1. Persona 4 The Animation
I’ve been a fan of the Persona series since Persona 3 came out and boy was I happy when they announced an anime adaption for Persona 4. There is nice characters, good music, good action scenes and a satisfying mystery too. You need to watch this anime because it manages to combine so many great ideas into one story. All the characters are loveable too and the way they are introduced is a good way to establish personality traits. I can’t recommend this highly enough.
2. Angel Beats
This is one of my favorite anime all time mostly because it has some of the most lovable characters in anime history. Each one has their own unique personality and the interactions between them all are just brilliant. The plot itself is a bit wacky but the fact that it can switch between comedy and drama so seamlessly is just amazing. Angel Beats is one of the four anime that has made me cry manly tears; the ending was just so sad.
Steins;Gate was brilliant, not only does it have interesting characters but it has a genuinly interesting protagonist. Okabe Rintarō or should I say Hōōin Kyōma is such a great guy not only does he run a secret lab but he aids in the production of the first time machine and then proceed to screw around with time itself. Time travel is near the top of a list of themes I like in a story and Steins;Gate takes this idea and works magic with it. Not only does it do story well but the art and music are both masterpieces. The art is gritty and realistic lacking a lot of color but it works for the series in a good way and although the background music isn’t too much to write home about but we all know that the music that rolls over the credits of episode 24 was amazing.
4. Avatar The Last Airbender / The Legend of Korra
I know Avatar isn’t what you would call an anime but it is so much better then so many anime being released these days that i’m counting it. If I could live in any fantasy world I would choose to live in the world of Avatar. The premise of the show is so great everything is written perfectly from the contrast of the four nations and the nationalities they are based on to the unique fighting style which are all based on real life fighting styles. Avatar has a long story and has a history spanning well over 200 years which will draw you in and won’t let go. The Legend of Korra is just as good as the original series so make sure you watch that too.
5. Cowboy Bebop
Oh look Cowboy Bebop is near the top of the list how mainstream. Mainstream maybe but there is a reason popular things are popular and thats becuase they are good. Cowboy Bebop has everything anyone could ask for in an anime. Action, drama, a dog, great characters, attractive women, humor and Ed. Thinking back I can recall so many classic moments such as the scene with the fridge, the episode with the chess game and an entire episode an entire episode about mushrooms. Actually now that I think about it half the episodes were about food and the other half were about money and the fact that nobody had any.
6. One Piece
One Piece is a perfect example of a Shonen manga/anime. It can appeal to a teenager but it can also appeal to a 40 year old man. The level of complexity and shear number of character is what makes it stand out from the crowd. So many of the characters, particularly the Straw Hat crew are just so entertaining to watch. I genuinely care about all of them and if something really bad happened to one of them I would be devastated. It is backed up by a strong cast of voice actors and a group of animators which never seem to stop animating. My only complaint is that the background music is getting kind of old.
7. Death Note
Now this is a perfect example of a smart plot and intelligent characters. Light and L are some of the smartest cookies around and to prove who is the smartest they must kill each other. A Death Note is one of the most complicated fictional devices in anime and that the reason I love it. I was asking myself the whole way through the series “How would I use a Death Note but not break any of those rules.” Making the viewer/reader think about your story is one of the best things a writer can do. Not only is it well written but the art is amazing in both the anime and manga. Lets not forget the music either, it set the scene perfectly and was really creepy when it had to be.
8. Full Metal Alchemist / Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood
I don’t think I like one version more than the other because they are esentually two completely different stories. Not only is the action great but the comedy and drama is also good. I am a huge fan of the original anime especially some of the ideas presented near the end and the power soarce of alchemy but at the same time I can respect the new anime and the changes it made to the series. The characters in this story are so memorable I actually remeber a lot of their names years after watching it which is rare for me. Put simply it’s one of those anime that creates a new world which the viewer is drawn into.
