Fangirl Nation and Amanda.Actually: A Match in Fan Heaven

I am so proud to announce that I am working with Fangirl Nation! They’re an amazing publication of very talented female fans and I’m so lucky to be a part of this group. This is content that hasn’t gone on my blog and is wholly original for Fangirl Nation but I’m happy to share the link to my first piece!

http://fangirlnation.com/2017/01/18/comic-book-representation/

I hope that you all enjoy it and please give my friends at Fangirl Nation the same love and respect you give me!

 

Cheers!

Amanda.Actually

Thoughts from Fredericksburg

I have long been convinced that my artistic ideal stands or falls with Germany. Only the Germany that we love and desire can help us achieve that ideal.- Richard Wagner.png

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of German culture. I spent 6 weeks overseas in Austria and some of my most beloved and most important trips in Europe were of the German persuasion. Seeing King Ludwig II’s castles, seeing and being accosted by German swans. Learning a nearly impossible language. Texas’ history as a diverse state has made it rather easy to find handsome little pockets of Deutschland all across this great state so here are some of my thoughts after a day trip to Fredericksburg with my historian friend, Amber.

  • So the hill country is gorgeous but I hate that I don’t get cell service out there.
  • Giant crosses are a great landmark.
  • Indian Motorcycles apparently still live outside of the city limits.
  • The drive to Fredericksburg is perfect. Just within a few hours of the city limits so it feels like a trip while being close enough to do a day trip with no concern.
  • Some of the best conversations I’ve ever had have been in cars.
  • Amber only keeps me around because I speak German.
  • Postcards are amazing!
    • Seriously, I love sending out postcards so I may start a mailing list or something.
  • German culture is spectacular and the German history of Texas could be its own blog post.
    • I didn’t think out of all the places in Europe I saw, that I’d miss Austria and Germany the most.
  • Parking in downtown Fredericksburg is like surviving The Hunger Games. At times, sacrifices must be made and at times, you must park nearly a mile away from your destination.
  • Walking on a nice day though, is pretty special.
  • I feel remarkably guilty playing Pokemon Go in front of other people. Like I’m not giving them enough attention.
    • I’m sorry. I just needed my streak bonus…I didn’t ignore Amber. I promise.
  • There’s something to be said about knowing your history so it’s always a little weird as a black person to visit destinations that glorify the men that wanted to keep my ancestors in chains.
  • Also, restored and recreated houses are great but when they feature terrifying narration that is triggered by movement: it’s terrifying.
    • Some of these houses also have mannequins, so you just walk in and see a shape of a person and freak the hell out. Or at least, I did. Twice.
  • Fluffy chickens are the best chickens.
20170121_112752.jpg
LOOK AT THEM!
  • German food makes me so happy. Any place I can get potato pancakes, mustard and applesauce are places I rather just stay forever.
  • There’s nothing like speaking German to someone who doesn’t expect me to know German.
    • It sort of makes me feel like Broomhilda from Django Unchained. A confusing but pleasant oddity that is a black woman who speaks a little German.
  • The Hill Country has a lot of wineries.
    • A lot.
  • Comfort bites are apparently Frankenstein’s monster-esque foods that are probably going to kill you and you don’t mind that so much.
  • Fun fact: you can walk along downtown Fredericksburg with a glass of wine or beer in hand.
  • There’s a lot of places that offer to sell you wine in Fredericksburg. The main street is full of wine tasting rooms and breweries.
    • Lots.
      • Amber and I went on 2 wine tours in the hill country and keeping the glasses so far is the best part of it.
  • The history of wine in Texas could also be its own blog post.
  • Bathroom cats are apparently a thing outside of Welcome to Night Vale.
  • My taste in wine is changing. I can now stomach red wine without getting a headache and a serious case of ennui.
  • Apparently there’s a wine bus tour that lets you tour all of the wineries and not have to worry about driving afterwards.
    • You know, if you’re looking for a gift for me or something.
  • I also love and hate words used to describe wine.
    • Amber and I had a glass of Orange Muscat at a winery and I said the finish was “medicinal” and Amber agreed. But think of how asinine it is to say something has a medicinal finish.

