Tag Archives: Madhouse

5 Great Anime from the 90’s

Hey everyone, it’s Kernook here, from The Demented Ferrets, and I’m here to bring you another anime post. I’d hesitate to call this a “top list”. Frankly, I think that does a grave disservice to all of the amazing anime that you can find from this particular decade.

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 There should be more to the medium of anime than top lists of series that dominated the billboard charts. Honestly, a “top ten” list is difficult to make because the 90’s were a treasure trove of anime to discover and love. Therefore, these are merely the suggestions of a humble anime fan.

Those of you who happen to be older anime fans like myself have likely heard of most of these. For those who haven’t, or for those who missed out on that decade entirely, I hope this list finds you well. 

Very Honorable Mention: Cowboy Bebop

So, you may be wondering; why isn’t this number 1 on the list. You’d be right for asking about that. This list isn’t in any particular order. The genres involved are so varied you can’t force them to compete. If we were discussing the space opera genre particularly, this would top that list.

Frankly put, it would smash out the other contenders by such a wide and far margin it would be astronomical. Let’s be real honest with ourselves here. It wouldn’t even be fair to the other candidates in the list. This series is that good, and no, that’s not hyperbole.

Here is the thing, I should not have to tell you to go watch Cowboy Bebop. If you don’t know that you need to watch this series, I can’t help you. The only reason this isn’t taking the number 1 spot is because I want to save that one. There are plenty of anime that may be lesser known to someone. This anime will never have need to fear getting buried by time. It’s a classic and always will be.

For the rest of you connoisseurs out there, if you just spit your drinks at the screen, I’ve done my job and gotten your attention. While I have that attention, make sure to follow me here or on medium for more content.

5. Master Keaton

This amazing anime was adapted from its manga counterpart by studio Madhouse, so you know you’re going to get wonderful animation quality here. The anime has a sub and a dub. It can also be a little hard to find these days, but it is worth your time.

Truth be told, I really do enjoy watching Master Keaton every now and then. It doesn’t feel too dated. There’s a real charm to this compelling series. It isn’t so centrally focused Keaton, but rather he feels as though he belongs in this wider world of character focused narratives.

Moreover, this is an intelligent series, and prides itself on showing off Keaton’s many skill sets. You’ll get a little taste of everything in this show, a little romance, a tiny sense of adventure, and a feeling that will leave you satisfied after the show concludes.

4. Martian Successor Nadesico

Now this one is a true sci-fi classic. Like many anime of this genre, you’re going to get strong characters and an awesome setting. Any anime fan of the 90’s will truly want to have this on their shelves.

To simplify the plot in the best way that I can, in the year 2196 it seems that planet Earth is in the middle of waging war with a race of aliens. These notorious invaders are called “Jovian Lizards” and the people of Earth see them as a well and true threat to mankind.

A company called Nergal gets the bright idea to design a space battleship, lovingly called the ND-001 Nadesico. This ship is built for war, and it is a powerhouse. There’s just one problem. The crew consists of the top civilian experts in their fields, these characters are total screw-balls. There’s some humor to find in that. 

It isn’t all fun and games though. These characters will have to face down a decent level of hardship. Like most mecha out there, you’re going to get decent battles and compelling sci-fi action. You’re also going to get some drama too.

3. Serial Experiments Lain

Okay, so now it’s time for something darker, edgier, and profoundly more confusing. Serial Experiments Lain isn’t exactly for the average popcorn anime viewer. It isn’t mindless in the slightest and it will expect a fair bit from you, the viewer.

This series is packed with subversive symbolism and darker themes about how technology can directly and indirectly impact society. Like its name suggests, it feels like a largely experimental show, rife with physiological horror elements that are sure to leave you unsettled. 

I wouldn’t say that the show is for everyone, far from it. This is for the sort of viewer that enjoys physiologically bent series, and the study of unsound minds. 

2. Initial D

Okay, this one is kind of a sleeper. We all knew that it would end up on this list, because you just can’t talk about 90’s anime as an adult without bringing it up. It’s a bit clunky by today’s standards too, and I wouldn’t fault you for asking me why I would put this series on this list. I’ll be honest, the CGI is absolutely awful by today’s standards. 

That being said, Initial D is all about street racing and the underground counter-culture that you find within that particular community. It’s bombastic at times, very slow paced and thoughtful during others.

Car fanatics will love this series for one distinct reason; the show gives accurate explanations about how cars need to be handled. There’s a real technical element here that makes me want to place the series on the list. It hasn’t aged the most gracefully, no…

However, it still stands out to me as an iconic 90’s anime that is worth your time to watch. This is particularly true if you like faced paced drag-racing.

1. Yu Yu Hakusho

Okay, shounen fans listen up, this one is for you. I don’t think I’m overstating the matter when I say point blank; this is one of the best shounen anime from its time… and dare I say it, all time. You’ll be hard pressed to find one that’s better. On par perhaps, more innovate surely, but not done better. 

Even if you watch nothing else from this show, at the very least sit through enough of the series to complete Season 2’s black tournament arc. Trust me, you’ll be glad that you did. This holds especially true if you’re a Naruto fan who praises the chunin exam arc in that series. 

Do not bypass Yu Yu Hakusho, just don’t it… it’s too fundamental of a series for any hard core shounen fan to ignore.

This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets, where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course. I’ll see you next time.

