Tag: Top 5

Worst 5 Anime of 2021

Worst 5 Anime of 2021

Worst of the Worst

At the end of last year, I wrote about the Top 5 Anime of 2021 (that I watched). Now it’s time to do the opposite — the worst 5 anime of 2021. And, honestly, I blocked most of the anime on this list out of my mind until I checked what I watched in 2021 and was reminded.

Before I get into my picks for the worst anime of the year, I have some honorable mentions. The fifth-place anime on this list got a 3/10 rating, but it wasn’t the only one. So, what else did I rate that low?

Well, this may surprise you, but Deep Insanity: The Lost Child didn’t make the cut. It was the worst anime of the fall season, but not one of the five worst of the year. And the other two are So I’m a Spider, So What? and Redo of Healer. I think both are bad anime. However, I didn’t hate them as much as those on this list.

#5 – Log Horizon: Destruction of the Round Table

Log Horizon: Destruction of the Round Table anime series cover art
Log Horizon: Destruction of the Round Table

Log Horizon: Destruction of the Round Table is probably going to be the most controversial entry on the list — as it should be since it’s in the fifth slot. I know a lot of people like Log Horizon, and I did too, for the first season.

But, the second season was bad and this third season was even worse. I didn’t care about the characters or plot and the season as a whole was extremely boring. Nothing about this season reminded me of what I originally liked about the series.

And I think the fall of Log Horizon is partially why I chose it to be here over the honorable mentions. Those other anime are bad. But Log Horizon was enjoyable at one point. Seeing it fall to what it is in this season was extremely depressing.

#4 – Otherside Picnic

Otherside Picnic anime series cover art
Otherside Picnic

Otherside Picnic is an anime I genuinely forgot existed before starting on this list. I remember I wasn’t originally going to watch it because I thought it sounded bad. But, I let someone convince me that it would actually be a decent show. It wasn’t.

The concept of the series is fine. It’s about girls who explore the “Otherside,” which is a mysterious world of monsters with its own rules of reality. I have no issue with that, much like I have no real issue with the basic premise of Deep Insanity.

However, the execution was very poor and even now I can’t quite remember how the series ended. I think it had one of those open endings that leave literally everything unanswered — which is to say, the bad way to handle an open ending.

#3 – The Seven Deadly Sins: Dragon’s Judgement

The Seven Deadly Sins: Dragon's Judgement anime series cover art
The Seven Deadly Sins: Dragon’s Judgement

Do I even have to explain why The Seven Deadly Sins: Dragon’s Judgement is on this list? I feel like most people know how severely the show dropped off in the later seasons. I’m not even sure what season this is, but I think it’s the fourth. It might be the fifth.

What’s surprising about Dragon’s Judgement, however, is that I actually think it was an improvement over the previous season. I gave this one a 2/10, while I gave the previous season a 1/10. Still, that’s plenty low enough to make the list of worst anime of 2021.

The good news is that I think this is the final season of the series. It ended with the possibility of a spin-off, which might happen. But since it’s a spin-off, I won’t feel obligated to watch it and therefore won’t.

#2 – Osamake: Romcom Where The Childhood Friend Won’t Lose

Osamake: Romcom Where The Childhood Friend Won't Lose anime series cover art
Osamake: Romcom Where The Childhood Friend Won’t Lose

There were only two anime I rated 1/10 in all of 2021, and Osamake: Romcom Where The Childhood Friend Won’t Lose is one of them. As with Otherside Picnic, I completely forgot this series existed. And when I was reminded of it, I was wished I could forget it again.

I really wanted to rank Osamake as the worst anime of 2021. It was definitely the hardest series for me to sit through all year; every episode infuriated me. If you genuinely like this anime, I don’t see how we could ever be friends.

There’s not really anything else to say. I might even rank this as my least favorite anime of all time. That’s how much I hate it. I can’t think of another series that was as unpleasant to watch as this one.

#1 – Ex-Arm

Ex-Arm anime series cover art
Ex-Arm

How do you beat my least favorite anime of all time on a worst anime of 2021 list? You be Ex-Arm. I don’t even hate Ex-Arm. I think it’s absolute garbage. But I don’t hate it. Still, even with my dislike of Osamake, I couldn’t justify not putting Ex-Arm in the “top” spot.

This anime was genuinely the biggest “L” of the year. Everything about it sucks. The plot sucks, the characters suck, the art sucks, the animation sucks, I don’t remember the music, but it probably sucked too.

And, to top it all off, the director of the series actually thought he was going to revolutionize the anime industry with it, despite having never worked on an anime before. Oh, and the rest of the team that made this series also had no anime experience. Classic.

Conclusion

Of course, my picks for the worst anime of 2021 are completely objective and based on fact. But, I’d still like to know what your picks for the worst anime of the year are. Are any of my choices on your list? Let me know in the comments.

