The Great Works of Anime: My List

A little while, I made a post talking about what the “Great Works” of Anime were, and I spoke about how a great work is not the best one, or the most famous, but the one that leaves behind an everlasting legacy that affects everything that comes after it. It doesn’t matter if you like the show or not, what matters is that show’s legacy and influence and it’s affect on fans of all stripes.

This week I’ll be doing my lead up to the 3-month blogging project in which I examine whether or not a certain series could be considered a great work of its genre, and also just seeing how it holds up after awhile.

For now though, I want to run off a list of the anime and manga that I think are the art-form’s great works. I don’t have one for each genre, so this is more of a personal list, of what I think are the most likely to be, or will be Great Works. Check em out after the cut.

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Extremely Subjective List Up Ahead

The Great Works of Anime

Shonen Genre: Dragon Ball

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Why: Love it or hate it, grown up with it or not. Whether you were an O.G manga reader, or just got in through the recent anime of Super. Dragon Ball’s legacy has touched every single piece of anime or manga well beyond just the simple shonen it came from. No matter the series, there is always a little hint of Dragon Ball’s touch on it. Regardless of the quality of the later arcs and Super itself. Regardless of whether or not if you think One Piece has surpassed it. Dragon Ball is the great work of the shonen genre.

Shoujo/Magical Girl: Cardcaptor Sakura

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Why: Cardcaptor Sakura paved the ground and opened the world to the magical girl genre. Yes there were series that came before, but it was Cardcaptor Sakura that solidified many of the tropes and images we associate with magical girls. In many ways it is the magical girl genre in it’s purest form, and series that have come after it have either embraced the world it built, or ran away from it. Regardless there is a little of Cardcaptor Sakura in several anime, and it’s presence is felt in many magical girl and shoujo series to this day.

Mecha/Real Robot: Mobile Suit Gundam 0079

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Why: Mobile Suit Gundam 0079 did to robot anime what Star Wars did to science fiction. Every single anime that uses mecha robots even in the slightest owes something to Mobile Suit Gundam. It brought the realities of war to anime and has created a multi-million dollar franchise, as well as a entire genre. It in many ways is the definition of a great work.

Mecha: Neon Genesis Evangelion

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Why: Neon Genesis Evaneglion is the thinking man’s anime. Whether it is a brilliant piece of work that provokes the human mind, or a show so far up it’s creator’s depressed ass it can’t see anything is irrelevant. Evangelion’s impact on anime goes to the very core of art-form. While it’s day to day influence is not as wide felt as Gundam, this is a show that people point to when they want to show that anime can be about something, regardless if that something is coherent or not.

Hentai: Bible Black

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Why: What, you didn’t think Hentai was exempt from having a great work did you? I’m afraid not. Whether you’ve watched the entire series or however long you needed to do get your rocks off, Bible Black has been called the “Dragon Ball” of Hentai and for good reason. This isn’t a genre that is talked about, but if you dabble around long enough, you can see the effect something like this has had. Nuff, said.

Visual Novel: Fate Stay Night

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Why: Fate Stay Night is not the first major visual novel, but it could very well be the first major hit the genre ever had, and with good reason. There is so much to Fate Stay Night and much of it has seeped through to other visual novels, regardless of how big or small. It’s a series whose popularity has not prevented it from telling stories that tug at heartstrings or infuriate viewers. A mixed reception to some, a masterpiece to others, but the great work of Visual Novels nonetheless.

Potential Great Works

These genres and anime may not be considered “Great Works” yet, but they are the closest of their kind to reach that level. Only time can tell if they become it. I don’t have the answer, but maybe you do!

Isekai: Sword Art Online

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Isekai: ReZero: Starting Life in Another World

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Horror: Hellsing

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Dark Fantasy: Berserk

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Science Fiction: Ghost in the Shell

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Shoujo: Fruits Basket

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Adventure: Full Metal Alchemist

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Ecchi/Harem: Find out on Tuesday!

7 thoughts on “The Great Works of Anime: My List

  1. > a show so far up it’s creator’s depressed ass it can’t see anything is irrelevant.

    Always love reading your takes on Evangelion, because you manage to sum up my thoughts on it exactly haha


  2. I haven’t seen half of these… lol! Never been able to get in Dragon Ball which is odd because fights scenes are my jam! Maybe I’ll give it a go some time, but right now I’m working through One Piece.
    With Hellsing, are talking about Ultimate? I started watching the original and it was awful. Even set in my home country with references to places near where I grew up, I just couldn’t stand it.
    Where is Akira? That is ‘The’ great work of anime. Even today it looks outstanding.


    • When it comes to anime adapations, I’m talking about the OG manga really, so yes..Ultimate and Dragon Ball Kai are probably the best tv versions of them.

      As for Akira, I would place that in the Film genre, of Anime, which I kinda forgot. Also I have never seen it, so I didn’t want to pass judgment, which is why you don’t see Sailor Moon on there.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You should definitely watch Akira and read the manga too. The anime has been shortened and adapted as the manga is over 2000 pages long. Both are epic.


      • It’s on the list somewhere, but I’m not feeling the need to rush out to see it, though yes I’ve heard it is very much a popular work.

        But is it “A great work” though? There are dozens upon dozens of influential and wonderful manga and anime, but I do think there are only a handful that are Great Works.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Without a doubt!

        Another I think you may like is Project A-ko. It’s a parody of lots of other anime and it’s hilarious.


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