TV & Movies


If you just can’t get into anime, feel free to skip to the non-anime TV & movies section.

I also have YouTube playlists of the trailers from my favorite Japanese animations. There’s the sick-and-twisted anime, and everything else (still has some dark ones).

Okay, so, I consider myself “an anime fan”, because there are a significant number of Japanese animations in my list of favorite movies and TV series. On the other hand, if you shove me at a pile of random anime DVDs, odds are I’ll be remotely interested in less than 5% of them. There are some really, really amazingly fantastically awesome anime out there, and that’s what makes me “an anime fan”; but for every one title I absolutely adore, there are another twenty I want absolutely nothing to do with.

For instance, a very popular “genre” of anime, if you want to call it that (“trope” might be a better term), is the awkward high-school boy who’s constantly caught in awkward and either apparently or actually perverted or sexual circumstances with members of the opposite sex, or love triangle situations where he wasn’t necessarily pursuing one or either of the other members of the triangle as love interests (but they’re constantly jealous of each other). Actually, a pretty good rule of thumb for “will Micah like it or not?” for anime is, “does it primarily feature characters who are students in some sort of school?”, though there are several notable exceptions in the list below.

Not that I find anything wrong with sexual “perversion”, or good old-fashioned sex humor. I just don’t think that it’s great when that’s pretty much all a series has going for it. For some reason, Chobits is an exception for me. It has everything I just complained about, and not really much more, and yet somehow I find it completely watchable. I still don’t fully understand why; as I said, I usually hate that stuff (if there’s not much more to it than that).

As to the “students” rule of thumb, as I said there are several exceptions; I think it’s just that a lot of animations featuring student protagonists tend to be little more than sitcoms that play on the ability of Japanese school students to relate to it, and I just don’t, so there has to be more to it than that.

I tend to like dark, brooding stuff that makes me have to think about stuff:

  • Ghost in the Shell (I & II—I don’t much care for the “Standalone” TV series or movie, though)
  • Serial Experiments: Lain
  • Kino’s Journey
  • Haibane Renmei
  • Grave of the Fireflies
  • Paranoia Agent
  • Ergo Proxy

And then, a lot of the stuff I like goes beyond dark and brooding, a bit more towards sick and twisted:

  • Attack on Titan—currently my all-time favorite series
  • Shigurui—man is that miniseries seriously fucked up, but so amazing
  • When They Cry (ultra-cutesy school students, murdering the shit outta each other in every story arc)
  • Berserk
  • Gantz
  • Basilisk
  • Claymore
  • The Perfect Blue

But there are also plenty of anime I love that are not dark or twisted:

  • Dennou Coil
  • Origin: Spirits of the Past
  • Cowboy Bebop
  • Samurai Champloo
  • Last Exile
  • Princess Mononoke
  • Paprika
  • Mushishi
  • Wolf’s Rain
  • My Neighbor Totoro
  • Spirited Away
  • Pompoko

Other Movies

As with anime, there are a lot of dark, brooding, and/or twisted movies:

  • Triplets of Belleville
  • Watchmen
  • Let The Right One In
  • Machete (but not Machete Kills :-p)
  • Planet Terror
  • 12 Monkeys
  • Children of Men
  • V for Vendetta
  • Mary & Max
  • Pan’s Labyrinth
  • Three Colors: Blue (French)
  • Dark City
  • Cube
  • The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Swedish)
  • Delicatessen
  • Sweeney Todd (Broadway, not Depp)
  • He Was A Quiet Man
  • The Goddess of 1967
  • The Orphanage
  • The City of Lost Children

But there are a few comedies—I love comedy, but find it very hard to find comedic movies that I enjoy—too many movies go for low-brow cheap shots. I find videos of stand-up comics to have a much higher success rate for me, than stories (but didn’t list them here).

  • Grandma’s Boy
  • Office Space
  • Sound of Noise
  • Paint Your Wagon (comical musical in which Clint Eastwood sings very well)

…And I’ll just dump the remainder here.

  • The Fall
  • Amelie
  • The Dark Crystal
  • The Matrix Trilogy (yes, all three)
  • Inception
  • Into the Woods
  • The Good Heart
  • Sneakers
  • Meet Joe Black
  • Coraline
  • Minority Report
  • Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? (Taiwanese)
  • The Game
  • Ben X
  • When Harry Met Sally
  • Maze (with Rob Morrow)

Other TV

  • Firefly
  • Dead Like Me
  • Dexter
  • Raising Hope
  • Lilyhammer (Netflix)
  • Lost (but just the first couple seasons)
  • Booth at the End (Hulu+)
  • Better off Ted
  • Doctor Who
  • Eureka

And I watch The Daily Show and Colbert Report, damn-near religiously.