If you enjoyed this list, remember to click the like button down below. Also, follow me over on Twitter @DoubleSama so you don’t miss out on any future content. And come join our Discord server if you’re interested in discussing anime with other members of the community.

Finally, I’d like to thank Roman and Toma for supporting DoubleSama.com at the Heika tier this month. To learn more about how you too can become a supporter of this blog, check out Patreon.com/DoubleSama.

For more 2021 anime content, check out my ranking of all 54 anime I watched from 2021 on a tier list.

Top 5 Anime of 2021

Top 5 Anime of 2021

2021 Anime Overview

2021 isn’t quite over yet, but I think we’re far enough into the fall season for me to have a good idea of my ratings for every currently airing anime. So I figured I might as well run through my top 5 anime of the year before 2022 begins and we all forget the anime of 2021.

But, before I get into my top 5 anime of the year, let’s take a look at some data real quick. I watched 55 anime that began airing in 2021, and those are the anime I’ve taken these top 5 from. Anime that began airing before 2021 and ran into 2021 don’t count, and neither do any of the older anime I watched this year.

Now, of those 55 anime, my lowest score was 1/10 and my highest score was 9/10. That’s right, there were no 10/10 anime this year. Additionally, my average rating for the year was 5.6/10, which is honestly worse than I expected it to be.

With all that said, let’s get into the top 5 anime of 2021.

#5 – To Your Eternity

To Your Eternity anime series cover art
To Your Eternity

To Your Eternity isn’t a series I expected to break into my top 5. It’s a very good adventure anime, and its peaks are extremely high. But as a 20 episode season, I did feel like it dragged on a bit too long at points.

Surprisingly, it wasn’t the adventure that I liked the most about this series, though. I’m always looking for a good adventure anime. But To Your Eternity’s main draw is actually the supporting characters and their stories.

My personal favorite of these supporting characters is Gugu. His story is definitely one that was a bit too long. But the payoff at the end of his arc made it all worth it. I also really liked Hayase, who’s probably the best villain of the year (there weren’t many candidates, to be fair).

#4 – Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story Season 2

Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story Season 2 - The Eve of Awakening anime series cover art
Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story Season 2 – The Eve of Awakening

While I didn’t think the first season of Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story was very good, I do think the second season is. And since the second season is what aired in 2021, that means it’s fair game to be put on this list.

The #4 and #3 spots on this list were the hardest to settle on because I really wasn’t sure where I wanted to place Magia Record. But in the end, I decided that while Magia Record had the highest peaks of any anime this year, the anime that took the #3 spot was just more consistent with how good it was.

Now, let’s talk about those peaks for a moment. Magia Record Season 2 went crazy with the animation in two or three episodes. If the story was better and it maybe had one more episode with animation like that toward the end, I would have given it a 10.

#3 – Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid S

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid S anime series cover art
Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid S

As I mentioned in the previous entry, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid S is in the #3 spot because of how consistently good it was. There weren’t peaks. It was very good from start to finish, which is what I expect from Kyoto Animation at this point.

I think a lot of people preferred the first season of Dragon Maid. But I actually preferred this season. Dragon Maid S had less of a focus on Tohru, which I get people don’t like. However, in exchange, it really served to build up the supporting characters — Elma and Lucoa in particular.

Ilulu is also a great addition to the series. I was worried that she was going to be the main focus of the whole season, but that wasn’t the case. She was used sparingly, and I really enjoyed every time she was on screen after her introduction.

#2 – Sonny Boy

Sonny Boy anime series cover art
Sonny Boy

Sonny Boy was a wild ride. It’s a supernatural mystery series that keeps you guessing with each passing episode. After the first two episodes, I actually put this series on hold until it was done just so I could binge the rest of it in one go.

This is definitely the most underrated anime on this list. I’m really not sure why it’s rated as low as it is by the general public. But, maybe people just don’t like confusing anime. I was certainly confused even by the end. That’s also part of what I think makes it so good, though.

I never got the feeling that the series was confusing because it was poorly written. Instead, it’s more like it was confusing because there’s just so much to unpack and it’ll take multiple rewatches for everything to really sink in. It’s a good kind of confusing.

#1 – Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation anime series cover art
Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation

Are you surprised that Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation is my #1 anime of the year? Because you shouldn’t be. Even if we had only gotten the first part of the series this year, it would have broken into my top 5 — probably between To Your Eternity and Magia Record.

But then we got the second part, which is still airing, and I think it’s even better than the first part. Collectively, both parts of Mushoku Tensei definitely make it my favorite anime of the year and it’s the series from this year that I’m most looking forward to (hopefully) getting another season.

I also think it’s no exaggeration to say that Eris is a huge part of why I love this series so much. Yes, the story, art, music, animation, and other characters are all great. But I absolutely adore Eris’s character. She’s perfect in every way and I want her to be happy.

