Tier 9: The Shonen Tournament Bonanza!

Phi Brain: Puzzle of God

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This show is just so amazingly wonderfully dumb. It's kind of like Yu-Gi-Oh, except with “Puzzles” instead of card games. Heavy emphasis on those quotation marks, because this show has no idea what a puzzles is despite supposedly being all about them. Sometimes it's a game, sometimes it's tag, and sometimes it's having a group of children complete a color by numbers drawing.

Why it's on the list

I cannot repeat this enough: The show is the dumbest. Even when you think you've reached the depths of idiocy, the show manages to impress and dig deeper. Has really likeable character and great interactions between them. And also has the greatest back story angst reveal of all time. The best. It superficially, and I emphasize superficially follows the act structure of Revolutionary Girl Utena.

Why it's not higher

But in the final act they completely blindsided me by suddenly deciding to do a 180 and become X. Unnggg...Why would you do that? A) It's really hard to pull off being X without also stealing the iconic song. B) It's fucking X. In the latest stages the show becomes depressingly dumb and dark instead of invigoratingly marvelously idiotic.


Pokemon

It's fucking Pokemon.

Why it's on the list

Because it's fucking Pokemon.

Why it's not higher

So many episodes... so little ambition to push forward and try harder. Would probably still watch it if I didn't hate the Cartoon Network Dub though.


Yu Yu Hakusho

Hunter x Hunter (1999)

Two very good Shonen tournament anime from the same mangaka, Yoshihiro Togashi. In the wake of Togashi's marriage to Naoko Takeuchi, the author of Sailor Moon, he started making a conscious effort to also appeal to female readers. This results in Hunter x Hunter trending more toward pretty boy characters as opposed to the overly muscular and masculine characters that Yu Yu Hakusho had more of.

Why they're on the list

Very good straightforward Shonen anime.

Why they're not higher

The endless tournament structure wears on me for how long these shows are. They never really mix things up in a way to justify their length.