I think for most anime fans it’s always extremely hard to list your top favorites. ‘What do I judge it by? Memorability? Captivating, consistent plot line? Replay value?’ Are thoughts in my head when someone asks me my top anime. It can be really personal for some and I think generally people’s favorite anime tend to be longer series because the relationship you have with it is just that much longer.
Of course, certain shorter series are plenty amazing and can honestly have much more of a plot punch than longer series that have filler arcs galore. Picking 5 was easy though because no matter how good an anime is, my number one criteria for making my top 10 is how many times I can re-watch it and still get goosebumps. Which is a lot considering I’ve re-watched all of these at least 2-6 times. I really think each of these series are the best for their particular genre and usually have an accompanying high star rating on anime review sites.
Without further ado, please read on!
5. Glass no Kamen (2005) (Glass Mask)
- Episodes: 51
- Aired: April 2005- March 2006
Everybody always loves a good ‘rags to riches’ story and that’s basically what this series consists of; but in the world of acting. 13 year old Maya Kitajima happened to be noticed one day by legendary former actress Chigusa Tsukikage and just like that, she entered the world she had only dreamed of entering. She met many rivals, specifically one famous, rich, and pretty actress Ayumi Himekawa.
Now typically in an anime like this, Ayumi would be the evil antagonist but she beautifully becomes a worthy rival that one grows to almost root for. Maya teaches her humility and together, they contest to one day become the Crimson Goddess, the role that Chigusa played in her youth that made her so famous. To become this role, however, they must learn to cast away their humanity and become a spirit.
51 episodes of jam packed, edge of seat material, I really think this anime is a classic. And it pretty much is, considering it’s a remake of an older series. It’s even got extremely fluid anime for it’s year and overall just really well made. Maya’s growth throughout is inspirational and her pure dedication is something to be admired. Really, a person could only aspire to be her.
The best part about her is the fact she’s not actually perfect; she makes a lot of mistakes and fails many times. But she gets back up every time, no matter how much her situation changes. Also, there may possibly be a cute but complicated love interest!
Glass no Kamen (2005) (Glass Mask) OP
4. Skip Beat!
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: October 2008- March 2009
Skip Beat has never been anything other than perfect. Out of all the series I’ve seen in my whole life, there is nothing I would change about it, which is probably why I’ve rewatched it at least 5 times and am reading the manga religiously. It’s a romantic comedy with the theme of acting but it’s a familiar story we know all too well; Kyoko Mogami gets dumped and vows revenge.
She enters the showbiz world to get revenge on her childhood friend, Sho Fuwa, who she had literally devoted her life to and literally bent over backward to please him. He had asked her to run away to Tokyo with him so he could pursue his dream of being a star and she left everything for him. One day she overheard him saying she was his maid and he was just using her. She vowed her revenge and joined an opposing show biz company and started her journey as an actress.
I think Kyoko’s character is really unique. She is very naive, as she never had girl friends growing up because they hated her being so close to Sho but yet when she snapped, something dark came out. She didn’t want to love anymore, with her heart so ruthlessly broken and locked her ability to love up. This in turn is the reason why she joins the Love Me! section of LME show biz company and also because she’s never acted in her life but it turns out she’s a natural.
Skip Beat! Trailer
3. Fairy Tail
- Episodes: 175
- Aired: October 2009- March 2013
Fairy Tail is long and has been around for awhile but never has it gotten old. Between the characters, the soundtrack, and the plot that makes you both laugh and cry, you will never feel bored with Fairy Tail. While there are some filler arcs, they do not seem entirely out of place and they don’t void the point of the series, which is basically to make you laugh, see a lot of large breasts, and to further your relationship to the characters whose personalities are boundless.
I think my favorite thing about the series, other than shipping Natsu/Lucy hardcore, is how they’ve trained their viewers. Literally, if they play specific soundtracks, you suddenly feel your heart strings being, not just pulled, but ripped out regardless of what is actually going on in the series. The series starts off with Lucy Heartfilia wanting to join the mage guild Fairy Tail, renowned for causing a lot of ruckus. She runs into Natsu Dragneel, a Fairy Tail wizard who was raised by a dragon, and together along with their guild mates go on many quests and fight evil together.
TV anime FAIRY TAIL Tartarus Hen PV 2nd
2. Hagane no Renkinjutsushi (2009) (Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood)
- Episodes: 64
- Aired: April 2009- July 2010
Edward Elric and his brother Alphonse learned alchemy to bring back their deceased mother, which ended in Ed losing his leg and arm while Al lost his whole body. Together they go on a journey to get their bodies back to normal and eventually Ed becomes a dog of the military, a state alchemist. With an impenetrable bond, they walk along a thin line of right and wrong, trying to find answers.
I always recommend this series to anyone just starting out in anime, as it is a perfect blend of dark drama, action and light hearted comedy, which not many series can pull off so eloquently. Both of the them are just boys when they start out and have such a naive view on life that gets muddled when Ed joins the military.
I think this anime has a lot of themes we see in real life, despite it’s obvious magic elements. People all have different views and opinions on what makes a perfect world, some think violence is the only answer while others think ignorance is bliss. We watched the two brothers try and find their own answers.
Fullmetal Alchemist Complete Collection Trailer
1. Tennis no Ouji-sama (Prince of Tennis)
- Episodes: 178
- Aired: October 2001- March 2005
178 episodes, with many OVAs and more, I’m truly glad this series is my favorite anime because it never ends. There’s just something special about it that helped jump start the sports anime genre. To me, I love the dynamic, well thought out characters and how they interact with one another in a competitive setting.
While it is mostly a light hearted comedy, the matches can get pretty intense and sometimes you forget they are only playing tennis. It is a continual progression of abilities, too, as we see the players grow from competitions between each other to the Nationals. Also, there’s a cute soundtrack with songs by each of the voice actors!
In episode one we meet Ryoma Echizen, a 12 year old prodigy who is coming back to Japan after living in America for a few years. He is rumored to have won competitions in America and joins the tennis team whose coach had been his father’s coach, before he was a pro. Ryoma’s ultimate goal is to beat his father at tennis but realizes that to overcome his father, he must overcome himself. Overall, this was a huge series and is proven further by the fact that merchandise is still abundant as there is now a second season out after many years.
Tennis no Ouji-sama (Prince of Tennis) OP
So there’s my top 5! Again, I’ve watched all these numerous times and really recommend them. I do really like shoujo anime but I feel like shounen has more potential for deeper plot and character development. I really also prefer longer anime because if I am in love with a series, I just don’t want it to end!
What criteria do you look for in your top anime? Is there particular requirements, such as longer series, depth of plot, or character development?