I take a lot of joy from the fact that I love anime. It's okay, you can call me a weeb, or a otaku or even a fake geek girl or whatever, I really don't care. I really love the stories that manga and anime tell. For a number of years now, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood has retained its number one spot in my top ten list.
I actually have two lists of favourite animes.
There is a list of animes that I regularly go back and watch for enjoyment and fun because they're like a refreshing break, or a doughnut, these are usually in Isekai or Romance genres and if you ask me in conversation: "What's your favourite anime?" I'll most likely reply with "Snow White with the Red Hair." As that anime sits on the top of that list. And most of the time, I don't like freaking people out by going into a long form, in depth discussion about how awesome the worldbuilding and storytelling in some of my favourite animes are.
The list I want to talk about today, in which Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood had the top spot is the list that consists of more intense storytelling.
To get an idea of what I have on this list, here are a few:
Seirei no moribito (Moribito - Guardian of the Spirit)
One of the greatest female characters to ever grace both book and screen. If you desire to know how to write, or create a well written heroine who is a warrior, but still keeps her femininity, I highly recommend Seirei No Moribito.
I spent days lost in a blur of thoughts after I finished Psycho-Pass. That's usually how I know I've watched a great story. There was something so downright unsettling about the dystopian nightmare that was shown to me, and the reflection it was throwing back at me took awhile to process.
So - those are two animes that sat on this list along with Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Reason why Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood had top spot is due to the incredible characters and worldbuilding told over a longform series. What always dragged it down a little was the catharsis - it felt...well...it felt like the resolution to a typical Shōnen anime and not what was a well crafted, almost poetic set of strings pulling numerous characters all together across several nations and across history/time. I mean, technically Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood IS a Shōnen anime...but...I guess I was seeing it more as an epic saga. Anyway, despite my criticism for just one little thing, the rest of it I loved. It ripped out my heart, made me cry, made me laugh, I got to experience so much through the story and, most of all, I got to think a lot about it and I love thinking about stories.
Here is my news. Over the weekend I watched an anime that knocked Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood off top spot. Often after I see something that I deeply enjoy I will think to myself: This is why I love being alive, because I get to experience incredible stories like this.
I think this when I get to play an amazing game, or watch a good show, or climb a mountain. It's all worth it, all the pain is worth it, because of stories. Some people may think that's quite hyperbolic - but - truly to me, stories have kept me going.
So, what did I watch? I watched the remake of "Legend of the Galactic Heroes"
(Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu) - I say I watched the remake because the original version of this anime, in which there is apparently about 110 episode or something, began in 1988 and ended in 1997. Legend of the Galactic Heroes is an adaption of a ten book series space opera written by Yoshiki Tanaka and I LOVED IT.
I LOVED IT. Oh. It was better than Star Wars, and Star Trek.
It was so, so, so good.
Now. Frankly. It's not going to be everyone's cup of tea, at all, and it actually not rated very high on any of the anime streaming sites (not that I ever trust critics/reviewers).
What is it about?
Hm. Well. A very quick summary would be that it is a story focusing on two opposing protagonists. Reinhard von Lohengramm of the Galactic Empire and Yang Wen-li of the Free Planets Alliance. Due to the nature of how the story is told, we get to see that after a hundred and fifty years of war between these two space powers, that neither side is truly good or bad. Indeed, they may just be mirrors of each other in terrible ways they never expected to be. Yang Wen-li - being more of a historian who only wants to drink his tea and not fight - says: "There are few wars between good and evil; most are between one good and another good."
I loved the flipping back and forth between the two space powers, never settling on either storyline for two long, seeing how despite how different they were, they were not all that different at all. The remake doesn't cover all ten books - I believe it only covers up the end of Book 2, only pulling a few events from later books in as major plot points. It's a big series. It has a LOT of characters.
As I said, while this is my sort of story, I really highly doubt most people would enjoy it as much as I did. Longform stories, with deep, philosophical, political, religious themes tend to be what hook me.
I loved this story. I loved where it took me, I loved the characters, I loved that I've been able to think about it - and will be able to keep thinking about it - and how happy I feel.
Now I have to hunt down the original 1988 version and watch ALL of them.
Anyway, I'll leave you all with the adorable, wonderful historian, Admiral Yang Wen-li doing what he loves best - drinking tea.