My Top Ten Anime of All Time

To celebrate my 900th blog post, I decided to make my top ten anime of all time lists. When coming up with the top ten I focused on series that had the most impact on me. At the same time I also choose anime that can and have stood the test of time (even from an animation stand point), and I would recommend to anyone. I don’t think any of these series are going to be surprise anyone, as most are mainstream to an anime audience.

[Note] One Piece, Naruto and Bleach aren’t on the lists because I prefer(ed) the manga.


10. Dragon Ball Z

If this was a list of the series that I was the most nostalgic about Dragon Ball Z would be number one. Most of my childhood was centered on DBZ . The Cartoon Network would torture me by repeating the same arc’s over and over again. I must have watched the Radditz arc at least 50 times before they moved on to the saiyan arc. The series has come to define anime for many anime fans and non-anime fans. It’s hands down one of, if not the most popular anime series of all-time. Dragon Ball Z has been often mocked for it’s constant screaming and it’s “inaction sequences.” My mother would often comment “did they start fighting yet” as she would walk past the t.v. Despite it’s iconic status, DBZ as a series had a lot of problems. This is mostly due to running up against the manga. DBZ had many bad fillers, dragged out fights and at one point took ten episodes for planet Namek to explode. Even with this, the series had some of the most epic fights and has clearly left a mark on anime in general. Dragon Ball Z still remains an anime series that I consider a must see.


9. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann

A mecha anime series by Gainax, Gurren Lagann focuses on mankind’s rise from a subterranean existence to the galactic exploration. Taking place in a future where Earth is ruled by the Spiral King, Lordgenome, a young digger named Simon and his “brother” Kamina dream of reaching the surface. As they and Team Gurren make their way to the skies, they engage in epic, over the top mecha battles. Gurren Lagann features high quality animation, surprising deaths, fanservice, theme music power ups and cool mecha designs. Gurren Lagann resulted in another anime classic for Gainax.


8. Made in Abyss

My favorite anime genre tends to be shonen, but Made in Abyss made me appreciate the seinen genre more. Made in Abyss plays with expectation, if you think the adorable characters are going to have a fun adventure, you are wrong. While only having one season under it’s belt, Made in Abyss had a profound impact on me. Exciting, ruthless, filled with body horror, tear jerking moments and has a intriguing mystery to discover. Made in Abyss is not for the faint of heart, but it’s worth the emotional scarring.


7. Hunter X Hunter

For some reason I kept avoiding Hunter X Hunter. After running into a little bit of an anime drought, I decided to give the series a try. I wasn’t disappointed. On the surface Hunter X Hunter feels like a typical shonen series, but it’s more than that. Gon Freecss, the main protagonists, is a prime example of the undermining of shonen tropes this series does. I loved it’s complicated power system (Nen), character development, action and the uses of a narrator. Narration seemed unnecessary at first but I think it is an amazing addition to the series that adds to it.


6. Mob Psycho 100

An anime from web-comic creator ONE, Mob Psycho 100, is about a 14 year old boy named Shigeo Kageyama. He aims to be ordinary despite the fact that he’s extraordinary with telekinesis. He is a complicated young man struggling with his emotions and fear of his power harming others. Mob Psycho 100 main moral lesson is that despite having an extraordinary abilities you still need work to improve yourself as a human. Mob in particular embodies this theme. Despite his psychic powers he doesn’t think he’s better than anyone. That said, Mob Psycho 100 is still a shonen series with fluid animation, bright colors, humor, funny characters and epic battles.


5. One Punch Man

The creator of Mob Psycho 100 is also the creator of One Punch Man. The title is to be taken literally, as the main protagonist, Saitama is capable of defeating most monsters with one punch. One Punch Man is a parody of the shonen superhero series. It makes fun of the over the top and somewhat silly nature of the typical shonen anime, that results in the main character always defeating the bad guy. It’s surprising how satisfying you find Saitama’s one hit victories. The series does have interesting action, usually it’s other less powerful characters are doing the fighting though. Despite this the series does manage to keep us wondering, which monster can make Saitama hit it more than once. The first season is considered perfect, the second one, not so much. Still, One Punch Man remains an important series for anime fans to watch.


4. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

The story of the Elric brothers, Edward and Alphonse is a sad, tragic tale. Born into a world that practices alchemy, the brothers arrogance leads them to believe that they can break one of the most important rules of alchemy. Trying to resurrect their mother, Ed loses his right arm and left leg and his brother loses his entire body. The brothers go in search of the “philosopher stone,” so they can transmute without consequences. While maintaining a sense of humor, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, is full of themes like sacrifice, death, selfishness, what is truth, and the value of life. If you want to watch an anime series that balances dark themes, comedy and great action, FMA is it.


