The list everyone has been waiting for! So, funny story. I couldn’t come up with 20 favorite anime. I was surprised because I’ve seen A LOT of anime. Perhaps after I peruse a whole bunch of them this next year, I can redo the list.
As for this particular list, they are split mostly into three categories: one’s that make me laugh, one’s that made me cry, and the other’s that make me think.
Let’s get started!
10. The Disastrous Life of Saiki K. (2016), by J.C.Staff, Egg Firm
To the average person, psychic abilities might seem a blessing; for Kusuo Saiki, however, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Gifted with a wide assortment of supernatural abilities ranging from telepathy to x-ray vision, he finds this so-called blessing to be nothing but a curse. As all the inconveniences his powers cause constantly pile up, all Kusuo aims for is an ordinary, hassle-free life—a life where ignorance is bliss.
Unfortunately, the life of a psychic is far from quiet. Though Kusuo tries to stay out of the spotlight by keeping his powers a secret from his classmates, he ends up inadvertently attracting the attention of many odd characters, such as the empty-headed Riki Nendou and the delusional Shun Kaidou. Forced to deal with the craziness of the people around him, Kusuo comes to learn that the ordinary life he has been striving for is a lot more difficult to achieve than expected.Myanimelist Overview
Saiki K will make its way onto another list I’m working on for anime I never expected to like.
What do I like? The humor, especially the English cast from Funimation in season 1. The humor in this particular show is multidimensional, not depending on only one medium to deliver jokes or the story. It also makes fun of itself all the time and breaks the fourth wall on multiple occasions.
Do I like every season (if applicable)? Not necessarily. I prefer the first season because I like the English dub but will binge watch the show all the way through if I’m going through a stressful time.
Who is my favorite character? Probably Saiki for his sarcasm and moral code or Kaido for his naivety.
Would I like another season? Yes. I want to know what happens once he got his powers back.
What language do I prefer? English. the jokes land better for me.
9. One Punch Man (2015), by Madhouse
The seemingly ordinary and unimpressive Saitama has a rather unique hobby: being a hero. In order to pursue his childhood dream, he trained relentlessly for three years—and lost all of his hair in the process. Now, Saitama is incredibly powerful, so much so that no enemy is able to defeat him in battle. In fact, all it takes to defeat evildoers with just one punch has led to an unexpected problem—he is no longer able to enjoy the thrill of battling and has become quite bored.
This all changes with the arrival of Genos, a 19-year-old cyborg, who wishes to be Saitama’s disciple after seeing what he is capable of. Genos proposes that the two join the Hero Association in order to become certified heroes that will be recognized for their positive contributions to society, and Saitama, shocked that no one knows who he is, quickly agrees. And thus begins the story of One Punch Man, an action-comedy that follows an eccentric individual who longs to fight strong enemies that can hopefully give him the excitement he once felt, and just maybe, he’ll become popular in the process.Myanimelist Overview
I keep re-watching this 12-episode show. One Punch Man is also not an anime I normally would look out for. (I don’t look out for Shonen, or super hero shows. They don’t interest me usually.) However, the idea of a super hero subverting the usually tropes in Shonen anime had me reeling on the floor laughing when I first saw it.
What do I like about it? The fact it’s a satire for superhero shows. Every character and situation is subverted, displaying illogical ways of thinking people have created concerning the genre.
The animation is incredible. I enjoy looking for AMVs for One Punch Man because the animation is so clean and multidimensional.
Saitama is one of my favorite characters of all time.
Do I like every season? Noooooo. The second season is one of the biggest let downs I’ve had for a long time. Such a shame.
Who is my favorite character? Saitama for his bland egg head, rare cool scenes, and quest for stimulation. I also like Genos. He gives fans cool-looking scenes to make up for the fact Saitama usually just comes along and punches someone once.
Would I like another season? Yes, but Bones should do the animation. In fact, I want them to redo the second season to match the great pacing and animation from the first.
