In June 2015, an idea was born. Me and a good friend of mine made a joke that when I finished my 100th anime, that I should in turn make 100 lists. The general idea was fun but seemed like quite the undertaking. As bold as I tend to be, I accepted it as a challenge. From that point on, a series of lists were born! It all started with a list identical to this one, my top 25 favorite anime. A year and a half has passed since I first embarked on this quest, and a few days ago I finally completed the final list. 100 lists over the course of 600 plus days. A little less than a list a week. I told myself I wouldn’t update any of my favorites til the task was done. Now that it is, here I am. I proudly present my Top 25 favorite anime of all time, as of 2017!
Before we get into the main list itself, there were a few things I wanted to clear up. I plan to have 5 honorable mentions. These are the anime shows that just barely missed the cut of my list, but I felt I couldn’t just ignore their value to me. They are unranked, but all just as worthy to talk about as the next one. Proceeding the main bulk of the post will be the actual Top 25. Afterwards though, this post will have a small section at the bottom that will feature links to any of my friends who also do this type of list. I’ve tried to drum up a fair amount of excitement for this event, so I do hope at least a handful or two of them decide to participate. I will take the time to update this post and their lists regularly when I can. Until then, let’s enjoy a nice lengthy post about why these 25 series(and then some) are so near and dear to my heart.
Show: Magic Kaito 1412
Year(s) Aired: Oct. 2014 to March 2015
Studio: A-1 Pictures
Former Placement: 23
I like to believe the world is a very magical place. It is chock full of wonderment and mystery. One of the most delightful ways to spend an evening, that I can think of, is at a magic show. Things unseen by the naked eye, and illusions are born. Well, imagine if you will, an anime that uses the tricks of a magician but mixed with a vigilante. This is Magic Kaito 1412, an anime with those elements living in harmony. Kaito is all about a young magician trying to unravel the mysteries of his father’s disappearance so many years ago. To do this, he uses his Houdiniesque skills, and his wit to steal jewels from places(like a museum) that could hold the very secret he wishes to obtain. Kaito is a blast because it never takes itself too seriously. The show is all about the idea of performance. If the episode can give you that same sense of disbelief and awe the characters in the show feel, as Kaito does his routine, then it is a success. Mix in a very likable cast with great interpersonal bonding, and Kaito is just the perfect series to sit down, and let take you away to a world of magic. And who doesn’t like that feeling after all?
Random Fact: Magic Kaito was created by the same man who is the mind behind Detective Conan(Case Closed). It actually predates Conan by a whopping 7 years! It never could garner the same popularity though, and still remains in it’s shadow as the phantom manga.
Show: Spice & Wolf
Year(s) Aired: Winter 2008, Summer 2009
Episodes: 25 + 2 OVA
Source: Light Novel
Former Placement: Unranked
Spice & Wolf is generally an anime that gets labeled unfairly before it is actually seen. You see, in the first episode secondary main protagonist Holo the Wise Wolf is stark naked. She also bears a bushy tail and trademark wolf ears. She is sold as furry wonderland by the way google would have you see it. This however, is woefully misguided and misses all that the show is truly about, economics & romance. That is right, if you want an anime with a very strong fantasy feel, that will teach you how market values work on a basic level, this is the show for you! Half-joking aside, Spice & Wolf is a treat from beginning to end. We get to see Lawrence and Holo grow as people, and how their partnership evolves in meaning. Some of my favorite scenes in all of anime are the ones where these two just talk about anything and everything for half the episode. It’s as real as true conversation gets, and I also learned a few things from it too. Now if only someone would make a season 3. Oh well, at least I can read it to see their journey’s end.
Random Fact: Isuna Hasekura’s light novel series for Spice & Wolf ended in 2016 and will have a continuation storyline taking place after the events of the original.
Year(s) Aired: April 2011-Sept. 2011
Studio: White Fox
Episodes: 24 + 1 OVA
Source: Visual Novel
Former Placement: 13
I’m a sucker for a good time travel narrative. If you can make the mind-bending idea of traveling through the space time continuum a fun investing ride, then you did good. Stories like Back to the Future, Chrono Trigger, and the Time Machine are some of the finest examples of using time travel mechanics to the greatest extent. They create people you want to care about with the idea time could change with the smallest act. If you hop over to the anime spectrum, Steins;Gate would be the one to talk about. The story of an eccentric, “mad scientist” playing around with his experiments, that throws his life headlong into trying to save the life of someone dear to him no matter what, is gripping throughout. The science fiction element is particularly strong with a delightfully cheeky cast, and serious plot to bolster it. A flimsy romance tossed in was the only kill joy here, from an other what masterful telling of time travel and morals.
Random Fact: The character John Titor, who is presented as a prophet of the future’s impending demise, in the show, was an actual real life person. If you go back on the internet you can find documentation proving someone claiming similar things.
Show: Ushio and Tora
Year(s) Aired: July 2015- June 2016
Former Placement: Unranked
I love shonen based stories in anime. Their manga counter-parts are a large part of what got me into both mediums. Some of my all time personal favorites all fall into this category. My only major issue with most of them is we never have major loss in them. A lot of the time, if a character could die or should, it just doesn’t happen. I don’t want to sound like a sadist, but I want more death. It’s realistic and makes each time a crisis occurs in your story have more weight. The unknown of what could happen, is one of the most exciting parts of any story. Ushio and Tora commits to this idea, and is all the better for it. A great main lead who sees the real trials and tribulations of becoming the hero against the forces of evil, and how it can take away so much. The struggles of Ushio are some of the most relatable of any shonen character because he experiences the pains of loss, and learns the value of each fight’s importance. A stellar ride from start to end. What begins as episodic world building, quickly becomes a fight to save Japan itself.
