Howdy, Morsidin here!
What follows below is my best attempt at picking the 10 anime on my ever growing (almost monstrous at this point) list of shows which have had the most impact on me. But even picking this many was a close run thing and I know people have their own opinions so don’t judge me too much!
Anyhoo, though this is a top 10, it’s my top 10 and as such is dependant on my mood at the time, as such, it’s subject to change. So! As of right now in the number one spot is…
1. To Aru Majutsu No Index
(Anime series 1 aired: October 2008-March 2009)
Genres: Action, Magic, Sci-fi, Super Power
I thought I’d start the list with one that, possibly due to a heavy dose of nostalgia, holds a genuinely special place for me.
The title roughly translates to ‘A certain magical index’ and was the first genuine, streamed, subbed, fan serviced, suited and booted series I watched and damn was it good! Looking back it wasn’t much different from your standard stereotyped supernatural action anime. The protagonist, Kamijou Touma, is likeable but fairly bland and projectable and the other characters are chock full of personality and individual appeal. As my first foyer into the deeper realms of anime the mild harem and fan service in this completely took me aback and at times laugh out loud at the double bluffs and impossible situations which are scattered throughout the show.
Touma, the main character, does all the things you expect of him. Despite being a level 0, the weakest of the weak, his special ability allows him to fight off a myriad of colourful opponents in a refreshingly straight forward style. Even the villains sometimes turn out to be lovable, such as my favourite character from the series and the sole cosplay I possess… This maniacal powerhouse is a huge addition to the flavour of the series, but I’ll leave it to you to guess who I’m talking about after watching the series!
2. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
(Anime aired: April 2007- September 2007)
Genres: Action, Comedy, Mecha, Sci-fi
Next up the first anime I saw which made me laugh and (nearly) cry in the same series Gurren Lagann.
This show is all about making fun of anime tropes. It is nothing but cliché’s and archetypal characters but it is done so fantastically that at the time I had no idea this was even a part of it! The main characters start in an underground cavern and their journey takes them to unimaginable, and frankly physically impossible levels of epic proportions! (Trust me I’m a physicist) The main cast of three (or four if you take the series as a whole) fill these stereotypes perfectly.
First up is Kamina! The ultimate badass, the manliest of men, so much so that shirts are unnecessary for him! He’s the main driver of the plot at the start and is the idol for the progression of Simon, the true central character of the show. Simon starts small as the shy and introverted friend with the special talent but through the guidance of Kamina becomes ‘’The Drill That Will Pierce the Heavens’’ (This show is full of catchphrases!). And finally, Yoko, the very definition of unrealistic standards and the most prominent female character. While watching this show you might be tempted by her medically unfeasible body…
It’s a trap! As with a lot of anime the character starts the series at the tender age of 14, but if you happen to be around that age then… go right ahead you lucky……
Aaanyway, to sum up this series was a huge pull for me to keep watching anime and as such I felt it deserved a spot on this here list of mine.
3. Log Horizon (Honorable mention to No Game No Life)
(Anime first season aired: October 2013-March 2014)
Genres: Action, Fantasy, Game, Magic, Shounen
Here I struggled to pick a specific anime. I really wanted to include one which helps combine my passions for anime and gaming, leaving three main choices. Though Sword Art Online had some incredible moments, it’s downwards slide towards the end took it out of contention and left these two contenders for the number three spot.
I’ll give you a summary of the two and you can decide for yourself if my decision was right:
Up first, log Horizon. This is a must watch anime for any MMORPG fans or gamers in general! It follows a common theme of people becoming trapped in a game world and fighting to survive. However! It takes a unique path by being very detailed as to how the world is set up and genuine problems that might arise by actually living in a game such as crafted food having no taste (FINALLY! A need for the damned cooking skill).
I would probably tip this as the winner of the two but I still have the runner up to talk about!
Next up, No Game No Life. This takes things a little less seriously and has more than the minimal amount of fan service, but its core idea is really cool. Basically, this separate world was suffering after a huge war until one of the gods, the overall antagonist, Tet decides to take things into his own hands. He changes the rules of the world so that all conflict must be settled via games. However humanity lacks any real advantage and is suppressed by the other races. Here’s where the internet’s best, the NEET sibling due ‘Kuuhaku’ (or ‘Blank’ ) get sucked into this world to turn the tides in their favor.
It’s difficult to compare the two as they have different aims and as such I’ve gone with my gut here as to which I’d want to watch again more. Feel free to tip my views one way or the other!
4. Hunter x Hunter (2011)
(Anime aired: October 2011-September 2014)
Genres: Action, Adventure, Shounen, Super Powers
And the first Jump piece rears its head! This series is probably my favourite straight up Shounen anime so it needed pride of place on this list as that is one of my favourite genres.
What we have here is a story which follows the exploits of the almost supernatural boy Gon Freeccs. The spelling is accurate… I checked. His journey to find his dad and his growth through the Hunter trials and later adventures is some of the most consistent and balanced I’ve seen for a while. It does follow the common trail of powering up until a stronger opponent is required but it does this at what can be considered, for Shounen series, a controlled pace. The main character finds strong friends, and Leorio, and fights bad guys, good guys and basically anyone who gets in his way but only when he has to. He’s a genuinely likable character and I quickly found myself attached.
