I guess this post really steps on the toes of my other ‘top/fav’ posts, but I tend to like lists a lot, despite their extremely low functional value!
Of course, as with all posts like this that I make, you’ll notice gaps in my viewing. You’ll also probably pick up on my obvious love of certain genres like sci-fi, fantasy and action, but I do occasionally watch stuff that doesn’t fit those labels 😀
(Only the top ten are actually ranked, the rest I just listed randomly because I gave up on ranking very quickly. TV/OVA releases only.)
Cowboy Bebop (1998)
No surprises from me here, right? This series has had an amazing life so far – I’m hoping the Netflix adaptation won’t end up as an awful footnote.
Ergo Proxy (2006)
One of my all-time fav science-fiction titles in any medium. Featuring Amy Lee of Evanesence too… well, not really.
Episodic storytelling done so well – beautiful series too, sombre as it can be.
The Big O (1999)
Batman meets Bond but with retro mecha and a gripping mystery. Even though the second season isn’t quite as good as the first, there’s a lot to enjoy for me.
One day I reckon Trigun will creep up higher on this list – and it’s hard not to enjoy such a good-natured hero too. I tend to like post-apocalyptic fiction and westerns, so this was always going to be featured 😀
Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit (2006)
Is this actually an underappreciated series? I’m not sure… mostly when I see it mentioned, it’s because folks like it a lot. Memorable characters and action-sequences with some ‘slow-burn’ aspects here.
One of the more recent shows on my list – and it’s pretty much ten years old already. Great time-travel science-fiction with a side-order of ‘tear-jerker’.
Neon Genesis (1995)
Perhaps because of the bitterly divisive ending, I think I actually like Evangelion even more now than back when I was a teenager.
Kids on the Slope (2012)
Jazz, coming of age themes, historical fiction and stories about being in a band – yes to all!
Nadia: Secret of Blue Water (1990)
Flawed in a different way to Neon Genesis, this is one of my favourite adventure series out there. I’ve written a few posts on it too 😀
I remember how hard the ending hit that first time – I have to watch this again and review soon.
Samurai Champloo (2004)
It’s interesting to see just how different Watanabe’s Champloo is to Cowboy Bebop – while being very similar in terms of genre mash-up/heavy incorporation of US culture and music. Another great cast of characters too, I’ve nearly had this in my top ten a few times.
Full Metal Alchemist (2003)
That’s right folks – not Brotherhood. This is what I saw first and I haven’t finished Brotherhood yet, so I can’t compare properly. But I will add, this version has more Maes Hughes.
I don’t know a lot of sports anime but I play volleyball and love underdog stories, and so I loved the mix of realistic stuff and drama here 🙂
Ushio and Tora (2015)
Classic supernatural shonen – I really enjoyed the buddy-cop aspects too, and wish more folks had seen this.
Record of Lodoss War: Chronicles of the Heroic Knight (1998)
Sword and sorcery is one of my all-time fav genres and the Lodoss series hits a lot of marks – aside from the RPG stuff, it has a lot of cool 1990s-era visuals that I dig, like the designs and split screens.
One of my former students recommended this to me one year and boy does it stand out among anime – does some fascinating things with medium and style. Great OST too.
Disturbing vision of the future – a new classic, or at least, Season 1 is in my opinion, but I haven’t seen the others yet.
I nearly missed this amazing mecha show, one of my favs of the genre. It’s probably more mystical, more of a drama than being an anime of constant battles but I liked that.
Witch Hunter Robin (2002)
Another supernatural anime, this one suffering a bit from that early CGI-look but compelling leads in my opinion and so I don’t notice too much in the end.
Casshern Sins (2008)
This is a pretty bleak series really, but it’s a memorable reboot, a lot of contrast between grace and decay throughout.
Battle Angel (1993)
I still wish this had been a full series instead of a short OVA but it’s a great adaptation of a seminal cyberpunk work nevertheless.
Here’s another ‘unfinished’ show, and one that I wish had been given a fuller ending. Still, if you’re in the mood for bloody action and revenge, then Claymore should deliver.
Pumpkin Scissors (2006)
In my review I mentioned a slight FMA resemblance here but it’s no copycat and I really liked the idea of a small team trying to do post-war recovery.
The Dragon Dentist (2017)
Something released within the last five years! I remember being enthralled by the opening sea battle but everything else was great too.
Outlaw Star (1998)
Space opera is one of my other fav genres and Outlaw Star checks a lot of boxes, from the mis-matched crew to mystery, action and humour, and of course, space!
Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress (2016)
Horror with a dash of steampunk – grim but not without a few uplifting moments, the ‘trapped on a moving thing’ was a nice way to offer extra tension.
Kurogane Communication (1998)
Few seem to have heard of this but it’s such a great positive dystopian show – fascinating that each ep is only around 12 mins too.
Bubblegum Crisis (1998)
That’s right. The ‘90s version – that’s the one I’m going with, folks. And basically, it’s in part because I saw it first and have a fondness for this version.
Blood Blockade Battlefront (2015)
As a fan of Yasuhiro Nightow I was excited to try this out one day and it’s wonderfully over the top – still hoping for a third season.
Violet Evergarden (2018)
Once more into the tearjerker sub-genre! Beautiful stuff from top to bottom, it’s also a nice to see letter-writing in the foreground.
Golden Kamuy (2018)
The wartime period, the winter setting, the unlikely duo and the treasure-hunt makes this so good, but there’s also a chance for me to learn about another culture with the Ainu so that’s another draw for me when it came to Golden Kamuy.
Revolutionary Girl Utena (1997)
Maybe a bit like Princess Knight but with more fairy tale surrealism even, this is a classic but not one beloved by all, I think. The aesthetic has that elvish, angular look that was big in the past too, and which I usually enjoy.
The Vision of Escaflowne (1996)
Another classic shojo, this with more action and a whole lot of mecha as well. It’s a great mix and characters definitely stand out here, along with the range of romantic sub-plots.
Read or Die (OVA) (2001)
If you want to see Mata Hari, Genjo Sanzo and Ludwig van Beethoven (among others), battling it out with secret agent heroes with inventive powers, in an easy to digest 3-part OVA, then this is worth finding!
Le Chevalier D’Eon (2006)
Featuring one of my all-time fav opening episodes, this is a heavy mix of politics, swordplay and magic as a team of musketeers traverse Europe, hunting evil ‘Poets’. (More when I write a full review one day!)
Black Lagoon (2006)
Crime, action and fan-service in this ‘girls-with-guns’ classic, set in a fictional SE Asia during the 1990s but with a more modern aesthetic.
Gundam Wing (1995)
Compared to at home, this was another anime that seemed to do better years later in the US, and was my proper introduction to the world of Gundam.
Lupin the Third (1971)
Another classic. It’s fascinating to see the tonal shift here, from the early Ōsumi episodes to the majority Miyazaki/Takahata ones, but once you see those first seven or so, it becomes clear how much they had an impact on Watanabe and Cowboy Bebop.
Astro Boy (1980)
Ah, before I knew what anime was, there was Astro Boy and Osamu Tezuka’s unwillingness to shy away from tough themes in a kids show. Burnt into my memory 🙂
Ride Back (2009)
I really enjoyed this and was thinking I’d have loved it just as much if it remained focused on racing alone – but there are definitely a few layers, here.
Historical setting in Italy, a series about art and artists and an underdog heroine with a positive outlook – all pluses! This was a fun series that I’ve like to see more of but I dunno if it was popular enough.
Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad (2004)
Nostalgia trip! Having played in rock and metal bands as a teen and into my 20s, this was a great music/teen drama.
Gurren Lagann (2007)
A fair while ago on the blog, I tried to figure out what I thought was a ‘classic’ and ended up deciding that certainly, the age of a show wasn’t the only thing worth considering. This is classic mecha with enough humour to fit in parody elements too.
More sword and sorcery anime, something I haven’t really seen for a long time, it seems (outside of the portal fantasy genre at least). Well, maybe ‘dark fantasy’ is a better genre, though the series is less so than the manga.
Demon Slayer (2019)
Ah, another recent anime in my list, this is typical shonen from top to bottom but visually striking – with a couple of flaws; the failures to really use Nezuko in the narrative and… well, Zenitsu.
Made in Abyss (2017)
Adventure, mystery and suffering! I’m quite keen to see the film one day, to see how those kids survive against serious odds.
Hozukis Coolheadedness (2014)
I’m not familiar with a lot of comedy anime, but the premise forced me to take a look – hell as a bureaucracy, with the demon Hozuki tasked with running the show while his superiors slack off.
Granblue Fantasy (2017)
Anime based on games are hit and miss for me but this has a fairly light feel to the fantasy adventure and I liked it. Fond memories of binging this with the flu one year!
Ghost in the Shell SAC (2002)
Obviously fairly different from the seminal film but still pretty awesome – and I finally get to include some more cyberpunk on this list!
That took longer than I thought, but there we go at last.
50 Favs (for now) and there’s certainly a few more I could have included – I have twelve or so left over, all vying for a place in the list 😀