I think that with every one of these, I say that it is hard to pick my top 5 — for this one, it’s true simply because I haven’t watched all that much anime. Before meeting Kristen, I had watched Neon Genesis Evangelion and Berserk. I enjoyed both of them, but I hadn’t really watched more anime beyond those. Since then, Kristen and I have watched a number of other series. So here is my “what I’ve seen up to this point” top 5 anime list.
5. Little Witch Academia
So this is one that we just finished up recently, and the show isn’t done yet. This is a really cute little anime about a girl who wants nothing more than to be a witch, so even though none of her family are witches, she gets into a magic school. She, of course, has the most unique roommates in the boarding school. The show is very lighthearted, and you can really appreciate how much joy and excitement the main character, Akko, has. It’s a series that is great to watch and just relax and enjoy. Right now, it’s on Netflix. You can see that it isn’t a cheap anime, beyond watching it on Netflix, as it’s still quite expensive on Amazon. But this is definitely an anime that is worth checking out and kicking back to relax and watch.
4. The Devil is a Part-timer!
This is another really fun anime; it’s about the “devil” coming from another dimension and getting stuck on Earth. He doesn’t have enough power to get back home, so he is going to try and make the best of it. This is a slice-of-life story with an absurd premise — the devil works at McRonalds slinging burgers, working his way up in the fast food restaurant, all as a part of his plan to rule the world. The characters in this show are great, the situations are funny, and the whole “devil” and other dimension side of things works out quite well. That whole premise is kind of absurd as well, and it’s just a lot of fun. It’s another goofy anime that you want to just sit down and enjoy.
3. Sword Art Online
Sword Art Online is one of those anime that people like to dislike. I can see why in some ways; it takes itself seriously at some points where you don’t expect it to, but in many ways I like this anime a lot. The story is mostly set within a full-immersion virtual reality video game system that, shortly after its launch, causes its users to become stuck in the game. This is by the design of the game’s creator, and the only way to get out of the game is to beat the hundred levels of the fantasy world of the game, but if you die while playing, you die in real life. Instead of doing what you might expect with a story that focuses on swinging swords and beating the boss monsters, the series focuses in more so on how people are handling their life in the game system. There are the front-line fighting moments, but those take a backseat to people growing closer to one another, having breakdowns, and sometimes becoming twisted. It’s an interesting anime that is a nice blend of action, story, and character work. I do think that it pretends to have more depth at times than it really does, but that said, it’s an enjoyable anime, though a bit weird at times as the story really splits at certain points during the seasons, dividing them in half in different ways.
2. Soul Eater
I don’t think anyone would say that my anime list takes itself totally seriously; it tends to build off of levels of craziness. But in many ways, Soul Eater is a pretty serious show. There are absurd characters, but the story tries to focus in on broken characters, broken people who all have their different tics and foibles. The main premise is that Death is the headmaster of a school of students who harvest normal souls for him and keep wayward souls from hurting people. He isn’t a monster eating the souls, but is instead a very eccentric character who is worried about shepherding souls. Two groups of students are the focus, as each soul reaper wields a “human” weapon (basically, a person who has the ability to transform into a weapon). Each group has a different dynamic to it, and they have to deal with things that kids their age really shouldn’t have to deal with. The end of this anime feels a bit rushed and odd, but overall, it’s a very good series.
In addition to all the light-hearted anime that I have on this list, I’ve also chosen Steins:Gate — while it is absurd at times, it is overall a serious anime. The story is that of time travel, dealing with its ramifications, and figuring out how much you can change the present by changing the past. There are parts of this very short anime that seem a little rushed, but it is emotionally deep, it asks tough questions, and the characters really grow throughout the show. The dialogue is phenomenal. especially from the main character, and the growth of the main character is the type of thing you don’t see in many non-anime shows. Overall, Steins:Gate might have made it a whole lot harder to really appreciate other anime; it is just that well put together.
I do have some honorable mentions, as well. I mentioned Berserk and Neon Genesis Evangelion. Berserk is a dark, very serious anime, and Neon Genesis Evangelion is your classic mech anime. I enjoyed both, but they are both in very different realms. Kristen and I have also watched Fairy Tale, which I’ve enjoyed quite well, as it’s a blend of fantasy and silliness; however, there is some terrible filler in it. And speaking of filler, I have watched the first couple main arcs of a show that is almost 50% filler with Bleach. Bleach is a lot of fun, but the amount of filler and the fact that I haven’t watched much of the series has kept it off my list. And finally, Dragon Ball Z: Abridged, a fan parody of Dragon Ball Z, is just hilarious.
There are so many more anime that I want to watch and just need to make time for. What are some of your favorite anime? Seeing what I’ve liked, what would you recommend I check out next?
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