As a writer for Honey's Anime, I knew that I would eventually write about my top 5 anime like my other famiglia here. I was so excited about it and thought that picking my top 5 anime would be so easy. Oh, I was so wrong!
During my childhood years, maybe when I was 6 or 7 years of age, I usually went to my cousins’ to play with them. At one point there came a time when we had to stop playing during the afternoons just so they could watch their then current favorite show Yuyu Hakusho, which was airing back in the day. Since the show didn’t really appeal to me at that moment, my cousins kept on pestering me to watch Fushigi Yuugi, Cardcaptor Sakura, Ayashi no Ceres, and Pokemon, thinking that I may like them. I did like them, but that was it. I wasn’t interested in anime at all. As my cousins and I grew up, they continued to love anime while I, on the other hand, didn’t really get what was up with my cousins’ obsession with anime.
At the age of 13, I had a classmate (who became my current most treasured best friend) who was really into anime. She kept on talking about anime like Hunter x Hunter, Get Backers, Naruto, and other anime that was airing on different T.V. channels. The way she talked about these shows got me pretty interested in them. So I tried to watch Naruto. But then again, I gave up on it halfway as it hadn’t given me something that I was looking for. I thought anime wasn’t really for me.
Until perhaps 6 or 8 months after trying Naruto, someone strongly suggested that I should watch Rurouni Kenshin. Ah, that anime changed me forever. The moment I finished Rurouni Kenshin, the floodgates of anime opened, and it couldn’t be stopped. I asked my friends and cousins who had their own copies of anime VHSs to lend them to me. The shows that I thought weren’t appealing to me before, were actually great! I just didn’t give the shows a chance to understand them. And here I am today still loving anime like it was just yesterday.
Since I can’t really decide on my Top 5 favorite anime, I’ll just list 5 exceptional anime of mine that are still included in my favorites but aren’t really high enough to warrant a position on my top favorite list (Well, except maybe, Magi and Psycho Pass). Because unlike the anime that I will mention in my conclusion part, I believe the anime that I’ve selected have something special that sparked something in me and therefore are close to my heart until this day. Just a warning dear readers: this article may contain some mild SPOILERS, so please read at your own discretion!
5. Princess Tutu
- Episodes: 38
- Aired: Aug. 2002-May 2003
Don’t get fooled by the art and those pretty bright colors as this Mahou Shoujo is more than that. Drosselmeyer, wanting to give an ending to the fairytale “The Prince and the Raven” decides to take an actual duck to continue on with the story. Now, as a human, Ahiru learns that she can transform into Princess Tutu, at which point she can dance to relieve any disturbances of the heart. As time goes by, she finds out that she needs to find the broken pieces of the Prince’s heart in order to make him whole again, but not without being stopped by the Raven’s daughter, Princess Kraehe.
Simply, Princess Tutu’s whole premise is “story within a story”. The beginning of Princess Tutu may not differ from some Mahou Shoujo clichés, but once you watch along, you’ll notice a darker turn of events, making the show more unique and very original. The visuals were stunning and the music was great, but the real gem of this anime is the great writing and execution along with its memorable characters. The complexity of the characters is superb. They are very believable and very likeable. I like how their beliefs and feelings are constantly played with and tested by the crazy Drosselmeyer who wants a tragic end for the characters. It’s wonderful to see that these characters break away from who they were supposed to be and create their very own “happily ever after”.
The overall anime was good. But it was so unexpected that when the ending finally came, I felt betrayed and happy at the same time. Until now, every time I remember that ending, it still gives me that bittersweet feeling. I’m not saying the ending was unsatisfying, it is actually one of the best endings I’ve watched in an anime. The show incorporates ballets and gives off that fairytale atmosphere. It might put off some viewers at first, but give it a chance, and you’ll see the beauty of this majestic anime.
4. Air Gear
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Apr. 2006-Sept. 2006
Air Gear focuses on the adventures of the hot-headed teenager Itsuki “Ikki” Minami as he aims to be at the top of the Trophaeum Tower by using air treks - high-end motorized roller skates -. I actually kept on pondering if I should put down Haikyuu!! for this selection or Air Gear. But as you can see, Air Gear won me over. I will admit that Haikyuu!! is my most favorite sports anime as of now, but after remembering Air Gear, I felt that this anime should be on my list! Call it feeling nostalgic or whatever, Air Gear takes this 4th place.
As for some who know me personally, they would know that usually for me anime+harem+excessive fanservice= dropped anime. Well, surprise, surprise! This is one of the few cases where this simple rule wasn’t applied. Yes, there was a lot of fanservice here and there and to make things worse, this anime has a lot of typical shounen anime clichés. Weirdly enough, I didn’t notice it, well, sometimes that is. The fan service hasn’t really bothered me that much and as for the clichés, they were utilized in a different manner, developing it more to keep things interesting.
I’m sure the main point that made me fall in love with this anime, is the concept behind those roller skates, and of course its quirky characters. Every time I see Ikki Minami riding on those air treks, I feel like I am flying with him. It’s funny, but this is one of those shows that I was so immersed in that I wished air treks were real. Not only that, I also like the idea behind the sport. It was well thought out. The show was so fun to watch! The moment I finished the anime, I immediately went straight to reading the manga. It’s an entertaining show that gives you a lot of that adrenaline rush. Just don’t expect any logic when it comes to the physics and science behind this anime.
