My Top 20 Favorite Anime Series

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.

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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.

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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.

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18. Last Exile: A steampunk anime that has beautiful music and some great designs for airplanes.

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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.

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16. Serial Experiments Lain: Without a doubt, one of the strangest shows I’ve ever watched. It really kept me guessing.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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8. Haibane Renmei : This is a beautiful story about redemption and it’s just the kind of story I really love.

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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.

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6. Rahxephon: A symphonically-driven mecha anime that I couldn’t complete this list without putting in the top 10.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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  1. 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.

 

 

 

 

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Pretear

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Genre: Fantasy

Creator/Studio: Junichi Sato (writer) Kaori Naruse (illustrator)/Hal Film Maker and Kadokowa Shoten

Distributor: Funimation, streams on Hulu

No. of Episodes: 13

Suggested Age: 13+

My Rating: 7/10

Summary: Himeno Awayuki has moved into a new mansion now that her widowed father has remarried. She eventually meets the Leafe Knights and learns that she is destined to fight the Princess of Disaster. Each Leafe Knight has an elemental power that they lend to her when she “prets” or bonds with them. The Leafe Knights’ leader, Hayate trains her for the battle. But can she truly prepare herself for what lies ahead? Can her powers help her when she needs them most?

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Princess Tutu

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Genre: Fantasy

Creator/Studio: Junichi Sato (director)/Hal Film Maker

Distributor: AEsir Holdings, streams on Hulu.

No. of Episodes: 26

Suggested Age: 7+

My Rating: 10/10

Summary: Once upon a time, there was a writer named Herr Drosselmeyer, who had been writing a story called The Prince and the Raven. Sadly, Drosselmeyer died before he could even finish the story. Suddenly, the story took on a life of its own. Drosselmeyer saw this in his ghostly domain and decided it needed an ending. He happened upon a duck who had fallen in love with the prince and would barely have little to do with the plot. The prince is Mytho, a ballet student whose heart has been broken into several shards, each one transformed into a personification of an emotion or memory.  The duck is then transformed by Drosselmeyer into a human girl who takes the ballet class with Mytho and other students. She is then given the task of retrieving the heart shards so Mytho can feel again. There’s just one problem: if she gets wet or does anything that resembles a duck (she tends to quack when distressed, for instance), she will revert to her true form. Fortunately, she just needs to get wet again to change back. She is given a locket that transforms her into Princess Tutu so that she can retrieve the shards. Impeding her goal is the evil Raven, who seeks to corrupt the Prince with the help of his unwilling daughter Rue, who can transform into Princess Tutu’s evil counterpart, Princess Kraehe. However, Drosselmeyer is not a benevolent creator. He would love to see a bittersweet or tragic ending to his story, because that would create so much drama.

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She: The Ultimate Weapon (AKA Saikano)

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Genre: Sci-fi

Creator/Studio: Shin Takahashi/Gonzo

Distributor: Sentai Filmworks (streams on Hulu)

Suggested Age: 17+

My Rating: 8/10

Number of Episodes: 13

Summary: Chise is a clumsy, shy girl who fails at every subject except World History. She has fallen in love with an upperclassman named Shuji.  One day, their lives are forever changed for the worse when a covert military experiment turns Chise into a cybernetic weapon capable of nuking cities.

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Kino’s Journey

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Genre: Sci-fi/Drama

Studio/Creators: ACGT/Keiichi Sigsawa (writer) & Kouhaku Kuroboshi (illustrator)

Distributor: ADV,  streams on Hulu

No. of Episodes: 13

Suggested Age: 13+

My Rating: 10/10

Summary: Kino is a mysterious girl who is accompanied by a talking motorcycle named Hermes.  Together, they travel the world, staying in various lands on the verge of dystopia, but always on the move.

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.hack//roots

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Genre: Sci-fi/Fantasy

Studio: Bee Train

Distributor: FUNimation, streams on Hulu in both dubbed and subbed versions

Suggested Age: 13+

No. of Episodes: 26

My Rating: 8/10

Summary: Fifteen years after the events in .hack//Legend of the Twilight Bracelet, the CC Corp. (the company that makes “The World”, the fictional MMORPG where the .hack franchise takes place) has been burned down. But The World still goes on and has even been upgraded in recent years. A new team of vigilantes has emerged, called the Twilight Brigade. The series mainly focuses on two new recruits for the team, a boy named Haseo and a cat-girl named Tabby.

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Full Metal Panic: The Second Raid

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Studio/Creators: Kyoto Animation/Shoji Gatoh & Shiki Douji

Distributor: FUNimation

No. of Episodes: 13

Suggested Age: 17+

My Rating: 7/10

Summary: Set a year after the events in the original Full Metal Panic and ignoring Fumoffu(which is basically an “alternative universe” version), This series follows Mithril as they face a terrorist group named Amalgam, meaning that once again Kaname Chidori’s life is in danger. Can Sousuke protect her and discover their intentions, despite the possibility of a traitor within Mithril’s ranks?

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