I was only five when I fell in love with Lady Oscar. Right after, it was Sailor Moon's turn, and during elementary school I was stuck with Card Captor Sakura and Dragonball. During middle school it was ONE PIECE's turn, followed by Detective Conan. However, my world totally changed when I discovered Death Note. I remember watching it with my mother, who grew fond of it episode by episode, just like me. After Death Note, I knew that I'd never stop watching anime.
Anime have always been part of my life somehow. I watched tons of them, but some left an indelible trace inside my heart. I think you could say that an anime leaves a trace inside your heart when it's one of those you will always happily go back to, even after years. It's an anime that keeps giving you emotions, even after you have watched it a lot of times.
The purpose of this list is to talk about 5 anime that, one way or another, managed to find a place in my heart; 5 among all the ones I've been watching during my life. It's a hard task, as my favorites are far more than simply 5, but I hope you will enjoy it!
5. Hakkenden: Touhou Hakken Ibun (Hakkenden: Eight Dogs of the East)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: January 2013 – September 2013
As a fan of Abe Miyuki's manga, when Hakkenden was adapted into an anime I was overly happy. I was afraid, though, as whenever a manga I like is adapted into an anime, there's always something somewhat disappointing. Well, it was not the case with Hakkenden. This story revolves around Shino Inuzuka and Sousuke Inukawa, who originally died when their village was turned to ashes, but managed to come back to life thanks to some circumstances. As Shino and Sousuke, grown up in an orphanage with Hamaji – a cute girl who shares with them the same tragic past where she lost everything – have a peony-shaped birthmark, their situation is bound to change. In fact, suddenly the Church shows up in front of them, forcing the two to find the mystical gems and the other six people sharing the same peony-shaped birthmark. Either they start searching, or their destiny will be a terrible one!
I think it's difficult to express with words what I felt while watching Hakkenden. Maybe because it starts with the premises that all the eight characters have lost their life, but episode by episode there was a lingering feeling of loss. While Shino and Sousuke met the various characters, and heard their stories, themes like loneliness or violence popped up. At the same time there was hope, as to say that even when you have lost something, there's still a reason to keep on fighting. Anyway, Hakkenden is not all about sad themes, it has its own comedy part as well. That's why it made think about a lot of things, but, on the other hand, it gave me a very nice time. It gave me a right balance of emotions, and that's the reason why I keep on going back at it, whenever I feel like it.
Hakkenden Official Trailer
4. Kakumeiki Valvrave (Valvrave the Liberator)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: April 2013 – December 2013
I thought I was not a fan of mecha genre. I actually realized that as long as an anime is good, I don't really care about the genre. In fact, I loved Code Geass and Gundam 00. However, for this list, I wanted to mention this underrated anime, that totally stole my heart. For starters, I loved the art style. As soon as I started watching it, I realized just how amazing this story was. The protagonist is Haruto Tokishima, who lives a peaceful student life in space in a division called Module 77. His destiny changes when, as a result of an invasion by the Dorrsian Military Pact Federation, he is forced by some circumstances to become a Valvrave pilot. What Haruto didn't know, though, is that by becoming a Valvrave pilot actually he is giving up his human part.
As the story is amazing per se, since it's about a bunch of kids fighting on the front line to defend their rights, and cooperating with each other, what struck me the most was Haruto's character. He is not your typical protagonist who runs towards danger. Even though he has lost his humanity by becoming something similar to a vampire, he just can't give up his human part. He struggles to remain sane; he needs to protect the girl he loves, and shoulders the responsibility to protect everyone else as well.
This is a story about friendship, love and a story about how your biggest enemy can become your dearest friend. This anime doesn't take anything for granted. I think I will never forget the last episode; in fact, I found myself cheering for Haruto and L-eLf fighting together, knowing exactly how it would end. Haruto's character surprised me once again. He went as far as to make the greatest sacrifice, with the composure that he had saved everyone.
Kakumeiki Valvrave PV ver.2
3. Shinsekai Yori (From the New World)
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: September 2012 – March 2013
Shinsekai Yori is another little masterpiece that stole my heart. I'm very fond of it, and I watched it a lot of times, just to realize that it's always like the first time, since it keeps giving me the same strong emotions.
This is a dystopic anime that takes place in a Japan 1000 years from now, and revolves around five children: Saki, Satoru, Shun, Maria and Mamoru. They live in a peaceful village, that is like a utopia, as the water is clear, it's full of nature, and people seem to get along very well. That utopia, though, is bound to come crashing down. In fact, due to some circumstances, the five of them discover about the outbreak of psychokinesis that can make people become monsters. Not only that; the sad truth about the bloody past that brought mankind to that point will be unveiled in front of their eyes!
