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Stardust Telepath (2023)

Another CGDCT show, this time, the girls are building rockets. The premise is hilarious enough (although not as hilarious as the CGDCT manga about girls climbing mountains), but the execution and the lesbian romance elements were serviceable but nothing special.

I think I would have enjoyed it more if I had watched it 10 or 15 years ago; now that I am very experienced in anime (I think I watched well over a thousand seasons of anime shows by this point), I need shows that surprise my expectations beyond the cliches common in most genres (even genres that do not exist in the West like lesbian romance in a CGDCT show). The art style is also not very good; while everything looks cute, the style is too derivative of other manga from the Manga Time Kirara magazine.

Also, I list the top 5 best anime (including potentially both movies and shows) that I watched in 2023:

1) Vinland Saga season 2 (2023)
2) Hajime no Ippo (2000-2003)
3) Legend of Galatic Heroes: Die Neue These (2018-2022) (this includes the first five seasons of Die Neue These remake of LGH, but the rest of the story still needs to be remade)
4) Heanvely Delusion (2023)
5) Summer Time Rendering (2022)

The five titles were shows, mainly because I didn't watch many movies (partly because there are several times more shows than movies) but also because the average quality is higher, especially in terms of adult-oriented titles.

I would say that the first three of these five are masterpieces, particularly Vinland Saga, which achieves true greatness. However, 4 and 5 were also very good and above the level of the rest of the stuff I watched.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica (2011)

After watching lots of mediocre anime shows in recent years, I now decided to experience again the classics again. For starters, I've been rewatching Madoka 11 years after I first watched it, and it looks like it still remains the single best TV show/movie I ever watched. It is amazing how superior it is to other anime, even if I compare it with the best stuff I watched last year like Vinland Saga and Hahime no Ippo, PMMM just operates on a higher artistic level.

One side of its greatness is not so hard to explain: it is concisely written and extremely well-paced yet achieves the highest level of gravitas and dramatic intensity. The direction by Shinbo is also a standout and, combined with the highly memorable soundtrack and art style, produces a highly distinctive aesthetic. The other appealing side is harder to explain to someone who is not a hardcore anime fan that it is a self-conscious metanarrative, as it is self-consciously playing with the expectations of what a "mahou shoujo" title should be. What some people call a "deconstruction." So, someone who is not deeply experienced in anime culture cannot understand it.

PM is the best anime ever (at least among the 940 anime series and movies I have watched so far) because it excels wonderfully at all dimensions of the surface level while achieving the highest level of dramatic intensity, and, in addition, succeeds at operating at a higher metanarrative level. It's the only anime that I would say even surpasses Miyazaki's best work.

Clannad: Afterstory (2008)

It had been over 10 years since I first watched Clannad, revising an old favorite. Upon re-watching it's 46 episodes, I concluded that it's the GOAT among the anime I know. While I didn't think it was all that great the first time I watched it, now I believe that I underrated it because it's a very explicit show and not very sophisticated in it's execution. It's not sophisticated compared to PMMM, for example, being a straight "school and family soup opera" in terms of writing. But its so well made and earnest in it's execution that it ripped My heart out. It's also peak in terms of anime aesthetics, being more anime than anime.