A little while, I made a post talking about what the “Great Works” of Anime were, and I spoke about how a great work is not the best one, or the most famous, but the one that leaves behind an everlasting legacy that affects everything that comes after it. It doesn’t matter if you like the show or not, what matters is that show’s legacy and influence and it’s affect on fans of all stripes.
This week I’ll be doing my lead up to the 3-month blogging project in which I examine whether or not a certain series could be considered a great work of its genre, and also just seeing how it holds up after awhile.
For now though, I want to run off a list of the anime and manga that I think are the art-form’s great works. I don’t have one for each genre, so this is more of a personal list, of what I think are the most likely to be, or will be Great Works. Check em out after the cut.
The Great Works of Anime
Shonen Genre: Dragon Ball
Why: Love it or hate it, grown up with it or not. Whether you were an O.G manga reader, or just got in through the recent anime of Super. Dragon Ball’s legacy has touched every single piece of anime or manga well beyond just the simple shonen it came from. No matter the series, there is always a little hint of Dragon Ball’s touch on it. Regardless of the quality of the later arcs and Super itself. Regardless of whether or not if you think One Piece has surpassed it. Dragon Ball is the great work of the shonen genre.
Shoujo/Magical Girl: Cardcaptor Sakura
Why: Cardcaptor Sakura paved the ground and opened the world to the magical girl genre. Yes there were series that came before, but it was Cardcaptor Sakura that solidified many of the tropes and images we associate with magical girls. In many ways it is the magical girl genre in it’s purest form, and series that have come after it have either embraced the world it built, or ran away from it. Regardless there is a little of Cardcaptor Sakura in several anime, and it’s presence is felt in many magical girl and shoujo series to this day.
Mecha/Real Robot: Mobile Suit Gundam 0079
Why: Mobile Suit Gundam 0079 did to robot anime what Star Wars did to science fiction. Every single anime that uses mecha robots even in the slightest owes something to Mobile Suit Gundam. It brought the realities of war to anime and has created a multi-million dollar franchise, as well as a entire genre. It in many ways is the definition of a great work.
Mecha: Neon Genesis Evangelion
Why: Neon Genesis Evaneglion is the thinking man’s anime. Whether it is a brilliant piece of work that provokes the human mind, or a show so far up it’s creator’s depressed ass it can’t see anything is irrelevant. Evangelion’s impact on anime goes to the very core of art-form. While it’s day to day influence is not as wide felt as Gundam, this is a show that people point to when they want to show that anime can be about something, regardless if that something is coherent or not.
Hentai: Bible Black
Why: What, you didn’t think Hentai was exempt from having a great work did you? I’m afraid not. Whether you’ve watched the entire series or however long you needed to do get your rocks off, Bible Black has been called the “Dragon Ball” of Hentai and for good reason. This isn’t a genre that is talked about, but if you dabble around long enough, you can see the effect something like this has had. Nuff, said.
Visual Novel: Fate Stay Night
Why: Fate Stay Night is not the first major visual novel, but it could very well be the first major hit the genre ever had, and with good reason. There is so much to Fate Stay Night and much of it has seeped through to other visual novels, regardless of how big or small. It’s a series whose popularity has not prevented it from telling stories that tug at heartstrings or infuriate viewers. A mixed reception to some, a masterpiece to others, but the great work of Visual Novels nonetheless.
Potential Great Works
These genres and anime may not be considered “Great Works” yet, but they are the closest of their kind to reach that level. Only time can tell if they become it. I don’t have the answer, but maybe you do!
Isekai: Sword Art Online
Isekai: ReZero: Starting Life in Another World
Dark Fantasy: Berserk
Science Fiction: Ghost in the Shell
Shoujo: Fruits Basket
Adventure: Full Metal Alchemist