9. Code Geass
Without Lelouch this anime would be a standard mecha battle fest with nothing going for it. However since it does have Lelouch it’s a standard mecha battle fest with a cool protagonist. He is the king of the dramatic and knows it which helps him take control of a terrorist organisation and use it to defeat the monarchy which has destroyed most of Japan. Throughout the entire anime you’ll be asking yourself one question. “What’s Lelouch up to?” He is very secretive about his plots and doesn’t even tell his minions what they are trying to achieve until they are halfway through what seems like a suicide mission. Lelouch is probably the only male lead that is manly enough to talk back to his super powered girlfriend which is another point in his favor. Code Geass is the second of four anime that has made me cry manly tears. It was surprising because I didn’t cry the first time I watched the last scene in Japanese. But when I watched the finale in the English dub I had the sniffles for some reason.
A million manly tears form a river of emotional sorrow which is lame at all. The first season was great and with a genuinly interesting cast in a harem style setting. But the second half of the second season takes that to a whole new level. It uses the standard harem formula and it mixes it up a bit by giving every character a backstory and I mean every character. Some of my favourite characters from this anime are actually the male characters. Tomoya, Youhei, Akio and Yusuke are great characters there interactions are mostly funny when they aren’t punching each other in the face or tending to the legions of girls surrounding them. The dynamic between Tomoya and Akio in the second season is one of the best in anime history. Clannad is the third of four anime that has made me cry. I am not ashamed to admit Clannad made me cry because it is so damn sad.
11. Mushi Shi
My brother had a hard drive full of anime a few years ago when I was still living at home. I was looking on it one day when I saw Mushi Shi. “What is this?” I asked. “No idea.” he replied. To this day he still doesn’t know what half the anime on his hard drive are but we do know that Mushi Shi was an artistic masterpiece. The first few episodes may be slow paced but they draw you into the magical world of Mushi. When you see the mushi that inhabit the girls eyes in the second episode you’ll know you’ve made the right choice in watching this anime. If you ever need to convince someone to watch this anime just say there is an episode where the main character chases a rainbow and they’ll be butter in your hands.
12. Puella Magi Madoka Magica
I watched the first two episodes of this and dropped it. Six months later someone told me to go back and watch the rest and i’m glad I did. I had trouble coming to terms with the fact that I was watching magic girls but once I realized it was complex and wasn’t just mindless dribble I was hooked. I powered through the entire series in one day which is a record for me because the closest I have come to doing that previously was with Angel Beats and that took two days. Madoka takes the magic girl genre and adds so many things to it that I love. Time manipulation, character turning evil, characters dying and genuine heroic sacrifices. Plus it touches on that whole what is a god idea which I find really interesting. I love you Madoka.
13. Neon Genesis Evangelion
Neon Genesis Evangelion does so many things well that it’s hard to point out all the bad things about it.First it develops a wimpy character and follows him on his journey to manhood but then it deals with many issues other animes don’t or at least don’t do as well. Father issues, teen relationships, one sided relationships and death just to name a few. Plus it also has some impressive mecha designs with resonable limitations put on them to keep things interesting. It combines technology with the supernatural and that creates a perfect combination plus it has all those hidden meanings and undertones most people wouldn’t pick up such as birth and motherhood. The Rebuild movie series is absolute epic too. Evangelion 2.0 is the best anime movie I have seen to date.
14. Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex
“What I thought I would do is pretend to be one of those deaf mutes. Or should I.” I love quotes and this one is a whooper. When I was 17 I watched this anime and understood it 100% and that made me feel all mature inside because Ghost in the Shell is an adult orientated action and crime anime. It has such a unique premise and things that happen in it don’t need to be explained in long winded conversation, instead they give you little crumbs of techno babble from time to time and it’s up to you to piece it all together because if you don’t the chatroom episode isn’t going to make much sense. Although it is mostly action based it can be quite emotional especially in the episode about the young girl from the plane crash. The music also plays a huge role in setting the scene; there is one song from the OST called cyberbird that plays during the helicopter scene in the second season which is godly.
