7 Scenes In Anime I Will Never Forget (From When I Used To Love Anime)

There were days, around the time I was finishing high school and starting college, when anime was my primary source of entertainment. I had my first itches watching shows like Blue Seed, Nightwalker (yes, Nightwalker, not Hellsing), and the grossly underrated Boogiepop Phantom as they popped randomly on this one cable channel. As I grew more interested, I began to dive more and more, marathoning series like a crazed maniac with nothing to do, because that was precisely what I was (hey man, I was not in actual school, depressed, and with even less energy to socialize back then).

Yet I still haven’t seen things like Berserk, Trigun, Samurai X, and many other supposedly must-watch classics. Don’t judge.

This went on for a couple of years until, suddenly, something in my head switched off and I just completely lost interest. I like to think that it was because, when I saw Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood and decided that no anime—or anything else—could ever be better, I just gave up. I did see Attack on Titan recently because how could I not? I also watched most of Fate/Zero, and though I was loving it, I never really bothered finishing it.

It’s hard to imagine why it was that I was turned off something that used to be a huge part of my life, and recently I got to reminiscing why I loved it so much. There are so many things about so many series that to date I can look back and remember, without any doubt, why it was that I loved anime so much. Following, I will list several of them.

Not included are the scenes in series that I still sometimes rewatch, like Brotherhood or Evangelion. These fall more into the category of nostalgia.

Warning: here be spoilers.

The World of Midnight (Black Lagoon: The Second Barrage)

Look guys, Revvy was hot as balls, and that was one of the main reasons why I bothered with what was basically Cowboy Bebop but with 21st century animation and an Evangelion-esque “Young man taken from all he knows” angle (god knows why I was drawn to this trope). I didn’t really love this anime; I liked it because it was very entertaining, the action was crazy awesome, and yes, Revvy was hot. Very hot.

But what I will never forget was the first arc in The Second Barrage—the ‘second season’ of the show. It involved two albino twins, a boy and a girl, who were basically completely fucking psycho. I’m talking hardcore violence, sex reassignment, incest, the whole shebang; they made the Lannisters seem conservative. This three-episode arc involved them fucking shit up and our band of heroes tracking them down, or something—I don’t remember. What I do remember was the climax, in which both children get violently killed, and the show basically says that it’s okay—they were too fucked up to be alive and were now at peace.

Cue the most over the top and poignant ballad you have ever heard and I just knew the show would never be as good again. I was right.

The Very First Scene (Elfen Lied)

Anyone who has seen Elfen Lied knows what I’m talking about. Many were wise enough to jump into this show knowing exactly what it was—an ultra violent, ultra fucked up, ultra anime anime. I wasn’t one of them, so when the show began and the adorable girl that was all smiles in her introduction gets her head telepathically ripped off, only as a prelude to one of the most violent slaughters I remember in anime, I was, well, shocked.

This was another show that, though very good, and with one hell of anopening title, it was never as good again. I remember highlights, even moments of humor and heart, but nothing got my heart racing as much as the unexpectedly violent and gripping beginning.

“Brother?” (GantZ)

Gantz called, it thinks you Red Wedding was cute.

This show involved a mysterious orb/alien that drew people’s souls from the dead and made them fight monsters for the chance to be brought back to life in a sick and twisted game that makes Battle Royale (fuck your Hunger Games) look like Monopoly with the family.

This was some hard-R shit, especially if seen uncensored. The very first scene involved the main character, a giant perv, imagining all of his female classmates completely naked. Then he and his best friend get crushed by the subway, with weird close ups to their flying severed heads. The violence was cruel and pretty much limitless here. The “players” in Gantz’s game died horrible and graphic deaths, no matter their age or gender. Old ladies, little children, big guys, ugly guys, guys who climb on rocks, all get sliced, diced, exploded, melted, broken, crushed, and more.

Yet most of the time these deaths involved side characters and not the main cast you inexplicably grow to love despite most of them being assholes or dumbasses. Flashforward to the end of the third game/arc, where the cast of leads has become big, varied, and likeable. Romantic relationships have been developed, friendships have been forged, and people are learning to play the game to the point that they’re close to winning their freedom back. What’s the obvious next step?

Why, have everyone, except the main character, die horrible and gruesome deaths. Seeing our protagonist wake up after “winning” the game and realize that everyone he was fighting for is gone, and he has nothing to show for it (depending on your performance on each game, Gantz grants you ‘points’ if you survive) made me want to puke.

