Anime Listed: Top 5 ‘noitaminA’ anime

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On April 15th, 2005, Fuji TV began to broadcast a late-night anime block targeted towards young adults, particularly college students. That block was titled ‘noitaminA‘ which low and behold is ‘Animation’ spelled backwards. The naming convention actually was quite appropriate for the block because the types of anime that have aired on ‘noitaminA’ over the years have been anything but straightforward, they have flipped the anime medium on its head multiple times over. It is hard to imagine that such unconventional series such as those that run on ‘noitaminA’ would have been ever made without the existence of the block. So out of all the brilliant series that we have been graced with from ‘noitaminA’, which ones were the best? Well here is our top 5 ‘noitaminA’ anime:

5. Eden of the East

Jason Bourne what are you doing on noitaminA? Who cares, it’s awesome! Now this is one series that really caught a lot of people’s attention when it first aired an is a big part of the success of noitaminA. This series raised a great amount of awareness for the block and gave anime fans a taste of the offbeat style that noitaminA is now known for.

The series follows Akira Takizawa, a man with no memories, a phone that can do anything he wants and the goal of saving Japan from itself. It is a killer hook if there ever was one and the high intrigue style of the series is addictive in all the right ways. Eden of the East definitely takes a measure of influence from Robert Ludnam’s The Bourne Identity. The mystery and suspense is part of what make Eden of the East one of the best series to have aired on noitaminA. I think the fact that it spawned three films is a testament to the series success. This is the series that brought noitaminA to the global stage and damn it is a good one. It didn’t hurt that they had Oasis performing the series opening theme song. Eden of the East is just plain awesome.

4. Un-Go
One of the best detective anime there is, Un-Go engaged viewers with it’s unrelenting complex yet oh-so-simple mysteries. Set in a near future Japan, Un-Go mixes the supernatural with the real to sublime affect. The week to week mysteries are deep and intriguing and the series as a whole is highly thought-provoking.

This is a truly intelligent show that will give your brain a bit of a workout. This is a series that highlighted just how complex and detailed a noitaminA series can be. There isn’t any limits in noitaminA and Un-Go’s unending search for truth is evidence of that. Its unlike anything else in anime and it is all the more better for it.

3. Tsuritama
Enoshima Bowl! Weird as weird can be, Tsuritama is yet another incredible noitaminA anime series. This could arguably be the most bizarre series to ever air on noitaminA. The series revolves around fishing and an alien invasion, if that’s not the weirdest combination of ideas on noitaminA, I don’t know what is.

Tsuritama is memorable for a number of reasons. It features a superb cast of characters that are each highly developed over the course of this short series, the concept of fishing is explored in rich detail and the light-hearted fun nature of the series will have you hooked. At its core it is a coming of age story, underneath all of its bizarre elements there is a lot of heart in Tsuritama and it has proven to be one of the most memorable series to air on noitaminA.

2. Kids on the Slope
From legendary director Shinichiro Watanabe and based upon the award-winning manga of the same name, Kids on the Slope was always a series bound for greatness. A series like Kids on the Slope is a perfect example of an anime that wouldn’t have been possible without noitaminA. Set in 1960’s Japan and focusing heavily on Jazz music, Kids on the Slope is somewhat niche in terms of its subject matter. But it is the story that lies at the heart of the series that is universal. The struggle that we all go through in our lives, growing up.

This is undoubtedly one of the greatest coming of age anime of all time and Watanabe’s incredible directing coupled with Yoko Kanno’s unforgettable musical compositions, Kids on the Slope becomes the stuff of anime legend. A series that etched out a place in the pantheon of anime history as one of the all-time bests. This series has heart and soul unlike any other. It’ll grab a hold of you and it won’t let go, it’s the swing and sway of life in moving pictures, it’s Kids on the Slope.

1. Psycho-Pass
The line between this series and the last was so thin, it wasn’t an easy decision by any means. While Kids on the Slope was a universal heart-warming journey about growing up, Psycho-Pass has a bigger game in mind and its lofty ambitions and grand exploration of topics such as existentialism, corruption, technophobia, nostalgia and freedom make it a cut above the rest.

Psycho-Pass comes from mad anime visionary Gen Urobuchi, a man with a reputation for going to some dark places in anime. This series is undoubtedly his magnum opus. It is his greatest work and the story he tells here is one that you’ll likely never forget. The messages that Urobuchi expresses in Psycho-Pass will have you thinking long after you’ve finished watching. With a second season and film already in production, the success of Psycho-Pass is highly evident and it is of course all possible because a block such as noitaminA exists to give a chance for a series like this.

The world of Psycho-Pass is deep and complex with a multitude of layers to it. The cast and concepts are highly unique and will have you engaged from start to finish. It it thought-provoking, heart-breaking, intellectually stimulating, shocking, powerful, incredible anime at its finest. This is the type of anime that noitaminA was made for.

That concludes this edition of Anime Listed. Do you agree with this particular list? Sound off in the comments section below with your thoughts.

Senior Editor & Anime Specialist

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