Edit: My Favorite changed shortly after making this post, so I updated it to reflect that. If you’re reading this sentence, it’s still not proofread, so expect some weird sentences once in a while
Since I’m just starting up, I think I will make a couple of posts that are more centered around me. I’ll do some of the types of posts I want to do on top of that, but I should make it clear what my tastes are and what I look for in anime. If you want an overview, you should take a look at my MAL or Kitsu list. In this post, I will talk a bit about why I like the anime I do, which in some cases can be quite specific and others, not so much.
Also, why 12? Well, it was hard to get all my favorites in here without increasing the bar. I’ll be a bit more brief on the lower ones on my list than my favorites of the favorites.
13. Wandering Son
Usually, when I rate anime, I give my favorites the higher scores, because I don’t rate “objectively”, however, this is an exception. I gave this one an 8, but still think it deserves a spot in my favorites, simply because I don’t like the ending. The anime itself is really great and touches upon the topic of feeling out of place in your own body in a really great way. I love these kinds of anime, and will definitely check out the manga sometime soon. Inside Mari is another manga touching upon similar topics that I already enjoyed a lot.
Gintama is one of those shows that could most definitely be my among my top 5, however, the fact that I’m more than 70 episodes into it and I still feel like, this has potential, but isn’t quite there yet, I can’t have it further up yet. I love the meta humor and find the characters immensely fun, however, a lot of the comedy is lost in translation or is referencing older shows that I simply haven’t seen yet. It doesn’t matter how great it will become. If it isn’t there yet, I can’t really keep it at the top. The show has a tentative score of 8 for me, but I will increase it once the show has reached its potential.
11. Kaiji – Ultimate Survivor
This show isn’t further up, because I have yet to finish the series. It might climb up the list if I love the second season more.
The show has me sitting on the tip of my chair, biting my hand and hoping everything will go well. The intensity of the scenes are ramped up by the extremely slow pacing, taking an event that lasts a short while and stretching it out into multiple episodes. If this was any other show, I would’ve gotten sick by it, however, this one has it as an advantage. The same thing could be said about the running narrator, which broke Jojo for me, however, made me enjoy this show a lot. This is what I mean when I say that some shows I like for very specific reasons.
10. Flowers of Evil
Usually, I prefer watching anime in bursts. I don’t binge stuff unless I really feel like it. However, when I do get the urge to binge it, there’s usually a good reason for it. How I watch anime could actually become a post on its own.
This show is one of those that sadly is ruined by its ending. It’s a fantastic show that I love to pieces, however, it ends by showing us a sequence of events that would take place in an upcoming season, however, it won’t ever happen, as the reception for it was terrible, and that’s actually not unexpected. It has an art style that turned a lot of people off, and it has episodes that simply doesn’t work unless you binge the show. I can only imagine the huge disappointment one of the episodes were, coming from an amazing episode were a bunch of stuff happened to one where literally nothing happened. That episode was there to let you contemplate the previous episode, but weekly viewers already had that time, and the sequence was just boring for them. So, go watch this intense and nerve-wreaking anime, however, binge it, as that’s the best way to watch it
Also, I love the art style, being different doesn’t mean it’s bad!
9. Welcome to the N.H.K.
It’s not that often we get anime that truly understands psychological trauma, but the few that do are usually really great. Welcome to the N.H.K is most certainly one of them. You’re not a NEET or hikikomori because you want to be one. Nor is it the media you consume that turns you into one. There’s usually something else that causes it.
It’s been a while since I watched this now, so I don’t have too much to say about it, but I will mention that the biggest reason why I do, is the exceptional character writing. Characters are usually what makes me love a show, not the story.
8. Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea
Is there any top list that is truly complete without at least one Ghibli anime? Well, I don’t choose based on this, but my favorite Ghibli movie is most certainly Ponyo.
There isn’t much I need to say about this as it can all be summed up in one word, ‘fun’. This anime is a pure, childlike bliss. The story, the characters, the visuals, everything builds upon this childlike wonder and make me yearn for my childhood to come back. For an animation otaku, it’s also a technical marvel that nothing will ever come close to. It’s sad that Ghibli doesn’t exist anymore.
7. Tamako Market
The anime by Kyoto Animation that everyone forgets. It was overshadowed by their other show, K-On. I, however, find this show immensely enjoyable, as they’ve taken a lot of what they’ve learned since K-On into this show, using visual tricks they simply couldn’t do back when K-On aired.
Unlike K-On, an anime about friendship, this one is about family. The market that Tamako lives at is a thriving family that knows each other well. I believe this show needs more attention, as it does most of the same things as K-On did, featuring Yamada’s fantastic foot fetish and all of her glorious directorial tricks.
6. Made in Abyss
Backgrounds? Did someone say backgrounds? Baaaackgrooooounds! I love backgrounds!
This show. Like, holy shit! I am a background fanatic and it scratches my itch for backgrounds so hard. I’m so going to write a full post on what makes a good background, so I’ll stop gushing about them now.
Besides that, I truly love the sense of adventure (supported by the backgrounds 😉) this anime has. As they delve further down and we get to see the landscape change, the animal becomes more and more terrifying as well as the fauna changing. It truly manages to have me at the edge of my seat in horror. I feel like a terrified child watching this anime, hoping the characters won’t be killed off, and I am actually terrified, as I know that any moment, something with actual impact could happen. We don’t know know how far it’ll go, which makes it really intense. I am extremely happy that it’s getting a sequel because it gets even darker and better as it goes along. Also, SFX: *Loli struggling to poop quietly*
Some words before I go on
Now, as we’re heading into the top 5, I just wanna say, I have a varied taste. I love a lot of anime, and my top 5 also reflects that. I still gravitate towards shows that rely more on characters than a story. I like The Legend of Zelda and Mario because they’re about the mechanics and not the story. Same goes for anime, however, in this case, it would be characters and visuals that improves my enjoyment
Space Dandy is that one show I love more because of the visuals than the story. It’s a compilation of some of the best creators in the industry. Names like Yutaka Nakamura, Bahji JD, and Masaaki Yuasa show up if you look at the staff list, and there are several other great faces connected to this one.
