With the world of anime, I try my best to have an open mind. Perhaps that's the reason why I'm following sixteen different shows right now spanning three decades of Japanese animation. I wouldn't like to get stuck both as a person and thinker with watching only recent shows because of their better animation, because for one I know that the plot of older anime were made much tighter and were pithier than most of the recent ones.

Among the anime I'm viewing right now that belong to the past millennium are:

  • Turn A Gundam;
  • Queen Millennia; and,
  • Hiatari Ryoukou

I'm not usually picky with names in the anime industry, although I do know that all three anime set in the more distant past mainly involved at least an anime great: I consider an anime great to be a name that resounds every time a person speaks of him – and I definitely consider Mitsuru Adachi, Leiji Matsumoto and Yoshiyuki Tomino to be among the multitude of anime greats there are. In fact, I'd dare say that these people are the fountainheads or among the fountainheads of the specific genres they belong to.

Mitsuru Adachi is the father (or among the parents) of the romance genre. Starting with Touch to solidly place his foot into deserving worship (although he had Miyuki beforehand, but Touch was the one that solidified him into the anime hall-of-fame), he continued with Hiatari Ryoukou and H2, also anime greats. He often created scenarios of love triangles and quadrangles, but they never got boring (at least for me) because of what happens among his main characters. For the most part, he also makes his characters likable, and his romance isn't an abrupt snap of the fingers: his romances take a long time to congeal, all the more satisfying because of its realism.

I didn't know much of Leiji Matsumoto until Queen Millennia but avid fans of his made me realize that he was as much as a prominent figure in science-fiction as Adachi was with his romance, and Tomino with his mecha. At first I was hesitant with picking up QM, because first, I'm primarily geared towards romance rather than SF; second, I never did heard of Leiji Matsumoto.

Still, I picked up an episode. At first, I was pretty hostile towards QM – its animation was subpar for me compared to Adachi's works in general, and its artwork was sexist (for the most part in my eyes anyway) because Leiji drew ladies and girls quite proportionally, while drawing men and boys having white circles and two black dots as eyes. 😦 The story wasn't that catchy, either – the first episode I watched with Hiatari Ryoukou drew me in hook, line, and sinker, whereas I had a few yawns with this one although not to the extent of sighing in disbelief and consternation. With the support (more like berating) of other Leiji fans I decided to stick with the series and watch the second episode.

It was leagues better than the first episode, although still not what I consider excellent. What I can say, however, is that its plot is really solid – more solid than a lot of the plotlines running recently, and that's saying something. I kept on watching, and that general disgust that pervaded me in the first episode slowly disappeared: I managed to appreciate where this show was going, and I wasn't going to stop watching it just because it was old. Although I can't say I'm desperately waiting for the next episode (that's reserved only for Akagi), I can say I won't drop this show for now.

(Space Symphony Maetel sure seems inviting, however.)

Finally, we arrive at the most recent anime made in the past millennium, and it's Turn A Gundam. Most of you would have known Yoshiyuki Tomino right now – in the late '70s and early '80s he was the one who put into the anime map the mecha genre. Everything that has something to do with robots is at least tangentially connected to him.

Although he was involved with a lot of anime productions including robots and mecha, what made him to be among the most renowned in that field was his Mobile Suit Gundam, which, after spawning more than ten series, still has a heavy fanbase even until now.

(Bear in mind that the most recent series dominated by Gundams was Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny, and I'm pretty sure that's popular to most.)

What made MSG so popular and accepted by many was its foresight on how man shall deal with space on the near future, and how it meshed the battles between the large robots and character development of the people inside that series almost seamlessly. Though by no means perfect by today's standards, it made a lot of people blink their eyes in disbelief with such a grand scheme – and Tomino pulled it off, too.

Here's where Turn A comes in. Although by no means official, Turn A Gundam is agreed by many fans to be the best Gundam series in terms of plot solidity and in-depth character study. It was originally planned by Tomino to be the last Gundam series he directed, and since he was on a relatively happy mood at the time this series was directed by him, he wasn't too much into killing off his characters (Tomino has psychological issues, by the way.) but he was into developing them. And it shows – until now, it really does.

By far, Loran Cehack is the most believable hero I've seen in the Gundam universe, and the primary female characters aren't pushovers also, like many others in other Gundam series. Despite its lack of popularity, I'd agree with Turn A to be among the best Gundam shows made – and who wouldn't like to watch the most powerful Gundam ever created? 🙂

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