Random Fact: The 2015 anime wasn’t the first attempt to adapt Ushio and Tora. It actually has OVAs that date as far back as 1992.
Show: Princess Tutu
Year(s) Aired: August 2002-May 2003
Studio: Hal Film Maker
Former Placement: Unranked
A frequently said line in the anime community is, “real men watch Princess Tutu.” This stems from the fact that by looking at Tutu you would assume it is very girly. A story about a young ballerina girl, with princess in the title does sound indicative of that at least. It would be a crying shame though, if we let such a masochistic description of this fairy tale within a fairy tale hurt it’s reputation. Princess Tutu is about a duck(yes a duck), named Ahiru, who has the dream of being a real girl and making her dreams come true. Think Pinocchio meets Swan Lake, but about love, and with a lot of twists tossed in. Ahiru is given this chance to be a real girl but with a very large fine print to go along with it. It’s everything you love about old fairy tale stories, adapted into a cohesive package. You will laugh, cry, and join Ahiru on a journey so magical you will never forget. Maybe dreams do come true, huh?
Random Fact: When Princess Tutu aired, the television broadcast did a particularly odd thing. They split the second cour into 10 minute episodes and many sites think it is 39 episodes long due to this confusing choice.
Show: Hanasaku Iroha
Year(s) Aired: April 2011-Sept. 2011
Studio: P.A. Works
Former Placement: 22
What better way to kick off the top 25 then by festing it up?!(Welp you got bumped down to honorable mentions, but I still love ya!) P.A. Works is always a gamble with me. Out of their collective creations, about half of them I find to be just awful. Then on the flip side they have made a few shows that I simply adore. Hanasaku Iroha is obviously one of those. The slice of life adventure of young Ohana, forced to go live with her estranged grandmother, is a charming one to go on. Not only did this show give me a finer appreciation for the nuances of taking care of your own inn, but it also had exceedingly believable character drama. The problems that arise in this show, minor or major, are all significant to the people involved, and if that isn’t close to real life, then what is? I love the cast, the visuals are breath taking, and for once I got a romance built in that was completely satisfying with how it dealt with its own angst. The ending is completely fitting in all regards, but it stands as the only considerate beef the show created with me. Props to you Hanasaku, props to you.
Random Fact: Hanasaku Iroha has a film that connects to the series by telling the story of Ohana’s mother and what creates her eventual strained relations with her family.
TOP 25 FAVORITE ANIME
Show: Parasyte: The Maxim
Year(s) Aired: Oct. 2014- March 2015
Former Placement: 19
Horror anime are few and far in between in the anime medium. Then when you take the time to watch the ones that do exist you end up sorely disappointed with their execution more often than not. Parasyte from it’s trailers looked to be the next big horror anime. Would I classify it as such? Well, yes and no. I rather prefer calling it a thriller since scaring the hide off your back isn’t the overall intention, rather it wants to take you on an exhilarating roller coaster of emotions. Shinichi is as ordinary as you come for a boy his age. He is a tad shy, a bit of an awkward kid around his crush, and altogether means well. The moment he gets mixed up with the alien parasitic phenomena though, his life takes a drastic change. The journey Shinichi goes through with his own parasyte Migi, and the loved ones around him that he wants to keep out of this troublesome horror, is what I said above, thrilling. The juxtaposition of trying to keep his life a normal one, with the whole food chain of species being threatened, is incredibly engaging to say the least. I love Parasyte for being bold and always keeping me at the very edge of my seat. Satisfying to it’s conclusion, I find it to be one of the most heart pounding narratives in all of anime.
Random Fact: Parasyte originally intended to be a bit more adult. The parasyte Migi was envisioned to have a moment, where he would transform into a penis in front of love interest Satomi Murano. This idea was the basis of why it has a high school setting, as the author found it most fitting.
Year(s) Aired: March 2011-July 2011
Studio: A-1 Pictures
Former Placement: 18
Death is one thing in life you can not avoid, that and taxes. A common issue with grief, is that we have issues moving on. We dwell on the pain of the lost loved one, and sometimes we even cast blame on ourselves. I know this all too well, as I over the past 2 years have lost not only my cat of almost a decade, but my father too. I actually saw Anohana before their passing, but as time has moved forward, I’ve gained even more watching this series. Losing someone you care about very deeply is easily one of the hardest things you can ever go through. Anohana while incredibly sad for covering a topic such as this, is powerful nonetheless. Coming to terms with the person being gone is incredibly difficult to do. It’s like the emotional weight of stopping a train flying right at you. It seems impossible, and that you will be pancaked at any moment. However, we forget that we can take a step to the side, avoid the train, and remember that death is natural. No matter what took them away from us, we can find it in us to accept our pain or guilt, and really start to heal again as we head down the track of our life. Anohana does a fine job of exploring this very idea with the loss of a dear friend to the main cast, and having her ghost return to try to give them all the peace they are searching for. Trust me when I say this finale, is one of the most emotionally gripping out there.
Random Fact: Anohana was the first anime to ever make me cry. Until I recently conquered a huge emotional block for myself with the help of my girlfriend, crying wasn’t something I could do easily.
