Compared to others, I’m still relatively new to the world of anime. I grew up incredibly sheltered, so up until a few years ago, I wasn’t allowed to really watch it. I knew nothing of the Japanese culture and really didn’t have any interest in it. Then a friend of mine got me watching ‘Fullmetal Alchemist’ and ever since, I’ve been hooked on pretty much all things anime. My ‘have-watched’ list is still depressingly small compared to my ‘to-watch’ list, but I’m steadily making my way through it.
I have, at this point, watched enough to have a favorite top ten. My top five is a no-brainer, though everything from two to five tends to shuffle depending on my mood. Seven through ten I had to really think about, but here we are. My top ten favorite anime. Please keep in mind that I really only watch the English dubbed versions. I can watch subs, but if I can get a dub, I’m happier that way.
A quick heads up, there may be slight spoilers here. Nothing too bad, but I know some people are funny about spoilers.
10) Fairy Tail
Honestly, this one would be way higher up on the list if there weren’t so many episodes for me to get through. I normally get bored somewhere around episode 60, so 277 (at least on Funimation) is a bit excessive for me. Still, I’m pushing through it currently and maybe by the time I get finished, the dub of ‘Blue Exorcist’ season 2 will be out!
But seriously, this is a very good anime. There are plenty of things going on and a number of plot twists keep things interesting. The one thing I’m not fond of when it comes to the show is the whole bad guy might be a good guy thing or is the good guy really a bad guy. As much as I love the idea of ‘Jerza’, that whole plot line gave me a headache trying to figure it out. I also find it a little funny how characters can get beat within an inch of their life and there’s still not a sign of blood anywhere. All of the main characters should have been dead as dead can be, but they’re still alive and kicking. I guess being a wizard gives you some seriously tough skin.
But all that aside, I do still love this anime (as of episode 73, anyway). The characters are great, the plot keeps moving, so I’ll keep watching.
9) Sword Art Online (Season 1)
Really, just season one. I’m not entirely sure what happened with season two and I haven’t even tried season three. At some point I do plan to re-watch it all and probably play the video game, too.
This was one of those animes that I found on a weekend at my best friend’s house. We were scrolling through Netflix, found it, and binge watched the first season in no time at all. You can ask her, I nearly beat her to death with fangirl slaps at the Kirito and Asuna kiss. They were then, and still are, one of my biggest OTP’s. A couple that fights together, stays together!
The plot line of being stuck in a video game and at risk of actually being killed was really what caught my attention at first. I love playing video games, so getting stuck in a virtual reality fantasy land? Heck yeah! I wouldn’t last five minutes, probably, but it would still be loads of fun.
8) Fate/Stay Night
The premise of this show was what initially drew me in. I’ve always been a fan of the Arthurian legend, so when I heard ‘Holy Grail War’, I was instantly intrigued. After watching, I was not disappointed in the least. There were a few things that I disliked, or things that confused me, leading to it being farther down this list.
Things I liked: The plot twist. The identity of Archer was one I did not see coming at all. I had no idea who he would be, but I started growing suspicious about an episode or two before the actual reveal. Then I had to go back and look for all of the resemblances (if you’ve seen it, you know what I’m talking about). I also loved Saber but Shiro was my absolute favorite. There were a number of other things I liked, but then the list would be way too long.
Things I disliked: I’ll admit, I got a little confused after Archer’s identity comes out and Shiro’s fighting for his ‘ideals’. As much as I loved the plot twist itself, it brought about a number of other questions for me. The whole ‘hero of justice’ thing threw me and I’m not entirely sure why. I guess I didn’t understand why Shiro would base his ideals on someone else’s and why it would lead to… well, what he becomes (I don’t want to spoil it too much). Also, I didn’t like the ending handshake thing. For heaven’s sake, KISS THE GIRL. I didn’t just spend so many episodes shipping you two for a HANDSHAKE. You can ask my parents, I ranted about this for days. Maybe weeks.
