We all have a favorite anime that has stuck to us over the years.
Typically the criteria of a “favorite anime” is based on a compelling storyline and relatable characters. For me, those factors are important, but in order for an anime to be a favorite of mine, it has to have a special connection with me. The ability for an anime to evoke a strong emotional reaction, whether it is a smile, tears, or anger, is what makes me appreciate the show and to add it as one of my favorite anime shows of all time.
My anime list is pretty bias. I am sure many of you would disagree with some of the titles I’ve chosen due to the lack of merits. But hey, this is my “Top Ten Anime List,” and it is strictly based on my tastes and what I find entertaining. My list may change depending on the new anime that will premiere over the years, but this is it for now.
(Manga: 1991-1997, Anime: 1992-1997)
Created By Naoko Takeuchi
Studio: Toei Animation
Sailor Moon was the first anime I ever watched, and it was what got me started towards my interest in Japanese culture. Sailor Moon is the first “superhero” I knew that rocked the red, white, and blue uniform (so step aside, Captain America and Wonder Woman). What I love about this anime is the values and lessons they instill to the viewers. Sailor Moon fights for love and justice. Whenever any of her friends and family are endanger, she selflessly sacrifice herself to protect them. In addition, Sailor Moon always believes in herself when a difficult situation arises. This anime has strong core values that can teach viewers how to be good people. On a side note, Sailor Moon has the coolest stationary and accessories. For example, a magical pen that allows you to disguise yourself into anyone or anything is pretty awesome.
(Manga: 1996-2008, Anime: Inuyasha Series 2000-2004, The Final Act 2009-2010)
Created By: Rumiko Takahashi
I first heard about this anime from a friend, who at the time, was an over ecstatic fan. She would constantly pressure me to watch it sometime. One day, I did watch an episode on Adult Swim, and it was entertaining. At the time, I only watched random episodes when it aired on TV. So I had no idea what episode or season I was on, but I got the basic synopsis of the show. A girl, Kagome, travels back into time to the Sengoku Era and joins a half-demon, Inuyasha, in collecting jewel shards of the Shikon Jewel. They must collect all the shards before the evil Naraku does, or else he will use the Shikon Jewel for his own selfish purposes. It wasn’t until two summers ago that I watched all the episodes of Inuyasha consecutively and in its entirety including The Final Act.
There are many strong female characters in this show. Kikyo and Kagome are priestesses with great spiritual power and Sango is a fierce demon slayer. Sango’s choice of weapon is the Hiraikotsu, a large boomerang made of purified demon bones. One of my favorite anime couples is Sango and Miroku because of their hilarious antics as well as their loyalty to each other. Miroku is a mischievous and cunning monk. He constantly pursues and flirts with women to the extent that he would ask if they could have his children. Yet despite his lecherous actions, Miroku has sincere feelings for Sango.
On a side note, Inuyasha has some of the best ending songs. Some of these amazing songs include BoA’s “Every Heart”, Namie Amuro’s “Come,” and Ayumi Hamasaki’s “Dearest.”
(Novel: Season 1 2010-2012, Season 2 2013-ongoing, Anime: 2013)
Created By: Atsuko Kanase , Written By: Takeshi Mizuno, and Illustrated By: Udajo
Studio: Brian’s Base
I enjoy watching reverse harems that are based on otome games, light novels, and etc. So I just had to put one on my list, and the lucky winner is Brothers Conflict. This anime is based on a novel series created by Atsuko Kanase, written by Takeshi Mizuno, and illustrated by Udajo. Brothers Conflict is about a girl named, Ema who moves into a new household after her father’s remarriage and gets thirteen new siblings, step-brothers to be exact. The reason why I picked this anime is because I think it has the best selection of male characters in a reverse harem. I am not just talking about looks, but each character has a unique personality. As I was watching Brothers Conflict, I had a difficult time picking which guy is properly suited for the main girl, Ema. One girl living in a house with thirteen amazing and talented step-brothers, so much can happen. The possibilities are endless.
Directed By: Shoji Kawamori and Yūsuke Yamamoto, Written By: Mari Okada
Studio: Satelight, 8-Bit
I’ll be honest with you, I haven’t seen the first season of Aquarion. In fact, I have never heard of this franchise until my friend suggested I watch it because it has all the genres I like in an anime: romance, action, comedy, and etc. The only skepticism I had about watching it was that it is also a mecha show. I am not a fan of robots or machines. I tried watching a mecha anime various times, but it failed to capture my interest until this show came along.