Year(s) Aired: Fall 2005-Spring 2006, Spring 2014-Winter 2014
Episodes: 46 + 2 Specials
Former Placement: 24
I am not what you could call a spiritual person. I love the ideologies of Buddism, and other incredibly spiritual followings, but they just don’t align with my personal beliefs. If you can create a work of fiction that makes me become enamored with the idea of a spiritual type being, then you must be doing something very right. Mushishi, follows the episodic adventure of a mushi master named Ginko. Mushi are spiritual beings that are naturally part of the planet and are almost as important to the ecosystem as nature is itself. Often, the human race has a tendency to infiltrate the natural order of things, and defile forests or landscapes for their own personal wants. Whether it is to build houses, or just because they want to clear out the land for farming. Mushishi delves into showing what a world would be like if natural beings unseen by humans, had an equal and as noteworthy existence as them. If they somehow collide though, trouble can and will brew like a storm. Mushi masters are there to keep the harmonic balance between both worlds, as they live in both simultaneously. A food for thought anime, that takes the time to give the planet a much needed spotlight as the center for all the life it harbors.
Random Fact: The anime concluded with a lengthy film showing the final episodic escapade of Ginko and his travels.
Year(s) Aired: Oct 2014-March 2015
Studio: P.A. Works
Former Placement: 15
Meta concepts tend to always make the internet lose their shit. Things like Undertale, Fight Club, and of course, Shirobako are adored by many for simply being clever in this regard. While, I’m not saying anything ill about this form of delivery of your story, it tends to make people lose sight of the other beauties held within. Shirobako is an anime all about making anime. Oddly the concept hadn’t been done yet, or at least well. We already have Bakuman do the same in the manga medium, but anime had yet to see someone dive into that idea. This is what makes series like this excel on the level they do though. The amount of effort thrown in to make you appreciate how difficult the process of animation is, and why it is so beloved by not just the fans, but creators alike is staggering. Shirobako wants to make you love anime as much as the people at P.A. Works do. And god damn it, they sure do a fine job.
Show: Kimi ni Todoke
Year(s) Aired: Oct. 2009-March 2011
Studio: Production I.G.
Episodes: 37 + 1 Special
Former Placement: Unranked
If there is one thing I’m known for by most of my peers, it is my romantic tendencies. I have a huge habit of displaying affection for my girlfriend quite often. I’m a diehard romantic at my core. Nothing quite tickles my fancy more than a story of love. Kimi ni Todoke. is all about reaching that person you want to connect with romantically. If you love anime as sweet as american cake, then this is the show for you. The main premise is all about two young highschoolers. and their journey to finally express their strong feelings of love. At center-stage. we have Sawako, a shy, awkward, and very honest person. Her biggest flaws are not understanding her greatest strengths. Watching this with your partner is something highly recommended. It makes for a perfect slice of romance quiche. All the fillings are there to make you feel warm, fuzzy, and absolutely head over heels for your significant other. Pure, simple, youthful romantic expression is one that makes my heart sing like a bird, and who knows if you connect with the main leads like me and my partner did, you may also have a favorite on your hands.
Random Fact: There are several real life sports references in Kimi ni Todoke. Such as a knock at Joe being beat down like the titular character from Ashita no Joe, or the dog Kazehaya’s adopts being named after former pitcher of the Boston Red Sox, Pedro Martinez.
Year(s) Aired: July 2014-Sept2014
Studio: Kinema Citrus
Former Placement: 20
Ever heard the statement, “we are our own worst critics”? It’s a classic proverb at this point, and I feel many of us would nod in agreement to its accuracy. Sometimes, taking a step back to reevaluate ourselves, and to get perspective on our lives, is the best thing you can do. Barakamon centers around this idea with calligrapher, Handa Seishu, as he hits a roadblock in his creative artistry. City boy, sent out to the boonies, he becomes. A classic anime story convention, if I’ve ever heard one. Yet, Barakamon really sets up a wonderful picture for the audience. To just take a moment to consider what relocation can do for your mental stability. Because, in all honesty if you don’t feel good in the ole noggin, then not a damn thing will go right for you more than likely. Barakamon is hilarious with it’s comedy yes, but the message it presents about taking time to take care of yourself, is what resonated with me the deepest.
Random Fact: Barakamon has a spin off anime that focuses on the main character’s life in his high-school years. Don’t watch it, please just don’t.
Show: Romeo no Aoi Sora
Year(s) Aired: 1995
Studio: Nippon Animation
Former Placement: Unranked
SPAZZACAMINO!!! ANYONE NEED A SPAZZACAMINO!? Well Romeo is the man for the job!! This classic novel, turned into the 1995 World Masterpiece Theater anime is all about a boy who sweeps chimneys during his tenure as a slave. Not the brightest and most cheery synopsis I’ve ever said, but this anime is all about trying to be uplifting. From the moment you hear the opening song, it becomes as clear as those blue skies above your head, that Romeo is here to teach some quality life lessons. It’s hard to exactly nail down what makes the narrative of Romeo no Aoi Sora such an easy one to enjoy, but if I had to say anything, it would be the cast. Romeo, Angeletta, the Black Brothers, and of course Alfredo, make for the perfect rag tag group to go on this journey with. If a story can make slavery of children end on a positive note, well it must be pretty darn special. Just be prepared for the possibility of feeling every emotion possible, whilst making your way to the conclusion.