Conclusion

And there you have it. Those are my top 5 anime of 2021. Did any of my picks make it into your top 5? Is your top 5 completely different? Post your lists in the comments so I can take a look (and possibly roast your taste).

If you enjoyed this article, remember to click the like button down below. Also, follow me over on Twitter @DoubleSama so you don’t miss out on any future content. And come join our Discord server if you’re interested in discussing anime with other members of the community.

Finally, I’d like to thank Roman and Key Mochi~ for supporting DoubleSama.com at the Heika and Senpai tiers respectively this month. To learn more about how you too can become a supporter of this blog, check out Patreon.com/DoubleSama.

Check out the Worst 5 Anime of 2021 now. And for more 2021 anime content, check out my ranking of all 54 anime I watched from 2021 on a tier list.

Top 5 Anime on Netflix

Top 5 Anime on Netflix

Introduction

Over the past few years, Netflix has really stepped up their anime game. In fact, I hadn’t used it for anime in months, and when I logged in this morning what I found was a fairly substantial amount of new and interesting series.

But, just because Netflix has gotten better in regards to anime still doesn’t mean they’re the best at it. For example, if you want to watch a series that’s currently airing and Netflix has the broadcasting rights for it, then you’re out of luck until at least the end of the season.

Of course there are other ways to watch these series, but I’ll stay on topic for today.

I don’t know if this is part of the deal Netflix made to get the rights to these series, or if Netflix just really doesn’t understand how the anime community works. My guess is the latter, but we may never know.

The other problem I have with Netflix is how it handles titles for which it has exclusive streaming rights. Slapping “Netflix Original” on series and movies is a great way to confuse people who may not be familiar with the anime industry or Netflix’s business practices.

Basically, if something is referred to as a “Netflix Original” that just means Netflix paid for exclusive streaming rights. Netflix did not make the anime or other show in a vast majority of these cases. Also, by labeling series as their originals and releasing them long after they originally aired, Netflix is able to pass off old series as new.

One example of these practices in effect is how they handle the Fullmetal Alchemist live action movie. They call it a “Netflix Original,” but it was made in Japan by Japanese people and studios with no affiliation to Netflix. Further, the movie came out in 2017, but Netflix advertised it as a 2018 movie (although it even says 2017 on their platform) to make it seem newer than it really was.

But, enough about how Netflix is an unscrupulous company, let’s take a look at some of the best anime it currently has to offer.

5. Your Lie in April

Kousei Arima from the anime series Your Lie in April
Kousei Arima

Your Lie in April is a drama about music and love. It follows a 14-year-old prodigy pianist named Kousei Arima as he learns to navigate through life with the help of his friends and the only thing he was ever good at, the piano.

This series is also technically a romance anime, but the way I see it, the romance in it is secondary. The main focus is on learning that even though life sucks sometimes, there are always reasons to keep moving forward, whether they be friends, family, passions, or romance.

The female lead of Kaori Miyazono helps Kousei to reignite his passion for playing music and teaches him some valuable lessons about how to look at the world along the way. The best comparison I can make to another series would be March comes in like a lion.

This series is also 22 episodes long, so while it’s possible to binge in a single day if that’s your thing, it’s going to take up most of it.

4. Fullmetal Alchemist

Edward Elrich from the anime series Fullmetal Alchemist
Edward Elrich

This is usually the part at which I say FMA and FMA:B are both good in their own rites and that I have them rated the same, but today I feel like doubling down on the fact that I prefer FMA over FMA:B. And, before you get mad about that, a lot more people have seen FMA:B than FMA, so they don’t need me to recommend it; they’ve already seen it.

With that out of the way, FMA is the darker of the two series, and that’s a big reason as to why I prefer it. It’s six years older than FMA:B, so it doesn’t look as pretty, but I genuinely think the story is better. And, if you don’t know, it’s about two brothers who go on an adventure to find the philosopher’s stone so they can get their bodies back.

One of the biggest complaints I often hear about FMA compared to FMA:B is that FMA goes off the rails and doesn’t follow the original source material after about episode 12. While this is true, you need to remember that just because something is source material doesn’t mean it’s better.

Yes, FMA:B follows the source material, but FMA is still a better story regardless. Also, if you somehow haven’t watched either version, I recommend FMA first and FMA:B second. This isn’t because I prefer FMA, it’s actually because since FMA:B looks nicer, I feel FMA will be judged too harshly simply for being older if it’s watched second.

FMA is 51 episodes long, so it’s not something you’ll be able to binge in a single day, but the good part about that is that there’s a lot of content to watch. And, just in case you were wondering, FMA:B is 64 episodes long.

3. In This Corner of the World

Suzu Urano and Shuusaku Houjou from the anime movie In This Corner of the World
Suzu and Shuusaku

In This Corner of the World is the only movie to be featured on this list, and what a movie it is. It’s a historical drama, so you already know I love it based on that alone. The story follows a girl named Suzu Urano as she lives in a small town near Hiroshima during WWII.

