I did this near the time I started this Blog for games, though at the time I largely just talked about games. These days I also do anime reviews and have started getting back into anime again, so I figured now may be a good time to show you all where my tastes reside.
A thing to note, while this is only a guideline, if the show is still ongoing and is telling one large story, I won't take it into consideration. So, for example, if I liked One Piece (Which I haven't actually watched) It would not have been considered for this list. This is also why Made in Abyss, a show that may well end up on this list one day isn't currently being considered.
If, however, the show is telling different stories and you don't need to wait for the series conclusion to have a satisfying tale, such as my numbers 20 and 19 on this list since future episodes aren't going to take away from what we already have they were being considered.
That said, let the list begin.
20.) Dragon Ball (Franchise)
This is largely a nostalgia pick, I'm not going to lie. Dragon Ball Z especially, my favorite Dragon Ball Series, is one of the most deeply flawed animes I love. So many re-used animations, the show constantly drags out and wastes your time, and a lot of great characters I felt never really go the chance to shine.
That said, some actual praise I can give this show is its fantastic characters and interesting arcs. I always loved Gohan as a character, because he probably has more potential than anyone else in the show, but the problem is he isn't a fighter. Were he training as his father or Vegeta, come Buu Saga he would likely be far and away the strongest person in the show. But because he stepped away from fighting with the defeat of Cell, he lagged behind and as a result, the Buu Saga was able to happen.
Yeah, the actual stories are pretty weak, but at the same time, the fights are just pure hype and awesome. Partly because of that, and partly because the show does have a special place in my heart being among the first anime I'd ever seen (Alongside Sailor Moon and Samurai Pizza Cats), it makes my list all the same.
19.) Jojo's Bizarre Adventure
This show wins you over with just how much energy and passion go behind every single thing that happens in this show. And what's great is that no matter how stupid things get when you try to explain them, the show treats everything extremely seriously./ It doesn't matter how stupid things get, you care because despite the situation the show cares.
There is also an old school music lover in me that loves all the references that come up. So much of this show exists as a call-back to various artists Araki was listening to at the time, with mild changes to names to avoid US copyright.
To be specific, because each part of Jojo's is radically different in its own right, my favorite is part 2. Joseph Joestar is my favorite Jojo and is one of the most lovable rogues in all of anime. Armed with his secret weapon of running away, his strength is in his extremely quick wit and ability to adapt to all sorts of situations, overcoming foes far stronger than himself. And part 2 features a nazi who is, I kid you not, my favorite character of the entire show. That's how strange this show is, I unironically love the Nazi.
If you are up for a ride that is unlike pretty much anything else out, give Jojo's a go.
18.) Mob Psycho
One Punch Man may have been one of the shows that got me back into anime, but Mob Psycho is one of the shows that made me glad I came back. While the archetype of a character who stunts his own emotions to keep his power in check isn't a new idea (See Raven from Teen Titans), the show handles Mob fantastically.
The show sees Mob having to deal with situations that are constantly trying to force his emotions to overflow, causing an 'Explosion' where his power goes out of control. The cool thing is that depending on what emotions he's feeling can change the nature of the explosion entirely. Be it fear, courage, obsession, relief, every explosion feels different.
And seeing how he interacts with all kinds of people is fascinating, especially his 'Mentor'. Not really a psychic, but a con artist, he has a fun place in the series as someone with a lot of genuine care and empathy, but is simultaneously a con man. It's a pretty fun dynamic between him and Mob, and the best thing about the show.
Throw in some fantastic fights, a large and wonderful side cast of characters, and you have yourself an all-time classic. I hope is one of the shows from the modern era of anime that has some staying power in the minds of future anime fans.
17.) Excel Saga
This is probably the most insane show on this list and one that can be a bit hard to explain to people who weren't around at the time. For a lot of newer fans, it'll seem like the pure insanity of the show is the main draw, but that's only one aspect of it. The show both parody of and tribute to the anime of the time. At times you just get some ridiculous callbacks like the tiny adorable space creatures having a group that is very reminiscent of Harlock, but other times the show does a great job at poking fun at tropes of modern anime at the time.
Of course, while I do love those parts of it, there is no getting around a big draw is, in fact, the insanity. Hell, the director of Excel Saga put himself into the anime and made himself extremely powerful. This isn't even an exaggeration, in the show he is acknowledged as the director, he is a literal self-insert.
Then there is every episode starting with the writing staff threatening/bribing the original Magna artist to let them do basically whatever they want with the show, giving it little to no connection to its own source material. Part absurd, and part poking fun at how many anime out there kind of goes off the rails in relation to the original story.
16.) Welcome to the NHK
This is a show about a severely depressed shut-in who spends most of the anime on the verge of suicide, and the show is hilarious. That is a very strange sentence to utter, but that is kind of what it is like watching this show. It goes back and forth from depressing to hilarious in a matter of moments. It makes jokes out of some depressing situations but never takes away from how serious these situations are.
The lead character suffers from some extreme cases of Paranoia, believing that the NHK, a Japanese organization, is at fault for him being a shut in. And all those around him are just as messed up in the head, if not possibly worse in some cases than he is.
The show gets by on making you care about the cast, and thus their problems become important to you. I want to see this guy finally be able to make it out of the apartment and integrate into society. Considering the nature of his problems though, even really small things can feel like a big victory. The ending of the show isn't some grand escape from his shut-in ways, but just a small step in the right direction, and despite that it made me smile all the same.
