I’m looking forward to doing a three-episode check in on the shows I’ve been watching this season, but as there are a few more to watch this weekend before that can be done. So I thought that today I’ll run through a list of what are my personal favorite anime and manga. The ones listed below might not be the best read or received pieces of work, but they hold a special place in my heart. These range from shonen to shoujo, mecha to action, and ecchi to erotic. Many of these you’ll have for sure seen on this blog before and of course, none of these are in any real order. Let’s get into it after the cut.
High School DxD
My Take: Full of action, heart, sexiness, and humor. High School DxD remains the King of the Ecchi for a reason. It never shies away from what it is and instead embraces everything that is wonderful about the Harem Genre. With a compelling main lead, and girls who are both strong and not afraid to embrace both their feminity and sexuality. High School DxD does and continues to raise the Harem genre to a level that no other show has yet to surpass. Simply put: Long Live the King.
ReZero – Starting Life in Another World
My Take: The anime that reignited my love of all things anime. ReZero is both the story of a hero and a brutal takedown of everything that annoys you about anime heroes. This is a show that plays on your expectations of anime and is the perfect prescription to any lapsed fan of the art form. A true masterpiece of our time, and not one to be missed.
Mobile Suit Gundam Seed
My Take: Both a reinvention and retelling of the classic 1970s Mobile Suit Gundam. This is a series that breaks down the more complicated ideas of the franchise and presents them to a new fresh audience. With great action scenes, a diabolic villain and premise that is much easier to understand compared to its predecessor. Mobile Suit Gundam Seed introduced the franchise to a whole new generation of fans and remains to both myself and a legion of fans, one of the best entries in this decade-spanning franchise.
Majikoi ~ Oh! Samurai Girls!
My Take: Funny, Enjoyable, and sometimes introspective. Majikoi won’t be on anyone else’s lists, but it is definitely on mine. With a stellar English dub and a likable cast of characters. Majikoi is a hidden gem of a series that doesn’t do anything special but does far more than people would have expected of it. Combined with an interesting and take on romance that ends with one of the rare examples of confrontation among a harem. Majikoi is a truly great harem series.
Fate Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya
My Take: Illyasviel von Einzbern is the great tragic character of the Fate Franchise. So it is wonderful to see in this series, Illya is given a story where she is free of the terrible reality of the other Fate entries and has a stable life, family, and friends who love and support her. Complete with a fun take on the magical girl genre, comedic stories, impressive action and a pacing that actually allows a Fate show to slow down and catch its breath. Fate/Illya is one of the strongest entries in the entire Fate Franchise, even if the later season introduces some rather eyebrow-raising moments.
New Mobile Report Gundam Wing
My Take: The series hasn’t aged well. It has a dub that is a product of a time before dubs were taken seriously or had any real budget, and the animation is average at best. Yet this series introduces the Gundam universe to the West and remains a nostalgia favorite to many, and a historical cornerstone to everyone else. Its place in history among Western anime fans is marrow-deep, and despite its age, it still remains a decently told, well paced and enjoyable story. And even if that doesn’t convince you, the Wing Zero Endless Waltz Custom is still the most beautiful Gundam ever created. Fight me.
My Take: Innocent to a fault, a main character so cute that it should be illegal, and full of emotions both happy and sad. Cardcaptor Sakura is the series that helped establish a genre that has lasted for decades. It remains CLAMPs best work and a maverick in the depiction of queer relationships during an era when such things were still very much taboo. You can’t watch this series without feeling warm and fluffy inside, and if you don’t tear up during one of the endings you just may not have a soul. It is the “great work” of the Magical Girl genre and remains a masterpiece that has yet to be surpassed.
Black Cat (Manga Version)
My Take: Black Cat is the rare shonen series that doesn’t overstay its welcome. It shows up, tells the exact story it wants to tell, and then gracefully exits the stage. A tale of loss, revenge, escaping your past and finding a family. Black Cat may not be the greatest piece of work produced by Shonen Jump, but it is by far one of the most satisfactory and complete series ever published.
Sense of Values and Wine
My Take: A hentai smut manga yes, but one that remains in my mind for much longer than it should. The romance between the two main leads is touching, real and has a sense of gentleness and understanding that is rare, considering what this story is. Stuff like this isn’t supposed to be for the story or characters, but that is what the story is to me, and for a hentai work, that is something to be admired.
Berserk: The Golden Age Arc
My Take: Berserk’s story has yet to be finished, but no one can deny that the first arc, “The Golden Age” is one of the most enthralling, entertaining and best pieces of work ever done in the anime or manga industry. With great characters, bloody brutal action, and an ending that trumps anything George R R Martin could ever dream of. Berserk: The Golden Age Arc is just so good, it could have been its own series in of itself. A must see for any fan of anime, period.
So those are my top ten favorite anime and manga of all time. I’m sure the list will change as the years go on, but that’s where I stand. What are yours?