I could go on forever about the how much I love German culture and German food but I’ll end on one note. Germans have a proud culture and the history of that tragically has some not so rosy parts of it. It’s difficult at times to express a love of other cultures when their history is so tarnished. I love Japanese culture but with that means accepting when Japan and my homeland were at war. I love German culture but loving Bayern means knowing that their history is marked with immense darkness. But what I love about Fredericksburg, what I love about Texas and what I love about culture is that just for a moment; a brief fleeting moment filled with excess, wine, beer and potatoes: it’s just good to be German.  

Cynic, Critic, Fan

-I much prefer the sharpest criticism of a single intelligent man to the thoughtless approval of the masses.- Johannes Kepler.png

I have been called “critical” more than once and that statement always strikes me as a bit strange. Criticism to me has never been a negative thing on its own. Everything has its problems, even great things are imperfect and yet issues do not always negate enjoyment. There are plenty of movies that I admit are terrible but I like a lot. But as someone who writes, reads and enjoys many things; I am very aware of issues like cliches, plot holes and I’m remarkably sensitive to poor representation, historical anachronisms and inaccuracies.

I’m very much from the camp of “nothing is original”. I’m not easily swayed by claims of “this series was the first to do”-isms. Everything has a root in something, almost everything is a rip off of something and there’s a beautiful fine line between homage and plagiarism.

Let’s take a property I like a lot as an example. Axis Powers: Hetalia is a series I like quite a bit about personified anthropomorphic countries and all of their adventures and misadventures through history and major social movements. Hetalia is not the first series a humanize and personify nations. Scandinavia and the World came way before Hetalia and even before the two of them was Afghanistan (a delightfully dark little web comic about the titular character and her friends in the Middle East). But Hetalia did something that the others didn’t, it gave the characters/countries more personality and greater quirks. France wasn’t just France, he’s Francis Bonnefoy. He’s a Cancer and he has a weird talking bird named Pierre. Prussia isn’t just Prussia, his name is Gilbert and he has a brother, Ludwig: who is Germany, and also has a weird talking bird named Gilbird (I wish I was kidding). So I can’t say Hetalia was the most original of ideas but it took the concept and suspended my disbelief far enough to give it credit for being a newer take on an old idea.

Besides, most movies are based on the same like 5 Shakespeare plays. And being someone who reads and writes a lot, I am now a pretty tough sell. I’ve wondered many times if I should take a break from from reading and writing so that I can just “enjoy” some things. But it’s difficult to enjoy a series when cliches fly around and everyone still thinks the series is the most original, splendid and glorious.

In the last post, we talked about discourse and I love that about my friends and fellow fans. We have several amazing conversations about varying theories, headcanons and facts. We also have radically different opinions at times over things and our criticisms and critiques of different properties help us have rich and insightful conversations about, well everything. Friends and I have discussed socioeconomic conditions in The Great Gatsby, light and dark imagery in Naruto and plenty of talks about comic book movies (so many comic book movies). But these conversations do more than just show what we liked and didn’t like about a series, it shows our level of passion for the work. The more heavily criticized a property, the more beloved.

One of the first instances of this probably came from my issues with movies like The Dark Knight and X-Men: First Class. I was violently against these movies and their flagrant disregard of canon and my open criticism of the movies was because I was passionate about Batman and X-Men. If you ever hear or see me get up in arms about something, it’s because I care.

At the same time, being able to cite a criticism doesn’t mean that I don’t like something. As mentioned with Hetalia, the series has plenty of problems but that doesn’t stop me from having fun with it. C’mon, guys. I’m a comic book fan. I have to deal with a lot of unnecessary things and cliches.

