- “Mirror, mirror, on the wall, which anime are the best of them all?”
- “A system error has occurred.”
What a question to ask an anime fan to list a Top 5 Anime when so many are excellent… Of course, such Top 5 is different for each individual as it depends on many facts: taste, feelings, similarities with his/her own life experiences, the mood at the time he/she makes the list, and of course, the number he/she watched in total! All this criteria influences each of us, and will vary our choice completely from one another.
For Honey-chan, I tried hard to select my favourite 5 anime, not without trouble. A drastic choice it was, and for sure, if I were to be asked again on another day, I might end up quoting different anime… Anyway, I won’t make you wait longer and will go straight into the debate before I change my mind once again!
So here is my Top 5 Anime:
5. Samurai Champloo
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: May 2004 - Mar 2005
Ah, the Japanese Edo era, what an awesome period to tell stories, with its samurais, rounins, the Tokugawa Shogunate, etc… This period has always interested me and had a big influence on my choice to come to Japan. So when you show me an anime about this period, you will definitely have my attention! Although, this era has been used and abused, the amazing piece of work that is Samurai Champloo took up the challenge with great success!
Following Mugen, the wild warrior with his very unconventional fighting style, Jin, the vagrant and disciplined rounin, and Fuu, a brave and determined young girl, in their quest to find the mysterious samurai “who smells of sunflowers”.
The animation, the character designs, the fighting scenes, the plot, the music and the whole general atmosphere are great assets that gives this show quality far above average, and which placed it in my Top 5!
Samurai Champloo Trailer:
4. Code Geass
- Episodes: 25 (Season 1) / 25 (Season 2)
- Aired: Oct 2006 - Jul 2007 (Season 1) / Apr 2008 - Sep 2008 (Season 2)
Where to start with Code Geass? Such a great anime as well!
Based on a story focusing around the domination of the Holy Empire of Britannia over a big part of the world, including what was called, Japan, in the past. We follow Lelouch Lamperouge towards his revenge against Britannia, with the help of a mysterious and very powerful ability enabling him to bend people to his will.
I’d say that the main strength of this anime comes from Lelouch’s character, a genius manipulator trying to reach his goal, no matter what, even though it means sacrificing important things to him. But of course, this is not the only point that makes this show so special. Code Geass perfectly mixes suspense, deceiving political plots, supernatural abilities, mecha fights, romance… and what a powerful end!! It has every single element to be a remarkable anime, and in my opinion, it totally deserves to be listed in the anime Pantheon!
Full Trailer Code Geass: Lelouch of the rebellion (English):
3. Death Note
- Episodes: 37
- Aired: Oct 2006 to Jun 2007
Death Note, or the epic chess game between brilliant minds as Kira, against L, and then against N. As a fan of psychological thriller stories, especially in movies or anime, it was logical for me to be appealed by this very popular anime. Its fame made it a classical for its genre and it clearly is one of the greatest!
If I had to describe Death Note in one word, “epic”, would be the one! Epic, because of its story: complex, well-developed, with huge cliff-hangers, lots of drama and a great ending. Epic, because of its dark and gloomy atmosphere thanks to the design and dramatic music, which fits perfectly with this anime. (The opening and ending videos are really cool too!) Epic, because of the intellectual battle between the 3 geniuses Light, L and N, often leading to stressful situations, forcing us to always want more until the end.
It is also very hard to decide which side to support. The main characters have such charisma! Are we supporting Light, the main protagonist, despite the ethical and moral issues from the path he chose, as he intends to become the god of a new world? Or siding with the 2 detectives’, focusing on a more moral and democratic justice?
I have only one advice, if ever you haven’t seen Death Note yet, go for it, because yes, it is that good!
Death Note - Trailer/PV:
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Apr 2011 to Sep 2011
Steins;Gate, to me, is one of the best time travel-related story of all time, in any kind of original creation (novel, movie, manga, anime…). As I explained in my review article, the time leap system is perfectly described, following a specific logic based on real and fictional simplified theories, which keeps the story believable.
But not only that, what makes Steins;Gate so good, is the characters’ charisma and distinct personalities, as well as their own development throughout the anime. Each one of them has a great story to tell, mostly sad, but always interesting and very well integrated to the story! Added to that is the love triangle that leaves Okabe Rintarou with a Cornelian dilemma.
Steins;Gate was a roller-coaster of emotions, it made me laugh, cry, search for more information as it piqued my curiosity and, to me, could have been even greater if it stopped after the 22nd episode, on a tragic note.
Trailer - Steins;Gate:
1. Dragon Ball Z
- Episodes: 291
- Aired: Apr 26, 1989 to Jan 31, 1996
Finally, my winner: Dragon Ball Z! I have to say, the story might not be the best one and some fights might be too long but it’s still Dragon Ball Z. Probably one of the most famous anime throughout the world, if not the most famous! This is not the reason for my choice but it played a part in understanding that because of its fame, it has been broadcasted on many TV channels, and basically during my whole childhood and teenage years.
I can’t say how many times I watched each episodes… What makes it my top 1 today is that it is THE Japanese anime that opened the doors towards all the others to me. How many hours did I spend watching it? How many times did I dream I was a Saiyan? How many times did I play games based on it? How many times did I try to concentrate to charge my ki or repeated the original moves to perform a Kamehameha?
Dragon Ball clearly influenced me and for being such an important precursor, it deserves the head of this list.
Dragonball Z Season 1 Trailer:
So, here was my Top 5 Anime. It wasn’t easy at all to keep only five and decide an order… Therefore, I’d like to mention a few other great anime that I hesitated with, for quite a long time:
- Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
- Wolf’s Rain
- One Piece
- Attack on Titan (although the end of the first season is really frustrating…)
Even though this list is done now, I’d be happy to see it messed up in the future as it would mean discovering other masterpieces! I hope it happens and I already have big expectations for some of the upcoming anime such as One Punch Man! Soon, we’ll see!