our Favorite Anime

 

Ok folks. We’ve been asked repeatedly for our anime recommendations. So here is a list of some of our all-time favorite shows. We love anime and have watched hundreds of hours of it. There are a lot of anime we like so we had to trim down the numbers for this list of all-time favorites.

To make the list the shows had to meet two conditions: 1) We’ve watched the full series (all seasons) at least three times, and 2) The show must be watchable online legally (there is one exception).

If you’ve never watched anime at all we recommend as a good introduction, Cowboy Bebop. It is English dubbed so no reading subtitles and has great music. So it tends to draw in a variety of people.

Please note: This is not a list of all the best anime ever. Just our site’s list of the shows we love and would recommend to our friends.

 

Bleach

Where to watch it: Hulu, Crunchyroll

Note: Shinigami = Grimm Reaper

15-year-old Kurosaki Ichigo is not your everyday high school student. He has from as far he can remember always had the ability to see ghosts and spirits. A fateful day arrives as Ichigo encounters the shinigami Kuchiki Rukia, who saves him and his family from a Hollow at the cost of injuring herself. During this encounter, with Rukia unable to defeat the hollow she transfers her shinigami powers into Ichigo. In the aftermath, unable to continue with her job, Rukia allows Ichigo to take on the role of a shinigami in her place as they together defeat the Hollows plaguing Ichigo's town.

Our Opinion: There are a whopping 669 episodes for this show and several movies. That alone tells you how much of a fan base there is. This is a tournament style anime where the main character power ups between fights. If you like Dragon Ball Z you’ll probably like this one too. Fair warning though, the series has some lulls where side stories interrupt the main story line. Skip these if you like but some of them are pretty decent in their own right.

If you want to skip some of the filler in the series myanimelist.net has a list of the main arc episodes

http://myanimelist.net/forum/?topicid=266473

 

CowBoy Bebop

Where to watch it: Hulu

The year 2071 A.D. That future is now. Driven out of their terrestrial eden, humanity chose the stars as the final frontier. With the section-by-section collapse of the former nations a mixed jumble of races and peoples came. They spread to the stars, taking with them the now confused concepts of freedom, violence, illegality and love, where new rules and a new generation of outlaws came into being. People referred to them as Cowboys.

Meet Spike and Jet, a drifter and a retired cyborg cop who have started a bounty hunting operation. In the converted ship The Bebop, Spike and Jet search the galaxy for criminals with bounties on their heads. They meet a lot of unusual characters, including the unusually intelligent dog, Ein, and the voluptuous and vexing femme fatale, Faye Valentine.

(Source: Crunchyroll)

Our Opinion: This space cowboy show got us through a rough patch after Firefly was canceled. Great space and bounty hunting action, good story, and amazing music. This show proved that the music can elevate a show to a new level.

 

Death Note

Where to watch it: Hulu, Netflix

Yagami Light is a 17-year-old genius from Japan who is tired of his life, school, and the state of the world as he knows it. One day, on the way home from class, Light stumbles upon a dark notebook with "Death Note" written on the front. Intrigued by its appearance, Light reads the first few sentences, only to find out that it states that anyone whose name is written inside will die. Discarding it as a joke, Light continues his daily activities. Soon after though, his human curiosity takes the better of him and prompts Light to try the notebook, discovering the truth behind the first sentence. Now, with power in his hands, Yagami Light is on a quest to change the world and become God of the New World. His path to holy status won't be easy however, as another genius, known as L, is working against Light's beliefs and Light himself. Who will win this power of Gods between humans?

[Written by MAL Rewrite]

Our Opinion: Originally aired in 2006. This show started a new standard in suspense story driven anime. The main character Light is simultaneously a villain (since he kills people) and hero (he only kills evil people). The show ultimately becomes a game of cat and mouse between Light and a police genius L. Who will win? Watch and find out.  

 

Dragon Ball Z / Dragon Ball Z Kai

Where to watch it: Hulu ….Dragon Ball Z Kai: Cartoon Network

Note: Dragon Ball Z Kai is the streamlined version of Dragon Ball Z.

