Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time: A perfect ending for a classic franchise

“Nothing good ever happens”

– Shinji Ikari

Neon Genesis Evangelion is considered to be one of the greatest anime series ever. In Evangelion , director Hideaki Anno explores complex themes in religion, philosophy, and psychology. Evangelion is credited with reviving the anime industry in the 90s, as well as influencing future anime series and animation in general. Neon Genesis Evangelion is set on the post-apocalyptic Earth, in the city of Tokyo-3. The U.N. funded paramilitary organization NERV fights against alien beings called Angels, with giant mechs called EVA (Evangelion). These EVA is piloted by the teenagers specifically selected by the secret committee the Marduk Institute, Shinji Ikari, Asuka Shikinami Langley, and Rei Ayanami.

Village 3

Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time is the the fourth and final movie in the Rebuild of Evangelion. An alternate retelling of the Neon Genesis Evangelion series, Rebuild of Evangelion featured major changes, specifically the introduction of Kaworu Nagisa and Mari Makinami Illustrious. Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time opens with a helpful recap of the past movies in the series. WILLE heads to Paris, France to activate the Anti-L System. They’re attacked by waves of Evangelion Mark.44A, Evangelion Mark.44B, and Evangelion Mark.4444C. Mari and her helmsman Sumire Nagara fight them off using a the Wunder’s complicated cable fighting abilities. Maya Ibuki, Ritsuko Akagi, and several male subordinates successfully activate the pillar which restore part of the city. With the underground storage lockers containing spare EVA parts, munitions, and JA-02 components the crew of Wunder prepare to repair Unit-02 and Unit-08.

Rei farming with the older ladies

The Villagers of Village 3

Shinji, Rei, and Asuka arrive at a living settlement called Village 3. They reunite with Toji Suzuhara, Kensuke Aida, and Hikari Horaki as they try to survive after the Third Impact. Shinji is his usual miserable self. Unwilling to make eye contact or speaking to anyone. He’s reeling from the results of his actions. He feels he should be hated by everyone and wallows is self-pity. Shinji spends a lot of time sitting in the corner ignoring everyone then occasionally vomits when he’s see Asuka’s DSS Choker, which triggers his traumatic experience with Kaworu. Asuka continues to be rude and insensitive. She cares about Shinji even though she tries hides it.

She wears a scarf to cover the DSS Choker and secretly watches over Shinji. When Shinji refuses to eat she force feeds him. Her methods are cruel but you can feel her frustration with Shinji. Hideaki Anno finally shows us how the rest of humanity lives. It was easy to forget they even exists, making it impossible to care about them. He uses Rei Ayanami as the guide to this new world. A clone of a clone, Rei is unaware of the world outside of NERV. She has never had a bath, doesn’t know basic manners, has never seen a cat, dog, or human baby before. Rei settles into the village going to school and learning to farm along some of the older women. As Rei develops her own identity, she’s able to manage an emotional breakthrough with Shinji.

Rei learning how to plant seeds

However, her independence is never complete. When she decides to get a new name she doesn’t choose one herself. Instead she asks Shinji to give her one. Sadly, Rei realizes she cannot survive without LCL exposure. Accepting her demise, she tells Shinji she “knows what like is and she’s happy.” She dies wanting more from her life. Wanting to harvest more rice, hold Tsubame Suzuhara more, and be with Shinji. She explodes, never getting her new name. Her death spurs Shinji to fight again, however, the remaining crew members of WILLE aren’t so sure. It’s here in the village we learn what they’ve been fighting for.

Overwhelming opposition

NERV heads to a former Calvary Base in Antarctica to reactive Evangelion Unit 13. Misato and Ritsuko prepare to stop them. They hope to restore the world by stopping NERV. Asuka and Mari get new plugsuits and prepare to fight. Before they do Asuka tells Shinji she has feeling for him. The dynamic between Shinji and Asuka feels to distant and toxic to every become a more significant romantic relationship. Regardless, Asuka willingness to express her feelings shows her growth.

The AAA Wunder under attack

When the Wunder arrives in Antarctica they’re attacked by three NERV ships, NHG Erlösung, NHG Erbsünde, and NHG Gebet. Evangelion’s dramatic narrative, trauma moments, themes, and complex story has always been it’s draw. However, it’s combat has always been important. Even though the pilot took the direct physical and mental damage during battle, the crew of NERV and later WILLE were always apart of the combat. Giving orders, managing the EVA’s, encouraging the pilots, and suffering as witnesses to the pilots trauma. With multiple crew members maintain various systems, the combat becomes more dramatic as they attempt to respond to events on the fly. It’s intense. When the Wunder dives into the containment field it’s ambushed by two NERV ships.

The Evangelion Mark.07 attack Unit 2 and Unit 8

Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time’s hectic combat

Despite being overwhelmed and outgunned, the AAA Wunder manages to reach it’s destination and launch all guided Munitions. However, NERV responds by releasing mass Evangelion Mark.07. EVA Unit 02 and Unit 08 are launched to counter. Armed with a variety of weapons, Asuka and Mira work together to defeat the army of Eva’s, and land near EVA Unit 13. One difference from Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time and the past series is the number of combatants. In this movie, NERV sends massive swarms of reproduced EVA Units to fight. As a result, the pace of the battles are much faster, making it difficult to follow at times. In the past, the Angels were the main enemy. They would appear one at a time and be the center focus of NERV. The conflict was more deliberate. In The End of Evangelion, Asuka fights nine winged Mass Produced Evangelion. While there are multiple enemies the action felt better paced.

