Below are the top ten anime which are my personal favourite. Why? Because they made an impact on me and on how I choose anime. Or because they just caught my imagination. Please remember if your favourite is not on here, and you know I have watched it, make your own list. You might be surprised by what personally moved you in the anime world.
For the list, I am not using anything by Studio Ghibli because that would take over the list to be honest. Ghibli has a special place in my heart and choosing my top Ghibli movies would be pointless because to be honest they are likely the same as everyone elses. So my personal top ten.
10. Shugo Chara
Now I’m sure more than a few of you are going, wait? Wtf? Shugo Chara? That kids magical girl anime which was popular a while back but was ruined by a pathetic spin off? Now I mentioned these are the anime’s which are my personal favourite. If this is list was my view of anime which are the top 10 in general, this list would be considerably different. But Shugo Chara to me was very special. Admittedly I gave it a silver and I acknowledge admitting Sugar Sugar Rune as my favourite magical girl anime. So why isn’t Sugar Sugar Rune or the Magical Girl anime I rated as platinum here?
Well, simply this anime was one of the first that I watched weekly. Waiting eagerly for the next episode to come out to find out what was going to happen. This was the one that had me watching the countdown to it s release time and me jumping on the computer as soon as I got home from school. This anime was the one my school friends and I would talk about and guess what was going to happen. Plus Ikuto was my first anime crush.
Shugo Chara is no masterpiece. Its a pretty standard magical girl anime. Amusing and full of innocent crushes and themes of friendship but not much else. But for me it has a lot of important memories attached to it, which is why it is at number 10.
Elfen Lied is a show which I first watched fairly early. It’s dark. The story gory and deep. The future of human evolution and more. This show was utterly beyond anything I had ever watched before. Certainly not in cartoon format. Please remember I was 13 when I first watched this, having not checked the ratings.
This anime was prove to me that anime’s were not all light hearted things for children. But also dark and for adults. And not in a hentai way, though this anime does have its fair share of ecchi moments. The story was deep and complex. Having themes I had read in books and seen in tv programs but not animated. And not with as much feeling and drama. Or maybe it was the drama seemed less of the top because it was animated?
Elfen Lied changed the way I view anime and led me to search for anime’s with a deep meaning than a teenager boy saving the world and getting the girl. Elfen Lied’s Lucy was one of the first female characters I had seen who had a backbone and was actually quite powerful in her own right. Not that cute innocent characters are bad, it’s just boring when there are no actually interesting female characters because they are all carbon copies of each other.
8. Hikaru no Go
So I basically didn’t watch any anime for about 4 years. Its hard to think that now considering how much I have watched in the past few months but I lived anime free. So other than suddenly moving to Japan and being surrounded with it, what actually got be back into watching anime again. Strangely this anime right here.
Despite it being over 10 years old, Hikaru and Sai’s quest to become the best at Go hit my heart strings. It reminded me that not all anime’s were the same story copy and pasted over and over again. But some had geniunly unquie storylines which made you want to watch more. Made you wish you could just dive into the story and stay there forever.
At heart, this anime is a sports anime. I label it as competitive gaming but that’s my own pickiness about what a sport is. Its an anime about someone new becoming one of the sports top players and giving up everything and anyone not related to that game. But it also has the ability to make you rout for the character and want them to succeed. Make you ache when they don’t.
If Elfen Lied’s Lucy proved to me that some anime women could be truly bad ass, Black Lagoon’s Revy was the personification of this. Revy is the a gun wielding manic who will sooner shoot you than lend you a hand. She’s got a past, same as everyone in the goddammed city this story is set in. She is a killer by nature and not afraid of anyone or anything. Nor are most of the characters in this anime. I have never seen a character quite like Revy and in my opinion none with quite as much charm as this woman. It doesn’t matter what that city throws at them, Revy just hits back harder. Meanwhile Rock is trying not to scream and to survive in the situation Revy has put him in.
Black Lagoon is a dark and gritty story which will have you hair on ends at times. The city it is set in is a paradise for the underworld and we watch as the characters navigate in a sea of sharks. Where people can be allied one moment and enemies the next. Simply, its a brilliant anime and well worth a watch.
I stumbled across this anime recently, mostly due to the fact it is written by the name people as Durarara and that is very popular at the moment due it getting a second season after 5 years. So can Baccano get one too? Or maybe just some more camero shots because seeing Maria and Isaac in Durarara made my day!
Sides from having one of the most famous openings of all time, Baccano is a clever and witty anime. With three separate yet intertwining timelines, a host of characters and murder afoot, this anime is anything but boring. With themes like immortality, alchemy and power, this anime is not for children. Not at all. It is hilarious but also quite gory. including the torture of a (admittedly immortal) child. I love clever animes and this one has well as truly earned its place in my list. To be clever in animes is hard without being too dark.
Baccano is a mess of stories which you have to follow carefully or else you will miss just how sometime happened, but it is quite unlike anything I have ever watched. It is hard to pick a favourite character from the long list of hosts but Maria and Isaac as the happy go lucky thief couple have got to be my favourite. Even if they are missing a few brain cells, but hey! That’s part of their charm.