The Saiyans are coming! The last survivors of a cruel, warrior race, these ruthless villains have carved a path of destruction across the galaxy, and now they have set their sights on Earth! They will stop at nothing until they have the wish-granting powers of the seven magic Dragon Balls for their very own.

Gokuu along with old and new allies defends the earth against an assortment of villains ranging from intergalactic space fighters and conquerors, unnaturally powerful androids and near indestructible magical creatures. 

While the original Dragon Ball anime followed Gokuu through childhood into adulthood, Dragon Ball Z is a continuation of his adulthood life, but at the same time parallels the maturation of his son, Gohan, as well as other characters from Dragon Ball and more.

(Source: Funimation)

Our Opinion: One of the first anime shows many American’s ever viewed. This show has a special place in our hearts. The anime is actually a sequel to Dragon Ball, a show about little kid Gokuu and his hunt for the wish granting Dragon Balls. Dragon Ball Z is more mature, with all the characters all grown up and fighting to save the world from lots of bad guys. This is the epitome of a tournament style action anime. Lots of fighting and little plot.

 

Rurouni Kenshin

Where to watch it: Hulu, Netflix, Crunchyroll

Can you hear the calm silence of the eye of the storm?

It is the Meiji Era, a time of peace born from the bloodshed of war. Some remnants of the past remain loyal to samurai morals, but most have lost their way. Certain individuals refusing to accept the ways of this new world now threaten to revive the violence of the old days and bring forth war to Japan once again. Can this fragile peace withstand those who fight to destroy it?

Kenshin Himura is an assassin turned wanderer, who has vowed to never take another life and now devotes his life to helping those who cannot help themselves. He soon befriends others who share his ideals and who all refuse to give in to the evil that surrounds them. Together, they learn what it is like to fight for a cause. Will this legendary assassin and his band of heroic warriors be able to stop these rising threats and maintain Japan's peaceful era?

My Opinon: There are a lot of episodes to watch for this anime, a couple movies, and even a live action adaptation. That tells you how popular this show is. I enjoyed all the sword fights but I also enjoyed the peek into the Meiji era of Japan where the way of the samurai was a dying tradition.  I also might have bought a reverse blade sword at a convention because of the show.

 

Trigun

Where to watch it: Hulu

On a desert planet, Vash the Stampede is a wanted gunslinger. He's known for turning towns into rubble, but he's definitely not your typical outlaw. In fact, he's more doofus than desperado, and there's a lot more to Vash than his reputation lets on.

My Opinion: Classic anime. One of the first anime that I ever watched and bought episode by episode on classic DVD. Great action set in a post-apocalyptic cowboy world. The story gets very interesting and sci-fi towards the end of the series.

 

Naruto/Naruto Shippuden

Where to watch it: Hulu, Crunchyroll

Naruto: Naruto Uzumaki, a hyperactive and knuckle-headed ninja, lives in Konohagakure, the Hidden Leaf village. Moments prior to his birth, a huge demon known as the Kyuubi, the Nine-tailed Fox, attacked Konohagakure and wreaked havoc. In order to put an end to the Kyuubi's rampage, the leader of the village, the 4th Hokage, sacrificed his life and sealed the monstrous beast inside the newborn Naruto.

Shunned because of the presence of the Kyuubi inside him, Naruto struggles to find his place in the village. He strives to become the Hokage of Konohagakure, and he meets many friends and foes along the way. 

[Written by MAL Rewrite]

Naruto Shippuden: Naruto: Shippuuden is the continuation of the original animated TV series Naruto. The story revolves around an older and slightly more matured Uzumaki Naruto and his quest to save his friend Uchiha Sasuke from the grips of the snake-like Shinobi, Orochimaru. After 2 and a half years Naruto finally returns to his village of Konoha, and sets about putting his ambitions to work, though it will not be easy, as he has amassed a few (more dangerous) enemies, in the likes of the shinobi organization; Akatsuki.

(Source: ANN)

My Opinion: Lots of great ninja action in both series. Main storylines are very engaging and interesting. Downside of having such long running series is that there are boring side stories that break up the main action. I generally skip through any episode that isn’t part of the main story. Other folks love the side stories too.

