I’ve been meaning to create an updated top anime list for a while now and since I haven’t been active on my blog lately what better time than now. My list this year has changed quite a bit with a number of new anime from 2012 in it now like Aquarion Evol and Space Brothers. Also I thought of a new rating system for my ranking which I feel finally lets me reflect better what I think rather than just the simple number rank.
Although I call it a new rating system what I really did was just assigned a value from 1 to 50 with lower being better to each anime. If something got the same rating I ranked them individually and noted it using the decimal which you’ll see. Although I order my list like a normal ranking I feel the second number which is the rating is closer to how I value it. In fact I have another 10 shows I would rate within 50 but then it wouldn’t really be a top 50 list, it was hard having to cut them out. Especially Minami-Ke, Idolmaster and Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita.
The major factors I put into the rating are from highest to lowest: enjoyability, characters, effectiveness of its intent (ie a comedy making you laugh) and original or well made plots. There are other factors as well some of which I’ll mention and some I won’t and I am not claiming this was a technical system rather just a rough estimate.
Quick note first this does not include any movies at all, I might do a top movie list at some point but I feel movies and series are not something to really judge side by side here. Of course in any list people always take issue with certain anime not making it but when you have 830 entries on your list it’s hard to include everything so keep that mind here. One final note is I grouped multiple seasons into one anime and sometimes even multiple series, it’s not really fair in most lists but I think its ok going off of what I value here.
For the TL;DR crowd ranking is first and my rating is second.
(50) 47.2 AKB0048
AKB0048 is one of the few still going (as of time of this writing) anime I put on my list. While it won’t win any awards and many will call me crazy it is very high on my enjoyability factor. I feel this is exactly the kind of show that personifies what anime is all about. Fun and crazy and way out there but with lovable characters and some tense moments as well as some exciting ones.
(49) 47.1 Negima!?
No I’m not talking about Negima! but Negima!? the more wacky offspring of it which not nearly as many love. I still think this is one of the funniest shows Shaft has created. I’m probably alone on this one but I like how the character changes are more fun and it makes me laugh. The action isn’t all that bad either even if it’s not it’s strength.
(48) 47.0 Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei
Another Shaft series which is even funnier and a bit more clever than Negima!?
(47) 46.0 Lagrange
Fairly light for a mecha series and not amazing but I enjoyed it a lot during it’s run. I loved the music in it as well and the Jersey club is fun.
(46) 45.0 Princess Tutu
Amazingly well made anime setup like a fairy tail about a duck who becomes a dancer. It’s been many years on this one so its hard to remember details to say much more though but I thought it was great.
(45) 45.1 Now and Then, Here and There
One of the most gripping series I have ever seen anime or not. Still the one of only a few I’ve ever had to watch the entire series in one night because I needed to know what was going to happen. It was also extremely sad and depressing at times almost too much but it managed to keep it just under the point of me rage quit it.
(44) 45.0 Hayate the Combat Butler
This is not including the 3rd or 4th seasons but the first two were a very funny story about a unlucky butler repaying his debt. The references and ability to make fun of genres and other anime was top notch.
(43) 44.0 Working!!
Entertaining comedy and very character driven, jokes do a good job staying fresh to me even if they use each characters failings over and over again for them.
(42) 41.0 Tenchi Muyo OVA
Although it’s not saying that much it’s one of the best Harem shows with a good mix of sci-fi action, humor and entertaining characters.
(41) 40.0 Fate/Zero
Usually with more serious action/drama shows I will like watching them but they won’t leave much of a lasting impression on me. However with Fate/Zero it did, mostly because it was very interesting and the story in this show was very nicely done and I liked a few of the characters such as Rider.
(40) 39.0 School Rumble
The master comedy of the misunderstanding and over-thinking things, I got pretty attached to the characters and love drama of it as well. Ending could have been a ton better but at least it wasn’t a bad end either.
(39) 32.0 Chobits
A more sentimental pick here as it goes back to my early days of being a otaku but still an interesting story about love between a human and a robot that really picks up steam as it continues onward. Chii is still a favorite of mine for making me laugh more than anyone else can with a vocabulary of one word.
(38) 30.1 Space Brothers
I’ve already gushed about this show several times, one of the best realistic takes on a semi-modern space story. The last arc was one of the most intense string of episodes I’ve ever seen. As much as I love it now I feel it’s only just reaching it’s potential, I just hope it can fulfill it.
(37) 30.0 Ghost in the Shell: SAC
Yes it’s a great cyberpunk anime but I think what is really it’s true strength is the world and characters it has created. One of the better universes I’ve seen in anime, I can’t think of many I find more interesting. Still SAC sci-fi stories are it’s bread and butter and the reason to watch it.
(36) 29.0 Spice and Wolf
Who would think a story about economics and a wolf god would be so good. Horo is also a top-tier character.