As you can probably tell from that one sentence description, this is a very real and depressing movie. However, the art style contradicts the events of the movie in a fairly extreme way. It has an almost Studio Ghibli feel to it, and a watercolor-like color palette.

And, I get it, the art style might put some people off, but I promise that the art style works for the story that’s being told. I’ve refused to watch anime due to art styles in the past, but I can admit that often when I actually give such anime a chance, I find that the art usually adds to the experience rather than takes away from it.

Also, since this is a movie rather than a series, it’s also the entry on this list which requires the smallest time commitment. I watched it on a flight, so it’s something relatively easy to fit into even the busiest of schedules.

2. Violet Evergarden

Violet Evergarden from the anime series Violet Evergarden
Violet Evergarden

Violet Evergarden is the newest anime on this list, having just aired at the beginning of 2018. As with Your Lie in April and In This Corner of the World, it’s a drama with a heavy focus on the drama. The series follows a girl by the name of Violet who’s trying to figure out her new life after the Great War took everything from her.

She lost the only person she ever cared about, as well as both of her arms. But, despite the hardships she’s been through, she works hard to make her new life a meaningful one for those around her while also learning the meaning of love.

Visually speaking, this is probably the prettiest anime I’ve ever seen. That combined with an extremely emotional story is what makes Violet Evergarden so good. And, episode 10 is probably the single best anime episode I’ve ever seen. I’ll probably dedicate a future post just to that one episode.

There are 13 episodes in the main season and a special 14th episode which can also be found on Netflix. The 14th episode lands somewhere in the middle of the season chronologically, but I don’t remember where exactly. And, there’s a movie coming out in early 2020 if I’m not mistaken.

1. Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Madoka Kaname and Sayaka Miki from the anime series Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Madoka and Sayaka

And, finally, the best anime currently on Netflix, Puella Magi Madoka Magica. This is one of those anime I was talking about earlier when I mentioned that art style had put me off of series in the past. For a long time I didn’t watch Madoka because I thought the art style looked stupid, but now it’s my second favorite anime period.

Of all the series on this list, Madoka is the one which can really be spoiled the most, so I’ll be discussing it in some vague terms here. It’s a dark, psychological-ish take on the magical girl genre, and it’s executed masterfully.

The art style is specifically chosen to contrast with the plot of the series, just like with In This Corner of the World, School-Live!, and Made in Abyss. And, not only does the art style serve a specific purpose for the series, but it’s pretty unique and amazing too once you really look at it.

It’s a 12 episode series, so it’s manageable to binge in a single sitting if you so choose. There are also three movies for Madoka on Netflix, but the only one I would recommend is the third one, Rebellion. The first two movies are just recap movies and cut content from the series so I would just stick to the series and then Rebellion movie.

And, as a bonus, there’s a new Madoka anime coming this year hopefully.

Conclusion

If you enjoyed this post or if you found a new anime to watch because of it, be sure to click the like button ❤ down below. Also, tell me what you think the best anime currently on Netflix is in the comments or over on Twitter @DoubleSama.

And, I’d like to thank HeavyROMAN for supporting DoubleSama.com at the Heika tier this month. To learn more about becoming a supporter and the benefits that come with it, check out Patreon.com/DoubleSama.

Top 5 Anime Pairs

Top 5 Anime Pairs

Introduction

It’s time for another Top 5 list because I still haven’t finished DanMachi: Sword Oratoria which is what I planned to write about today (I was supposed to finish it a week ago). But, this is more exciting for me to write anyway, and hopefully you’ll enjoy it as well.

As the title says, today we’re going to be going through my Top 5 Anime Pairs. By pairs, I mean two characters who work together or have some sort of relationship with one another, romantic or otherwise. I’ve tried to pick fairly unique pairs with different types of relationships.

And no, Naruto and Sasuke aren’t on this list, sorry.

Also, I plan to do more Top 5 lists like this one in the future, so if you enjoy it, leave a like to let me know. I’ve already started planning out lists for Top 5 Anime Trios and Top 5 Anime Groups (4+).

5. Shinichi Izumi & Migi

Shinichi Izumi and Migi from the anime Parasyte -the maxim- are the first pair we’ll be taking a look at. Parasyte is one of the best horror anime I’ve seen, if not the best, and the relationship between the two main characters fits into the themes of the anime perfectly.

Originally I was conflicted about adding Shinichi and Migi to this list because they share the same body, but I decided to add them because they really are two very different characters. Their relationship is also one which evolves over the course of the series, which is something I’m a fan of as you’ll learn throughout this post.

Shinichi Izumi and Migi from the anime Parasyte -the maxim-
Shinichi and Migi

As an alien parasite, Migi wasn’t exactly the most welcome guest when he first took over Shinichi’s right arm. Shinichi just wanted a normal high school life, as most anime protagonists thrown into crazy situations do, and Migi just wanted to survive in the most efficient way possible.