I still enjoyed the combat in Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time, but the enemies feel like fodder more than serious obstacles. When Unit 02 finally reaches Unit 13 it refuses to attack. Confused by what’s happening, Misako commands the crew shoot the third ship. Suddenly, the Wunder is impaled by a fourth NERV ship, destroying the guns. Desperate, Asuka removes her eyepatch releasing the 9th Angel, transforming herself and Unit 2. Gendo Ikari had planned this all along. He sends a new EVA Unit 09 to attack the Wunder. As it takes over the Wunder, Gendo Ikari descends.

Gendo Ikari transcends humanity

Gendo Ikari’s plan

Misato and Ritsuko Akagi meet him and Ritsuko shoots Gendo in the head blowing a hole in his head. He survives. Gendo used the Key of Nebuchadnezzar to transcend his humanity. Before entering Unit 13, he explains that the second impact purified the sea, the third the Earth, and the fourth will purify the souls. Humanity will abandon their bodies and become a collective intelligence becoming immortal. Misato and Dr. Akagi still have hope for humanity. Shinji appears and begs Misato to allow him to pilot Unit 01. Sakura Suzuhara and Midori Kitakami try and stop them and Misato gets shot. She reassures them that she will take responsibility for Shinji’s actions.

Mari and Shinji head to the Anti-Universe to confront Gendo. Shinji syncs with EVA Unit 01 and fights with his father. Gendo promises that if Shinji gives up he can see his mother again. They face off in close combat in a surreal scene. As they fight they’re transported from the City, the apartment, classroom, and other places from Shinji’s past. Gendo claims the two EVA’s are perfect counterparts and are in sync, resulting in them mirroring the others movements. Shinji pleads with his father to stop. Gendo shows Shinji the “imaginary Evangelion,” or Black Lilith. Humanity can only perceive it if they believe “equally in fantasy and reality.” It’s the only way Gendo can get his wish to reunite with his wife, Yui.

Elsewhere, Misato decides to create another spear, the Lance of Gaius. The crew evacuates, while Misato sacrifices herself. Gendo and Shinji continue to talk. Gendo admits he hated people, whether it was visiting family, or going to school. He wanted to be alone, playing piano, and gaining knowledge. He feared pain, betrayal, and rejection. Once he meet his wife Yui, his life changed. However, he learned what the pain of lonely felt like when she died. He finally realizes that his abandonment of Shinji was wrong and apologizes to him. With the power of the Lance of Gaius, Shinji can now rewrite the world. He tells Asuka he likes her too, says goodbye to Kawory Nagisa, and to Rei. Shinji creates a world without Evangelions, a “Neon Genesis.”

A World without Evangelion

Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time reminds us that it’s just a movie. Hideaki Anno uses the Anti-Universe portion to remind the audience this is just a movie, Shinji falls into what appears to be background, he’s on a soundstage when he’s talking to Rei. In this warehouse we see scaffolding, EVA costumes hanging on the walls, and PlayStation controllers. Before the credits roll we see the storyboard of movie and watch it transition back into animation. Hideaki Anno has struggled with depression and used the experience as a source for the series. Despite the series cult following, fans haven’t been too kind to Anno. He’s spent much of his life creating Evangelion and now has his freedom. Anno is telling fans to live our lives.

The series remains a bit convoluted and I had to rewind a few times to try an understand what’s going on at least at the end. None of this is a problem. Part of the joy of Evangelion is it’s complex story and you can always enjoy the mecha fights while you try to figure everything out. The music adds to the intensity of the atmosphere, the dreary piano playing and the somber religious chanting. The score enters when the stakes are the highest. The animation from Studio Khara, during the portion of the film in Village 3, the animation was it’s most impressive. The scene when Shinji and Kensuke head to his house, the walkway crumbles with detailed realism. While Rei is working on the farm the plants, sticks, and wires feel 3D. The backgrounds are so lifelike it can be difficult to determine if it’s CG or not.

The movie is more hopeful than expected. Despite the complexity and trauma the characters suffered, none of them seemed likeable. The final Evangelion movie gives them a more sympathetic image. Evangelion has been an anime series with a number of problems hindering it’s completion, mainly the cost of production. As it finally ends it feels satisfying. Overall, Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time concludes one of the greatest anime series of all time with an unexpected ending, a happy one.


Jacques Derrida and the Deconstruction of the Super Robot genre

Image of Super Robots

I wrote how Jacques Derrida’s “deconstruction” was later applied to “genre deconstruction.” Since we could choose what we wrote about for my English 244 class, I decided to write on how Evangelion deconstructs the Super Robot Genre. I ended up writing 7 pages so it’s long. If you have the time, read it and let me know what you think. I added the quotes and images to this post.

French philosopher Jacques Derrida is credited with coining the term “deconstruction.” Deconstruction is defined as “a criticism of Platonism, which is defined by the belief that existence is structured in terms of oppositions (separate substances or forms) and that the oppositions are hierarchical, with one side of the opposition being more valuable than the other” (Lawlor). This hierarchy is often observed in the binaries, rich and poor, black and white, male and female, and smart and dumb. In each example, society values one over the other. Generally, we prefer to be rich than poor, diverse societies tend to have a preference for white people over black people. It is common for societies to be patriarchal, given most societies are controlled by men. While everyone can’t be equally intelligent, and most people may not care if they’re the smartest, societies generally have been shown to prefer intelligence.

Derrida was interested in how the meaning of a text could be inferred from what is absent from it as well as what’s present. For example, the word high is defined by its opposite low. Even if “low” isn’t present, its concept is always there. A language that is created by humans, is likely to be embedded with bias. Derrida challenged Western philosophy by examining language, and the philosopher’s obsession with logic and reason. He believed that almost all our ways of thinking suffered from bias, speech is privileged over writing, reason over passion, and words over pictures. He hoped that we could learn to appreciate the value of the underprivileged concept. To successfully deconstruct an idea, we must accept that these ideas are difficult to grasp, and simple answers aren’t always possible. Derrida’s concept of deconstruction aims to seek the hidden meaning in texts by questioning the binaries found within them.

