DoubleSama’s Top 10 Anime

DoubleSama’s Top 10 Anime

Introduction

Since this is my 100th post I decided to do something a little different. Today I’ll be going through my top 10 anime from everything I’ve reviewed so far. Since I’ve already reviewed each of these anime, this time around I’ll mainly be discussing why they make up my top 10 rather than doing general reviews.

All of my 10/10 and 9/10 rated anime are on the list, but there wasn’t enough room for more than two 8/10’s. Due to this, I’ll list the runner-ups in no particular order here: Samurai Champloo, Naruto: Shippuden, Yuru Yuri, School-Live!, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, Made in Abyss, Mitsuboshi Colors, and Karakai Jozu no Takagi-san.

I won’t say this is the most well-rounded top 10 list, but it does include various genres such as horror, mecha, action, romance, fantasy, comedy, drama, and of course, magical girl. As one final note before we begin, I will not be holding back any spoilers for this post.

10. Parasyte (8/10)

The composite Parasite Gotou from the anime Parasyte -the maxim-
Gotou

In 10th position we have the 2014 action-horror anime Parasyte -the maxim-. Parasyte was originally a manga and was adapted by the studio Madhouse

Just as a general overview, Parasyte is about alien parasites who descend to Earth and consume the brains of humans. Once they have consumed the brain, they blend in to society as their human host and prey on other humans.

The dark themes of this anime are why it made it onto this list. Like many sci-fi plots, this one centers around the question of “who are the real monsters, the humans or the parasites?”

While the parasites do in fact kill humans, they do so in order to survive just like how humans eat other animals. The humans, on the other hand, fight back and kill parasites in self-defense.

Besides the overarching themes of conflict adding to the dark setting, our protagonist, Shinichi, also doesn’t have things go his way. His mother is killed by a parasite, he causes the death of a crazy girl who has a crush on him, and after everything he goes through, he almost loses his girlfriend in the end.

Near the end of the final episode Satomi, Shinichi’s girlfriend, is pushed off a building. Luckily Shinichi is able to catch her in time thanks to the help of the parasite, Migi, living in his own hand. However, when I first watched this scene I thought for sure that Satomi was dead as a final kick in the stomach to Shinichi.

Those couple of seconds when I thought Satomi died were the first time an anime really made me feel something which is why Parasyte won its way onto this list.

As a bonus, the opening song “Let Me Hear” is an electronic-screamo song similar to some of the music I enjoy listening to.

9. Gurren Lagann (8/10)

The combined Gurren Lagann from the anime Gurren Lagann
Gurren Lagann

Position #9 belongs to 2007’s Gurren Lagann. This Gainax original is a mecha anime in which the battles and mechs continuously get bigger and bigger (literally).

The general plot of Gurren Lagann is that humanity has been pushed underground due to the anti-spiral races which have taken over the surface. With the help of a mech found by our protagonist Simon, humanity takes the fight to the anti-spirals.

While this anime is in my top 10, the real reason it’s here is because of the first third of the series. In episode 9, we lose one of the greatest characters ever written, Kamina. Although the rest of the series is still good, it’s not nearly as good as when Kamina was alive.

However, even though Kamina dies, his death fit his character perfectly. Sometimes a character needs to die in order to become the best character in a series as we’ll discover later on in this list, but for Kamina it was just another reason to love him. After he dies we also get the scene of the Gurren Lagann in the rain which I chose as the gif for this series.

The combination of the Kamina’s character and the general over-the-top-ness of the series is what got Gurren Lagann in my top 10. However, the art style used by Gainax and eventually adopted by studio Trigger also adds to my love of this series.

The art and animation style may take some getting used to for those who usually watch anime which are more “refined,” but the sharp, occasionally jagged edges and extra lines emphasize the high-intensity scenes. This isn’t to say that the art style is always like this, but when it counts, they aren’t afraid of throwing a bunch of exaggerated expressions and extra lines in there for emphasis.

8. Attack on Titan (9/10)

Mikasa Ackerman killing a Titan from the anime Attack on Titan
Mikasa Ackerman

Coming in position #8 we have the first 9/10 on the top 10 list, Attack on Titan. In 2013 the manga was adapted into the first season by Wit Studio, but then we had to wait four more years for a second season to be released.

Unfortunately for Attack on Titan, the hype for the series died off over those four years and the second season didn’t really get the same amount of attention as the first. It was half the length of the first, and I’ll admit it wasn’t as good which is why this is the lowest ranked 9/10 on my list.