(35) 28.1 Crest of the Stars series
One of the best space dramas in anime, it has been a while since I’ve seen it so the memory is a little fuzzy in order to properly give it the credit it deserves unfortunately. However the second series was so intense to me, I went through it very fast. Also has one of the best couples in anime.
(34) 28.0 Eureka Seven
A futuristic mecha action show, it’s hard to say why this is so good without using spoilers but the last 12 or so episodes are amazing. It’s a bit more slow starting though but it has it’s moments in-between too.
(33) 27.0 Excel Saga
This crazy comedy was not afraid of making fun of anything and everything. If you like off the wall humor this is a great one for you.
(32) 26.0 Kannagi
Getting into more slice of life comedies the characters in this show really were what stood out to me here. I also liked the wit of it and overall was pretty enjoyable.
(31) 25.0 Kamichu!
As I’ve discussed on my blog before this is one of the best laid-back slice of life anime shows out there. This is not for the ADD crowd but a very warm and feel good show.
(30) 24.0 Chunnibyou demo koi ga shitai
One of the newest additions to my list, this is a good series to demonstrate that moe is not a cancer on anime. While it’s strengths don’t shine until the later half of the series the first half gives us plenty of cute moments and humor. This anime is the complete package to me with entertainment, story and characters.
(29) 23.1 Uta Kata
This is a very underrated anime, it is a very different take on magical girls and coming of age and rather dark at that. This is the kind of drama I prefer that does not rely so much on cheap stunts but rather character driven and engaging.
(28) 23.0 Nadesico
This is half parody and half sci-fi mecha action, I read it was created as a parody of Macross and I believe it as I noticed this before hand. One of the strengths of this anime is it really is unpredictable and for a parody anime it can get serious quickly and still pull both aspects off well.
(27) 22.0 Welcome to the NHK
A slice of life about a delusional shut-in having to deal with the reality of the world around him. This anime excels in characters, they are very real, flawed, humorous and most of all engaging which makes the story that much better.
(26) 21.0 Wolf’s Rain
This is a rather unique story about a pack of wolves set in a bleak future. While the setup is rather odd the story is excellent and the characters are interesting. It’s another anime that is hard to say why it is so good without getting into great detail and spoilers.
(25) 20.0 Clannad
One of the best dramas I’ve ever seen, period. Ok so the first seasons is rather generic in my opinion and it really makes you wonder why they shifted gears so much after so many episodes but the payoff and the drama of it all just makes it worth it.
(24) 18.0 Macross Frontier
I debated about this one more than anything, while it had a lot of flaws and a few too many cliches while having parts I did not like one bit there was still a lot to love too and of course Ranka played a big part in this rating. Sadly it so easily could have been number one with a few changes.
(23) 16.3 UC Gundam Series (0079, 0080, 8th MS team, 0083, Zeta, Unicorn)
I was in the past a major UC Gundam fanboy and while the series has not aged as well as others but I still consider it the king of semi-realistic Mecha series.
(22) 16.2 Love Hina
More of a sentimental pick as it was the first anime I saw subbed, it’s humor is not nearly as good as the ones lower rated on this list. It has been in my top 10 in the past because Naru was at one point one of my favorite characters but I still love all the characters in this show even today.
(21) 16.1 Hellsing OVA
Truly amazing OVA, every character in this show is insane and I love it. The story is equality as crazy and just one of the few shows that I like how evil it can be.
(20) 16.0 Rurouni Kenshin: Tsuiokuhen
Very dark but brilliant story about Kenshin’s past. One of the highest rated anime out there so I think I need not say much about it.
(19) 15.0 Ah My Goddess
I admit for a time this was at number one just because of Belldandy, a character very misunderstood and not given enough credit. It still is a very enjoyable and nice warm anime to me today even if it doesn’t hold the same magic as it once did.
(18) 14.1 12 Kingdoms
The plot in this is just so interesting and engaging. The world created here is so imaginative and detailed and the characters are deeper than most anime. It’s one of the best anime shows no one talks about anymore. Sadly it stopped without getting finished and leaving a lot of plot lines hanging forever, one of the most tragic things in anime.
(17) 14.0 Aquarion Evol
I think I don’t have to say much here if you know me at all and if you don’t well just read more of my blog. I loved every minute of this fun and wacky ride.
(16) 13.2 Monster
Really shows how anime can have a mature, realistic and brilliant story. It’s sad there is not more anime out there like this instead of yet another harem fan service show.
(15) 13.1 Escaflowne
I consider this as Kawamori’s greatest work even if he is more known for creating Macross. Set in an alternate universe it really isn’t all that different from Macross with themes of mecha, war and love. But this doesn’t have as many flaws as the Macross series I find has and is far more enjoyable to me.