3. Attack on Titan

If you read this far it’s clear that I love anime series that manage to successfully combine dark, mature themes with great action and top animation. Attack on Titan is a series that lives up to those standards. What separates Attack on Titan from typical series is the level of dreariness. While the main characters are largely safe, you’ll never certain. Secondary characters and any other character are fair game. With characters that are constantly underdogs, failure is the most likely outcome. Often in anime you feel that everything will be fine, in Attack on Titan your surprised that half the squad is still alive. Attack on Titan has mystery, what are titans (weird giant humanoids) and why do they eat humans? Conspiracies, what is the government doing? As they fight for human survival, the scouts deal with trauma, lost and death.


2. Cowboy Bebop

For many Cowboy Bebop is the greatest anime ever. Considered to be a masterpiece, Shinichiro Watanabe blends elements of westerns with elements of film noir. The classic anime series Lupin the third was a visual influence and the three main characters of Cowboy Bebop are inspired by Lupin, Jigen and Fujiko from Lupin. The overall story is influence by Japanese cinema. Cowboy Bebop also uses a jazz heavy soundtrack that is iconic on it’s own, marking a major departure from the common use of J Pop. Cowboy Bebop focuses on mature themes like loneliness and difficulties escaping the past, it’s well animated, well (voice) acted and generally entertaining. Cowboy Bebop is considered a “gateway series” for anime, and I couldn’t agree more.


1. Neon Genesis Evangelion

When I first began watching Neon Genesis Evangelion it was for the epic and violent mecha battles. I couldn’t comprehend the more complex themes and imagery woven into the narrative. Evangelion is credited with revolutionizing anime as a medium. Set in the year 2000, a global cataclysm called the “Second Impact,” changes the world. Antarctica is destroyed and the planet’s axis shifts, causing flooding and a altered climate. After nuclear war, half the worlds population is wiped out. Teenagers, Shinji Ikari, Asuka Langley Soryu and Rei Ayanami pilot massive mecha called Eva’s. Their enemy are physic altering monsters dubbed Angels.

Evangelion explores complex themes like depression, human subjectivity, and child abuse. The series makes many references to philosophical, psychoanalytic concepts, as well as references to Kabbalah, Christian and Jewish religions. Evangelion even uses religious texts like the Book of Genesis within the series and the Angels share names found in religion like Sachiel. The series has been described as both a ” both a critique and deconstruction of the mecha genre.” On the surface, Neon Genesis Evangelion, is a mecha anime with distinctly designed robots that engage in brutal battles. However, the series has levels of deeper and more sophisticated themes that makes Evangelion one of the most well regarded series ever.

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Mob Psycho 100 S2 – 13 Boss Fight ~The Final Light~

Mob enjoying the fight

I have mixed feels regarding this episode. The animation was spectacular as always, but I feel that it may have been too dramatic. Mob Psycho 100 has always had battles that could be said as to be highly dynamic. In this episode something felt off. The end result was always expected, Mob “wins.” As Suzuki got stronger and stronger I always assumed that Mob would surpass him. The main issue is when there’s no limits on the powers of some psychics, there’s no sense of urgency in battle. Basically, they become spectacles of amazing animation and the outcome isn’t in doubt.

Suzuki at 100 % output

As I previously mention the animation was “dramatic and dynamic.” While this was visually pleasing I was unsure whether it was actually happening. For example, when Suzuki gains the upper hand, Mob begins twisting his arm, then the rest of his body. It was such a weird moment that I wasn’t sure if it was actually happening. You could argue that Mob Psycho 100 isn’t about the battle between psychics, it’s about the conflict with Mob. If the battles are just window dressing and the MORE important aspect of the show is Mob’s growth as a person.

Suzuki is arrested

That is the clearly the most important theme of this season, Mob’s growth. He’s always been powerful, but he hasn’t always been confident. Throughout this season Mob has become a more mature young man. Becoming more assertive, he’s been able to both make decisions for himself and be more critical of others. He did this without removing his compassion for others. Mob became a more complete person. Overall, this season had some downsides, the Claw arc was rushed in my opinion. No news on a season 3, but I’m looking forward to how Mob continues to grow.

Mob Psycho 100 S2 – 12 Battle for Social Rehabilitation ~Friendship~

Serizawa being saved by Suzuki

In episode 12 we quickly get to see how the odd Serizawa Katsuya can to be employed by Suzuki. He was a shut in for 15 years, afraid of the outside world. Suzuki uses the fact that he is also an esper. He gives Serizawa an umbrella and tells him that he will “be fine with him.” Mob challenges Serizawa view that he was saved by Suzuki, suggesting that he was being used. Mob tells him that “if this is what he was going to do he should have stayed a shut-in.” In the last episode Mob was told to be harder on people, he is clearly taking that to heart.

Mob remembers his freinds

Mob, Dimple and Serizawa engaged in a battle. Mob warns him that he can’t assimilate back into society. That Suzuki has deluded him into thinking that he was saved. The relationship between Serizawa and Suzuki reminds me of the old relationship between Mob and Reigen. Serizawa is a sad figure. He just wanted to have a normal life but his powers have made his life miserable. Serizawa shoots a massive energy ball at Mob, who absorbs it. He then returns it to Serizawa sharing his feelings with him.

