Not surprisingly, I wasn’t always into Anime. I used to think it was a pretty dorky thing, an opinion backed up by the fact that the few people I knew who actively watched it seemed so extra - doing the naruto run whenever and wherever they could, screaming “Bankai” or “Kamehameha” in the middle of class or just being weird and shoving it in my face.
That all changed when I met a particular friend of my sibling. Fresh out of middle school and bored senseless on a summer holiday, I stumbled across her watching the most chaotic fight scene my 14-year-old mind had ever encountered. Bodies were flying everywhere, colourful explosions, and to add icing to the cake, MAGIC…but in a way, I had never seen before. It was Fairy Tail, and for someone coming from the usuals on Cartoon Network, I was practically drooling over the screen. If my life were a movie, that would have been my superhero origin story right there. Unfortunately for me, the rigours and rigidity of my upcoming stint at a boarding high school limited my watch time to my painfully short breaks and even then, only to the few shows I could catch on Toonami or whatever I could lay my hands on. In the end, I really couldn't begin my anime journey until university.
It’s been an amazing journey and over the years, it’s transformed right before my eyes from a simple art form to a medium of expression that resonates with millions around the world. Be it tears of joy or sadness, laughter or terror, or any other feeling that it has me in, makes every moment more special. So here are my top 5 anime that have made me the weeb I am today!
5. Toaru Kagaku no Accelerator (A Certain Scientific Accelerator)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: July 2019 – Sep 2019
The Index Franchise is quite extensive. And with all the Spin-offs, OVAs, and movies, “A Certain Scientific Accelerator” is one of the standout projects. It follows Accelerator, arguably one of the best-written anti-heroes in anime, as he finds himself unwillingly caught up in a new confrontation. By his side is Misaka Mikoto (also known as Last Order), a young and adorable girl whom he protects, despite his cold demeanour, from a hostile organisation that has taken root in the city and threatens her and her sisters. All in all, it's a lighthearted and entertaining story with some touching moments.
While Mikoto and the rest of the main cast make very characters are endearing and relatable characters, I've rarely encountered an antagonist of a story taken in such fashion and transformed into one of the most likeable characters in a series of their own - it is not an exaggeration when I say that Accelerator made this show a thousand times more interesting for me. I was quite frankly tired of the innocent/goody-two-shoes protagonists I had seen in other anime and Accelerator’s cocky, cruel, “I don't give a damn” attitude was a breath of fresh air. Because only a few people could withstand and occasionally outperform his abilities, anyone who dared challenge him was always quickly and spectacularly put in their place. I also like that they balanced him out (a bit) by not making him a complete psychopath. He still had feelings, although buried deep down, and would never attack without provocation. Even when he does attack, he tries as much as he can to not kill his opponents, instead opting for methods that put the fear of God in them while beating them within an inch of their lives. A prime example of an anime I love death solely because of one bad-ass character.
4. Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! (KonoSuba: God's Blessing on This Wonderful World!)
- Episodes: 10
- Aired: Jan 2016 – March 2019
Konosuba, in my opinion, is the king of parodies. It is a hilarious anime that follows the story of Kazuma, a shut-in who is reincarnated into another world to become the "hero" after dying a very laughable and pathetic death. However, things do not go as planned, and Kazuma is forced to team up with an unlikely group of allies, including the beautiful but useless goddess, Aqua. Now the two of them must gather armour, complete quests, and do whatever they can to defeat the demon king. A must for comedy fans, KonoSuba is greater than the sum of its parts thanks to its personalities and hilarious mockery.
Konosuba is one of those shows that I wish I could erase from my memory just so I could watch it for the first time again. Its wild wit had me rolling on the floor, clutching my stomach, and laughing until I nearly passed out. I'll admit that I'm a little biassed because it was the first proper comedy anime I watched, but even after going through the competition, I can't help but love this story of hopeless heroes. The show is the closest an isekai will ever get to realism, with characters who work their way up from the bottom (and fail), making them all loveable in their way. As opposed to other shows where the MC gets his powers handed to him on a silver platter. Overall, Konosuba is an incredible take on the genre I've seen, as the core of the show revolves around the challenges and difficulties of adventurers as well as showing the reality of how isekai would truly be while leaning into it for a great comedic effect.
3. Cowboy Bebop
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: April 1998 – April 1999
A show with a perfect story, character, and visuals (for its time)?
Cowboy Bebop takes the cake in my opinion. Even now, several years after my first watch, I still have difficulty putting its uniqueness into words. The series follows the adventures of a bounty hunter crew aboard their spaceship, the Bebop. The main characters include Spike Spiegel, an ex-hitman who takes on bounty hunting to make some quick cash; Jet Black, a former cop who is now the ship's pilot and mechanic; Faye Valentine, a woman with memory loss and gambling addiction; Ed, an eccentric child prodigy and computer hacker; and Ein, a genetically engineered Welsh Corgi with human-like intelligence.