Here’s a good place to talk about the difference between criticism, trolling and nit-picking. Channels like CinemaSins have made an entire market essentially destroying films. Their motto of “no movie is without sin” takes the idea of criticism to a new level. Often times, their comments are made without any consideration to the canon of the series or to the storylines themselves and by merely pointing out that the mirror isn’t tilted just so in a scene does not improve the work or the movie, it just ruins the shot for everyone and makes me very very angry when I can’t enjoy movies because now all I see are their tiny flaws. Criticism should be made with valid information and with love. Using words as a weapon has never gotten anyone very far and I wish people wouldn’t do that.Criticism is meant to be constructive, not destructive and if it ever is, it’s no longer criticism: it’s bullying.

But back to unilateral support. I never did understand this (here’s a helpful video to explain why to the critical mind, unanimity sounds a little fishy). Even in the most critically-acclaimed of series, there has to be someone who disagrees and I would certainly hope that anyone who disagrees even with overwhelming support would be accepted and welcomed with open arms. Disagreeing with a popular opinion, a villain does not make. Unilateral support is actually something I noticed more in my stint marathoning reality TV shows. Many of the subplots of the shows involved a person making an unpopular choice and saying that anyone that opposed them wasn’t a friend. I bring this up because this seems to be a problem with more than just comics: discourse and criticism seems to be something all around that has been a prickly topic as criticism has become nothing more than a reason to reinforce echo chambers and drown out any dissenters.

If you aren’t with me, you’re my enemy

I’m always a little suspicious of fandoms where everyone agrees. Just in one fandom, everyone should have different opinions, even if everyone likes it. Everyone should view things differently. Everyone should have their own ideas. I suppose I blame the echo chambers I mentioned last post. But why did we get to a place of criticism being a personal attack? Well, think about fandoms. We built these communities. We found friends. We all like this one precious thing and any outside voice that corrupts it, makes it less good, hurts us personally. Go back to my earlier statement: I was critical of these movies because I loved these properties. Because I was passionate, because I cared, because I liked them I didn’t enjoy seeing them treated in such a way. And experiences with people who take criticism lightly and use their words to just destroy instead of correct has left fans especially weary of negative comments. For so long, being a nerd has not been a positive attribute and when we found the internet, we found acceptance: an acceptance that so many longed for.

But that isn’t the root of fandom; echo chambers have never been the root of what we love. Fandoms start with conversations, with loving arguments, with differences in opinion. It starts with changing IM profiles to your Lantern Corps color and to talking at odd hours about who plays the better Batman. Fandoms start with discussing subtitles or dubbing. Talking voice actors. Trying to figure out what was censorship and what was just poor translation. Our community was founded by dissenters, unpopular opinions and obscure knowledge. Our community is made strong by comments, discussion and diversity. Never forget that.

That was a lot, huh?

With all of this being said, I’d like to wrap things up with this. Nothing escapes criticism. Criticism does not negate passion and finding concerns and voicing them does not make you literally the worst person in the world. Be kind to each other and other’s opinions.

The Death of Discourse

It was impossible to get a conversation going, everybody was talking too much. Yogi Berra (1).png

It may surprise many of you, but I’m not a very young fangirl. I’ve been a fan for many years. I was one of the many old fanfiction girls of Quizilla (RIP) and one of the pillars of the old deviantArt community (RIP). But in coming from a fan community that was young and burgeoning, I’ve noticed one thing in my years: recently, discourse has died.

Now, this is a very fangirly post. Probably my most fangirly post. And there’s gonna be a lot (A LOT) of fandom and fan terms used and I will try to explain them as I use them if you don’t know what they mean. And if you have any questions, please please please feel free to ask me!

So one of the things I have always loved and treasured about being an otaku and fangirl was conversation. I loved being able to sit and talk theories, and discuss OTPs (one true pairings) and headcanons (the main canon and pairings you feel about) and even just canons (what is canonical [true] to the work). We spent hour upon hour in forums, chat rooms, email, IM chats talking about how we felt and our opinions and the latest on the last episode or the most recent fan sub.

But most importantly, we had discussions. You see, my dear readership, there’s been a plague in the recent world of fan communities: a lack of conversation.

