As Anime fans, we all have a selection of shows that are very dear to us. The shows that we enjoyed the most. The shows that had the biggest impact on us. The shows that we consider to be the “best”: our favourites.
No matter who we are, we all have our favourites, our cream of the crop, our top Anime.
Today, in this Special Edition of the Listless List, we’re going to be looking at the 10 favourite Anime series of someone very dear to me; my girlfriend, who thought it would be fun to discuss her favourites with you all. Although, I’ll be doing all the writing.
And for the record, she has excellent taste!
Also, since my girlfriend struggles to “make up her mind” this list is in “no particular order”.
Also: Spoiler warning for each of these series. Read at your peril!
Remember when we were kids and we watched Anime on channels like Nickelodeon and Toonami before we knew that Anime was a thing? My girlfriend sure does and one such show that she still considers to be amongst her favourites is Yu-Gi-Oh!, a show that, alongside Pokemon, took the whole world by storm.
As a kid, she would always be forced to go out with her Mum every night, but she couldn’t stand to miss a single episode, so she would record every nights episode on the VCR so she could watch it the moment she returned home. But unfortunately, on the night of the airing of the final episode, she didn’t manage to record it, and wound up having to watch the entire series all over again, from the very beginning! The days without internet were painful days indeed!
She also loved how the game was deeply intertwined with the real life card game and how she was able to form a deeper connection with the series through collecting the cards and playing the game in the real world with others. Every weekend, she would spend all her pocket money, an absolute fortune, on booster packs for her collection, and that only fuelled her love for Yu-Gi-Oh! even more.
A large part of why she still loves Yu-Gi-Oh! and why it’s one of her all-time favourites, is because of these irreplaceable memories. How many shows have the power to affect your childhood through real world experiences?
As for the content of the series itself, she still considers it to be a great show all on its own. In particular the final arc where they are sent back into the past was always super interesting and unique for its time to her, and the themes of friendship and the connections shared between the characters (most notably Yugi and Atem) were truly inspiring and unforgettable.
And on a side note, despite the english dub being done by 4Kids, and being full of censorship, she loves how both of us can have a good laugh at the cheesy acting, ridiculous dialogue and hilarious censoring. Who can forget such lines as “I DUNNO IT JUST CAME IN THE MAIL!” and “NO!!! NOT DOUBLE SPELL!!!” and who doesn’t remember the scene where handguns were replaced with pointing fingers?
Yu-Gi-Oh! will always have a special place in her heart, even though we’re both a decade older. It will always be special because of the memories and special connection she shares with it.
A more recent watch on my girlfriends list of shows, and one she is yet to finish, Berserk was a recommendation made by myself, because I’m a huge fanboy of the Manga. And I succeeded in converting her, because it made her list of favourites!
She really enjoyed Berserk because of its lack of sugar coating. It doesn’t try to “hide” it’s violence through censorship and it’s among one of the most graphic shows to ever come from Anime. She compares it to Game of Thrones, and I can definitely see the parallels, especially during the Golden Age Arc. Although, the lack of nipples and minor censorship in the 2016 Anime was frustrating for her.
Her main draw to Berserk, aside from the violence, was that it was a surprise hit with her. Medieval Fantasy isn’t really her thing, but she loved how the series had a focus in the form of the relationship between the three main characters; Guts, Casca and Griffith and how their friendship developed and played a pivotal part in the overall progression of the story.
However, she wasn’t keen on Casca’s portrayal in the movies, and feels she could have, and should have, had more time to shine as a strong heroine. She also feels the transition from Epic Fantasy to Dark Fantasy was pretty jarring and isn’t too sure how she feels about it overall, but generally considers the series to be a great, character driven gorefest of epic proportions.
8. Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic
Magi is another example of a series that normally “isn’t her thing”, and initially judged it on it’s presentation and appearance, but she wound up really enjoying it and now considers it to be one of her favourites.
Her main draw to Magi is its characters due to their quirky personalities from Aladdin’s child-like innocence, to Alibaba’s courageous determination, to Sinbad’s cunning and suspicious approach to everything. She also loved the over the top powers. She was always waiting for the main characters to use their insanely powerful magic, and when they eventually did use them and overcome powerful opponents, the pay-off was indescribable.