While you’d think they’d be able to work well together considering Shinichi having a normal life is probably the safest thing for Migi, this wasn’t always the case. Shinichi prioritizes his social life, while Migi prioritizes eliminating any threats to himself.

It also doesn’t help that their personalities are exact opposites. Shinichi thinks that life is a precious thing, while Migi sees life as something to fight for by any means necessary, even if that means ending other lives in the process.

While the whole series revolves around the idea of humans being reduced to prey by the apex predators that are the parasites, this idea is also exemplified through Shinichi and Migi’s relationship. If Migi really wants to do something, Shinichi has no real way of stopping him.

However, I mentioned that their relationship changes over the course of the series. While I won’t say that these two ever become “friends,” they do become allies once their goals align. Eventually, Migi’s “attack first, question later” mentality becomes the best way for Shinichi to protect those he cares about.

Once they do become allies, we also get to see how these two very different characters are able to use their individual strengths to cover each others weaknesses. An example of this is when the pair are fighting a parasite in the school and Migi focuses on defense while Shinichi focuses on offense.

Now, that’s not to say that Shinichi has more offensive capabilities than Migi, but Migi’s extreme defense is able to make up for Shinichi’s lack of defense. However, because Migi is focusing on defense, he can’t attack, which is where Shinichi comes in to fill that role.

By the end of the series, though, we actually see Shinichi and Migi swap roles compared to how they were in the beginning. Due to the transfer of DNA between the two of them, Shinichi eventually becomes the cold, detached one, while Migi begins to have some semblance of “feelings.”

Shinichi and Migi are the symbiotic relationship of the list. Migi needs Shinichi’s body for essential nutrients, and Shinichi needs Migi for protection from other parasites.

Even if the plot of Parasyte doesn’t seem like something you’d care about, I still highly recommend it if only for the complex characters.

4. Edward & Alphonse Elric

Edward and Alphonse Elric, known as Ed and Al, from Fullmetal Alchemist (and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood) are the fraternal relationship on this list. Despite their appearances, Ed, the short one, actually the older brother, and Al, the large suit of armor, is the younger.

As brothers, these two would do anything for each other, and in fact they have. But, their relationship isn’t solely based around the fact that they’re related by blood, it runs much deeper than that. What their relationship is really built on are their shared experiences.

Edward "Ed" and Alphonse "Al" Elric from the anime Fullmetal Alchemist
Ed and Al

Ed lost his right arm and left leg, and Al lost his entire body, when the two of them tried to use alchemy to resurrect their dead mother. This one event more than any other is the reason these two are so close. There’s almost nobody else in the world who had the same experience as them and lived to tell the tale.

So, what makes their relationship truly special is the combination of their blood ties and shared experiences. They each know each other inside and out (in Al’s case, literally) and know each others strengths and weaknesses much like Shinichi and Migi.

What you’ll learn from this list is that the best pairs are made up of different types of people who are able to work together effectively. But, Ed and Al are actually pretty similar. They’re both proficient in alchemy and physical combat, and since they grew up together they think alike too, so why are they on this list?

Despite being so similar, they do have their specialties which they’re able to use effectively precisely because they’re so similar that they know how each other think. Ed has an advantage when using alchemy due to not needing a transmutation circle, and Al is physically stronger, doesn’t tire, and is made of metal.

This means that when in combat, Ed is the more mobile of the two (although Al can still do some crazy acrobatics for how large he is), and Al is able to focus on defense as well as dealing out large hits to opponents who are distracted by Ed.

But, outside of combat, I’d say their relationship is actually the most standard of any on this list. They’re brothers and they act like brothers. They get into fights and each think they’re better than the other for one reason or another, but in the end they wouldn’t trade each other for anything in the world, which is precisely what the anime is about.

While Parasyte has probably been dropped out of my Top 10 Anime (I’ll be making an updated version of this list sometime in the future), Fullmetal Alchemist is still safe and sound. Not only is it an amazing series, but it’s also perfect for beginners, so I highly recommend everyone watch Ed and Al’s adventures.

3. Spike Spiegel & Jet Black

Spike Spiegel and Jet Black (great name) from Cowboy Bebop are the professional relationship on this list, although that’s not all the relationship between these two characters is. They’re also best friends, although neither one of them would ever admit it.

Spike is an ex-gang gang member, and Jet is an ex-police officer, and yet they’ve teamed up aboard their ship, the Bebop, to become bounty hunters. These two are about as opposite as you can get, but somehow they still manage to work as a team even if it’s a haphazard one.

Spike Spiegel and Jet Black from the anime Cowboy Bebop
Spike and Jet

Spike is the “muscle” of the team even though Jet has more muscle. By this, I mean that he’s mainly the one going out and physically capturing bounties thanks to his skill at both physical combat and weaponry. He’s the outlaw of the two, and so this role fits him perfectly.

