Well, there are any number of other anime and manga series out there. And I really haven't watched all of them. But this section of the site is simply to highlight some of the better ones I *have* watched... and why! (Of course, my disclaimer is that Ryoko is always going to be my pet, and Tenchi Muyo is probably always going to be my favourite anime. However, there are other series out there which catch the attention - a brief summary of the ones I've found are as follows (warning, spoilers akimbo!)
YAMI NO MATSUEI (Descendants of Darkness)
Summary: A lot of people I know are put off by this because it's Yaoi. I think those people suck :P No, seriously, although it is a Yaoi series, it's not all about guy on guy action. More it's about the deep formed bonds between people and in particular between Tsuzuki and Hisoka as they come to terms with their own pasts while trying to help put demons and dark forces to bed once and for all.
The Yami No Matsuei (Descendants of Darkness) are Shinigami (Guardians of Death) who solve unexplained mysteries relating often to the Occult. Tsuzuki is one of the more unconventional members of the bureau, fun-loving and friendly, but notoriously difficult to work with because of his frustrating personality and his habit of taking every individual case to heart. Hisoka is a boy of sixteen, murdered in mysterious circumstances and with a lot of bitterness to make up for - he becomes a guardian to find the one who killed him and avenge his death. Together, however, they find themselves fighting against several dark forces - particularly against the machinations of Muraki, the mastermind behind most of the evil plaguing the world.
Yami exists as manga and there are more volumes in the manga, so I understand, than in the anime. But the anime works fine on its own, featuring four cases.
Favourite Character: Hisoka by a mile. Though he and Tsuzuki have several amusing interactions.
Least Favourite Character: Muraki. I usually like baddies, but this one goes too far!
Favourite Moment: Really, most of the scenes involving Hisoka qualify with me as favourites. Perhaps it should be the very end of the series...but I really can't pick just one.
Worst moment: The death of the little girl, in the Devil Trill arc. So unecessary!
Dub: I like the English dub. The Japanese is fine, but I like Hisoka's English voice. Some will tell you the English dub sucks, and that could be because Watari has the most irritating Seiryo-ish voice you can imagine...but overall I think I prefer it in English.
Comments: No shame on this one. I like Inuyasha. Yes, it has some repetitive fight scenes, and some very cheesy dialogue, whether you like the English or Japanese versions better to watch. However, it has some very funny moments, and I'm easily amused (every time Kagome says "sit boy" or "osuwari" I crack up laughing). The strength of Inuyasha as a series is the character interaction between the principle stars and also the development of their personalities. Perhaps my main gripe with the series is that (aside from the fact the TV series doesn't actually end, as such), I get a little sick of them chasing and fighting Naraku, with him constantly getting more and more of the sacred Jewel. I'm not sure it's meant to work that way...but oh well :)
The other gripe I have lies with the character "Kikyo". Not so much her existance, but the fact she seems to be going for a record number of times a character can die and be resurrected in a series. Whether Inuyasha chooses Kikyo or Kagome at the end is really up to the viewer, but I personally think there isn't much competition between the two. Inuyasha is bound to Kikyo because of guilt and regret, but he loves Kagome. Unfortunately, being a mutty half-demon, he finds it very difficult to admit...
Favourite Character: Inuyasha, Kagome, Miroku, Sango, Shippo, Kirara. Yes, the lot of them - although probably Inuyasha and Kagome slightly more than the rest. Sesshomaru makes a late appearance in my favourites list, and Rin is the cutest thing. I'm also starting to like Koga a little more. And of Naraku's folk, probably Kagura.
Least Favourite Character: Kikyo!
Favourite moment: Several. Inuyasha challenging Hojo to a duel at Kagome's Cultural Festival...the reaction of Kagome's friends to the half-demon...Inuyasha sniffing at the bakery "This is food, right?" And that kiss, in the second movie...
Worst Moment: Anything involving Kikyo being resurrected. Again
Dub: English. I really don't like Inuyasha's Japanese voice.
FRUITS BASKET ("FURUBA")
Summary: My main, major gripe with this series is that there's been no TV series of the second part of the manga. There is some truly hilarious and touching stuff in the book series beyond the end of the episodes, where you really don't get the feel for who Tohru is going to choose and why. In fact, you might even see her choosing Yuki, since the bond between her and Yuki seems strong at this point. But once you've read a little of the manga beyond, it's clear that Yuki is going to end up with Machi (manga only) and Tohru must choose Kyou for the whole plot to even work.
Despite the fact Tohru Honda probably is a MarySue, it still doesn't detract from this series. Possibly the strongest series for character interaction I've seen in the anime line, Furuba deals with a family cursed by the signs of the animal zodiac, with twelve members (plus Kyou the cat!) forced to turn into the animals they represent when hugged by a member of the opposite sex. Because of their curse, the family has suffered much heartache and isolation, and Tohru is their chance of embracing and experiencing the world on new levels - particularly Kyou, who has suffered more than the rest combined. (Plus, Tohru's friend Hana is so cool!)
Favourite Character: Kyou Sohma (Cat), Yuki Sohma (Rat), Hatori Sohma (dragon), Saki Hanajima.
Least favourite Character: Hiro Sohma (sheep), Akito Sohma (Head of the family)
Favourite Moment: Yuki wearing a dress has to rate up there somewhere.
Least Favourite Moment: Recollections of Hatori's broken heart.
