I have been watching anime from a very young age, however I only first discovered the term ‘anime’ during my junior high school days. Ever since my cousin introduced me to anime such as Naruto and Bleach, I have been hooked for life. The reason I love anime so much is indescribable, I don’t know what exactly it is about anime that piqued my interest from the beginning but I have always been fascinated by the art style and the unique stories that are told.
The fictional world that you become immersed within, the character that you come to love, and all the other different aspects, bring a wonderful experience as a whole. Like a film or a book, it brings a unique way of sharing stories that we all come to enjoy and appreciate for life.
5. Death Note
- Episodes: 37
- Aired: Oct. 2006 – Jun. 2007
The first on my list is the one and only Death Note, a true spectacle of a mystery and psychological thriller that has many intense moments that bring you to the very edge of your seat. It follows the story of Yagami Light, a high school genius who one day finds a supernatural notebook that had fallen from the sky, from the realm of the death gods. A notebook that has a very unique ability; any name that is written within its pages will die. The notebook belonged to the Death God Ryuk, who was bored of life and decided to stir up some fun by releasing the power of death into the human world.
It may seem like unstoppable power to have, however an unmovable force lurking in the shadows opposes Light. A young and clever man that goes by the name of L is a genius detective that has never failed to solve a case. What happens when an unstoppable force meets an unmovable object? This is the epic story and battle of wits between the two geniuses, each with their own view and way of bringing justice to the world.
This is one of my top anime because of its action packed storyline and unique art, which brings a perfect combination of excitement and tension throughout the series. The psychological battle between Light and L entice the mind in a way that is unfathomable, there are many clever moments that make you appreciate the level of thought the writer has put into the series.
DEATH NOTE Complete Series Omega Edition Blu-ray - Official Anime Trailer - VIZ Media
4. Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Oct. 2014 – Dec. 2014
The next anime on this list is Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works, part of the Fate/stay night series. It is about a secret magical war that has been going on for generations between seven mages and their heroic spirit servants for the all mighty, wish-granting Holy Grail. The servants are beings that had once existed in the history of the world, who are summoned belonging to a particular class system. The protagonist of the story is Shiro Emiya who accidentally enters the fifth Holy War and ends up summoning the saber class hero, known as Saber.
Together they form a temporary alliance with Toosaka Rin, one of Shiro’s classmates who turned out to be a mage with a family lineage that has been involved with the war for generations, she is the successor who was brought up and trained as a mage for this very purpose. Rin has the servant Archer and she also saved Shiro’s life when he was accidentally caught up within her fight with another mage, and their servant. With mutual enemies, together they face the other 5 mages in hopes of winning the ultimate prize, a holy grail capable of granting any wish.
I had watched the original Fate/stay night anime when it came out in 2006 and it has been one of my favorite anime for a long time, until I watched this version of the series. The reason this is one of my top anime is because of the great story and in-depth character development. It also has many amazing fight scenes that leave you amazed. The beautiful animation quality and style are one of a kind and it is definitely an anime I would personally recommend to everyone.
Fate / stay night Trailer 3
3. Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood
- Episodes: 64
- Aired: Apr. 2009 – Jul. 2010
Next up is Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood, an action and adventure anime that follows the story of two brothers that go on a journey to discover a way to retrieve what they had lost. Edward and Alphonse Elric are alchemists, people that have the ability to change the properties of something into something else as long as it follows the law of equivalent exchange. They set their sights on an item known as the philosopher’s stone that is an all-powerful legendary item, which allows one to overcome the law of equivalent exchange.
The brothers lost their mother at a young age and attempted to revive her with alchemy, known as human transmutation, it is one of the taboos of the art. Their attempt fails, resulting in Edward losing his left leg and Alphonse losing his entire body. In a moment of distress, Edward saves his little brother by attaching his soul to a suit of armor, and in the process he loses his right arm. Edward finds himself obtaining a metal arm and leg known as ‘automail’ that allow him to perform alchemy again, which gains him the name of ‘Fullmetal Alchemist’.
I had also watched the original rendition of this anime, but I found that this remake was one of the best things they could’ve done with the series. It stayed true to the original manga source and had better animation quality that brought a new, and lighthearted feel to the otherwise dark tale of two brothers. The story of the two brothers is of epic proportions and is definitely an anime everyone should watch.
Fullmetal Alchemist-Brotherhood Pt. 4 Trailer
2. Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai (Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day)
- Episodes: 11
- Aired: Apr. 2011 – Jun. 2011
The runner up on this list belongs to Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai, otherwise known simply as AnoHana. This is an anime about a solitary boy named Jinta Yadomi who spends his days at home playing games. He has been this way ever since a childhood accident that left him traumatized for life, the death of his friend Menma. One hot summer day, Menma suddenly appears to Shinta and starts to pester him about fulfilling a forgotten wish. He believes that she is a figment of his imagination but soon begins to realize that she actually exists, as a ghost that only he seems to be able to see.
Shinta slowly begins to break out of his shut-in lifestyle as he begins to figure out what the forgotten wish is. He ends up reuniting with his other childhood friends that had moved on with their own lives separately since the incident many years ago. One by one, he convinces them that Menma has re-appeared but his friends are skeptical of Jinta, thinking that he has finally broken and become mentally unstable. Soon after, they begin to believe Shinta and together they try to find what the wish that Menma had made was but they had forgotten, to bring peace to her soul.
This is a fairly short anime, however it is one of the only anime that has been able to reduce me to tears with its heart-wrenching story. It is a beautifully animated and written story that shares a lot of emotional moments between the characters. There are no other words that I can use to describe this anime other than it’s beautiful.
Anohana The Flower We Saw That Day Trailer US
1. Clannad: After Story
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Oct. 2008 – Mar. 2007
On the top of my list is the one and only Clannad: After Story, though I’d like to also include the first season, Clannad. This is an emotional rollercoaster of a slice of life anime that follows the story of Tomoya Okazaki and Nagisa Furukawa, who became good friends and lovers after they graduated from high school together. Following the events of the first season, they get married and begin to live together. Tomoya struggles to decide his own future but is determined to do his best for Nagisa, by enduring the hardships of adult life and finding time to be with her.
One day, Nagisa reveals to Tomoya that she is pregnant; Tomoya who is overwhelmed by the news works harder than ever to be able to support his family. Though the journey is both difficult and strenuous, together they try their best to push forward and overcome any problems whilst maintaining contact with their friends and family.
Clannad: After Story in my opinion is the best anime I have seen so far, with its powerful drama and moving storyline. It is breathtakingly wonderful with great character personalities and development. It tells a story that is true to life itself, making you realize that everything in life is not as easy as it seems and it shows you the importance of family. Clannad: After Story mixes a lighthearted slice of life style of anime with deep emotional moments that are simply magnificent. It is really hard to put this into words, but Clannad is an anime that leaves a long lasting impression and is truly one of a kind.
Clannad After Story Promotion Clip 1
Well that concludes this list. Anime has been a huge part of my life and I have devoted a lot of time to watching these wonderful stories told visually, as I am sure you have as well. It is truly a work of art with many different genres and styles that appeal to each person differently.
What I can say about this list is that I feel it reflects the type of person I am as much as it has shaped me into the person I am. We all love anime to the point that the stories are influential in how we perceive life and allow us to appreciate the devotion people have put into making these stories come to life. The meaning of anime is different with everyone and we all have our favorites, but what is wonderful about anime, is its ability to bring us all together and to share with each other the stories that have shaped who we are individually.