Steins;Gate is set in the summer of 2010, approximately one year after the events that took place in Chaos;Head, in Akihabara. Rintarō Okabe attends a conference on time machines when he discovers the bloody remains of Kurisu Makise, a renowned researcher whom he met earlier.
Following this incident, Rintarō experiences various unusual events, leading up to his urge to test a machine he created to — apparently — travel back in time.
I will say this first, this is the best time travel story I’ve ever seen.
Despite all of the alternate timelines and sci-fi pronouns Steins;Gate keeps its story relatively easy to follow and stays true to its world’s rules without making any plotholes.
That alone is impressive but it wouldn’t matter so much if you didn’t care about these characters. Though I do like the second half more than the first, the slower first half needed to be there in order to get you attached to all these people so that the dramatic second half would have the necessary weight and emotional impact.
Okabe makes for an entertaining protagonist who can have you on the floor laughing one second and in tears due to his suffering the next. Like many others on this list Steins;Gate covers a wide range of tones.
This series offers a number of iconic moments I will not soon forget.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood adapts all 27 volumes of the manga, unlike the first television series. Brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric are raised by their mother Trisha Elric in the remote village of Resembool in the country of Amestris. Their father Hohenheim, a noted and very gifted alchemist, abandoned his family while the boys were still young, and while in Trisha's care they began to show an affinity for alchemy.
However, when Trisha died of a lingering illness, they were cared for by their best friend Winry Rockbell and her grandmother Pinako. The boys traveled the world to advance their alchemic training under Izumi Curtis. Upon returning home, the two decide to try to bring their mother back to life with alchemy. However, human transmutation is a taboo, as it is impossible to do so properly.
In the failed transmutation that results, Al's body is completely obliterated and Ed loses his left leg. In a last ditch attempt to keep his brother alive, Ed sacrifices his right arm to bring Al's soul back and houses it in a nearby suit of armor. After Edward receives automail prosthetics from Winry and Pinako, the brothers decide to burn their childhood home down (symbolizing their determination and decision of "no turning back") and head to the capital city to become government sanctioned State Alchemists. After passing the exam, Edward is dubbed the "Fullmetal Alchemist" by the State Military, and the brothers begin their quest to discover the nature of the fabled Philosopher's Stone, under the direction of Colonel Roy Mustang.
Along the way, they discover a deep government conspiracy to hide the true nature of the Philosopher's Stone that involves the homunculi, the alchemists of the neighboring nation of Xing, the scarred man from the war-torn nation of Ishval, and their own father's past.
The first couple of episodes of the Brootherhood series are what got me into anime in the first place though I didn’t finish the whole show until years later. What I did instead was begin reading the manga before subsequently discovering Brotherhood, which showed me how good shonen adaptations could be.
They don’t have to be drawn out and full of filler, you can take the Brotherhood route and adapt the full manga with gorgeous animation and solid pacing that communicates the scale of the story without being needlessly lengthy.
Brotherhood has a bit of everything, good action, characters, romance, mystery, voice acting, adventure, darkness, inspiration, comedy, music, and epic moments galore.
Gurren Lagann takes place in a future where Earth is ruled by the Spiral King, Lordgenome, who forces mankind to live in isolated subterranean villages. These villages have no contact with the surface world or other villages and are under constant threat of earthquakes.
Selected villagers called diggers are conscripted to expand their homes deeper underground. Simon, a meek young digger ostracized by his peers, finds solace in his best friend and older brother figure, an eccentric delinquent named Kamina. Kamina encourages Simon to join his gang, Team Gurren, to help him achieve his dream of visiting the surface world. One day, Simon unearths a drill-shaped key called a Core Drill, followed by a small mecha resembling a face called a Gunmen.
Shortly thereafter, a huge Gunmen crashes through the ceiling and begins attacking the village, followed by a girl named Yoko, who attempts to repel the Gunmen. Simon uses his Core Drill to activate the smaller Gunmen (which Kamina names Lagann), and it is used to destroy the larger Gunmen and break through to the surface world.
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The most inspirational piece of media I’ve ever encountered.
I remember watching the two recap movies back to back with friends and the palpable excitement and energy in the room after it was over. The show rises to such ridiculous heights yet it stays focused on that core theme “believe in the you that believes in yourself.” Simon is utterly confident that humanity can constantly evolve little by little and surpass any obstacle in their path.
The hype is off the charts, the action is amazing, the characters are likeable, and the show has a strong thematic core.
Add that all up and it is hard to beat.