Here are my favorite anime of all time!
25. Figure 17
I love it when anime take risks and aren't afraid to go all out. Sure, we've seen premises like Figure 17 done before, but it's done with a lot of heart, and some of the most understandable yet interesting science fiction and technobabble I've seen. Plus, it's got an unusual running time: all the episodes are 45 minutes long, giving the creators more opportunities to explore its setting, develop its characters, and do what normal 22-minute episode anime can't within the usual 13 episodes. It perfectly balances out its gentle slice of life and the dark parts without throwing it in our faces, it slowly fleshes everything out to their deepest depths, and gives us some really smart monsters. I admit, I didn't like it's opening theme song, and the slow pacing will turn people off, but that doesn't make it any less awesome. It's also got a seriously great but underrated English dub.
24. Vision of Escaflowne
Originally, I wasn't sure what to make of this show. Even in my early days, everybody talked about this show like it was God or something. Last summer, after finishing my #13 pick, I decided to sit down and check it out. But...I made the mistake of watching the English dub first, and even though I finished it, I didn't see what was good about it. Then I watched it in Japanese and German. Then I saw what was so great about it. The soundtrack is sublime and the animation is to die for, even for nineties standards. Admittedly, I didn't find any of the characters to be worth getting attached to save for one, but they fulfill their roles well. Despite this, I found my #14 pick to be better than this in terms of its characters and execution, though I can see why Esca is considered a classic. I just don't agree on why. It's pacing is way too fast, and it doesn't leave time for us to really connect with the characters. But I love it anyway, and it is the only anime I've watched in four different languages. Also, Dilandau is the single greatest villain EVER! He is the only reason I kept on watching this show (though his English dub voice is WAAAAAY too squeaky and chirpy for me! Why does he sound like he's nine years old?! His German voice is his definitive voice for me).
23. Anne of Green Gables/Before Green Gables
I have no idea why I like this. Is it because of its great characters? Its different setting? Its simple but tranquil take on the 19th century? I dunno. But whatever the reason, I love both these anime for what they are, both their charms and flaws. Anne of Green Gables is nice, simple, and tranquil, though it lacks major conflict. Before Green Gables is nice, riveting, and can definitely get dark and serious when it wants to be, but at times it comes across as cheesy, and it's not entirely flawless (why the freak does Anne in BGG's hair never grow longer?! In AoGG, Anne's hair is down to her waist at eleven years old, when eleven year old Anne of BGG's hair stays at her shoulders all throughout the series!! Why?!). Regardless, I like them both!
22. Bunny Drop
This is what happens to be one of the sweetest anime out there. Everything about this anime has sweet written all over it: the animation, the simple story, the characters, the things that go on around them, the interactions between characters. Every episode made me go "awww" and it didn't even need to try that hard! Plus, Rin is adorable. End of story. She may be a little too mature for her age, but I don't care.
21. Heartcatch Precure
...So what? This show's amazing! I'm not exactly a fan of the Precure franchise in general, and I definitely haven't seen most of the shows. I saw one episode of the first series long ago, and I saw five episodes of the new one, Smile Precure, but Heartcatch Precure is the only Precure series that I EVER watched all the way through, and I'm glad of it! Heartcatch Precure is the only Precure anime in the franchise that deconstructs itself while breaking a lot of its usual stereotypes, like it's characters and stories for example. Not only that, all of its stories feel very genuine (though, admittedly, some are a little sappy, but in a good way). Definitely one of the better magical girl anime out there! Plus, it's one of the few anime in which I can actually relate to the characters in more ways than one, especially Tsubomi, who's not like the other Precure leads (Seriously, others need to follow her example!!!).
20. Seirei no Moribito
Shortest explanation in the world: it's smart, it's exciting despite the lack of fights, and the love a mother has for a child can exceed even the greatest of boundaries. End of story. And to think I thought this was going to be a politics fest like Guin Saga when it came out! And this is also the only anime that got me excited about gambling. Why? Just watch the episode.
19. Ikoku Meiro no Croisee
If there was any anime that portrayed historical fiction awesomely that ISN'T a World Masterpiece Theater anime, then this anime is it. Ikoku Meiro no Croisee just oozes adorable while not succumbing to the typical anime cliches we see nowadays. There are cute girls, but they're not sexually charged, tsunderes, or a bunch of idiots. There's a male character, but he's not bland or sleazy or anything, though he's rather moody. The anime focuses MUCH more on cultural differences between France and Japan than on stupid and pointless fanservice, though I think some people might get turned off by it. Historical fiction fans, rejoice, because this one's a charmer! It certainly won my heart because of it's sheer warmth and adorableness!
