Recommendations: Madhouse

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“What should I watch now?” Thus is the question we, as anime fans, will ever wonder, for ever and ever. With an endless list of shows available for us to watch, it is sometimes complicated to filter out which ones are good and which ones would be better off disappearing into a deep abyss. This column serves exactly this purpose; in whichever category appears from one week to the next, the best shows will be picked out, leaving you with a good amount – enough to watch anime for entire days without pondering over the incessant question that attacks all anime fans.

If you watch anime and haven’t heard of Madhouse, you are an ignorant fool! It is therefore up to me to instruct you about them. The animation company has been ongoing since their first anime (Ace o Nerae) came out in 1973, and they haven’t stopped bringing out shows since. The sheer amount of shows produced by this company alone is enough to fill two full seasons of anime, and maybe more. From this realization, then, came to me the idea of promoting this long-standing company with a few shows that I have watched from this company and thoroughly enjoyed. Without further ado, here they are, with all their splendor, and you can be certain they are worth the watch.

P.S.: My recommendations are all recent due to my lack of culture in old anime, but I have heard good things of many of their old shows as well. I apologize for my lack of intel in that domain.

Spotlight

35749lChihayafuru

Episodes: 2 seasons of 25 episodes

SynopsisChihaya is a lighthearted tomboy, who’s not especially good at anything in particular. Her dream has always been for her sister (an aspiring model) to become the number one beauty of Japan, or perhaps of the world. But then one day she meets someone who tells her that a dream is something that should concern only herself—and something she has to work hard for as well.

At the same time, Chihaya discovers a passion for the old Japanese game hyakunin isshu, also called “karuta”.

How can traditional Japanese card games be so god damn epic? I don’t know, but Madhouse sure does. Chihayafuru so far has been one of those series where the anime is actually much better than the manga; the story is the same, but the transfer from a still image to an animated picture changes the feeling of the show immensely, giving it more feels, more epicness, more everything. The show allows for us non-Japanese to learn about karuta, a traditional Japanese card game, all the while enjoying some light-hearted comedy and romance, making us realize the value of friendship even more than any other idol show ever could. Overall, Chihayafuru may not seem extremely appealing at first with its non-traditional premise and weird flashback start, but it remains a very good production definitely worth the watch.

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61053lNo Game no Life

Episodes: 12 (expected)

SynopsisThe story of No Game, No Life centers around Sora and Shiro, a brother and sister whose reputations as brilliant NEET (Not in Education, Employment, or Training) hikikomori (shut-in) gamers have spawned urban legends all over the Internet. These two gamers even consider the real world as just another “crappy game.” One day, they are summoned by a boy named “God” to an alternate world. There, God has prohibited war and declared this to be a world where “everything is decided by games”—even national borders. Humanity has been driven back into one remaining city by the other races. Will Sora and Shiro, the good-for-nothing brother and sister, become the “Saviors of Humanity” on this alternate world? “Well, let’s start playing.”

For people who don’t follow the seasons, I think now may be the time to do so! With No Game No Life, one of Madhouse’s most recent productions, you can be sure that you won’t be disappointed. The show so far has been exceeding my expectations; not only is it extremely funny, but the characters are well-built, the storyline is solid and the focus on the intellectual games played throughout make this thoroughly entertaining to watch. The only downside to this show is that it isn’t over yet, meaning whoever watches this will have to wait every week before viewing the next episode. No Game No Life is likely to become one of the gems this season, and it is my duty to recommend it to as many people as I can.

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Other Recommendations

1. Death Note
2. High School of the Dead
3. Black Lagoon
4. Kaiji
5. Kobato

**Thanks to MAL for the summaries and info!**

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