 

One Piece

Where to watch it: Hulu, Crunchyroll

Gol D. Roger was known as the Pirate King, the strongest and most infamous being to have sailed the Grand Line. The capture and death of Roger by the World Government brought a change throughout the world. His last words before his death revealed the location of the greatest treasure in the world, One Piece. It was this revelation that brought about the Grand Age of Pirates, men who dreamed of finding One Piece (which promises an unlimited amount of riches and fame), and quite possibly the most coveted of titles for the person who found it, the title of the Pirate King.

Enter Monkey D. Luffy, a 17-year-old boy that defies your standard definition of a pirate. Rather than the popular persona of a wicked, hardened, toothless pirate who ransacks villages for fun, Luffy’s reason for being a pirate is one of pure wonder; the thought of an exciting adventure and meeting new and intriguing people, along with finding One Piece, are his reasons of becoming a pirate. Following in the footsteps of his childhood hero, Luffy and his crew travel across the Grand Line, experiencing crazy adventures, unveiling dark mysteries and battling strong enemies, all in order to reach One Piece.

[Written by MAL Rewrite]

My Opinion: Like Bleach and Dragon Ball Z, this show is all about the fights. A tournament style fighting action anime. The main characters are all pretty lovable but Luffy is the most charismatic. Overall the series is very fun and I watch every new episode. However, with over 829 and counting the show falls into a common trapping of long running series, filler. Some episodes are amazing and others are just meh.

To watch the series without the filler follow myanimelist.net recommended episode list

http://myanimelist.net/forum/?topicid=453655

 

Blue Exorcist (Ao no exorcist)

 

Where to watch it: Hulu, Crunchyroll, Netflix

This world consists of two dimensions joined as one, like a mirror. The first is the world in which the humans live, Assiah. The other is the world of demons, Gehenna. Ordinarily, travel between the two, and indeed any kind of contact between the two, is impossible. However the demons can pass over into this world by possessing anything that exist within it. Satan the god of demons, but there's one thing that he doesn't have, and that's a substance in the human world that is powerful enough to contain him!! For that purpose he created Rin, his son from a human woman, but will his son agree to his plans? Or will he become something else...? An exorcist?

(Source: MU)

Our Opinion: Only one season to this show, but it’s a good one. The artwork on the show feels very original. Action, action, action, show. Part of the appeal for us is the dynamics between the characters. Fun show that we are sad only has one season.

 

FullMetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

Where to watch it: Hulu, Netflix

In this world there exist alchemists, people who study and perform the art of alchemical transmutation—to manipulate objects and transform one object into another. They are bounded by the basic law of alchemy: in order to gain something you have to sacrifice something of the same value.

The main character is the famous alchemist Edward Elric—also known as the Fullmetal Alchemist—who almost lost his little brother, Alphonse, in an alchemical accident. Edward managed to attach his brother's soul to a large suit of armor. While he did manage to save his brother's life, he paid the terrible price of his limbs.

To get back what they've lost, the brothers embark on a journey to find the Philosopher's Stone that is said to amplify the powers of an alchemist enormously; however, on the way, they start uncovering a conspiracy that could endanger the entire nation, and they realize the misfortunes brought upon by the Philosopher's Stone.

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is a re-telling of the story from the manga's point of view.

My Opinion: There is another Full Metal Alchemist show (2003) that is a decent show. However, we recommend this one because the story is soooo much better. You care about the characters. The alchemy system is a new and interesting way to create great battles. While there are lots of great fights in the series it is the story that sucks you in. One of our all-time favorite series. One we watch at least once a year.

 

Hunter X Hunter (2011)

Where to watch it: Hulu, Netflix, Crunchyroll

A new adaptation of the manga series by Togashi Yoshihiro.

A Hunter is one who travels the world doing all sorts of dangerous tasks. From capturing criminals to searching deep within uncharted lands for any lost treasures. Gon is a young boy whose father disappeared long ago, being a Hunter. He believes if he could also follow his father's path, he could one day reunite with him.

