[Updated 08 April 2017]
These are, in my opinion, the best anime out there. Keep in mind that if I haven’t seen them they can’t make it here, so don’t worry if you don’t see your favorites.
I have recently removed a number of titles; those remaining are series that I feel a lasting connection to.
There’s no way I can single out a top ten here, so i’m going to go ahead and include every anime I think you should watch. Nonetheless, i’ve divided the series into those that have my full support and those that I enjoyed but would be slightly more hesitant about recommending.
This list is not in any particular order.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
The death of their mother spurs Edward and Alphonse Elric to attempt the forbidden art of Human Transmutation. In a land where Alchemy, the ability to manipulate and transform matter, permeates everyday life, it seems only natural that it could also bring their mother back to them. After the attempt to restore life goes horribly wrong, leaving Alphonse’s soul trapped inside a suit of armor and Edward’s arm and leg lost to the nether, the two brothers set out to find the only thing left that can undo what they have wrought: the Philosopher’s Stone. They’re not the only ones after the Stone, however, and they soon find out exactly what its terrible power is capable of.
No anime recommendations list is complete without Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, and summarizing its plot in just one paragraph is all but impossible. While I can’t comment on how it compares to the original series, I loved just about every minute of this show and think that watching it should be more or less mandatory.
The characters, the plot, the action and every other aspect of FMA:B come together to form an experience that you simply won’t forget. Don’t mistake it for average shounen fair, though, as there’s plenty of emotion scattered throughout its impressive 64 episodes.
Attack On Titan (Shingeki no Kyojin)
It’s been over a century since humanity learned to live in fear. Behind their great Walls they continue to eke out an existence, desperately thinking of anything but the outside world. The Titans seemingly live solely to eat humans according to some bizarre instinct, needing only sunlight to survive. Towering above all but the Walls themselves, they wait for any opportunity to breach them. Then, suddenly, that opportunity had arrived in a flash of thunder. For Eren Jaeger, as for many others, it was the end of life with his family. Determined to have his revenge on the Titans that took everything from him, Eren aims to join the Recon Corps, the human race’s only source of hope. With their 3D Manoeuvre Gear and Ultra-Hardened Steel blades, they are the only ones that can stand up to the Titan threat.
Let’s be honest, if you were on the internet at all when Attack on Titan (or Shingeki no Kyojin) aired you’ll know that “popular” is a bit of an understatement. I found Shingeki no Kyojin to be an incredibly well-made and gripping series that makes amazing use of cliffhanger endings to keep you needing more. I may be relatively new to this anime game, but I’m reasonably confident that Shingeki no Kyojin will be counted alongside other classics in the near future.
Area Eleven, formerly Japan, is just one of the many nations now under the control of the Holy Britannian Empire. Its citizens reduced to Elevens as Britannians infest their new territory, Japan is a mere shadow of what it used to be. Lelouch vi Britannia, a student at Ashford Academy and noble in hiding, is granted the power of Geass during an Empire-ordered purge of Elevens. The ability to command anyone he makes eye contact with to do whatever he desires. The ability to rebel against the nation that spurned him and his sister, against his father, the Emperor. From student to strategic commander of Japan’s rebellion, Lelouch will have his revenge.
As with many shows on this list, I simply cannot convey all that Code Geass has to offer in just one paragraph. It’s exciting, it knows just how to play its cards to keep you on the edge of your seat and it will constantly force you to review your concept of who is right and who is wrong in the series of events that take place. Exciting like few anime manage to be, it will play with your emotions and thoughts alike. Often called a classic, Code Geass well deserves that title.
Note: Best if you see Fate/Stay Night first.
Fate/Zero is set in Japan, where a deadly battle for the mysterious artefact known as the Holy Grail takes place. The aptly named Holy Grail War isn’t an ordinary scrap, either – Heroic Spirits from the past with extraordinary powers are summoned by 7 Magi (chosen by the Grail itself, incidentally) to compete for their prize: the granting of any wish their hearts desire. The Heroic Spirits, known as Servants by the Masters that summoned them, are grouped into 7 classes: Saber, Archer, Berserker, Rider, Lancer, Caster and Assassin, each with their own specialities and each with the desire to claim the Holy Grail.
