I first became a fan of Ami as the earnest but dim Tenma Tsukamoto in School Rumble, which was a voice full of cheer and energy. Then I saw her in some behind the scenes material for that series (and others) and found out that she is much the same way in person - full of cheer and energy, that is. Ami is also quite tall for a Japanese woman; at five and a half feet, she often towers over her fellow female seiyuu.
While I came to know her through the comedic role of Tenma, she has also played more somber characters such as Paraietta from Simoun and Claes from Gunslinger Girl, and also the slightly unhinged Anemone from Eureka Seven. Other performances I know her for are Nina Wáng from Mai-Otome and Charlotte Yeager from Strike Witches. Most recently, she landed the role of Makoto Kino (Sailor Jupiter) in the new Sailor Moon Crystal.
Anime A to Z -J- Jarjayes, Oscar François de
The lead character in the groundbreaking The Rose of Versailles. Oscar is not your usual shoujo lead. Fiercely strong and independent, these are characteristics fitting for a member of the French Royal Guard.
Or Ikuni for short. Co-founder of Be-Papas, the creative team behind Revolutionary Girl Utena, and more recently working on his own to create Mawaru-Penguindrum, this is a man who will play with your mind and leave no question unanswered. You might call him the David Lynch of anime.
Ikuhara was also responsible for directing the latter parts of Sailor Moon R (and its film), as well as the S and SuperS runs of the show. Sailor Moon S has always been my favorite season of that series, long before I knew of the wonder that is Ikuni, and that probably explains a lot! Utena, and Adolescence Apocalypse in particular, are two works of his which speak to me at a very deep level.
Anime A to Z -H- Hazuki
Hazuki from Moon Phase may well be my favorite vampire. She’s a gothic lolita tsundere, so those are some pretty good selling points right there. Cute but dangerous, just as a girl vampire should be.
Anime A to Z -G- Ghibli
Do I really need to explain this one? :) From Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata to the new generation of directors starting to establish themselves (and the ever-present question of “Is Miyazaki really retiring this time?” - every film of his since Kiki in 1989 has been his “last”, I think), Studio Ghibli’s films are one of the pinnacles of Japanese animation.
Princess Mononoke might be the most talked about, but as superb as it is, I still recommend Kiki’s Delivery Service as the introduction to the uninitiated. My personal favorite Ghibli film is Spirited Away.
Anime A to Z -F- Figure 17
My other all-time favorite anime, sharing the top spot with Revolutionary Girl Utena. It shares the top spot because it is so different in style, theme, and execution that the two series can’t be compared on equal terms. Forty-five minute long episodes (it originally aired just one episode per month), minimal use of BGM, and a relaxed pace make Figure 17 a wonderful viewing experience. It’s mostly slice-of-life in nature, but the sci-fi element is also well done. This is also the series responsible for Hokkaido becoming one of my favorite places in Japan, even though I’ve only ever seen it in travel shows or online (or other anime series).
Anime A to Z -E- Enohana Bathhouse
The primary setting for NieA_7, as well as home and workplace to my all-time favorite anime character: Mayuko Chigasaki. It’s a run-down place trying to stay in business during tough times, something made difficult with NieA’s occasional path of destruction.
Anime A to Z -D- Daichi, Akitaroh
Akitaroh Daichi is the director of some of my favorite comedies, including Animation Runner Kuromi and Jubei-chan. The latter also shows his ability with action and drama. Comedy and drama combine to great effect in his anime version of Fruits Basket. And as a great credit to his diversity, he also helmed the unapologetically dark Now and Then, Here and There.