18. Digimon Tamers
Most people say Adventure is the best season. While I did like it, and the rest of the Digimon series (except Hunters, which should die in a fire), Tamers is the season that won my heart back when I was little. Yep, this is the series I remember best, and not JUST because it has a lot of my favorite Digimon in it! For one thing, it's VERY different from the other Digimon seasons. I guess you can consider this the Madoka Magica of Digimon, especially since this particular series is helmed by the man who worked on series like Serial Experiments Lain and Ghost Hound. But don't worry, it isn't a huge angst fest like Evangelion either. It's characters are awesome, nothing in this anime is forced, the drama is great, and it's growing in popularity so I'm a proud fan of this season!...unfortunately this, and Adventure, seem to be the only series that are truly great. The rest of them after Savers...don't go there.
17. Ie Naki Ko Remi (YES! I like BOTH versions! SHUT UP!)
If a cynic like me can be moved to tears by a children's cartoon, then this has to be one of the most heartbreaking and heart wrenching anime out there. Ie Naki Ko is one of those rare yet powerful anime that doesn't hesitate to make our favorite characters get crapped on by the hardships of life...and boy do they ever! But nonetheless, it's a beautiful story that shows us that life is terribly short, and that it must be lived and cherished, not wasted. Osamu Dezaki made a WMT-esque version of the series in 1977 (even though the visuals sure don't look like it), while an actual WMT series of it was made, but it was made shorter and many changes were made. But that's no reason to think that the 1997 version doesn't have good charms of it's own!
16. Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai
Okay. I suspected that we were going to get something special with this anime, but I sure never expected it to get me so emotionally stirred THIS MUCH. I mean, AnoHana is a seriously polished gem in anime! It's the best thing Noitamina has created in it's long years of running. It focuses on themes such as growing up, letting go of the past, regrets, friendship, and moving forward. I can actually identify with this anime so much that it's unbelievable!...to a degree, of course. Each episode is great, and right when you think one episode is heart-wrenching and emotional, another even better one comes right after it! There HAS to be a limit to how many things you can do right in an anime, and AnoHana sure is going beyond the mark in the awesomest way possible! Plus...it got me thinking about my childhood, something no anime has ever done with me before. Not even my #1 pick could do it. And I LOVE LOVE LOVE the characters, especially Menma! She's soooooo cute, and I don't mean that in a moe way!
15. Yona of the Dawn
Nowadays, good quality anime that don't revolve around harems, fanservice, or ecchi stuff are hard to come by. But they're there. You just have to look hard for them. Thankfully, Yona of the Dawn managed to stand out in its boldness and strength to just tell a good story with three-dimensional characters, and now, it's here on my list! Seriously, if this had come out when I was 12 or something, it would probably be my number one fave of all time. Sadly, it does have some flaws that prevent it from being truly great, especially the ending, since its based on an ongoing manga. Still, Akatsuki no Yona is a wonderful anime that everyone I know needs to see and watch! It has a genuinely compelling story, characters who *gasp* actually develop, have flaws, and aren't just one-note reverse harem stereotypes, the animation is luscious, the music is great, and...ahhh! Just go watch it! Or read the manga!
14. After War Gundam X
What's this?! A mecha anime on the list?! That can't be right! But you read that right, a giant robot anime is on this list. Normally I don't like mecha anime because they're full of politics or hard to understand and follow up with. Gundam X is the complete opposite. It's extremely engaging, the characters are extremely loveable, the animation is messy but well made, the story is easy to understand, and it just kept me hooked all the way through. I knew the minute I finished the first episode, I had to see the whole series. It also has the best set of main characters I've seen so far in a giant robot anime. Garrod and Tiffa are adorable!
13. Popolocrois Monogatari
What's this? A cutesy looking anime that's a unique RPG adaptation which focuses more on characters rather than action? Awesome! I didn't think I'd ever like this show, but boy, this anime fulfills so many fantasy anime wishes it's not even funny! It does a lot of things right that Escaflowne didn't: it focuses much more on characters than the story (though never loses sight of its story), it knows when to calm down and when to go fast paced rather than just shove everything down your throat, it explains things a lot more clearly while leaving others open for interpretation, it has great, relatable characters (and also has one of the best, hammiest, and funniest villains ever in the form of Demon King GamiGami, who is hilarious!), it has nice animation that's easy on the eyes, it has a wonderful, mellow soundtrack that fits the show perfectly, and is just so downright sweet, but doesn't come off as saccharine. Why doesn't anyone know more about this gem?! This needs to get licensed and broadcasted in the US on a Saturday morning block!