Deconstruction in literature and genre

Deconstruction was later applied to feminism (gender), religion, law, and literature. When deconstructing literature it’s important to examine how words relate to one another and explore their hidden meanings. Often deconstruction is used to break down the genre. First, we need to define a genre. Generally, a genre includes a set of tropes, themes, and characters commonly found in a particular set of works. For example, the horror genre aims to “frighten, scare, or disgust” (Wikipedia). To accomplish this, the genre employs various elements such as imagery, language, and atmosphere to create fear, dread, and revulsion in the reader. Applying deconstruction to literary genres means taking them apart and exploring how the genre functions. Genre is rarely fixed, changing over time as culture shifts and new genres are invented. One way a genre can change is through deconstruction. A genre’s tropes and conventions are given real-world consequences when we deconstruct them.

For example, George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire deconstructs the “honor before reason” trope. This trope is illustrated when characters adhere to a code of ethics even at the expense of themselves. In A Song of Ice and Fire, Ned Stark is willing to sacrifice his honor for the good of others. Ned allows his wife, children, and Westeros society to believe he fathered an illegitimate son, rather than reveal that Jon is his nephew. He does so to protect Jon from being killed because he would be the rightful heir to the throne. Multiple tropes must be examined, broken down, and how characters will react if living in a more realistic world is explored. Deconstruction can often be mistaken for merely applying a more cynical view to a genre. While this tends to be the result it’s not the goal or a requirement. Sometimes deconstruction focuses on what’s ignored and explores what’s overlooked. Any work that avoids engaging with politics, gender, race, class, and/or sexuality is considered perfect fodder for deconstruction.

Bandai’s Gundam series

Deconstructing the Super Robot genre

The super robot genre is a science fiction genre of anime and manga. Massive robots take the place of the traditional hero. These “super robots” are often creations of Mad Scientists that develop the mechs in secret. Sometimes the robot is created by the pilot’s father or grandfather. It’s often left unclear how they get funding, parts, and equipment without anyone knowing. The mecha are often piloted by a teenager with no training, who happens to be great at piloting the robot. The mechanics for controlling a super robot are simplified to a joystick or a few buttons. Despite its size and rigid shape, the giant mecha moves with a fluidity that resembles humans. The mecha is generally sentient, responding to the pilot’s emotions or willpower of the pilot. The super robot genre presents the hero and his mecha as the last hope against evil.

This evil is often mysterious alien villains with shallow motivations. Even though combat between the mecha and these aliens results in massive explosions, environmental effects, and destruction, the likely human casualties are ignored. The super robot genre makes the outcome from war seem insignificant, not to mention that defending the world is so simple that a teen could do it. The super robot genre was deconstructed by the Neon Genesis Evangelion series. Evangelion is considered to be one of the greatest anime series ever created. The series has one of the most complex, and sometimes confusing, narratives. Evangelion combines themes in psychoanalysis, specifically social anxiety, and religion. Philosophical themes like individuality, freedom, choice and a specific focus on the philosophies of Soren Kierkegaard are major influences.

Evangelion’s deconstruction of the super robot genre places the previously mentioned elements in a more serious context. The series shares the basic premise of the super robot series, an ordinary high school student pilots a mech designed by his father, to battle aliens without discernible motives. However, it quickly pivots in tone. Evangelion explores the likely consequences of having children pilot these giant war machines. The main character, Shinji Ikari, is summoned by his father, Gendo Ikari, to pilot an Eva (the name for the giant mechs). Gendo’s disregard for his son’s safety is obvious as he pressures Shinji into piloting. Evangelion is exploring the type of parent that would allow their child to become a soldier in the first place.

Gendo abandoned Shinji when he was an infant. This distance results in a cold relationship between father and son. The series explains it takes “several months’ ‘ (“Angel Attack (14:20 – 14:40) for a pilot to sync with Eva. Evangelion is calling attention to the absurdity of allowing a child to not only pilot but to do so without any training. It’s important to note that while Evangelion questions how the super robot genre treats the child pilots it doesn’t stop the children from piloting. Deconstruction is supposed to question the themes, conventions, and tropes, not undo them completely.

Neon Genesis Evangelion – Eva Unit 01

Unlike the typical super robot, Eva’s are referred to as “artificial human” (“Angel Attack (13:36 – 13:45). The Eva’s are organic, making their movements more believable. Like the super robot genre, the Eva’s are sentient, but they are biological beings embedded with the souls of the mothers of the pilots. This explains why the Eva’s are protective of the pilots. In the series, the mechanism for controlling Eva is more complex than most super robot series. The Eva’s are monitored by NERV’s control room. Once inside, the pilot is submerged in a liquid called LCL. This substance will “feed oxygen into the pilot’s bloodstream” (“Angel Attack” (19:25 – 19:35). The mechanics of piloting an Eva is considerably more complicated than what is common for the super robot genre. In the second episode, “Unfamiliar Ceilings,” Shinji encounters one of the alien monsters called Angels. These alien creatures vary in appearance and motives. Most can’t communicate, making it impossible to gain insight into their thoughts.

During this encounter, Shinji is tasked with making Eva walk and finds it difficult. He has no time to regain control and is attacked by the Angel. Shinji is overwhelmed by pain as the synchronization that links him with Eva causes him to share its damage mentally (“Unfamiliar Ceilings” (2:20 – 3:25). Shinji is nearly killed in this battle, which should be expected considering his lack of experience. By deconstructing this trope of the child hero, Evangelion is claiming that it would likely end in disaster. The series further dissects this genre, explaining how Eva would come into being. NERV is established by the United Nation. The U.N. provides NERV with funding, income, and equipment. NERV is a large governing body with security, technicians, and maintenance crews, this is what a more realistic world would require to build and run the Eva’s. In the traditional super robot series, the robot’s creator would make Eva’s by himself, which is implausible. Evangelion shows the true cost (financial, physical, and mental) of fighting for humanity’s survival and it’s a great cost.

