My Top Twelve Favorite Anime

In three days, I will hit my fifth blogging anniversary. Approximately one thousand, eight hundred, and twenty-two days ago (if my math is right), the second post I ever did on this humble blog of mine approached the idea of an anime countdown. And, the next day, I did it again. I have been promising this countdown ever since, and today, my wonderful, patient audience, I keep my word. 🙂

Took me long enough, right? 😉

In the past five years, writing this blog, especially all of the reviews (about eighty of which, thus far, have been for anime), has helped me towards this point. I have gained a much better grasp on what I like, and exactly why I like it. Not to mention, I’ve gotten a lot better at talking about it, putting it all on paper in some coherent form. Or, so I like to think, anyway! 🙂

That said, this was still, by far, my most challenging countdown yet, and possibly my most challenging post yet. There are just so many anime, old and new, which I have deeply enjoyed and long held among my favorites. This  particular competition was… well, incredibly fierce. I’m kind of amazed that I actually finished sorting through all the chaos of my head!

So, without further ado (five years is plenty of ado), and with the hope that you, my wonderful audience, might share your favorites with me, too, I present, at long last…

My Anime Countdown! 😀

12) Fairy Tail

A guild of fighting wizards, filled with living legends, challenges all the powers of evil and darkness in the world with all of their might, and their enduring bonds of friendship and love!

This was the very first anime that inspired me to call it “my favorite.” It opened the gateway for all the rest that have followed. Indeed, it set the standard for them. As such, anytime I make a list of favorite anime, be it Top 12, Top 10, Top 5, or even Top 3, it will probably always be included. It is near and dear to my heart, and I will always love it.

But… well, fierce competition can knock even the best of them down a few pegs, ya know? Especially as one matures and gets a little distance from the immediate fever that the latest favorite will always induce. So, I love it, and I will always include it… but probably always at the bottom of everything up to a dozen. (If we’re talking Top 100, that would be a different story entirely, ya know? 🙂 )

11) InuYasha

A young girl finds herself transported back to feudal Japan, which is filled with all manner of nefarious demons. She forms an unlikely partnership with a half-demon and, together with their friends, they go around fighting evil, saving people, and trying to reassemble a sacred  jewel.

I was uncertain whether or not to include this one, but… well, if I am honest, it had a huge influence on me, and somehow it just never quite seems to feel “old” to me. It has been a long time since I’ve seen it, yet it has never faded from my memory or my heart. I love these characters and their stories and I especially love the music. 🙂

And, unlike one of the highest runner ups, Cowboy Bebop, it has a happy ending. I don’t usually like tragedies, ya know?

10) Attack on Titan

They say that the giants outside the walls are impossible to defeat, but everyone can rest safe and sound within the walls. Then a terrible tragedy happens, as the giants breach the walls and invade, eating everyone they can get their hands on. A huge chunk of the population dies overnight, and amidst all that horror, entire families are lost. Yet from this moment begins the story of those who fight back, against the giants, against the lies, against the system which enslaves them, and against everything that steals lives and freedom.

You want some powerful storytelling? A tale that displays the best and worst of humanity? This is it. It has some of the best characters, stories, and themes I’ve ever encountered, beautifully animated, with a masterful soundtrack to boot. It is jarring and bloody and horrific, but also inspiring and exultant.

This one, I always knew, would come in at Number Ten. High enough to be noted, and just barely low enough to show that there are other things I like better.

9) Outlaw Star

A twist of fate turns a man into an outlaw, and one who finds himself caught up in a vast conspiracy of pirates and military powers on the hunt for an ancient treasure. Together with a colorful crew and a one-of-a-kind ship, he embarks on an odyssey through the stars, looking for fortune, action, and answers.

It’s a fun, zany adventure with lots of action, a bit of intrigue, lovable heroes and hate-able villains. The setting and world-building is excellent and magical. It gets a bit naughty on occasion, but, notwithstanding this, it represents, to me, much of what made the anime of my youth so great. It simply tells a good, quality story in a fun, engaging way. There’s a reason it’s a classic.

And I love it! 🙂

8) Trigun

Long after humanity reached for the stars, it struggles to survive on an arid  wasteland of a planet, with two suns burning in the sky overhead. It is an age of bizarre outlaws and murderous maniacs. But there is one outlaw which walks the sands, dressed all in red, bringing justice and mercy to a land virtually without law. He is Vash, and he is all that stands between humanity and the ultimate annihilation designed for them by a very old, sinister evil lurking in the shadows.

Vash’s entire demeanor, including how he, the ultimate outlaw, is the also the ultimate donut-scarfing doofus, great with kids and firm in his convictions, makes him easy to love. He truly cares about the people he comes into contact with, and he abhors the loss of any life. That makes for a compelling theme as he wrestles with the hard reality that sometimes the only way to save lives is to take one. The plot is riveting and intricate, the action is fun, the tragedy has weight to it, and the ultimate triumph and maturing of the hero is inspiring. I love it! 😀

The classics are making a very good showing of themselves on this countdown! 😉

7) Slayers

The young sorceress Lina Inverse travels around with her friends, slaying demons, slaughtering bandits, and upending the nefarious plots of all manner of dangerous creatures, all in pursuit of adventure, and treasure, and food!

It’s an old favorite of mine. I love how it both sets and defies the expectations usually associated with D&D types of fantasy adventures. It has plenty of humor, good action, and, most of all, lovable characters!

Somehow, I just couldn’t knock this one any lower, ya know? 🙂

6) Rurouni Kenshin

A wandering samurai defends those closest to him with his phenomenal sword skills, facing down everything from common thugs to extraordinary assassins, all while maintaining an oath, made in repentance for the lives he has taken, to never kill again.

