DISCLAIMER: I’m not so good at making short reviews without spoilers, this is spoiler free so it’s..well, nothing seems as epic as it truly is, so please do watch them all and enjoy.
It’s true, how can one choose 1, 5 or 10?! I was thinking about using proper categories like, my top 5 yuri, top 5 wtf, etc but… some titles make a good mix of 2 or more genres ( Claymore what in the world) so, I’ll just write down the names of the best ones for me, with no particular order,I think, then sorta state why and a lame summary that’s it.
1.- Yuri Kuma Arashi: Lesbian bears from outer space, brought to you by no other than Mr. Kunihiko Ikuhara, genius among geniuses. You have it all here, accompanied by the excellent music created by Miss. Bonjour Suzuki. It’s funny, it’s deep, it carries meaning, it’s the best yuri I’ve seen. T-h-e best. The metaphor with the invisible storm and a society that despises or even negates some form of sexuality is on point. Sadly only 1 season but there’s manga drawn by one of my favourite mangakas, Miss. Morishima Akiko !!
2.- Shōjo Kakumei Utena/Revolutionary Girl Utena: They used to broadcast when I was way younger, I don’t know why but I never got around watching it, until yesterday, it’s marvellous, it’s just truly out of this world, again Ikuhara-sensei has translated whatever is inside his head onto a vivacious and unforgettable story. PS The shadow play girls have to be the very best characters after Utena herself, seriously. 39 episodes, a movie and manga.
3.- Jigoku Shoujo: Yes, it may be slightly repetitive at first but, a “little girl” that offers contracts to send the one you hate to hell? Come on! Of course…when you do this 2 graves are dug. It has 3 seasons, I loved each of them, I had to cry so much with the last one, but Emma Ai is one of the few characters I can actually recall their name, that says much. Also one of the best catchphrases of all time “Ippen shinde miru?” aka “Would you like to see what death is like?” gives me the chills
4.- Boogiepop Phantom: What in the actual fuck? A city with little colour, where memories entwine with the day to day life, and someone is known to be the equivalent to death itself. It’s confusing, it has a somehow slow pace, but it’s brilliant how they tie it all up together and bring up matters about life, death, existence and meaning.
5.- Neon Genesis Evangelion: Oh good grief, what to say about one of the most interesting creations in anime so far? Let’s see, if you know at least a bit about eastern religions you’ll notice the multiple references ( the angels come to attack earth for crying out loud) but it isn’t so simple, if you wanted something existentialist that questions the very point of being alive in the way we know it, please do check the series, the movies and the OVAS (the story is a tad different in the OVAS but still a must see).
6.- Serial Experiments Lain: Oh dear Lain, a world where you can LIVE on the net, literally, cold gazes and un-engaged family and friends, one of those titles that really make you wonder. I’m only aware of 13 episodes series.
7.- Sasami-san@ganbaranai: So you have a hikkikomori girl, her older brother who seems like the ultimate siscon, a cyborg and some old deities. If you like to be told about japanese mythology in a less formal way, come on board. I loved this to bits. I’m aware of the light novels and anime only, I am sure there must be a game too though.
8.- Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei: Goodbye Mr. despair , it’s pure black comedy, this protagonist, a teacher attempts suicide often and is met by the most unthinkable characters, for example a hikkikomori girl who then he convinces to leave her house, so then she becomes a hikkikomori at her school. Name puns are used often, I believe it’s 3 series.
9.-Watamote (Watashi ga motenai no wa dō Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui!): GEEZ speak of freaking long titles! Tomoko Kuroki is a very socially awkward girl, actually she seems to have legit social phobia, yet she wants friends, usually doesn’t end up too well, I have to mention the seiyuu, she’s FANTASTIC Izumi Kitta really really good. TV series, 1 OVA and manga.
10.- Wixoss: Oh my, I like trading card games, when they involve granting a wish it seems even better, until you learn how much that wish really costs,that is. You like sorta dark magical girls (Madoka you’re next) ? Well, you’ll love this, series 1 with 2 seasons, a movie that tells it all in a quicker way and a new series with 1 season but apparently there’ll be another one.