What Language do I Prefer? Japanese. The voice actor for Saitama specifically is irreplaceable.
8. Princess Tutu (2002), by Hal Film Maker
In a fairy tale come to life, the clumsy, sweet, and gentle Ahiru (Japanese for “duck”) seems like an unlikely protagonist. In reality, Ahiru is just as magical as the talking cats and crocodiles that inhabit her town—for Ahiru really is a duck! Transformed by the mysterious Drosselmeyer into a human girl, Ahiru soon learns the reason for her existence. Using her magical egg-shaped pendant, Ahiru can transform into Princess Tutu—a beautiful and talented ballet dancer whose dances relieve people of the turmoil in their hearts. With her newfound ability, Ahiru accepts the challenge of collecting the lost shards of her prince’s heart, for long ago he had shattered it in order to seal an evil raven away for all eternity.
Princess Tutu is a tale of heroes and their struggle against fate. Their beliefs, their feelings, and ultimately their actions will determine whether this fairy tale can reach its “happily ever after.”Myanimelist Overview
In my life, I never thought I would ever fall in love with a magical girl anime. (Yes, I’ve seen quite a few.) Thankfully, Princess Tutu features classical music, interwoven philosophical ideas, and beautiful dancing. It caught my eye maybe ten or more years ago while I was flipping through anime review videos.
What do I like about it? I grew up playing and listening to classical music, so its soundtrack felt like coming home. I loved thinking about what it means to be in charge of one’s destiny. For the characters in Princess Tutu, it meant fighting against their fates as characters in a story.
The animation itself is fascinating to me because of the choreography for the dances. In fact, every episode felt like a setting on a stage, rather than real life.
Who is your favorite character? Mr. Cat, the dance instructor. All he wants is to find someone to marry him! He’s so lonely. (In other words, he’s hilarious). He also gives very sound advice at times.
Would I like another season? No, it ended very nicely.
Which Language do I Prefer? English. The Japanese voices are obnoxious.
7. Hyouka (2012), by Kyoto Animation
Energy-conservative high school student Houtarou Oreki ends up with more than he bargained for when he signs up for the Classics Club at his sister’s behest—especially when he realizes how deep-rooted the club’s history really is. Begrudgingly, Oreki is dragged into an investigation concerning the 45-year-old mystery that surrounds the club room.
Accompanied by his fellow club members, the knowledgeable Satoshi Fukube, the stern but benign Mayaka Ibara, and the ever-curious Eru Chitanda, Oreki must combat deadlines and lack of information with resourcefulness and hidden talent, in order to not only find the truth buried beneath the dust of works created years before them, but of other small side cases as well.
Based on the award-winning Koten-bu light novel series, and directed by Yasuhiro Takemoto of Suzumiya Haruhi no Shoushitsu, Hyouka shows that normal life can be full of small mysteries, be it family history, a student film, or even the withered flowers that make up a ghost story.Myanimelist Overview
Recently, I went back and re-watched Hyouka with my brother. It exceeded my expectations. I thought I would just have fond memories of watching it in my early twenties. However, it was the exact show I needed for the upcoming changes and challenges I was facing.
What do I like about it? I love detective stories like Sherlock Holmes, Columbo, and Agatha Christie’s mysteries. Hyouka takes different mystery writing formulas and applies them to everyday life. It also plays with the idea of what makes each person special and what it’s like to compete with real, natural talent.
The animation is very balanced. The shots never felt disjointed or overstimulated like in many Shoujo anime I’ve seen. The characters also have crisp, lifelike motions which never look clunky.
Who is your favorite character? Probably Houtaro the main character. I love seeing into the minds of left-brained individuals who are good at doing puzzles.
Would I like another season? Yes and no. If the same studio handled the story I wouldn’t mind. However, I’m kind of afraid someone will butcher it.
What Language Do I Prefer? Both? I do admire the English Dub a little more.