Now, here’s where things get personal. Really personal and these are my opinions. You are welcome to disagree with me: I welcome it.

I’m from an older generation of fangirl. A bygone era of shipping manifestos (a ship as in a relationship and a shipping manifesto [please see this awesome example from one of my favorite Tumblr artists ( more of his work here)]) and rabid discussions about who was canon and who wasn’t canon. How things transpired and what was all hogwash and tomfoolery. I love shipping manifestos for a very simple reason: even if I don’t agree, I have to recognize that someone put a lot of effort into rationalizing and using facts and research to explain their case. If someone is willing to prove with facts the strength of their case, I have to respect them: even if I don’t feel the same way. And if anything, that just made me love my fandoms even more.

Here’s also a good point to tell you that as I say I came into the early Internet, I’m also a golden age fangirl in both comics and anime. This period is about from the late 90s to the mid 2000s (depending on who you talk to) so some of my favorite comic books, anime and properties are from that era including but not limited to:

Fullmetal Alchemist

InuYasha

Cowboy Bebop

Lupin III

Harry Potter

X-Men

Batman: The Animated Series

Case Closed

Death Note

Neon Genesis Evangelion

Trigun

Code Geass

Bleach

Naruto

One Piece

Sailor Moon

Justice League: The Animated Series

(I’m gonna stop listing now because this could go on for like literally ever and there’s an okay list here)

There’s actually another post written into this about the “burden of greatness” that’s been briefly discussed with me and a few friends about dealing with such AMAZING representations of popular media, but that’s a topic for another day.

Now, let’s fast-forward a bit to late 2000s. Lots of new anime are out, lots of new comic properties and lots of new social networking websites but one thing was suddenly missing: conversation. With shows Soul Eater, Sword Art Online, Attack on Titan and Keikaishi suddenly, any comment against the “greatness” of these series was seen as a direct attack.

I’ve said plenty of times that I really dislike Attack on TitanI find it shallow, poorly drawn and a discount Neon Genesis Evangelion but say that to a fan of the show and they’ll make it sound like that was the first, the first, series to ever do what it’s trying to do and commenting to the contrary was a personal attack on their character and humanity and must be squashed like so many humans under poorly animated Titan feet. But it’s not the first series to do that. Shoot, Evangelion isn’t the first show to do what it did: but I will argue that it’s one of the best in creating actual fear and paranoia around a vague yet menacing creature of questionable origin. But what I never could expect the lack of conversation around it. My criticism was met with violent reaction, unmatched hostility and a lot of negative comments. My mantra when it comes to criticism is to always have a reason. I try to sit through three episodes of just about anything and if I’m not sold by episode 3, I abandon the series and admit that it wasn’t for me. If I’m going to comment, I’m going to do so with some knowledge of what I’m talking about.

And I’ve come to notice this trend with a few things: I’m also one of the first people to say that Frozen is a tiny bit overrated (very overrated) and the backlash, oh the backlash. It didn’t matter that I had seen the film and had legitimate criticisms of it, what mattered was that my opinion didn’t match the overwhelming hegemony saying that the movie was literally the best thing ever.

I have had people stop talking to me because my opinion doesn’t match theirs about an anime or a TV show. Now, I really want you to sit and think about that. I am a lifelong otaku. I am a dedicated fangirl, cosplayer and panelist but at the end of the day there is no cartoon from the US or Japan that is stopping me from talking to real human beings about real things and the fact that actual friendships have been ended over what basically amounts to an animated cash grab is the most disappointing aspect of this whole “death of discourse” issue.

