Not many topics can both unify and divide people as well as anime. Politics? Religion? When compared to waifu wars, they’re nothing. Rem Best Girl 2016, by the way. Anyways, I’m Sam – a somewhat new writer here at Unime – and here are my top 10 favorite anime!
Space Patrol Luluco
I can honestly say that I’ve never known a studio as crazy as Trigger. With the zany over-the-topness of Kill la Kill, they’ve definitely made a name for themselves, and Luluco is no different. It’s a really fun short-form anime that’s perfect for bite-sized binges, and it knows this. The fast pacing is highlighted by the crazy story, and the characters are fun caricatures of classic stereotypes. I love a good comedy, and this show has well-timed humor that works perfectly each time. Even so, the story hides deeper elements than you might think, and it has some good character development wrapped in each segment. Crazy and fun, Space Patrol Luluco is an anime I definitely recommend.
Everyone talks about Sword Art Online and Log Horizon, but few talk about Overlord. Given that it has a similar “trapped-in-a-video-game” premise as the other two, I can’t imagine why it isn’t more well-known. One of the features I love in anime is when a show knows what feeling its looking to impart. Some anime want to feel serious and psychological, some happy, others emotional. This show wants to offer fun with a consistent story and likeable characters, and it delivers. As cunning as Shiroe yet as OP as Kirito, the protagonist Ains Ool Goan is both relatable and a unique character in his own right. In fact, all of the characters are fairly uniue and add their own flair to the series. For a somewhat unconventional fantasy anime, Overlord hits all the right notes for me.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Ah, Madoka. What is there for me to say? I love the series for a lot of reasons: it’s dark, beautiful, poignant. It was the first magical girl anime I saw, and it’s left a permanent mark on me. Starting off typical and evolving into so much more, Madoka Magica is definitely a roller coaster of emotions and plotlines. Fleshed-out characters with established backstories are always a plus in my book, but the series goes farther and gives you a reason to care about each of them. Each cast member has a different role and are necessary to the story; there are no throwaway characters here. With intense battle scenes, and epic score, and an amazing story, Madoka will always remain a treasure to me.
I’m gonna be real here: the only reason I ever watched this show is because it beat out Steins;Gate and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood as #1 on MyAnimeList for about a week. To accomplish such a feat on MAL of all places without even being finished made it definitely worthy of my attention. Was it worth it? Totally. The plot reminded me of Steins;Gate for sure, but the overall handling of the story in relation to the characters was very well-done.
Time-travel can be hard to implement without hamfisting it at times, but Erased used it just enough to keep the story moving at a nice pace. For a main character, Satoru was a nice balance of relatable and inspirational, and I liked the way he approached problems. Even so, his journey to save his friends was definitely a ride, and it kept me on the edge of my seat more than once. While the climax wasn’t as epic as I’d hoped it would be, it was still satisfying. All in all, Erased is a sci-fi/thriller about growing up. What more can you ask for?
Chaika the Coffin Princess
I love any type of comfort media. Y’know, something you can switch on and enjoy no matter how you’re feeling. Like a warm blanket, it’s always there for you when you need it. That’s what Chaika is to me. It’s not exceptional, but it’s not bad either. A slightly above average fantasy anime with a somewhat simplistic main story, it’s just unique enough to make it stand out.
The main premise is pretty much a fetch quest: Chaika is the last daughter of the evil Emperor Gaz, and wants to gather his scattered remains in order to give him a proper burial. She is joined by the ninjalike sabatours Toru and Akari, and together the show is less of an epic adventure and more of a slice-of-life with fantasy/action elements. This gives it a laid-back feel that really opens it up to have fun with the setting and the characters, which is where the show really excels. With two seasons under its belt, Chaika is definitely a good anime to check out if you’re looking for something fun and different.
As you’ll see with the rest of this list, slice-of-life anime are something of a guilty pleasure of mine. I love getting a glimpse into someone else’s everyday life, and anime just makes that so much more fun to experience. Barakamon is a show near and dear to my heart due to its focus on personal growth and maturity, something I can relate to as a college student.
A testament to the necessity of a village to raise a child, Barakamon really focuses on the place that community plays in self-identity and self-worth. It’s very character-driven, and this makes pretty much all of the main characters memorable in some way or another. You have the boisterous Naru, the closet otaku Tamako, the confident Hiro, and of course the insecure Handaa, as well as much more. It’s a show that takes its time to show the development of Handaa as an individual, and by the ending you’ll see how much he’s grown. Laid-back with a great sense of humor, Barakamon will always be one of my favorite series.
Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day
I never thought that an anime would make me cry. Then I watched this show. Anohana is a story that grips quickly, and it never truly lets go, and it’s an example to me of the power of storytelling. Stories allow us to experience the point of view of another person for a limited amount of time; a well-written story uses this to its advantage, using characters, plot, and dialogue to take the viewer on a journey.
Anohana does this perfectly by putting us in a position to understand the struggles of each member of its small cast. From Jintan to Yukiatsu, each character struggles with the loss of their mutual childhood friend. Their loss drove them apart, but as they slowly reconnect, their scars begin to heal. It’s a beautiful tale of love and loss, guilt and redemption; a story that you need to experience to understand.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
I’m a huge fan of well-written fantasy, and this show ranks pretty high on my favorite epic fantasy list. An established world, an intriguing plot, and memorable characters gives this series a weight that many other anime simply don’t carry. It leaves an impression, and I appreciate that about a story: it leaves you wanting more.
You feel for characters on both sides of the moral spectrum, and I myself was surprised several times at the turns the show took and the way it handled specific characters. The powers of alchemy in particular are well-written: the alchemists truly are scientists who have to find ways to use their gifts to max effect. Rather than a “get-out-of-jail-free” card, alchemy is a means to an end and it works with the plot to form a cohesive world that feels…solid. Immersion is a huge plus for me, and FMA:B is one of the easiest anime to get sucked into, in my opinion.
You’ve seen the memes, you’ve heard the theme song: by now, everyone knows about One-Punch Man. It’s a hit manga with an even more explosively popular anime, and it truly does live up to the hype. Everything about this show parodies and satirizes all eras of superhero culture, from the over-the-top comical baddies of the Golden Era to the dark and brooding powerhouses of today.
The main character Saitama is basically Goku if he hit max power level and became a meme, and his sidekick Genos embodies the spirit of the classic shounen hero. This is the only show that I watched that made me wait three weeks before watching the final episode, simply because I didn’t want it to end. It is one of my fondest memories of 2015, and it’s a must-watch for any fan of action and comedy.
Of all the anime I’ve seen, only Steins;Gate has truly touched me on a deep, personal level. It has everything I love in a good story: an original premise, fun-and-yet-deep characters, a well-paced plot, and a lot of character development. It has a smallish roster of characters, but this allows each and every one of them to have a direct impact on the story.
While I resonate the most with Okabe’s special brand of crazy, I could see a little bit of myself in each character, making each of them distinct, yet relateable. I found myself faling in love with each character, which made the twists and turns of the series all that much more real to experience. To me, Steins;Gate is the kind of anime that comes around once in a long time. If you want to experience some of the best storytelling that a visual medium can offer, I wholeheartedly suggest that you give Steins;Gate a try.
Be sure to leave a comment below with your opinions and don’t forget to share. Thanks for reading!