12. A Little Princess Sara
This one's a highly lauded title among the World Masterpiece Theater library. A Little Princess is one of those stories of the rich and poor, the hardships of Victorian life, and the power of hope and imagination. This anime does a sublime job at portraying Victorian London beautifully and makes it's characters come to life. The characters are the most amazing thing about this anime, most notably Sara Crewe. She isn't some moe chick with a big chest or a whiny girl who needs to be saved by boys every 3 seconds. She relies on her own strength to win through life and doesn't give up, yet she has a heart of gold and a wise mind beyond her years. This is one of the WMT's best!
11. Snow White With The Red Hair
I have to admit, the manga for this had been on my radar for a long time, but I never got around to reading it despite the interesting premise. When I heard the anime was coming out, I actually cheered, and it did not disappoint me. In fact, it exceeded my expectations! Seriously, the animation is absolutely luscious, the setting is very interesting, the characters are all subtly three dimensional despite looking the opposite, and the episodic stories are simple yet captivating without needing to go overboard, which so many anime do and fail at. The music is also very good, too. Why can't we have more anime like this, especially in America?! I especially love Shirayuki: she's the best character in the show. She's strong but can be vulnerable, she isn't all about romance, she knows what she wants to do, does whatever she can to fulfill her dreams, doesn't let anything get in her way but isn't afraid to ask for help either.
10. The Girl From The Other Side OVA: Siuil A Run
Imagine this: A short, ten minute OVA made solely to promote a manga, with a very distinct animation style, no dialogue, with only music and color to bring the story to life. And guess what? It works! The animation really brings this short story to life, and is used to let it speak for itself. It puts a strong amount of detail in just about everything, and the relationship between the characters is beautiful and wonderfully understated, and again, the animation shows us this through their actions, gestures, and movements. This OVA is a nice way to spend ten minutes.
9. Les Miserables Shoujo Cosette
Many of you might know that I'm a decent fan of the World Masterpiece Theater. The way they develop their characters and make the story move forward is literally unrivaled. It may start off as a cheesy shoujo at first, but it slowly turns into a small revolution in 19th century France. I haven't read the book, but my 8th grade music class showed us the musical on DVD, so I'm aware of the differences. But fans of the book do need to be aware. A lot made it past the censors, but one twist did not make it unfortunately. And I think you might know which one it is. But nevertheless, this series is awesome! This series is full of suspense and it leaves you craving for more! This may be a kids version of the book, but it's not afraid to become dark and serious! Don't be put off by the slightly cutesy artwork. There's NO chibifiedness, no fanservice, no ecchiness, the World Masterpiece Theater actually is known for AVOIDING all of the things that modern anime do nowadays, so stop putting this off and give it a chance!
8. Haibane Renmei
This is one of those shimmering gems that simply MUST be seen by anyone! It takes a few episodes of calmly and pleasantly building up, then suddenly waltzes you down one of the best storylines ever made in anime. This anime does everything right and doesn't try to go overboard with anything. I won't say much due to MASSIVE spoilers, but I will say that the ending is original and a heart-tugging one indeed.
7. The Rose of Versailles
I hardly ever heard of this anime until I made friends who absolutely adore it. I remember my college anime club showing the first episode, and it definitely piqued my interest, but I couldn't watch it at the time because I had other obligations. Now, I've fallen in love with it! This is definitely a labor of love from the creators, who threw everything they had into making this story grand and ambitious in a time when cartoons were considered only for kids. The story is compelling, the animation, while it can be wonky at times, is luscious and beautiful, the characters are all three-dimensional with strengths and weaknesses, and it definitely deserves its place as one of the best shoujo anime ever. Yep, the popularity and hype behind it is 100% justified!
6. Ringing Bell (Chirin no Suzu)
While not an anime series, this old 1978 movie has to be one of the darkest gems I have ever witnessed or watched in my entire life! And it doesn't have any of those cliche happy endings that make everything feel not worth watching! This anime is simply about the unfairness of life, going against who you are, nonconformity, and the true reality of revenge. While this may seem like a cute kiddie film at first, but after the first 10-15 minutes this movie literally spirals into a dark and livid tale and it pulls absolutely NO punches. It also shows that not all paths in life are happy and colorful (like literally 99.9% of Disney movies).