It comes down to the idea that to be friends or fans, you must unilaterally agree and that just isn’t true. I have plenty of friends that I share wildly different opinions from. It’s one of the reasons I love talking to my friends. We can have different headcanons, like different properties. Discuss the differences that we saw even in the same series. Talk about voice actors, subs vs. dubs, anime vs. manga and our conversations are so much richer for our differences. How very boring it would be to have friends that all saw things the exact same way I did and even more so, I love being able to view another person’s passion. I love being able to see my friends show me their love of the series and sometimes, just sometimes, even change my mind. And that does bring up a good point, just because I don’t like something doesn’t mean I’m not respectful as long as that same respect is afforded to me. I’m very aware that my tastes in anime and manga and lots of things can lean towards being a little obscure, a little hipster and a little rigid but again: conversation does not have to mean overwhelming support.

So what killed discourse? Echo chambers.

Online it’s very easy to find people who only mimic your voice and don’t challenge it. Tumblr is probably one of the biggest offenders of the echo chamber model but there are others, rest assured, it’s so easy to tune out any opposition and use the strength of the masses to overwhelm any dissenters. How sad is that? I’ve mentioned many times that overwhelming response can take something from ambivalence to anger. When it’s impossible to have any opinion due to the herds of fans that keep any criticism, even valid ones, out to continue to promote the greatness of the work from within.

I think it’s tragic to see conversation die. The early Internet had its problems, but we had community and conversation and if you know me, you know that I welcome conversation. I love it. So if you’d like to start one, I’d love to hear it.

In the next post, we’ll discuss being critical, a cynic and why criticism still matters.

My Top 20 Anime List

-And what's the real lesson- Don't leave things in the fridge.-Cowboy Bebop Episode 12- Toys in the Attic.png

So this is an interesting challenge.

I’ve been a remarkably vocal fangirl and a friend of mine demanded that I finally put my money where my mouth is. He asked me to put on paper my top 20 list.

Now, this list is going to be weird because it’ll be heavily influenced by what influenced me. I’ve said before that I’m a Golden Age fangirl, so you’ll see lots of Golden Age series on this list. I’ll try to give a brief explanation as to why I like each series and if I don’t, it’s nothing personal and really I don’t even think it will be numbered so much as it’s just 20 anime that mean the world to me and I think if you haven’t seen, you should. So in no particular order, here’s my Top 20.

And while you read: enjoy a little mood music:

  • Cowboy Bebop

    • This is the perfect anime. Amazing story, amazing music and fantastic characterization, if you’ve never seen it: do it now. If it’s been a while, pop it in. Bebop is full of emotional twists and turns and some of the best animation ever put to screen. This one is a classic and won my heart almost immediately and very early in my anime career. Even though I said in no particular order, there’s a reason Bebop is top on this list. You won’t find a series I praise more than this tale of a few Space Cowboys looking to make their mark on a deeply fractured, imperfect but beautiful universe and find meaning, love and what it all means to be alive, human and happy.

      As far as favorite episodes:

      • Jupiter Jazz Parts 1 and 2
      • Sympathy for the Devil
      • Toys in the Attic
  • FLCL

    • What an amazing little series. It’s easy to discount it considering how crazy the story and lines are but upon each watch, I find something new to love about it. FLCL follows a kid trying to make sense of a world that makes no sense around him and I can absolutely relate. If you can’t get behind the story, get behind the amazing music provided by The Pillows and the beautiful animation that bridges plenty of influences and styles together for a witty, heartfelt and smart series.
  • FullMetal Alchemist

    • This series holds a very special place in my heart. I fell in love with all of the characters immediately. Can you imagine how I must’ve felt as a young woman dealing with the loss of my father? And then this serious little anime with characters that felt similar loss and handled their grief maturely and with conviction? Yeah, this one means the world to me. This series is heartbreaking and has some of the few episodes in anime that can make me cry every single damn time. That’s how powerful the connection is to the characters and to the story. On top of some serious research done into alchemy, religion and science, this is a series that if you somehow managed to miss it, watch it.

      Now, this is a good time to mention that I mean the original anime. There is Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood which is closer to the manga and that one just doesn’t pack the same punch for me. I liked the manga, sure but I think the first pass of the anime was way more emotional and better done. But that’s just my opinion.