After becoming 12, Gon leaves his home and takes on the task of entering the Hunter exam, notorious for its low success rate and high probability of death to become an official Hunter. He befriends the revenge-driven Kurapika, the doctor-to-be Leorio and the rebellious ex-assassin Killua in the exam, with their friendship prevailing throughout the many trials and threats they come upon taking on the dangerous career of a Hunter.

Our Opinion: We love this show. Very fun. No real filler. This show has a very similar appeal to Dragon Ball. It focuses on the adventures of Gon, a boy, growing in martial strength to first become a hunter and then to find his dad. The anime is essentially a tournament style fighting show. Where the characters level up between major fights. There are 4 major story arcs to this great action anime. Be warned, the last story arc of the show gets kinda dark. Even killing off some characters we’ve come to love.

 

Gundam

Where to watch it: ????

This is the exception we mentioned in our introduction. Our list wouldn’t be complete without at least mentioning Gundam. The Gundam Universe is vast and many anime’d. There are at least a dozen animes made over 30 years that encompass the show. Not to mention a recent series about Gundam model building and battling. The popularity of the show comes down to fantastic space battles between giant robots with awesome powers. There are often good stories to accompany the battles but not always. Unfortunately, as of the writing of this review there is no “legal” way to watch most of the shows online or on the internet. There are talks in the works to bring all the Gundam franchise to the U.S. to watch but it’s not finished yet. You can purchase the varies series on DVD or VHS but we can’t in good conscience recommend the high prices associated with this method.

If you want to start watching Gundam there is a good Reddit post about the chronological order to watch. However, we recommend you start with the Gundam SEED shows since they are more recently produced and still have all the good things we love about Gundam.

Update: Iron Blooded Orphan came out recently and you can watch it online on Hulu and Crunchyroll. The story involves Mars independence and using an older Gundam to fight for that. Great action.

Also Gundam Reconguista in G is also on Hulu.

http://www.reddit.com/r/Animesuggest/comments/2n9m6s/want_to_watch_gundam_but_have_no_clue_where_to/

 

Haikyuu!!

Where to watch it: Hulu, Crunchyroll

A chance event triggered Shouyou Hinata's love for volleyball. His club had no members, but somehow persevered and finally made it into its very first and final regular match of middle school, where it was steamrolled by Tobio Kageyama, a superstar player known as "King of the Court." Vowing revenge, Hinata applied to the Karasuno High School volleyball club... only to come face-to-face with his hated rival, Kageyama!

A tale of hot-blooded youth and volleyball from the pen of Haruichi Furudate!!

(Source: Shounen Jump)

Our Opinion: A great sports anime. If you like movies like Rocky and Rudy this show is something you might like. Lots of competition and struggle as the main character fights to make the volleyball team. Fun one season show.

 

Hajime No ippo

Where to watch it: Crunchyroll,

Makunouchi Ippo has been bullied his entire life. Constantly running errands and being beaten up by his classmates, Ippo has always dreamed of changing himself, but never has the passion to act upon it. One day, in the midst of yet another bullying, Ippo is saved by Takamura Mamoru, who happens to be a boxer. Ippo faints from his injuries and is brought to the Kamogawa boxing gym to recover. As he regains consciousness, he is awed and amazed at his new surroundings in the gym, though lacks confidence to attempt anything. Takamura places a photo of Ippo's classmate on a punching bag and forces him to punch it. It is only then that Ippo feels something stir inside him and eventually asks Takamura to train him in boxing. Thinking that Ippo does not have what it takes, Takamura gives him a task deemed impossible and gives him a one week time limit. With a sudden desire to get stronger, for himself and his hard working mother, Ippo trains relentlessly to accomplish the task within the time limit. Thus Ippo's journey to the top of the boxing world begins.

[Written by MAL Rewrite]

Our Opinion: If you liked the movie Rocky, you’ll like this show. It’s a little harder to find since it’s a slightly older show. But well worth the effort. Lovable main character who starts off as a wussy kid that gets bullied but then falls into boxing. The decision to pursue boxing changes his life. Also, the anime makes reference to the manga later in the series. Oh, also, there are about 3 seasons to the show but we love the first one the most.

