Fushigi Yuugi and OVA 2
The series was long, cutsey, and melodramatic yet entertaining. The initial hook of the Universe of the Four Gods story drew me in and the two female characters set in opposition created a dynamic I was concerned over the entire series. The romance is a little elementary, but the struggle and sacrifice are very serious. The OVA 2 expands in maturity while further developing some of the minor characters. Hortohori has the most pathetic and meaningless death.
This one is a forgettable series. Based on the budding career of a music performer, the main character is surrounded by magical females. His love interest gets sucked into the mix causing most of the conflict as he discovers his own latent powers. The nature of the magical female factions is briefly (and confusingly) described, but seems irrelevant to the story plot except to add spice.
Starts out as a great potential epic, but dies out halfway through and flounders like a fallen kite, drowning in its own plot holes. Most of the characters have little or no development and the main female antagonist ends up not having any real goals and disappears.
Yami No Matsuei
This brief set of arcs focuses on the Angels of Death who investigate supernatural deaths, mainly centered around a nefarious badguy who poses as a good guy. The dynamic between the two main Angels is a complicated, yet believable one and though they both have connections to the antagonist, an observer can't help but feel that there are things not being told in the story. Read between the lines.
Ayashi No Ceres
This was a much more adult series from the same manga author as Fushigi Yuugi. The downfall is that most all of the male characters not only resemble girls, but they all look the same. There is a lot of confusion with the amnesia/implanted memory arc that will leave your head spinning. While taken from the Legend of the Tennyo, while the first half of the series empowers women and has the male stealing her power, the end explanation turns it around to yet another female stereotype of sex for reproduction and "womanly roles". Tooya's HOT.
This is a raging testosterone injection of an anime. Focused upon the rivalry of two men, touched by a strange power, the series follows as one works from the inside of a corrupt system and one works from the outside. Of course, the system ends up popping up to bite them in the hind sides in the end as the whole world rocks from the devastation, but even after our heroes join the same side, the last episode is just like the first.
I almost couldn't make it past the first four episodes due to the over the top super deformation and idiotic humor. The story, thankfully deepens and expands into a long-standing struggle between life and death and the ethics of a gunfighter who will not kill. I, of course, loved the character Nicholas D. Wolfwood the best as the hypocrite wandering priest/gunfighter.
Hunter x Hunter and OVA
What can I say, I couldn't stop watching the 70 episodes. I practically viewed non-stop over two days. The four main characters' goals and plots, bringing them into a mesmerizing Hunter exam, is just the kind of plot dreams are made of. The good guys are very good and the bad guys (read Hisoka) are very bad (but strangely magnetic). A definite joy ride. The OVA focuses on the revenge plot of Kurapica against the Spiders who killed his people. It's serious stuff against some serious bad guys. And look out or you'll bite your nails off in anticipation.
I wish they'd made more of this beautiful (and infinitely screwed up story). Our hero Subaru and his twin sister are mystics from a line of mystics fighting the supernatural in modern Tokyo. They are aided by a vet, who shows up at the strangest times to save Subaru, revealing amazing dark powers of his own. Little do we know that he is truly the antagonist, but the short series never goes that far. And it's a shame too.
X - TV and Movie
I'm not going to comment on the movie. It sucked. Imagine trying to stuff volumes of plot into two hours of movie. Big hack job. The TV series was artistic although the main character loses his allure halfway through the series as he gets less airtime and spends a lot of it whining and crying over the workings of fate. My favorites, Subaru and Seishiro, have great plots despite some cutting. The downfall is the presence of so many character that are a lot to keep track of. The story, however, is excellent, as is the sacrifice.
Hikaru No Go
I was skeptical when I started this series because it was such a young boy as the character. To my surprise, I was hooked from the very first episode and almost couldn't stop watching. It's addictive and got me introduced to the enchanting game of Igo (Go). All of the characters are well developed and you can't help but care about their turns on the stage of life. Watching the Touya Akira's pursuit of Sai and Hikaru's struggle to catch-up to Touya are real and very watchable.
Read or Die
This is an outrageous abomination of 007 crossed with librarians. First of all, the sci fi is completely unbelievable (cloning long-dead geniuses who emerge fully grown and with all the old knowledge and intelligence?!) The main character "The Paper" is realistically obsessed and adorable. But when the world is in danger, will the world leaders really put a handful of librarian super-spies in charge?
This retro plot is set back in 1969 and revolves around a group of kids who are keepers of elemental gates. Their job is to save the world from "invaders" who are fixating to watch and frightening in their implementation of plans. The antagonist is a wolf in sheep's clothing, which makes it painful to watch as the blind protagonists fall into his trap.
This is a heartfelt story of an orphaned girl who doesn't quite fit into anywhere and her new-made life with a bunch of guys who are cursed with the spirits of the Chinese Zodiac. I never laughed so hard during some parts, while other parts were tear jerking. The ever-cheerful, despite tragedy, protagonist always says and does the right things to a fault among the squabbling cursed ones (all of whom have a deep dark secret haunting them), but this series is cute, indeed.
Flame of Recca (I only made it through the first episode)
I don't think I will watch more of this until I'm desperate. The first episode didn't sell me on the world, the characters, or the plot. However, it is only the first of many expected adventures of a flaming ninja and his hime (princess), set in modern times, however.
Infinite Ryvius (In progress)
Set in space and in the future, something has gone terribly wrong on a training mission and most of the space station is destroyed amongst the super gravity of a sun-based phenomena. Now, mostly kids are the survivors in a scenario strangely similar to a futuristic Lord of the Flies. (I hope not).