Suzuki’s massive power

Meanwhile, Suzuki explains how he shares his power with his soldiers. He reabsorbs the energy he gave the defeated soldiers becoming engulf in energy. Mob arrives, he begins to challenge the view of Suzuki. Unsurprisingly, he rejects Mob’s view that “people need other people.” When Mob displays his ability to transfer powers. Suzuki then attacks Mob, declaring him his “mortal enemy.” He dominates him in battle, until Reigen arrives to interfere. His usual bait and switch doesn’t work and Suzuki attacks. I though for a second that Reigen was killed, resulting in Mob going insane.

Mob brutalized by Suzuki

However, Serizawa arrives to save Reigen. Mob gets up after having reach 100% rage. Suzuki attacks Serizawa and Reigen, but Mob blocks it. Minegishi rescues Shou, Reigen and Serizawa. This angers Suzuki as he’s now been betrayed by everyone. He of course doesn’t see the reality that it’s actually his fault. Mob attacks him again, but Suzuki reveals that he’s only using 10 percent of his output while Mob is at 100 percent. Of course we have seen Mob break 100 percent before so it’s hardly the end of his power. I anticipate that he will need some help, if for no other reason than it fits the theme of not going at it alone. regardless, the next episode is going to be epic.

Mob enraged

Mob Psycho 100 S2 – 11 Guidance ~Psychic Sensor~

Mob scolds Claw members

This episode was simply epic. The animation was perfect. The action was superb. From beginning to end I was hooked. The pacing of this episode was great as well. The previous few episodes felt a little too fast paced. Even with the large number of combatants presence at once the fight never was difficult to follow. Furthermore, the choreography of the fights was well done. Mob continues to grow as a person, as he reminds the Claw espers that they’re not that special.

Shou’s fruitless efforts

This episode seamlessly shifts between fights. We begin with the fight (if you can call it that) between Ritsu and Shimazaki. Mob faces of against the plant using Ultimate 5 member, Minegishi. Mob is largely on the defensive in this battle only to be “saved” by Matsuo, who is defeated easily. However, Mogami is released from his bottle and quickly handles Minegishi and the others. He questions Mob’s views on giving people second chances to become better. He tells Mob that he needs to be “hard on people sometimes,” and that if he could do it “he would be invincible.”

Shimazaki

Shou faces off against his father. He is dominated and clearly has very little to hurt his father. Meanwhile, the most interesting fight of this episode was Shimazaki verses everyone. Ritsu, Teru, and the former Scar members all attack him together. His weakness seems to be concentration and with all the members fighting almost at once he becomes distracted. When this moment occurs everyone takes this opportunity to get some hits in. However, Shimazaki recovers activating his “mind eye.” At this point he senses Mob approaching, only to be “defeated” by Reigen “self defense attack.”

Reigen’s self defenses attack

He flees in fear of Mob’s anger when he tells him that he only destroyed peoples lives for fun. Before Mob goes to confront the boss, he proves that he can be hard on people. His friends and brother are preparing to join him in battle and he informs them that they would “only get in his way.” With only two members of Claw left, Touichirou (the boss) and Serizawa this season is winding down. I’m interested in seeing how the opposing personalities of Mob and Touichirou clash.

Mob telling his friends to stay put

Mob Psycho 100 S2 Episode 10 Review – Collision ~Power Type~

Claw has moved into the Seasoning Cultural Tower. Suzuki explains that he took over the Tower for two reasons. First, the omurice in the cafeteria is amazing. Second, he’s from this city and feels able to monitor any “changes.” The police show up and are handled by the “red shirt” espers. Hatori handles the press in the helicopters. Reigen and the former claw members debate what to do. Reigen argues that they should “let the police handle it.” He doesn’t believe that they would have much of a chance.

He receives a call from an insurance agent that tells, telling him that he has no claim. This is what “inspires” him to change his mind. Meanwhile, Shou and Ritsu head to the tower to confront his father. He claims that Ritsu has “latent abilities that surpasses Mob.” It’s unclear how sincere Shou was, but if he’s right that’s a MAJOR claim. He then suggests that he’s more “powerful than his father.” I doubt that too. Anyway, they are interrupted by the member of the Ultimate 5, Minegishi, the plant user.

Shou claims that getting caught by his plants will result in you becoming food. Shou three associates intervene, fighting on his behalf. Reigen organizes a plan to infiltrate the tower. It’s not successful. Elsewhere, Reigen, Mob and Dimple are located by the members of Claw. Reigen’s “luck” get them out of fighting the low level ones. However, he fails to subdue the member of Ultimate 5.

Mob is out of commission for almost all of this episode. That’s fine. However, it’s clearly has more to do with him having TOO much power, as he clear would end the conflict easily. Mob awakens at the end of the episode, defeating the Ultimate 5 member. I think there might be a problem. With so many characters I don’t think it’s possible to be thorough. There’s only 3 episodes left in this season, so I think that the series may rush to a conclusion or continue the arc into the following season.