6. Mob Psycho 100 (2016-2019), by Bones
Eighth-grader Shigeo “Mob” Kageyama has tapped into his inner wellspring of psychic prowess at a young age. But the power quickly proves to be a liability when he realizes the potential danger in his skills. Choosing to suppress his power, Mob’s only present use for his ability is to impress his longtime crush, Tsubomi, who soon grows bored of the same tricks.
In order to effectuate control on his skills, Mob enlists himself under the wing of Arataka Reigen, a con artist claiming to be a psychic, who exploits Mob’s powers for pocket change. Now, exorcising evil spirits on command has become a part of Mob’s daily, monotonous life. However, the psychic energy he exerts is barely the tip of the iceberg; if his vast potential and unrestrained emotions run berserk, a cataclysmic event that would render him completely unrecognizable will be triggered. The progression toward Mob’s explosion is rising and attempting to stop it is futile.Myanimelist Overview
Both seasons of Mob Psycho 100 BLEW ME AWAY when I watched it about two years ago. I didn’t think the creator ONE could write another truly fabulous story but he managed to convince me within the first 10 minutes of the first episode.
What do I like about it? First off, the animation. Bones Animators outdid themselves in animating multiple perspectives through unique camera angles. I also love how often they slip in ONE’s original drawings into the character animation. The action scenes are clean and riddled with layered details.
Second, this show is even funnier than One Punch Man!
Mob’s journey to learning to use and live with his emotions, despite his powers, was one part funny, two parts epic, and altogether beautiful to witness.
Do I like Every Season? Yes! Both seasons are equally excellent!
Who is my Favorite Character? All of them? Just kidding. Mob is my favorite. Reigen is a close second.
Would I like another season? Yes! Bones animators continue doing your magic.
What Language do I Prefer? Japanese. All the voice actors really click for me, especially Reigen.
5. Kino no Tabi: The Beautiful World (2003), by A.C.G.T.
Kino, a 15-year-old traveler, forms a bond with Hermes, a talking motorcycle. Together, they wander the lands and venture through various countries and places, despite having no clear idea of what to expect. After all, life is a journey filled with the unknown.
Throughout their journeys, they encounter different kinds of customs, from the morally gray to tragic and fascinating. They also meet many people: some who live to work, some who live to make others happy, and some who live to chase their dreams. Thus, in every country they visit, there is always something to learn from the way people carry out their lives.
It is not up to Kino or Hermes to decide whether these asserted values are wrong or right, as they merely assume the roles of observers within this small world. They do not attempt to change or influence the places they visit, despite how absurd these values would appear. That’s because in one way or another, they believe things are fine as they are, and that “the world is not beautiful; therefore, it is.”Myanimelist Overview
Like Princess Tutu, I found this particular anime while looking through YouTube reviews. What struck me from the get go was how it invited me to think deeper on what could be and what could happen in different societies. It displays varying perspectives on life and let’s the audience experience them through the main character Kino’s unclouded viewpoint as a traveler and unbiased onlooker.
What do I like about it? It challenges what I know and displays clearly the consequences of fallen people, who refuse to deviate from their worldview. Whenever I watch, I feel like it invites me through varying questions to see the world is still beautiful, even if tragic things happen.
Do I like every Season? Well, three years ago Lerche reanimated the shows with more episodes, but it lacked the flow and magic of the original.
What is my favorite story? (Since the only reoccurring characters are Kino and Hermes, her bike.) “A Tale of Feeding Off Others —I Want to Live.—”, I always ask myself when I see this episode “How do I value human life?”
Would I like another season? No. Animators tried to redo it rather than expounding on it and it fell flat.
What language do I prefer? English.
4. Natsume’s Book of Friends (2008-2017), by Brain’s Base
While most fifteen-year-old boys, in one way or another, harbor secrets that are related to girls, Takashi Natsume has a peculiar and terrifying secret involving youkai: for as long as he can remember, he has been constantly chased by these spirits. Natsume soon discovers that his deceased grandmother Reiko had passed on to him the Yuujinchou, or “Book of Friends,” which contains the names of the spirits whom she brought under her control. Now in Natsume’s possession, the book gives Reiko’s grandson this power as well, which is why these enraged beings now haunt him in hopes of somehow attaining their freedom.
