This list is more of an at the moment list. Compared to a lot of hardcore Anime fans I am probably still relatively new and underdeveloped in my experience of anime entertainment as a whole. However, I have my favourites out of the ones I have watched and I beleive these 5 deserve all the credit that they will be getting here.
NUMBER 5: The Dragonball Franchise
Originally I was just going to talk about Dragonball Z but I feel as though this wouldn’t give the kind of respect to this series that it is deserving of. Dragonball, Dragonball Z, Dragonball GT (yes I am including it, please don’t hate me), and now with the revival of the franchise in full swing, Dragonball Super, come together as a testament to the world of anime and Manga as a whole.
Watching Goku grow up on his journey, rise to every challenge, turn enemies into friends and fight for everything that is good in the universe is a truly a fascinating and inspiring experience. With a unique and memorable ensemble of characters like Vegeta, Picollo, Android 18 and Bulma, Dragonball offers pretty much everything that you could find yourself enjoying.
All in all, with 4 different TV series, an amazing manga, 19 movies, 3 televised shorts, a whole host of video and board games and an unyielding fan base dedicated to keeeping it alive, the Dragonball franchise is more than just a franchise, it’s a way of life. Go watch it, and be a part of it!
NUMBER 4: DEATHNOTE
I started watching Deathnote whilst studying for my masters degree. Taking a day off from writing about the securitisation of returning foreign fighters, I decided to take a browse through Netflix to see what I could waste away in front of, and thats when I found this absolute masterpiece.
Deathnote is the type of anime that hooks you in a split second. In fairness, after simply reading the description I’m pretty sure I was hooked. This anime is packed with intrigue, mystery, and thriller charms. It’s intelligent, with an intricate storyline and masterfully explains the event’s that occur in a mesmerising and even somewhat manipulative way. I literally found myself unable to look away or do anything else! Being that an episode is around 20 minutes in length, I easily cleared the entire anime in a single day!
Deathnote is a complex, brain engaging crime thriller with a lot of character and wonderfully explores the morality of the death sentence for criminals and what justice truly means. Whether you are new to anime, or a veteran watcher, Deathnote comes highly recommended!
I actually found that it affected my working ethic over the next month. I was reinvigorated to work harder and be more deductive like L in my masters work!
NUMBER 3: MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM WING
I am a huge fan of outrageously destructive robots and battlesuits with huge guns, rockets and swords! Enter my first mecha series I ever watched in the form of Mobile Suit: Gundam Wing.
Taking place in the not so near future, humankind has become a well established spacefairing civilisation with colonies throughout the solar system. Eventually the colonies declared independence from Earth and a conflict soon follows involving the use of giant mechanised battlesuits called Mobile Suits. They have different variations each with different combat abilities.
The story revolves around 5 young men sent to earth from the colonies to take part in Operation Meteor. The 5 men pilot highly advanced and extremely powerful mobile suits called Gundams and begin a war of attrition to free the colonies.
With entertaining battle scenes, unique and interesting characters and a plot thats detailed enough to be interesting but simple enough to follow. Gundam Wing and its sequel movie The Endless Waltz tell an intricate tale of war, the desire for peace and the morality of getting peace through war.
NUMBER 2: BLEACH
Similar to Deathnote, I just hapoened across Bleach on Netflix one day and watched a couple of episodes. At first I wasn’t completely taken in, but something was nagging me to give it another shot, and I have never looked back since!
Following the story of Ichigo Kurosaki, a highschooler with the ability to see ghosts, Bleach takes you on an energetic journey through exorcising hollows, taking on a ancient order of soul reapers and eventually having to confront your own demons to prove to yourself you have the strength to fight when no’one else does.
This show is built on its characters, with so many different individuals and so many unique stories to each of them and so much variation in the way they develop across the seasons. It’s fun to see the contrasts between many character types that in theory shouldn’t work but do so well.
Whilst it suffers from a couple of terrible filler seasons, Bleach is a diamond in the rough and one that is well worth taking the time to smooth out. Great characters, a strong story, and great fights scenes this action packed anime took my life by storm and rightfully deserves the second spot.
NUMBER 1: FULL METAL ALCHEMIST: BROTHERHOOD
Compared to the other anime on this list Full Metal Alchemist (FMA) doesn’t even struggle in comparison. If this was a top 10 Bleach would be number 6 and the rest of the spaces between would just be a red carpet leading to a podium where FMA stands magnanimously above. I cannot emphasise enough how good an anime this is.
Following the story of two young brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric, who lose their bodies through an alchemical procedure in an attempt to bring their late mother back to life. Full Metal Alchemist offers everything from Action, Adventure, Intellectual Thriller, Comedy, and Horror to illicit feelings of joy, sadness, anger, despair and hope for the characters as their stories unfold. The plot deepens at a pace that keeps the watcher consistently coming back for more and constantly guessing what’s next.
I have watched this anime around 6 or 7 times and it has never, not once, lost it’s magic. The animation is handled with finesse, the voice acting is perfect and the voices for each character are so suited it’s as if they were born for the roles. The story again has a moral conflict in the code of equivalent exchange; in order to get something, something of equal value must be given.
In all honesty I don’t think I have sufficient vocabulary nor am I skilled enough as a wordsmith to give FMA the credit it deserves. Whether you are a hardcore anime fan, a casual watcher, or even barely interested inanime, Full Metal Alchemist is a show that needs to be watched at least once in your life
ATTACK ON TITAN: An anime of hope and despair as humanity fights for its very survival against the terrible Titans looking to devour them whole. The first season having an electricity effect on me i cannot wait for season 2!
VISIONS OF ESCAFLOWNE: An old favourite of mine following the story of Van Fanel, a half human, half draconian young prince with the ability to manifest wings like an angel. The story follows Van fight the kingdom of Zaibach to protect his homeland and the one he comes to teuly love.
KNIGHTS OF SIDONIA: Another Netflix discovery, this series follows the spaceship Sidonia, humanities last safe haven as it travels the universe looking for a new home free from the unstoppable Gauna. Pilot Nagate Tanikaze has the sole responsibility of protecting humanity in this awesoms space mecha survival story.
FAIRY TAIL: Filled with magic, quirky characters and fun filled story arcs, Fairy Tail is an energetic, vibrant anime with humorous overtones.
There you have it. This list will probably change as I deepen my experience in anime but for now this is where I am. Do you agree with my list? Do you have any suggestions for other anime like the ones i have listed? Let me know! Thanks for reading!