My Top 50 Anime of All Time. 25 – 1
This is where the fanboy in me really starts to show, brace yourselves for some incomprehensible fanboying. If you haven’t already check out my list from 50 – 26.
25. Squid Girl (Franchise)
Diomedea – 2010
This is probably the most accessible Comedy series in anime. All the characters have their quirks and little comic cues, Squid Girl is adorable and hilarious and the entire show is devoid of any fanservice. This is one of the only shows that successfully gave me laugh out loud moments in each and every episode.
24. Hoshi ou Kodomo
Comix Wave – 2010
Being the romance junky that I am, Makoto Shinkai had always been the Director for me so his depature from the genre was kind of sad but in his defence he justified it by creating a brilliant adventure/fantasy film. In typical Shinkai fashion the background art was very detailed and so was the animation. The relationships between the lead characters was not as deeply fleshed out as the previous Shinkai films but they were still deep enough to get me emotionally invested.
White Fox – 2011
A perfect mix of comedy, moe, mystery, sci fi and even some action are why I call Steins;Gate the perfect template of anime for the future. This show managed to appeal to me on so many levels. I love how the show uses time travel elements to explain its story without ever being convoluted. I am currently watching the show for the second time and it is surprising how tightly knit the story is, there is also a tonne of foreshadowing which is great to pick out on the second and even third viewing.
22. Eureka 7 (Franchise)
Bones – 2005
I’m not a big fan of Mecha anime so the real hook for me on this show was the romance sub plot and its interesting characters. I really related with Rentons situations and what he was going through,the show is very slow and can be boring but it really shows its strong points when it concentrates on the personal relationships between all the characters. I liked the Sky Surfing Mecha too, they looked pretty sweet.
Studio Pierrot – 2004
Not many anime can keep me on the edge of my seat for 70+ episodes straight, the true appeal of Bleach was its unique atmosphere and setting. I also really loved Bleach because of the questions it raised on life after death, fate and forgiveness. Bleach has some truly memorable characters, being shounen the cast is huge but each character is so unique and endearing that they stick in your mind even though they only appeared for a couple episodes. Bleach can be an amazing action anime one minute and a deep philosophical anime the next i.e if you are not watching the filler arcs.
20. Lucky Star
Kyoto Animation – 2007
When I saw Lucky Star early in my fandom I found it hilarious, when I re-watched it a couple of years later I found it even more hilarious and when I watch it now I still find new things that I missed that are utterly hilarious. The self referential nature of the show is what gives it its re-watch. That said even the original jokes are fantastic the segment at the end called Lucky Channel was a unique and hilarious way to end every episode. Props to Bang Zoom on the dub of the show which I also enjoyed more than the sub.
19. Welcome to the NHK
Gonzo – 2006
This show really hit close to home with me, its exploration of the different types of “nerd culture” addictions and their extreme ramifications was surprisingly fun to watch. Satos’ growth as a character and how he overcomes all of his trials is really uplifting to see. I liked how every character in the show had some serious emotional problems that they masked when they were in public.
18. Soul Eater
Bones – 2008
This show is cool! The character designs, the setting, the fight sequences, the dialogue, the music, everything in this show has such a unique aesthetic. In the words of de_geso893 “its like Tim Burton puked all over it.” The fight sequences are so much fun to watch and are beautifully animated. I loved how the story was simple mostly because that made it a good entry level anime for any potential new viewers.
17. K-on! (Franchise)
Kyoto Animation – 2009
K-on! has a certain charm to it that other moe shows just dont, all its characters are super memorable and their interactions always manage to put a silly smile on my face. This is the show I always come back to when I am having a horrible day or just want to have a good laugh. I have not seen any other show as many times as I have seen K-on! it just never gets old. The character designs are cute and the music is in the show is super catchy. This IS the best moe show by far.