Without parents and a loving home, and constantly being hunted by hostile, merciless youkai, Natsume is looking for solace—a place where he belongs. However, his only companion is a self-proclaimed bodyguard named Madara. Fondly referred to as Nyanko-sensei, Madara is a mysterious, pint-sized feline spirit who has his own reasons for sticking with the boy.
Based on the critically acclaimed manga by Yuki Midorikawa, Natsume Yuujinchou is an unconventional and supernatural slice-of-life series that follows Natsume as he, with his infamous protector Madara, endeavors to free the spirits bound by his grandmother’s contract.Myanimelist Overview
I have a soft spot in my heart for any stories involving the spirit world. Natsume’s Book of Friends is equally mysterious as it is enlightening. At its heart, its about a young man who learns kindness and develops needed relationships with people and spirits.
What do I like about it? It presents Japanese culture so vividly, emphasizing the growing disconnection between spirits and people. I like how Natsume becomes a bridge between both worlds.
Do I like every season? Yes! I also love watching the OVA’s and movies.
Who is my favorite character? Takashi Natsume is definitely my favorite character. The more I grew to know him, the more I realized how loving he still was despite how deeply abused he’d been throughout his life.
Would I like another season? Always! I’m all for the studio animating every volume.
What language do I prefer? Japanese. In fact, no one has translated it into English.
3. Steins Gate (2011), by White Fox
The self-proclaimed mad scientist Rintarou Okabe rents out a room in a rickety old building in Akihabara, where he indulges himself in his hobby of inventing prospective “future gadgets” with fellow lab members: Mayuri Shiina, his air-headed childhood friend, and Hashida Itaru, a perverted hacker nicknamed “Daru.” The three pass the time by tinkering with their most promising contraption yet, a machine dubbed the “Phone Microwave,” which performs the strange function of morphing bananas into piles of green gel.
Though miraculous in itself, the phenomenon doesn’t provide anything concrete in Okabe’s search for a scientific breakthrough; that is, until the lab members are spurred into action by a string of mysterious happenings before stumbling upon an unexpected success—the Phone Microwave can send emails to the past, altering the flow of history.
Adapted from the critically acclaimed visual novel by 5pb. and Nitroplus, Steins;Gate takes Okabe through the depths of scientific theory and practicality. Forced across the diverging threads of past and present, Okabe must shoulder the burdens that come with holding the key to the realm of time.Myanimelist Overview
If there is any series that challenges my brain, it’s Steins Gate. Its’ so well paced, and the characters’ relationships are multi-dimensional.
What do I like about it? Where do I start? The animation, though faded, comes to life the farther into the story one goes. The characters have layers! They aren’t just caricatures of bygone character tropes. The story is as intriguing as it is mind-boggling! I learned so much about String Theory and the Butterfly Effect. Also, it has one of my favorite love stories.
Who is my favorite character? The main character Okabe, Kurisu, or his childhood friend Mayuri. Honesty though, I like them all. Except Itaru. As I’ve said before, I don’t like pervy characters.
Would I like another season? There is another season, actually. I’ve never seen it. After the way the movie Steins;Gate: The Movie − Load Region of Déjà Vu ended so wonderfully, I don’t really want to continue.
What language do I prefer? I’ve seen it all the way through in English and Japanese. I like them both but prefer English.
Mushishi (2005,2014), by Artland
Perceived as strange and feared by man, over time the misshapen ones came to be known as Mushi. Although they harbor no ill intentions towards humans, many suffer from the side effects of their existence and strange nature; exploiting the Mushi without understanding them, even unintentionally, can lead to disaster and strife for any involved. Mushishi Zoku Shou continues the story of Mushishi Ginko on his journey to help the visible world to coexist with the Mushi.