15.) Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi
I cannot explain why I rate this show so highly without spoiling the ending entirely, so forgive me if I fail to make it seem like rating this show so highly is justified. We have two characters that somehow get stuck in an alternate reality, and each episode sees them jumping from one new reality to the next trying to get back home.
Each world features the same characters, only presented in a different kind of anime. Kind of like Excel Saga it works as a parody and tribute to other shows, but where this one wins out is there is a dark story brewing underneath it all with the main character subconsciously not wanting to return to their original, which is the root of why they can't make it home despite having the ritual to do it.
And it's not an ending that is necessarily a happy one either. There are a lot of implications, and the show plays a lot with one's ability to accept the truth. Beyond that though, the show was constantly funny. Seeing the throwbacks to shows like DBZ tickled me, the weird rules each world they came across ran buy, and even seeing some fun video game worlds made every episode feel unique and fun. While I can't get to into why I love the show so much, there is a lot to enjoy outside of that.
14.) Rurouni Kenshin
I don't know how popular of an opinion this is, but I always preferred Kenshin to Samurai X. Samurai X may have had that sweet, sweet violent shine to it, but the story of a violent man walking away from a life of violence, while interesting, doesn't grab me like that same guy doing everything he can to keep from getting dragged back into that life.
The whole premise if Kenshin is so much of the world still sees him as the Manslayer, and is trying to force him into situations he may have to resort to reverting to his old ways, and his struggle to keep his vow to never kill again.
The reason the show works as well as it does is that there are times where it feels Kenshin is getting pushed back, you never feel like he's immune to becoming the Manslayer once again. The finale of the first season that sees him against a foe from the war, someone he doesn't think he can hold back on, the times the lives of his good friends hang in the balance, those first two seasons do a fantastic job and keeping that suspense alive and well. It's helped along by just how likable a character Kenshin himself is.
13.) Yu-Yu Hakusho
For my money, Yu-Yu Hakusho is the best Shonen anime out there. Yeah, Kuwabara as a character kind of gets the shaft, and that last season was a bit of a betrayal of all the shows themes leading up to that point, but at the end of the day, it's a Shonen. It's focused largely on the arc of the day and an enjoyable cast of characters to follow.
As I often love about shows, many fights see Yusuke, our lead character, have to use his wits to overcome foes that are out of his league. Not all the time, but those tend to be the most enjoyable fights. Mix in a variety of fun powers, like Kurama and his ability to control and manipulate plants. It's a power I wish would come up and be used as well more often.
And compared to other Shonen I end up enjoying the stories a lot more. Up until the last season, it never feels like a stretch, and the problems aren't just solved by the characters getting a power upgrade (Though that does happen a lot). It is the show I think a lot more shonen anime should aspire to be like, far more then shows like DBZ and Naruto.
12.) Desert Punk
I could talk about the creative and fun fights, of which there are many. I could talk about how over the top and clever the humor can be, which it is. I could even talk about how great the lore and political climate of the show you are watching is, another true thing.
This show ranks up so high for me because of our lead character Kanta, The Demon of the Desert. There is something you have probably seen in anime before, and early villain that shows up and is so comically over the top dickish that when the main character kills him, we as the audience don't feel at all bad when you see him killed. Well, Desert Punk is what happens when you make that guy the main character.
Honestly, he is more horrible of a human being then most anime villains. If there is a running joke to this show that works, it's every time you think Kanta is going to do the right thing, you just learn he's an even shittier person than you had originally thought. Yet somehow, Kanta is someone I just get behind.
This is all backed up by the greatest narrator in all of anime, and I will hear no argument to the contrary. There are several times he just kind of stops narrative and goes.... 'What the fuck is wrong with all of these people?' and kind of becomes just as much of a character as anybody else. The only other time I saw something like this happen, at least that I can recall, was Doug and Kirill, where the narrator just kind of existed to kill any sense of whimsy about the show. Funny, yes, but nothing quite beats Desert Punks. One of the funniest anime of all time.
Also this scene.
11.) X (TV)
Stories revolving around fate and prophecy have always been a hard sell for me because there are only two ways for it to go. Hero defies the fate ordained and he saves the day, or the hero fulfills the prophecy and saves the day. There is a lot more to it than that, but suffice to say only a handful of shows or games manage to win me over in a big way with these kinds of themes, and X is one of those shows.
Backed up with a lot of wonderfully violent and fun fights we have a story where Kamui is the only person fate has determined can choose a side in the war between the Dragons of Heaven and Earth. Powerful Psychics come together to do battle to determine the fate of the world in all manner of over the top battles. There are a large number of different powers at play, and so many different people pair up to fight you never walk away feeling like you saw something get rehashed.
All that said... I have this terrible feeling that if I were to go back and re-watch the show after not having seen it for a good number of years I may end up ranking it lower. I have a lot of fond memories of the characters, the Monk who has openly accepted his destiny to die for the woman he loves (Despite not even knowing who she was at the time) and Subaru (who steels the show, despite not being the main character) are my personal favorites. But I also remember it being a show that does a lot of that 'I'm so deep' anime speak. I remember the showing handling it very well, and feeling like there was some actual meaning there, but I may need to re-visit this show sometime soon.
Anyway, here are my first ten entries, and I hope to have the rest up later this week.<cen