10. Vinland Saga (2019)
Studio: Wit Studio | MAL: 8.61 | Genre: Historical
Vinland Saga is dark, violent series with a depressing protagonists that never smiles. If like me you have a love of Viking and Norse mythology this anime is for you. Wit Studio of Attack on Titan fame, continues to produce stunning animation. Vinland Saga balances the epic battles with realism well. Conflict manages to both feature superhuman feats with human consequences. The first scene in the first episode sets the tone, bloody, gorgeously rendered, outstandingly directed action. The quality remains consistent throughout. Vinland Saga also features complex characters and great world-building. It’s an anime series that simply cannot be missed.
Check Out My Review of Vinland Saga Episode 1
9. The Promised Neverland (2019)
Studio: CloverWorks | MAL: 8.69 | Genre: Mystery
The Promised Neverland shocked me. Not since Made in Abyss (also on this list) have my expectation been undermined for the better. Orphans housed in the Grace Field House live as a family under the watch of Isabella or “Mama.” Tested daily, the children are largely permitted to do as they will. Except they are not allowed to venture past the bridge. Being children they don’t question the world they inhabit much. However, the three eldest and smartest siblings begin to become suspicions of what’s happening. What they uncover is a conspiracy in which children are cattle for a mysterious alien race. You’ll need to suspend some disbelief as some of the plot can be convoluted, however, The Promised Neverland is never dull and will pull at your heartstrings.
Check Out My Review of The Promised Neverland Episode 1
8. Yuri on Ice (2016)
Studio: MAPPA | MAL: 8.07 | Genre: Sports
Is it possible to like an anime based on a sport and not care for the sport itself? To be honest I have watched some ice skating, but I can’t call myself a fan. Regardless, Yuri on Ice made me love ice skating at least for a while. Yuri on Ice’s main protagonists is Yuri Katsuki. Unlike a typical sport anime protagonists, he’s . . . well a loser. Literally. At the beginning of the series Yuri is crushed as he suffers another humiliating defeat at the Grand Prix Finale. At the age of 23, Yuri is old (in skating anyway) and his window is closing. He return home to supportive family and friends. Outside of the public view, Yuri performs a routine from five time world champ, Victor Nikiforov. This performance goes viral, inspiring the actual Victor to come to Japan to become Yuri’s coach.
Check Out My Review of Yuri on Ice Episode 1
7. My Hero Academia (2016)
Studio: Bones | MAL: 8.35 | Genre: Superhero
Izuku Midoriya subverts the expectation of a shonen hero. He’s born without any powers (in My Hero Academia they’re called quirks). Where characters like Monkey D. Luffy or Goku lack intellect but possess great power, Midoriya is the opposite. Sure he gains great power from the greatest hero All Might, but he struggles to control and master it. Izuku is highly intelligent, often stopping in the heat of battle to analyze the situation. Unlike most shonen anime, Midoriya is routinely outclassed by classmates, Todoroki and Bakugo. The series even switches from the heroes to the villains. Often the villains are already fully grown, in age and power. However, in My Hero Academia they must learn to be effective villains. Like the young heroes they develop new powers and simultaneously an affection for each other. This coupled with amazing action and humor, makes MHA on of the best series of the last decade.
Check Out My Hero Academia Episode Review
6. Kimetsu no Yaiba (Demon Slayer)
Studio: ufotable | MAL: 8.92 | Genre: Supernatural
If Izuku Midoriya is the start of a new type of shonen hero, Tanjiro continues the trend. Driven by the sole purpose of returning his sister back to a human, Tanjiro embarks on a journey that results in him joining the Demon Slayer Corps. Tanjiro Kamado is smart and courageous hero, but his kindness is what makes him stand out. He will give his life to stop the demons, but when he defeats them he is compassionate as he helps them into the next life. However, his relationship with is sister, Nezuko, is probably the heart of the series so far. She can be forgotten sleep in her box for hours, but she manages to display human traits despite being a demon. Characters like Zenitsu and Inosuke add humor to the series, although they’re an acquired tasted. Finally, the only true evil in the series isn’t the lower level demons, but Muzan Kibutsuji. There’s no nuance to him. He a monster that takes advantage of the weak and expects them to give in to his will. Demon Slayer is a top tier series with amazing characters and action to match.
Check Out My Review of Demon Slayer Episode 1