      Some favorite episodes include:

        • Fullmetal vs. Flame
        • The Flame Alchemist, the Mystery of Warehouse 13 and the Bachelor Lieutenant
        • Theory of Avarice
  • InuYasha

    • Now, I can’t say this one’s good anymore. It doesn’t always age well but if you wanna find the places where fangirl Amanda began to form? It’s with this series. The basic story shapes up like this: Kagome finds herself suddenly in Feudal Japan where she finds half-demon: InuYasha and hilarity, awkward romance and other much better side characters ensue.This series has probably some of my first serious anime crushes and at the time was beautifully voice acted, beautifully animated and had songs that are iconic now to the fan community.

      Episodes to watch include:

      • Only You, Sango
      • And basically just any episode with Sesshomaru
  • Naruto
    • I know, right? Another big shonen series? I didn’t say this list would be super original. This anime hit me at a time where I was finally finding myself and this show was full of great music, great characters and a wide variety of storylines if you can survive some of the filler nonsense.  What I loved in Naruto was a fantastic mix of characters that all had similar backgrounds. Many faced the similar fates of loss of families but everyone dealt with it differently. For someone like me who lost her parents at an early age, it was amazing to see what I could have become, what I was dangerously close to being and who I could aspire to be. Episodes to watch:
      • Assassin of the Moonlight Night
      • Kakashi: Sharingan Warrior
      • The Demon in the Snow
  • Big O

    • Remember how I said I don’t do mech? I don’t. But any time a series can be more than just overcompensating with giant robots, I’m sold. Big O centers around a main character, Roger Smith (who looks a lot like another eccentric, all-black wearing, playboy and detective). Set in a city without memories, Roger must complete his daily tasks as a negotiator and find out the many mysteries of Paradigm City and the sinister forces that keep the city clad in darkness. 
  • Code Geass
    • I don’t do mecha. I don’t do giant robots. Giant robots confuse me. Code Geass is so much more than just a mech series and it’s beautiful. The psychology, the tone and the drama all make this one hell of a great series. Code Geass focuses on a young revolutionary named Lelouch and his desire to free a captive Japan and restore the world to its proper state: ordered chaos. I can’t say this one always ages well and Lelouch is maybe up there in the top of the list of damn near insufferable main characters but this series transcended being a mecha and was a splendid chess match until the very end.
  • Bleach

    • This one’s strange. I didn’t actually like this series when I first saw it but upon further inspection and after hours, literally hours, of research I fell in love. The symbolism, the thought, the care put into this work is wonderful and if you’re like me and you love long shonen series, this one’s tops for a reason. Follow the daily adventures of a soul reaper in training, Ichigo Kurosaki, and his equally powerful (and some not so powerLookin’ at you, Renji +_+) friends as they battle Hollows, monsters and even other soul reapers. This series has some of my top favorite characters of all time (GASP! another possible list?) and despite the immense amount of tropes and cliches, I’m able to suspend my disbelief for fantastic music, fantastic action and beautiful character development.
  • Lupin III