 

KUROKO NO BASKETball (KUROKO’S BASKETBALL)

Where to watch itCrunchyroll

The Teiko Middle School Basketball Team. The class that produced three perfect seasons in a row, with five once-in-a generation players, called "The Generation of Miracles." There was another player who all of them respected... A legendary 6th player. An up-and-coming power player, Taiga Kagami, is just back from America. When he comes to Seirin High School, he meets the super-ordinary boy, Tetsuya Kuroko. Kagami is shocked to find that Kuroko isn't good at basketball, in fact, he's bad! And he's so plain that he's impossible to see. But Kuroko's plainness lets him pass the ball around without the other team noticing him, and he's none other than the sixth member of the Miracle Generation. Kuroko makes a pact with Kagami to defeat the other members of the Miracle Generation, who have all played basketball at other schools. A battle of light (Kagami) and shadow (Kuroko) begins!

(Source: ANN)

Our Opinion: This is an action packed basketball anime show. Each season revolves around a high school basketball tournament. Great character development. Great action. One of our long time favorites. If you like sports anime then this is a gem. Note that this is an ongoing show.

 

Baby Steps

Where to watch it: Crunchyroll

Diligent and methodical honor student Eiichirou Maruo decides to exercise more during the little free time he has available because he is worried about his health. For this reason, after seeing a flyer, he joins the Southern Tennis Club at the beginning of his freshman year.

During his free trial at the club, he meets Natsu Takasaki, another first year student, who is determined on becoming a professional tennis player due to her love for the sport. In contrast, Eiichirou's study-oriented life exists because he believes that it is what he has to do, not because he enjoys it. However, his monotonous days come to an end as the more he plays tennis, the more he becomes fascinated by it.

Baby Steps is the story of a boy who makes the most of his hard-working and perfectionist nature to develop his own unique playing style. Little by little, Eiichirou's skills begin to improve, and he hopes to stand on equal footing with tennis' best players.

[Written by MAL Rewrite]

My Opinion: Great sports anime. There are multiple seasons of the show to watch. Great to watch the main character grow through hard work and dedication to his new sport. If you liked Hajime No Ippo they you’ll enjoy this one too.

 

Yowamushi Pedal

Where to watch it: Hulu, Crunchyroll

All kinds of incidents and rigorous training awaited Sakamichi, but with the support of his many friends and upperclassmen like Kinjou, Tadokoro, and Makishima, he went on to overcome many trials. And as the days went by, the talented road racer inside Sakamichi began to awaken...!

 

High school students pushing themselves to the limit as they bet everything on their bicycles are about to begin a race of passionate souls!

My Opinion:  Underdog bicycle rider improves through hard work. Another good sports anime that you’ll like if you like sports anime.

 

Soul Eater

Where to watch it: Hulu, Netflix

Maka's a Meister and Soul is her Weapon. When they battle the forces of evil - they're a freakin' lethal team. That's when Soul transforms - literally - into a razor-sharp scythe. That's when Maka unleashes the slayer within, wielding her partner against witches, werewolves, and zombies that feed on innocent souls.

My Opinion: An interesting combo of grim reaper high school life and monster hunting. Lots of actions. Decent story. The first episode feels a little ‘story book’ but the rest of the series is great and more original.

 

Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works

Where to watch it: Hulu, Netflix

Fuyuki City—a city surrounded by the ocean and the mountains becomes the setting for an age-old ritual. To realize the mythical Holy Grail, which is said to grant any wish from its possessor, seven masters are given seven heroic spirits chosen by the Grail. These heroic spirits or servants are: "Saber," "Lancer," "Archer," "Rider," "Caster," "Assassin," "Berserker." Each master will enter into a contract with their assigned servants and battle the other masters and servants to the death until only one pair remains… This is the “Holy Grail War.” The Battle Begins Fall 2014. Unlimited Blade Works This story focuses primarily on the heroine Rin Tohsaka. After her father’s death, Rin enters the Holy Grail War as the sole heir to the prestigious Tohsaka Household, with her servant Archer. But, she soon finds out that Shirou Emiya, a boy from her high school has gotten himself involved in the battles and unexpectedly saves him when he is fatally injured. Before long, Rin sets out to strike down the conspiracies surrounding the Holy Grail War along with Shirou and his summoned servant Saber. And so, the story begins to explore the truth behind Shirou’s powers and the nature behind his unyielding will to become a “hero.”