Random Fact: Romeo is an adaptation of a 1941 Swiss novel with similar ideas and story lines. It was slightly modified however, to make it more child friendly for television viewing.
Year(s) Aired: April 2009- July 2010
Former Placement: 16
The revolutionary series of the new millennium, are certainly not going to be forgotten anytime soon. One Piece, Naruto, Bleach, and Fullmetal Alchemist are juggernauts to the anime spectrum. The entire landscape of the time period, is defined by the big 4. FMA got a 2003 adaptation(which I often denounce), a rather loose version of the original plot, and then it got brotherhood. This is as close as you will get to the beloved manga ladies and gents. The melting pot of genres, that makes one of the most popular series in anime history. FMA Brotherhood, has it all, from action to romance to gritty horror. A lot of times, a jack of all trades ends up not excelling in any fashion, but FMA is the standard on how to do it right. Constantly it exceeds expectations and delivers a true grand spectacle.
Show: Baby Steps
Year(s) Aired: April 2014-Sept. 2015
Studio: Studio Pierrot
Former Placement: 25
Kuroko and Haikyuu, eat your heart out, this is the premier anime for quality sports action. Baby Steps is the adventure of a young high school student, with no hobbies or interests of his own, who eventually gets whisked into the world of tennis. This anime is essentially a story of love. I would classify it as a romance, but the love it bears is deeper than face value. It isn’t just a boy meets girl situation, no, this is someone falling hard for a passion. Tennis becomes Ei-chan’s lifeblood, and sole drive for his future. That kind of love is not one so simple explained, but to see it, the ups and downs of his baby steps to the top is pure bliss. No single anime has more tense and dramatic sports games then the one’s of this young boy, in a world he never knew could be so impactful to him.
Random Fact: This is a great example of why using common terms for your show is a bad idea. Google baby steps or bleach and see what come up first.
Show: Shin Sekai Yori
Year(s) Aired: Sept. 2012- March 2013
Studio: A-1 Pictures
Former Placement: 14
It is rare that a narrative focused on a futuristic dystopia could be so entertaining. Exploring the darkest reaches of human society and the terrors it can create through that, is not always a joyous task. Yet, sometimes the stories where humanity as a concept is cut into deeply, are some of the most profound and intellectually stimulating. I often adore looking at my race’s place in the universe, and how it mingles as a cohesive. This is why courses like sociology & philosophy are so fascinating to become educated in. We are so easily thirsty for more knowledge on ourselves, and deconstructing our behavior is such a splendid way to do so. It might not be all sunshine and rainbows in Shin Sekai Yori, but it is engagingly thought provoking, if nothing else.
Random Fact: SSY has many inspirations with it’s motifs, one of the most notable is Squealer being largely similar to a character from George Orwell’s Animal Farm.
Year(s) Aired: Fall 2013-Summer 2013
Episodes: 50 + 1 OVA
Former Placement: Unranked
I love when I stumble headlong into watching an anime for some odd reason, and it not only makes me feel like a 14 year old fangirl of my favorite boy band, but it also teaches me. I had no idea what on earthly hell karuta(although none of you did either) was before jumping into Chihayafuru. A fast paced, reaction-based sport, about the famous 100 proverb poems of the Heian Period. That alone added some culture to my watching, but then you get such vivid, lovable characters, and emotions from the people competing in this sport. It may not be as exciting as Baby Steps, but I will not take away from the exhilarating nature of the game. If I could read and understand the language of Japanese, you best believe I would be playing me some karuta! Such a ball of fun this one is. As I sit here rocking out to its opening song from the first season.
Random Fact: I actually watched this show from losing a bet to a friend. I was supposed to read a book before a certain deadline. You guess how that went I bet.
Show: Natsume Yujinchou
Year(s) Aired: 2008-Present
Studio: Brains Bases, Shuka
Episodes: 63 + 2 OVA
Former Placement: 17
SEASON 6 IS ON THE WAY BABY!!! Oh, right the hype train isn’t meant to stop here is it? On you go Mr. Choochoo. You know something I love to do in my free time? To enjoy the simple pleasures of pure leisurely relaxation. I know, who doesn’t right? But seriously, I mean it! Natsume is the anime that gives me the biggest tidal wave of relaxing vibes. The episodic nature of a lonely boy who can see the fantastical world of youkai, and tries to coexist with them as equals, is pure tranquility to me. The slice of life genre, is one I tend to get into more easily than most, and Natsume is by far at the top of the list of series that invokes that sentiment. If I ever just want to get cozy in my bed, grab a snack, and enjoy 20 minutes of good feels, Natsume is my go to.
Random Fact: The anime film Hotarubi no Mori e is actually by the same author, and was a spiritual prequel to Natsume.
Year(s) Aired: April 2011-Sept. 2011
Studio: Kyoto Animation
Episodes: 26 + 1 OVA
Former Placement: 9
Slapstick comedy is quite the thing to behold. From the early pioneers, such as Charlie Chaplin and The 3 Stooges, to the modern more bombastic sort, it hasn’t died out any. It’s a particular breed of comedy that doesn’t always appeal to every single one of us. I, for one, in my high brow connoisseuring methods, have decided I am fan of it. Nichijou is outlandish and ludicrous in the best of ways. I can actually make the claim that it is the only anime to ever make me laugh for its entire run. I’m sure some of that boils down to me being a cynical comedy critic asshole, but maybe it’s because I have better taste as they say? Who really knows, but one thing I am certain of, Nichijou is a funny. It turns me into a little giggle monster.