Having to summarize these anime is going to kill me! I can’t even begin to hint at the number of separate storylines that run parallel and finally converge in Fate/Zero, so you’re going to have to watch it and find out! Fate/Zero is a prequel to Fate/Stay Night and easily makes my top two or three favorite series to date. Everything in this show is damned near perfect, from the characters and action to the animation and overall plot. There are very few anime that fit together as well as Fate/Zero. The only issue is that you have to watch Fate/Stay Night first to get the most enjoyment out of it, and the original series isn’t nearly as good.
Ano hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai (AnoHana)
Not in employment, education or training, Yadomi Jinta spends his days lazing around the house and playing video games while seeing or speaking to no one. It’s a little out of the ordinary when his childhood friend Honma Meiko (or Menma, as her friends call her) pays him a visit in the middle of a scorching summer’s day. After all, she passed away ten years ago. As memories of days gone by and the friends Jinta has drifted away from flood to the surface, he vows to fulfil Menma’s last wish. During the struggle to convince his old playmates of the existence of a ghost only he can see, the crippling effect of losing a dear companion on the group he used to lead becomes all too clear.
I’ve often said that it’s incredibly difficult to fit a meaningful story into just twelve episodes. AnoHana is wonderful, shining example of what shorter productions can do. The series grips you with extreme emotion and holds you in place with the believability of its characters and their experiences in a way that few anime do. If you have even a shred of ability to empathise you’ll probably find yourself in tears at least once, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I certainly did. Unless you’re allergic to emotion this is required watching.
College (or university, as some may call it) represents a new start for many people the world over, though at the moment Tada Banri isn’t entirely sure what he’s signed up for. Making an awesome new friend has mostly made up for missing his entrance ceremony, but who’s that stunning beauty walking straight toward them? Why is Mitsuo’s face going pale? And why is that girl slapping him with a bouquet of roses?!
That beauty is Mitsuo’s childhood friend, Kaga Kouko, and their ensuing altercation stems from the fact that she has been stalking him for most of their lives together. She’s gorgeous, she’s larger than life and…in private she hates herself for what she does to the man she loves. While that man can’t take it anymore, Banri finds himself infatuated. Could this be the new life he’s been desperately waiting for? Hopefully, because he can’t remember a thing about his old one…
With the potential to be The Geek Clinic’s favorite anime for 2015, Golden Time was an absolute blast to watch. Though many anime focus on the lives of society’s younger members, few manage to tackle realistic drama, romance and comedy with Golden Time’s maturity and style, and the believability and realism of the characters and their relationships are what make it all stand out.
Highly Recommended Series
Haruyuki Arita has things pretty rough. Constantly bullied and stuck firmly on the bottom rungs of the social ladder at High School, virtual reality games are all he can turn to for comfort. Suddenly introduced to the mysterious Brain Burst program, allowing extreme acceleration of thought speed, Haruyuki finds himself confronted with a whole new world. In order to keep the program, however, he is forced to take part in a virtual reality combat simulator with a unique culture of its own. Accompanied by friends both new and old, Haruyuki becomes more and more invested in the Accel World.
Looking past my love for all things virtual reality, Accel World is a gem I really wasn’t expecting to find when I started watching it. Along with the frequently used “double life while at high school” aspect, the rules surrounding Brain Burst and its associated game make for an incredibly unique combination. Poignant real world relationships and clashes accompany the virtual reality focus which leaves you with an entertaining and well-rounded series.
Sword Art Online
Sword Art Online is the newly released VRMMORPG, or Virtual Reality Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game, and as expected all 10,000 released copies logged on simultaneously for the grand opening. When it came to logging out, however, the highly anticipated game became something much more sinister. Trapped in virtual reality, the players are forced to come to terms with the fantastical world that is as deadly to their real-life selves as it is to their avatars. The only way out is to finish the game. Kazuto “Kirito” Kirigaya was in Sword Art Online’s beta test; he knows the starting areas like the backs of his hands. What he’s not so familiar with, however, is how to work with others to survive, and how to deal with the grief when they are killed. Is it still a game when your life is on the line?