Deconstructing genres isn’t exactly like Derrida’s prescriptions for philosophy, but the breaking down of work to determine greater meaning is derived from his views. When we ask “how would this work in the real world,” we are not aiming to delegitimize the genre, but explore what might make the genre more complex. The super robot genre makes a mockery of the trauma of being a child soldier and the destruction society endures during the war. Deconstruction doesn’t aim to destroy a genre but merely take it more seriously, creating a more sophisticated genre, and engaging in possible assumptions the particular work makes.

Work Cited

“Genre Deconstruction / Anime & Manga.” TV Tropes, Accessed 19 May 2021.

“Themes of Neon Genesis Evangelion.” Wikipedia, 18 Feb. 2021,

“Deconstruction.” TV Tropes, Accessed 19 May 2021.

“Anime / Neon Genesis Evangelion.” TV Tropes, Accessed 19 May 2021.

Wikipedia contributors. “Evangelion (Mecha).” Wikipedia, 14 Apr. 2021,

“NERV | Evangelion | Fandom.” Evangelion, Accessed 19 May 2021.

“What Is an Angel?” Evangelion, Accessed 19 May 2021.

Lawlor, Leonard, “Jacques Derrida”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2019 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <;.

“Horror.” Literary Terms,

“Super Robot Genre Aka: Super Robot.” TV Tropes, Accessed 19 May 2021.

“Literature / A Game of Thrones.” TV Tropes, Accessed 19 May 2021.

“Angel Attack.” Evangelion, created by Creator Hideaki Anno, season 1, episode 1, TV Tokyo, 1995.

“Unfamiliar Ceilings.” Evangelion, created by Creator Hideaki Anno, season 1, episode 2, TV Tokyo, 1995.

100 Day Anime Challenge · Challenges

100 Day Anime Challenge – Day 30

Evangelion title image
Evangelion title

Anime you wish never ended and continued (Neon Genesis Evangelion)

Technically, Evangelion hasn’t ended (the next movie is coming this year). However, I separate the movies from the main series. So for this challenge, I’m focusing on Evangelion-only season.

When I first started watching Evangelion, I was a child (maybe I shouldn’t have been watching the series at that age); I was too young to comprehend the complexity and symbolism within the series. I just thought that it was a cool violent mecha anime. However, once I got older and more mature, I could appreciate the series more. I even wrote a college English paper on the series.

They have credited Evangelion with “revolutionized the giant-robot genre “. The series was so successful that it has earned billions. For those who don’t know, Evangelion focuses on a futuristic Tokyo more than a decade after a “worldwide cataclysm “. The story centers on protagonist Shinji, a teenage boy who is recruited by his father for an organization called NERV to pilot an Evangelion.

Using the Evangelion, Shinji along with fellow pilots Rei Ayanami and Asuka Langley Soryu, combat enemies known as Angels. The series focuses on deep psychological effects that the pilots experience as they attempt to prevent another catastrophe. It features heavy religious symbolism “from Kabbalah, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, and Shinto“. Overall, Neon Genesis Evangelion combines themes centered on philosophy, religion, and psychoanalysis with amazing mecha battles. I highly recommend this series and wish it didn’t end.

100 Day Anime Challenge · Challenges

100 Day Anime Challenge–Day 18

Favorite Supporting Female Anime Character

(Asuka Langley Soryu)

My favorite supporting female character is Asuka Langley Soryu. She is the “Second Child” and the pilot of Unit 02. She is of German and Japanese descent but from America. Asuka has rather abrasive, self-absorbed, and often mean and abusive, usually toward Shinji. She has great confidence in her ability as an Eva pilot and has synced with Unit 02 better than average. She is severely insecure because of trauma from her childhood and uses her attitude as a mask. In the Rebuild of Evangelion series, it changes her name to Asuka Shikinami Langley.

This version of Asuka is like her original. She’s confident, opinionated, and aggressive. However, she doesn’t have the same relationships that the old Asuka had. Another change is with her backstory. In the original, Asuka graduates from University at age 14. In the Rebuild of Evangelion, Asuka joins the European Air Force, becoming a Captain at age 14. Asuka’s genius and cockiness the follows isn’t for show. She’s got the skills.

Asuka’s shining moment for many fans is when she single-handedly battles armed forces and 9 mass-produced EVA’s. Though she succeeded in defeating them at first, Unit 02’s run’s out of power. The Mass-Produced Eva’s have infinite power “which allows them to remain functional despite being severely damaged or mutilated” and finally allows them to “eviscerate and dismember” Unit 02 using their “Lance of Longinus” replicas. I didn’t like Asuka until this moment. I found her offputting, but she proved she was the best Eva pilot.

100 Day Anime Challenge · Challenges

100 Day Anime Challenge–Day 11

Favorite Mech Anime (Evangelion)

I once wrote about the “mecha” genre for the Artifice in an article called Mechas: Disassociation from Science Fiction. Mecha anime is one of the most valued subgenres. The genre is further split into three sub-categories, Super Robot, Real Robot, and Hybrid Robot. There are four “types” of mecha’s: “sentient, remote-controlled, wearable, and piloted.” Neon Genesis Evangelion is a “Hybrid Robot” series that aims to “deconstruct” the mecha genre. Gainax created Neon Genesis Evangelion. Hideaki Anno wrote and directed the series.