My Opinion: Summon the spirit of an ancient hero and fight in tournament to get the right to the Holy Grail. Lots of action in this fantasy fighting series.

 

Silver spoon (gin No Saji)

Where to watch it: Hulu, Crunchyroll

Yugo Hachiken dreams of life separated from his family, so he takes the initiative by enrolling in an agriculture school. He thinks, with his talent in studying, no problems will arise no matter what kind of school he attends. He is proven wrong very quickly. Raised as a city boy, he is forced to uncover the inconvenient truth about agricultural life. Enjoy the story of Hachiken, as he tries to keep up with his new friends, farmers' heirs, who are already accustomed to the harsh world of farming. With no clear goals or understanding of farming life, how will Hachiken survive this new, cruel reality? The story of a sweat, tear, and mud-stained youth begins!

(Source: MAL)

My Opinion: Another of the rare non-action animes we love. The show is a slice of life comedy with an interesting agricultural education theme. Hachiken goes to an agricultural college without any real purpose. He soon learns that the college is not an easy place to rest but a rigorous courses in agriculture. He soon comes to appreciate all the things that go into growing food, raising food, and producing food products (I love the bacon episode). Hachiken soon makes friends and even a love interest. However, he soon has to choose between the life he establishes here and his parent’s desire for him to go to a real college. The show has two seasons and we loved them both.

 

Steins;Gate

Where to watch it: Hulu

The eccentric mad scientist Okabe, his childhood friend Mayuri, and the otaku hacker Daru have banded together to form the "Future Gadget Research Laboratory," and spend their days in a ramshackle laboratory hanging out and occasionally attempting to invent incredible futuristic gadgets. However, their claymore is a hydrator and their hair dryer flips breakers, and the only invention that's even remotely interesting is their Phone Microwave, which transforms bananas into oozing green gel. But when an experiment goes awry, the gang discovers that the Phone Microwave can also send text messages to the past. And what's more, the words they send can affect the flow of time and have unforeseen, far-reaching consequences—consequences that Okabe may not be able to handle...

(Source: Anime Planet)

My Opinion: One of the most original anime I’ve ever seen. Great characters and an amazing time travel story that has plenty of timey whimmey plot twists.

 

Sword Art Online

Where to watch it: Hulu, Crunchyroll

In the near future, a Virtual Reality Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (VRMMORPG) called Sword Art Online has been released where players can control their avatars through brain waves using technology called "NerveGear." When players enter the game, they discover they cannot log out, as the game creator is holding them captive. To escape, players must beat the game by defeating each boss on all 100 floors; however, if they die in the game, they die in real life too. Their struggle for survival starts now...

(Source: Crunchyroll, modified)

My Opinion: If you like video games or VR then you might like this show. We love both and we LOVE this show. When VR becomes a real thing we’d be happy to get stranded in this world. Note that there are actually two other seasons of this show but we like the first season the best.

 

Log Horizon

Where to watch it: Hulu, Crunchyroll

Imagine a MMORPG that has become a global phenomenon, immersing millions of players in its online world over 11 editions. But what happens when something goes terribly wrong with the 12th expansion, and the hit RPG becomes a deadly “real people in jeopardy” situation as 30,000 players suddenly find themselves pulled permanently into the game’s no longer fictional universe? Heroes will be born, leaders will rise and a new legend will be forged as sword and sorcery becomes real in LOG HORIZON!

My Opinon: Great story that takes the trapped in a game in a different direction since death doesn’t mean real life death.

