In all anime there are episodes that are good, there are episodes that are bad – or at least mediocre – and there are great episodes. However, I would argue that there are some episodes in anime that just stand out by themselves. These are episodes that come to mind when you think of anime as a whole. These are the single episodes that you recall when you try to think back on a specific series. These are, in my opinion, the seven episodes in anime that are the pinnacle of anime storytelling condensed into less than 25 minutes. These episodes stand by themselves and their quality does not completely require multiple episodes to unfold, which does narrow down some of my choices. Now of course this list is limited to the shows that I have watched myself and the list is also limited to my own subjective opinion. However, I think that it is a well thought out list that covers a vast genre of anime and all seven of these episodes are guaranteed to show off the greatness that anime has to offer and are guaranteed to make you go “hell yea!”
This episode was so-coooooool! Magikarp = Best Karp
Now don’t get me wrong, I can totally understand why people would roll their eyes at this pick. Yes, I understand, it is a Pokemon episode. Nevertheless, it is an episode of Pokemon that defines my childhood. I am sure anyone who watched Pokemon as a kid understands that there is one episode that they immediately think of when they think of the show, and this is that episode for me. The episode has suspense, drama, and action. The main cast of the show are stuck on a sinking ship and are literally battling for their lives. It has funny and serious moments in the episode, including my personal favorite James moment in all of Pokemon. It also has Team Rocket playing the role of anti-heroes instead of villains, something that only happens a few times in Pokemon and something that I always love to see. It gives the characters of the show a dynamic that is rarely seen. To conclude, all I have got to say about this episode is all hail the king of karp, Magikarp!
Lets ostracize children!
Perhaps it is my strong interest is ostracism and social psychology that makes this episode of Mushishi hit me in all the right places. Honestly, almost any episode from Mushishi could have made this list, depending on the person. This is my personal choice. The girl’s condition in the show is heartbreaking, and one really gets to see how being ostracized by her town’s residence for the last 10 years have affected her, while also seeing the sacrifice she has made in recompense to the townspeople. One sees themes of depression, social exclusion, and a loss of hope. However, the episode also displays how just a few people still trusting in somebody can keep one sane and that kindness can be found in even hostile situations. The episode also has themes of redemption and rebirth in it, all of which make for a psychological roller-coaster that will be sure to touch the viewer right in the feels.
This episode is so much awesome. The episode gives the viewer a wonderful balance of action and psychological monologue. It provides the viewer with a contrast of the beauty that can be found in the world wrapped up with all the ugliness that life can throw at a person. This episode reminds us that there are not always happy endings for everyone. It makes the viewer really think about who is at fault for evil deeds and it provides a great deal of symbolism to go along with these thoughts. The episode does not provide finite answers to the psychological questions that it raises, but leaves the viewer to ponder the themes distributed throughout this masterpiece of an episode. Tie this up with a wonderful soundtrack and a perfect demonstration of one of anime’s strongest female characters and this episode speaks for itself.
“Vash Gets Real,” The episode.
Now this selection comes from my personal number one favorite anime (Yes I know this is a very subjective opinion). Being that Trigun is my numberone anime I had to choose an episode from it to go onto this list. Choosing one proved to be harder than I first thought it would be. There are several excellent episodes to choose from but I decided to pick the episode that always first comes to my mind when I think of *Trigun*. The episode provides quite a bit of fun comedy as the townspeople chase Vash throughout their town before the mayor calls in a duo of troublemakers to stop Vash. Before this episode, we really had not seen Vash the Stampede get super serious, nor were we really clear what type of character he was going to be. We knew he had a 60 Billion Double-Dollar bounty on his head, but the viewer did not really have a grasp of his character. This episode though demonstrates that Vash is indeed a badass while also being derpy. The episode shows that the show can provide heart, comedy, and action while also demonstrating that there is more to Vash then just derpyness. It is a great introduction to what the rest of the show holds in store for its viewers. Unlike the mayor in this episode, who woefully states one of my favorite phrases: “It seemed like a good idea at the time,” this episode of anime will *always* be a good idea, no regret needed.
YOU’RE NOT WHAT YOU CLAIM TO BE!
I cannot speak to much about this episode, just that it might be on of the greatest stand alone anime episodes of all time. The rest of the show is up to personal opinion, but I can’t spoil anything for you. Just go watch it yourself, enjoy this cute, slice-of-life show that will make you smile. Stick through the entire episode and then I will let your argue against me if you still disagree with my statement. PS: To get the full enjoyment value, don’t read up on the show beforehand. Go in blind, sit back, enjoy, and say hi to Shovel-kun for me.
This was just dope on a rope.
Oh, how difficult it was to just choose one episode from Cowboy Bebop. I was torn between this episode and the first episode of this show. After careful consideration, I just had to go with “Ballad of Fallen Angels.” This episode gives the viewer its first real glance at the overarching plot of a show that has a pretty episodic vibe throughout most of its run. The show itself provides a real balance of episodic and plot-driven episodes and this particular episode is the first major look into the life of Spike, the show’s main protagonist. It introduces us to a powerful villain and foreshadows events to come. The action, animation, setting, and scenery in this episode provides one of the most epic viewing experiences I’ve had the pleasure of sitting through in my time of watching anime. Add the chilling and gorgeous music present in this episode and the viewer is in for one of anime’s greatest 24 minute masterpieces. See you space cowboy….
(me continuously snapping my fingers all over the place).This list ends in a blaze of glory. This episode is one of my single most watched episodes in my anime viewing history. It never gets old and it never fails to entertain me. The episode is full of epic moments, including lots of brilliant action intertwined with despair and sadness. This episode is a roller-coaster of “fuck yea!” and “what the fuck” moments which all culminates in one of the best standoffs in anime between two very menacing characters. This episode foreshadows much of whats to come in *FMA* and it is all wrapped up with excellent animation and brilliant music. The soundtrack is both emotional and exciting and at the end of the episode, it will leave the viewer both stunned and desperate for more *Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood*.
So there you have it, those are my personal top 7 favorite “stand alone” anime episodes. I know there might be some disagreement with my list as it is just my silly, subjective opinion after all. Nevertheless, whether one disagrees or agrees,* I* at least think that all 7 (or at least 6) of the episodes here demonstrate what anime can provide in the form of quality entertainment in just 24 minutes, and all these episodes provide me with 24 minute reminders of why I love anime, and always will. Feel free to put down in the comments some episodes that I might have overlooked. Anyways, until next time people….Don’t Forget to be Awesome!