Air Gear Trailer
3. Psycho Pass
- Episodes: 22
- Aired: Oct. 2012-Mar. 2013
The anime that opened the Horror and Psychological genre for me was Psycho Pass. Without this anime, I wouldn't have known titles such as Tokyo Ghoul, Ajin, Parasyte, Monster, Aoi Bungaku, Shingeki no Kyojin, Zankyou no Terror, and many more of the like. In a futuristic Japan, the country implemented the Sibyl System as a way of enforcing the law. It scans a person’s mental state to determine if said person could commit a criminal act. Join the new rookie officer, Tsunemori Akane, as she begins to unfold the truth behind the Sibyl System’s “perfect judgment”.
As I have said earlier, Psycho Pass was an eye opener to other anime that didn’t really quite attract me before. The premise alone was enough to captivate me. Couple it up with nice soundtracks, animation, and distinctive characters and this show was a gold mine for someone like me who was new to this kind of genre. Although almost all of the main characters are captivating as they are, Makishima Shougo, the main antagonist of the show, really stood out for me.
Makishima’s actions are indeed ruthless and inhuman, but once you hear his side of the story and his intentions, he does make a point. And then we have Kougami Shinya who has a great sense of justice but doesn’t believe that Sybil System is just. Because of that, he is ready to take justice into his own hands, albeit at the price of becoming a criminal. Lastly, we have the female lead, Tsunemori Akane, who is too idealistic. Her character drastically develops from an inexperienced officer to a more mature and solid character. Psycho Pass is a good watch, it shows us that even the so-called “perfect system” can have its flaws. There is also a thin line between good and evil that makes you question yourself about what truly is “Justice”.
Psycho Pass Season One- Official Trailer
2. Natsume Yuujinchou (Natsume’s Book of Friends)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Jul. 2008-Sept. 2008
Natsume Yuujinchou was written and illustrated by Yuki Midorikawa which was also known for the wonderful story behind Hotarubi no Mori e. Because of his ability to see youkai, Natsume Takahashi has isolated himself from people. He inherited the book of friends from his grandmother, which contains names of youkai that his grandmother bullied and teased. It is said the one who holds the book of friends has the control over the youkai, whose names were written in the book, thus the reason why Natsume is being constantly chased by these beings. Until the day he accidentally unleashes a powerful youkai named Madara, who then declared to act as Natsume’s bodyguard. Madara’s true intention is to get the book of friends, but as times goes on, he becomes so attached to the boy that even he begins to help Natsume on returning the names of the youkai albeit with its power diminishing.
Natsume Yuujinchou is very simple. It is very episodic but each episode holds a beautiful meaning that can be reflective. When this anime was suggested by someone I knew, I was skeptical about it. I thought I might get bored of this and just sleep away. Fortunately, that didn’t happen, all thanks to our protagonist Natsume Takahashi. Natsume’s development as a character was absolutely captivating. As he interacts with different youkai, he becomes more open and becomes accepted for who he really is. This anime holds a special place in my heart because I somehow relate to Natsume on a personal level. Watching it really gave me some insights about myself and gave me a new, fresher perspective about family and how I need to open up to other people too. It’s really hard to explain how phenomenal this show was, but once you’ve begun to watch it, it’s hard to go back. A very emotional and inspirational anime for me to enjoy anytime.
Natsume’s Book of Friends Season1 & 2 - Official Trailer
1. Magi Series (Magi: Labyrinth of Magic, Magi: The Kingdom of Magic, Magi Sinbad no Bouken)
Even before the anime came out and had gained a lot of fans, I was already a fan of its manga back in the day when it only had 12 chapters. Magi is very special to me because this was the 1st Shounen manga that I’d read. I also watched it grow, and really, I didn’t expect that Magi would someday become an anime with a fairly large fan base behind it. You could say I’m very proud of the author, Ohtaka Shinobu, who has come a long way. The story is loosely based on the classic tale of Arabian Nights. It centers around Aladdin and his adventures of being a Magi.
Magi starts off very slow, but it uses this to introduce the abundant world of Magi and how these characters are woven to meet each other. Unlike other Shounen anime, Magi has this realistic tone despite it being a fantasy, supernatural anime. It discusses real issues like slavery, corruption, politics, and wars. Conflicts are usually nicely presented and resolved in an excellent way. Sometimes they can be solved through action packed fights, or some can be solved through diplomatic talks. Just like with my previous selections, the most endearing part of the anime has been its characters. Even with its wide array of characters, Magi never fails to flesh them out and give importance to them. Everyone has their own convictions, and really, it’s hard to follow who is good and evil when all of their ideals do make some sense.
Magi is simply magical to me, It really is hard to pinpoint all the good things Magi has one by one because it has a lot! Of course, it has some minor flaws here and there, but I believe there are only a few. Though I admit that the anime did miss some important key elements in the manga and changed some scenes, nevertheless, I still enjoyed it. It has everything I want in an adventure anime. For me, Magi deserves to be my number one on this list.
Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic - Official Trailer
That concludes my “Top 5 anime”. As you can see, I have a very diverse taste when it comes to anime. As I have said earlier, choosing my top 5 anime is really not that easy. I can surely and without a doubt say that mine are Monster, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Hunter x Hunter (2011), Rurouni Kenshin, D. Gary-man, Arslan Senki, Code Geass, Parasyte -the maxim- and so on and so forth. But I don’t feel like talking about those as most anime fans know exactly why they deserve the love that they are receiving. All throughout the article, I did try to squeeze some special mentions of the shows that I couldn't include in this list.
I believe that anime will always be a part of me. I hope you enjoyed this article, as I am happy to show you a little piece of me with the anime that I mentioned. Till next time! Adios! Now signing off!~~~