To the uninitiated, Japanese animation or anime in short, is nothing more than children’s plaything. Made for children, watched by children, liked by children. After all, anyone’s first impression of anime consists of characters with eyes covering half their faces, unproportionate bodily features and bloody Doraemon. Or Pokemon. Or Hatsune Miku.
AND FOR THE LAST TIME, HATSUNE MIKU IS NOT AN ANIME!!! IT’S A BLOODY ORIGINAL CHARACTER FROM A DOUJINSHI!!!!!
Ahem…sorry, just needed to get it out from my system.
P.S. Hatsune Miku does not originate from doujinshi. It is a Vocaloid program. Cool your brains, dude.
Anyway, I have put together a list of anime series that represents the best of what anime has to offer. Everyone, and anyone should watch before they leave Earth for outer space or to colonize Mars only to be killed by mutated humanoid cockroaches with super strength.
Please take note that the arrangement of series are not in any order in particular, and this selection of anime is strictly my own opinion of what is best, hence you are under no obligations to agree with what is on this list.
Got it? So, now I introduce you to:
THE 10 ANIME SERIES YOU NEED TO WATCH BEFORE YOU DIE
1. Sakamichi no Apollon (Kids on the Slope)
Kicking off this list is Sakamichi no Apollon, a show some would find rather boring. The pacing of the show is rather slow and focuses on a rather generic group of students going through puberty and stuff, you know, as usual. So, then, why did I put this show here? The pacing of the show may be slow, the art style bland at best, but upon further inspection, they all complement each other and put emphasis on the main focus of the show: music.
No, I’m not referring to the background music but the featured tracks of the show. After all, this show features the famous Yoko Kanno, the music maestro who gave masterful tracks like Gravity from Wolf’s Rain and more famous ones like Tank! from Cowboy Bebop. The main theme of the show is the struggling and the coming-of-age of teenagers in the 1960s, which is the aftermath of World War II and like I said before, the music.
It deals with aplenty of themes from real life. It doesn’t matter if you’re from the 70s or a 90s chick, you’re bound to fall in love with the tranquil 1960s Japan that the series is set in. And of course, the music. Need I say more? Just listen to the track above. I’d swear, that track alone was enough to compel me to put this show on this list.
2. Black Lagoon
Now, for the universal question every anime fan has been asking since the dawn of time…
Well, I’m not one to judge, but for this show in particular, it’s definitely better dubbed. Why, you ask?
So. Freaking. Badass!!!
If you’re a fan of action and I do mean, Hollywood car chases, gunfights, bone-breaking, goosebump-ing, exhilarating fight scenes, memorable one-liners and mother-flying sons of vixens James Bond, then this show is for you!
Anime was never known for its action, because the gist of the action either involves useless male protagonists surrounded by girls with abnormally huge breasts with magical powers or…well, some other thing of that sort.
But, fret not! For Black Lagoon and Revy, the female protagonist will come around and blow these “nonsense” shows away with her vulgar four-letter words and handguns!
Essentially, Black Lagoon has every thing an action series should have and more, with enough firepower to blow the roof sky high. If there’s an anime featuring action that you should watch before you die, this is it. There’s no other way to go around, this is definitely an action anime to watch before you die.
3. Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou (The Daily Lives of Highschool Boys)
Aren’t you a guy?
You’re the main protagonist, right?
The male one, right?
No…you can’t do this…
(Cue opening theme)
If you didn’t read the title, then you’d better go back and read it, you lazy bum!
Oh, you’re back. Well, good for you.
As I said earlier…this show is about a trap.
Wait…no, it’s about a guy.
Two guys, in fact.
Two guys and two girls.
Two perverted girls who like to scrutinize every inch of lingerie.
One with twintails and the other, half-naked.
Well, yeah…I think that’s it…
Just watch the clip below. You’ll get the gist of it.
4. Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (When They Cry)
In first sight, you may think that this show is simply a normal anime show with kawaii girls. You may think this is another one of those ‘slice-of-life’ featuring many girls with one guy, in other words, a harem. You may think this is not worth your time.
Well, you think…
I would like to think that anime could never get horror right. Horror anime rely heavily on gore to scare people like, Another or Corpse Party: Tortured Souls, which in my opinion, doesn’t really do the trick. My impression of horror shows involve a lot of jump-scares, supernatural elements, grim, dark imagery. This show is the closest to horror when it comes to anime, and boy, is it chilling. The show doesn’t rely on the conventional methods to scare the living daylights out of people, but rather, it relies how much the story, characters, every single element of the show to frighten unsuspecting viewers.
While scaring people in horror films and movies is essential, the story behind all those scares must be equally spooky, and in this case, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni takes the cake. The many plot twists and turns are legendary and how the seemingly random plot points piece together to form a complete over-arcing story is astounding. Among the many horror anime out there, this one is by far the best, the most satisfying and the most terrifying and it should no surprise that this show is on this list.
5. Kimi ni Todoke (From Me to You)
Romance is a rather deep-rooted element in all anime series. It is quite rare to find a show not featuring romance, in one way or another. Heck, even Black Lagoon had a tiny bit of romance among all those swearing and violence. However, as people say, quality over quantity, and I find most romance in anime either underdeveloped or simply not good enough.
Take Sword Art Online, for example. The romance between the main characters, Kirito and Asuna is rather popular and all, but to me, it seems like some fantasy about romance, dreamt up by some underaged schoolboy whose concept of love seems to revolve around cuddling 24/7 and marriage, then consequently, sex.
Or was it the other way around?
It is rather difficult to find a romance that is both satisfying and realistic. Enter Kimi ni Todoke, a typical shoujo anime with a typical girl-meets-boy storyline except for the fact that the romance in the show was really well done. Except for a few flaws and cliches here and there, the romance was perfect, with chemistry between the two protagonists proceeding gradually instead of abruptly, like in most shounen romances. What is more surprising is that the romance was not over-exaggerated to the point where it was cringe-worthy, like in many shoujo anime, for example, Kaichou wa Maid-Sama.
To put it simply, this romance anime is the best, the most realistic and it should be the best anime has to offer.
What do you think about the anime in this list? Do you have any other anime that you think should be on this list? Leave a comment below and I will see you in Part 2.