Okay, so Sword Art Online has some major flaws. That doesn’t stop it from being a huge amount of fun to watch, however, and it easily makes its way onto this recommendation list. With some of the strongest character personalities in the anime business, i’d be incredibly surprised if you don’t feel some sort of connection with one or more of the characters it involves. For entertaining action and romance with a loose video game setting, you probably can’t do much better than Sword Art Online.
Yuzuru Otonashi finds himself in a world where he cannot die. In fact, neither can anyone else. Devoid of any memories of his past, Otonashi is picked up by a local resistance group, the Afterlife Battlefront. This world is a place between life and death; if you’re not careful you will simply disappear, a fate the Battlefront is determined to fight. What I haven’t yet made apparent, however, is that the centre of this world is a high school, and simple attendance is enough to make you vanish. While most of the school’s students are empty but lifelike NPCs (that’s non-player characters to those of you still in the stone age), the school’s student representative is an artificially augmented girl known only as Angel, who uses her surreal powers to oppose the Afterlife Battlefront. Otonashi’s very first meeting with her ends in his first “death” in this new world, causing him to throw his lot in with the Battlefront to fight for the life he’s already lost once before.
How could you possibly explain everything that Angel Beats is in such a small space? From its ridiculous comedy to the far more serious themes lurking beneath its surface, Angel Beats just screams Key classic. Series with only 13 episodes have a lot of trouble getting me on board but I love Angel Beats and can’t wait for its upcoming visual novel adaptation.
Takasu Ryuuji looks damned scary. Even the teachers are afraid of him, with his height, strength and the way he glares at everyone that walks by. Compare this to Aisaka Taiga, A.K.A. The Palmtop Tiger, who is barely half his size and still scares the living daylights out of everyone she passes. Is it not fitting that these two would discover the people that nobody else sees hiding behind the misconceptions that have been piled on top of them by others? After a rocky start, the big blue-haired softy that loves to clean and cook, and the petite blonde bombshell (yes, we’re talking temper here) with ridiculous amounts of Dere beneath her Tsun shell team up to help each other get together with their respective crushes. They may succeed if they can ever convince their friends that they’re not actually a couple themselves.
Toradora is funny, compelling and will touch your heart on multiple occasions, all in one package. I don’t like all of the characters, I don’t like all of the jokes, but I love Toradora. While there’s something about it I can’t quite put my finger on, there’s a reason it’s one of the few slice of life anime on this list.
Yomiyama North Middle School’s class 3-3 isn’t quite normal and its new transfer student, Sakakibara Koiichi, can’t quite put his finger on what’s off about it. Odd enough is the fact that 3-3 is the only class in the school, or perhaps in Japan, that has a Head of Countermeasures (whatever that means), but there seems to be a girl in the class that only he can interact with. Though Misaki Mei seems normal enough despite her eyepatch, it’s as if no one but Koiichi can see or talk to her and whenever he tries to ask anyone they seem too scared to reply. As Koiichi tries his best to unravel the secrets surrounding his new class, a series of gruesome deaths begin to plague everyone around him. Is it even worth knowing the truth?
While Another isn’t going to do anything for your mood, it will provide you with 12 episodes of solid, mysterious and gruesome entertainment. I’ll almost guarantee satisfaction if you’re into more morbid storylines (Final Destination, anyone?). If you’re not, then pick it up anyway because Another is simply well made and you might just find that you like it. If you’re after some visceral slice of life horror with a little bit of mystery thrown in (if such a thing exists), then you won’t go wrong with Another.
Hataraku Maou-Sama! (The Devil is a Part-Timer!)
Ente Isla had been rescued from the verge of destruction by the Hero. Forcing back the armies of the Dark Lord Maou, she cornered the beast himself in his forsaken citadel. At the last moment, however, Maou fled through a dimensional gate to another world, vowing to eventually return and take his vengeance. Now on our Earth, the Dark Lord must survive the harsh reality of everyday life in order to regain his power and return to Ente Isla. Having secured a new Evil Fortress (one-room apartment) and Mighty Steed (bicycle), and gained power over the local populace (learnt Japanese), Maou sets his eyes on a new goal: becoming Shift Manager at MgRonald’s.