In Attack on Titan, humanity has been pushed to the brink of extinction with the entire known population living within three concentric walls. Beyond the walls are giant humanoids known as Titans whose only purpose appears to be devouring humans. One day, a colossal Titan appears and breaches the wall, and this is where our story begins.

While some people would classify Attack on Titan as an action-horror anime, it’s mainly just action unlike Parasyte. That said, it has some great action scenes and just great animation in general. One of my favorite scenes involves two members of the Scout Regiment grabbing hands midair and doing a flip-like maneuver to throw one of them towards a Titan.

So besides having amazing animation, what makes this series worthy of being #8 on the top 10 list? For one, the soundtrack isn’t bad, but more so it’s the plot of the first season.

While I did mention that the second season dropped off a bit, the first season of Attack on Titan was one of the most binge-able things I’ve watched. Although the story isn’t realistic, it didn’t do anything to break the viewer’s immersion. There were surprises and twists, but they still felt natural in the world which was set up from the start.

Throughout the anime we also become attached to various characters, and then learn we should have never become attached to Petra in the first place because she’s too pure for the world of Attack on Titan. She didn’t deserve to be stomped against a tree like that.

7. Saekano (9/10)

Megumi Kato talking on the phone from the anime Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend
Megumi Kato

For position #7 we’ll be taking a break from action anime and looking at a romantic comedy in the form of Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend. Saekano was originally a light novel and was adapted by A-1 Pictures in 2015.

As the only romantic comedy to make it into the top 10, Saekano has some different things going for it compared to the other entries we’ve already taken a look at. The charm of Saekano isn’t the plot, it’s the characters. Sure, Saekano is a harem romantic comedy, but the characters work so well together that it doesn’t matter if the genre is overused much like the isekai genre.

As with most series in this same genre, a majority of the characters are just character tropes rather than real people. We have the childhood friend tsundere, the attractive and intellectual older classmate, the little sister type who isn’t actually related by blood, and the sporty girl who just hangs out like one of the guys.

Of course with all these generic female character tropes we also have the main character-kun who’s an otaku with a pretty generic appearance so many male viewers can identify with him. As I said, all of that is pretty standard, however, Saekano adds a new character type to the mix which we don’t normally see in these types of anime: the real girl.

Megumi Kato just acts like a real person would in most of the scenarios she’s put into. She has no trope she follows with exaggerated reactions and tendencies. Instead she’s just a normal, “boring” girl and that’s what makes her such a great character. However, it’s not just her character that makes the show as good as it is; it’s seeing how she interacts with the other characters who are tropes.

Besides the characters making the series good, it also just looks really good. One thing I especially like is when it occasionally changes the line colors to emphasize certain points. One second the lines will be normal, then the next they might be bright green or pink or blue.

While I think the second season of Attack on Titan was worse than the first, Saekano is higher on my list because the second season was even better than the first. The first season was good, but what made the second season so much better was that by this point the viewer is already familiar with all the characters and so they no longer need to be built up.

6. Re:ZERO (9/10)

Ram, probably about to kill Subaru from the anime Re:Zero Starting Life in Another World From Zero
Ram

In position #6 we have the first of two isekai genre anime that made it into my top 10. Re:ZERO is another light novel anime adaptation, this time made by White Fox in 2016.

As you may know from some of my reviews, the isekai (another world) genre is one that I often have issues with due to the tropes associated with it. There’s usually some harem aspect which can take away from the show, and while Re:ZERO has this, it doesn’t hurt it. The other major trope is the overpowered protagonist.

Subaru, the protagonist of Re:ZERO, however, is anything but overpowered. The whole plot revolves around Subaru dying horrible deaths multiple times. He has no magical abilities, no weapons training, nothing but an optimistic outlook on life which slowly gets beaten out of him.

So why is Re:ZERO so good? It changed the game for the isekai genre in the same way Madoka Magica did for the magical girl genre. It took what we knew as the basis for the genre, some exciting fantasy world where anything is possible, and turned it into a harsh reality in which we as normal humans are weak and disposable.

Other than the story, this series also has some great character designs. Sure everyone likes Rem, but I’m actually partial to Ram due to her pink hair. However, I feel I need to mention the real best character in the series, Betty.

Betty, Beatrice, or Beako, whatever you want to call her, is my favorite character in the anime as I’m sure I mentioned in my original review of this series. She dresses in lolita fashion which I’m always a fan of and she has the dependable tsundere vibe going on. She acts like Subaru is an annoyance, but we can tell she really doesn’t mind having him around.

