Unsolicited Anime Opinions (Part 1: The Classics)

Shangwen Cheng, Staff Reporter

Descriptions and summaries are copy-pasted directly from Crunchyroll. THIS IS A JOKE. Reviews are entirely the author’s opinion, not to be taken seriously, and they do not reflect on the source material or the newspaper as a whole.

Anime The Classics: Naruto and Naruto Shippuden, My Hero Academia, Dragon Ball Z, Sailor Moon, Death Note, and One Piece.An array of the animes covered in this article. Made by Shangwen Chang.

Naruto and Naruto Shippuden: 720 episodes

The Village Hidden in the Leaves is home to the stealthiest ninja. But twelve years earlier, a fearsome Nine-tailed Fox terrorized the village before it was subdued and its spirit sealed within the body of a baby boy. 

Naruto Uzumaki wants to be the best ninja in the land. He’s done well so far, but with the looming danger posed by the mysterious Akatsuki organization, Naruto knows he must train harder than ever and leaves his village for intense exercises that will push him to his limits.

A pretty good anime, all things considered! Definitely a classic, and the anime that non-anime people tend to think of. The plot was good up until halfway through Shippuden (the second part of the anime), and the overall message was nice. I wish there was less sexism and a few actually competent female characters (Temari my beloved), that weren’t over-sexualized, but there’s only so much you can hope for.

I would recommend this for people who are:

  1. Bored (very, very bored).
  2. Trying to get into anime (why would you ever??).
  3. Antisocial (go touch grass).
  4. Just want to know what everyone else is talking about.

I would not recommend this for people who are:

  1. Busy (congrats, you have a life)!
  2. Already too far into the anime blackhole.
  3. Very social (congrats, you have a life)!
  4. Don’t care (hard to get through 700+ episodes without motivation).

My Hero Academia (Boku no Hero Academia): 138+ episodes

Izuku has dreamt of being a hero all his life—a lofty goal for anyone, but especially challenging for a kid with no superpowers. That’s right, in a world where eighty percent of the population has some kind of super-powered “quirk,” Izuku was unlucky enough to be born completely normal. But that’s not enough to stop him from enrolling in one of the world’s most prestigious hero academies.

I will confess, I have never watched this anime. Internet content is plenty for me. But honestly, it’s pretty good. The premise is unique, taking a typical “superhero” world and dialing it up to the max, there are tons of characters to project on, and there’s a nice message to it, about family and freedom and determination, any number of cliche but cute sentiments. However, it seems to be falling into the trap of extending so far that the anime loses any semblance of good storytelling to fan service and money-making.

I would recommend this for people who: 

  1. Are bored (also a really long one).
  2. Like Marvel/DC/etc. (can’t relate, but you do you).
  3. Like Dramatic Friendship Battles (you know the kind).
  4. Like complicated storylines, everything-is-connected-but-you-don’t-know-how plot.

I would not recommend this for people who:

  1. Are short on time (another long one, and still going).
  2. Hate cliches (sir, this is a superhero anime, what did you expect)?
  3. Hate it when villains are sympathetic (semi-popular opinion but I would die for Toga Himiko).
  4. Like having free space in their brain (this anime will take up about as much space as GarageBand on an APS laptop).

Dragon Ball Z: 291 episodes

Goku—the strongest fighter on the planet—is all that stands between humanity and villains from the darkest corners of space. Joined in battle by the Z-Fighters, Goku travels to distant realms in search of the magic powers of the seven Dragon Balls!

I’m about to upset a lot of people, but I’ve never seen this one and have no real intention to. The art style bothers me a little bit (not that it’s bad, it’s just not the kind I like watching in animation), and I’m not super fond of the premise. It’s the kind of generic hero story that I’ve seen a dozen times before, and there’s nothing to indicate anything particularly compelling or complicated about his character’s journey. Most people have excellent things to say about it though, and it’s something you’d want to keep on your list if you want to get the original anime experience.

I would recommend this for people who :

  1. Are not picky about art styles.
  2. Like old-fashioned, hero-saves-the-day superpowers.
  3. Have a Spring Break with nothing to do (if you do nothing but watch and sleep, you can finish it in a week).
  4. Have friends into anime (likely they will peer pressure you).

