“What’s your favorite anime” is always a tough question, but I have finally decided on my top five:
- Hikaru no Go – An amazing story about the world’s oldest board game. I love the characters and the fact that you get to see them grow and progress through the 75 episodes.
- Cross Game – I can’t believe I actually have two baseball anime on my Top 5 list! But this series from master storyteller and manga-ka Adachi Mitsuru-sama is as close to perfect as an anime series can get: artwork, characters, story, the whole package–from the very first episode right through episode 50.
- Ookiku Furikabutte (“Oofuri”, aka Big Windup!) – In real life, I couldn’t care less about baseball, but this show is spectacular. I feel closer to the characters in this series than any other I’ve ever watched–and who knew baseball could provide edge-of-your-seat thrills to a non-fan? 36 episodes in total, including the “I-sure-wish-Funimation-would-dub-and-release-this” 13 episode Summer Tournament sequel.
- Senkō no Night Raid (aka Night Raid 1931) – This short (16 episodes) 2010 series is set in Shanghai and Manchuria in the critical interwar years when Japan was building her ill-fated empire. The backgrounds, settings and little details are superb–think “Art Deco meets Far East”, with a little “Pulp” thrown in for good measure. The characters are great and put an interesting twist on the show’s incredibly rich and fascinating historical context.
- Higashi no Eden (aka Eden of the East) – A great story with plenty of mystery, intrigue and suspense, not to mention likable characters and a really interesting visual style. At 11 episodes + 2 movies, I only wish there were more of it!
Here is my “Next-20” list of shows that I struggle to rate in my top favorites (alphabetically):
I’ve also included a couple of words indicating why I like that show, based more-or-less on these: art, characters, comedy, story…or something else.
- Angelic Layer – Characters & Story
- Bamboo Blade – Characters & Story
- Best Student Council – Characters & Comedy
- Cardcaptor Sakura – Everything!
- Chihayafuru – Characters & Story
- Fruits Basket – Everything!
- Honey & Clover – Characters & Story
- Kimi ni Todoke – Characters & Story
- Kimi to Boku (aka You and Me) – Characters & Story
- Last Exile – Art & Story
- Loveless – Story & “Feel”
- Maria Watches Over Us – Characters & Story
- Mirage of Blaze – Story & Historical Background
- Nichijou (aka My Ordinary Life) – Art & Comedy
- Shingu: Secret of the Stellar Wars – Characters & Story
- SKET Dance – Characters & Comedy
- Story of Saiunkoku – Characters, “Historical” Feel & Story
- Summer Wars – Everything!
- Tactics – Art, Characters & Story
- Yakitate!! Japan – Characters & Comedy
And, if it makes you feel any better, if you go to my Anime List page from the menu above and count everything in bold, you will see there are still 40 more shows that I consider “favorites”!
This is merely the tip of a very large iceberg, and I could go on at considerable length about the dozens of series and hundreds of episodes I’ve seen. If I get ambitious enough someday, I will post reviews for these and other series I’ve seen.