15. Haibane Renmei
Never heard if it? I don’t know many people who have watched this anime which is a real shame. Haibane Renmei doesn’t tell a story it shows us a story; a very mysterious story at that. Most of the major plot points in this anime are found by Rakka, the main character rather then explained in dialog. Whether its a giant wall, a clock tower or a huge cocoon which creates angels there is always something new and interesting to be discovered. Interestingly a lot of things in the anime are left unexplained which adds to the mysterious element. It shares similar qualities to Angel Beats and if you like one you will absolutely love the other. The music is also amazing and on a side note the music is created by the same guy that created the music for Shadow of the Colossus.
16. Samurai Champloo
The only anime which will ever use the combination of samurai’s and hip hop music correctly. The three main characters are all so different and it seems like there is no proper reason they are travelling together except for curiosity. All three of the characters won’t admit it but it seems like they all crave companionship and this idea is tested again and again as they run into terrible situations. Its so random and wacky that you can never predict what is going to happen next and just when you suspect one thing the opposite will happen. There is an episode about hundreds of people getting high with some of the funniest animation ever so if that doesn’t convince you there is no hope for you.
17. Shinsekai Yori
One of the most atmospheric anime out there. There is a nice balance of the mystical and the technical as well as mystery and drama. It’s very unusual and certainly not for everyone but if you are looking for something that isn’t so straight forward then this is possibly what you are looking for. One aspect about the story is that it takes place over the main characters entire lifetime as she struggles for years on end to understand the world around her.
18. Sakamichi no Apollon
The story is set in 1966 but don’t let that put you off. The school “bully” takes the new transfer student under his wing and together the form a jazz band. The catch is that the transfer student plays classical piano and has never tried jazz before which makes for some interesting situations. The plot isn’t entirely about music however as there is two overlapping love triangles thrown into the mix as well as problems with friends and families. There was never a dull moment and I’d watch it again and again.
19. Bunny Drop
The first episode of this anime was really powerful. A middle aged man makes a quick decision to adopt a young orphaned girl which is actually his aunt. As you guess Bunny Drop is about parenting and it takes on some tough issues but in a light hearted manner. There is also themes of abandonment and death thrown into the mix as well but surprisingly all these issues are handled well and don’t feel fake in the slightest. I’ve got a slight problem with the love part of the adults relationship but if you can ignore that then this anime will draw you in and you’ll be hoping for much much more by the time you reach the last episode.
20. Sora no Woto
This is what anime is suppose to do; tell us a story that cannot be told using other mediums. On the surface Sora no Woto seems like a regular show about girls doing nothing but being cute but under all that there is some serious business. Despite the settings appearance the series is probably set around the year 2300 after the world has collapsed due to war but has been rebuilt, technology has been phased out of society somewhat but high tech stuff still remains in limited places except that nobody knows how to use it. The story explore the deep personal problems of the three main girls and the dark pasts of the two older ones. It is all about discovery and friendship which may sound corny but it’s so damn interesting.
Yep it’s an anime about ladies fighting demons with giant swords and style. The show progresses really well building up the characters strengths and escalating the strength of the enemies at the same time. Although the anime halfway through the story the manga keeps going and lets the character battle some more before killing them off until barely any remain. I really like a lot of the characters in this series and I really don’t want one of the main enemeies to die even though she tortures people. I’ve never been this attached to an evil character before which was a huge surprise for me personally. If you are looking for action this is the place you should be searching.
You want an overly complicated plot with like a million character and all their stories all intertwine? Yes please. It seems like about five separate stories are being told at the same time and it’s just a coincident then take place in the same city but really they are all just parts of a much bigger picture. Every character has a hidden agenda or a secret identity or both. Durarara has a lot of strange character such as a mythical creature, a strong bartender, a Russian man who loves sushi and the guy that just love messing with the human mind. Durarara also has a good English dub with a lot of big name voice actors and some really good new ones so make sure you watch this anime.