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Kern’s Collections: Death Note

Hello everyone, it’s Kernook here (Kern for short). I hope this post finds you well. It’s time for another “Kern’s Collections” and this one was a long time in the making. Why did it take so long? Well, primarily because the video editing gave Ruka and I plenty of trouble. Anyway, here it is. I hope you enjoy it.

As always, this is a series dedicated to brief glimpses of media and why you might enjoy them. Included in this post is the video production and the written script.

Video Production of this Script

This is the finished video regarding the script. It is written, edited, and read aloud by Kernook of “The Demented Ferrets”. You can watch the video on this blog and on YouTube. I hope you enjoy the content.

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Written Script

Hello everyone, it’s Kernook here. Welcome to “The Demented Ferrets” channel. This is a segment called “Kern’s Collections”, a series dedicated to brief glimpses of media and why you might enjoy them.

This is not a review. This is merely a simple glance at an anime that could be worth your time.

Today I’m going to be talking about Death Note.

I’d like to think that the series is so well known that most anime fans already known of it, but I recently realized how wrong I was. I met someone who was so new to the anime fandom that they thought Death Note was merely the live action movie that could be found on Netflix. They only recently got into anime as of this year, and well, as you can expect many shows just aren’t on their radar as of yet.

So, I’m going to highlight some of the good and the bad that the series has to offer.

While it’s true that Death Note does have have live action and written media counterparts, today I just want to speak of the anime itself. The series came out in 2006, so I can understand why newer anime fans may not have gotten around to it yet.

First of all, let me just begin by saying this. The series is a Madhouse production,and in the early 2000’s Madhouse was considered top of the line anime. They’re still great now, don’t get me wrong. It’s just that back when Death Note came out, they stood as the cream of the crop, so to speak.

Anyway, you’re going to get a quality series in a lot of respects. In spite of how old it is, Death Note has good animation, and a strong soundtrack. So, don’t let the fact it was made in 2006 put you off.

The series is a thriller first and foremost, but it is also a very good anime when it comes to studying society at large. The complex interplay between the characters makes you think that the minds of the core cast are all that really matters, and that might be true the first time you watch Death Note.

However, I find that the first half of the series is even more rewarding the second or third time through. When you can really sink your teeth into the implications of the world that Death Note attempts to illustrate.

The story is simple. A notebook falls from the sky, and into the hands of a boy named Light Yagami. This young man is on the brink of graduation, bored, and with more ambition than he knows what to do with.

He takes the book home, and finds out it has incredible power. With the book in his hands, and a clear set of rules in place, he comes to realize that he only needs a name and a face. With tho two things, the notebook is able to take human lives with little more than a few mere pen strokes.

Naturally, Light lacks basic human empathy in many ways. Displaying what passes for it, but never truly feeling it. As he chooses to take the law into his own hands, he plans to to make a better future. One that he can become the “god” of. He wants to build a whole new world, based on his desires and his ideals.

Now, this is problematic for the people around him for more than a few reasons. None more so than Light’s own immaturity, and lack of perception. He’s not a good person, and he’s really not the sort of guy you can root for if you have any value in humanity at all. Especially once he begins taking the lives of innocent people for his own gain.

Frankly, he isn’t meant to be the sort of character you can cheer for. Well, unless you like cheering for villains, I suppose. Make no mistake about it, Light is a villain from start to finish, but he is a very well written character even at his worst.

What make the series so interesting, at least for a vast majority of it, is the interplay between Light, and a surrounding characters. This especially holds true for a character simply known as “L”.

It’s the mind games and competition between these two characters that keeps the series engaging.

The anime itself has many super natural elements. Gods of death, and the concept of the book itself falls squarely into the territory where you’ll need to suspend your disbelief. The same goes for Light’s amazing intellect and ability to out smart the forces opposing him.

In general, this isn’t hard to do. More often than not, the series invites you to do this, and viewers often don’t have an issue doing so.

Now, that’s not to say the anime is all sunshine and roses, it’s far from it. Speaking from a time when I was a young adult, I look back upon Death Note very fondly. Anime conventions were full of cos-players, and “L” was a very common character to go as. He was so easy and simple to dress as.

To cosplay as “L” you required only a tiny bit of makeup under the eyes, a black wig, a white shirt, a pair of men’s jeans, and a simple pair of unobtrusive flip-flops… since you know, you shouldn’t walk around barefooted at a convention center.

He was the perfect character to cosplay as when you have very little money to your name and sill wanted to get in on the fun. So, he was a common character to see walking around.

Taking of the nostalgia goggles though, there comes a time when Death Note falls flat on its face in more ways than one. I won’t speak about why, as those would be spoilers. However, what I will say is that when a few new characters start coming around in the back end of the anime, they just can’t compete with their predecessors.

At that point, the story is in no way able to live up to the thrilling and suspenseful ride that it has built up to that point. You may find that to be a disappointment. However, to avoid the series strictly because of its short comings would be a huge disservice. Not every anime is perfect, most are not, and this one had flaws too. Even with the nostalgia goggles removed, there is a lot of good things here.

One last caveat, the last episode is absolutely abysmal, but fear not. There are live action movies that don’t include that crap as part of the narrative and if you really want to see those, give a look for them, they’re around. I’ll talk about them at a later time, though.

Regardless, I still feel that Death Note is well worth your attention. Even though we live in an era of more anime than we often know what to do with, so few can match what Death Note has to offer. So if you’re a new fan, or you simply bypassed it, go back and give it a try.

At the time of this post the anime series can be found over on Funimation and Crunchyroll.

This has been Kernook of “The Demented Ferrets”, where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course. I’ll see you in the next post.

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