Top 30 Anime

Let me first say that as much as I tried to put these in order, many of them are clumped together in piles of I-don’t-know-how-to-separate-these.  Some of them are on here for nostalgia; others are on here from my biased favorites list; but for the most part, these are my top 30 for anime.

This list is also subject to change as I continue watching both old and new series and movies.

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30. Tokyo Godfathers
Tokyo Godfathers
was my 3rd Satoshi Kon film, and my favorite.  The setting and characters were unique in themselves…I mean, how many stories can you think of that follow the lives of a few homeless and finish with a heartwarming tale of unconventional families? Well? Yeah, that’s what I thought.  I plan on watching this every Christmas.

29. Cowboy Bebop
Memorable characters, jazzy music, and plain silliness are presented in this now classic series of the escapades of a group of space cowboys/bounty hunters.  I preferred the show when it was less serious and episodic in nature, as opposed to when the plot of Spike’s history takes over and the tone dramatically changes from light to dark.  My favorite characters would definitely have to be the duo of Ed and Ein, since they embody everything that I love about this anime.

28. Neon Genesis Evangelion
To be honest, I’m not really that big a fan of NGE.  That does not mean, however, that I do not appreciate the many controversial issues that it addresses.  This is the single most discussed anime that I remember in a variety of my undergraduate, even graduate, classes.  I’m impressed at the amount of analysis that this one anime can undergo and always notice something new after a re-watch.

27. Black Lagoon
An anime from my early days into anime watching, Black Lagoon felt very similar to Cowboy Bebop in style. The characters are diverse and have depth to them, and the setting feels both exotic and very real.  What attracted me to this anime, though, was how different it was from the ones I had seen before it; it had none of the fantasy or science fiction that I had started to associate with anime.  The world is ours, and ugly in the people’s actions born from a necessity to survive in a world determined to stifle them.  I was also completely seduced by Revy’s wildness and strength–very different from the soft and fluffy girls from previous anime experience.  Sadly, I haven’t gotten around to seeing the 2nd season.

26. Mononoke
I give a lot of thanks to Mononoke for expanding my horizons in terms of art style.  I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it at the start, but I stuck it through and let the stories and art slowly work their magic upon me.  With the exception of Gankutsuou, I’m not sure that I’ve seen another anime with quite so much patterned images jumbled all together across all canvases.  My eyes were overwhelmed.  But with each episode and introduction to yet another mysterious occurrence, I began to appreciate the art style for what it did to lend an otherworldly and eerie atmosphere.

25. Usagi Drop
Not often do you stumble across an anime so thoroughly centered on family with none of the fan service to which almost all others conform.  From the very first episode it’s evident that Bunny Drop is in a league of its own and is a classic that will still be talked about after many of the others of its season and year are already forgotten.  The story is one that many Americans like me readily recognize as that of the dysfunctional family, and one that also re-defines those preconceived notions of what it takes to be a successful parent.  Daikichi and Rin may or may not be blood related, but there’s no denying the sincerity of their feelings for one another.

24. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
For the longest time, this was my favorite Ghibli film–despite having been maybe the 3rd or 4th one that I had seen.  When put up against the crisp colors of Spirited Away and the haunting music of Princess Mononoke, it surprised me how much Nausicaa stayed with me.  I found myself suggesting it over others, despite its age.  A good portion for why I love this movie so much is due to its protagonist, Nausicaa.  She’s strong of spirit and body, and I found her love for her people and for all living things beautiful, albeit idealistic.  Both her and the overall story of the film remind me a lot of Princess Mononoke, with their dual themes of human destruction and the environment’s uncanny ability to adapt.

23. Baccano!

22. Dennou Coil

21. Azumanga Daioh

20. Minami-ke

19. Kure-nai

18. Trigun

17. Samurai Champloo

16. Katanagatari

15. Genshiken

14. Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo

13. xxxHOLiC (and xxxHOLiC kei)