The other most prominent character, Killua, starts as one of the ‘’tortured souls’’ of the series but through Gon’s endless efforts to help and better his friend I grew to love this lethal, yo-yo wielding assassin as much as the main character, if not more.
With some amazingly well developed characters, a lack of filler and a story which manages to find some sort of acceptable conclusion it stands above others of its type in my opinion and overall makes it to 4th place.
5. Full Metal Alchemist
(Anime aired: October 2003- October 2004)
Genres: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Magic, Shounen
Here we have a somewhat controversial choice in Full Metal Alchemist (not Brotherhood). Shock Horror!
I know that Brotherhood is rated higher in almost every poll and having watched most of it I can see some serious improvements in the story so of the two I would recommend it. However, this was my first conscious choice to watch an anime with subs, and along with a companion film ”The Conqueror of Shamballa”, it headlined my introduction to anime. So with this premise in mind that I have some heavily tinted nostalgia goggles on… Here we go.
This series follows the story of the Eldric brothers and combines comedy, action and some serious tragedy. The show is full of amazing characters and in spite of the generally held consensus I loved the ending! Especially after things were reconciled in the film. With such a popular series you’ve either seen it and know exactly what I’m talking about or you haven’t and I don’t want to spoil a single moment of it for you.
I will just leave it here by recommending you at least try both series and maybe some of you may even agree with my nostalgia addled self. Who knows!?
6. Angel Beats!
(Anime Aired: April 2010- June 2010)
Genres: Action, Comedy, Drama, School, Supernatural
Have you ever wanted to have your heart ruthlessly pulled from your chest? Well you’ve come to the right place! This series is short but bittersweet and leaves me both satisfied and terribly depressed. It’s a tale of highs and lows and real tragedy, packaged in a funny and heart-warming school based setting.
I really don’t want to go into too much detail here, partially to avoid spoiling what is an incredible story… and partly to not burst into tears all over again! So I’ll just put in a recommendation that you watch this in preparation of the pain you’ll be putting yourself through you masochist!
(Anime series aired: July 2009- June 2010)
Genres: Mystery, Supernatural, Romance
This is a more recent addition to my list but one of the best for a while! The story is fairly serious and somewhat psychological despite its supernatural element. What’s more, it is told in a very unique almost unfocused style which does nothing but add to the story. It’s not a series to embark on light-heartedly but has the largest concentration of merchandise in my collection and has some very interesting characters.
The overall plot is of a boy, Araragi, who survives an attack from a feral vampire with the help of the ‘’priest’’ (if you can call him that) Meme Oshino. After this, as the resident Mr helpful, he assists one girl after another with their supernatural problems. It’s a hard one to describe but the impact it left on me is one of the strongest on this list.
The reason it’s not higher on the list is the lack of a prequel series/film which has been so often teased and ‘promised’ with trailers and forum posts. I shouldn’t be so salty about it but Damnit I NEED THAT PREQUAL!!
8. One Piece
(Anime still airing: October 1999- Now)
Genres: Action, Shounen, Adventure, Comedy, Super Power, Drama, Tragedy…
I wasn’t sure whether to include this on the list or not. There are so many amazing anime out there and this can almost be taken as granted on most lists. It is one of the longest running series in Jump with no signs of coming to an end anytime soon.
In case you have been living in an anime-less hole until recently (poor you!) this is arguably the biggest anime/manga to have come out of japan. Regardless of your preferences it is hard to not like the protagonist, Monkey.D.Luffy and his optimistic quest to become king of the pirates!
It’s a pretty significant time commitment to make as it Is currently runs up to episode 708 but is one of the series which does filler episodes/arcs well, they have some impact on the plot, however minor and are entertaining almost without fail.
I’ll leave this one up to you but if you were looking to get into a lengthy series for some serious chain watching or just a consistent daily fix, this is your jam!
(Anime season 1 aired: January 2010-June 2010)
Genres: Supernatural, Mystery, Action
I had some trouble deciding here between this and Baccano! But despite the incredibly jazzy soundtrack that comes with the craziness that is Baccano! I felt that the story behind Durarara!! and the casual supernatural aspects thrown in like they were an everyday commute just clinched my vote.
The confusion you feel when you first get a glimpse of all the crazy goings on and the lack of explanation is part of the draw of the show. It puts you in place to empathize with the first protagonist and just generally makes it feel like you’ve been taken up by a whirlwind.
I really highly recommend this and if you have the time go and check out Baccano! too, if only for that jazzy soundtrack.
10. Shaman king
(Anime aired: July 2001-September 2002)
Genres: Shounen, Supernatural, Action
This is definitely a personal choice. It’s a pretty good anime with a fairly unique sense of style, but I just cannot get over the English version of the theme tune. Every time I hear it I am pulled back to my childhood and start singing along. Even before i knew what anime was this show had captured my heart, I have since watched it again and though it lost some of the glory of the memory it still managed to hook me deeply enough for a spot on my top 10.
The story is also good though the anime ending differs a lot from that of the anime. For the better story I’d say to go check out the manga. But if, like me, you remember that wondrous opening then now might be a good time to take a walk down memory lane with Asakura Yoh and friends!