If the story and character designs weren’t a good enough reason for this anime to make it onto my top 10 list then let me also just mention the music. Both opening songs for the series are absolutely amazing and the OST is great too. One of my personal favorite songs from the soundtrack is “Overture to the Battle.” *This song was linked, but is no longer available.

5. Fullmetal Alchemist (9/10)

Roy Mustang killing the Homunculus Envy from the anime Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
Roy Mustang

#5 on the list is actually a double entry because I’m counting both the original Fullmetal Alchemist as well as Brotherhood as one entry. Studio Bones first released the partial adaptation of the manga in the form of 2003’s Fullmetal Alchemist, then released a more faithful adaptation in the form of 2009’s Brotherhood.

While most people seem to prefer Brotherhood over the original because it follows the manga more faithfully, I actually prefer the original because it’s just a better story. That said, I think they’re both pretty equal and the real choice between the two just comes down to personal preference.

Fullmetal Alchemist is the darker of the two, but Brotherhood is newer and so has better art and animation (which is why I chose the gif for this entry from Brotherhood). Since the two series diverge around the 10th episodes, you can basically view them as alternate timelines and just enjoy both for double the Fullmetal Alchemist content.

But what is it that makes this series top 10 worthy? For starters, it’s just a great story. Two brothers risk, and lose, almost everything they have, including their bodies, in an attempt to resurrect their mother. After they learn that death is permanent, they start off on a quest to return their bodies back to normal.

Further, not only does it have a good main storyline, but the supporting characters also have their own struggles to deal with along the way. One of the most notable is Colonel Roy Mustang who’s often forced into playing the bad guy by his superiors.

He keeps all of his anger bottled up so that he can eventually make it to the top of the military and change it from the inside despite being forced to take part in a genocide and losing his best friend because he dug a little too deep into the secrets of the country.

Fullmetal Alchemist is also a fairly accessible anime for those who are just starting out on their anime watching careers. It’s easy to find, is well-known, and has a pretty good dubbed version since most anime beginners usually don’t start out watching subs.

4. KonoSuba (9/10)

The Goddess Aqua being eaten by a giant toad from the anime KonoSuba
Aqua

Studio Deen’s 2016 adaptation of the light novel KonoSuba is #4 on my top 10 list. KonoSuba is the second of two isekai genre anime on the list despite my general dislike of the genre, how could this be?

Well, like with Re:ZERO, KonoSuba isn’t your typical isekai anime. Sure, it is your typical isekai anime in a lot of ways such as the harem aspect and the fantasy world, but it’s also a parody of the genre at the same time. Kazuma isn’t an overpowered protagonist, and the rest of the gang are just as useless, if not more so than he is.

So we had a romantic comedy earlier on the list in the form of Saekano, but KonoSuba is the true comedy of the list.

It all starts with our NEET protagonist, Kazuma, dying because he went out in the real world to buy a new game. He then is given the option to be resurrected in a fantasy world with one special item of his choosing. To get back at the goddess Aqua for making fun of the way he died, he picks her as his one item and they’re both sent to the fantasy world together.

Once in this world, the pair quickly learn that life there isn’t going to be as easy as they once thought. Along the way, our lovable gang also gains a chunibyo mage, Megumin, who can only use her explosion magic once per day, and a masochistic knight, Darkness, who can’t hit a single thing with her sword.

Between these four characters there’s something for everyone and like in any good comedy, their interactions with each other and their reactions to the situations they find themselves in are what make the show. The interactions between Kazuma and Aqua are some of my favorite parts of the series, although Megumin is my favorite character because of how entertaining she is on her own.

But as always, why does this comedy deserve to be so high on my top 10 list? It made me laugh.

It’s a genuinely enjoyable entry into the isekai genre which pokes fun at the tropes we’re used to seeing in the genre. Sometime this is done through subverting the trope, while other times it’s done through emphasizing the trope to the extreme.

One example of this is when the gang saves the town from one of the Demon King’s generals. They get rewarded with money and it appears as though everything will be easy-going for them from there on out. However, just as they’re celebrating their victory they’re also billed for the damage Aqua caused to the town during the battle which puts them in even deeper debt than when they started.

In closing, someone once explained KonoSuba to me by saying that all four main characters are terrible people who you would never really want to hang out with, but that’s exactly what makes them so appealing. Because after all, don’t we all think of our friends like that from time to time?

