For a long time I’ve wanted to make a post about how great J.C. Staff is, since they get so much shit from the Western anime community in general (though they also get plenty of due respect). Now’s a good time to help raise awareness because a bunch of dumbasses are making top 10 lists of J.C. Staff anime—so I’m jumping into the fray.
It began with a random-ass survey on some Japanese website whose top 10 was then transplanted to Sankaku Complex. Top 50 is long, but since it’s a good way to look at a lot of shows at once, it’s a good way to start this post. Please note that the order of this list is absolutely fucking ridiculous (as in, I can’t fathom how the results came out this way).
Biglobe Survey Top 50 J.C.Staff Shows
1. Tantei Opera Milky Holmes
2. Taishou Yakyuu Musume
4. To Aru Kagaku no Railgun
5. Aoi Hana
6. To Aru Majutsu no Index
7. Otome Youkai Zakuro (which google translate called “virgin pomegranate monster” ROFLMAO)
8. Hidan no Aria (*cough*recencybias*cough*)
9. Yumekui Merry (*cough*)
10. Shakugan no Shana
11. R.O.D. the TV
12. Kaichou wa Maid-sama!
13. Zero no Tsukaima
14. Azumanga Daioh
15. Ookami-san to Shichinin Nakama-tachi
16. Mahoraba ~Heartful Days~
17. Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto
19. Daphne in the Brilliant Blue
20. Ai Yori Aoshi
21. Hayate no Gotoku!
22. Potemayo (which google translate called “I will to baggage”)
23. Best Student Council
24. A Little Snow Fairy Sugar
25. Honey and Clover
26. Honey and Clover II
27. Sky Girls
29. Nodame Cantabile
30. Daa! Daa! Daa!
31. Revolutionary Girl Utena
32. Asatte no Houkou
33. Nabari no Ou
34. Kimikiss ~Pure Rouge~
36. Nanaka 6/17
37. Hatsukoi Limited
38. Yomigaeru Sora -Rescue Wings-
39. Shingetsuten Tsukihime
40. Gunparade March
41. Ghost Hunt
43. Uragiri wa Boku no Namae wo Shitteiru
45. Melody of Oblivion
47. Winter Garden (Never even heard of this, apparently related to Di Gi Charat)
48. Slam Dunk
49. Starship Operators
50. Oku-sama wa Mahou Shoujo
Aside from some really WTF inclusions and the fact that it may as well have been in alphabetical order, this list is a good way of looking at a ton of decent-to-excellent J.C. Staff shows at once. I’m fairly confident that either one of your favorite shows is in this list, or one of the shows you haven’t seen in this list could end up being one of your favorites.
Following up on this insane list, some batcase did her own top 10, which looked like this.
Klux’s Top 10
1. Honey and Clover
2. Hatsukoi Limited
3. Nodame Cantabile
4. Otome Youkai Zakuro
5. Shakugan no Shana
6. To Aru Majutsu no Index
8. To Aru Kagaku no Railgun
9. Revolutionary Girl Utena
10. Azumanga Daioh
Clearly this list is incredibly lame; some asshat agreed and made his own top 10 list.
Glo’s Top 10
1. Shakugan no Shana (like how fast this list became shit?)
3. Zero no Tsukaima
4. Hayate no Gotoku!! (note the second !)
5. Hidan no Aria (Glo referred to this as a “poor man’s Shakugan no Shana.” SHANA IS ALREADY A POOR MAN’S ANIME. Aria is a dead man’s Shana.)
6. Excel Saga (Amazing how this wasn’t on the top 50 O_o)
7. Azumanga Daioh
8. To Aru Majutsu no Index
9. Ookami-san to Shichinin Nakama-tachi
10. Aoi Hana
Clearly this doofus just picked all the Kugimiya shows for his top 5. Anyway, here’s my list.
My Top 10 J.C. Staff Shows
1. Revolutionary Girl Utena + Adolescence Apocalypse
This was an obvious choice. Not only one of my favorite anime, but one of the greatest, most respected, and influential semi-cult classics of anime history. The series is artistically brilliant, even if the animation isn’t always (or even often) up to snuff. That’s totally forgiven by the movie, which is drop-dead gorgeous throughout and a true artistic masterpiece of animation.
