Mr. Michael Toole, usually famed for his website Anime Jump! and his posts in the rec.arts.anime and rec.games.video hierachy, is also the creator of this lesser known but excellent study in introspection: -Anibot-note.
It all started innocently enough. I must have been five years old, and my mother decided to let my brother and I stay home from school and take a day off, just for the heck of it. Naturally, being little kids, we got up early to watch all the cartoons anyway. After the usual intermitable Popeye reruns, we got to the stuff we were interested in-- the cartoons that ran after we left for school, the stuff we never got to watch. And at 9:30, I saw anime for the first time, sitting transfixed as Hoyt Curtin's cheesy disco-orchestral music chimed in, and the announcer intoned, "Battle-attle-atttle... of-of the-the Planets-lanets-lanets!!" As if this weren't enough, the local station started airing both Star Blazers and Captain Harlock next fall, and that was it. Every day became a race to get home in time to watch Star Blazers. At the time, my brother was the bigger fan, but neither of us ever missed an episode. We must have watched the two seasons (we never got the Bolar Wars story arc) a dozen times.
Things progressed. I watched and enjoyed Robotech, but largely forgot about anime after that.
Until 1994, that is. I was attending the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, bored out of my mind for lack of goofy social activities, and one of the usual suspects at the sci-fi library clued me in the UMJAMS weekly meetings. I decided to go to one. At the meeting, they were showing a couple of things-- something called Here is Greenwood, and another show called Ranma 1/2. I sat down and watched Greenwood, and while I found it pretty funny, I was distracted and annoyed by the awful video quality and jittery subtitles. I loitered out in the hall and waited for Ranma 1/2 to begin, and found myself drawn in immediately. After a brief but typical period of embracing All Things Ranma, I expanded my horizons.
Today, they're still expanding. I started out as a fan, but that soon changed-- I fell in love with critical writing and journalism after contributing to a local free music 'zine called the Pit Report, so it was logical for me to apply this to anime. So, for the past couple of years, I've been a fairly frequent contributor to Animerica. After awhile, though, it became obvious to me that Animerica just wasn't enough. So I started my own site, , and it's been one hell of a lot of work and one hell of a rewarding experience since then. I have secret, evil plans to expand my anime-related activities even MORE, but you'll just have to wait to find out about that.
Okay, enough contemplating my navel. When Nikkou asked me if I wanted to do guest picks, I immediately knew that I specifically did not want to focus on the latest and greatest-- I'm sorry, but there's no shortage of excellent Ruroni Kenshin or Escaflowne sites out there. With that in mind, I decided to only review sites about series that were older than I am, i.e. created before 1976. That said, here's a cool half-dozen of my favorites.
The first ever Japanese animated series, Osamu Tezuka's Mighty Atom still retains all of its original charm today-- the series is action-packed and filled with an odd cast of memorable characters. It's the perfect thing, when you're a child.
Strangely, all the Astroboy sites I've found are based in Australia. This is probably due in part to the fact that Australia also got the fairly lukewarm color Astroboy remake from 1980. Anyway, this site's the best of the bunch, with a wide selection of information, pictures, sounds-- you name it. .
While the butchered "Captain Harlock and the Queen of a Thousand Years" series I watched on television as a child never made much sense, Harlock's odd, elusive charm got to me quite easily. I wanted to be just like Harlock-- not to be a space pirate and sail the sea of stars, mind you, but to scar my face and wear my hair like his.
Leiji Matsumoto's weird take on Wagner's Ring Cycle starring the infamous space pirate must be seen to be believed. Make sure you read it all!
As famous in Asia as Mickey Mouse is in America, Doraemon is a robotic cat from the future sent back in time to help young Nobita, a good-natured but foolish 4th grader-- you see, if Nobita isn't given some sort of guidance (his parents are irresponsible), his life will fall apart when he becomes an adult. Always hilarious and always with good lessons to teach, Doraemon is fun for all ages.
Anyone who met me at Otakon should know that I'm a fan of the cat-type robot. This Doraemon page may not be the only one anymore, but it does have character information and some nifty images.
Okay, what's going on here? There are NO 8-Man sites listed, except for an 8-Man After page, and that's not enough. 8-Man was a marvelously fun manga and anime in the late 1960s, and is worthy of more attention that it seems to have recieved.
I've only a passing familiarity with Locke, having flipped through a few volumes of the dazzlingly far-reaching manga and having checked out the interesting but very slow-moving "Millenium Witch" OVA. Locke is a classic, sprawling, wonderful sci-fi epic, and Rei's page illustrates this with story summaries and some great artwork.
While Mitsuteru Yokoyama invented giant robots, it took Go Nagai to make them great. Mazinger Z was his first foray into the genre, introducing the idea of the giant robot pilot. I saw this first as the watered-down Tranzor Z, but soon grew to love the original version, with its titanic struggles between Nagai's heroic, hot-headed hero Koji and the weird, somehow unsettling villains Dr. Hell and Baron Ashura. There's a nice selection of Mazinger Z sites on the web, but the Guyver's site is my favorite, in large part because there's also a wealth of information about other giant robot shows available there. The Guyver's Mazinger Z Page
Rose of Versailles
I actually got to see the first volume of this Riyoko Ikeda classic before Marmalade Boy or Fushigi Yuugi were in heavy circulation, so this series really defined shoujo anime for me. Fred Schodt translated some volumes of the manga years ago, which are sadly out of print. Due to the heavy fansubbing of this series, as well as the show's long-standing popularity in Europe, there are plenty of nice Rose of Versailles pages.
My favorite is -- it has the most information about Rose of Versailles in one location.
One trend I noticed while searching for these picks was an unfortunate one. You see, I had serious trouble finding anything decent about a lot of series I thought I'd find out about quite easily-- classics like Tetsujin 28 (Gigantor), Cyborg 009, Ashita no Joe, and Ribon no Kishin (Princess Knight). I think that's kind of unfortunate, and I encourage aspiring anime webmasters to consider devoting some space to these classics instead of yet another Sailor Moon or Ranma 1/2 page. Embrace the old school as well as the new!
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Last Update: 1/18/99