One of my biggest guilty pleasures is watching too much Anime. Anime are Japanese cartoons based, most of the time, off of comic books known as Manga. However, unlike the conventional cartoon, Anime can range from children's series like Pokemon to quite exotic adult series like FLCL. I have watched quite a few Anime in my time, and I think that, with the ones I have watched, I can officially make a top 5 list of best Anime series of all time.
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5. Fantastic Children- I have always respected Anime that can confuse me. However, too much perplexing nature can really hurt a series (if you want a real puzzle, watch Durarara-- I gave up trying to figure it out after four episodes). Fantastic Children, however, has become the happy medium between adventure, mystery, and irony in many ways. The show is almost too hard to explain in a simple article; it is one of those shows that you just have to watch yourself. The show is 26 episodes long, and each episode brings you one step closer to solving the mystery behind Helga, the Children of Belfort, and the story behind their reincarnations. It really is a wild ride. Though the show is short on action in the beginning and in general, there are points where battle scenes will leave you in awe and wanting more. However, this show does not contain enough action scenes to satisfy your normal Dragon Ball Z or Bleach advocate. What those two lack is Fantastic Children's greatest strength: the ability to tell an insane, perplexing, and seemingly epic story.
4. Trigun- This has always been a favorite of mine. The show takes place on a planet that seems like the Wild West. This show is nothing like Fantastic Children, as there are plenty of action scenes in the show. Trigun begins as somewhat of a comedy, as lovable main characters such as Vash the Stampede, Millie, and Merrill all attempt to find themselves on a sandy desert planet. Let me tell you that if you are a big fan of Anime that contain many different types of guns and gun battles, this is the show for you. Character development plays a huge role in the show, and the climactic ending ties all the loose ends together, and hosts one epic battle that will make the entire series worth it. Trigun is truly a masterpiece and it is hard to leave it off of a list of the greatest.
3. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood- Here is where Edward Elric fans everywhere split in two: original Fullmetal Alchemist fans on one side and Brotherhood fans on the other. However, I felt Brotherhood, in the end, told a more complete story. Brotherhood stuck closer to the Manga. In my mind, Brotherhood edged out the prior series in almost every category except for the character of Kimbley, whom I felt Brotherhood made to be a complete weakling. Brotherhood was an epic adventure, as was the first one. Both Fullmetal Alchemist series, in general, are epic, violent, and most certainly climactic at points. There is little left to say other than both deserve a spot in a top 10 list.
2. Mirai Nikki- I just watched Mirai Nikki, as it came out this year. The series is 26 episodes, and takes you inside the battle to succeed Deus, the God of Time and Space. Twelve chosen ones set off to be the last one standing amongst them. All of the players seem to be completely insane and the characters that were thought up for this series are completely ingenious. Like Fantastic Children, the events of this series are hard to explain without the other person watching it. I found the series to have many plot twists and many unexpected turns along the way. There is a good amount of action in the series, but it is almost as fun to see them all strategize against one another. Unlike in Trigun, the characters are not lovable at all, but rather, somewhat sickening in many ways. The only terrible part about it was the very abrupt cliff hanger of an ending. However, it was announced that Mirai Nikki may see its end in a movie or a second season, but we do not know yet. What I do know is that this series is a must-see for anyone serious about watching Anime.
1. Death Note- Here are all the people saying, "How cliche. Death Note is #1." However, I would not have put Death Note up here if it did not truly deserve it. I don't take popularity into account when it comes to lists like this (see Fantastic Children at #5). Very few people, who claim to be true Anime fans, have not seen Death Note. The storyline and the premise are both completely ingenious, the execution of the storyline is almost perfect, and the opening theme songs fit the action of the show quite harmoniously. The series has more of a dark tone to it, as we watch Light Yagami turn from a normal straight A student into a self-proclaimed God right in front of our eyes. With near flawless execution, this Anime is most certainly my favorite and debatably, the best of all time.
Others That Just Missed This List:
Eden of the East: It's a good watch and quite short to kill a few hours of boredom.
Zetman: This is quite the same as Eden of the East, however the series seemed rushed, and the ending honestly sucked.
Fullmetal Alchemist: See Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (#3) for more detail.
Dragon Ball Z: It has always been a classic watch and one of the best, however character development happens too quickly for some and completely stops for others (by the end, what ever happened to Yamcha, Krillin or Tien? Then again, who cares?).
Fooly Cooly (FLCL): A classic, six episode Anime that is way out in left field, but is honestly ingenious in its own right.
Gunslinger Girl: This one is quite somber, quite quirky, but has its awesome moments.
Case Closed (Detective Conan): I'll give Case Closed a couple things: the characters are lovable and the writers' ability to repackage the same case over and over, and still make it interesting, is honestly unheard of.
Bleach: It probably would have made this list if some of the arks weren't so ridiculous.
Naruto/Naruto Shippuden: Too many fillers means no place on this list. Although, I love the action in the show, when the writers stop playing around.
Ben-to: The plot is ridiculous and barely qualifies as a plot. If you are just looking for straight up action, check out is past isle twelve (you'll get that pun if you watch it).
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex: A great Anime and a blast from the past that never dissapoints.
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