Hataraku Maou-Sama is a very entertaining comedy series with a setting unlike any other you’ve seen. It may not have you laughing constantly but the quality of the story and action scenes is good enough, and the characters are likeable enough, that you won’t find yourself bored at any point. That probably doesn’t sound like high praise but it’s the most entertaining comedy-focused series i’ve seen so far, and that’s worth recognizing.
Ao no Exorcist (Blue Exorcist)
Imagine you’ve lived the last 15 years of your life with your priest foster father at a monastery along with your twin brother. You’ve gone to school, maybe gotten into a few fights, but as far as the world at large is concerned you’re normal. Now imagine that, on what may as well be any other day, you are attacked by a demon, saved by your foster father who turns out to be an Exorcist, and told that you’re the son of satan. And then your foster dad is killed by your real dad. Sweet. For Rin Okumura, all that is an unfortunate reality. Before he can stop to really take stock of what has happened Rin is thrust into a world where demons are a part of everyday life and one of the country’s most prestigious high schools is actually the True Cross Academy for training Exorcists. Oh, and his brother has been going there for years without him knowing. And he’s now Rin’s teacher. Double sweet. Rin vows to grow stronger to take revenge on satan for what he has done, but before he can do anything he needs to learn to get on with his classmates and, y’know, study.
Ao no Exorcist is one of the few shows that has made me really sit up and pay attention within its first few episodes. With a great story, relatable characters and some really epic scenes, it’s an amazing series that still has room to grow. If it wasn’t limited to 25 episodes (and one movie), and hadn’t finished without waiting for its source material, I think it could have been one of the greatest Anime out there.
Yagami Light is a high-school student with exceptional academic ability but an otherwise unremarkable life. However, this all changes when he comes across a mysterious book known as the Death Note. After picking it up, Light encounters a fearsome Death God from another world, Ryuk, who appears to oversee its use:
- The human whose name is written in this note shall die.
- This note will not take effect unless the writer has the person’s face in their mind when writing his/her name. Therefore, people sharing the same name will not be affected.
- If the cause of death is written within the next 40 seconds of writing the person’s name, it will happen.
- If the cause of death is not specified, the person will simply die of a heart attack.
- After writing the cause of death, details of the death should be written in the next 6 minutes and 40 seconds.
Light, being the son of a distinguished police investigator, immediately realizes the uses of such an artifact and begins judging criminals, aiming for the creation of a world without crime and suffering – one that he will reign over as God. Of course, the deaths of hundreds of high-profile criminals does not go unnoticed, and the unrivalled detective known only as “L” is called in to find the mad killer calling himself “Kira” (which is Light, in case you hadn’t guessed).
Death Note is another classic that deserves its title. The battles of wits between L and Light are fierce and exhilarating, and to be honest there’s nothing quite like them. While the final portion of the series drops the figurative ball, the rest of it grips you, rapidly escalates in excitement and intrigue, and refuses to let go.
The Cultural Research Club at Yamaboshi High is as close knit as it gets; the members attend it each day more to spend time with one another than for any research purposes. Are they as close as they appear on the outside, though? Are they as close as they themselves believe they are? When a supernatural entity known only as Heartseed takes an interest in them, their bonds are stretched to their very limit as they discover just how little they really know about their “friends”. While swapping bodies with others may sound amusing to begin with, it’s only the first in a series of unbelievable circumstances used to extract every drop of entertainment possible from the group. It’s not a question of whether someone will break, so much as who will break first.
I find myself feeling overwhelmingly grateful to the person that recommended Kokoro Connect to me. Its incredibly simple formula and series of events maintain a wonderful level of entertainment because of the complexity and believability its characters and their relationships add to the near-perfect mix of romance, comedy and drama already present in the show. It’s a little bit deeper than what I normally recommend but the mere fact that it made me sit back and really think is a major achievement.
