Gonzo Studio’s Best Anime Shows
Many animation studios are still relatively new to the industry, having been established in the early to mid-2000s or later, such as PA Works and Wit Studio. While some may count Gonzo among them, the studio’s predecessor was actually originally formed in 1992 by former Gainax staff, before merging with another company and then being absorbed into its parent company.
With a plethora of original anime works and several well-known shonen titles under his belt, including Black cat and Rosario + Vampire, Gonzo continues to thrive today despite his somewhat chaotic journey. Considering Gonzo’s vast catalog of nearly 70 TV works (not to mention his various OVA/ONAs, movies, and even games and mangas), there’s certainly no shortage of variety. Here’s just a taste of what the studio has to offer. to offer.
Sir Integra Fairbrook Wingates Hellsing is the leader of Hellsing – an organization specializing in the fight against dark supernatural forces. When asked to destroy a vampire rampaging through a village, Integra sends her sworn servant – the original vampire Alucard. Although Alucard easily dispatches the rogue vampire, a young policeman named Seras Victoria is caught in the crossfire. At death’s door, Seras is presented with a choice: either die as a human or ask Alucard to transform her. Seras chooses the latter, thus beginning her new life as a vampire and member of Hellsing.
Now a classic supernatural horror title in its own right, Hellsing may have received an upgrade in the Ultimate Hellsing OVA, but it’s the 13-episode series that still shines in terms of tone and direction. While animated horror can be very random, Hellsing manages to deliver an intriguing plot alongside great action scenes and a banger soundtrack, which easily ranks it among the best vampire anime of all time despite its age.
Last Exile (2003)
The fictional world of Prester, in which flight is the dominant mode of transportation, is home to the warring countries of Anatoray and Disith, as well as an immensely powerful organization called the Guild. Caught in the middle of the conflict are air couriers, who fly two-person vanships between nations. Teenage couriers Claus Valca and Lavie Head are the respective pilots and navigators of their vanship, but their lives are turned upside down when they agree to deliver a young orphan named Alvis Hamilton to the battleship Silvana.
Last exile is an original anime series that later inspired a manga rather than the other way around – and for excellent reason. It’s hard to overstate how unique and thoughtful the series is in the anime world, with its mix of steampunk-like technological ideas placed in a more sci-fi universe. Additionally, the art style, from the show’s character designs to its background artwork and real-world historical inspiration for its airships, makes Last exile a real gem in terms of overall production.
Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo (2004)
The year is 5053, and while visiting the lunar city of Lune, teenage aristocrat Viscount Albert de Morcerf has a chance encounter with a mysterious but charming nobleman known only as the Count of Monte Cristo. However, unbeknownst to Albert, the Count is actually a former sailor named Edmund Dantès, who has already been betrayed by his closest friends and imprisoned on false charges. Escaping from prison and reinventing himself as an earl, Edmund is now bent on revenge, and Albert – who finds himself increasingly attracted to him – happens to be the son of one of Edmund’s former enemies. Edmund.
Based on the famous 1844 novel by Alexandre Dumas, Gankutsuou is over the top and theatrical – in the best possible way. Everything the series does is grand and dramatic, from the unique and extremely bold art style to the details like the characters’ body language, pulling off its deliberate flamboyance with such panache that it’s truly hard to look away. However, that does not mean Gankutsuou is all substance and no style; Beneath its melodrama and extravagant visual flair lies a finely crafted show that makes clever storytelling choices and knows how to touch audiences’ hearts.
Welcome to NHK (2006)
Sato Tatsuhiro is a college dropout who lives a reclusive life as a NEET and hikikomori (locked up). He’s also a conspiracy theorist convinced his social problems stem from NHK — the Nihon Hikikomori Kyokai — an organization that intentionally airs cartoons to turn people like him into unfortunate otaku. One day, Sato meets a mysterious girl named Nakahara Misaki, who claims to be able to cure him in her hikikomori ways and attempts to bring him back into society, despite his own hidden issues.
Adapted from a complete novel, Welcome to NHK is a dark comedy featuring heavy psychological themes alongside a healthy dose of cynical satire. The story, a deliciously twisted mix of drama, humor and even a bit of romance, makes for an often cringe-worthy watch that’s nonetheless perfectly relatable. His specific brand of somewhat morbid comedy might just appeal to fans like Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei and Arakawa under the bridgewith the tale packing a surprisingly hard emotional punch without being unnecessarily depressing.
Bokurano: Ours (2007)
While at summer camp, a group of college kids stumble upon a sea cave that turns out to be full of computers. The cave dweller, a man named Kokopelli, claims to be working on a game involving a giant robot whose purpose is to defend Earth from alien invaders. However, since Kokopelli hasn’t been able to test the game yet, he convinces the children to sign a contract for what he claims will be a fun adventure. This “adventure” quickly turns dark when kids are left with no choice but to pilot the giant robot themselves in order to defeat enemy robots from parallel worlds.
On the surface, bokurano may seem like just another post-evangelization show with its mecha dressing and intense psychological drama – every character (and there’s a parcel) has either a tragic backstory or a complex tangle of mental trauma – but the anime really is its own beast. More thriller than action, bokurano portrays the darker side of humanity with remarkable subtlety, although anime fans who have found the likes of death parade Where From time to time, here and there hard to watch for its equally dark subject matter may want to approach with caution.
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