Another of my favorite anime, and my pick as the best romantic comedy around. I think it’s probably the studio’s best-looking TV production, which is saying something considering how many of their series feature the greatest art director in anime, Kobayashi Shichiro. To me, the mark of a successful series as animation is when the animated moments themselves are memorable in the way they looked. I have a lot of memories of the fine animation moments in this series.
3. To Aru Kajutsu no Raildex
Yeah, plot-wise, Railgun was mostly a big mess, and the second season of Index made me want to adopt Otou-san’s phrase (that he uses for Shana) and consider myself an “Index apologizer.” Nonetheless, I love the series for what it is, and if nothing else it’s god damn good-looking, being alongside Toradora as the best representations of the studio’s current signature style.
4. Honey and Clover
Another highly acclaimed series, known for being among anime’s most grown-up and effective melodramas. I’m probably wrong about this, but I’m pretty sure it’s where J.C. Staff’s signature “washed-out” style of animation for their more mature, laid-back, and/or dramatic shows began. (See also, Aoi Hana, Nodame Cantabile, Taishou Yakyuu Musume, Asatte no Houkou, etc.)
5. R.O.D. the TV
A joint production with Studio DEEN, R.O.D. TV is a good-looking show with great-looking action scenes and is one of the best among the many similar 26-episode action-adventure shows that made up the bulk of anime from the mid-2000s. Did I mention there’s lesbians all over the place?
6. Starship Girl Yamamoto Yohko
Shinbo Akiyuki’s ultra-fun and stylish cult classic, perhaps best known for having some of the greatest eyecatches ever. Yamamoto Yohko is a proto-four-girls show, mixed with a healthy dose of sci-fi and Shinbo keeping a rare steady hand at the directing helm. Very visually delicious.
7. Asatte no Houkou
Like Honey and Clover, a softly-painted, mature melodrama—only this one is dialed way back into quiet and peaceful mode and tells a tight, gripping story with nary a wasted moment. Very much a recommendable show that hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves.
8. Kare Kano
Okay, it’s a joint project with GAINAX, and clearly the GAINAX side had the most influence, whereas the reverse seems to be true of their other collaboration, Melody of Oblivion. Still, Kare Kano is a true-blue classic, and Otou-san did a great write-up of it recently that you should check out. Maybe this inclusion is cheating, but hey, a joint is a joint.
9. Excel Saga + Puni Puni Poemy
Yet another semi-cult classic that stands amongst the most famous of batshit-insane anime comedies. One of two shows that were so chaotic, ADV gave them an annotation track on the US DVDs to help make sense of things. (The other is Pani Poni Dash, by SHAFT, natch.) I still haven’t finished Excel Saga, but I’ve seen Puni Puni Poemy and that’s enough to earn the batshit comedy crown. (Sorry Azumanga Daioh, I’m just not that into you.)
10. Starship Operators
This is the black sheep of my list, and with my not having seen it since a solitary marathon in 2007, I’m not entirely sure it belongs (same reason it couldn’t break my top 100 shows). What I remember about Starship Operators was a surprisingly engrossing sci-fi drama with amazing tactical battles and very well-done drama. If nothing else, it’s a show I want more people to see (and need to rewatch (story of my life)).
Some other shows that are awesome but I’ve only seen an ep or two of: Alien Nine, Maze, Melody of Oblivion (joint with GAINAX), Ghost Hunt, Gunparade March, Taishou Yakyuu Musume
Other shows by them I think are pretty cool: Nodame Cantabile, Potemayo, Yumekui Merry, Otome Youkai Zakuro, Shigofumi, Tantei Opera Milky Holmes, Shingetsuten Tsukihime (inb4 no Tsukihime anime), Yomigaeru Sora
Shows I haven’t seen but am pretty sure are cool: Kaichou wa Maid-sama!, Ookami-san to Shichinin Nakama-tachi, Sky Girls, Slayers, Aoi Hana, Metal Fighter Miku, Cat Soup, Hayate no Gotoku!! (note second !)
What are your favorite J.C. Staff shows?