Fooly Cooly (FLCL). But, the stipulation is you have to watch it AT LEAST TWICE. You are also NOT ALLOWED to skip the intro or outro.
This anime resonated with me on a deeply personal level as a child and then watching it again as an adult, it resonated in a different way. There's a plot, but the plot isn't what's important. What's important is all the subtext going on as well as the way the anime MAKES YOU FEEL.
"Nothing amazing happens here. Everything is ordinary."
Now, if we're breaking some rules (and I want to ), here's my picks for each form of media I enjoy, just in case Anime isn't something you're interested in.
Movie - Second Hand Lions. You'll know why once you watch it. Book - Ender's Game. This book is why I started writing in the first place and got me reading voraciously. TV Show - Person of Interest. I identified pretty hard with John. You don't need any further information. Game - Chrono Trigger. Everyone should play this at least once. It's fantastic. No game will ever top it in my opinion.
To clarify: yes. Only one work of any medium. Not one work of every medium.
I've seen interesting responses in this thread with some of good games among them (like Undertale), and I would like to use the opportunity to answer the question on this thread that's been in my head since I've made the thread. I know it's been two months since the latest response, and some who have been following me for a while might predict the game I've been thinking about, so here I go.
Aokana (Four Rhythms Across the Blue) is my number one recommendation for anyone who loves stories, romance, and cute girls. I should warn that it's pretty long (35 hours in the first walkthrough with auto-play). If you aren't fully convinced but you still want to give it a chance try to get it for sale.
I could go with a few action games like Black Mesa, Astebreed, or Project Wingman but instead I chose this. Why Aokana, a visual novel instead of a game with more levels of interactivity? I'll do a TLDR version and then I'll do a longer version of why I recommend this.
The game is not for all audiences, but before the mods pick the torches and pitchforks I should make a clear disclaimer that an all-ages version is available in Nintendo Switch as far as I know. So if people don't want to or can't see the wild stuff they have the option to pick it for that platform in particular.
TLDR: I recommend this game because the complete mixture of a good immersive story, an incredible and unforgettable set of main and secondary characters, and a beautiful soundtrack, makes this an outstanding piece of art. From my experience this game healed me emotionally because of the vast amount of quotes that absolutely every character contributes. It hit all the things I love about having fun, living your passion, and encountering liberating experiences. And I know this will stick with me for a long, very long time. If you love sports, romance stories, or topics of passions, hopes and dreams, or if you are simply hungry for optimist messages in an escapist form, Aokana is the visual novel for you.
I want to start with a short remark: I strictly don't like nihilism.
In my life I have played games, watched movies and shows... but with the years their messages recurred more to things like "sacrifice yourself even if no one will remember you", or "it's okay that the protagonist has a bad ending", or "nothing matters in life", and other similar ones. I've seen increasingly more works with messages like these that I decided to drop entire mediums precisely for this. I didn't have fun. Sure, I decided to stop watching western movies and yet I am one of those people who love the Joker from 2019 because that movie shows what happens when you push people too far until they believe they have nothing to lose. In that sense, Joker didn't have a good ending, but it shows a realistic consequence of constant abuses toward one person.
Think about it for a minute. It makes sense. If you don't have a good mental infrastructure and you see nihilistic messages like that, you would probably think in potentially dangerous things like "Why should I be a fireman if people die eventually?" or "Why should I have an artistic legacy if the sun is gonna explode and we all die anyway?", things that would lead to a necessity of a different mindset.
That's more or less how I became extremely more interested in anime and visual novels, but specially visual novels because of the level of appeal in female characters (I like women after all). I've been playing several romantic visual novels with good stories, better stories than western movies with a good dialogue, no subversion of expectations involved or anything like that, and even I've seen the funniest moments I have seen in any other videogame... Simple stories with good endings. In these VNs I have seen different characters doing efforts to achieve a goal: whether if it's participating for the first prize in a floristry contest, or defeating insecurities to feel safe around you (the main character), or trying their hardest to rescue a childhood friend, or to put it simpler, to have fun. Yes, most of these characters I've seen in these visual novels are girls, and they are very pretty but they are designed to be attractive for a major impact and therefore there is a deeper level of emotional connection -which is why introductions and common routes in visual novels are long.
So I enjoyed these VNs, they are better than these western works in my book, but I was missing something and I didn't know what.
Then I saw Aokana in the Steam store page. The art was good, the screenshots were good, the character designs were good... First I was skeptic when I saw that 98% of more than 2000 reviews from Steam were positive, and then I was telling myself "You don't wanna miss this one". And in the time when I was too hungry for escapism in Summer 2021 that I decided to give it a chance.
My high expectations were completely surpassed. From the opening and the main menu music (the instrumental of "Wings of Courage"), during the notoriously long common route, until the true ending. I truly felt like I was in that world, I truly felt like I was the main character, and I truly felt my real world problems away from me, even temporarily. This is both truly escapism without nihilism, what I was looking for. what I was hungry for. I dedicated an entire entry talking about this in my webpage.
Do you want to see a protagonist deliberately screwing his life because of fear, and then overcoming that fear by reviving his abandoned passion?
Do you want to see a well done romantic story without losing the sight of the theme of perseverance in sports?
And most importantly, do you want to be fully immersed in a world with good characters and a good soundtrack, guaranteeing a large feeling of escapism?
Then consider Aokana.
Only one thing of any medium? That is a tough one!
But if I had to, I'd have to go with....
The Chronicles of Narnia series.
I've loved these books since childhood and I love these books even now as an adult, in fact I probably have an even deeper appreciation for them now that I'm older. When you can grow with a children's story, when as an adult you just love it more, I feel like there's real value in that. The books themselves are all really good stories, very imaginative, and with good messages. Like this book series resonates with me like no other series out there can. It harbors both good memories (like when I would read them to my grandpa) as well as moments where something in the story just hits when I need it most.
Boy, this is a poser, and I've thought it over and may change my mind again later. But at this very moment, it would be Bridge of Birds, by Barry Hughart. A novel of an Ancient China that never was. It's a great story, a rollicking adventure, laugh-out-loud funny, and still liberally festooned with solid and accessible references to Chinese literature, history, and culture.
It's a very enjoyable read and I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Game: -Finshed: Librum mod pack for Skyrim VR -Unfinished: Valheim TV Series:
-Battlestar Galactica (2000s version) Movie:
-Not Lord of the Rings: The Fountain
-Is Lord of the Rings: Lord of the rings Book:
-Name of the wind Anime:
(oops) just had to lock the 29# post for myself.
The holy bible. In whatever format you are comfortable with. Not lier Lucifer morningstar's bible, but the one that explains the purpose of every being, plant, animal, feeling, and thought that any individual will encounter during their lifetime. The knowledge, wisdom, and understanding will save your life. If used wholeheartedly, there will be nothing you cannot do or achieve. Using it incorrectly will curse your descendants until those who are a piece repent of the sin and never to return to it.
Everything I know and everything I done in this life is because of this book. Long live the Holy Bible
I think it would be a CS go. It makes you think like a book. It's beautiful like a painting. It makes you feel for the character like a good movie. Of course I'm very likely romanticizing it too much because it's the first game I ever started playing. My dad taught me. And before that I watched him play for a long time and it always fascinated me. Later on of course I started to watch the matches on scope.gg and that game absorbed me even more. But despite all my fondness for it, I still think it's the best thing I can recommend to anyone.