These four characters don’t always see eye to eye, but when it really counts, they wouldn’t trade each other for anything.

3. Your Name. (10/10)

Mitsuha Miyamizu looking at the comet from the anime movie Your Name.
Mitsuha Miyamizu

We’ve finally made it to the top 3 and we’re starting things off with the only standalone movie on the list, 2016’s Your Name. This movie is based on an original script rather than a manga or light novel and was made by CoMix Wave Films.

While I highly recommend every anime on this list, these top three are my must-watch anime regardless of what genres you usually watch.

Your Name. is a romantic drama with a supernatural twist to it. The general plot of the movie is that two high school students with very different backgrounds randomly swap bodies. Mitsuha is a girl who lives out in the countryside, while Taki is a city boy.

The majority of the movie is actually one long flashback which happens after these two characters see each other on passing trains.

The reason I like Your Name. so much is that, like other anime on this list, it actually made me feel something. This movie was an emotional roller coaster that ends without any real closure. The happy ending we all wanted was hinted at, but in the end we don’t know for sure how the relationship between Mitsuha and Taki ended up.

The movie makes the viewer actually care about the characters because of how normal they are despite the supernatural phenomenon happening to them. Sure, they switch bodies with each other at random, but they still act like normal teenagers for most of the movie.

By the time we get to the point where they’re trying to save Mitsuha’s town from the comet, we’ve already become attached to the characters so seeing a bunch of kids run around trying to save everyone doesn’t break the immersion.

To me, one of the most depressing parts of the movie was towards the end. Mitsuha and Taki have swapped bodies so many times that they each know each other inside and out, and yet, after they save the town they forget each other.

We see the beginning of this when they are writing their names on each other’s hands so they won’t forget each other, but eventually this turns into forgetting the whole experience they had with the comet. All they’re left with is a sense of deja vu when they see each other passing by on the train years later.

Your Name. is probably the anime that made me feel the most of any anime I’ve seen. It definitely came the closest to making me cry, but I was also genuinely happy for the characters when things went their way.

2. Madoka Magica (10/10)

The death/transformation into a witch of Sayaka Miki from the anime Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Sayaka Miki

The second best anime ever made is the Shaft original series Madoka Magica. In 2011 the magical girl genre changed forever, and then in 2013 Shaft was back at it again with the Madoka Magica movie Rebellion.

The magical girl genre is sort of the opposite of the isekai genre for me. While I generally hate isekai, there are some great ones such as Re:ZERO and KonoSuba. However, while I generally love the magical girl genre, there are really very few which I would consider to be above average.

Madoka Magica is able to carry this genre into second place though. It takes everything we thought we knew about magical girls and turns it on its head. You thought the power of friendship was important? Think again.

This series follows the titular character, Madoka as she and her friends trade their souls to become magical girls in order to save their city from witches that prey on human misfortune and death. Just about every character has some depressing plot line in the series and even the ending is bittersweet.

The first magical girl to die is Mami Tomoe who gets beheaded by the witch Charlotte in front of Madoka and Sayaka. Mami’s death was the beginning of the downward spiral the series took us on. It wasn’t until she died that Madoka, Sayaka, and the viewers truly understood what it means to be a magical girl.

Next we have my favorite pair of girls, Sayaka Miki and Kyouko Sakura. Sayaka, after losing her crush to another girl and learning that she traded her soul to become a magical girl, goes off the deep end and essentially kills herself and is turned into a witch (pictured above in one of my favorite gifs from the series).

Kyouko, originally an aggressive girl, realizes that Sayaka was just lonely like she has been her whole life. In part to protect Madoka and Homura, and in part to keep Sayaka from being alone for the rest of eternity, Kyouko kills the witch version of Sayaka by using a suicide attack.

The tragedy of Sayaka and Kyouko doesn’t stop there, however, as when they are both resurrected at the end of the series by Madoka, Sayaka dies yet again, this time to save the other girls. Then, later on in the movie Rebellion we get a reunion between Sayaka and Kyouko in which Kyouko mentions how she’s felt like she’s been living in an endless nightmare ever since Sayaka died.

Well, eventually we’re just left with two girls: Madoka and Homura. It’s at this point that we learn Homura’s full story which involves going through the same one month loop of time for what amounts to hundreds of years. Her reason for doing this is to try to save Madoka from becoming a magical girl, and then a witch.

What this means is that Homura has watched all of her friends die over and over again countless times, and even in the final timeline she goes through, she is still unable to stop Madoka from making the contract.