And this is all coupled with her love of the stunning visuals and beautiful animation of the series. It’s colourful and pleasing to look at, especially during the battle scenes which were full of stunning magical attacks and cool looking weapons.
7. Parasyte -The Maxim-
Another one of my favourites, and another recommendation from me, I’m glad that Parasyte made my girlfriends list!
My girlfriends love for Parasyte draws from the relationship between the Parasite Migi and his host, Shinichi and how the two depend on one another to co-exist and survive in a world where both of them have been rejected from their own kind. She loves Migi so much, that she even has a keyring of him on her house keys (although he’s pretty dirty these days!)
She loved how as the series progressed, Migi began to show signs of becoming more human, gaining emotions and showing feelings towards Shinichi and the world around him. At the same time, she loved how the opposite was true for Shinichi, and how he was becoming more cold and soulless, becoming less human. It was an interesting form of character development, something that very few series have the opportunity to explore.
The themes of the story also hit home with her. If we see a threat to our society, we as humans will do everything we can, no matter how destructive or immoral, to completely eradicate it, and it’s a theme she finds a strong connection with.
And on top of that, she loved the violence and how the show refused to tone itself down like most Anime tend to do.
6. Death Note
Like Yu-Gi-Oh!, part of my girlfriends love for Death Note stems from nostalgia. When she watched the series, due to Ryuk’s love for apples, she literally became addicted to eating entire bags of apples as she watched the series.
But her acquired love for apples isn’t the only reason she considers Death Note to be an all-time classic. She also loved the constant tension and endless mind-games throughout the series. Everything was so well planned and thought through, nothing felt like much of an asspull, and the show always kept her on her toes and on the edge of her seat.
And Light’s perspective as a protagonist was also very unique, and stood out from other Anime leads, even by todays standards. He’s a deranged, psychotic main character, but at the same time, has a sense of justice and do-gooder attitude that makes you want to root for him and see him succeed in his goal to become the embodiment of justice itself.
However, she wasn’t a fan of Near, and felt he took away much of the series magic. I’m sure most of us can agree with her on that one.
5. Ajin: Demi-Human
Ajin was a show that came out of nowhere. It randomly showed up on our Netflix, we decided to watch it together and it wound up being a great series that we both enjoyed a lot.
My girlfriend liked how it started quickly, and didn’t waste any time setting up the story or getting to the point. She liked how Kei was instantly discovered to be an Ajin by society, and felt the approach of him being a fugitive who was always on the run to be a nice change of pace from what shows like this normally do.
She was also a huge fan of the series visual presentation, in particular the black ghosts, which were incredibly freaky in appearance and helped elevate the shows dark atmosphere to incredible heights.
And naturally, she loved the chaotic, violent nature of the show. I sense a pattern here!
4. Hunter x Hunter (2011)
Hunter x Hunter is my favourite Anime. Ever. I could literally go on and on about how incredible this series is and why I find it to be the greatest thing to ever come out of the medium.
But we’re not here to talk about my thoughts, this is my girlfriends post. So here’s hers!
Part of why she loves Hunter x Hunter is due to the main rival character Hisoka. His affinity for chaos and his unpredictable, wildcard nature is what originally got her so invested in the series. He brought a lot of seriousness and dramatic tension to a series that started out fairly lighthearted and whimsical, and she always felt afraid for the characters whenever he showed up, because you never quite knew what Hisoka was going to do, or who’s side he was on.
However, aside from Hisoka, she also loved the Chimera Ant arc. The longest arc in the series was a real surprise on every front, telling a story that took all kinds of directions she did not expect. The arc created a villain who you despised for his cruel nature, only to eventually have you grow to care about him and feel sorry for him because of his evolution from a merciless monster to a kindhearted, almost human character. On top of that, he achieved ultimate power, but ultimately met his demise from such a simple, minuscule thing: poisoning. She felt it really subverted the typical Shounen cliche of overcoming a monstrous villain who seems unstoppable with brute force, and I completely agree!
She also loved the characters, except Kurapika, who she felt was too driven by revenge. She also wasn’t the biggest fan of Ging due to his selfish attitude and his refusal to see his son.