Dub: English. Yuki sounds like a little boy on the Japanese dub :S
FUSHIGI YUUGI (The Mysterious Play)
Summary: So funny, yet so tragic. Miaka Yuuki is a teenage girl who finds herself trapped inside an old book at the library, where she becomes the Priestess of Suzaku (Suzaku no Miko) and has to gather the seven Celestial Seishi to raise Suzaku and rescue the country in which she finds herself. Though it sounds a bit far fetched just from that, it's actually well pulled together, and the characterisation of the Seishi are a key part of why the series works. A moment must be spent here for Nuriko, who, without giving too much away, is a very "special" kind of warrior!
Unfortunately for Miaka, her best friend Yui has also found herself in the book, and not only are they competing for the affections of the same man, Yui has another grudge to bear. Becoming Seiryuu no Miko (Priestess of Seiryuu), Yui is now Miaka's sworn enemy, and the only way Miaka can put things to rights is to find all of her Seishi and ask Suzaku for help.
One thing that does end up ticking you off slightly by the end is Tamahome and Miaka's endless love-babble. Although I'm fully supportive of Tama and Miaka being together...sometimes it gets a bit much, even for a romantic like me!
With the narcissistic Emperor Hotohori (who doesn't seem to mind being mistaken occasionally for a girl, so long as he's being called pretty), the enigmatic Nuriko and the hot-headed Tasuki, the series carries very nicely with many many funny moments between the characters. But a warning - characters do and will die. And in very, very tragic ways...
Favourite Character: Nuriko, Tasuki, Hotohori
Least Favourite Character: Yui. Bleh.
Favourite Moment: Tasuki's revelation of his identity, Miaka discovering Nuriko's true self, Nuriko and Hotohori pretending to be serving women for the bandits. Basically any scene involving Tasuki, Hotohori and Nuriko. Also Tasuki and Tamahome scenes and Nuriko/Tamahome scenes. Yes, I have a lot of favourite scenes. Most of them in the Suzaku arc, for the simple reason that Nuriko's death comes way too early in the Seiryuu arc (episode 33). Although when Nuriko's spirit rescues Miaka from the falling building, that's worth watching too.
Least Favourite Moment: The death of Nuriko. Travesty! Also the death of Hotohori...another travesty (he's such a tragic character really!)
Dub: Japanese. By a mile. Some of the English voices are really scary... and Tasuki's Japanese voice truly fascinates me every time he speaks *lol*
Summary: So funny, in such a cute, naughty way! Hideki is 19 and trying to get into university, attending classes to make up his grades for the entrance exam. In a world where computers are becoming more and more like people, he has no idea about how they work and the last thing he expects to find is an abandoned humanoid "Persocon" in the rubbish. Bringing the contraption home, he soon finds that Chii - as she calls herself - is anything but ordinary, and that even in the world of computers there are many things that make her stand out. Chii's adventures through learning about life and love are overshadowed by the dark root of her origins and the death of her sister Persocon, Freya, whose spirit is sealed away inside of her memories. Meanwhile, Hideki is realising that Chii is more to him than just a machine - but is it okay to fall in love with a computer?
Favourite Character: Chii! The li'l blue haired mini-personcon is highly cool too, although I don't remember her name off the top of my head.
Least Favourite Character: I don't think I have one...
Favourite Moments: Chii's underpants hunt with Sumomo's guidance.
Least Favourite Moments: When Chii's memory seems to be erased.
Dub: Either or. No preference. :)
MARTIAN SUCCESSOR NADESICO
Genre: Shounen, at a guess!
Summary: Well, if you like Tenchi Muyo, I guess this is a series you'd like also. Akito Tenkawa was born on Mars, in a colony there, and has trained as a pilot. However, due to the darkness of his memories of that life, he wants only to be a cook and winds up aboard the Nadesico, a state of the art privately owned spaceship. The only trouble is, the captain Yurika remembers him from their childhood and is madly in love with him - as are other members of the crew! There are some darker moments, however - the fight for the Earth's safety against the Jovians and the attempt to rescue the survivors on Mars and the tragic outcome of Yurika's forced decision being among them.
The overriding in-joke of the series is, in a sense, anime of an anime. A lot of anime cliches are drawn into the series and turned on their head, or simply used in humorous ways. And as Ruri often says, people are stupid :)
Favourite Character: Ruri.
Least Favourite Character: There are several I don't have much affinity for. Yurika's father is one...
Favourite Moment: Ruri's song. Aw.
Least Favourite Moment: The death of the Martian survivors.
Dub: English or Japanese. Chisa Yokayama voices "Ryoko" on this show...now there's an amusing irony!
Genre: Shounen, I *think*
Summary: This series is a bit odd to begin with. It seems to rush into things, but it gets better (and I know it deviates a mile from the manga in a lot of ways). The story of a boy, Daisuke Niwa, whose family have the legend of Dark the Phantom Thief running through their veins. When he is 14, Daisuke becomes "infested" with Dark's spirit, sharing his body with the Thief as they seek down treasures to stop an evil force from rising. However, that evil force -Krad, the other half of the spirit Dark is - is residing in Daisuke's strange genius classmate Hiwatari, sparking off all kinds of complications. Daisuke's Dark transformations are generally triggered by romantic feelings for a girl in his class, but as time goes on, he finds his affections shifting from her to her twin sister, as he learns more and more about the both of them and his true feelings deep inside. It's a little bit kitsch at times. But I still like it.
Favourite Character: Dark
Least Favourite Character: Hiwatari's adoptive father.
Favourite Moment: Daisuke transforming himself to save Riku at the end of the series, producing wings of his own before morphing into Dark.
Least Favourite Moment: Dark and Krad being sealed away - waa, no more Dark!
Dub: Either is good with me. I don't have a preference.