I believe I mentioned, in my review of this show, something about coming to see kids’ shows through the eyes of an adult, yet those shows of our youth remain forever dear to us. Such is the case here. I just love the adventures and antics of Kenshin and his friends too much not to include it here.

What can I say? I just love it! 😉

And have you noticed how the classics are dominating this countdown?

5) Digimon

Children are paired with digimon in a partnership, wherein the digimon taps into the child’s energy and temporarily evolves into a more advanced and powerful form to protect the child. Facing dangers aplenty, mostly from other digimon, these “digidestined” kids and their digimon must fight to save their world and that of the digimon from total destruction.

Yeah, it’s a kids’ show, from start to finish, but it’s fun, funny, adventurous, and exciting! I especially love the first and third seasons of this show. 🙂

4) Baccano!

Set back in the 1930’s, following the stories of a multitude of characters, almost every one of which plays the lead. The first episode can be a little jarring, as one needs to grow accustomed to the non-chronological format as well as all the storylines, but it all combines into a very well-told story, full of twists and surprises, a great deal of action and humor, several of the best love stories in anime, and a lot of wonder in an otherwise ordinary world.

It’s fantastic! A rip-roaring fun time with action, alchemy, suspense, and villainy, and a number of unusual heroes! My only complaint about it is that it’s so short. There’s enough material they could have kept going, and I dearly wish they had. I want more! 😀

3) Angel Beats

A young man wakes up in the afterlife, and is immediately drawn into a struggle between a group of rebellious young souls and the angel they defy. Yet, his own experience begins to shed a light on a deeper truth, that this limbo they find themselves in may actually be for their benefit, that they might find peace and move on after their unfair lives were all cut so short.

It’s a powerful, deeply emotional story about accepting death, and therefore accepting life, with all the pain and peace involved in both.

It’s not for the faint of heart, it must be said. I knew that beforehand, so I put off watching it, but now that I have, I must admit: it leaps into forward ranks, my Top Three, because it is, quite simply, a quality story, with important themes, well-crafted and well-told.

My hat’s off to the people who made it! 🙂

2) Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

In the wake of tragedy, and mistakes, a pair of young alchemist brothers set out looking for the means to repair what they did wrong. Over the course of their journey, they make many friends, face many enemies, fight nightmarish monsters, and walk straight into the heart of a nefarious conspiracy, authored by an ancient, inhuman evil. Together with their allies, they fight to save their nation and everyone in it.

This anime is probably the single most serious contender for the top spot that I will ever see. It may even work its way up there someday, depending on how things turn out. But either way, I just love it! Action, intrigue, alchemy (can you tell this was authored by the same people as made Baccano?), love, revenge, hope, humor, amazing heroes, fantastic villains, a rich world, powerful themes, intricate story… this anime has it all! It is nothing short of great!

So, what anime could possibly top this one, in my personal list of favorites? Well, first, a few… or more than a few…

Honorable Mentions:

Ah My Goddess!
Akame ga Kill
Assassination Classroom
Barakamon
Cowboy Bebop
Dog Days
Eden of the East
EscaFlowne, The Vision of
Fruits Basket
Fullmetal Alchemist
G Gundam
Gabriel DropOut
Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet
Gate
Ghost Hunt
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
Gundam Wing
Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto!
Hellsing Ultimate
Interviews With Monster Girls
Katanagatari
Level E
Log Horizon
Maoyu
Monster Rancher
Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit
My Hero Academia
My Roommate is a Cat
Needless
One Punch Man
Place to Place
Record of Lodoss War
Restaurant to Another World
Saga of Tanya the Evil
Shiki
Snow White with the Red Hair
Soul Eater
Spice and Wolf

Tenchi Muyo
Ushio and Tora
Valvrave the Liberator
Working!
Yu-Yu Hakusho

Zoids

And now, (drum roll please!) for the Number One, my most favorite anime of all…

1) One Piece

A young man sets out on an adventure across the seas. Searching for a fabled treasure and facing off against all manner of savage killer and murderous tyrant, he gathers the greatest crew and fights with all his might. His goal: to become King of the Pirates!

What can I say? 🙂

It has several of my favorite characters, including my all-time anime crush, along with powerful, important themes of freedom and order, and it tells a truly epic story, filled with zany, wacky adventures. It’s not without flaws, I will readily admit, but it remains my favorite nonetheless. 😀

Now, over to you, my wonderful audience! What are some of your favorite anime? 😉

This entry was posted in Anime and Cartoons, Countdowns, Top Picks and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to My Top Twelve Favorite Anime

  1. Inskidee says:

    Interesting list, One Piece at #1 definitely caught me off-guard. I’d say my favorite as of now would most definitely be Your Lie in April without a doubt. All the characters were #relateable on some level and it brought up tons upon tons of emotions within me I never thought I harbored. Arima Kousei is most relateable for me >-<. Granted, I haven't seen as much anime as other bloggers have (Been going on four years) so that all-time favorite could possibly change in the near future.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Merlin says:

      That’s sort-of on my To Watch list. It passed my one-episode rule, but it didn’t rivet my attention, and I’ve heard enough about the tragedy and the ending… and the feels… that it’s not especially high on my list. Then again, One Piece just kind of crept into my top spot before I even realized it, so…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. alsmangablog says:

    Slayers is one of my top favourite anime as well. It’s so funny and the second season in particular is really exciting.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. DerekL says:

    Looks like our only overlap in the top 10 is Angel Beats… Though, TBH, I haven’t seen a lot of shows on your list.

    You can see my list sorted by ranking at Anime Planet… (https://www.anime-planet.com/users/DerekL/anime/watched?include_types=6&sort=rating&order=desc)

    I’m not 100% certain that high ranking equates to favorite though… I mean there’s a lot of shows I like, even though I’d never rate them as classics.

    Liked by 2 people

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