Watching anime has been a major entertainment activity personally the past couple of years. I watch anime when I take a break from coding, and even more often right before I go to sleep. In fact, I probably spend more time watching anime than playing games nowadays. Getting a paid Crunchyroll membership is a little expensive ($11.95 per month), but I’m addicted to the ease and convenience of watching the latest anime — many of which available as soon as they’re broadcasted in Japan — on all my mobile and non-mobile devices.
Since I’ve watched a lot of anime, I want to recommend the better ones to other fans of the medium. Here are the top 10 anime series I’ve watched the last few years.
10. Chronicles of the Going Home Club
12 episodes (complete). Comedy with high school students. For those who love non-sensical, over-exaggeration style humor. And “Mohawk Seal.”
9. Witch Craft Works
12 episodes (complete). Starring high school students that know sorcery. Nice character design and art work. Especially the well-endowed female lead.
8. Kill la Kill
24 episodes (complete). Unique art style (slight hint of retro), over-the-top action… not that I expect anything less from the creators of Gurren Lagann. Get ready to be showered by gallons of blood, and bouncing boobies (and sometimes male butts) — of high school students. Love the music too.
7. Tonari no Seki-kun: Master of Killing Time (My Neighbor Seki)
16 episodes (ongoing). Each episode runs only about 7 minutes. A high school girl is constantly distracted by the boy sitting next to her in class because he’s always engaging in some weird activities (like playing Chess vs. Shogi). She really can’t blame him entirely though, as she has too vivid an imagination. Brings back memories. Funny and cute.
6. Girls und Panzer
12 episodes (complete). High school students (girls only) who pilot tanks and compete in mock tank warfare. The characters are adorable. Their friendship is touching at times, and it feels good watching how they overcome hardship together. Panzer vor!
5. Yowamushi Pedal (Yowapeda)
28 episodes (ongoing). High school cyclists competing in tournaments. The character designs are a bit weird, and the main character really isn’t very charismatic, but like many other feel-good sports anime, seeing the characters work hard to grow just inspires me to do the same. I’m seriously this close to getting a racing bike.
4. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
30 episodes (ongoing, 1 season complete). Story centers around the misadventures of the Joestars, a family of English roots, as members from different generations of the family battle vampires, zombies, or otherwise superpower beings hell-bent on ruling humankind. Based on the long-running manga of the same name that started back in 1986. Although two OVAs and a movie based on different arcs of the manga have previously been made, this is the first time they attempt to anime-ize the entire manga. We’re currently on the 3rd and most popular arc, Stardust Crusaders, where the story first introduces the series’ signature attraction, the Stands. Even though the characters over explain everything, and it’s funny to see sound effects written out on screen (in Japanese no less), as if one’s reading the manga, if you like crazy fight action with equal parts cunning and brawn (and muscular men that for some reason like to strike weird poses), then you shouldn’t miss this one. The music is also fantastic.
3. Kuroko’s Basketball
50 episodes (ongoing, 2 seasons complete). High school basketball players compete in tournaments. Unlike other sports anime, the main character, Kuroko, has no athletic talent in basketball whatsoever, but he’s very good at not getting noticed, hence making him the perfect assist player. I have a soft spot for sports anime that have characters with unique and sometimes superhuman abilities, and basketball happens to be my favorite sport anyway. It’s fun watching the protagonist team struggling and overcoming opponents that seem much stronger initially. It’s like defeating difficult bosses in games. Can’t wait for the next season.
2. Hunter x Hunter
126 episodes (ongoing). Elementary school students(?) and adults (and sometimes bugs made from humans) fight and kill each other. It’s more interesting than it sounds. Based on a manga, this is the most recent anime adaptation that started back in 2011 (previously, a 62-episode TV series and some OVAs were made). I’m pleasantly surprised that characters actually get killed (and not brought back to life willy nilly like in Dragon Ball), or in some other cases severely mutilated (physically and/or psychologically). Like many other anime I enjoy, the one-on-one fights are the main attractions, but unlike most other anime, often it’s the side most prepared — and analyzes the situation the best — wins. It’s almost like game theory applied to anime fights. I don’t particularly like the designs of the main characters (one of the reasons I didn’t watch the initial anime adaptation), but the story has me glued that I binge watched the first few story arcs. Despite it being a long-running series, each episode actually progresses the plot, not many filler episodes. However, the current arc seems to be dragging, hence losing a bit of my interest, but I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt and see how it ends.
1. Attack on Titan
25 episodes (complete). Bunch of high school students… oh wait, maybe some are older, but anyway, bunch of people fighting human-eating giants in humanity’s desperate last attempt at species survival. Very slick fighting action, with Spider-Man style swinging movements (achieved with gas-powered apparatus known as “Vertical Maneuvering Equipment”). Dark and serious throughout, with occasional out-of-place humorous spots to break the tension. I know the story continues in the manga, but I wish they make more seasons. So much left unexplained.
Note the absence of One Piece and Naruto Shippuden (and Bleach, but that ended in 2012). I’m a fan of those series as well, and I’ll definitely watch them to the end. However, they’re already hugely popular that they don’t really need recommendation. And, to be honest, they have so many filler episodes that sometimes watching them simply isn’t as interesting as watching those in my top 10 list.
Strange I like so many series starring high school students. Most anime series probably star high school students, since that’s probably their target audience. Wish they make an anime about a 30-something-year-old computer programmer, then I can really relate.
There are plenty of other series that I’ve watched or I’m watching that either aren’t good enough to make this list, or I haven’t watched enough of them to form an opinion. For example, I’ve watched the entire Sword Art Online series, and while I know it’s popular, I just think the story and characterization are too flat and generic. Maybe I would’ve appreciated it more if I played an online RPG. Of the ones I’m following currently, Nanana’s Buried Treasure and Black Bullet have some potential. And, of course, I’ve been meaning to get into other popular series like Fairy Tail and Bakemonogatari (and its numerous sequels). Just a matter of time. I’ll be sure to share my thoughts later.
Do you like any of the anime in this list? If you think we have similar tastes in anime, what else would you recommend me watch?