Kazuya Kujo came to Saubure in 1924 as an exchange student from Japan. Shunned by his fellow students because of a local legend, he takes refuge in St. Marguerite Academy’s massive tower of a library, and at its highest level forms a bond that will never be broken. Victorique de Blois, the Golden Fairy of the tower, is a tiny girl with flowing blonde hair, a fiery temper and a brilliant mind. Confined, practically held hostage by her father, she spends her days attempting to fend off the boredom that plagues her. In the midst of chilling murders and swirling intrigue, the two desperately struggle to avoid being torn apart.
What can I say about Gosick? It starts off slowly while beckoning for your curiosity to follow it through the twisting halls of its mysteries, gradually placing block after block of new information beneath your gaze before finally entering a grand finale in a crescendo of revelations and emotion. That’s about it. There’s mystery, romance and drama all bundled into the kind of ball you might call a cult classic.
Nagi no Asukara
Many generations ago mankind left the oceans for the surface, though a portion of seadwellers refused to leave their ancestral home. In modern times Shioshishio isn’t your average town, but Hikari, Manaka, Chisaki and Kaname have lived there all their lives. They and the others residing there have a special lining to their skin called Ena which allows them to breathe and live entirely underwater. When the town’s school is closed down the four friends are forced to take to the surface for their education and are soon exposed to the tensions between those beneath the waves and those who have left them behind. They’ll have to find where they fit into things on the surface, making new friends quickly, but at the same time they need to make sure of how they feel about each other. Meanwhile the God of the Sea, creator of all life, finds his power dwindling as he is forgotten by those leaving the sea for the surface. Without his presence, there’s no telling what will happen to the Earth itself.
Nagi no Asukara is unique, novel and entertaining. The plot itself, the themes surrounding it and character relationships within it drive an experience that doesn’t get boring from beginning to end. Great visual design and animation quality adds to the series to earn it an emphatic Geek Clinic recommendation.
Zetsuen no Tempest
Tragedy. Revenge. Love. Aika Fuwa. In the face of the greatest threat the world has ever known, retribution trumps all. When Mahiro Fuwa comes into contact with someone calling herself the princess of a clan of mages stranded on a desert island, he agrees to help her in exchange for one piece of information: the identity of his sister’s killer. The Kusaribe clan worships a being known as the Tree of Genesis, the creator of all life and opposition to the destructive Tree of Exodus. By offering sacrifices of modern technology the clan gains the ability to use the tree’s power. Hakaze Kusaribe, the princess, had been betrayed by her people, and Mahiro is the only person able to act on her will. Unfortunately, Hakaze’s greatest hope couldn’t care less about the fate of the world, so long as he gets his revenge.
I have never liked Shakespeare. Granted, my only exposure to his work was forced reading in high school, and I’m most likely unable to appreciate the style of writing of the time, but the fact still stands. So when an anime with links to The Tempest was recommended to me I was a little apprehensive. Thankfully, Zetsuen no Tempest was a thoroughly enjoyable experience that I don’t hesitate to recommend. The realistic setting and characters mesh with magic and an out of this world story to form an experience that is just about impossible to not enjoy. If you’re after entertainment, then look no further.
The Future Diaries. Items with the ability to predict aspects of the future based on their owners’ characteristics, irreversibly linked to their lives. What better way to choose a new God? Amano Yukiteru is the recipient of one such artefact, with his classmate Gasai Yuno gaining possession of another. They are but two of twelve involved in battle royale to the death, with the winner being granted ultimate power over time and space. For Yuno, this couldn’t be more perfect. Though he doesn’t know it, and though they’ve only talked a handful of times, she love Yukiteru with every fibre of her being. She adores him. She idolizes him. She lives for him. She would die for him…and she will KILL anyone who dares to get in the way of her feelings. All for her beloved Yuuki, of course.
