With the world being a dumpster fire right now, I thought I’d write about something I enjoy for a bit. Here are my five favorite anime series.
Number 5: Puella Madoka Magica
This was truly shocking series for me. A deconstruction of the Magical Girl genre with depth and fascinating characters. At present this may be the last series I’ve seen to date that was both truly amazing and revolutionary in story and presentation. This was a series that gained a lot of buzz in 2011 after the March 11th earthquake and tsunami, due to the series being halted right at the end for depictions of a city being decimated. Subsequently its third episode became infamous for the sudden change in tone. I began watching the series due to the sheer number of people on the internet who were raving about it and I did not regret that choice.
It doesn’t hurt that the sequel movie was an almost poetic epilogue.
Number 4: Steins Gate
A series that starts out quirky and funny, but in the end becomes incredibly emotionally impactful. The series looks into the concept of time travel and dives deep into the psychological ramifications. This was a series I had heard about but never seen for a long time. I finally got around to seeing it around 2012 or 2013. I was initially underwhelmed at first, but stuck with it. It quickly grew on me and by the end the series had become one of the most memorable I’d ever seen. I played the original video game after watching the series and that was an almost equally moving experience. I still can’t hear the opening song for the video game, Skyclad Observer without getting a little choked up.
Number 3: Martian Successor Nadesico
Unlike Steins Gate which starts out quirky and turns serious, Nadesico was a series that managed to find the perfect balance to be both quirky and serious at the same time. Wearing its Star Trek influence on its sleeve, it takes advantage of its science fiction genre to create a fantastical world where with giant robots and teleportation.
Kind of dating myself here, but this was a series that was extremely popular among the American anime viewing crowd post Evangelion back in the late 90’s. I’d heard about it non stop on a message board I frequented (remember when those were a thing?) when I was living in the US. I happened to visit Japan in the summer of 1997, so I decided to see just what people were talking about. Throughout the series was memorable, moving, and funny all at once. It was a constant balancing act of the silly and serious, but it was the final episode that truly had an impact on me and helped teach me that it was okay to have a little “me time” once in a while.
Number 2: Neon Genesis Evangelion
I don’t think I need to go too much into depth about Evangelion, but it is a hell of a ride. I managed to see the entire series during my previously mentioned summer visit to the Japan when the entire series was aired due to the release of The End of Evangelion movie. I’m one of the people out there who absolutely loved the last two episodes of the TV series. As someone who had had a somewhat developmentally stunted youth those two episodes were incredibly psychologically healing for me.
Number 1: Infinite Ryvius
Whenever I tell people that this is my favorite series and they inevitably say they’ve never heard of it and ask me what the hell it’s about. I always give them the elevator pitch: Lord of the Flies in space. But Infinite Ryvius is much more than that. It’s primarily character-driven where virtually every character has an arc of some kind and has some of the best science fiction world-building I’ve ever seen. Perhaps more than any other series I’ve ever watched Infinite Ryvius was instrumental in defining me as a person.
Anyhow, those are currently my top five favorite anime series. Perhaps I’ll talk a bit more in depth about them another time.