It is set in the year 2071, and we get to follow the crew's misadventures as they try to make a life for themselves in space, as they work to catch a colourful cast of criminals and form bonds with one another. It was one of the first old-generation anime I watched after a friend recommended it to me, and the first thing I noticed (and loved) was its unusual blend of genres, which included western, comedy, drama, action, and so on. It was something I'd never seen before, and each episode brought a new bounty and a certain level of unpredictability, as it always left me wondering how things would end. Another feature that distinguishes Cowboy Bebop from other anime series is the high quality of the music. The OST was composed by Yoko Kanno and performed by The Seatbelts, a group of world-renowned musicians who were formed specifically for the series. It's a unique mix of blues, classic rock, and jazz that works exceptionally well in setting scenes and expressing the crew of the Bebop's typically carefree attitude. Because of its unique style and composition, the opening theme, Tank!, has remained one of my most loved compositions in anime to this day.
2. Hunter x Hunter
- Episodes: 148
- Aired: October 2011 – Sep 2014
Hunter x Hunter is another anime that holds a special place in my heart.
It follows Gon Freecss, a 12-year-old boy desperate to find his father by passing the Hunter Examination and becoming a Hunter. It's not easy because the exam is a high-risk screening process in which most applicants end up seriously injured or dead. Gon encounters a variety of other exam takers, including the vivacious doctor-in-training Leorio, the vengeful Kurapika, and an ex-assassin named Killua Zoldyck. Together, they band for adventures that will put their abilities and resolve to the test as they strive to achieve their individual goals.
Although the plot of discovering one's father is straightforward, Hunter X Hunter's approach as a Shonen demographic anime by exploring various facets of the genre was something that I admire. The numerous arcs are all exceptionally well-written; the plot's richness and pace, intriguing portrayals, excellent interaction, and remarkable world-building are all sculpted into a fascinating tale that captivated me into lengthy watch sessions. It gave me a pleasant shonen vibe that I don't see much while simultaneously tossing some shonen cliches out the window. And even though the series takes a dark turn with the Yorknew and Chimera Ant arcs (two of the best arcs in anime in my opinion), the rest of the show's storylines are lighthearted. The art and animation style is excellent, as it consistently gave high-quality episodes, particularly during combat scenes. Overall, my attraction to the series lies in its feeling of adventure and upbeat environment.
1. One Piece
- Episodes: 1039
- Aired: October 1999 – Currently Airing
This is one anime I never expected to watch, let alone enjoy. But, to be honest, I'm delighted I did. Partly because I can now brag about it, but also because I had no idea what I was missing out on, and I can finally say I have experienced the masterpiece that is One Piece (which might be the greatest thing in human existence since sliced bread).
So, what exactly is One Piece about?
It all starts with Gol D. Roger, dubbed the "Pirate King." He was the most powerful and infamous pirate to have ever sailed the seven seas. His final words before being executed disclosed the presence of the biggest treasure ever discovered, causing a shift in the world and ushering in a new Pirate era like one never seen before. Enter Monkey D. Luffy, a 17-year-old lad with a contagious smile who aspires to be the next Pirate King. After unintentionally eating a Devil Fruit, his body gained the properties of rubber, and he and his diverse crew of misfits, the Straw Hat Pirates, travel the Grand Line, experiencing crazy adventures, unravelling dark mysteries, and battling strong enemies, all in pursuit of the most prestigious of all treasures - the One Piece.
The detailed world-building and foreshadowing by Eiichiro Oda blew my mind as I progressed through the episodes. No detail is overlooked, and I was astounded at how a sliver of a character or a clue of some sort generally led to a big story element years later. The plot is threaded together in such an intricately complex fashion that I sometimes wondered if Oda had a time machine. The series certainly has its share of heartbreaking moments, including some really moving scenes that had me sobbing like a baby. Without giving away any surprises, one particular character, Senor Pink, had me visibly shocked by his character background narrative and had me sobbing for the story's villain.
In the end, I think One Piece is perfect. I know I sound biassed and I probably am, but what else am I to call a show that has been running for over 22 years and has a thousand plus still leaves me craving for more?
They may not be the most popular or even the most impacting shows out there, but the five anime described above left a mark on me and will always be works of art in my view. So I hope you'll give it a shot, and I'd love to hear your comments on them, as well as which shows made your top five list! Feel free to leave a comment if you want to start a discussion, and please share Honey's Anime with your friends so we can keep delivering more amazing content.