Everybody has favorites. The one that makes you want to wade through all the trash out there in the hopes of experiencing that feeling you once got from an amazing show. The bittersweet void in your life you desperately try to fill after the finale.
Well me, I have three of those in the short year I started my spiral into anime hell.
I only got into anime at the start of 2017. Since then, I have caught up with a LOT of shows, and only have so many more to go. The ones I list below are the ones I fell in love with.
Note, this list is purely about the quality of the anime themselves and not the extended media. So if an anime has a live-action adaptation, or came from an LN or manga, they would not necessarily be part of the reason why they were on this list. These will also not be full-blown analyses or reviews, only my tl;dr version of why I love them, as I plan on making more fully fledged posts in the future for these shows.
3. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (Every Part)
The show that dethroned Fullmetal Alchemist:Brotherhood from Top 3 to my Top 4, alongside Toradora (Yep, Toradora is only top 4, and I’ll talk about why later on the honorable mentions). The crazy, noisy and bizarre world of JoJo graced my eyes only four months ago, and I have already filled a shelf with JoJo figures thanks to it.
JoJo’s main draw for me was how DIFFERENT it was from any show I have ever watched, anime or not. The flamboyantly awesome character designs:
The ridiculous villains with the strangest powers and apply arances:
And of course, the general “WTF is happening?! ” vibe of the show:
Never at any point was I able to predict where the plot was headed, nor did I care to. This is the only show I watch where the memes of it are actually less ridiculous than the show itself.
Yes, that plate of spaghetti is an enemy in the show.
I refuse to spoil JoJo more than what I have said for anybody who hasn’t watched or read it yet, because it is a show that benefits very strongly from not being spoiled of it (not that it would matter because of how weird the spoilers would be) . It’s a ridiculously fun show with the absolute best OPs I have ever listened to, so even if you decide not to watch it, at least listen to the OPs!
2. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
Gurren Lagann is not a smart show. It isn’t even a particularly original story nor is it that well-animated. It has so many flaws and plotholes that any cynic can probably write essays about it.
But the fact is, you don’t notice because you’re too busy yelling at the top of your lungs.
This show is the one of the hypest shows I have ever watched , and I don’t even like mecha anime that much, which is a testament to how GOOD this show was at keeping you filled with adrenaline and chanting ROW, ROW, FIGHT THE POWER!
I love the characters, I love the action, I love the drama, I just love it. It’s a show with pure heart and gutsiness injected into every aspect of it, and anybody who watches this and doesn’t want to PIERCE THE HEAVENS WITH THEIR DRILL has probably not watched it enough times yet.
Gurren Lagann is a testament to how pure heart and passion can push any project from being meh to awesome. The team for this show would then go on to make more hype shows such as Kill la Kill and the best anime of all time that unfortunately was not allowed on this list on the grounds that it would make the other animes mentioned here jealous, Inferno Cop.
Now for a quick rundown of shows that used to be on the top 3 list and why they didn’t make the cut.
This show is wonderful, and it is THE romcom I think of when I think of any romance anime. It perfects the formula to a tee, has amazing character development, and a bopping first OP. Only reason it didn’t make the cut was that it was a straightforward show with the plot basically known already from the start, and being a bit too tropey (though it does subvert them wonderfully).
FMA:B was MY gateway drug into anime. If I wanted to get a non-anime fan to watch anime, this was how I was going to do it. The show is the most solid anime I have ever watched. The story is intriguing and action-packed, the characters are all likeable and unique, and it had a lot of thought-provoking moments about the importance of human life. The show is a masterpiece, and I honestly can’t find wrong with it. It delivered on all the right things, just not as highly as the top 3, even though it has none of their flaws.
Oregairu is about the same as Toradora for me. Solid romcom, with a bit more of a cynical edge to it. The reason why it isn’t on the list is that cliffhanger ending which I won’t spoil, but man did they REALLY push you off that cliff to hang super hard.
Shokugeki no Soma:
Shokugeki has the odd title of being the one of the only anime that has made me want to get off my ass and learn something new. I went from having zero interest in cooking to looking up recipes for Pad Thai on my phone for dinner, and now I cook pretty dang well. For that alone, I really appreciate that show.
It’s still trashy and cliche show , but it’s MY trashy, cliche and surprisingly educational show.
It’s basically Naruto but with more respect for its characters. It does nothing new with the shounen formula, and it really doesn’t need to. It just needs to be good at what it is, a solid shounen show, something that hasn’t been felt ever since Naruto ended a few years ago. I talk about it more on my weekly reviews of the currently airing season 3!
And now that the honorable mentions are over, here is my Top 1:
1. Clannad After Story:
I absolutely adore this show, and I cannot spoil it here. It is, bar none, the best drama anything I have ever watched, ever. The emotions that this show made me feel, the writing of the characters, how REAL they felt to me, is an astounding feat.
To summarize, the show is about the life of teenagers Tomoya and Nagisa, from high school until their adult days. It has a lot of early anime weirdness, but once it matures, it stays that way for the rest of the story.
I will admit, Clannad S1 is a bit of a slog in the middle, and After Story had a rocky start. However, they all lead up to to one of the best and most human stories to have graced this mortal plane of ours, and in itself solidifies in my heart that anime was worth it. That a show could affect my outlook on life so much, and that it could tell such a tragically realistic story in a medium like anime is great.
I will talk about this show in-depth soon, but if you haven’t watched it, WATCH IT.
Thanks for reading, and now, a question to you all.
What are your top 3 shows of all time?