For those that think they like the idea of a crazy, knife-wielding girlfriend taking part in a future-diary-fuelled fight to the death, Mirai Nikki is a must-watch. Its ending may be on the weak side compared to the rest of the show but that’s no reason not experience all of its good bits which, due to some great animation and interesting characters, are incredibly entertaining. Even if the concept doesn’t immediately jump out at you, I’d recommend giving Mirai Nikki a go because of how few other series out there are like it. Who knows, you might discover a new niche you’re interested in.
Tiger and Bunny
In the futuristic Stern Bild City a small population of humans are known as NEXT. These individuals hold a variety of special abilities, with the strongest among them able to become Heroes, commercialized defenders of justice whose goal is as much to promote their sponsors on prime time television as it is to fight crime. Hero TV provides 24/7 coverage of the Heroes’ escapades, ranking them by the number of criminals they capture or civilians they rescue. Kaburagi Kotetsu, better known as Wild Tiger, is one such Hero, a veteran, and when his supporting company goes under he is placed together with Barnaby Brooks Jr, a newbie on the scene. With the seasoned Kotetsu’s desire to help to populace in every way possible, and Barnaby’s desire to rack up Hero Points, the two might find themselves spending most of their time getting in each other’s way.
Tiger and Bunny immediately plunges you into its unique setting with visuals of caped crusaders with colourful company logos emblazoned on their costumes bringing home the reality of commercialized justice. The series absolutely nails the portrayal of this key feature to an impressive degree: Special catch-phrases, TV interviews and even a Hero whose only goal is to appear in the background of as many TV shots as possible to show off his sponsors. Among several other themes, the conflict between the media’s need for ratings and the unobstructed pursuit of justice makes for icing on the cake.
Ayase Chihaya first encountered Karuta when she met Wataya Arata as a child. The game which combines memorization, reflex and knowledge of a select set of iconic Japanese poetry was introduced to her by Arata when she stood by him against the bullying he suffered from the rest of their class. Together with Chihaya’s other friend Mashima Taichi, the three learned Karuta as a team and formed memories they could never forget. Now, as Chihaya enters high school, she finds herself the sole proponent for beginning a competitive Karuta club, with Arata having moved far away and Taichi having lost interest in the game. Chihaya’s will does not waver, however, as she aims to master the art of Karuta and become Japan’s, and the world’s, next Queen.
While some may argue the “sports” label for Chihayafuru, I would assert that the series earns it repeatedly. The game of Karuta is made interesting and the team atmosphere the show cultivates is impressive. Characters are realistic and easy to identify with as well as diverse, and their efforts to work together are that much more poignant for that reason. Every single component of this anime comes together to form a cohesive whole, with the technical aspects backing up both the writing and concept wonderfully.
Albert de Morcerf is the son of the great General Morcerf, hero of the intergalactic war and leading candidate for France’s presidency. Having been raised in a life of luxury, Albert is visiting the moon (Luna) for its grand festival with his childhood friend Franz when the two encounter the eccentric yet charismatic Count of Monte Cristo. The Count claims to be a nobleman who has travelled to the far reaches of space and back, and after saving Albert’s life from a gang of kidnappers he asks for the boy’s aid in moving to Paris, where the Morcerf family holds great sway. Monte Cristo’s very presence will bring great change, however, to Paris, France and the world at large, though whether his hidden plans are beneficent or malicious remains to be seen.
It’s been a fair while since I first watched The Count of Monte Cristo and despite the viewing having been forced by a high school class I found it to be pretty enjoyable. Gankutsuou is an anime adaptation with a slightly different focus which adds in a little of its own spice to the mix and overall does a great job of bringing both the characters and story to life. It’s unique visual style can only be described as fantastical, and in a way I have never seen before and probably won’t encounter ever again.
Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru (OreGairu)
Hikigaya Hachiman is an outcast in just about every meaning of the word. By his own admission he hasn’t even talked to a girl in years and can count the number of friends he holds dear without any hands at all. His every waking moment would be a struggle, if he actually cared about what anyone else thought. His impressively cynical attitude ends up getting him forced into the newly formed Service Club by a worried teacher, with the only other member being the similarly isolated Yukinoshita Yukino. Naturally, the two can’t stand each other, but as they work together to help others as part of their club duties they find the opinions and attitudes of others rubbing off on them and, along with the bubbly but conflicted Yuigahama Yui, desperately fight to navigate the complexities of normal high school life.
