Big Eyes Small Mouth 3rd edition might have been a more popular game despite coming too late to save its parent company of Guardians of the Order. That having been said, the 3rd edition of Big Eyes Small Mouth (shortened to BESM) is exemplary of quality and dedication to the anime aesthetic coupled with tabletop game design.
The book is of course filled with high quality illustrations, with an obvious bias for the anime art style. The layout is amazing, and in full color. While the book is available in "print on demand." it retails for $60. I would venture to say that it is worth every dollar for those whose interests in role playing and anime intersect.
In the first chapter, the book gives a proper introduction with a "what are role playing games" section. However, this book also includes a "what is anime" section, and each of those two subjects are approached with a kind of earnest honesty that can be appreciated regardless of ones familiarity with either subject. Being the third edition, the book does a good job of listing the subtle differences that make this edition distinct in a handy chart.
Character creation is actually rather time consuming, though not unnecessarily; the core concept would be that you can make any character from a variety of genres. The game also includes many notes that help the uninitiated, and also give hints on simplification of options. I won't go into the intricacies of character creation, but one should be warned that it spans 7 chapters! Not all are necessary, but it showcases how robust and differentiated your character can be.
The mechanics are incredibly simple, with all actions being resolved by rolling 2d6 and adding a modifier. In earlier editions, the system favored low rolls, and defenders had an unfair advantage, which meant that combats tended to run long. Though I never got the opportunity to run this system through its paces, the new system at a glance seemed far more apt for the high octane anime battles that I had wanted from earlier editions, and never quite got in earlier editions.
The remainder of the book includes an insightful look at anime, its influences and peculiarities, and even a look into Japanese society. There is also an ample amount of advice for players and game masters for running various anime games, as well as advice for role playing in general. The last chapter lists loosely defined but excellent sample settings meant as a kind of blueprint for potential anime worlds.
Given the current offering of games that are at least partially steeped in the anime aesthetic and sensibility, it is easy to see how this book and its earlier editions helped to shape the gaming industry. Perhaps with time and attention, this system might have shown more flaws, but for the time being it remains an attractive artifact of role playing and its flirtatious history with Japanese media.