Jet, on the other hand, is the owner of the Bebop and serves as both the pilot and mechanic. He tends to want to do things in the most efficient and “safe” ways, while Spike is the opposite and prefers do whatever he wants.

Now, at this point you may be wondering why I didn’t save these two to be part of my Top 5 Anime Trios along with Faye Valentine, or Top 5 Anime Groups with the rest of the Bebop crew. The reason is that those other characters don’t add enough to the duo that is Spike and Jet for me to think they really make a difference.

Spike and Jet alone are such a good pairing that they don’t really need the rest of the crew to be interesting characters.

However, my favorite part of their relationship is actually their autonomy. Unlike Shinichi and Migi who are literally inseparable, or Ed and Al who are almost always together, Spike and Jet don’t really interact with each other all that much when they’re not working.

That said, that doesn’t mean they don’t actually care about each other. As I mentioned at the beginning, these two are actually best friends, if only because they’re the only ones who understand each other. They both have end goals, and even if they’re self-destructive, they won’t stop each other from achieving them.

This is actually why their final encounter is one of my favorite parts of the anime. Spike goes to fight against his rival for the last time, and both he and Jet know that he’s not going to come back alive. Faye even tells Jet to stop Spike from going, but he refuses simply because he knows how important this is to him.

So in summary, Spike and Jet’s relationship isn’t one of the best because of how they work together, but rather how they allow each other to work independently and don’t interfere with each other. It’s a much different dynamic from how the rest of the relationships on this list work most of the time.

2. Sayaka Miki & Kyouko Sakura

Anyone who knows me and my anime preferences should have expected this next pairing from the beginning. Sayaka Miki and Kyouko Sakura from Madoka Magica are a flawless pair. Unfortunately for them, there’s an even more flawless pair in the number one spot, but we’ll get to them soon enough.

While this isn’t the extent of their relationship, Sayaka and Kyouko are the romantic relationship of the list, and I refuse to listen to anyone who tells me their relationship is anything less than that. These girls literally die for each other, and if that’s not love, I don’t know what is.

Sayaka Miki and Kyouko Sakura from the anime Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Sayaka and Kyouko

The relationship between these two starts off rocky, with their initial contact being in the form of an all out duel between rival magical girls. However, Kyouko slowly becomes part of the main group and attempts to somewhat fill the void left behind by Mami.

But, just because she joins the group doesn’t mean she and Sayaka are on good terms with each other. Both of these girls have competing ideals and can never seem to agree on anything. Kyouko believes magic should only be used for oneself, while Sayaka believes it should only be used for others.

Their character designs also reflect this dichotomy, with Kyouko’s being primarily red and Sayaka’s primarily blue (two colors often representing opposing sides). Despite their differences, though, the girls actually have a lot more in common than they each think.

Much like how Mami served as the mentor to the younger girls, Kyouko, also older, sees Sayaka as her former self. Kyouko once held the same beliefs as Sayaka, but over time she became more callous due to the things she’s seen. She wants to protect Sayaka from following in her footsteps.

Unfortunately, Sayaka doesn’t follow Kyouko’s footsteps, and instead goes too far in the other direction, eventually descending far enough into despair to the point of no return. Sayaka dies and becomes a witch just as she and Kyouko were finally starting to understand each other.

This in turn causes Kyouko to realize how much Sayaka actually meant to her, and she tries desperately to bring her back by fighting against the witch. In the end, she determines that if she can’t bring Sayaka back, the least she can do is die with her. Kyouko launches a suicide attack and takes out the witch along with herself.

That’s where Kyouko and Sayaka’s story ends for a bit, but then at the ending of the series, the two are resurrected thanks to Madoka’s wish. However, this doesn’t last long, as Sayaka dies once again, this time to save her friends from a wraith, the things that replaced witches in the new universe.

We enter the sequel movie, Rebellion, with Sayaka still dead. However, she’s sent back into the world in order to perform a specific task, and here she reunites with Kyouko once again. It’s at this time that the two are finally able to express how they feel to one another.

Kyouko tells Sayaka that it’s felt like she’s been living in a nightmare ever since Sayaka died. Sayaka responds by saying that she thought she died without any regrets, but she’s come to understand that her one regret was that she left Kyouko behind, alone.

Now, Rebellion had its issues, but if that scene wasn’t your favorite part of Madoka Magica, then you must be even more dead inside than I am. And yes, I do have both of their Nendoroids set up next to each other. I’m not some kind of monster who would separate them.

1. Koyomi Araragi & Shinobu Oshino

Did you really expect a pair from anything other than the Monogatari series to be in the number one spot? If you guessed Sayaka and Kyouko were going to be here, then that was a very good guess, but while they’re the perfect pair, there’s one more that goes beyond perfection.

There are a lot of pairs I could have chosen from this series. Koyomi and Mayoi is probably what most people who know me would expect. The fire sisters, Karen and Tsukihi is another great pair. There’s even Koyomi and Hitagi if we’re going the romantic route.

