, and I don't think I'm going to sway anyone's opinions no matter how convincing my praise. Nevertheless I feel compelled to talk about the last episode. So many promising series fall down in the end, piling disappointment upon confusion, showing either contempt for the viewer, or a lack of follow-through and insight on the part of the creator.

Not so, for Avatar: the Last Airbender.

Great ideas often have implications that even the creator doesn't realize at first. Some stories are plotted out from the start; some evolve with the telling. But no meaningful story ends well if the creator never took a step back from his work to do the hard work of understanding his own creation.

And trust me, it IS hard work.

Spoilers under cut... as well as praise that h8ters might as well skip )

Oh the blood and the treasure--
and the losing it all--
the time that we wasted--
and the place where we fall.
Will we wake in the morning
and know what it was for?
Up in our bedroom, after the war?

Stars, "The Beginning After the End"
herongale: (Default)
Did you think I had abandoned this?

Never fear, I was just waiting until I was at work again! Apparently!

#2 top anime episode: Hikaru no Go, episode 75, That Same Old Smile )
herongale: (hasxatoli= i like het)
Top 3 territory! I'm sure everyone is completely on the edge of their seats, wondering which three episodes receive Herongale's coveted TOP ANIME EPISODES OF ALL TIME status.

I'm sure. I'm totally sure.

3. .hack//Sign, episode 19, Recollection )
herongale: (asuka and anemone- we hate you)
More Top Ten Anime Episodes of All Time!


At this point I should reveal that Fullmetal Alchemist did not rate a top 10 anime episodes slot. Not at all. :( "All is One, One is All" almost made it, with the lovely little cicada scene, and the overall impactful storytelling, but Sai's final farewell makes me weepy and that is always a decisive factor in these things.

It's kind of weird that FMA doesn't rate, especially considering my deep love of Scar. But that's really a series where the interconnectedness of the episodes, and the careful building of story and characterization (until someone passed around the peace pipe, anyway) is not something well captured in any single episode.

Oh well, Scar. *pets him* You are still my favourite.


4. Neon Genesis Evangelion, episode 22, Don't Be )
herongale: (ken- imbeciles!)
Aha, let's see if I can do a few more of these.

This is a continuation of my "Top 10 Anime Episodes of All Time," the first post of which can be found here

6. Ghost in the Shell, Standalone Complex, episode 25, Smoke of Gunpowder, Hail of Bullets )

5. Digimon 02, episode 8, Ken's Secret )
herongale: (hagu- perfect moment outside the rain)
Am at work, and as things are (for the moment-- knock on wood) quiet, I have decided to prepare a top 10 list of my favourite/most memorable anime episodes. Not series: episodes. Each of the episodes listed has a special quality that sets it apart. Not only are they episodes that I have gone back to over and over again, but they have an emotional resonance for me, affecting my life in singular and profound ways.

Although anime as a medium is not always the most serious artform in the world, at its best it has the ability to move me as much, if not more, than my favourite books. I've been a fan of this form of media ever since I was a child, even outside of my appreciation for various series that Japan has produced. There is a kind of visual artistry that can be achieved with animation techniques that is separate from anything seen in live action film (or, for that matter, strict CGI); I would not say that hand-drawn animation is superior to other visual media, but in terms of my own personal taste, it is what I tend to be drawn to. It evokes something of my own heart's longing that I also get from books, but with an added dimension of visual artistry that makes me ache with happiness.

So, here are my top 10, in reverse order from least to greatest. Assume spoilers.

10. Hikaru no Go, episode 60, Farewell Hikaru )

9. Honey and Clover II, episode 12, ...I'm here )

8. Rozen Maiden Ouverture, episode 2, Vanity  )

7. Mushishi episode 20, The Sea of Brushes )


Wow... this is getting to be long! Well, I'll cut it off here, and will pick it back up with episode 6. HOPEFULLY!