During his travels, Ginko discovers various gifted individuals—those cursed by circumstance and those maintaining a fragile symbiosis with the Mushi—inevitably confronting the question of whether humanity, talented and tortured alike, can manage the responsibility of the unseen. Moreover, as a Mushishi, Ginko must learn more about these strange beings and decide if he has the right to interfere with the complex relationships between Mushi and mankind.Myanimelsit Overview
Mushishi is episodic, but almost all the stories are connected only by Ginko, who travels through Japan offering remedies and advice concerning Mushi. Somewhat like Kino’s Journey and Natsume’s Book of Friends, it presents multiple viewpoints through human and Mushi interactions.
What do I like about it? Everything. Again. The animation, especially in the backgrounds, is GORGEOUS. The stories are ethereal. I ate every one up, pondering for days the possible meanings and messages there. I also liked how the stories, like real life, varied in feel. Some were tragic, while others full of hope. Most of them in one way or another were bitter sweet.
Do I like all the seasons? Yes. Bones continued, after ten years, the story where it left off. Not deviating from the original manga or their previous season. If anything, the animation was more beautiful than the first season.
What is my favorite story? (I have several). “The Hand That Caresses the Night”, “Soft Horns”, “To Sleep in the Mountains”, “Beneath the Snow”. Thinking about it though, I love them all. I could barely pick.
Would I like another season? No. The anime finished the original manga.
Which language do I prefer? Both. I watch it interchangeably in English and Japanese.
Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood (2009-2010), by Bones
Alchemy is bound by this Law of Equivalent Exchange—something the young brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric only realize after attempting human transmutation: the one forbidden act of alchemy. They pay a terrible price for their transgression—Edward loses his left leg, Alphonse his physical body. It is only by the desperate sacrifice of Edward’s right arm that he is able to affix Alphonse’s soul to a suit of armor. Devastated and alone, it is the hope that they would both eventually return to their original bodies that gives Edward the inspiration to obtain metal limbs called “automail” and become a state alchemist, the Fullmetal Alchemist.
Three years of searching later, the brothers seek the Philosopher’s Stone, a mythical relic that allows an alchemist to overcome the Law of Equivalent Exchange. Even with military allies Colonel Roy Mustang, Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye, and Lieutenant Colonel Maes Hughes on their side, the brothers find themselves caught up in a nationwide conspiracy that leads them not only to the true nature of the elusive Philosopher’s Stone, but their country’s murky history as well. In between finding a serial killer and racing against time, Edward and Alphonse must ask themselves if what they are doing will make them human again… or take away their humanity.Myanimelist Overview
I did not watch this anime first. I had a friend who recommended I watch the first series based on Hiromi Arakawa’s manga. I really liked it till the end. I wondered, through my anger and sadness, “Is this really how it ends?” Thankfully, it was not! I read and bought all the manga and watched Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood. The quality of the story and animation was astounding!
What do I like about it? Let me count the ways: the thoroughly engaging action scenes with animation that blew me away, the fully rounded characters. (There are no obsolete characters in this story.), the symbolism, how well rooted it is in historic practices and historical events, the idea of alchemy and automail, THE PERFECT ENDING! I could go on forever. I love it that much.
Do I like every season? Yes! No question about it.
Who is my favorite character? I have a list: Edward, for his emotional growth and grit. Alphonse, for his sensitivity and open-mindedness. Honenheim, for sacrificing everything he loved to save the world. Scar, for breaking through his hatred to build a better world. Olivia Armstrong, for being immovable in what she stood for. Ling, for desiring to be a righteous king.
Would I like another season? NO.
What language do I prefer? ENGLISH. Funimation did such a good job dubbing this anime. Since it takes place in an English-type society, it just makes more sense to see it in English.
Thank you for reading! See you tomorrow!
Anime April Mayhem! Day 8 Webtoon/Manhwa Special, My Favorites