5. Natsume Yuujinchou
One of the most quiet, beautiful, and endearing animes I've ever seen. Every episode is bitter-sweet yet heartwarming and leaves you with a warm, fuzzy feeling inside. I love both seasons of this. This series is a true gem and I think this should be licensed and dubbed immediately! I especially like Takashi (Kamiya Hiroshi FTW!!!) and how he struggles through life and confronts his craving for acceptance from both humans and youkai. Plus Nyanko is cracktastic! All the seasons are included in here.
4. Tokyo Magnitude 8.0
I don't know why I ranked this higher than Natsume Yuujinchou, but this series literally blows you away and defies literally all of your expectations. Everything about this series is great in all kinds of ways: the music, the story, the animation (though simple. It doesn't try to grab your attention with anything fancy or beautiful, not that I dislike it), the characters, the realism, the character study, the themes, and the ending, which made me cry sooooo much! Everything about this anime just made my heart sing and it felt so...real.
3. Dog of Flanders (both movie and the two TV series, though I mostly saw the former)
Yeah, I discovered and finished this old 1997 anime movie and OH MY FREAKING GOD I was BAWLING like a little baby at this movie, especially at two particular scenes! This has officially knocked Kamichama Karin down the list and burned itself into my heart! I LOVE EVERYTHING about this movie: art, plot, characters, graphics, setting, music, EVERYTHING!!! This movie has left me an emotional wreck! Everything's so subtle yet sooooo appallingly powerful and heartbreaking yet heartwarming! This is the best movie I've ever seen!! Are you human? WATCH THIS MOVIE!!!! It'll make you cry buckets!!! This is also my all-time favorite World Masterpiece Theater title. I wish the 1975 TV series would get subbed for pie's sake! I managed to find the old 90s version (in Arabic and Italian, of course. The Japanese version has apparently gone up in smoke. Anybody know where to find it!?) which nobody seems to know/care about and I love that too! I must confess, this is everything I want and love in an anime! This is one of those stories I wish I could've written!
2. Fancy Lala
Nobody said that all magical girl anime needed to be about saving the world from a great evil! Here, the main character meets two dinosaurs who give her a magical sketchbook and pen that not only makes her drawings come to life, but she also manages to turn into a 15-year-old girl who gets recruited by a TV station to become a star! No, this is NOT some kind of Hannah Montana clone if that's what you're thinking. Fancy Lala is a very sweet (but not cutesy and saccharine, mind you) and genuine character study, and Miho has to be one of the best female main characters I've ever seen in anime! Not only that, this show made me cry THREE TIMES because of how genuine, poignant, and sensitive those three episodes were!!! And two of the stories that did so have absolutely NO relation to the plot! If that doesn't make a great anime, then I don't know anymore! Also, it has the best ending in all of shoujo anime EVER! And yes, this is officially my all time favorite magical girl anime. So what?
1. Shounen Onmyouji
This is it. My number one favorite anime ever. The best anime I've ever seen of all time. I am pretty much the biggest otaku for this series in the whole wide world. This anime left the biggest impression/impact on me, ever since I first watched when I was 13 and in the 8th grade. THIS was the series that defined my world and made me ambitious about anime like I am now. Yeah, the plot may seem cliche at first glance (wanting to be the best, yada yada yada), but after many episodes this anime literally blows you away with amazing character development (they even develop Seimei's shikigami!), incredible plot twists, awesome storyline, and did I forget to mention Masahiro being so hilarious when he's angry? I love everything about this show: art, story, characters, themes, seiyuu (Especially Kaida Yuki! FTW!!!), music, everything! This series has a very, very, very special place in my heart and I will NEVER forget it as long as I live! The lead character, Masahiro, may seem like your typical shounen lead brat, but he strays far away from that stereotype, especially when the second half (and the finale) arrives. His ambition and passion struck a chord with me (and I confess that I have an anime crush on him. LOL). I don't know about you, but I don't think this series is going to leave my list or get surpassed any time soon, though it would be awesome if I was proven wrong on this (The only exception is With The Light which, unfortunately, is a manga and doesn't have an anime, though I would pay BIG MONEY AND TOP DOLLAR for an anime to happen!!!).