I would not recommend this for people who :

  1. Are picky about art style (cough, me).
  2. Don’t like old anime.
  3. Don’t like action scenes. 

Sailor Moon: 200 episodes

*Description is taken from Sailor Moon Crystal, as the original is not available*

Based on Naoko Takeuchi’s legendary manga series, Sailor Moon Crystal retells the story of Sailor Moon as she searches for her fellow Sailor Guardians and the Legendary Silver Crystal to stop the dark forces of Queen Beryl.

A very cute anime, sort of what I consider the original shoujo (anime targeted toward girls). It was on my watch list, but it’s hard to find any non-sketchy sources for free. It’s also fairly lengthy and has an old art style (which I like, but it’s hard to get used to after watching the newer ones). Overall a good anime, a little cliche but fun and happy. Also, incredibly iconic, and if you’ve never heard of it I wonder what you’re doing in your spare time.

I would recommend this for:

  1. Middle school girls
  2. Anyone who likes the classic hero’s journey (I hope you’re proud of me Mr. Hines, I’m applying English class)
  3. Someone with a lot of time on their hands, but still wants to do other stuff (about 200 episodes)
  4. If you’re a fan of the cutesy, classic-anime-girl aesthetic

I would not recommend this for:

  1. People who can’t stand cliche
  2. Cynical people (this one is just about the furthest from pessimism as you can get)
  3. The people who only watch mainstream “trendy” stuff
  4. People who are scared of being called a weeb, otaku, etc., etc.

Death Note: 37 episodes

*description is taken from Funimation, as the show is not available on Crunchyroll*

Light Yagami is an ace student with great prospects and he’s bored out of his mind. But all that changes when he finds the Death Note, a notebook dropped by a rogue Shinigami death god.

A fascinating concept, although also another that I’ve never seen (it’s been sitting in the back of my mind, collecting dust). The art style is not one I’m super fond of, but it isn’t a deal-breaker for me, and from what I’ve heard, the characters are interesting. I would give this a solid Pretty Good, although it seems like the genre that I could get invested in If I started watching.

I would recommend this for:

  1. People are still in the “edgy teenager” phase.
  2. If you like to debate morality in an anime (something I am guilty of, even though it’s admittedly kind of pointless).
  3. Someone who wants to fit in with your anime nerd friends.
  4. People who don’t have much time (less than 40 episodes).

I would not recommend this for:

  1. People who hate the “edgy teenager” phase and the aesthetic that goes with it.
  2. People who are not fond of complicated plots and moral debates.
  3. People who are sensitive to horror genres (gets pretty dark from what I heard).
  4. People who can’t deal with the constant death jokes that fans will make.

One Piece: 1060+ episodes

Monkey. D. Luffy refuses to let anyone or anything stand in the way of his quest to become the king of all pirates. With a course chartered for the treacherous waters of the Grand Line and beyond, this is one captain who’ll never give up until he’s claimed the greatest treasure on Earth: the Legendary One Piece!

This is one of the few anime I would not recommend, from the plot to the characters to even the character design. I watched several hundred episodes and quite frankly got bored by the plot, which quickly became repetitive, monotone, and unoriginal. I also dislike the way they portray female characters, as over-sexualized, helpless stereotypes, and some transphobic parts bothered me. I can see the draw to it, with colorful characters and even more colorful adventures, but in general, I dislike it.

I would recommend this for:

  1. Viewers that don’t mind sexist narratives (if you ever speak to me I’ll probably commit a crime).
  2. Someone who likes something not too deep, just for enjoyment.
  3. Someone who is bored (over a thousand episodes).
  4. If you’re the kind of person who loves to watch things just to hate and analyze them. 

I would not recommend this for:

  1. Young children; some moments aren’t overtly sexual but have some context that I think you should be careful with.
  2. People who have even the slightest issue with misogynist content.
  3. People who have no time (again, super long one).
  4. Someone who likes deeper thinking (this anime more often than not requires suspension of disbelief).