(14) 13.0 Full Metal Panic
It has one of the best combinations of light-hearted humor and serious mecha drama. I think the humor is a little better though as Fumoffu is my favorite of the three Full Metal Panic series. Hopefully one day they will animate more of the story.
(13) 12.0 Galaxy Angel
I love this style of humor, crazy wacky off-the-wall stuff is right up my alley. At one point this was ranked 5th for me but as it’s aged and I’ve seen more anime it has diminished it’s rank some.
(12) 11.0 The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi
While I don’t think the TV series was as good as the movies I still find this as one of the more enjoyable shows I’ve watched. I for one think Haruhi is a very fun and entertaining character who controls the plot well. I thought when the series was aired out-of-order on TV originally that it was interesting even if a lot of people didn’t take well to it. Where else though can a TV show troll you so well like this, that is why I love anime.
(11) 10.3 Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood
This was a hard one not to rank higher, I think the only thing keeping it down was I just never liked the characters in this show as much as everything ahead of it on this list. Nevertheless it was a great ride from start to finish filled with excellent cliff hangers and twist and turns around every corner. Top it off a great ending that completed the story while leaving something to the future. I think this anime is a hallmark in terms of creating a complete story and story end. A lot of other animes could learn from this.
(10) 10.2 Card Captor Sakura
The king err queen of magical girl animes and Sakura is the queen of adorableness. I for one wish I had a daughter half as reliable as her one day. I really never expected this show to be as good as it was and in fact put off watching it for years because I thought it only appealed to little girls, it’s actually quite enjoyable for all ages. Like Full Metal Alchemist shows become much more endearing when they present a story that is completed from start to end.
(9) 10.1 K-On!
Likely you either love or hate K-On! there is usually not much room in between. Like so much other anime near the top of my list what makes this to me are the characters. Azusa is one of my top-tier favorites in anime. In addition I think the writing in this anime is very undervalued, it’s been shown time and again you can create something like this show easily but it will only become amazing with good writing.
(8) 10.0 Ika Musume
Ika Musume the character is hilarious, she is what makes this show. There have been other shows with similar setups where some alien type person comes in and is clueless about the world but Ika Musume does it better than no other. Highly enjoyable show not just for comedy but everything it does it does well.
(7) 8.0 Azumanga
Still the king of comedies all these years later, nothing else makes me laugh so much. I think it helps that the show progresses from the start of high school all the way to finish making it something you realize at the end how attached you got to it. Throw in memorable characters like Osaka and you have something very hard to beat.
(6) 6.1 Cowboy Bebop
This one I think doesn’t need much in the way of discussion. Amazing soundtrack, interesting characters, enjoyable ride from start to finish. Some might get turned off by the lack of a progressive plot for most of the anime but I didn’t care because each episode was somewhat unique and interesting with a soundtrack that fit so well.
(5) 6.0 Maria-sama ga Miteru
I admit I like yuri and this is probably the best of the best when it comes to yuri. It’s not full-blown like other yuri titles, rather it is almost entirely undertones but that is what makes it great. The characters are very endearing and I really desire to follow along their lives and troubles. It’s not an exciting show and can be very slow but that is half it’s charm. This is the anime I think needs another season more than any other because I want to know what happens until the end.
(4) 5.0 Evangelion
So you probably already know all about this show and either agree with this rating or think I’m stupid. Simply put I love the characters and think it’s story is pretty well done even if the last couple episodes are not appreciated by the majority. I feel the status of this show sometimes leads towards more criticism than necessary as well. I’ll just say I find it extremely entertaining if not a little thought-provoking as well at points.
(3) 3.0 Haibane Renmei
One of the best drama’s I’ve ever seen, it’s one of those shows that often makes it high on rankings but never gets much credit in the community at large. I think what makes this show more than anything is the characters whom I feel many can relate to and I really can too so much I use the alias Reki. Truly a masterpiece lost in time to flashier newer anime.
(2) 1.2 Gurren Lagann
Speaking of flashy, there was never an anime that was the definition of a show that makes you cry manly tears better than Gurren Lagann. This is the GAR of GAR and the king of overkill but in a good way. I’m not sure it even needs much more explanation it just does awesomeness better than anything else out there. If you have not seen Gurren Lagann yet go do it right now! It’s easy to criticize but this is where I say your missing the point if your paying attention to things like plot holes.
(1) 1.1 Aria
The greatest feel good show ever created, there is nothing that can come close. I use to say that if you didn’t like this show your soul is rotten. While that is a bit of an exaggeration as I don’t expect immature people to understand I do think this show can do everyone a little good. Sure there is much more to it then just that, characters and plot are perfect for it’s intent and the music is outstanding. But it just does feel good like no other so well the rest is just dressing almost. I highly recommend it to anyone with patience and that likes to be happy.
Note: I consider the top spot open on my list so I rated Aria a 1.1 instead of a 1.0. I’ve had the one spot open on my list for about 5 years now as I feel none should be in it.