Unfortunate consequence of this: The first couple of things on this list I literally watched months ago, and so it's now not so much immediate impressions as considered reactions. Which is both good and bad, since it means fandom has had time to get it's claws into me.
Posting in order of when I watched them, and everything potentially has spoilers all the way through.
Death Note (anime)
Listing this may surprise some of my flistees, since Death Note was what, the second animanga fandom I got into? And yet, despite the fact I read the manga years ago, I had seen big chunks of the anime in the past - I have to confess this was, in all honesty, the first time I'd seen the entire series through, beginning to end.
That said, because I had already been floating around the fandom for quite a while, it's not like marathoning the anime really changed my opinion of the story or characters all that much. Light is still my favourite, manipulative egotistical murdering bastard that he is, and while I like L, he still comes off as a bit too much of a cypher to me to be my favourite - I can't really imagine the way he'd react outside the context of the Kira case.
And yes, you can't forget the potato chips. I don't get people who act like Death Note is all Serious Business, it's so much more fun to just accept it as being kinda absurd and go with the flow.
I also liked what they did with the second half, in stepping up the pacing. Though I am not sure how well someone who wasn't familiar with the manga might grab the leaps in logic. But Mello remained a refreshing change, and I still don't really care for Near. Sorry, Near, but I still think you are a less interesting version of L, and I don't really care that much for the adorable Shota types.
As for the differences in the ending... I don't really see them as all that different, images aside, but the anime version really did emphasise that in the end, Death Note is basically the Greek Tragedy of Light. A God decides to interfere in the affairs of man, and everyone gets screwed over as a result. Light was screwed from the moment he picked up that book, really. Yeah, his downfall was ultimately hubris, but if it was anyone else who had that book... they wouldn't have fallen so far, but they wouldn't have achieved so much (for good or for ill) beforehand. And without it, Light mightn't have died so young or so painfully - but he wouldn't have achieved so much, either. Cue Icarus metaphor.
Over all, though, I really liked the anime adaptation. Good animation, great music, the changes were (mostly) good, and it was overall terribly engaging. Occasionally crazy OTT, but I like a bit of crazy OTT, and given how much the plot is just I Know You Know I Know scheming, and bit of outrageous action worked well in contrast for me. I won't really say which I prefer out of the manga and anime, just that they really as sorted of blurred in my head into one canon. Don't ask me how the ending works out in that, though.
Code Geass and Code Geass R2 (anime)
My introduction to Code Geass was kinda weird, in retrospect: I first heard about it when people were flipping out towards the end of R2, and I thought it sounded kind of interesting, but decided to wait until the series was over and see how the ending worked out - Endings often make or break a series for me, and I'll admit that after I heard how Code Geass ended (I liked the sound of the ending, tragic as it was), I resolved to watch it.
And then something happened, I have no idea what, and I just never got around to it, and it got pushed to the back of my mind for months and months. And then in the middle of last year, something reminded me of it again - Possibly that the Friendly Neighbourhood Anime Shop of Dubious Legality had a first series boxset fairly cheap - and I ended up running through the whole thing in a little over a week. As one does.
And somehow, despite the fact that there are other anime series I like more, and others I think are undoubtedly objectively better, it seems to have ended up as one of the fandoms I am most active in (By my personal standards of active). Which is even more bizarre, since I have a huge urge to roll my eyes at like the majority of the fandom outside LJ.
I've yammered a lot about characters and stuff in other people's LJs and in the comments of mine, so if your on my flist and into Code Geass, you probably already know a lot of my opinions. And I am free to talk about it even more, since Code Geass discussion that isn't A) Is Lelouch alive debates, B) Will there be a new season?, C) R2 sucked because... and D) The ongoing bitching about characters X, Y and Z is apparently hard to find nowadays.
Anyway... Unpopular fannish opinion number one: Suzaku is my favourite Code Geass character. Which isn't to say I dislike Lelouch, as he's my second favourite character, he just took longer to grow on me. Which is weird, since I generally like Magnificent Bastard schemers who do it for the greater good, but I liked Stupidly Noble Heroic types first, and well... (Quite frankly, the either/or nature of Geass fandom, and the way people seem to decide if they love or hate a character solely on if they are on Lelouch's side bugs me. A lot. The show itself was mostly fairly good with the shades of grey stuff, WHY DOES THE FANDOM SUCK SO MUCH AT IT?)
But yeah, love Suzaku, don't entirely understand how people could possibly hate him in the first season, and don't really see how people can say he's much worse than Lelouch even in R2. Less intelligent and self-aware, maybe, but morally... Also, starting R2 the very next day after I watched the end of the first season, including the SAZ and Euphie fiasco made it very, very easy to sympathise with Suzaku, even if I wanted to frown at him for some of the things he did.