Random Fact: The small portions of the show called Helvetica Standard, are actually an adaption of another work by the same creator.
Year(s) Aired: Oct. 1997-March 1998
Studio: OLM, Inc.
Former Placement: Unranked
AH EEEEE FORCES!!! You hear that tune, and Berserk fans worldwide, start uncontrollably cumming in happiness. Seems a bit over the top huh? The 1997 anime, while a little different in tone from the original manga, delivers in spades with its messages and themes. The story of mercenary Guts as he joins a group of warriors, called the Bank of the Hawk, is intoxicating to say the least. Their leader Griffith and his relationship with Guts is the crux of what makes this show as stellar as it is. Never before has friendship been so complicated. A bloody good time for newcomers and veterans alike, this anime is a true classic of its time. Too bad I can’t toss out a recommendation to everyone. The ending is quite gruesome and dark, you could even say, it got a like berserk…..0__0
Random Fact: The megapopular Dark Souls video series is heavily inspired around the motifs and artistic design of Berserk.
Show: Kids on the Slope
Year(s) Aired: April 2012-June 2012
Former Placement: 11
Many of my closest friends know, I am in absolute love with jazz music(Not quite as much as my girlfriend, but what can you do?). I don’t know what it is about it, but goodness gracious do I get chills when listening to some quality jazz. I also get my rocks off to stories that largely focus upon historical time periods, and/or friendship. Well, ladies, gents, and all of those in between, Kids on the Slope has all that, and some nice melodramatic romance! The series is something that hits all the right buttons with me. Story, cast, music…god the music, themes, setting, and so much more. This is my jam….session. Looks like this is the latter half of the list and puns are becoming necessary! I’d actually rank this little gem even higher if the good ending had the perfect one of the manga. Outside of that though, Kids is everything I look for, when I want to watch an anime.
Year(s) Aired: April 1998-Sept. 1998
Former Placement: 10
Here we are my wanderers, we have made it to the top ten! I do hate to disappoint, but it won’t be drastically different than previously. I suppose, even a little time hasn’t changed my connection to these shows. Kicking it off with a bang, is Trigun. The western 90’s action extravaganza! Most of my adoration for this show boils down to simple nostalgia. I do admit, I think it is plenty immersive, and a great watch, but the reason it is so beloved by yours truly, is how deeply seeded it is into my childhood. On the other hand, Vash the Stampede is just gold as the main lead of this anime, and I think the whole series is a blast to fly through. So, honestly is it nostalgia or quality that makes me call it number 10? A bit of both perhaps.
Show: Clannad + After Story
Year(s) Aired: 2007-2009
Studio: Kyoto Animation
Episodes: 47 + 2 OVA
Source: Visual Novel
Former Placement: 7
At heart, I truly am a family oriented person. I don’t have a lot of close relatives, and most of my blood based family, I could do without. I often regard close friends, and even pets, as more familial to be honest. Clannad is one of those rare anime that just happens to coincide with several things in my life. An ever growing town that is starting to change right before your eyes, a relationship with your father that could be best described as strained(well I also got a similar finality to those feelings as well, just like Tomoya), and having that one person come in your life, to give it the most meaning it has ever dreamed to have, to name a few. Clannad isn’t just something I enjoy for it’s legitimately well told dramatic narrative, but it holds a more special place in my heart. Having a deep connection of relatability to its world and Tomoya, have tossed it clearly ahead of many other excellent series in my favorites. I can’t fully express how the show taps into personal issues, and battles I’ve fought. All I know, is that Clannad is a part of who I am at this point.
Random Fact: In the fan translation of the visual novel, during Fuuko’s arc, a curious glitch occurs. Anytime anyone would say Tomoya-kun(usually Nagisa), it would instead say, “No valid string, make a ticket about it”, in place of that despite audibly being able to hear his name said.
Year(s) Aired: July 2007-Nov. 2007
Studio: Brains Base
Episodes: 13 + 3 OVA
Source: Light Novel
Former Placement: 6
Non-linear narrative structure is a real double edge sword in many ways. On one hand, you can create a complex, layered, flow for your story, but it comes with the risk of alienating viewers from grasping a full understanding of the product. Hollywood has several popular stories that adhere to this style, such as Pulp Fiction, Memento, or of course a personal favorite of mine, 500 Days of Summer. They take all this extra time to make a unique form of pacing, and use it to build up to big moments in ways unconventional to other films. Baccano, does this just the same. It’s younger brother Durarara does as well, but not to a degree that is quite as polished and clever. Baccano is spread between 3 timelines: 1930, 1931, and 1932. All three are intermixed to run into a smooth transition that eventually connects all three in ways that are not clear til the end. It requires full attention, and for maximum stimulation a payoff that was well worth all the confusion. Baccano doesn’t disappoint, and makes for one of the most alluring stories in the modern era of anime.
Random Fact: Baccano basically translates to mean ruckus in Italian. Pretty fitting I’d say for how wild thing are and how the story is told to the viewer.
