Welcome. This update has long been overdue. It’s been another year. As I grow older and hopefully wiser, my tastes in anime have also change as the tide of real life sweeps me along.
As usual, this list also serves as both a list of recommendations, as well as an introduction to this blog. If you have seen every anime here, you’ll have a pretty decent idea about what this blog is all about, and whether it’s for you. Without further ado, I present to your my Top 20 Anime Series as of the year 2012:
The very proof that the industry is not stagnating. Jintai is one of the most creative and ingenious anime to come out in recent years. A seemingly lighthearted, well-directed comedy cleverly disguises a World in peril, delivering a message that is cruelly relevant to our comfort which we take for granted. One of the only anime that generates misanthropy properly, while being entertaining in the process.
No matter how old we get, do we watch anime to critique it or to enjoy it? I’m proud to say that Code Geass; a series plagued with more plotholes than a piece of filter paper, is one of the anime that I enjoyed most in my career even though it’s nowhere near as perfect as I thought it was when I watched it five years ago. Never has another series made my adrenal glands pump as much epinephrine as I sat through each episode, eyes glued to the monitor not even daring to blink, scared that I’ll miss a milisecond of such epicness.
Who doesn’t love a mystery? Detective Conan to anime is what Sherlock Holmes is to literature. By no means should we compare these two series, but Conan is definitely one of the only few prolonged anime series that I enjoy and follow on a weekly basis. It’s one of the anime that defined my childhood and when the day comes that it finally ends, I know I’ll be shedding some tears.
This is one old classic. It’s the series that not only solidified Gundam as a stable anime, but one of the first shows that proved anime can absolutely be targeted towards adults. ZETA Gundam’s impact on the industry, in my opinion, comes close to the effect that Evangelin yielded. Even by today’s standards, ZETA Gundam has a fantastic plot, great cast of characters, and perfectly planned pacing. A solid series that I will not forget.
Do you see its length? We just don’t see anime being made like this anymore. Excellent direction and purposeful pacing. A plot and conspiracy so deep that you will be jotting down notes to keep up. Engaging characters. Throw in the atmospheric BGM and you get a 74 episode epic that will make you hooked in your seat until you realize you need food to survive.
After rewatching the entire series a third time, SZS has not only retained its spot this year, but has climbed to #15 on my list. The humour is just really well thought out. The satire is second to none. This is an absolute unique show that is the pinnacle of creativeness in the anime medium. Everyone on this planet should watch Zetsubou sensei. It’s an experience that no one should miss out on.
I was initially skeptical about how much I would enjoy “cute boys doing cute things”, but Kimi to Boku. turned out to be one of the best Slice of Life series I’ve ever seen. This show knows exactly what it wants to be – It’s in no rush to shove in plot or melodrama of any kind. It is simply a relaxing show depicting five high school boys, their friendship and their daily lives. Every episode is designed to warm the heart of the viewer, and it sure managed to warm my heart more than most anime I’ve seen since ARIA.
Just the message that this anime delivers with its story alone is enough to justify it as a masterpiece, but even the direction itself also propel it to a category of perfection. No wonder it’s worthy of a spot in my list this year too. The Tatami Galaxy deals with an issue so many of us face in our lives, but not just with its story, but also in its direction – the colors, tones and everything in a cinematographic sense. A true piece of art that must be watched.
There’s nothing much to say about Bebop. If you’ve watched it, you’ll know why I liked it. The reason is the same as everyone else who have watched it and liked it. I don’t think I can name any flaws about this series except I wish it would have gone on for longer. A masterpiece. Calling it anything else is priggery.
Just rubbed your eyes? Well, let me show off my magical powers now – I predict that you never watched Yu-Gi-Oh! to the end. Did I just read your mind? Actually, that’s not true. If you have seen all of Yu-Gi-Oh! and Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s, you will not think it’s weird for this series to be here at all. If you rubbed your eyes, it shows you have simply been missing out on an incredibly good anime with fantastic plot, inspiring characters complete with the best children’s card game ever.