It doesn’t take long to realize that this one is made by great artists, as the quality of the animation is far better than most any anime on TV, challenging anime by KyoAni even! It is most certainly style over substance, however, that’s not meant as a criticism, as it’s working in its favor. Usually people use that phrase to say that a show is lacking something, however, I believe that it can also be used for shows that thrive in its style. Shows that go above and beyond to awe you with its stunning visuals. I could watch this time and again, not because I want to re-experience the story, but because I want to watch the amazing visuals. Character animation is exceptional, and the anime also has my favorite cut by Yutaka Nakamura. Knowing that a lot of the same people worked on Cowboy Bebop gets me excited for when I’m finally gonna get to that show (I have to save some of the classics for later).
4. Violet Evergarden
There are not many shows that truly make me cry. Some shows might have me shed a small tear or make me feel a bit sad, however, it’s rare that I actually cry from an anime. Some people might say that the anime is “exploitative,” however, I don’t think making me cry is a negative thing. Sometimes it’s great to allow myself to gouge my eyes out in sadness, and this anime allowed me to do that. There’s just one other anime so far that did that, which would be Clannad After Story, which I might put back into my favorites whenever I rewatch it.
Again, this anime is a visual masterpiece. That’s another reason why I love this so much. KyoAni is the masters of visuals, and besides Tsurune, I have yet to be disappointed in that regard. How they managed to animate the detailed hair, with light novel line-counts, in such a fluid way, is a marvel. I can’t stress enough how much I love the visuals in this one, as it goes above and beyond anything I’ve ever seen before! It’s grounded, but amazing.
3. The Monogatari Series
Many might be tempted to call this one ‘style over substance,’ however, that’s not true at all. This is style and substance. If you can’t find the substance, you’re not looking for it.
This anime requires the viewer to pay attention. It doesn’t think you’re stupid but rather respects the intelligence of the viewer. This is something I truly love from this series, and it allows so much analysis, as everything can literally be analyzed. It feels really planned, almost as if NisioisiN had it all in planned out before he started writing, which isn’t true, but still (he wrote an entire arc because of a request by Nadeko’s voice actor, Kana Hanazawa).
I love how the visuals tell a lot of the story alongside the dialogues, this is both ‘show, don’t tell’ and ‘tell, don’t show’ at the same time, handled in the best way possible. By ‘tell, don’t show,’ I’m not talking about outright telling you, however, I’m talking about indirectly telling you through natural conversations.
This is the kind of brain workout I love, and the only reason it isn’t further up on this list is that it can be quite exhausting to watch. It used to be my favorite until I watched the next two on my list.
2. Neon Genesis Evangelion
This anime might top the lists of a lot of anime journalists, however, it tops their lists for good reason. There’s so much to analyze and there’s so much stuff in clear sight that you’ll miss. Every time you rewatch it, you’ll spot something new, and I can say that, even though I haven’t even rewatched it yet! It might not be my favorite anymore, but for the time it was, it was quite high up there!
What I love about this anime are the psychological elements and the characters. As I’ve already mentioned, characters mean a lot more to me than a good story, and this show understands that. Its story is quite simple, however, the characters are not. All the characters could be diagnosed with real mental problems. What I love the most in this are the adult characters. As an adult, I’m starting to like youth characters less and less, as they act in a way I don’t like. This anime has both. Youths being youths, but also adults being adults. I am still young enough that I can relate to some of the struggles the children are having, but old enough to also relate to the adults. I am in the perfect middle-ground.
To me, the original ending is the better one. I will still recommend End of Evangelion for most other people, however, to me, the original ending is still the best. This is because I prefer the psychoanalysis and the interesting visual choices that stemmed from the limitations set upon them from lack of time. I love how it was solved!
If you know me, it should be no surprise that K-On is at the top of my list. For a while it was Evanglion, but then I changed it quite recently! To me, K-On is my favorite piece of relaxation. If I feel down, if I feel sad, if I’m happy, if I’m bored, whatever, I can put on some K-On and I’ll always go out with a smile on my mouth. K-On might not have saved my life, however, if my life needed saving, this is the show that would save me.
K-On might be criticized for not really being about music, however, that isn’t the point of the show. The theme of K-On isn’t music, it’s friendship, and speaking as a person who has played in bands around that age, I know that playing in a band was never about the music, it was about hanging out with friends. The music was always just an excuse. I’d actually go so far as to say that this is a much more realistic portrayal of musicians than what I find in Your Lie in April. And this is coming from someone who has studied music since high school and is still studying music in college.
Thanks for reading. These are some short thoughts on why I liked the shows. Keep in mind that a lot of these I watched a long time ago and some I haven’t even completed yet (Space Dandy S2, Gintama and Kaiji). My tastes are always changing as well so this list might be wrong in just a week. I mean, just as I was writing this post, I changed the positions of some of these.
I’ll post this for now and will go back and edit it later, as I don’t have time to do that now. If you see this, it means that it’s still mostly unedited. If there are some sentences that don’t make much sense, then that’s why.