What I really liked about this anime was the way these five children managed to help each other, and have the upper hand against the system. It was distressing that whenever someone disappeared, no one could remember anything about them. However, the way Saki and Satoru, the survivors, managed to struggle until the end, never once forgetting about their friends, well, I found it just too beautiful. Their bond strengthened, in the name of the friends and lovers they had lost; their fight was long, but they found a way out of that “utopia” and discovered the truth.
The way it ended, with the last episode giving you a hunch of a flip side that you probably already imagine, confirmed what I already knew: Shinsekai Yori is a masterpiece.
From The New World Trailer
2. Natsume Yuujinchou (Natsume's Book of Friends)
- Episodes: 52
- Aired: July 2008 – March 2012
It's finally the time to talk about this anime that actually changed my life and, possibly, even the way I look at things. No, I'm not exaggerating. Natsume Yuujinchou is a non-conventional shoujo anime, revolving around ayakashi (spirits) and a boy who is able to see them: Takashi Natsume. He is an orphan, who changed family year after year, because every relative found him too strange to deal with.
His strangeness – the fact that he can see the spirits – is actually a gift. In fact, the tables turn when he finds the Book of Friends, a book who belonged to his long gone grandmother, a woman who could see the spirits as well. When Natsume meets Madara, alias Nyanko-sensei, a powerful spirit trapped in the shape of a “maneki neko”, he will start a journey bound to give to all those spirits whose name is in that book, all their names back.
Natsume Yuujinchou touched the deepest chords of my heart, and shook them so bad, making me become overly emotional in every episode. Being discarded by every close relative, Natsume developed a cold attitude towards others, intended to protect himself from being hurt. His life, though, will suddenly become full of friends, humans and spirits. There's a nostalgic feeling in every episode; all the spirits he will meet, will turn out to be simply lonely spirits who were waiting for someone to notice them, and help them. Natsume, who knows loneliness more than anyone else, will do his best. He will discover the joy and the happiness of friendship, and the warm feeling of having a home to go back to. Basically, for the first time in his life, he will feel truly loved. Words are not enough to describe it; I would recommend this anime to everyone, as it is a masterpiece in his genre.
Natsume’s Book of Friends Season1 & 2 - Official Trailer
1. Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu (Parasyte -the maxim-)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: October 2014 – March 2015
Probably all of my friends would have guessed my 1st position, as I keep on talking about Kiseijuu every time I get the chance to do so. As a fan of the manga, I just couldn't avoid being overly happy discovering that the anime adaptation follows the manga word by word. The story revolves around Shinichi Izumi, a plain high school student with a normal life and a beautiful family. One night, though, his normal life becomes a mess: a parasite enters his body, and takes the place of his right hand.
Shinichi is a very human protagonist; he reacts exactly like a normal person would, in a situation like that. He is scared to death, and he just wants to run away whenever his parasite – called Migi – announces him that there's another parasite nearby, as parasites are horrible creatures eating humans. What's more, he is scared that if someone should discover his secret, he'd become a guinea pig, as he is the only human being with a parasite who didn't subjugate his brain.
This story has an escalation of dramatic turns of events, that kept me glued to the screen. Shinichi can't seem to understand Migi's way of acting, as he shows no mercy or emotions; while Migi can't understand why humans are so emotional. Well, what I really liked about this anime is that it gave me everything I was looking for into an anime: a good plot, a beautiful soundtrack, friendship, love, sex, struggles, and a bittersweet ending. It was just too good.
I will never forget the way, towards the end, Migi, a parasite who, by definition, was supposed to be deprived of emotions, saved Shinichi. Nor I will forget the way Shinichi considered Migi a precious friend, and when he lost him, he cried very sad tears. So, yeah, I can say it: this is my absolute favorite anime.
Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu PV
With Kiseijuu, my personal top 5 came to an end. I'd have liked talking about other anime as well, like for example Bleach, or more dystopic ones like Zankyou No Terror, or No.6, but having to choose... These five had to be in this list. I hope you enjoyed the ride. These 5 anime revolve around the main theme of friendship, which I suppose is the one I like the most. They are the ones that resonated the most within me, and – as I said up above – the ones that I happily go back to. I will always remember the exact moment when I watched them for the first time, and how I felt. And I will always talk about them fondly, with a smile on my face.