Growing up, I had fairly strict parents. And as a result, there weren’t that many sources of entertainment I could drown myself in other than TV. No videogames, no Gameboys, no computer, nothing. We didn’t even have cable at that time either and that leads to not many decent ‘child-friendly’ channels i.e. cartoons, and kids’ show. So childhood for me was pretty dull.
But on one faithful night, I couldn’t sleep and so I crept downstairs quietly (It was 10:00 p.m. and it was past my bedtime) to try to find any good TV shows to enjoy. Then it happened. I was flipping through the channels and I caught a glimpse of what I thought was a cartoon but I found out later that it was anime. There it was, the first anime I had stumbled upon (it will appear on this list). I vaguely remembered that I couldn’t finish that episode because my dad found out I was out of bed. But that was the spark that started it all.
Even though I knew the channel and anime title, I still wouldn’t be able to enjoy it because the show didn’t start till 10:00 p.m., which was basically past my bedtime. The only time I was allowed to stay up late was the weekend and the show was conveniently scheduled from Monday – Friday. Argh! So, I was living the ninja life basically – sneaking out of bed quietly, making a fake body with pillows and covering them with sheets, every little thing I could think of to trick my dad into thinking I was asleep because he would often glance through the gap of my door to make sure I was asleep when he woke up randomly at night to pee.
Despite all the struggles, I still didn’t lose my interest in anime. So here’s my personal top 5 anime that sparked my interest in the anime world!
5. Oregairu (My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Apr 5, 2013 to Jun 28, 2013
Hikigaya Hachiman, an anti-social high school student who spends his time dwelling on his own theoretic philosophical perspective of life, was assigned by his teacher to join the “Volunteer Service Club” as a way to change Hachiman’s way of thinking. There, Hachiman meets Yukino Yukinoshita who is the most beautiful and well-known person in high school. Yui Yuigahama then joins them both in their club as they help other students and clubs solve their problems.
I tend to avoid watching romance genre anime to avoid the stereotypical cheesiness that it normally brings. But, I was mistaken with this anime. After giving it a try, I realized that this anime was not some run-of-the-mill romantic comedy (at least for the first season). I was intrigued by the two perspectives of the loner Hachiman Hikigaya and Yukino Yukinoshita who was just as lonely. But both had contradictory personality qualities.
4. Alice in Borderland
- Episodes: 3
- Aired: Oct 17, 2014 to Feb 16, 2015
When childhood friends Arisu Ryouhei, Karube Daikichi, and Chouta Segawa are sucked into a different version of Japan called Borderland, they are forced to participate in death-defying games and they will receive a “visa” for each successful completion of a game, and that allows them to stay in Borderland for an extended period of time. Failing to complete a game or having a visa expire will result in imminent death.
This is one of my all-time favorites because the writer was able to draw out the highlights of the story’s unique plot twists and turns of the events. The games in this anime OVA are well thought out as well. Although it’s only a 3-episode OVA, the manga is still being continued. Hopefully the manga and OVA will spawn enough popularity for the original series to be produced. I highly recommend this anime to those who like psychological genre anime similar to Liar Game, Death Note, and so on.
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Apr 7, 2006 to Sep 29, 2006
Watanuki Kimihiro, being born with the ability to see and attract spirits and ghosts, stumbled upon a mysterious shop that ‘grants wishes’ which is owned by a woman by the name of Yuuko Ichihara. Through some turn of events, Watanuki eventually makes a wish to Yuuko to get rid of his ability. In return, Watanuki has to work for Yuuko at her shop. Watanuki learns to understand more about the spirits through each encounter he inevitably finds himself plopped into.
I have always been fascinated by ghosts, spirits, and apparitions since I was a little kid. Despite those Hollywood movie clichés that made me believe that humans were supposed to fear these things, I was still curious about them. The first time I saw what this anime was about, it opened up a whole new perspective for me – that humans and spirits are able to co-exist – because of how these relationships were portrayed in the anime. It’s a really interesting show for those who fancy mystery themed anime with a touch of supernatural involvement.
2. Shaman King
- Episodes: 64
- Aired: Jul 4, 2001 to Sep 25, 2002
Once every 500 years, a prestigious tournament among shaman is held to determine who the next Shaman King will be. The story follows Asakura Yoh, a boy born with the ability to see and communicate with ghosts, pursuing his goal to be the next Shaman King. Along his journey, Yoh meets a lot of new friends and teammates – both human and spirit – who helped him get one step closer to achieving his goal.
This was the very first anime that sparked my interest in the world of anime and it was the anime I watched that was worth getting caught out of bed by my father. Ever since I was a kid, I was always intrigued by the existence of supernatural beings, but I never could finish the series at that time, not until I was old enough to get my own computer and then I started to download and re-watch the whole thing.
1. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
- Episodes: 64
- Aired: Apr 5, 2009 to Jul 4, 2010
The story follows Edward and Alphonse Elric as they journey along the Amestris countryside to seek the legendary Philosopher’s Stone that can help them return to their original bodies. After failing in their attempt to bring back their mother from the dead through human transmutation, Edward Elric lost his left leg and Alphonse Elric, his entire body as toll. But thanks to Edward’s quick thinking, he was able to transmute his brother’s soul into a suit of body armor at the eleventh hour, sacrificing his right arm to do so.
This anime is by far my most favorite anime of all time, it has its moments of happiness and sadness, and the story development overall was brilliant. Even though there have been many debates over which one is better between this series and its 2003 original run, the Brotherhood series has received numerous praises from FMA fans all over. I would easily rate this one at top of the list because I would definitely re-watch this series over and over again.
Anime has always been a small part of my childhood, and even now I still enjoy them. I guess it kind of grew on me. I never thought that I would be so interested in anime after watching those 5 anime listed above, those were the pioneers of my interest in anime so-to-speak, and I really hope this top 5 list of anime will spark other people’s interest in anime or make them continue to love anime. From one anime lover to the next!
Chime in with a comment below on your own favorite anime!