Evangelion is an apocalyptic anime that focuses on a teenage boy named Shinji Ikari. They give him the opportunity to save the world using a mecha called an “Eva.” He uses this giant robot to defeat enemies called Angels. It’s considered one of the most successful anime of all time, grossing over 150 Billion yen. I think Evangelion is one of the most impressive intellectual and though provoking anime ever created. Evangelion has tremendous action sequences and complicated themes based on religion and philosophy. The series can be violent, so caution should be taken if your easily offended. You can miss the underlining symbolism that Evangelion features so I would recommend watching the series several times.

100 Day Anime Challenge · Challenges

100 Day Anime Challenge – Day 2

Favorite Anime you’ve watched so far

Over the years, several new anime have entered my top ten anime. However, none have topped 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. They credit Evangelion 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 an altered climate. After the nuclear war, half the world’s 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, and 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. Evangelion has been described as a ” critique and deconstruction of the mecha genre.” On the surface, 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 make Evangelion one of the most well-regarded series ever.

Lists · Top 5

Top 5 Amoral Groups or Races in Anime

The shinigami from Death Note
The shinigami from Death Note

The Shinigami (Death Note)

The Shinigami in Death Note exists to kill humans. It’s required for them to survive. Ryuk deliberately drops his Death Note into the human world out of boredom. He takes joy in Light Yagami’s mass-murdering but largely doesn’t care about their death because it’s all part of nature. Since all humans are going to die anyway, why be concerned with premature deaths. 

The Zoldyk family (Hunter X Hunter)

The Zoldyk family is a family of assassins. The family is highly pragmatic that practice tough love. They have a strict approach to their profession and a love of violence. However, they have a strict rule against killing the innocent. Their cold demeanor extends to each other. It works when assassinating people, not so much when relating to the family. 

The Pillar Men (JoJo Bizarre Adventure)

The Pillar Men are an ancient humanoid race. They’re almost extinct, but use to live thousand of years ago. Highly intelligent, powerful, and capable of manipulating the bodies to a high degree. Due to being such an elite and old race, they have very little regard for humanity. They view humanity the way humans tend to view insects. They even killed a character without noticing. However, the Pillar Men seem to value non-human life, going out of their ways to avoid destroying things like flowers. 

The Angels (Evangelion)

Angels in Evangelion refer to the fifteen children of Adam. Exactly what Angels are can be confusing. Supposedly, Angel’s are a variation of the human race. At first, they appear as humanoid entities, then they “reject” the human form. Angel’s have unique forms. The motives of the Angel’s are left ambiguous. One theory is that they’re trying to “return to Adam,” that’s located deep underground. They may want to “access Lilith and reset all life.” Angel’s don’t seem to communicate and often have no expression. Overall, the Angel’s seem to function on some sort of autopilot. What motivates hem is unknown but it appears that they only fight out of instinct. 

The Saiyans (DBZ)

According to Akira Toriyama Saiyans are considered amoral. They are a warrior race that loves battle and strength above all else. Goku often displays the amorality and its possible consequence. He often spares the life of a villain so they could get stronger a fight again. During the Cell Games, he gives Cell a Senzu bean so he could have a “fair fight” against Gohan. He does this although it would have benefited Earth and increase Gohan’s chances. Also, the Saiyans have an odd view of romantic relationships. Saiyan form sexual relationships for procreation and not for love. Most Saiyans don’t have romantic or parental love for spouses or children. It’s the primary reason Goku and Vegeta don’t have the best relationship with their wives and children. 

Top 5 Best Anime Couples

Lists · Top 100 · Top 100 Favorite Anime and Manga Battles

The Top 100 Anime and Manga Battles of All Time (50 – 41)

50. Ramiel vs EVA Unit 01 & EVA Unit 02

Unit 01 is blindly send to combat Ramiel. Sensing the Eva, Ramiel fire off a powerful beam melting the Eva’s chest almost killing Shinji. Ramiel begins to drill towards Nerv, when they are able to determine that the particle beam is perfect in its accuracy. Ramiel has the most powerful AT field ever recorded. They decided to use a “positron rifle”, when Eva Unit 01 snipes Ramiel. Ramiel uses its particle beam and the same time Eva Unit 01 shoots causing both to miss. Ramiel fires a second shot but it is blocked by Unit 00’s shield. The second shot from Unit 01 is successful in killing it.

49. Jiraiya, Tsunade vs Orochimaru

Jiraiya decided its finally time to kill Orochimaru. Having been previously drugged by Tsunade, Jiraiya had a difficult time molding chakra. Tsunade fought Kabuto as he was the only one able. Kabuto was completely out of his league, he slits his wrists taking advantage of Tsunade’s” hæmophobia” . Naruto was injured attempting to help her. Tsunade heals him vowing to protect him no matter what.

Orochimaru, attempts to kill him but Tsunade protects him with her body. Tsunade got over her blood fear and healed herself enough to summon Katsuya. Jiraiya is able to summon Gamabunta to fight off against Orochimaru’s Manda. Defeating two sannin was too difficult for Orochimaru to accomplish and he and Kabuto fled.

48. Kisuke Urahara vs. Askin Nakk Le Vaar

This battle is the most interesting largely due to the fact that Kisuke finally uses his Bankai. The problem I had with this fight (and maybe this final Bleach arc) is that I CANNOT REALLY UNDERSTAND Askin’s power or Urahara’s Bankai’s powers. After Askin uses his Vollstandig, Hasshein which “will adapt to mutations in any “poison” he is resisting.” His description of his power is long winded. Anyway, Urahara attacks Askin, but he dodges. He uses his Gift Ring on Urahara’s eye, causing it to burst.

Realizing the danger that he’s in, Urahara releases his Bankai, Kannonbiraki Benihime Aratame. The first time he’s using his Bankai, there’s not much information on it. Askin’s arm split open and he jumps back, resulting in his arm begin sewed back up. Urahara’s Bankai can ” restructure anything it touches.” Urahara restructures his eyes and then his left hand increasing his power. Askin increases the power of his Gift Ball Deluxe. Surprisingly, the hand of Grimmjow rips the heart out of Askin’s chest.