That summary…doesn’t really capture what Oregairu is, but it’ll have to do for now. What begins as an average romantic comedy goes on to become Interpersonal Relationships: The Anime, and does so with style. Each character is repeatedly shown to have more and more layers of personality to be explored, meaning that even those who appear to follow simple archetypes can’t be taken at first glance. The drama and emotion are poignant throughout the second season with some refreshing and effective comedy scattered here and there, while the first season merely serves to set the foundation for what the series aims to achieve. Overall, however, the balance between tension and light-hearted everyday living is handled beautifully.
Suisei no Gargantia
Ledo is a Machine Caliber pilot for the Galactic Alliance of Humankind. The purpose of his existence is to eliminate the greatest threat to his species, the terrifying alien race known as the Hideauze, and his entire sixteen years of life have been spent preparing him for combat. Any individual who cannot fight holds no value for the Galactic Alliance. So when Ledo is stranded on a foreign planet light-years from the battle, he finds himself at something of a loss. The people there survive by living on a massive collection of connected boats known as Gargantia, for the vast majority of their home is covered by ocean. Their speech, their customs and their way of life represent entirely new territory for Ledo, though he will need to learn to survive in this new place. For it is Earth, the planet his ancestors abandoned.
Suisei no Gargantia is one of the best 13 episode series I’ve seen to date. The show covers a lot of ground that doesn’t commonly show up in anime and is backed up with a unique concept, refreshing visuals and endearing characters that come together to form a fun production that also presents a thought-provoking view on one of humanity’s potential futures.
Sakamichi no Apollon
Kaoru Nishimi has been forced to move in with his relatives while his father is out to sea. He’s used to moving, though, and doesn’t expect his new home to offer anything different from the norm. When he runs into the class delinquent, Sentarou Kawabuchi, however, his expectations are shattered. Over the next year Kaoru comes out of his shell as he discovers a love for jazz music along with his new friend, as he falls in love, and as he faces the trials and tribulations of teenage life and relationships. Whether the future holds joy or the same loneliness he knew as a younger child, he will never forget the time he spends with Sentarou.
Sakamichi no Apollon is a straightforward and fun romance anime that fits the word “genuine” more than most others I’ve seen. It’s down to earth, simple and well made for the most part, with endearing and believable characters that easily kept me entertained during each sitting. While the ending is unfortunately rushed, Sakamichi no Apollon is an easy recommendation to make for anyone interested in the romance genre.
Deadman Wonderland – Carnival Prison + Strange Powers
Note: Not finished and never will be.
Carnival Phantasm – Hilarious Type-Moon Parody
Note: Only actually funny if you’ve seen and/or played Fate/Stay Night and/or Tsukihime.
Oreimo – Slice of Life Comedy + Otaku Themes
Tales of Vesperia: The First Strike – Fantasy Setting + Video Game Prequel
Note: Set before the Xbox 360 game Tales of Vesperia.
Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio (Arpeggio of Blue Steel)
Love Live! School Idol Project – High School Idols + Carefree Slice of Life
No Game No Life – Game World + Devious Strategies
Kakumeiki Valvrave – Space Mechs + Loss of Humanity
Nisekoi – Romcom + Not Much Else
Sakasama no Patema (Patema Inverted) – Reversed Gravity + Dystopian Earth
Eve no Jikan – Robots as People + Sadly Unfinished
Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka? (DanMachi)
Real Life RPG + Action/Comedy
Nanatsu no Taizai
The Geek Clinic’s Shounen Battle Comedy of Choice
Yamada-kun to 7-nin no Majou
High School Rom Com + Interesting Powers
Destitute God + Interpersonal Relationships
Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2199
Ship Battles + Space
Maoyuu Maou Yuusha
Economics + Demon King Love
If you’re interested in other recommendations, please take a look at my MAL profile. Anything with a score of 7 or over can be considered worthwhile.