I wanted to write an article telling you about my top 10 favorite anime, because it occurred to me that people will read my review of Castlevania Season 3, notice there’s no other anime reviews on this site, and be like reee Ryan you just don’t like anime. Which is not true. I mean first of all, as I mentioned in the review, I really liked season 1 and 2. Season 3 just tries to take it in this whack knockoff Game of Thrones direction, which is a fine idea, but they don’t pull it off at all. While I wouldn’t call myself an anime enthusiast, I’ve watched a fair amount of anime, and I’m sure I’ll be dating myself here, but these are my top 10 favorite anime.
When I say Gundam, I mean the original Gundam, with Amuro Ray, where it has a plot and there’s a certain amount of sci-fi combined with political intrigue between the different factions. When it started branching into Gundam Wing and it’s all just cool for the sake of cool and it became a hollow action anime, I checked out.
Naruto really pulls at my heartstrings. It got some really emotionally inspiring moments. The action is great. The characters are cool. It really pulls everything off well. I even watched Boruto. I like Naruto that much. The main problem I have with Naruto is that it’s like 10,000 episodes long and no human being can both experience watching all of Naruto and doing anything else in a single lifetime, it just can’t be done.
Perflect Blue is a super trippy psychological thriller that came out in… I want to say the late 90s, early 2000s, and it’s about an idol who’s trying to transition to being an actress while also going insane. This movie was right up my alley. I really liked it. I even own it on DVD somewhere.
Ghost in the Shell
Ghost in the Shell (the movie) was tremendously cool and I really liked the philosophical subject matter the show delved into which, unlike Castlevania Season 3’s empty soliloquies about judging humanity, I didn’t think was for 9 year olds. I thought it was really interesting. So interesting that it’s still probably woven into my philosophical point of view in general. I also liked Standalone Complex.
Gungrave was a super cool show that a lot of people sleep on. The first half was incredible storytelling that I really connected with, about these two kids with a brother-like bond rising from rags to riches in a criminal syndicate. The second half is post-apocalyptic fantasy revenge porn. They’re both good, and I thought it was cool this show did like a total 180 in what kind of show it was right in the middle and still pulled it off.
Avatar the Last Airbender
Avatar the Last Airbender is probably one of the best stories I’ve seen in my life, not only among anime, but among all storytelling media, including movies, games, etc. It’s a brilliant, brilliant show. Korra was pretty whack, but that’s sort of not its fault, it’s just that lightning doesn’t strike twice, I guess. I mean, how you gonna make Fight Club 2? (They tried, it was terrible). I think this show should be like, required reading in schools. Every character is amazing, they’re all multidimensional, it’s fun, but it’s also deep, it’s innocent, but it’s also serious. Iroh’s philosophy is perhaps one of the best philosophies in media, period. I loved this show.
FLCL is so trippy and weird and perfectly captures the boredom of living in a small town, wanting more, and what it’s like to be a teenage boy. The soundtrack to this show is bonkers good. It’s so good that I still listen to it some 20 years later. The animation on this show is amazing. I could probably rewatch this show once a year or so for the rest of my life and still get a kick out of it. Note that I haven’t seen FLCL 2, I suspect it’s got that whole Fight Club 2 problem. Anyway, really liked FLCL a lot. Why did I put it above Avatar, which I think is a true near-perfect classic? Just personal preference. This kind of weird, trippy commentary on life is just more me, you know?
Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood
It’s hard to deny that Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood is one of the best shows ever made. I couldn’t get to the end of the original Full Metal Alchemist (actually I think I did watch it, it was just so forgettable that it just went in one ear and out the other), but Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood is amazing. It’s got mystery, intrigue, amazing animation, great characters, really memorable moments (who could ever forget Colonel Mustang revenge blasting the shit out of the homunculus?). FMA:Brotherhood also brings up a fair bit of philosophy about life and death and the nature of sacrifice and hierarchical success vs happiness. It’s a great show.
The animation, the psychological thriller aspects, all the mysticisms and references to gnosticism, the bizarre existentialism, the technology, the government conspiracies — this show is so up my alley I don’t even know where to begin. Evangelion is one of my favorite shows ever and its theme song has been stuck in my head for over 20 years. I love this show.
Cowboy Bebop is not only my favorite anime ever, it’s one of my favorite things in general ever. This show is near perfect in every way. It oozes style. The pacing is amazing. The characters are amazing. The soundtrack is amazing. Every single episode (except, perhaps, Boogie Woogie Feng Shui) is incredible independently, even without the surrounding context of the whole show being amazing. It’s got this really airtight structure — 26 episodes with around 6 core plot episodes and the rest being character building standalone episodic stories. Spike, Jet, Faye and even Ed are all totally fleshed out, 3 dimensional characters that you come to care about. This thing is a classic. This thing is better than… I don’t know, what bullshit thing do pretentious people like to say is an all-time classic. This thing is better than Citizen Kane. It’s better than Romeo and Juliet. Well, ehh, I’m not quite sure about that last one. But it’s up there. They should teach this show to children in schools. Spike is my spirit animal, and that scene where he falls out the church window and Green Bird plays while he has flashbacks to his former life is a masterpiece of cinematic achievement.
If this list extended a little more, #11 would probably be Serial Experiments Lain or Monster.
I want to mention, since DBZ is so huge, I watched all of DBZ and part of me likes it and part of me hates it. It’s like the ultimate McDonalds meal. It’s so bad. So bad. But it’s also great. But my god is it terrible. But I can’t stop watching. Saiyans and androids and Shenron — it’s so colorful and inventive. But then at the same time almost every individual episode is like 20 minutes of two people staring at each other and grunting, and it constantly has flashbacks to 10 seconds ago which is my least favorite anime trope, and every character has exactly the same face, just with a different haircut.
So anyway, no, I don’t hate anime. I like anime just fine. I just didn’t like Castlevania Season 3.