10 animated anthology series you can’t miss
Most animated series naturally follow a continuous storyline, although all of the threads don’t come together until the end. The manga, the source of the anime, lends itself to long-lasting stories and characters that develop over time.
Anthology series take a different approach. Every episode or two opens the door to a new plot and new characters, a new paradigm, and sometimes even a new world. Sometimes a narrator offers a bit of context as the scene changes, with a unifying theme or storyline, but other series come up with something new every week. Here’s a look at ten of the best.
ten Star Wars: Visions Offers Fans New Ways To Enjoy The SW Universe
Star Wars: Visions offers anime-style interpretations of the SW universe in what is essentially a series of short films. Using different styles of anime for each episode, as each was made by a different Japanese anime production company, the stories find imaginative ways to build on the Star wars universe, outside the established canon. There are samurai-style lightsaber duels, a tantalizing glimpse into the rebirth of the Jedi Order, a musical number featuring Jabba the Hutt, and more, totaling nine episodes in the first season.
9 Love, Death, & Robots explore surreal sci-fi scenarios
Love, death and robots is a classic-type anthology series, presenting a series of science-fiction-oriented episodes, where the only unifying element is a surrealist interpretation of the genre. One wonders if this is strictly an animated series; some episodes rely heavily on CGI and other techniques. Still, some definitely sport an anime aesthetic, like “Fish Night,” “Sucker of Souls,” and “Good Hunting,” adapted from award-winning author Hugo Ken Liu’s steampunk story, and set in China.
8 Theater Of Darkness: Yamishibai Offers Very Short, Very Twisted Horror Tales
With stories that only last around 3 to 5 minutes, Yamishibai sets a dark and disturbing tone using a picture story animation style. The premise begins with an old man wearing a mask (like the kamishibai narrator) and comes to a play area each day to tell the stories, with different narrators for certain seasons. The Horror Stories are based on Japanese and Asian culture, including traditional folk stories and urban myths, with over 90 episodes in all. Despite the very short duration, each story carries a punch.
7 Ayakashi: Samurai Horror Tales features three horror stories from a blockbuster studio
Three stories spread over 11 episodes of Ayakashi: Samurai Horror Tales, a television series produced by Toei Animation, best known for Dragon ball, Sailor moon, A play, and several other well-known animation series.
In “Yotsuya Kaidan”, based on a kabuki play, a woman who has been deceived wants revenge even after death. A taboo love story, also based on a play, between a human and a goddess is the subject of “Tenshu Monogatari”. “Goblin Cat (Bake Neko)” is an original story about a monster cat in the middle of a vendetta.
6 Mononoke follows the drug salesman through his random encounters with E
Mononoke is an emanation of Ayakashi: Samurai Horror Tales. With its avant-garde approach to animation and storytelling, Mononoke is a gripping animated series. Although it follows the wanderings of a single character, each episode is only linked to the next by the drug vendor (who has no name) and the presence of mononoke, evil spirits that plague Japan and wreak havoc across the country. The rest of the characters and situations in each story, typically taking 2 episodes, are new each time.
5 Aoi Bungaku series explores complex themes through adaptations of six short stories
Six short stories of classic Japanese literature come to life in Aoi Bungaku Series. Each has been adapted by a different writer and director, with character designs by manga artists, and covers two episodes. The themes covered are mature and thoughtful, including alienation, complex relationships and stories like Sakura no Mori no Mankai no Shita, where a bandit finds a beautiful young girl in the forest, but once she becomes his wife, he discovers that she is much more than he thought.
4 Human Crossing won an award as a manga for its life lessons
The stories that unfold throughout the 13 episodes of Human crossing are not connected in a linear sense. These are simply stories that take place in today’s Japan that cross people from various walks of life.
The only underlying theme is the isolation from city life and loneliness, but also the unexpected connections between people and the lessons that can be learned from them. The series was praised for its realistic animation and the way it expressed the characters’ emotions in subtle and understandable ways.
3 The stories of women are in the spotlight in Otona Joshi No Anime Time
The lives and stories of women are at the center of Otona Joshi No Anime Time. Each of the stories features a Japanese woman at a pivotal moment in her life. In one, a middle-aged woman reflects on her life just before going to a school reunion. In another, a woman starts a new life with a man other than her husband. Romance and family are key themes in the drama miniseries, which ran for two seasons.
2 It is always difficult to say “I love you” among the children of Tsuredure
Tsuredure Children takes place in a high school and follows the romances of various students. The stories are different, but linked by the friendships of the students. It’s a simple concept, but fans appreciate the way it tackles the different ways that love and romance can be formed as high school kids begin to mature. The obstacles are many, but the struggles only make the joy of young love all the sweeter. There’s all the embarrassing awkwardness of real teenage life, with comedy to chill out.
1 Ginko is a supporting character in his travels to resolve issues caused by Mushishi
Mushishi is in the historical period between the Edo and Meiji periods (around the mid to late 1800s). Mushi are a kind of primitive creature, and most humans cannot see or notice them. Ginko, the narrator, is one of the few to do so, and he tells stories where his role is more of a helper and catalyst. The series follows him traveling from city to city as a master Mushi who searches for beings and helps solve the problems they cause, featuring a new story and a set of characters for each episode.
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