47. Straw Hat Crew vs Hody Jones pirates

Each member of the Straw Hat Crew, battles against a member of the Hody Jones pirates. Luffy attacks Hody and sends him flying into the ship, Noah. Luffy activates his Gear Third. Hody uses the water in the ship to sending shark shaped water bullets towards Luffy. he dodges them and crushes Hody with “Gum Gum Elephant Gun”. Brook battles against Zeo, Zoro faces Hyouzou. Franky ends his battle with Ikaros Much with his “giant attack” . Usopp calls “Humandrake” to attack Daruma, then he calls “Trampolia”.

Hyouzou tries to attack Zoro from behind. Sanji, Jinbe, fight the massive Wadatsumi, Wadatsumi plans to “flatten” the plaza. Brook moves behind Zeo, and is defeated by Brook’s ice sword. Usopp knocks Daruma with a shock wave. Chopper uses his strength to win his battle, while Franky roasts Ikaros with a laser beam. Jinbe uses his fish man karate against Wadatsumi, his attack travels through Wadatsumi and sends him airborne. Sanji uses fire kicks to set him ablaze. Zoro uses his new “Onigiri” move on Hyouzou defeating him, ending the battle against the Hody pirates.

46. Ichibe Hyosube vs. Yhwach

One of the difficulties witnessing this fight was knowing that Yhwach couldn’t loss to Hyosube. Regardless of what he did he was always going to fail. This is true of most, if not all the battles in anime. What’s different in this fight is you get the impression that Hyosube would have won if it made sense for the story. Hyosube is an interesting character. He manages to maintain his stern manner, while being upbeat personality. During this battle he’s ruthless, but manages to smile regardless.

His personality shines through, along with his power. He’s constantly condescending towards Yhwach, especially as he cuts Yhwach’s power in half. He’s given the title of “Monk Who Calls the Real Name,” he created the names for everything in Soul Society. He can manipulate “true names the metaphysical representations of sentient being – which grants him a certain amount of power over the target.” After Hyosube continues to outclass Yhwach in the battle, the later uses The Almighty. Now Yhwach “can see far into the future with his eyes opened, which allows him to know and understand all abilities.” This is largely an Ass Pull, but up until this moment the battle was exciting.

45. Sakura, Chiyo vs Sasori

Sakura destroys Sasori's puppet with Chiyo's aid
Sakura destroys Sasori’s puppet with Chiyo’s aid

Sakura notices the difference between her and Sasori, in both ” his experience and amount of kills”. Chiyo reassures her that she ” is here”, and that she will protect her. She flings several kunai at Sasori, though he block them with her tail. Its revealed that he is hiding within his puppet. Chiyo explains how to defeat Sasori puppet Hiruko, and that Sakura is important in the strategy. First they have to get close to the puppet, but dodge the poisonous traps it possess. Chiyo claims that her battle experience is superior to Sasori, and that she has already made the first move. They succeed in the first part of the plan, as Chiyo takes control over Sakura’s body like a puppet. Sasori is impressed but quickly aims to kill off Sakura and Chiyo. Sasori releases his favorite puppet, the Third Kazekage. Sasori begins his attack with his puppet but he aims to kill Sakura. Trapping her he release poison, however Sakura is determined not to died and uses a explosive tag to disburse the poison.

Chiyo uses the puppets that Sasori made of his mother and father. Sasori and Chiyo clash in a spectacular display of puppetry. Sasori aims to ” get serious” and release his puppet special ability “Iron Sand”. He quickly attacks with ” Iron Sand Drizzle”. With the Iron Sand making the puppets of Chiyo unusable and forcing her to use her own modified body. The situation turns dire as Sasori has placed Chiyo and Sakura in an unenviable position. Chiyo tells Sakura to run, but she refuses. Sakura aims to be a puppet for Chiyo and because she is human and has massive strength at her disposal. Sakura shows her skilled set both in her strength, but also her ability to see through Sasori’s attack patterns. Sasori uses “Iron Sand World Model”, Sakura feints injury and when Sasori comes in for the kill she destroys his puppet. Having developed a antidote for the poison she found in Kankuro. Sasori notes that she had to develops a sophisticate antidote to counter his poison.

Sakura exhausted from the battle aims to end it quickly. Sasori seems to agree and decides another puppet would be useless, he decides to use his body. Sasori’s use of his body fails, and Chiyo decides to use her ” Secret White Technique: Group of Ten of the Chikamatsu”. Her puppets were used to topple an entire castle. Sasori responses with his ” Secret Red Technique: Hundred Manipulation ” , which feature hundreds of puppets that destroyed a country. There seems to be a quality vs quantity principle in regards to the battle. Chiyo has better quality of puppets but Sasori has a larger number of them.

Chiyo gives Sakura a sealing puppet aimed at stopping Sasori. Sasori manages to escape and appears behind Chiyo with a sword and attacks. Sakura steps in between him and Chiyo taking a sword into the stomach. She attempts to heal herself while t pulling out the sword, but the poison prevents her from doing so. Chiyo gives Sakura the last antidote, while Chiyo attacks Sasori with her ” Mom and Dad” puppets. She finally strikes his core, paralyzing him but Sakura is dying of her injury. Chiyo uses her ” Life Transfer ” technique to save her.

44. Mob vs Koyama

When Koyama tries to capture Mob for Claw, he mistakenly kidnaps Ritsu. Mob intervenes to save his brother. Koyama brutalizes Mob with his Telekinetic Helix. Eventually, Mob reaches 100% Animosity, due to the violent abuse that Koyama inflicted on him and his brother. Despite Mob dominating him and beating to a pulp, Koyama does manage to escape with Ritsu. As most Mob Psycho 100 battles this one was highly entertaining and well animated.