Video Games

I love, love, love good videogames. Grew up on the Intellivision, progressing to Alex Kidd, Super Mario Brothers, and Sonic the Hedgehog in due time. I’m not much for the old Intellivision games these days, but Nightstalker never quite loses its fun, and Disney’s Tron® Deadly Discs is one of my all-time favorites. I plan to make a (trademark-free) clone of it sometime when I can get it together. I did actually write a working clone in FutureBASIC for the Macintosh a long, long time ago. But I’ve long since lost it.

In some ways, I’m a very atypical gamer. I’m not into first-person shooters or World of Warcraft (I was never into the original Warcraft, either); I don’t really get the whole concept of the MMO game. I love good adventure games, but those are basically dead. Nobody makes great adventure games any more, but occasionally you at least still find great games with compelling stories—like Bioshock, Half-Life², or F.E.A.R..

One of my all-time favorite games is the little-known Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee. You play a very vulnerable, unarmed humanoid alien who works as a slave at a meat processing plant where his species has just been chosen as the next menu item. In your favor, however, is the fact that you have a special spiritual talent that allows you to possess the bodies of your enemies, the Sligs, provided you don’t try to do it within range of their guns. Removing yourself from their bodies is apparently impossible to do without ripping them into myriad chunks of Slig meat. The challenges are unique and generally pretty bizarre, with gameplay difficulty at a nice wide spectrum: it’s easy enough to play the game through, but rescuing enough of your buddies at the meat plant to avoid a grisly end at the game’s finale can be excruciatingly difficult. But very rewarding.

But the sequel to this game, Abe’s Exoddus, was even better, since it allowed you to take possession of several more things than was previously possible, and several new challenges, such as little slug-like creatures that are somehow capable of swallowing you whole, and hunt you relentlessly. Oh, yeah: you can also emit, possess and control explosive farts. What more could you ask in a game?

I’m a big fan of good RPGs and adventure games. Final Fantasy VII, VIII and X have all irreversibly left their marks on me. I also love The Longest Journey and Syberia. Some older adventure games that I still remember fondly, and still return to occasionally, are the LucasArts adventures Grim Fandango, The Dig, and Full Throttle. Shadow of the Colossus for PS2… Oh yeah. Its predecessor, ICO. Every game in the Myst series, except the last one, End of Ages. That was only okay.

My favorite video games are artistic ones. Games that provide ambience, and really make you feel like you’re actually experiencing the events that unfold. The indie games Braid and Limbo totally achieve that.


I have a fairly eclectic taste in music…

Techno, Drum-and-Bass, or thereabouts…

  • The Glitch Mob
  • Propellerheads (Drumsanddecksandrockandroll)
  • The Crystal Method (mostly the older stuff, like Vegas and Tweekend albums).
  • Asphalt Jungle
  • The Prodigy

Indie and Alt/Misc Rock, a smatter of metal:

  • Muse
  • Interpol (Antics album)
  • Mother Mother
  • The Delgados
  • Tool (esp. 10,000 Days)
  • A Perfect Circle
  • Puscifer (esp. V for Vagina)
  • Alanis Morissette

Hip Hop

Even a little Bluegrass:

  • Nickel Creek
  • Bela Flek and the Flektones

And pieces of whatever’s left:

  • Massive Attack‘s Mezzanine album
  • The Seatbelts (Japanese jazz, baby!)
  • Hiromi Uehara (more of that)
  • Imogen Heap / Frou Frou
  • Amy Winehouse


I love literature of all sorts, but am particularly interested in science fiction, fantasy and cyberpunk. So, of course I love:

  • Tolkien
  • Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife is my current favorite
  • Brandon Sanderson, especially the Mistborn series
  • Nnedi Okorafor, especially Who Fears Death
  • Patrick Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicle series (The Name of the Wind)
  • KJ Kabza (short stories)
  • William Gibson
  • Richard K. Morgan
  • Neil Stephenson (especially Snow Crash)
  • Bram Stoker’s Dracula
  • Terry Brooks’s Sword of Shannara series (the first three series)
  • Machine of Death (themed short stories collection)

Other notable fiction:

Notable non-fiction:

  • The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, by Carl Sagan
  • The Age of Reason, Thomas Paine
  • Predictably Irrationa, Dan Ariely
  • The Ancestor’s Tale, Richard Dawkins
  • Elements of Typographical Style, Robert Bringhurst
  • The Art of Computer Programming, Donald Knuth
  • Lying, Sam Harris