But for all the downsides I saw in it, it was still a quality anime and I did really enjoy it. It doesn’t drag things out too much but it does have a prequel (and a sequel, I think…) However, they aren’t dependent on each other. You can watch them really in whatever order you want. I watched Stay Night first, then Zero. I would almost recommend watching Zero first, but that was just how I felt in the aftermath.
It’s almost hard for me to really explain what I love so much about this show. Maybe it’s just the irony of a ‘delivery god’ or maybe it’s the characters themselves. Maybe it’s the adorable Yukine and wanting to know more about what he was before, or maybe it’s seeing how far Hiyori will journey with these two crazy guys. I really can’t say. I just enjoyed the show immensely, even though it has a few darker turns in it, especially in the second season. Yato’s background and what he was before also kept me curious. It was, to put it simply, one of those animes that I binged easily and would gladly binge again.
Just ‘K’. If you’re wondering whether that’s the actual title, it is and it is incredible.
It’s been a while since I watched this one, but I remember it quite well, especially the plot twist. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I think anyone who has watched it will know exactly what I’m talking about. I love to try and figure things out but I also love being surprised. I love thinking that I have it right only to be violently thrown a curve ball. This was one of those times. Maybe not everyone is like that and I simply missed the signs, but honestly, I think it was very, very well done. To be perfectly honest, if the first five in my list here did not exist (that’s a terrifying thought…), this would be my absolute favorite. It’s relatively short, it gets to the point, and while I wasn’t overly fond of the not-so-happy ending, it was still incredible. I would highly recommend this one, just as one of my friends highly recommended it to me.
5) Blue Exorcist
The son of Satan becomes an exorcist to spite his father. Literally, how do you get any better than that?
I loved almost everything about this show. I have always been a huge fangirl of shows with brothers (or sisters!) so this one is clearly a favorite. I never had siblings of my own, so I guess seeing these intense ‘we have to fight for our lives’ scenarios with siblings makes my life feel somehow more epic. Honestly, I prefer sibling relationships to romantic relationships any day, and that’s probably why this is one of my favorites. Rin and Yukio don’t always get along, but they do love each other. Even though Yukio sometimes doesn’t seem to care, closer to the end, you can tell that he absolutely does and always has. These two will always be there for each other and that alone puts this one in my top five. (To be honest, this one battles with the number 4 spot on my favorites list all the time.)
It should be pretty clear why I like this one. A bunch of incredibly hunky shirtless guys. What fangirl wouldn’t love this show?
There really is more to it than that, though. I almost got scared off of this show at first. I found ‘Eternal Summer’ on Funimation and two or three episodes in, I just felt like I was missing something. Then I found out it was season two. Clearly, I had already started watching the dubbed version, so I started searching for season one dubbed. The only place I could find it was on CrunchyRoll, for the paid account. Since I knew I could zip through it in no time at all, I signed up for the trial basis and made it through season one. Then I went back and watched season two. It made so much more sense and it made me love it even more.
This was an anime where I whole-heartedly approved of the ending. I’m perfectly okay with knowing there will never be a season three. It ended on a high note and I feel like it left it in a good place for you to imagine that they all had great futures.
I should say this now, since there are some rabid yaoi fangirls, I really don’t have any ships for this show. I’ve never been one for the whole ‘yaoi’ thing. I will argue with you all day that Haru and Makoto are just friends, or that Rin has no interest in Haru, Sosake, or Nitori in any romantic fashion. I will, however, offer that Rei and Nagisa are the closest thing to being ‘official’ in this show. If I did have a gay ship list (which I do, somewhere in that hidden part of me that refuses to come out in case my family decides to disown me), they’d be right up there behind Will and Nico from the ‘Percy Jackson’ series, along with Viktor and Yuri from ‘Yuri!!! On Ice’.
But ships aside, I still love this show, and I would still love it even if it turned out every single character was indeed gay. Except for Makoto. That boy mine.
3) Ouran High School Host Club
This is another one of those that is hard to explain what is so addicting about this show. I mean, where do you even start? This show is full of irony and I love it.