Finally, we have Madoka’s story. For most of the series she wasn’t a magical girl, but in the end she trades her soul for a wish that will, in theory, eliminate the tragic end of all past, present, and future magical girls. However, in order for this to happen she trades not only her soul, but her very existence.

In the end, only Homura who has wields time magic has any memory of Madoka’s existence.

I’m a sucker for a good tragedy and that’s why I loved Madoka Magica so much. There is some redemption in the movie Rebellion, but even that has a somewhat bittersweet ending.

Finally, if the perfection of both the magical girl and tragedy genres wasn’t enough, this series also has the best anime soundtrack around. It’s actually the only soundtrack I have downloaded onto my phone and I’ve even listened to the whole 3+ hours of it three times in one day.

1. Monogatari Series (10/10)

Kiss-Shot Acerola-Orion Heart-Under-Blade (Shinobu Oshino) from the anime movie trilogy Kizumonogatari
Kiss-Shot Acerola-Orion Heart-Under-Blade (Shinobu Oshino)

In order for something to beat Madoka Magica in my mind it has to be something truly one of a kind, and the Monogatari Series is exactly that. Shaft is back for the number 1 position on my list with their adaptation of the Monogatari light novel series which began in 2009 with Bakemonogatari and is still going to this day.

While I’ve seen and enjoyed more anime by other studios, I think at this point it’s fair to say that Shaft is my favorite anime studio simply due to what they did with both Madoka and Monogatari.

I think for a lot of people who haven’t actually seen the Monogatari Series, there’s a stigma against it as “that ecchi anime with the toothbrush scene” and yes, it is that anime. However, while it does fall into the ecchi category, it’s much more than that. It’s a psychological, supernatural, mystery-drama with a fair amount of action too.

I can understand why this anime might not be for everyone at face value. For one, it’s very dialogue heavy which may make the pace of the series feel slow at times. It also uses thousands of still frames of text throughout the series, many of which flicker past without giving the viewer much time to absorb what they said, but that’s all part of the aesthetic.

If you can get past how the series presents itself, what you’ll find is one of the most well written stories in all of anime coupled with beautiful art and animation. And I don’t just mean the stories of the small arcs, which are good, I mean the overall story of our protagonist and antagonist duo.

The Koyomi/Shinobu duo is probably the greatest anime duo of all time (sorry Sayaka and Kyouko). Koyomi is the main character-kun perfected and Shinobu is the epitome of protagonist foil characters.

I’ve mentioned for a number of these top 10 entries how the characters are the real driving force behind what makes some anime so good, but for the Monogatari series this is true even more so than with the others. Almost every character in this series is better than any character you’ll find anywhere else.

I say almost because I’m actually not much of a fan of Tsubasa Hanekawa.

While I do feel the need to go on some sort of rant about how perfect the character of Mayoi Hachikuji is, I’ll instead focus on the relationship between Koyomi and Shinobu this time around. They’re relationship can be summed up with one simple phrase, “You’ll never forgive me and I’ll never forgive you.”

Koyomi will never forgive Shinobu for the murder of thousands of humans, and Shinobu will never forgive Koyomi for keeping her alive after she wanted to die. That said, while the two have a mutual understanding that they’ll never forgive each other, they do share the same fate and have grown fairly close over time.

There are many examples of their closeness throughout the series. One example comes at the end of the Mayoi Jiangshi arc when Koyomi comes face-to-face with the full-powered Shinobu, also known as the vampire Kiss-Shot Acerola-Orion Heart-Under-Blade.

Although she could have easily killed him, she sees the relationship between her future self and Koyomi and decides she would rather have that future than one in which the entire planet it dead. When it really comes down to it, these two are inseparable not just physically, but emotionally too. Their relationship is actually quite similar to that of Shinichi and Migi from my #10 anime, Parasyte.

As always when discussing the Monogatari Series, I need to at least mention the opening animations/songs which are potentially the most well-known parts of the series (other than the toothbrush, but that one is infamous, not famous). Instead of linking one of the actual OPs, I’ll instead link to the full song from the most recent OP; “Dark Cherry Mystery” from the Ougi Dark arc of Owarimonogatari season 2.

Finally, before I end for today, I feel I should leave a chart of the release order of this series because it can be confusing at times.

Conclusion

So there’s my top 10 anime of all time. I hope you enjoyed this 100th post special, and remember: if you don’t agree with my choices for top 10 then you just have trash taste in anime like everyone else.

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