Show: Gurren Lagann
Year(s) Aired: April 2007- Sept. 2007
Former Placement: 8
Anime is a hobby of mine. I know, I know, BIG SURPRISE!! Wait..wait… don’t leave!! I promise, I have a point! To me, it should be obvious to us all, but it gets sorta lost in the shuffle, your hobbies should be fun. A novel idea I bet you are saying to yourself, but seriously if you aren’t having a good time, why even spend all that time watching it? If I had to name the one anime, and just one that produces the largest quantity of fun in my puny human body, it would be Gurren Lagann. Ever since I first watched this anime for dubious reasons, I have been a massive fan. Gurren is all about a boy becoming a man in the most extreme fashion animators could come up with. It decides to devote itself to a level of boldness, most series never touch. This magnitude of the ridiculous nature alone is perfect entertainment quality, yet Gurren also bolsters a cast that I am so in love with. I get the feels and so many buckets of fun, I might need a bigger boat to carry it all. If I want a good time to have good old fashioned fun with my anime hobby, I can always count on Gurren Lagann to be there for me.
Random Fact: That dubious reason was me looking up fan art for the character Yoko Kurama in Yu Yu Hakusho, and I discovered Yoko Littner. I came for tits, and left with one of the most satisfying anime ever.
Show: Usagi Drop
Year(s) Aired: July 2011-Sept. 2011
Studio: Production I.G.
Former Placement: 5
As most of you well know as this point, my biggest dream in life is to become a great father. My aspirations for my future are all family based, and being a solid dad and life partner to my wife is all I truly want for happiness. Who would have thought, an anime existed that covered the topic of being a parent? I guess they really do have everything out there. Well except worthwhile windshield wipers for glasses that is. Usagi Drop is as I said, all about a man becoming a parent. He adopts a little girl named Rin, and this short but sweet slice of life series, contains more good feels than most cat cafes. If you want the warm fuzzy feeling of being embraced by your anime, then Usagi Drop is for you. The daily struggles of parenting in a slightly glorified manner, is without a doubt one of the most endearing shows of the medium I’ve had the pleasure to experience. If only there could be more. I want to see their entire lives play out as father and daughter. Wishful thinking can’t hurt too much, I would think.
Random Fact: While a manga does seem to be credited as the source, I would say don’t trust it. It defiles the beautiful story into one of the worst abominations on this planet. Remember the manga does not actually exist for this series for it is evil.
Show: Cowboy Bebop
Year(s) Aired: April 1998-April 1999
Former Placement: 4
3…2….1….Let’s talk about Bebop! Often considered by many an anime fan, as a definitive classic masterpiece, Cowboy Bebop is one of the anime that defined the 90’s. Watanabe’s space western about bounty hunters and their episodic plights to make a quick buck is iconic for a plethora of reasons. Mostly Cowboy Bebop oozes with style, and such a high degree of craftsmanship that it is hard to ignore the quality of the show, from even an objective eye. If you happen to also like the story, and individual themes presented through each story and character, well then, Bebop really will become your jam. I have slight nostalgia for the Bebop Crew, but truly this anime is just a medley of things I adore in general. Everything from the insanely varied jazz based soundtrack, to it’s referential episode titles to classic film, and music. Everything from Queen to Alien get a nod in this wonderful constructed love letter to western media.
Random Fact: One of the most noticeable references in Cowboy Bebop is Spike’s fighting style and philosophies. It’s reminiscent and modeled after the legendary Bruce Lee.
Show: Kemono no Souja Erin
Year(s) Aired: 2009
Studio: Production I.G. / Trans Arts
Former Placement: Unranked
Epic Fantasies are nothing new in the world of novels and movies. In the modern era, Lord of the Rings set the standard for the idea, and a variance of stories have spawned with similar influences. Sometimes however, while taking on the trend of a grand war, the scope is kept smaller, to kingdoms rather than the world or a region itself. Kemono no Souja is the story of a young girl named Erin who gets inadvertently tossed into the role of the most important person in a war between two factions. However, before things come to a head, we meet Erin as a young child. We grow with her all the way into adulthood, and firsthand see every single one of her most profound moments. Life, death, and learning all in one, Kemono no Souja, is the story of a girl’s life on a very involved and personal level. No time is ever wasted, and every portion of the story is meant to further develop Erin as a person, all the way to its intense conclusion. Seldom do we get narratives that take such a detailed effort, to explore a person’s life, the high and lows, but Erin does it all, and it also brings along a tremendously well told fantasy based story as well. I’ve rarely been as moved, as I was during the course of her journey, and I will never forget a single moment of the time I spent with that friend I made along the way.
Random Fact: Whether it is by coincidence or not, the term ohju as an astrological acronym, holds a lot of hidden meaning, that relates directly to Erin as a character and her role in the story.
Show: Cross Game
Year(s) Aired: April 2009-March 2010
Former Placement: 3
Life is hard, no matter how you slice it. It usually ends up looking more like a graveyard of Play-Doh, rather than a delicious hot and ready stone baked pizza. Even when important people leave this world, time does not slow down or halt for you. No, quite the contrary, it just keep going like nothing really happened. So, we must continue on, and heal at our own rate, because time waits for no one. Cross Game is about life, in the simplest and most relatable fashion. A dream is the goal, yet the day to day ins and outs, to making that a reality aren’t always glamorous or memorable. They tend to get lost in the shuffle, as we proceed onwards to the road of our futures. Kou, Aoba, and the other pivotal key members of the world of Cross Game, are all just trying to live to the fullest if they can. People like Kou and Aoba especially, have some baggage to overcome. It doesn’t get solved with a perfectly set up dramatic climax, or have a resolution from a massively long emotional story-arc. No no no, Cross Game is about showing the daily journey to overcoming all obstacles, the ones right in front of you, and the ones keeping you in the past. Instead of letting those demons hold you back, Cross Game shows you time, acceptance, and honoring those who aren’t here any longer, can go a long way to making life just a little more satisfying. It may not be the flashiest anime out there, but as someone seasoned in loss, and how you have to chose to live for yourself before all else, Cross Game is an anime, I can without a doubt praise, for being crucially important to my own healing process and growth as a person. Oh yeah, and it has baseball in it. I like baseball.
