I’ve made over 150 posts on this blog! I think it’s time to celebrate! In my years as an otaku, I have found many anime series and movies that I love. I’ve decided to narrow it down to 20. If you’re new to anime, I think any of these titles would be a great place to start. Before I start, I want to give you a special note: In order to qualify for this countdown, I have to have watched at least most of the program. So, shows like Dragonball Z and Pokémon will not be on the list.
20) Monster: Naoki Urasawa’s psychological drama about a brain surgeon haunted by a patient he saved is a gripping story that I enjoyed from start to finish.
19. Now and Then, Here and There: A dark story about the endless cycle of violence and what happens when someone decided to stop that cycle. It’s a powerful story that’s not for the faint-hearted.
18. Last Exile: A steampunk anime that has beautiful music and some great designs for airplanes.
17. Ranma 1/2 The hilarious story from the mind of Rumiko Takahashi of a boy who becomes a girl when he gets wet. Yes, it’s longer than it should be, but it’s one of the few long-runners I’ve watched all the way through.
16. Serial Experiments Lain: Without a doubt, one of the strangest shows I’ve ever watched. It really kept me guessing.
15. Bubblegum Crisis TV: This is basically an anime version of the cult classic sci-fi masterpiece Blade Runner. It’s a true homage to a great movie.
14. Death Note: We’ve all wanted to become gods. It was fun watching Kira manipulate the world and attempt to create a world based on his own twisted view of justice.
13. Baccano! I actually didn’t expect to enjoy this anime as much as I did because I don’t like mobster stories. But this one had well-developed characters and was a thrill ride.
12. Clannad/Clannad After Story: An engaging slice-of-life that tugs at your heartstrings. It’s a beautiful story that I’m glad I tried out.
11. Tenchi Universe: Since the first version of Tenchi Muyo was an OVA, I picked the first series instead. It has a better structure to it, and the characters are at their best. None of the other Tenchi Muyo titles stand up nearly as well as this one.
10. Slayers: Which one? Well, actually, the whole series is great. It’s part parody of fantasy tropes, part action-comedy fantasy. Lina Inverse is one of my all-time favorite anime heroines.
9. Princess Tutu: I adore this story. It’s a fairy tale that’s just beautiful and great for all ages, something that you can rarely say about anime.
8. Haibane Renmei : This is a beautiful story about redemption and it’s just the kind of story I really love.
7. Gundam Wing: Picking my favorite Gundam wasn’t easy. In the end, I decided to go with the first one I ever watched. A true classic with great social commentary.
6. Rahxephon: A symphonically-driven mecha anime that I couldn’t complete this list without putting in the top 10.
5. Neon Genesis Evangelion: This was another anime that I didn’t expect to like. It’s Armageddon in anime form and it’s probably one of the most landmark titles out there.
4. Ghost in the Shell: Stand-Alone Complex: I like this even more than the movie that inspired it. It has a more engaging story and the world is more realized.
3. Rurouni Kenshin: The story of the Battousai Kenshin Himora as he attempts to atone for the murders he committed in the name of revolution by never taking a life again.
2. Trigun: Vash the Stampede is a wanted man in this well-done space western. Plus, it’s the debut of one of my favorite voice actors, Johnny Yong Bosch.
- Cowboy Bebop: Four bounty hunters and their dog track down criminals, all to the sound of one of the best soundtracks ever. I can’t recommend this one enough. I’m sure many of you predicted this would be at the top because many anime fans enjoy this series.
Next week: Top 20 anime movies.