23. Tiger & Bunny
You could argue that Tiger & Bunny was a dumb anime and I would say you are probably right. But you have forgotten to take into account that’s why its so great. Tiger is such an amusing character and the dynamic he has with Barnaby is so well written. He plays off the side characters so well in a clumsy sort of way and he always knows what to say; well most of the time. Plus his outfit is super stylish and to add to that his car matches his vest. Some of the other heroes are interesting such as Sky High and Rock Bison and they are good for a laugh on multiple occasions.
Well it’s not really anime but it’s slice of life manga at its best so I’m counting it. It takes simple everyday activities and views them a child’s eyes; a hyperactive child with no self control. Yotsuba finds great joy in things most people would ignore and she is always causing accidents and doing things wrong but it’s just so funny and I couldn’t stop until I was finished. Yotsuba’s father is so laid back and forgiving that it makes for some really great comedy especially when he’s really frustrated and has to tell her when enough is enough. So when he gets suprised by something Yotsuba does it’s all the more funny.
25. Tokyo Magnitude 8.0
So Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 is based on the idea that a magnitude 8.0 earthquake could hit Tokyo in the next 30 years. Although it’s based on this idea the main story is about the bonds the three main characters make during the aftermath of the earthquake which leave them travelling across Tokyo on foot trying to find their friends and family. If you like sad anime and drama then this is a must watch as the ending is just too sad to describe. Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 brings my anime that made me cry list to four because of that ending even thinking about it now still makes me sad.
26. Kino’s Journey
Kino’s Journey is a unique story which I know won’t appeal to everyone however I feel the mystery elements may draw in some viewers. It tells the story of a Kino who travels across multiple countries on a motorcycle taking in as many different stories as possible. The special element of this anime is the story telling as each episode tells an interesting little story about a different country which often end in an unexpected manner. Kino is also a very interesting character to watch and is constantly acting in unexpected ways especially when she resorts to violence.
27. Last Exile
Last Exile is the perfect example of an adventure anime and has this neat steam punk setting based around airships. Normally I wouldn’t be interested in airships because they are similar to mechs and I don’t like mechs much but Last Exile has such well designed airships that feel heavy and realistic. It also has an amazing cast of characters which are all just so lovable even the really bossy captain Alex and the that lucky rifleman Shetland are just so nice when they need to be. The music is also something to note it has an absolutely amazing opening song which really give you a feel for the anime. It’s a real shame the sequel wasn’t so good.
28. Mysterious Girlfriend X
I don’t really know what to say about this one. It explores the crazy fetish filled relationship between two high school students who are very easily influenced by the experiences of everyone around them. The pair have the ability to share emotinal feelings through the exchange of saliva and although it sounds crazy it’s actually used in a very particular way which doesn’t make it seem too weird. It’s not for everybody but if you are want something to watch that’s a bit different then Mysterious Girlfriend X might be the place to start.
Shangri-La is a strange one as it draws you in and then sort of just does its own thing. The story and characters were pretty standard for an adventure anime and up until the point in the anime where Kuniko enters the prisons I thought Shangri-La was pretty average. Over the series the little things and character traits start to build up and you really start to get the feeling you are watching something great and then you hit that scene in the prison and everything falls into place. The story also has a decent conclusion for an anime so that’s something it has going for it.
30. Eve no Jikan
Now this is a character based anime if I ever saw one. Although Eve no Jikan is only six episodes long don’t let that fool you as it has more story in it then some 50+ episode anime and it made me laugh about once every five minutes. Eve no Jikan is set in a secluded coffee shop which robots and people are treated as equals and their as identity as either a robot or human remains hidden. When the main character and his friend spend time in the coffee shop they are always trying to guess who is a robot and who isn’t. Which isn’t so strange because that’s what I was doing the whole time too. It’s very unique and will probably appeal to nearly everyone because it doesn’t require a whole lot of thinking. Just sit down and enjoy it the crazy robot love stories.
