“Anime sucks!” Or so I’ve heard over the years. True a lot of anime is crap and frankly embarrassing, but there is a small subset of anime that I think is every bit as good as anything in live-action. Better in most cases. I’ve recommended some of the anime below to my friend, the anime hater, and he rather liked them.

Cowboy Bebop. This was the first anime I pointed him to. It’s probably one of the more successful crossover hits in anime. It’s got a cool style and a subtle story telling that’s reminiscent of Clint Eastwood’s westerns or film noir. And the characters were pretty entertaining and atypical for anime. It’s also blade runnerish at times. Humanity has colonized the solar system, Earth is abandoned and the only law you can count on are the bounty hunters, cowboys, that search the solar system for the next bounty. Cowboy Bebop follows the stories of four bounty hunters, Spike, Fay, Jet and Ed, as their paths temporarily cross.

Quite a well written series with sense of character that puts most live-action TV to shame.

Ghost in the Shell: Stand-Alone Complex. Don’t talk to me about The Matrix or whatever crap wanna-be you got. This is the definitive cyberpunk TV series — ever! Motoko, The Major, leads a para-military squad that doesn’t just react to crime — they hunt it down and eliminate it before it. Public Security Section 9 is the domestic counter-terrorist/counter-intelligence unit that protects the new Japan in the far future from terrorists and cyber criminals. The show has a solid sense of world and plot that often makes me re-watch scenes just to follow the story. And Section 9 has memorable, likable characters.

Tokyo Godfathers. Film critics were pretty positive about this film from Satoshi Kon (and it’s probably his most mainstream film ever). It’s a crazy Three Wisemen story with three homeless people and an abandoned baby and their quest to return it to its rightful parents on Christmas Eve. The three protagonists steal you heart as you find out about their troubled lives and how they don’t want this new life to follow in their awful footsteps.

Millenium Actress. Satoshi Kon’s movie prior to Tokyo Godfather. Two journalists come to interview an aging famous screen actress and to find out about the mysterious love of her life that she’s been looking for since World War II. The movie is a surreal trip between reality and film reality where the actress lives out her quest in the roles and scenes she played in. Visually quite an interesting movie.

I’ll have more later…