43. Escanor vs Estarossa

During the Defensive Battle for Liones arc, Escanor challenges Estarossa, assuming that he’s the strongest of the Ten Commandments. Escanor enters the battle to protect his fellows knights. Estarossa is surprised that he can with stand his power. Estarossa upper cuts, then knocks down Estarossa. When Escanor attacks Estarossa, it appears as if the sun is coming towards him. Even though he blocks the attack, he still falls to the ground. Excited, Estarossa summons his sword. Escanor cuts Estarossa, but he starts gushing blood. Estarossa reveals that his power if Full Counter, that ” allows him to reflect any physical attack with more than double its original strength.”

Escanor decides to take the fight seriously and creates a miniature sun. The heat causes the armor of the other Knights to melt. He uses Cruel Sun, then Pride Flare evaporating an entire lake. Estarossa uses his darkness to heal himself. Escanor uses Cruel Sun, but Estarossa covers it with darkness. Sensing that he’s winning and there’s an opportunity to end the fight, Estarossa uses Full Counter. Escanor attacks with a strike so fast that Estarossa couldn’t see it. Escanor asks “who decided that his attacks could not reach him, and who decided his sun was blocked out.” The sun Escanor created breaks free, he uses his Cruel Sun on last time, sending Estarossa into the ocean.

42. Goku vs Vegeta

Goku and Vegeta battle for the fate of the earth. At first they seem equal but it becomes quickly apparent the Vegeta has the advantage. In order fill the gap Goku uses Kaio Ken times 2 and he does some serious damage. Vegeta powers up finally, dominating Goku afterwards. Goku desperate pushes his body to the max using Kaio Ken time 3 , this seems to do the trick. Vegeta’s angrily decides to destroy the earth along with Goku and uses his “Galic Gun”, Goku counters with his ” Kame Hame Ha” power by Kaio Ken time 4. Vegeta isn’t defeated and returns to earth transforming into his giant monkey form.

Gohan and Krillin return to the battlefield afraid of what has happened. Vegeta is ten times stronger than he was as a human, Goku is floundering. Goku hopes to use the ” Spirit Bomb”, but he needs time to do so. He uses his ” Solar Flare ” to blind Vegeta and gets some distance so he could gather energy needed for his attack. However, just before Goku can use his technique Vegeta recovers and uses his ” Super Galic Buster”. Goku get’s hit and loses all the collected energy.

Incapacitated Goku can dodge Vegeta, who crushes his legs and begins to squeeze him. Gohan and Krillin arrive and with Yajirobe devise a plan to cut off Vegeta tail. Gohan distracts Vegeta while Krillin uses “Distructo Disk”. Vegeta dodges this attack, but to everyone’s surprise Yajirobe cuts off his tail. Vegeta furious begins attacking Gohan and Krillin, Gohan is defeated but encouraged to fight by his father. After, Vegeta attacks Goku again Gohan becomes enraged fighting Vegeta on equal grounds.

As they fight , Goku gives Krillin the rest of the energy from the ” Spirit Bomb”. Krillin forms a sphere from the energy and throws it, but Vegeta dodges it. Goku telepathically tells Gohan to ” bounce the Spirit Bomb back “, he does and Vegeta is hit. Vegeta is severely damaged, but not dead Vegeta. Vegeta can barely stand as he fly’s toward Gohan, he is shock to see that Gohan’s tail has grown back. Goku tell Gohan to look at the artificial moon turning to a Giant Gorilla. Vegeta is successful in cutting Gohan’s tail but fails to move out of the way and with Gohan’s size he crushes Vegeta. Vegeta no longer able to fight attempt to flee, Krillin tries to kill him with Yajirobe’s sword. Goku convinces Krillin to have mercy, and they allow Vegeta to leave.

41. Gaara vs Rock Lee

Rock Lee is pitted against Gaara in the preliminary rounds. Lee is helpless against Gaara’s ” ultimate defense “. Lee removes his heavy leg weights that results in his speed increasing tremendously. Lee makes his first attempts with his “Front Lotus”. Gaara used a sand decoy a evaded any damage. Lee, is injured by his lotus technique. Lee opens the “Second Gate”, a heal the damage he sustained. He opens both the “Third and Fourth Gates”, changing color and increasing his speed beyond natural humans. Lee opens the Fifth Gate, and uses the “Reverse Lotus”. Gaara survived this because he softened his fall with his sand. He then proceeds to crush Lee’s arm and leg. Gaara attempts to kill Lee, but Guy protects him.

Check out The Top 100 Anime and Manga Battles of All Time (60 – 51)

Lists · Top 10

Top Ten Anime from the 80’s & 90’s

As the decade comes to a close, I figure that I would join in on the best decade listing. I was born in the late 80’s so many of the anime I grew on are from that period. I decided to combine the two decades. Looking back at the anime on the lists, I would say all of the anime on this list stand the test of time. That doesn’t necessary mean that they’re superior to anime that has come after, but they still are magnificent. The animation was more grainy and the colors were muted. The plots were more mature that the current top series. Most of these series are considered to be among the “most influential” of all time.

10. Rurouni Kenshin – 1996

Himura Kenshin is a wandering swordsman that was formerly the assassin Hitokiri Battosai. The creator, Nobuhiro Watsuki want to make a different kind of shonen series. One that was more serious, focusing on themes like atonement, peace and romance. The anime series is one of the most popular, with a sophisticated plot and epic action scenes. It took a while for me to warm up to this series, but the series grew on me. The anime only adapts the series up to the Shishio fight, then focuses on material that’s new.

