To launch our new business, we also want to engage with the community with our thoughts on Anime and Manga series as well as gaming too. So to start off, I thought I would reveal with you my personal Top 10 Anime series that I have watched over the many years since I was a child. This list was incredibly difficult to think and decide on, I have seen so many different series that I know that I probably have forgotten some hidden gems. This is a list based on anime that has left a massive impact on me in terms of story, character, artistic style amongst many other aspects.
Now, even though I have seen many different anime series, I have not seen them all! So I can imagine many people out there will probably disagree and have their own opinions on what their favourites are. The great thing about anime is that there is so much variety and diversity that our favourites always change! Here is what my current Top 10 Favourite Anime Series of All Time are:
10. Violet Evergarden
Plot Summary: Violet Evergarden, a young girl formerly known as “the weapon”, has left the battlefield to start a new life at CH Postal Service. There, she is deeply moved by the work of “Auto Memories Dolls”, who carry people's thoughts and convert them into words. Violet begins her journey as an Auto Memories Doll, and comes face to face with various people's emotions and differing shapes of love. There are words Violet heard on the battlefield, which she cannot forget. These words were given to her by someone she holds dear, more than anyone else. She does not yet know their meaning but she searches to find it.
This is one of the more recent entries on this list, but also one of the most impactful anime series I have watched as well. Everything from the art, characters and story is absolutely breathtaking. Watching Violet progress emotionally throughout the series through the different tasks she had to complete in each episode was incredibly interesting and endearing. I found myself captivated by the series and the 13 episodes flew by in an instant; but the impact it left will stay for a long time.
9. My Hero Academia
Plot Summary: A prestigious school known as the The Hero Academy trains superpowered hopefuls into the heroes the world needs. Middle school student Izuku Midoriya wants to be a hero more than anything, but he's part the 20% without a Quirk. Unwilling to give up his dream, he plans to take the exam and be accepted into a high school for budding heroes. Through a series of serendipitous events, he catches the eye of the greatest hero, All Might, who agrees to train him.
Amongst all the continuous running anime series out there, I find that 'My Hero Academia' is definitely, for me, the strongest one at the moment. All the characters are amazingly fleshed out in terms of personality and the huge variance of superpowers that are on show is really clever, this show has really got a unique identity. Deku is a character that you can't help but rally behind, along with the likes of Todoroki, Iida, Bakugo and Uraraka; the chemistry with all the characters in class 1-A is infectious. The overall concept of heroes fighting against evil is simple on paper, but this series takes that concept and has its own twists and turns. The first 3 seasons have been incredibly consistent in quality and I just can't wait for the fourth.
8. Attack on Titan
Plot Summary: Several hundred years ago, humans were nearly exterminated by giants. Giants are typically several stories tall, seem to have no intelligence, devour human beings and, worst of all, seem to do it for the pleasure rather than as a food source. A small percentage of humanity survived by enclosing themselves in a city protected by extremely high walls, even taller than the biggest of giants. Flash forward to the present and the city has not seen a giant in over 100 years. Teenage boy Eren and his foster sister Mikasa witness something horrific as the city walls are destroyed by a super giant that appears out of thin air. As the smaller giants flood the city, the two kids watch in horror as their mother is eaten alive. Eren vows that he will murder every single giant and take revenge for all of mankind.
From the first episode of 'Attack on Titan', I was immediately amazed and shocked on the absolute terror and drama that unfolded. The intensity from that first episode continued into a spiral of chaos and torment that continuously hooked all the way to the end of the third series. A completely unique and original story with filled with death and destruction, this series is destined to be real anime classic (if not already), and I cannot wait to see how everything unfurls in the next season.
7. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
Plot Summary: In a bleak future where humanity is oppressed by an army of mutants and forced to live underground, a young orphan unearths a powerful robot. Together with a boisterous man named Kamina, a beautiful sharpshooter named Yoko and many other friends, they use the robots power to fight against their oppressors and take back the surface.
I have not revisited this series since it aired back in 2007, but I can still remember the incredible twists and shocks that are scattered throughout this series. What looks like an innocent, fun animation with a humble beginning masks the emotional and serious undertone of its quite desolate story. It is a series with lots of heart, energy and humour I cannot recommend Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann enough if you have not seen it yet.
6. Rurouni Kenshin
Plot Summary: Himura Kenshin is a vagabond with a dark past and sunny disposition. Not a ronin but a rurouni, he was never a samurai, but an assassin of utmost skill in the Meiji restoration, who in the turning point of the war simply walked away. His travels lead him to Tokyo in the 11th year of the Meiji era, where he befriends a female Kendo master, a former thief, a brawler and a doctor all with their own secrets. Together they fight off the enemies surfacing from the dark past that Kenshin cannot escape.
One of the first series I ever watched, and has remained one of the most touching series too. This holds some nostalgic value to me. Himura Kenshin is still one of my favourite characters ever, due to how dynamic he is. Throughout the series, you get to experience different sides to Kenshin; the honest and frivolous persona which brings comedic value to some of the side stories, but then you get the savage, manslayer persona too which ties within his brutal samurai/assassin past, where he was known as Hitokiri Battousai. The series really picks up speed when Kenshin's past catches up with him and goes onto fight some incredible action-packed, story driven battles. The main series is incredibly strong and fairly consistent, but I need to mention the Trust and Betrayal OVA; which is an extraordinary masterpiece in itself. I would recommend you watch the main series first before tackling the OVAs, the rewards will be much sweeter.