12. Nodame Cantabile

11. Last Exile

10. Spirited Away

9. Kara no Kyoukai

8. Juuni Kokuki

7. Steins;Gate

6. Mushishi

5. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

4. Monster

3. Gankutsuou

2. Seirei no Moribito

1. ARIA (the Animation, Natural, and Origination)

Previous Placeholders

  • Higurashi no Naku Koro ni
    This show took a while to grow on me, but grow on me it did.  HNKN focuses on the lives of Maebara Keiichi and his friends in the isolated village of Hinamizawa.  Maebara quickly becomes suspicious that there are sinister intentions afoot behind the sweet exteriors of his female classmates, and this suspicion is mixed with plenty of self-doubt and questions of sanity.
  • Hana Yori Dango
    The first ever shoujo anime I watched, HYD is a large reason for why I love anime as much as I do now.  And as much fun as I have with the series of events cataloging Tsukushi and Domyoji’s love story, I’m not so nostalgic as to ignore the show’s cyclical comedy and overly dramatic nudges.  But if there’s one thing about HYD that still places it up there among the best, it’s its memorable protagonist, Makino Tsukushi.  She was and remains one of the best leads I have ever had the privilege of getting to know.  You can read more about her in my entry about my top heroines.
  • Durarara!!

14 thoughts on “Top 30 Anime

  1. Whoa, this is alot like my favorite’s list, you have wonderful taste in anime! But Kuroshitsuji would be in there (cause…I like butlers…alot…=_=). Spirited Away was my first Ghibli film, and it’s is my favorite anime movie so far. And I have a soft spot for Trigun. Anyhow, really cool list!

  2. ARIA, Gankutsuou, Brotherhood, Kara no Kyoukai, Twelve Kingdoms… You have a great list here that is filled with a large number of my personal favorites as well.

    Also, I wanna say thanks for the effort you put into this blog because I enjoy your thoughts a lot.

  3. At least you have the ability of creating a decisive list. I on the other hand am still stuck on a favoritism way of thinking, meaning I can’t choose 10 specific shows I personally deem the creme de la creme. Ah well, my soft and accepting nature opens my options of which anime I want to watch while those I dislike are usually harem or shows that make lesbians look pathetic, when they’re NOT!

    I have seen many of the shows you’ve mentioned and some of them are on my reviewing schedule, such as the Aria trilogy, Scott Steiner’s Gate, Kara no Kyoukai and Katanagatari. Hopefully I’ll get to them when I’m able.
    Other than that, no complaints on your list…except Shinji sucks and Lagrange’s Madoka is exactly what I wanted Shinji to be like.

    • I still need to finish my thoughts on every one of the anime on my list :p

      I hope you do get around to watching ARIA, Steins;Gate, Kara no Kyoukai, and Katanagatari, and that you enjoy every one of them. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on them when you do :) But, a male version of Madoka sounds kind of scary…

      • Many thanks miss Marina. I’ll slowly but surely get to all the shows I mentioned and review them. Whew. 151 and counting. Wow, what am I doing with my life? Pfft. Just kidding. I enjoy writing anime reviews.

  4. At first when I saw you didn’t list none of the Code Geass seasons, I thought you were another CG ‘hater’, but than I saw you didn’t list Death Note either, I was surprised. Most of CG haters are on the other side DN lovers, so I am happy you don’t belong to that contradictory statement saying “Code Geass shouldn’t be DN’s rival, since they have nothing in common” and so on. The only logical reason for liking DN instead of CG is your taste for a completely different illustration (darker, sinister…), your expectation for very elaborated details or your simple hate for commercial success. But in terms of story line and moral values… you just can’t say DN has nothing to do with CG. Anyways, if you have watched them, I’d love to know your opinion. For the rest of the List I majorly agree (although haven’t watched really many of them), I will take it as a reference in the future for watching animes.

    • Well, I’ve seen all of Death Note and about half of the first season of Code Geass, and to be honest, I wasn’t really that impressed. I know that goes against a good majority of the opinions of those who have watched them, but I really wasn’t thrilled when watching either of them. Regardless, I’m not the type of person to push my favorites over onto other people, nor would I ever belittle someone for liking an anime that I dislike.

      I did find DN to be more intellectually stimulating, but felt that the first half was much more engaging than the 2nd. Maybe I should try watching it again sometime to see if my opinion holds true.

      As for CG, I have tried twice now to finish it, and twice I’ve stalled halfway through. Lelouch really irritates me as a character, and C.C. wasn’t featured enough despite my stronger interest in her. I can’t place my finger on it–I get bored, be it from the story, the characters, or what, I’m not sure.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Daniel, and I do hope that you’ll try out some of the ones you’ve never heard of before on my list.

  5. I think every anime fan should watch everything on this list !
    although i would add Fate/zero , Puella and maybe Gurren lagann ! : D
    Thanks for sharing your list ! ^ ^

    • I am quite fond of both Fate/Zero and PMMM, though I really need to just re-look at my list every season. I enjoyed TTGL enough, but am not really a huge fan of the show. Thanks for taking the time to look over my list!

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