    • This series is dated as hell now. But if you can handle this vintage humor and “unique” art style, you are in for a treat. Ever meet a character in an anime that’s smooth, cool and a ladykiller? He’s probably based off of Lupin. This series is based off of the titular character, Lupin, and his gang of thieves. They pull off some of the best heists seen in anime with a great deal of thought, humor and planning. We’re talking James Bond-esque gadgets mixed with Pink Panther levels of camp and absurd happenings. It’s perfect. It doesn’t always age well if you catch the original 1970s-1980s anime. But the reboot is grittier, prettier and is well-voice acted (as well as WAY more violent). I’m personally a sucker for the vintage model, much like Lupin would be himself, and it’s almost a must for any anime fan. You gotta know your history.
  • Trigun
    • One of the first series to really sorta break my heart with characters. Centered around Vash the Stampede and those who are fortunately unfortunate enough to be swept up by him, this series is more than just a gunslinger anime. There’s serious science, serious character development and one of the most interesting plots to come out of the earlier days of anime. It’s an oldie now, but worth a watch if you’ve never seen it.
  • Cyborg 009
    • Another mecha? I’m starting to sound like a hypocrite. But again, this was so much more than just cyborgs fighting. Notice how the number says 009? There’s 8 other fantastically interesting characters who all have amazing stories behind them.  Beautiful animation, great music and characters that you feel for as soon as you learn more. There’s not a single beat this anime misses.
  • Gravitation
    • Again, I don’t think this series is great. It does not age well. But heaven help me, this series did shape me as a fangirl and as a person. A huge amount of amazing characters, for the time amazing animation and a soundtrack: my gosh, the soundtrack. This one’s a boy’s love, so if you want to give it a spin, just be warned. This was one of the first times that I think I really connected to a bunch of characters in a series (which for a high schooler is probably a little worrisome since I found this series in my teens). I gotta say, the anime’s nice but watered down. For the real story, you have to read the manga. 
  • Antique Bakery
    • Another boy’s love but a wonderfully animated show with amazing voice acting and delicious looking cakes. I’ve cosplayed this series more than once and I fall in love with it every single time and If you love cake, slight drama and hopeless romance with some darker themes: this series is for you.
  • Axis Powers: Hetalia
    • What a funny and bizarre little series. It’s hilarious if you can get past some of the bright colors and fast talking but it’s worth it if you want to see the adventures or misadventures of a bunch of personified countries discuss their love lives, their history and the current state of the world.
  • Death Note
    • This show is dark, heavy and full of psychological twists and turns and I was alone for every moment of the ride. This anime was one of the last of the Golden Era series and what a way to close out an era. In a fantastic battle of wits, discover questions about ethics, morals and what it really means to be a god with genius, Light Yagami and the even more genius detective, L. I fell for the characters, the serious ethical inquiries and wonderful animation. 
  • Samurai Champloo

    • Talk about another perfect damn series. Just everything about this show is a plus and the flow and the story just takes it to the next level. Following Fuu, one of the few female characters I can stand in anime, and her unruly unwitting bodyguards Mugen and Jin through a beautifully creative Edo Japan. Combined with some splendid voice acting this series is inventive, new and has some of the best music in anime. I can’t recommend this hit enough. Episodes to watch:
      • Disorder Diaries
      • Cosmic Collisions
  • YuYu Hakusho
    • This anime sold me on the entire genre. Fast-pace, great character and animation that’s not to terrible made this a popular first for many up and coming otakus. Centered around a rather crass lead in Yusuke and his adventures as a Spirit Detective, solving all sorts of demon and ghost-related crimes, the plot’s pretty basic but I can never fault the series that sold me on this whole weird type of media. 
  • Dragonball and Dragonball Z
    • When I was a little girl, I had a religious experience with this show. I was 6 and with my aunts at a local college. Upon the biggest screens possible in that day, I saw this show. A kid with a monkey tail punched a dinosaur out of the sky and cooked and ate it. I was sold. I needed to know more and because of this amazing shonen anime, I gave my life to the genre and it began a now 20 year adventure in otaku life.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion
    • What a beautiful series. What a beautiful, sad, dark series. If you haven’t seen this classic anime, give it a chance right now. It’s another almost mech but there’s so much more going on than just giant robots. I won’t reveal much because, seriously, if you haven’t seen this: just damn watch it. This one aged well but I wouldn’t recommend marathoning this one. Give it time. It’s heavy and you will feel things.
  • Pokemon
    • How many kids get to claim this as their first? Really, this one was a huge leaping point for me as a kid. I loved everything about the series, the game and the fandom as a child. Out of all the things in my life that has changed, Pokemon has been a beautiful constant.

Now, these aren’t the best anime in the world. These aren’t even all the anime that I like but these are the ones that if you had to sit down and put together the fangirl soul of Amanda, you’d find foundational pieces from all of these series. Now, these are opinions and aren’t meant to cause a flame war. But share any of your hits below. I may do another list because this is by no means all of the series I’ve watched and by no means all of the series I like to talk about.

Till next time.