Random Fact: The anime for Cross Game came into my life at a very odd time. The show takes a more subtle look at getting over loss, and right around the time I finished it, was when my father started to get incredibly sick, before his eventual passing a few months later. Some things in life can’t help be important to you, when they happen like that. Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 holds a similar feeling, since I saw it when my long term cat passed away. Anime, hold your horses already! Oh and on a positive note, I finished Ore Monogatari the day I met my now lovely girlfriend. Life is full of ironies huh?
Show: Yu Yu Hakusho
Year(s) Aired: Oct. 1992-Dec. 1994
Studio: Studio Pierrot
Former Placement: 2
There are two anime out there that I would consider invaluably special to me. This of course, are the two shows that top this list. The first one of them is Yu Yu Hakusho, the anime that brought me back. So, lets rewind to when I was a kid, and I was part of many crazes. Everything from the Pokémon trend, to the weekly airings of Toonami ate up my time. Ah, Toonami, single-handedly you created a whole generation of anime fans, with your broadcast lineup. My second favorite show of that era was between the samurai action/romance, Rurouni Kenshin(my favorite manga), and the spirit detective fighting demons shonen, Yu Yu Hakusho. When I was in middle school however, anime was considered to be a nerdy hobby to be into. The sort where if you liked it, you would in turn be bullied. Your chances of making friends, impressing girls, or having a functioning social life, would be catastrophically ruined if you were public about liking these things. Of course, at the time these things matter to you, as much as it does to any other teenager going through the shit storm that is adolescence. So, many of us hid our hobby, and many like myself, sort of fell out of watching anime for a few years, despite loving it so much.
Fast forward a couple years, and everything changed. Funimation got the licensing rights to sell Dragon Ball Z on DVD, and people went out and bought that stuff like hotcakes. Well, my brother decided to borrow the seasons from a friend, to relive his childhood nostalgia. I, of course joined in on these festivities, and it really was a good time. Well, until he started borrowing them so slowly, that waiting for them would take months to watch even a season. Mind you, I was ignorant to the power of the internet, and all it hid in anime goodness. I couldn’t find it online anywhere to watch sadly, since I was well a newbie at google retrieval. I did however, manage to scrounge up a link to Yu Yu Hakusho. Some glorious fellow, had put HD uploads of the entire series, and over the course of a few weeks, me and my sister huddled up on cramped wooden chairs to chip away at its massive length.
I’ll never forget how watching that again, with my back and ass screaming in agony, recreated my bond with anime. After that I started reading manga for the first time from my school library, watched anime through netflix, and eventually it all led to me discovering all the other wonderful things that were anime related such as hummingbird. The website that has made the most significant impact on my life, and that I use to this day regularly. So, thank you Yu Yu Hakusho for not only being an incredibly enjoyable piece of entertainment that I adore for what you are as a whole, but also for helping me on the way to love anime again.
Random Fact: Many dubs are known to make pragmatic changes to a script, to make the anime more engaging for that country’s audience. Yu Yu Hakusho has a hilarious one with the fox announcer Koto. She typically during the Dark Tournament Arc just commentates on the action in Japanese in a very typical manner. However, in the English version they transformed her into a sadist who loved watching the brutality and madness unfold right in front of her.
Show: Dragon Ball Z
Year(s) Aired: April 1989-Jan 1996
Studio: Toei Animation
Former Placement: 1
If there was ever an obvious pick for the winner of this entire thing, it would be Dragon Ball Z. I’ve said it before, and nothing has changed since then, it will always remain my favorite anime of all time. Let me take you back, on memory lane to a smaller, easily influenced younger version of myself. Like many kids of my era(because the 90’s deserves that much recognition?), Toonami was our after school time sink. Everything from crushing on Sailor moon to practicing our ki blasts. It was a time of imagination meets incredible wonder. As a kid, the world is endless and animation opens up Pandora’s Box for possibility. Seeing mechas in space at war, people fighting crime, or having the power to blow up the entire planet. We were beyond sold on the fact that anime was mind blowing. Of course at the forefront of the pack was DBZ. Outside of Pokémon and Yugioh, nothing came close to the impact that DBZ had. Every single guy I went to high school with pretty much abandoned anime in general, but DBZ was still cool to reminiscence on. It was the most iconic and important show of that time period for us kids.
My adoration for DBZ never waned, but as I mentioned previously, I fell out of the anime loop for a few years during my teens. Last time on Daniel’s adolescence! With the fear of bullying, and never getting a pretty girl to like him, he had to make a choice that would effect his entire future! Would he stay steadfast and become the legendary super saiyan of legend, or succumb to the tyrannical foe that was social pressure?! Find out next time on Daniel Ball Z! We all know the mighty forces defeated my younger self, and like many I went in to hiding. Sorta like Yoda and Obi Wan but with the fear of social death, rather than you know actual mortality at stake. Well, kids do tend to take things at face value much too often. It is a real shame too because we should be comfortable to like whatever we so choose. Gotta hate the status quo for being “cool”. Wasn’t even worth it either! I don’t talk to anyone from back then anymore, and never got a significant otter until I was in my mid 20’s. The irony right?