5. Ouran Host Club
This the point where some more main stream titles make their way on to the list. Ouran Host Club is the show everyone at some point will watch. Why? Its amazing and a completely different spin on the reverse haream genre, for the fact that the girl in it, might as well not be a girl she is so uninterested in acting the way society says her sex should. Though with a drag queen father, its not surprising Haruhi has a different outlook on things in life. Especially when she is the poor kid in a school of ultra elite students who have nothing better to do than form a host club.
Ouran is fresh and clean. A wave of fresh air from the ‘omg I love you so much I could die’ romance shoujo’s we get oh too often. The characters are well drawn and written. Their personalties not as simple as the anime first makes them out to be and if nothing else, this anime is just so much fun! Between the wacky antics and half the boys having crushes on the oblivious Haruhi, there is not a moment of calm. If there is a moment, sometime big is about to happen.
I know its cheating to put these two series together but considering they are fairly entwined, I think it fair that they sit side by side on my list. Tsubasa Chronicles in effectively a grown up verison of Cardcaptors Sakura. Literally, I think in the manga it turns out that the main two characters are reincarations or descendants of our darlings and share their names. Sakura in this anime is basically what I typically don’t like about shoujo women but guess what? I love her to pieces. I love all the characters in this anime, its amazing. And yes I get that it’s not as good as the manga but I don’t care. I loved this anime. I loved the art, the music, the openings and the plot lines. I love the fact it has references to other clamp animes, I adore the fact that two anime are so deeply entwinced and yet at the core so very different.
Tsubasa is about searching for lost memories, all while making new ones along the way. Making friends, battling enemies and achieving goals. The tender love between Sakura and Shaoran is heart warming and true. Sure it can be a little slow at times but to me that didn’t affect my feelings for it in the lease.
As for xxxholics, it is the story of the witch and her assistant exorcising demons and other otherworldly nasty who have decided to prey on her mere mortals. The characters in this are just as loveable, even if this anime has more of almost darker psychological feel to it than tsubasa. They are two sides of the same coin with the clamp universes anywhere in between.
So in England, at least in my generation of anime fans there was always that question. Naruto or Bleach. Seeing as Naruto is never ending and Bleach has ended, I can only assume that has now changed. My answer, as you can clearly see, is Bleach. If a Japanese person asks my what my favourite anime is, Bleach is the answer. Its easy and standard and everyone knows it. So why? Why do I love this anime over Naruto?
Bleach is something that I’m not entirely sure why I am still attached too to much, but I am. Sure by the end, Ichigo is ridiculous over powered but at the begining, at the beginning he’s just a teenager who happens to see ghosts. He choses to gain this power to defend his family. He accepts the conquenses of his actions, and will do anything to defend those who have gotten caught up in the after effects of his actions. He’s basically got morals.
Not that Naruto doesn’t but between Ninjas and Death gods, I’ll take the death gods any day. This anime as some of my favourite things in it. Magic, swords and fighting to protect people. Plus Grimmjow. Love Grimmjow. But seriously, don’t disregard this anime just because its 300 episodes. An anime doesn’t get that long without having something about it which makes it different and Bleach is certainly special. Provided you can look over the terrible fillers. Seriously Bleach suffered a lot because it has like three seasons worth of noncanon material in it. But try the first few canon seasons and I’m sure you will see the joy which is this anime.
How did this beat Bleach? How did this beat any of the animes on this list? The honest answer, I am 90% certain this was it. This was the anime that got me into anime in the first place. A shounen romantic involving a freak of nature vampire and her live living between the human world and the vampire world. For that reason alone, this is so high on the list. I don’t count anything like Yu-gi-oh or One Piece as my first anime because I watched them not knowing thats what they were. This though? This I watched because it was an anime and I was curious about it.
Honourable Mention: One Piece
So. Yes. Um. I like One Piece. I’m not up-todate, and likely never will be. I quit/had to stop watching after about episode 530. One Piece is an anime that I started watching as a child, not actually knowing it was an anime and loved then and I love it now that I am an adult.
Luffy’s crew are the sort that I think everyone can relate to in one way or another. Broken souls longing for adventure and to achieve their dreams. And then Luffy with his grin and straw hat crashes into their lives and goes ‘Want to join me?’ Just how many people would agree to go on adventure if handed to them? But it something we all want to some degree. To escape and see the world. The fact Luffy is a pirate who spends his time righting the wrongs of the world is not relevant. One piece is an anime that is not likely to ever die. You don’t have to watch it all, just the first 80 episodes and you will see the extent this young man will go to for his friends. For all of their dreams. Who could deny that feeling?
1. Kaleido Star
Major points to anyone who has actually heard of this anime because not many people have. But this is my favourite anime. The one which affected me the most and got me searching for anything even resembling it.
Kaledio Star is a story about a girl coming of age and working though the rings of the circus to get to that number one spot. This bright and optimistic anime is beautiful. With an ending which will make you want to cry with joy. Even saying that, this anime teaching you that if you want something, you have got to hard for it. To achieve you dreams involves blood sweat and tears. But sometimes if you have enough passion and luck you will achieve them.
So what do you think? What are you personal favourites?
Anime’s which didn’t quite make the cut but were considered: Fruits Basket, Skip Beat, Cardcaptor Sakura, Chrno Crusade, Kuroko no Basket