Before I had every watched it, my best friend’s little sister was talking about this anime called ‘Ouran’ and how she loved it. I asked her what it was about and her explanation was something along the lines of a high school harem of boys led by a girl, or maybe I just misunderstood her at the time. Either way, I avoided it for a while, until I got bored and decided to give it a try. Now it’s one of my absolute favorites.
Tamaki is one of the strangest characters I’ve ever seen and I love him for that. He’s charming but annoying, brilliant but clueless, a great friend but arrogant. He’s got so many good factors but can then become the complete opposite without being a ‘bad guy’ and I think that it’s because deep down he’s so pure. All he wants is to make people smile and be happy. No matter how annoying he might be or how arrogant he can sometimes become, he still truly just wants people to be happy.
I could spend days talking about each of the characters but since I’m already at a long post as is, I’ll leave it at this: All of the characters have much more to them than meets the eye. They have their quirks and having a ‘host club’ in general is rather strange, but it works. They’re always there for each other and care for each other no matter what. And that’s why this show is so beautiful.
2) Attack on Titan
This is one of my more recent anime views. It also happened to be my first cosplay, which was so much fun, but painful. I’ll admit, I’m glad I waited longer to get on this fandom train. I only had to wait a year for the second season. Everyone else had to wait four. I think I win.
Still, that means I missed out on this longer. This show is absolutely incredible. Everything from the music to the animation to the plot line is just so intense and amazing. Some people think it’s ‘over-rated’, but I don’t think this show could ever get the credit it deserves. It seems so simple on the surface. People are trapped in walls against man-eating Titans and are safe for around two hundred years. There is nothing outside the walls but these Titans, everyone knows that. Then, one day, the Colossal Titan appears, breaches the wall, and allows smaller Titans inside. Death and destruction happens. So there’s not much going on other than our main protagonist, Eren Jaeger, killing Titans three years after the main attack, right? Wrong.
The mystery element to this anime, and the manga as well, keeps you in absolute suspense. You want to know where the Titans came from, why they only die if you slice their neck, and what the heck is in that basement? (If you’ve kept up with the manga, you now know what is in the basement!)
While there is a lot of death and plenty of gore, this is still an incredible anime. Armin is my absolute favorite and Levi is a close second. There’s just so much going on with so many layers that you just have to keep watching. And re-watching. And re-watching again, until season two is here! Just a few more weeks, guys, we’re almost there!
1) Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
Literally the best of the best. I’m not talking the original, either, because the ending on that one was so disappointing. I almost didn’t even watch ‘Brotherhood’ because of how the original ended, but I’m so glad I did.
The premise remains the same in both. Two young alchemist brothers (again with the brothers! Yay!) try to transmute their dead mother back to life and find out that the whole ‘human transmutation is taboo’ thing was not just a useless warning label. Edward, the elder brother, loses his left leg and Alphonse, the younger brother, loses his entire body. Edward then sacrifices his left arm to attach Alphonse’s soul to a suit of armor. After a year of painful automail rehabilitation, Edward ends up joining the military to get further access to research on how to get their bodies back. Note: this is an incredibly generic explanation of the show and does not come even close to covering how amazing it is.
The fact that Ed and Al are willing to go to such lengths for each other is just beautiful and one of my favorite things about this show. They would literally give up their lives for each other, if the situation called for it, and it very nearly does on several occasions.
Another one of the things I love about this show is how strong the women are. Riza Hawkeye is one of the best characters I’ve seen anywhere and if I had to pick a favorite for this show, I think it’d be her. Also Roy/Riza is one of the best ships that ever has sailed. Winry is also amazing and I love how she doesn’t sit around waiting for Ed and Al to come back. She takes her future into her own hands and does what she needs to do to help them in the meantime. You also have Lan Fan and Mei Chang who are both incredibly strong girls. There seems to be no end to the women who can kick butt in this show and I love that.
There’s so many things I love about this show that I could never list them all and while there are a few things I dislike, they’re hardly worth mentioning. This show is incredible and I would recommend it to anyone and everyone.
So that’s my top ten favorite anime! What are yours?