5. Welcome to the NHK
Plot Summary: Satou Tatsuhiro, a 22 year old young man, is a NEET (Not in Employment, Education, or Training) and a hikikomori (meaning acute social withdrawal). He believes everything around him is a conspiracy, including the reason why many people, himself included, become hikikomori. Due to this, Satou creates a strange conspiracy theory which includes the Nihon Hikikomori Kyōkai (NHK), a secret organization with the intention of producing a hikikomori filled world. Satou intends to break free from the NHK's clutches, but cannot, since he finds it too frightening to go outdoors by himself; that is, until he meets Misaki Nakahara, who selects Satou for her "project" that she claims will cure him of his hikikomori ways.
Quite possibly the most unconventional choice on this list, 'Welcome to the NHK' is a hilarous take on social insecurities, which ironically is a serious subject matter. But I feel the idea of the series was to tackle these issues in a humourous way whilst educating the viewers about them. Every character has its purpose and sense of mystery; the substories that exist cover every aspect of life's troubles, ranging from family troubles, depression and reality escape. It is a series that you can really relate to, and way people cope with their mental and personality disorders in an immensely entertaining, but also emotionally involving manner.
4. Cowboy Bebop
Plot Summary: Spike Spiegel, a bounty Hunter with a dark past, lives on bounty to bounty, barely making it each time, or not making it at all. His partners Jet Black, Faye Valentine, Ed and Ein the dog all help him in his adventures from planet to planet.
This particular series needs no introduction because of how iconic it is. Every episode has its own identity and charm to it. Spike and Jet are an awesome duo, along with the other main characters like Faye, Ed and Ein too, there is a lot of chemistry and it makes for some compelling viewing. Even though the main plot is scattered throughout the series, it is dusted in at the right time and all of a sudden, the tone of some episodes take a massive dark turn. Not to mention the soundtrack is also amazing too.
3. Death Note
Plot Summary: Yagami Light is an ace student with great prospects, who's bored out of his mind. One day he finds the "Death Note": a notebook from the realm of the Death Gods, with the power to kill people in any way he desires. With the Death Note in hand, Light decides to create his perfect world, without crime or criminals. However, when criminals start dropping dead one by one, the authorites send the legendary detective L to track down the killer, and a battle of wits, deception and logic ensues...
We are now entering the Top 3 where each of these series had a spectacular, awe-inspiring plot, full of twists and turns that left me gobsmacked. Death Note is definitely one of those series that has left an impression long after I finished watching it. Right from the initial episode, the plot moves at 200mph and hooks you straight in. The battle of wits between Yagami Light and L is utterly compelling and the topic of real morality and justice is something that encapsulates you right through to the end.
2. Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion
Plot Summary: The Empire of Britannia has invaded Japan using giant robot weapons called Knightmare Frames. Japan is now referred to as Area 11, and its people the 11's. A Britannian who was living in Japan at the time, Lelouch, vowed to his Japanese friend Suzaku that he'd destroy Britannia. Years later, Lelouch is in high school, but regularly skips out of school to go play chess and gamble on himself. One day, he stumbles on terrorists 11's who've stolen a military secret and is caught by a member of the Britannian task force sent after them, who is Suzaku. As the rest of the squad arrives, Suzaku is shot for disobeying orders, while the military secret, a young girl, gives Lelouch the power of Geass, which makes anyone obey any order. While Suzaku is secretly made the pilot of Britannia's brand new prototype Knightmare, Lancelot, Lelouch becomes the masked Zero to lead the rebellion to destroy Britannia once and for all.
For me, Code Geass takes the medal for the most insane, extraordinary plot twists I have ever seen in any series, anime or not. It actually left me speechless. Most of the time you are on the edge of your seat with all the different plots and characters. The imagery of all these characters in power showing their fundamental flaws and deception were fascinating; Season 2 was the absolute peak for this series full of cliffhangers and ultra climaxes. This cannot be missed by anyone.
1. Neon Genesis Evangelion
Plot Summary: At the age of 14 Shinji Ikari is summoned by his father to the city of Neo Tokyo-3 after several years of separation. There he unwillingly accepts the task of becoming the pilot of a giant robot by the name EVA01 and protect the world from the enigmatic invaders known as "angels." Even though he repeatedly questions why he has accepted this mission from his estranged and cold father, his doing so helps him to gradually accept himself. However, why exactly are the angels attacking and what are his father’s true intentions are yet to be unraveled.
This, for me, is the defining anime series. A series that was not shy to take risks and challenge viewers. On the surface, you can see it as a generic mecha anime. But if you dig deeper and be patient, there is something brewing so sinister and unreal that you cannot stop thinking about it. The controversy and enigmatic feel around Neon Genesis Evangelion is what draws me. The struggle between Shinji, Rei and Asuka was something that enticed me with their defective personalities. Their constant breakdown of character, along with many of the other cast, as the series went on was incredibly compelling and was the real focus of what Neon Genesis Evangelion was about. The last two episodes are regarded as polarising, but I feel they only set up for the film, 'The End of Evangelion', which is by far one of my favourite features of all time.
Well that is our Top 10 favourites of all time, obviously the list is not definitive and is always flexible since we are always finding new anime series to love. I am sure you guys will contest some of these choices, so it would be awesome to hear your suggestions in the comments and state what your Top 10 series are!
Here are some honourable mentions that just missed our top 10:
Gintama Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Great Teacher Onizuka Trigun Asobi Asobase Steins;Gate Clannad: After Story
Plot Summaries are sourced from Anime News Network.