As I stated with the Yu Yu Hakusho portion, DBZ was the show I started watching first when my anime revival period ensued. After completing YYH, I made it a personal mission to buy the remainder of DBZ’s seasons physically, to satisfy my wants and nostalgia. After that, I discovered the existence of manga, and Dragon Ball Z was my very first ever read. I can attribute a lot to the king of shonen. It inspired me as a kid to want to be righteous, and fight for what I thought was good in the world. Despite his mediocre intelligence, for many years of my life, Goku was a huge role model for me, and to this day I still look fondly on the lessons he taught me as a hero. He was my hero, and I would never ask for anyone else to replace him.
That is the thing with DBZ, as often as you hear the differences between its criticisms or nostalgic lauding, it did something worth remembering. It made a god damn impact on this world, and my entire generation. Personally, I wouldn’t be a part of who I am without any of the anime I have seen, but nothing holds a candle to what DBZ was to me. A huge part of what caused me to make certain decisions, and behave the way I did towards people stems from the teachings of my favorite shows, that I invested so many hours of my life into. Dragon Ball Z wasn’t just an anime, it was so much more. It was the single most impactful fictional work for a portion of my life. I am in love with anime, and want to make a life long passion out of sharing my time with it, all because DBZ was the one who started it all and brought me back when I left. Dragon Ball Z is my all time favorite show, no matters its flaws, because in the end, nothing is more significant and meaningful to me.
Random Fact: It’s Dragon Ball Z, what don’t you already know? How about that in English, Hercule Satan’s character was forced to be changed when cheered for. They didn’t want kids shouting Satan at the top of their lungs, so Hercule was the change. Simple, but interesting nonetheless.
Thank all of you so much for reading this list! It was quite the task to undergo, and took me almost a week of typing and nonstop edits while I was doing it. I think I caught most of my mistakes, but even if a few snuck through the cracks, I am satisfied with the overall project completion! It was a really fun time, and I loved every moment of it! Well that is all for now my little wanderers. Below is a place for links to all the other wonderful people who partook in this with me. If you liked my list, give theirs a look, and while you are at it, try and strike up a conversation with them to discuss the love you may share for a similar show. Maybe you will even find something you didn’t know existed beforehand that could mean the world to you. All in all, just go out there and love anime and each other, as much as you can. Have a good morning, afternoon, or night, depending on when you are reading this. Until next time…take care my little wanderers!
Other Top 25 Anime Lists Made by Wanderers of the Web!
TheMessiahofHumanity It’s in the Name
ERIC the man formerly know as Eric
25-21(in Order of where they rank)
Re:zero, Baka & Test, Ro Kyu Bu, Love Live, Humanity has Declined
Seven Deadly Sins, K-on!, Fate/Series(Ufotable), Chuunibyou, Lucky Star
Yuru Yuri, School Live, Soul Eater, Nyaruko, Is the Order a Rabbit?,
Baccano!, FMA(both series), A Certain(magical index & railgun), Kill la Kill, Gurren Lagann
Trigun, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, Clannad, Yu Yu Hakusho,
Feethebunny An Old Bunny with a Young Heart click the picture 😉
Nuvonaoki The Guru! click the pictures 😉
Lightningfanatic My Partner in Crime click the picture 😉
HitsuWTG Our future gaming Overlord! click the picture 😉
Lilporkchop69 A man of refined humor click the picture 😉
Rheia The one who only did 18 but that is okay! click the picture 😉
Erik the Red AKA Manga Maniac! click the pictures 😉
EralLea He is always thinking click the picture 😉
Stovetopism If you have red hair, please hit him up now click the picture 😉
Theaaron730 He is actually builkding a Gundam click the picture 😉
Iandude365 The Dude, At least most of the time click the picture 😉
Futatsu the one and only Baetatsu click the picture 😉
TiedyeMacaroni Ye Brotha click the picture 😉
AliceNoir The Golden Mind of the Age click the picture 😉
Wynn22 The Sweetie Daughter of a Cubs Fan click the picture 😉
SilverDyreWolf The one who stalks the night click the picture 😉
Space_Cowboys He will make you carry that weight click the picture 😉
Maliz the one true Megafan click the picture 😉
Naykiller Don’t worry they won’t bite click the picture 😉
Zangfang The emotional fan of farming and happiness click the pictures 😉
Azuslu7jpg The Critic with a Keen Eye click the picture 😉
Saya The stranger of wonderful demeanor! click the picture 😉
Nada A fierce cook, gamer, and friend click the picture 😉
Dynyma Shy at heart but shines like gold click the pictures 😉
Skittlemask the Rainbow Queen click the picture 😉
Sushiisawesome Fresh and Uncooked to the soul click the picture 😉
Dreamcatcher REM are the finest times for this gentleman click the picture 😉
Jace Is actually this list click the picture 😉
Virason Seriously they really won’t bite click the pictures 😉
Lewdyhime The Queen of your dirtiest thoughts click the picture 😉
Wexter The Master of your tastes click the picture 😉
Trey The Under rated Gem of Kitsu click the picture 😉
Haitaka New to me but great to the world click the picture 😉
Silber The Lithuanian Queen of Meme click the picture 😉
Star6Wars1 What he lacks in grammar, he more than makes up for in heart click the picture 😉
Alice The Queen of thematic lists! click the picture 😉
Southern Air A humble man with a humble unordered list! click the picture 😉