11.- Another: Oh how I loved another, I have a slight yet irrational fear of dolls, so this nailed it, also the mere idea that a whole classroom could agree to do something so… low. The atmosphere is great, you can breath the tension, the characters are all awesome, Misaki Mei is another name I don’t need to Google! Watch it all in one go with lights off.
12.- Madoka aka Puella Magi Madoka Magica: I got to watch this after watching Wixoss, oh boy, it’s all magical girls and happiness until the guilt trips and the killing begins isn’t it? Enjoy the series AND the movies for a better view.
13.- Excel Saga: What is this about? Hmm let me see, an “evil” organization wanting to take over the city, yes city first then the country then the world…but in reality it’s a huge ass parody, you should had watched a massive amount of B movies and anime with heavy cliches to get it, it’s pure genius I looove it specially cos Miss. Kotono Mitsuisihi (aka Usagi Tsukino from Sailor Moon, Misato Katsuragi NGE) lent her voice for such nonsense. She looks epic, she even dies a few times!
14.- Higurashi ni Naku koro ni: Oh good lord, this is pretty confusing, honestly I have to re-watch it all, I *think* it’s 5 series, so yeah, need to watch again, but the thing is it’s spooky, the characters are fairly young so it gives this killer loli vibe, the music, specially the intro in the first season gives the chills, and it’s very interesting cos seriously, you should watch it all in a row to try and make sense. It’s just a bunch of little girls, it’s not like they are gonna go insane and torture and slice you up…or are they?
15.- Kill La Kill: I watched this recently and I instantly fell in love with the oh so over the top tone, the ultimate exaggeration of cliches and the music soundtrack, it honestly has been one of the best (after Cowboy Beebop that is) plus the villain is so cool I liked her!! All action,all nudes, all comedy, all in all!
16.- Black rock Shooter: Oi, this one, hmm, mix some drama, with alternate realities with messed up lives, with psychological issues, throw some action in, cool suits and an amazing soundtrack. Inspired by Hatsune Miku, in a darker version, this was born, the visuals are one of my favourites so far.
17.- Madlax: I like a good share of wtfness in what I watch and read, and I like weird ass shit that goes on in the mind, sadly I can’t say much about this without spoiling, but beware of 3 very different people and how they are related, also one of the worst villans’s name ever .. Friday Monday. yeah that’s the name . Bee train delivered well.
18.- Noir: So well it delivered Bee train they made it on the list with another title! This is more realistic, guns and secret organizations + secrets story, it’s not bloody but it does keep you on edge, plus the soundtrack is astonishing! It wasn’t yuri or shoujo ai even but there’s some les yay! in there.
19.- Claymore: Dark fantasy and action comes to mind, women in shiny armours, hacking and slashing each other and some phenomenal foes. If you like some blood and a deep backstory, this is for you. Sorta makes me think of Berzerk.
As epic as it looks
20.- Yuru Yuri: WHAT? you list nightmare fuel, wtf, epic action, guns and you come up with this? Yes I surely do, this is a very light hearted comedy, surely there are many others, but NO OTHER has managed to catch my attention for so long, and Gods I’ve watched so much anime. I even read the mangas (I love reading manga but I don’t always read the manga for a series I watched) , the characters are a lot of fun, you have the yuri that is not there but it is there, you get a lot of possible pairings, the siscon elder sister because come on, she’s the best. There’s puny jokes and anything they do is fun, even getting lost in the woods.
As silly as it looks and more.
So this is far from over, I just listed my personal favourite 20, but I want to add a special mention to the series that brought to us the greatest yandere of all times (at least for many of us) Mirai Nikki or Future Diary, it’s about some diaries (duh) that can tell you about the future and you have to win and blah blah ,the good thing is Gasai Yuno, she is batshit crazy, she’s skilled AF and she’s disturbed AF, but she also seems like a nice person and the end(s) are really heart warming.
A big thanks to everyone who made the fan art that I included here, I don’t know any names but I’m sure it’s all created by wonderful people, also I want to say there’s tons of lovely and awesome anime I’ve watched, the first titles that got me hooked, around 17 years ago, like Sailor Moon, Saint Seiya, Dragon Ball, those hold a special place in my heart, and every show I’ve watched that made my day even better.
Thank you Japan!