In regards to the plot, I don’t think it is necessary to watch the first season, Genesis of Aquarion, before watching Aquarion EVOL. The second season could be considered a standalone. Aquarion EVOL does a great job explaining any necessary information from the first season to viewers of the second season. Also, it is interesting how they incorporated with ease some scenes and elements of the first season to this series.
I enjoyed the art and music. Although I am not an expert in art, I enjoy watching anime that has great color schemes. What I mean by that is I enjoy a series when the color of the settings and characters, pop-out with brightness and liveliness. For example, one of the female characters, Zessica Wong, has sea-green colored hair, which stands out but suits her appearance. Aquarion EVOL has a great ending theme song, a duet between Akino and Aiki of bless4 called “Moonlight Symphonia.”
I put this anime on my list because I find their comedic antics and puns amusing. For instance, the male protagonist, Amata Sora would literally fly in the air whenever he gets too excited. These moments occur when a girl flirts with him. Furthermore, a viewer could have some interesting interpretations towards the puns and antics committed by these characters. One example is the relationship between Andy W. Hole and Mix. Andy has the elemental power of earth, where his hobby is digging holes. While Mix has the elemental power of spacial augmentation and is capable of filling up any hole or space. It is the opposite power of Andy’s. This is just one example of how viewers could interpret information in different ways. The subtle, but clever jokes and innuendos, and the viewers’ power to interpret the puns in any matter is some of the reasons why I enjoyed Aquarion EVOL.
Amagi Brilliant Park
(Light Novel: 2013- ongoing, Anime: 2014)
Written By: Shoji Gatoh and Illustrated By: Yuka Nakajima
Studio: Kyoto Animation
Like I said before, what attracts me to watch an anime is the bright color schemes. Amagi Brilliant Park has colorful and bright art that gives an exciting and optimistic atmosphere, especially since this anime takes place at an amusement park. Ironically, Amagi Brilliant Park is on the brink of being closed down unless they get 250,000 visitors in the next three months. There only hope is a former child actor, who is now just a normal high school student, Seiya Kanie. Amagi Brilliant Park conveys that miracles can happen to ordinary people. With hard work and dedication, a person can achieve great things. In addition, the character gags are hilarious, especially from the three mascots: Moffle, Macaron, and Tiramie.
Romeo x Juliet
(Manga: 2007-2009, Anime: 2007)
Written By: Reiko Yoshida and Illustrated By: Hiroki Harada
William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet isn’t one of my favorite plays, but this loosely based anime adaptation was amazing. I like the anime more than the original. Romeo x Juliet does pay tribute to the original by using some scenes and dialogue from the play. I watched Romeo x Juliet in Japanese, but I was curious if the English dubbed version used some of the same lines from the original play. So, I investigated and watched a scene—the famous balcony scene—from the anime and discovered that the dubbed version does use some of the dialogue from the English play.
Although the anime incorporated some elements of the play, the anime added some unique and original factors. For example, Romeo x Juliet could be labeled into the fantasy genre for adding a giant and enchanted tree known as the Great Tree Escalus. The Great Tree Escalus gives support and blessings to the people of Neo Verona, but the tree’s power will weaken if it doesn’t receive love. Another factor that makes this anime fantastical is the use of Dragon Steeds. A Dragon Steed is a winged horse with the tail of a dragon, and is used as a source of transportation for aristocrats. By having these elements, Romeo x Juliet stirs away from just being known as “the greatest love story of all time,” to a romance story involving fantasy adventure and the forces of good and evil. Romeo x Juliet becomes more of an original storyline that appeals to anime fans.
Romeo x Juliet further develops the original characters from the play, and even adds some new characters. Juliet could be characterized as strong, clever, and independent similar to Yona from Akatsuki no Yona. She has a strong sense of justice and determination; in which she leads the Capulet loyalists against the tyrant, Lord Montague. She also plays the role of the vigilante, the Red Whirlwind, that aids the people who are being oppressed by the Montagues. It is interesting to note that the anime has a central antagonist, Lord Montague, Romeo’s father. He murdered all the Capulet family except Juliet. Thus, viewers can easily pinpoint good and evil as oppose to the play where both families are at fault.
Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun
(Manga: 2008-2013, Anime: 2012)
Created By: Robico
Studio: Brian’s Base
Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun is a slice of life romance about two polar opposite people who first become friends, and then eventually more than that. One of the reasons why I like this anime is that the main girl lead, Shizuku Mizutani, is relatable and reminds me of myself to some degree. She is studious and comes off as somewhat cold to others, but once she gets to know someone, she slowly opens up and becomes more familiar with him or her. Unlike Shizuku, Haru Yoshida—the male lead—is loud and eccentric. His behavior seems a bit erratic and unusual, but that is what makes him an entertaining character. Unfortunately, Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun only has twelve episodes (I wish they made a second season). If you aren’t satisfied with just watching the anime, you should read the manga. It is already completed, and I guarantee that you will be satisfied with the ending.
Ouran High School Host Club
(Manga: 2002-2010, Anime: 2006)
Created By: Bisco Hatori
Ouran High School Host Club is about Haruhi Fujioka, a scholarship student at Ouran High School, who accidentally breaks an expensive vase owned by the school’s host club. In order to pay for it, she has to work as a host for the club.
Ouran High School Host Club is a great introductory anime for girls and young women who are curious about the anime world. It has mostly every cliché and stereotype that is typically shown in a shoujo anime or manga. First of all, it is a reverse harem where there is one girl being the center of attention of several guys. In addition, this anime has a “bromance” between Honey-senpai and Mori-senpai, the incestuous-like relationship of Hikaru and Kaoru Hitachiin, and an obsessed visual novel gamer, Renge Houshakuji. While watching, you will be greatly entertained by these characters’ daily antics, and get a basic glimpse of what the world of anime is all about. Like Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun, I kind of wish they made a second season for this show since the manga is already completed. There is also a live-action Japanese drama, but it is a little too over-the-top for my taste.
(Manga: 2009- ongoing, Anime: 2014)
Created By: Satsuki Yoshino
Studio: Kinema Citrus
At an exhibition, a master calligrapher, Seishū Handa, punches an elderly curator for calling his latest work, “unoriginal.” Due to this latest scandal, Seishū Handa’s father sends him to Gotō Island for some relaxation therapy. While living on the island, Seishū meets and interacts with the locals and learns how to live like one of them.
In my opinion, Barakamon is an anime aimed for creative individuals. There are times when we are like Seishū and want to throw a fit of frustration towards criticism about our work. It is at these moments when we need to take an indefinite break from society, and relax to take the stress away. Barakamon is an anime that could be seen as “a feel good show” for creative people. Furthermore, Barakamon illustrates how the simple life is the “good life.” While living on Gotō Island, Seishū goes on random adventures with the free-spirited and energetic seven year-old, Naru, and the other local kids. Barakamon shows that simple living can make us happy and inspire us.
(Visual Novel: 2004, Anime: Clannad 2007-2008, Clannad: After Story 2008-2009)
Created By: Key
Studio: Kyoto Animation
The anime, Clannad, is based on a visual novel by Key. Clannad revolves around the character, Tomoya Okazaki, a third year high school student. He is a delinquent who doesn’t have much of an interest in school, and stays out all night. After the death of his mother, Tomoya’s father neglected in raising him, and turned to alcohol and gambling as a source of healing. As a result, Tomoya and his father have an estrange relationship.
In the beginning of a new school year, Tomoya meets a fellow classmate, Nagisa Furukawa, who is repeating her third year due to being sick and missing a lot of school days the previous year. This year, Nagisa wants to join the drama club, but she learns that it is disbanded. Nagisa, with the help of Tomoya, reforms the club. Along the way, Tomoya becomes friends with the other girls in his school, and helps them with their problems.
Clannad is an emotional rollercoaster ride. I’ve watched both seasons, and the beauty of this anime comes from being able to stir strong emotions such as sadness and sympathy within viewers through story lines and character development. Through Clannad, viewers are reminded that every person deserves a second chance in life. For example, Tomoya is an individual who didn’t care much about living, but soon he learns to value his life and the people he is surrounded by. Another core value in Clannad is that if a person does good deeds for others throughout his or her life, he or she will be rewarded one day. It is the emotional reactions and life lessons that make Clannad, my favorite anime so far in life.
Well, there you have it, my “Top Ten Anime of All Time” (for now). I hope you enjoyed reading this, and also I encourage you to consider checking out some of these titles if you haven’t seen some of them already.