31. Higurashi When They Cry
Higurashi is another strange anime that i’ve had he pleasure of watching. From a lot of the pictures you see around the internet including the one above it looks like some sort of harem anime or drama. But its not, it’s a sick twisted anime with lots of gore and mystery. I am not a huge fan of gore but Higurashi uses gore appropriatly for the most part anyway and it doesn’t make want to be sick or anything foul like that. What I really like about it is the mystery and how it explains everything really slowly making everyone seem suspicious at some point. Some of the OVA’s are rubbish but lets not talk about those.
32. Soul Eater
Soul Eater is just a simple shonen about a bunch of students fighting witches which isn’t complicating in the slightest. You have some pretty nutty characters which bounce of each other nicely. Soul, the lay back cool dude. Black Star, the overly energetic kid that want to become stronger then god and Death the kid, A neat freak that goes a bit crazy if everything isn’t symmetrical. But the main star of the otherwise male dominated leads is Maka. She is humanly flawed and even though she isn’t the toughest around she sure knows how to fight and stand up for what she believe in. Soul Eater is filled with good battles and great jokes you’d be silly not to watch it.
33. Gurren Lagann
“Don’t believe in yourself. Believe in me who believe in you.” that is just one of the memorable quotes you will hear when you watch Gurren Lagann. It is an anime about a heroics, action, explosions, giant robots and a girl with a pretty rocking body. Gurren Lagann is one of the only anime around that swaps the protagonist halfway. He fights the good fight and you can’t help but be amazed at how well he rallies everybody. All you really need to know about this anime is that it has the coolest sunglasses in it ever and that there is a fight between two mechs that are so big they stand on universes.
If you like sword fighting then this is the anime for you. Shichika is a man so talented at fighting he doesn’t even use a weapon in a world filled with samurais. Because he has no knowledge about the world around him he has no choice but to believe the devious words of the strategist, Togame. Together these two travel Japan collecting legendary swords from the toughest fighters in the country and form a close bond along the way. It has a pretty decent story but you are mostly here for the sword fighting and Katanagatari won’t disappoint. The last episode has some of the greatest fights in anime history but getting to that point takes time so be patient and give it a chance.
Probably the only anime that is set around 1930 that I would ever like. Baccano’s cast is just a collection of loonies each with something about them that just isn’t right. Some of them may even be a bit special. *cough* Issac *cough* and probably Miria too. The plot revolves around a special elixir which can make someone immortal if they drink it and the lives of the character which have had this drink. It is massively complicated and the anime jumps around places and times so much its almost too much to handle. The shear amount of characters and their interactions should be enough for most people to enjoy this anime even if the setting and the mafia aren’t your thing.
36. Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles
I’m not even really sure why Tsubasa is so high on my list. I guess it a pretty solid story with good memorable characters. I actually remember the five main characters names years after finishing it. I am a big fan of alternate dimensions and Tsubasa filled that void perfectly with may grand worlds for the protagonists to explore. I also love how clamp anime/manga have so much crossover. xxxHolic is a good example of crossover with Yuko appearing on a few occasions throughout the story. There is also an episode of Kobato which has the Tsubasa characters in it so make sure you check that out too if you are interested. The movies did a great job putting a dark spin on the anime as well as well as tying up all the loose ends. It’s worth sitting through the seires just to get to the movies so be patient with it and you’ll be rewarded.
37. Spice and Wolf
So the girl can turn into a giant wolf and the dude is really a nice guy. Sounds like any boring old anime but no Spice and Wolf is different. Its intelligent, its romantic and Holo is so incredibly manipulative. Holo as a character is right up there with my favorite female characters of all time. She knows that poor old Lawrence is head over heels for her and she teases him about it endlessly using him to get whatever she wants. The two travel together from town to town almost always alone so they have plenty of time to bond and they most certainly do. I have finished the anime and at some point I would like to read the light novels so I can find out how it comes to an end.