However, I can’t talk about a pair in the Monogatari series and not make it the most iconic and arguably most complex one, Koyomi and Shinobu. Their relationship is everything I’ve mentioned in the previous four on this list, and yet not like any of them at all at the same time.

Koyomi Araragi and Shinobu Oshino from the Monogatari anime series
Koyomi and Shinobu

They have completely different ideals regarding life, just like Shinichi and Migi, and yet are best friends. They’re family, just like Ed and Al, and yet have no familial bonds. Their relationship can end at any time, just like Spike and Jet’s, and yet they’ll never abandon each other. They plan to die together, just like Sayaka and Kyouko, and yet they’ll never forgive each other.

Koyomi and Shinobu are bound together for the rest of their lives because of their differences. Koyomi couldn’t allow Shinobu to continue killing humans as a vampire, and yet he couldn’t bring himself to let her die either. So instead, she resides in his shadow and sustains herself on his blood.

But since Shinobu lives inside Koyomi’s shadow, neither one of them really has any privacy. They’re inseparable, together 24/7, and because of that they know more about each other than anyone else possibly could.

But even though Shinobu is now essentially Koyomi’s servant, she could theoretically choose to end her life at any time by no longer taking Koyomi’s blood. This, in turn, would make Koyomi revert back into a normal human rather than a pseudo-vampire.

However, even though this is what they both originally wanted in the first place, neither one is able to give up on the other any longer. They’ve been through so much together that even though they’ll never forgive what they see as the sins of the other, they refuse to be apart.

They’ve even gone so far as to say that they’ll die with each other if that’s what it comes down to. On the other hand, they’re just as ready to live eternally with each other if that’s how things end up instead.

I don’t even know what to call their relationship other than just “partners.” They do everything together without exception, and have no intentions of ever doing anything alone.

And while I mentioned that Koyomi is the master in their relationship, it started off just the opposite. Even now that they’re relationship has stabilized, we can still see remnants of how things used to be in how Shinobu still acts as the mentor and Koyomi as the pupil.

Basically all I’m trying to say is that everyone should watch the Monogatari series. It’s seriously the best anime ever made and I even have a nifty viewing guide for it which can be found here.

Conclusion

So what’s your favorite pair of anime characters? Let me know in the comments, and while you’re down there, give this post a like if you enjoyed it. Follow me on Twitter or Tumblr, or subscribe to my blog via email, if you’d like to get notified every time a new post goes live.

Best (Worst) Girls of Summer 2018

Best (Worst) Girls of Summer 2018

Introduction

For both the Winter and Spring 2018 anime seasons I had originally planned to write “top 5 best girls” lists consisting of the best, new female characters introduced each season, but I simply never got around to doing them. This is in part because I would schedule them to be at the end of the season when there was already a lot of other, more pressing content to write.

To remedy this and make sure I release a “best girls” post for the Summer 2018 season, I’ve decided to do it now, just over the halfway point of the season when new content to write about is lowest. However, because of this, I’m aware that a new “best” girl could be introduced later on in the season, but that’s simply a risk we’ll  have to take!

But if this is a “best girls” list, then why does the title say “worst?” Good question! You see, over the previous two seasons there were female characters who I actually considered to be “best girls,” but unfortunately this season has been extremely lacking.

This means that while these girls on this list are pretty decent, they’re nowhere near the true “best girl” category if you compared them to characters from other seasons. I mean, really, can any girl from this season compete with the likes of Shimarin from Laid-Back Camp?

One final note before I begin is that each anime of the season can only have one girl on this list. This may seem odd since then the choices may be skewed, but I think it’s a lot more exciting than having me pick the entire cast of just one anime.

5. Karen Kurutsu

Karen Kurutsu from the anime Island
Karen Kurutsu

In fifth place we have Karen Kurutsu from the anime Island. I’m not going to pretend like Island is a great anime, or that Karen is even a great character, but she does have one important trait which is the sole reason she made it onto this list, she’s a tsundere.

But not only is she a tsundere, she’s the most stereotypical trope tsundere there is. I mean, look at her, she even has blonde twin tails, the sign of a true tsundere. Now, I get it, a stereotypical tsundere isn’t all that special, but like I said, this season doesn’t really have much to offer.

Some fun facts about Karen are that she’s the daughter of the island’s mayor, and her dream is to leave the island. I know, those facts aren’t very fun, but I’m trying my best to make her seem like a character who isn’t just a cardboard cutout with “tsundere” written on the front.

Honestly, if you want a blonde, twin tailed tsundere character done right, just go watch one of my favorite anime, Saekano. Eriri Spencer is basically everything Karen should have been, but isn’t, and she’s not even the best character in that series either.