Oh, and the anime didn’t have any of that “bring them back to life” stuff the manga did.

To The Future (Noein ~ Towards Another You)

I’ll be honest and say that I don’t remember much about this anime except that it was beautiful to look at, had amazing music, a complex plot that rang similar to something I was writing at the time, and the antepenultimate episode.

I won’t try to explain the details about the story, but it involved a lot of time travel, alternate realities, and some bullshit maguffin, all of which revolved around a young man named Yuu and his childhood friends. The scene in question, coming after several dull or slow episodes, and right before an epic finale, had one particular scene in which the main character sees several possible futures for his friends in a sick It’s a Wonderful Life twist. There was nothing very violent or shocking about these: the tragic possible ends he sees for his friends are just very realistic and incredibly depressing (a car crash, for instance). Suddenly you realize that despite all the anime-brand sci-fi bullcrap, this show was about life as a child, and the relationships you forge. Shit got really real.

A show I was only invested in because, again, it was very pretty and I didn’t want to rip it off accidentally while writing, suddenly made me bawl like a little girl who just found out that bitch Cynthia from homeroom is going out with Bobby.

I’m yet to meet someone else who saw, or even remembers Noein, but goddamn I will never forget that one scene. Also the big twist, because it was a fucking doozy.

Psyched Out (School Rumble) 

I worship School Rumble and am still mad with the universe for not giving me a proper third season. There are way too many things about this school days comedy that make me nostalgic—from the spoofs of other anime (Initial D slayed me), the enormous cast of colorful characters, the amazing writing, to the fact that every single episode made me laugh out loud several times.

This show was just about a bunch of teenagers in high school, with “misunderstandings” being the narrative and comedic device that powered it through 52 episodes. More specifically, about Tenma, our adorkable main character, and a love triangle between Captain Tsundere (and total badass) Harima, and the object of Tenma’s affection: the off-puttingly weird and boring Karasuma.

School Rumble develops its main characters really well, sometimes involving actual drama among the laughs. At one point we find out that Harima is actually a mangaka in his spare time, and this opens up to some interesting plotlines late in the first season. Near the end, Tenma discovers that his eccentric crush is actually an alien who had manipulated Tenma’s memories.

This escalates into this huge dramatic payoff in the finale in which Karasuma has to leave Earth, crushing Tenma’s heart. She, however, finds some comfort in Harima. It’s an odd twist but it’s emotionally effective and somehow fit with the serie—

Nope, not really. It’s revealed that the entire alien plot was just the ending of Harima’s manga. The finale then is about Harima having to turn in his manga in time so it gets published. The emotional payoff about the love triangle was all a shameless troll that makes you feel like a colossal idiot for buying it for just one second.

I fucking love this show.

Awakening (Ergo Proxy)

Wow that’s a richly imagined world. I love the classic sci fi references. Oh man, that robot sure has a cool design. Wow, this chick is pretty badass, and totally looks like Amy Lee. Man, cool animation. I wonder what this show is really about though. Man, everything looks so damn cool. It’s bleak and a bit too gloomy but it’s working. Oh man, listen to that music. What? ‘Awekening’? Holy shit what!? Oh my god what is that huge monster! Holy fuck is she going to die!? Is it going to rape her?! Oh god, it’s crying. Oh my fucking god what did I just get myself into?

Ergo Proxy’s first episode in a nutshell. And just you wait until they reveal the truth behind Ergo Proxy himself. I don’t even want to spoil it.

The Wasteland (Wolf’s Rain)

In this post right here, I already wrote at length about the OVAs that ended Wolf’s Rain, one of my favorite fantasy stories of all time. I don’t have to write about it again. I just gotta say that seeing the entire cast of characters, all of whom made it out of the main series alive, slowly die one by one until not one of them is left was soul crushing. I cried through the last three episodes non-stop. Like a huge bitch.

Man, I wish I could get into anime again. I’ll just go back into cynical old man mode and assume that nowadays it’s just not as good as it was in my day. Get off
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About The Damn Beast

Pre-op trans-minotaur, sci-fi/fantasy/horror author, metal singer, videogame journalist, pop culture blogger. I also lift heavy things and put them down again repeatedly to occupy more space.
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