16. Horou Musuko (Wandering Son)
AIC – 2011
There aren’t that many pieces of media that have had the ability to completely change the way I look at life and approach it. Horou Musuko managed to do this while still remaining entertaining to watch. The art style is very unique with a somewhat water color feel to it and the subject matter was like nothing I had ever seen before. I talked about how this show changed my life in one of my very first articles so you can check that out. There is one thing I always quote whenever this show is brought up and its from my twitter friend @kyonkun ” If Horou Musuko (Wandering Son) opens a honest conversation about the subject (homosexuality/transgender), then it’s a win for the world.”
15. Death Note
Madhouse – 2007
Death Note kept me on the edge of my seat and guessing from episode 1 right up to the end, this show is the epitome of pin point writing and story telling. I really don’t like detective shows but Death Note put such an interesting spin on it by putting the viewer in the shoes of the “bad guy.” Its twists were jaw dropping and completely unpredictable, this is THE mystery show for mystery fans.
14. Usagi Drop
Production I.G – 2011
Watching Daikichi trying to raise an 8 year old girl by himself without any prior parenting experience turned out to be rather fun to watch and a great learning experience. The show was extremely cute and sweet but it also managed to stay firmly pressed on the harshness of reality. Showing how single parents have to make personal sacrifices for their kids or how a child slowly warms up to a brand new family are all part of what make Usagi Drop one of the best Josei titles I have ever seen.
13. Code Geass (Franchise)
Sunrise – 2007
Ive heard people say Code Geass was a mash up of all the awesome shows that aired right before it, they were probably right except for one thing. Code Geass had ideas from all the awesome shows that were airing , the only difference was that they took those ideas and executed them even better. Geass is my favourite Mecha anime because it blends drama with action in a high school setting. Its over the top but grounded in reality. The suspenseful nature of the show made it even better to watch the second time around, there aren’t many mystery shows you can say that about. I also liked the fanservice, those character designs were pretty good, kudos to CLAMP.
Brains Base – 2007
So it turns out anime based on America can be good, very good. This adaptation of Ryougo Naritas light novel has some of the best writing and story telling techniques I have ever seen. The none linearity of the scenes makes the show play out like a puzzle that the viewer has to decipher. I loved the characters in this show so much, it had your typical Bad asses only a little more psychotic, it had the cool type characters only a little more cooler, it even had the best comedy duo in anime Isaac and Miria only a little bit more odd. The show had some amazing action, some great comedy, a fascinating plot and one of the best English dubs of all time.
11.The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
Madhouse – 2006
A romantic comedy about time travel directed by Mamoru Hosoda with Yoshiyuki Sadamoto character designs? Yes please! such a thing exists. Watching Makoto play around with her ability to leap through time and then realise the tragic implications of messing up the time-space continuum mixed in with a bit of drama turned out to be excellent. The romance in the movie is so earnest and heartfelt that it brought me to tears on my second viewing. I love you Mamoru Hosoda.
10. Eden of the East (Franchise)
Production I.G – 2009
This Mystery, Thriller, Drama manages to blend all sorts of genres and break certain tropes that had become somewhat standard in anime. The mixture of very cute character designs in this very very realistic modern day setting and thriller ended up working extremely well. Kenji Kamiyamas’ original story about modern day Japan and the problems its youth are facing turned out to have mass appeal, who would’ve figured?. The romantic sub plot is actually decent and relevant to the progression of the plot, the supporting cast actually had a role to play and the mysterious nature of the show as a whole kept me interested every step of the way.
Brains Base – 2010
The same team that worked on Baccano! comes back to bring us a similar show based on another of Naritas’ light novels but only this time the setting is a little bit more closer to home. Durarara!! has the exact same appeal that Baccano! does, what makes it better though is how its modern day setting is much more relatable. I love how the Dollars are pretty much a representation of the online community Anonymous, I love how Izaya and Shizuo are always trying to kill each other, I love how awesome Celty is, I love the cameo from Isaac and Miria, I love the dub, I love this show. Its just so so cool.
8. Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Boku Tachi wa Mada Shiranai
A-1 Pictures – 2011
My number 1 show from 2011, Ano Hana is the only show that has managed to get me emotional with each and every single episode. For a show that only had 11 episodes Im surprised it managed to make me care for the characters. The real selling point for me in this show was its portrayal of teenage romance, it was just so finely executed and realistic. There are a lot of shows and movies out there that centre around the theme of friendship, a lot of them are good, great even but none of them are excellent, Ano Hana is.
7. Summer Wars
Madhouse – 2009
A family comedy about the internet going out of control directed by Mamoru Hosoda with Yoshiyuki Sadamoto character designs? wait we’ve already done this right? fine new approach. I love Mamoru Hosoda… already done that too? okay how about Best. Animated. Childrens. Film.
J.C Staff – 2009
There is a certain standard J.C Staff reached when they created this show. They made it impossible for me to watch any other romance show without noticing how below par it is. At this point if any anime tries to do romance and it doesn’t take cues from Toradora! it might as well not exist, just don’t even bother making it. What Im trying to say here is, this is the best depiction of romance I have ever seen ever! For a less fanboy rant on Toradora! try reading this.
5. Time of Eve
Studio Rikka – 2009
A modern day Ghost in the Shell, with no action and less technobable. This OVA discusses the differences between man and machine in a near future setting. The plot may seem overdone and cliche at this point but its the execution that sets it apart from the rest. There was a fair use of 3D CG but it was implemented so well that it was very hard to tell the difference. The problems each character faces made for such a compelling drama and the questions raised at the end kept me thinking for weeks on end. This is the best depiction of modern anime sci fi I have seen.
4. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (Franchise)
Kyoto Animation – 2006
This series is a satire of moe anime but with a compelling sci fi plot and premise of its own, how can I not love it? I love how the show goes out of its way and takes risks that not many other would have the courage to do. All the characters are memorable and fun to watch, Kyon is extremely hilarious for a grumpy teenager and the animation quality keeps getting better and better with each new release. The movie is what makes this series land at the top of my list because of how perfect it is. Its use of characters to drive the story forward is what makes The Haruhi Suzumiya franchise so timeless.
3. Naruto (Franchise)
Studio Pierrot – 2002
It takes a special kind of show to keep you just as interested as you were at episode 1, 300+ episodes later. The ovearching story in Naruto is surprisingly deep for a shounen series, its very obvious a lot of thought and planning went into it. Events that took place back in the early episodes are only being made clear now, 300+ episodes later and the shows story is still intact. I also really love the fight scenes, unlike other shounen shows which are a matter of “I have a higher power level than, I win Haha.” Naruto uses logic that works within its universe. Its a thinking mans kind of battle, the battles play out like a chess game, the characters are constantly trying to think ahead and make the right moves all this while still managing to keep it looking flashy and colorful for the kids.
2. Full Metal Alchemist (Franchise)
Bones – 2003
I still live by the law of equivalent exchange. I love Brotherhood and the original series for 2 different reasons; Brotherhood because of how it focused on the relationship between Ed and Alphonse, we get a lot of power of friendship or power of love anime but not many that focus on brotherhood, so that was great to see.
I liked the Original for the questions it raised on religion, war, economics, humanity and fate. The show is very deep and gets you thinking which is fantastic but on top of that we also get some awesome action scenes.
1. Neon Genesis Evangelion (Franchise)
Gianax – 1995
Watching the show for the “plot” the first time around going WTF at the end, watching End of Eva and realising the show is about the characters, then re watching the show and putting the pieces all together and getting my mind blown and I haven’t even gotten to the movies yet!
What I love the most about Eva is how it tries to depict the social struggles of teenagers by putting them in an even more complex situation, applying even more pressure to these kids lives i.e asking them to save the world on top of what they are going through emotionally makes for some great melodrama and bad decisions.
The movies are less of a character study and more of an action Mecha show which is great as well. Yoshiyuki Sadamotos’ character designs are timeless and have turned out to be templates for modern day anime tropes for example, the quiet girls all look like Rei and the Tsunderes all look like Asuka.
Eva is great for both drama and action and it always seems to get better everytime I re-watch it.