4. Riko Izumi

Riko Izumi from the anime Hanebado!
Riko Izumi

Fourth place belongs to Riko Izumi from the anime Hanebado! So, Riko doesn’t really have too much going on for her other than the fact that I enjoy her ponytail, but let’s look at a few of her other traits and pretend like they make her a good character anyway.

She’s kind of like the mom-friend who has to take care of all the other girls on her badminton team. While this is a bit of a trope, what I did like about her was that she doesn’t solely deal with the problems of her teammates. That’s right, she has problems of her own which she needs to work through which makes her a more realistic character.

Also, the fact that she’s not a main character means that she’s able to actually fail at things, which adds to her realism. Sure, protagonists can fail, but typically their failures are just used to further their character development so they can overcome some obstacle in the end.

The protagonists almost always win in the end, but that’s just not how real life works. Riko is a great example of a character who shows that failure is something everyone has to deal with at some point in their life, and that it’s possible to move on afterwards.

3. Haruka Oozora

Haruka Oozora from the anime Harukana Receive
Haruka Oozora

Speaking of protagonists, Haruka Oozora of Harukana Receive is the third girl on my list. Design-wise, she doesn’t really have anything too special going on other than that she was clearly designed as a moe character.

So if her design isn’t all that unique, what makes her so good? Her personality. However, despite her personality being her main selling point, even that isn’t all that unique.

She has an extremely outgoing personality, much like other female protagonists like Akko from Little Witch Academia or Honoka from Love Live! It’s simply the fact that she’s the only character I could think of who has this sort of personality that got her onto this list at all.

Finally, as a bonus, she does wear a swimsuit for most of the anime so I suppose you could argue that she should get extra points solely based on that.

2. Minori Nanahashi

Minori Nanahashi from the anime One Room Second Season
Minori Nanahashi

Minori Nanahashi is the second main character of this list, but is only the main character of her specific arc, not the entire One Room series. However, despite being a main character for only four episodes, she’s still better than Haruka.

Not only is she only the main character for four episodes, but she’s only a character at all for four episodes, and the episodes are only six minutes long. So if she has so little screen time, how can she be considered such a good character?

You see, what makes Minori so good is that she knows exactly what she wants, and she’s not afraid to go after it. She knows she wants to run her family’s bathhouse when she’s older, and she knows that she can’t do it alone, but that’s not going to stop her.

She also apparently likes us, the viewer and protagonist, and is seamlessly able to tie that into her dream of running the bathhouse in the future. She is, in a word, smooth.

Minori also has the second best character design of all the characters this season. Her design isn’t overly complex, but it’s still very aesthetically pleasing.

One last thing I need to mention before moving on to the #1 girl of the season is that the third and final girl of One Room Second Season has yet to be introduced to us, but I’ve seen her character design and she may be able to give Minori a run for her money.

1. Linnea

Linnea from the anime The Master of Ragnarok and Blesser of Einherjar
Linnea

Linnea, from The Master of Ragnarok and Blesser of Einherjar, comes in first place on the list. I’m not going to sugarcoat it, this anime is bad, but it did bless us with one good thing, Linnea.

Now, there are definitely bad things about her character, but I’m going to pretend I don’t notice those and solely focus on the good things for the sake of this list. So what exactly does she have going for her that makes her a better girl than the previous girls?

For starters, she has pink hair. That’s right, there’s so little going on with the girls on this list that I’ve resorted to hair color in order to rank them. But seriously, if you’ve read a decent amount of my blog posts you may have realized that I have an affinity for pink-haired characters, the most notable being Sakura Haruno from Naruto.

Besides just the color of her hair, Linnea probably has my favorite character design of the season. Her overall color scheme of pink, green and gold, her pigtails, her giant bow on the front of her dress, everything about her design just appeals to me.

But Linnea isn’t just a well-designed character, she’s actually useful as well, being one of the few characters who appears to be highly educated. If Linnea were in a better anime, she could have some real potential as a true “best girl.”

Conclusion

I know what some of you are probably thinking, “how did none of the girls from How Not to Summon a Demon Lord make the list?” Well you see, as much as I’ve been enjoying that anime, none of the girls in it really feel all that special to me.

I get that some of them are good, but I really think that the issue is that they’re all about the same level of “pretty good,” with none of them being clearly above the rest. Because of this, even someone like Karen from Island can make the list above them simply because she clearly stands above the rest of the girls in her respective anime.

At this point I’d also like to mention that there was another girl who I thought was going to be on this list from the first moment I saw her, but unfortunately that didn’t come to pass. Nifa from Attack on Titan season 3 had the potential to be a real “best girl.”

Sadly, she only had about 30 seconds of screen time before she was killed off in the first episode. And no, that’s not a spoiler since she ended up being little more than a background character who was, surprisingly, named.

So who are your favorite female characters from the Summer 2018 season so far? Did any of your picks make my list? Let me know in the comments below this post, and if you found this content enjoyable, click the like button if you want to see more of it in the future.

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