I've written too much already about my first ever OMFG!! moment, from the anime of this, which was what ushered me into
Mary-senpai (kagenami's Mighty M) was mourning over the last episode of Banana Fish and showed me that ish of Bessatsu. I flipped through the rest of the phonebook and suddenly came across a: Silver-haired. One-eyed man. Kissing a 14-year-old boy. Bang-bang-bang he shot me down. So the boy was a girl, so what. Ageha still had one eye and the kiss was still immensely out of character. (This is followed closely by Ageha's Finest Moment, the scene in the Hokkaido prison with the Boss, which left no doubt in my mind as to who the real hero of the series is, let the main protagonists be who they may.)
3. Channel 5
No-one knows this manga but fans of Shibata Ami, and even then... The reappearance of Papuwa's sardonic and snotty Takamatsu, the revelation that Master J is Jan, and Jan's anguished Wasuresasete kure! (Let me forget.) To say nothing of the fact that we never learned exactly why it was he wanted to forget Servis. Puddles on the floor anyway.
4. Hi Izuru Tokoro no Tenshi
Tansui, the Korean assassin/ agent provocateur/ whatever he is, is one of the unforgettable secondary characters of this lovely series. Amoral, calculating, and with a religious (literally) devotion to Umayado, he's as repellant and fascinating as Umayado himself. And then comes the point at the end of bunko #6 when Umayado experiences his greatest coup and most devastating failure simultaneously, and Tansui-- Tansui--- If I didn't yell Mattemashita!! in the middle of Vice-fearless Leader's NY dance studio where I was reading this, it was a very near thing.
The anime's Fated Guys episode: the low-key sadness, the low-key comfort, Hirata Hiroaki's low-key voiceovers, and the low-key hotness of Gojou without his shirt and his hair in a ponytail.
Ahh- there's so much to this one, especially the ending. Again, it's so much different when you're getting it in installments and wondering Is this really going where it looks to be going? Is he really going to do what I think he's going to do? Or will he crap out on me at the last moment and do Japanese happi endo? God bless Ikuhara: he didn't blink once. But for perfect pleasure, I nominate the ending of the Black Rose arc, where Akio (a mere voice on the phone) simply erases the whole reality of something we'd seen and accepted without question, just like that.
Kai, the half-mad Emperor of Heaven, forces Yao Kuan the Blue Dragon of the East, once his mentor, to become his prisoner and uhh bed-partner, shall we say. The White Tiger effects a rescue and Yao Kuan declares war on Heaven in retaliation. The dragon army masses together and flies, in dragon form, to besiege the palace. Yao Kuan leaves them to the siege ('Show no mercy to any who resists!') and comes to earth, striding through the overwhelmed celestials and into the throne room. The young Emperor waits for him on the heights of his dais, expecting imminent imprisonment or death. Yao Kuan looks up at him and says 'Come back to my palace and marry me!' (The Emperor's response is a not surprising 'Hunh??') Given that Kai has committed the occasional genocide, one rather thinks Yao Kuan needs his head read, as my mother used to say; but as unexpected twists go, that's a classic. And umm characteristic of this totally on-crack series.
8. Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi
The archetypal train journey on an archetypal summer afternoon through an archetypal landscape. Even people who've never been to Japan must get nostalgic over this one. How could they not?
9. Hyakki Yakkou-shou
Hundred night-travelling demons. Oddly related to the previous and certainly You hadda be there. I started reading this series at vol.8, and so came to a mysterious story where the hero Ritsu as a little child- dressed in a girl's skirt and blouse with a bow in his hair- is taken by his grandfather to see some friends, a refined and old-fashioned family. They serve him tea on the lawn; grandfather inquires as to the health of their mother who has apparently just given birth; they make pleasant conversation about people in the area. But Ritsu has been told not to say anything to these people whose hospitality he receives.
In earlier volumes you find out that Ritsu, as the only grandson, was dressed as a girl to fool the evil spirits that might attack the sole male heir, which explains that little mystery. But this civilized and civil family, who somehow reminded me of the French relatives I visited when I was a child and the way they lived their lives... are youkai. However agreeable and refined they may be (and hot, in the case of the younger son when he grows up) they belong to another world from us. And somehow that gets conveyed in the few pages showing this pleasant outdoor tea party on a sunny afternoon. All so very nice: and somehow just not right.
The opening credits. Don't ask me why: partly the music, partly the brown colours, partly the flying clouds, partly that long-haired men with shirts open at the neck do it for me, and if they're on horseback it's even better. I'm sure there'll be other scenes from this one when I finally get to see it in its entirety.