ANYWAY, back on topic: Yeah, I personally tend to see the story of Code Geass as being not so much solely Lelouch's story as it was Lelouch and Suzaku's - note that basically ever significant plot moment involves the two of them - and it strikes me that being entirely on one side or the other sort of... defeats the point. They are both wrong and both right in their own ways, they both do heroic and not so heroic things. and while we get the story from Lelouch's perspective and so he's the most well-developed and explained character - and probably the most fun to watch (WHY SO FABULOUS, ZERO?) - Suzaku's the one that intrigues me most. Possibly because of the lesser introspection we get from him, possibly because the demons Suzaku has to overcome are internal.
That said, my favourite aspect of Code Geass is the whole duality between Suzaku and Lelouch, their relationship (be it merely the friendship-turned-enemies-turned-ultimat
...And I just realised I've barely covered the rest of the characters. Or, you know, the plot
Oh, and here are some of my opinions on the ongoing debates of fandom: Lelouch is dead at the end. Really. While I can see where the "He's alive!" people get there arguments from - it's a lot more plausible than the Harry Potter debates on being alive - I think it thematic, character and story terms, Lelouch has to die. The fact that he is ultimately willing to give up his power, and stand by his "Those who shoot should be willing to be shot" is what ultimately makes him heroic, and having him be alive undermines that. And I don't by the "accidentally immortal" thing, since it would require a staggeringly huge amount of luck for that to happen without cluing anyone in and ruining Zero Requiem. So, I might read fic in which Lelouch is alive, but I don't for a second believe it is canon.
Also, while I think that R2 was, from an overall perspective - structure, consistency, pacing et al - not as good as the first season, the "Trainwreck" claims... kind of baffle me. Because a lot of the flaws that were there were also in the first season but no-one seems to care about them then. Also, there seems to be a certain amount of "I don't like X development, therefore it sucks/is stupid". *sigh* I must confess that despite it's flaws I found R2 probably more interesting to watch than the first season - partially because a lot more happened, and so I felt consistantly compelled to stick around. And also because, well, I liked a lot of the characters more (I tl;dr about my reasons for this a bit here.) That, and Code Geass was always kind of ridiculous. And don't you deny it.
As for the upcoming whatever the hell it is... don't fuck with the end of R2, and I'm sold.
But yeah, as I said at the start, there's shows I like more and ones I think are objectively better, but Code Geass has done a great job of hitting my personal fandom buttons. If the upcoming stuff continues to do so, I may start to post more frequenly on it, and actually separate out a Code Geass tag.
Read or Die (OVAs)
I watched this when I was back at my Mum's place for Christmas, and it was a fun few hours. Key word being "Few" because wow, way too short. It really could have gone on for twice the episodes that it did and I really wouldn't have a problem - and as far as I can tell, the sequel anime thing focuses on different characters, though the OVA characters make some appearances. Which is a bit disappointing, because I liked the OVA ones, Yomiko and Nancy (speaking of which, there was some epic femslash vibes going on there. I'm not alone in seeing this, right?) Especially when they got their badass on and used their powers. That were never explained at all - not that I normally care about those things, but hey. It was fun to see the head in a book geek girl kick arse. And the Nancy-clone stabbing Nancy bit in the last episode, now there was a Holy Shit moment for you.
But yeah, very short but fun while it lasted. I totally wouldn't have minded if these episodes had been like the plot-arcy ones and there'd been a few one-off filler adventure in between, really. Or they'd been longer episodes. Or something *sigh* Not a lot more to say, really. Oh, and I loved the opening music, as very James Bond-ish as it was.
Ouran High School Host Club (anime)
I just finished this series last night, and was quite surprised to find a really liked it. I say surprised, because, well, I'm not normally the type of person who goes in for that sort of thing - the only shoujo shows I've watched have been deconstructions in one way or another, I tend to like a touch of the weird in my stories. But this was just a whole lot of fun.
I think it was probably how very self-aware it was of it's own absurdity. And how very aware the characters were of it, too. And, well, I don't think I've ever seen another show that was so aware of fandom and the like, and I got such a kick out of the way the show used all that and was just so aware, down to all the fandomy terminology that official sources play to but never mention.
...And then, after lots of episodes of ridiculousness and hilarity and fannish-awareness, along it comes to be suprisingly touching after all. And by "surprisingly touching", I mean I cried through like the entire last episode - in the good way as well, in the end, because it was just so lovely and heartwarming and awesome and just plain d'awww.
Overall, I think my favourite characters were Kyouya (however that's spelt) and Tamaki.
So, that'd be that then. Of course, finishing up that lot means I am rather deficient in my "To Watch" list, since I haven't got a real lot sitting around at the moment. I do have some assorted manga catching up to do, too.
Anyway, I currently have the first season of Black Lagoon, and Neon Genesis Evangelion. (Yeah, I know. But it's a classic, so I figured I should watch it at some point.