And by far, one of her favourite things was the quote from the final episode: “You should enjoy the little detours. To the fullest. Because that’s where you’ll find the things more important than what you want.” It’s a quote that really resonated with her, and it’s something she now lives by. It made her realise the small things in life are what matters the most. You should focus on your dreams and goals, but don’t forget to enjoy yourself by doing the small things like making spaghetti and contributing to your boyfriends blog posts on the way to greatness!
For my girlfriend, there’s just something special about Naruto. From the music, to the memorable characters, to the incredible fight scenes, everything about Naruto has a special place in her heart that she will always remember fondly. There’s a special love she has for the series that she simply “can’t put into words”.
She never tends to be a fan of main characters like Naruto, but he has always been an exception due to how inspiring and satisfying his journey has been to watch. Watching him grow naturally over the years, from a talentless nobody to the greatest ninja of all time is a truly cathartic experience that most underdog stories just can’t do in the same way.
Naruto made her believe in her dreams, it made her feel like she could do anything, that she could be the best, and that’s why she considers the series to be an all-time classic.
She also loved the Nine-Tailed Fox, and how his power was always addictive. She would always be waiting to see Naruto embrace Kurama’s Chakra and go all out.
And of course, she loved the romance between Hinata and Naruto due to the many parallels their relationship has with our own. The Last movie was incredibly satisfying to watch!
But she wasn’t thrilled when the show focused on Sasuke. But let’s be honest, after the whole ordeal with Itachi, did anyone really care about Sasuke any more?
2. Ah! My Goddess
I hadn’t ever heard of this one until I met my girlfriend, but it’s always been one of her favourites for reasons that are entirely different to the other shows on this list.
Unlike the other shows here, Ah! My Goddess is just a relaxing watch. It’s chilled out, there are hardly any stakes and it’s incredibly soothing and therapeutic. It’s the kind of show she likes to watch when she just wants to put her feet up and wind down.
But as for the content itself, she loves the characters and their relationships, especially the romance between Keichi and Belldandy, the main focus of the show. She loves the sweet and romantic moments between the two and the comedic moments that always get in the way of them kissing, although she also finds it incredibly frustrating!
And she also loves the comedy, which is always guaranteed to bring a smile to her face, no matter the kind of day she’s having.
1. Attack on Titan
My girlfriend never realised how cruel humans truly were to other species until Attack on Titan. The titans quickly changed that, when they showed up to devour so many humans in the show, in a manner similar to how we brutally treat the other creatures we share our planet with.
My girlfriend loved the themes of Attack on Titan: humanity is no longer at the top of the food chain, we’re getting a taste of our own medicine, and watching the characters struggle to survive provided a tension like no other series she’d seen before.
The series, to her, was like a book she couldn’t put down. She would rush home to watch it because she was desperate to see how things would unfold and to find out what would happen next. When she wasn’t watching it, she would craft theories about what she thought would happen, only to be proven wrong at every turn. She loved how unpredictable it was.
And unlike most series, at the end of it all, she was left wanting more. She wanted more so badly, she decided to go ahead and continue the story in the Manga: something no other series has ever managed to do.
She loved the characters, and found them all relatable. She loved Eren’s determination, Mikasa’s desire to protect what’s dear to her, and Armin’s intelligent nature and desire to overcome his cowardice. Even the side characters like Jean and Sasha get a ton of love.
And of course, she loved the constant tension and threat of those characters dying, something that always felt very real in Attack on Titan. It felt like any character could die at any given moment, something which she feels most shows struggle to pull off. The series sense of desperation just feels so real.
Then there’s the visuals, the directing and the incredible sound production, which all bring the world to life and make everything feel alive and real. The voice acting in particular really lit a spark within her, and had her feeling all kinds of intense emotions throughout.
She says, it may seem overrated, but Attack on Titan is a must-watch for any Anime fan, and absolutely worth your time.
But I’m sure you’ve all seen it by now. If not, what are you still doing here? Go watch it!
And that about wraps up this Special Edition of the Listless List. My girlfriend and I had fun talking about her favourites and it sparked some really interesting discussions between the two of us.
Man, that was a super long post!
I hope you all enjoyed this list as much as we did making it!
See you in the next one!