What Makes an Anime Good?

What Makes an Anime Good?


I was browsing through my completed anime list on MAL this morning, trying to come up with a topic to write about, when I realized that there are a decent number of anime I’ve rated 7+ which I never really mention or even think about. If you’re curious about how I rate anime, there’s already a post on that topic which can be found here.

So, why are there so many good anime that get pushed to the back of my mind after I’m done watching them? Were they really good to begin with, or did I simply make a mistake when rating them? Finally, can a forgotten anime be good? Today, I’ll try to answer these questions.

Good Anime

What is a good anime anyway? At the most basic level, I consider a good anime to be one which I’ve rated at a 7 or higher. Bad anime are those which are 4 or lower, while average anime are in the 5-6 range. If you need a more complete breakdown of this system, click here.

But even if we know what an anime needs to be a 7 or higher in order to be good, what exactly makes an anime good? There are a variety of things that go into a good anime, after all, and we need to be able to recognize the individual parts.

While not every good anime contains all of the following, at least one of these features should be present: good plot, good characters, good art, good animation, good voice acting, good music, and high entertainment value (comedy, emotions, action, etc.)

Some examples of anime I often think about when it comes to these features are Madoka Magica when it comes to good music, the Monogatari series when it comes to good characters, and Naruto Shippūden when it comes to high entertainment value.

As far as Madoka Magica and Monogatari go, they both include most, if not all of these features, which is why I think they’re both 10/10 anime. As for Shippūden, I recognize a lot of the flaws the series has, and yet I still find it extremely entertaining no matter how many times I’ve seen it.

But what about memorability? Can an anime be good even if it isn’t memorable? Those three examples I used are anime I think about every single day, but there are others which I liked just as much, and yet never think of. Are those anime still considered good?

Forgotten Anime

Saekano is one of my favorite anime mostly due to the characters found within it. It’s a solid 9/10 and I’ve mentioned it a fair amount in the past, but it’s not an anime I’d immediately think of if someone asked me to suggest a good, character driven anime.

In fact, I had forgotten about this anime completely for a while, despite it being one of my favorites. But that anime isn’t as recent as some others, so before we decide whether it should still be considered good or not, let’s gather some more samples.

Violet Evergarden is by far the best anime to come out so far this year, and I’d be lying if I said I’d forgotten about it; it is currently the header image on my site after all. However, there are other anime from this year which I enjoyed just as much even if they weren’t technically as good.

Devilman: Crybaby still has the best OST of the year, and yet I never really think about it. When one of the songs from the OST pops up somewhere, I recognize what it’s from, but I don’t think anything beyond that. It even had a unique art/animation style, and yet it’s been overshadowed.

Another example is Mitsuboshi Colors. I love the characters in this anime because they’re kids who actually act like kids, which is pretty rare to find, believe it or not. In fact, now that I’m writing this I really want to give this anime a rewatch, and yet, I had completely forgotten it existed.

Sacchan, Yui, Kotoha, and Saitou from the anime Mitsuboshi Colors
Sacchan, Yui, Kotoha, and Saitou


I think what it all comes down to is seasonal anime. Seasonal anime all blend together and are forgotten in a short amount of time. Every three months there are new series to pay attention to, and the previous season is largely forgotten.

However, none of the anime I mentioned in my “forgotten anime” section were anime I actually watched over the course of a season. I actually binged all of those series, so you’d think they would have more lasting power than a series I watched once per week for 13 weeks.

But, that isn’t the case. Since I still watched those series after I had already gotten into the seasonal anime grind, it was already too late. You see, Madoka, Monogatari, and Shippūden are all anime I watched before I started following seasonal anime, and these are the kinds of series I tend to remember.

So, to answer our questions from the beginning of this post, forgotten anime can be good, it’s simply that as we get deeper into the plague that is seasonal anime, we tend to have a shorter memory span as far as previously watched series are concerned. Just because an anime has been swept away by the next season doesn’t mean it was any less good.

However, that brings up a new question, are seasonal series good for anime? You can let me know your thoughts in the comments, but I’m leaning towards seasonal series being good overall, even if the format makes the individual anime less memorable.

You can also click the like button below this post if it helped remind you of some forgotten anime you enjoyed, or if you simply want to let me know how neat I am. Also, be sure to follow me on Twitter or Tumblr, or subscribe to my blog via email so you don’t miss out on future posts.

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