9. Tenchi Muyo (Tenchi Universe) – 1995

Generally I don’t like harem series, but Tenchi Universe was an exception. Based on the six episode OVA series, Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki, the series focuses on Tenchi. The grandchild of legendary warrior and prince of the the Juraian Empire, Yosho. Tenchi’s life changes after a series of intergalactic women arrive in his life. There’s the space pirate Ryoko, snobbish princess Ayeka, her sister Sasami, Goddess Tsunami, the clumsy Galactic Officer Mihoshi and her partner Kiyone and finally the legendary mad scientist Washu. As the ladies bicker with one another over trivial matters and Ryoko and Ayeka battle for Tenchi’s love, they group become fugitives. Together the evade detection and manage to save the Juraian Empire from the control of Kagato.

8. Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – 1995

There are some many different Gundam series it can be difficult to tell them apart. However, Mobile Suit Gundam Wing is credited with “globalizing the franchise.” The first Gundam series to air in American and the sixth anime in the series, Gundam Wing focuses on the war between Earth and it’s orbital colonies. The series introduces us to five pilots, Heero Yuy, Duo Maxwell, Trowa Barton, Quatre Raberba Winner and Change Wufei. They are tasked with using their Gundams attack the Organization of the Zodiac (OZ) and free the colonies from oppression.

7. Yu Yu Hakusho – 1992

Adapted from the manga series of the same name, Yu Yu Hakusho follows 14 year old, Yusuke Urameshi. In an act of heroism he sacrifices his life to same the life of little boy. He learns that the after life is real and is given a chance to redeem himself. He becomes an Underworld Detective, tasked with investigating supernatural activity in the Human World. Yu Yu Hakusho was twice voted “anime of the year” in 1994 and 1995 by Animage Anime Grand Prix. The series has been featured on many lists of the all time greatest anime series ever. Yu Yu Hakusho remains one of the most influential anime series.

6. Sailor Moon – 1992

Lazy crybaby Usagi Tsukino (Sailor Moon) meets a magical talking cat Luna and is asked to save the universe. Joined by Sailor Soldiers, Ami Mizuno (Sailor Mercury), Rei Hino (Sailor Mars), Makoto Kino (Sailor Jupiter), Minako Aino (Sailor Venus) and supported by the mysterious Tuxedo Mask. They learn that in their past lives that they Usagi was Princess Serenity, the Sailor Soldiers were her friends and bodyguards and she was in love with a prince from Earth. However they were all killed by the Dark Kingdom. Queen Serenity sent the fallen to the future to be reborn.

5. Pokemon – 1997

With over 1,000 episodes to its credit, Pokemon is one of the most watched anime series of all time. Pokemon is credited with mainstreaming anime in the United States. Since then it has been released in over 169 different countries. The series generally focuses on the eternally youthful Ash Ketchum and his Pikachu. The first season of Pokemon, follows Ash, as he travels the Indigo League collecting eight badges. He’s joined by Misty and Brock. The series featured the iconic OP, “Pokémon Theme Song,” and the PokeRAP that ended every episode. Watching Ash battle each gym leader and enter the League is some of my fondest memories period.

4. Akira – 1988

Regarded as one of the greatest animated movies of all time, Akira is a must see anime for any fan. Considered a “landmark” anime film, responsible for increasing anime’s popularity and it’s manga art (by Katsuhiro Otomo) influencing many authors like Naruto’s Masashi Kishimoto. Featuring many sci-fi elements, Akira is held by many as being one of the best sci-fi movies as well. Bloody and violent, Akira is set in a dystopian 2019. It tells the story of Shotaro Kaneda, a biker gang leader. His childhood friend, Tetsuo Shima, acquires telekinetic abilities after a motorcycle accident. Tetsuo eventual threatens Neo-Tokyo, rampaging through the city in search for Akira.

3. DBZ – 1989

Dragon Ball Z debuted in 89, but it wasn’t until the 90’s that the series really took off. A sequel to Dragon Ball, like Akira before and Pokemon after marked a tipping point in anime relevance and popularity. Following the now adult Goku and his family and friends as they battle search for the Dragon Balls and battles intergalactic aliens, androids and other creatures. The original Dragon Ball focuses on Goku’s his childhood, Dragon Ball Z focuses on Gohan’s (Goku’s son) childhood. DBZ was so popular that it outperformed shows like Friends and X-Files. Dragon Ball Z remains one of the most important anime series of all time.

2. Cowboy Bebop – 1998

The iconic anime neo-noir series, praised for it’s jazz soundtrack, production values and a all star voice cast. Cowboy Bebop has to be among the most popular and significant anime series ever. Highly praised by critics, Cowboy Bebop, follows the bounty hunting trio, Spike Spiegel, Jet Black and Faye Valentine. They are joined by eccentric hacker, Ed and Welsh Corgi (a dog) that has been genetically engineered to have human-like intellect. Cowboy Bebop follows the aftermath of Spike escape from the criminal enterprise, Red Dragon Syndicate. He also hopes to flee his former friend, now enemy Vicious.

1. Neon Genesis Evangelion – 1995

Neon Genesis Evangelion is one of the most controversial and acclaimed anime series. A deconstruction of the mecha genre, Evangelion is stated to have “led to the rebirth of the anime industry.” The series features many complex themes, touching on mental illness, philosophy and religion. Evangelion manages to embed religious symbolism. Like Cowboy Bebop, Neon Genesis Evangelion is considered to be a masterpiece. Personalty, I always found the main protagonist, Shinji, to be incredibly annoying. However, he is one of the most nuanced characters in anime history. Evangelion can be seem too complex at first and probably requires several viewings, but once you understand it, you’ll get the praise this series receives.

Want more: Top Ten Anime and Manga Franchises

Lists · Top 10

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.