Why is Haruhi so good? Because underneath all that moe lies a story so intricate and well written, it’s almost hard to believe that a series with such a light-hearted tone can be so serious at the same time. I dare say that I have yet to see another anime aside from Penguindrum that can match Haruhi when it comes to the plot intricacy. The characters have impacted the industry forever, and the delicious KyoAni presentation is icing on the cake. Not to mention that this is the anime that brought me into anime in the first place in 2006. Forever in my heart.
I don’t think anyone will find this a strange choice. Pretty much the same reaction as Code Geass from me, except without having to ignore the plotholes since FMA doesn’t have any of them. With an amazing story, unforgettable cast and top-notch cinematography, FMA proves that a shounen series, if made to perfection, can still be a masterpiece. Take note, 99% of shounen series out there!
IF THERE’S WALL IN THE WAY, WE BREAK IT! IF THERE ISN’T A ROAD, WE WILL MAKE IT WITH OUT OWN HANDS! IF WE GET STUCK, WE PUSH FORWARD ANYWAY WITH ALL OUR MIGHT! BELIEVE IN ME WHO BELIEVES IN YOU! WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK WE ARE?!?!?!?!
Penguindrum is probably the deepest anime ever written. Its usage of symbolism and reliance of literature knowledge is insane. However, even if this show is taken literally without understanding any of the hidden meanings, it’s still an amazing watch. The plot is extremely complex and I was rewatching quite a lot, but I was never bored. This series in general excited me to no end. Almost every scene was amazing. Each character that was focused upon were brought out and expressed perfectly through good usage of imagery, soundtrack and animation techniques. It’s incredibly difficult to praise this series without spoiling it, but once you watch it you’ll understand just why I cannot recommend this series enough. Magnificent and creative doesn’t even begin to describe what an anime this has been.
Yet another anime which was pretty much flawless from start to finish. I was captivated by this show, down to every second. Flawless direction, incredibly characters, fantastic plot. Every emotional twist made me feel what the characters felt. Every mystery kept me theory-crafting. I couldn’t help but watch this entire series in one sitting, and I was spoiled by one of the most satisfying anime experiences that I’ve ever gone through.
Putting K-ON! in the Top Five is something I thought a lot about. After all, if this show is on a blogger’s toplist, he is nearly guaranteed to get automatically shunned by the blogosphere. However, this elitist concept is actually why I started liking Reddit more and more. Maybe one day I’ll explain why my Top Five are all Slice-of-Life. However, just know this: K-ON! fans are not nearly as stupid and tasteless as you might think. In comparison, we actually have a far more compelling purpose for watching anime – and that is to bring joy to our lives through watching cute girls do cute things. Sure beats watching anime just to write editorials of why moe is killing anime, right?
I absolutely adore this show. I love all the characters so much. Living inside the peaceful, carefree life everyday is something that all of us yearn for. The busier our lives get, the less time we have to just let everything go and relax a bit. The Minami family is the place you want to be at times like this! Lighthearted comedy, natural Slice-of-Life, and down-to-the-earth characters are all that you need to escape from your tiring day.
Every episode of Mushishi has its own soul. There’s no denying that this series has a charm like no other. Despite its episodic nature, most single episodes of Mushishi are better than whole anime series in every way, from cinematography to plot. However, that isn’t why Mushishi is so high up in my list. As a masterful Slice-of-Life show, it has touched my soul too. There’s no other way to explain it, except for you to experience it yourself.
This year marks my tenth rewatch of this series, and I’m still loving it more than ever. Why is this show so incredibly special to me? That’s because Konata and friends’ everyday life that is a utopia that I have once experienced, yet can never go back to as time flows on. Words can’t describe it my turmoil of emotions every time I watch this show, but if you can understand this, then you just passed a milestone in understanding me and my life.
This sanitary for the soul is far more than just an anime. Ever since I finished Aria, my life has never been the same. No matter how much stress and toxin I build up from this dark and cruel World we live in, they are all washed away as I curl up in bed with an episode of this masterpiece. Aria is the anime that reminds me everyday – by looking through the eyes of the innocent, the World is always filled with wonder and joy. True magic comes from the heart, and Aria is the catalyst that brings out this magic.
Welcome again to Neo Venezia.