 

Accel World

Where to watch it: Hulu,

The year is 2046. Haruyuki Arita is a young boy who finds himself on the lowest social rungs of his school. Ashamed of his miserable life, Haruyuki can only cope by indulging in virtual games. But that all changes when Kuroyukihime, the most popular girl in school, introduces him to a mysterious program called Brain Burst and a virtual reality called the Accel World.

My Opinion: Really enjoyed the idea of a world using both augmented reality and virtual reality and how its use can impact real life. The main character is a bit whinny and self-deprecating sometimes but that only makes his acts of heroism more outstanding. Love the battles and sci-fi elements.

 

 

Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? 

Where to watch it: Hulu, Crunchyroll

Commonly known as the "Dungeon," the city of Orario possesses a huge labyrinth in the underground. Its strange name attracts excitement, illusions of honor, and hopes of romance with a pretty girl. In this city of dreams and desires, new adventurer Bell Cranel has his fateful encounter with the tiny Goddess Hestia.

Thus begins the story of a boy striving to become the best adventurer and a lonely goddess searching for followers both working together to fulfill their goals.

My Opinion: One of my all-time favorite animes. I re-watch this series at least three times a year. It’s an anime about living in a game world and progressively becoming stronger through hard work and fighting monsters in a dungeon. All so the main character can be strong enough for the girl he has a crush on. If you like Sword Art Online you’ll like this one.

 

Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash (Hai to Gensou no Grimgar)

Where to watch it: Hulu

Awaken...

This is the only thing the youth of Hai to Gensou no Grimgar remember before awakening in an unknown building in a medieval landscape enshrouded in darkness.

The group of strangers is told that in order to make a living, they would have to join the Reserve Army forces to keep the town safe from nearby monsters. The stronger looking people form a team to join the Reserve Army and depart, leaving Manato, Haruhiro, Ranta, Yume, Mogzo, and Shihoru to fend for themselves. But how will they get by if they can't even defeat the weakest of monsters?

My Opinon: The anime is pretty faithful to the original LitRPG novel. Especially in the art style department. Still, I enjoyed the novel more. The story doesn’t focus as much on action as other LitRPGs but more on group dynamics and the effect of living in a fantasy world would have when you still only have one life, no respawns. There is no “official” translation of the novels or manga so linked to a couple of fan translations.

 

No Game No Life

Where to watch it: Hulu, Crunchyroll

They are both NEETs and Hikikomoris… but on the internet, the genius gamer siblings Sora and Shiro are known as the undefeatable “__” (blank). Sora and Shiro’s talents and skills are so abnormally good they are considered as urban legend. One day a young boy Teto appears before them, claiming to be “One’s Lord”.

Teto summoned Sora and Shiro away from the real world called a “shitty game”, and into another dimension. Here, all violences are forbidden, and everything is decided by a game! Of the 16 different races residing in this world, “Humanity” is the weakest. After having the vast majority of their lands captured by the other races and being driven to the brink of extinction, Sora and Shiro challenge these one-of-a-kind battles of the intellectual powers in order to save Humanity!

My Opinion: There’s only one season of the show but it’s a good one. Two super gamers are transported to world where everything can be gambled on a game. These two try to rule this world by using their uber gaming skills. Very fun and unique show.

 

TOKYO GHOUL √A

 

Where to watch itHulu

Po Ken Kaneki, a bookish and ordinary young man, until a dark and violent encounter turns him into the first ever Ghoul-human half breed. Trapped between two worlds, Ken must survive the violent conflicts of warring Ghoul factions, while attempting to learn more about Ghoul society, his newfound powers, and the fine line between man and monster.

(Source: ANN)

My Opinion: Fair warning. This anime is pretty gory. The 2nd season is more action packed and faster paced than the first season. The main character, Ken Kaneki, struggles with what it means to be a monster. Lots of great story twists. Lots of great action. Till the very last episode I was never 100% sure where it was going.

 

Hellsing Ultimate

Where to watch it: Hulu

The vampire Alucard defends the British Empire against undead freaks. When he offers policewoman Seras Victoria a second chance after she's cut down in the line of duty, she's reborn as the monster's blood-sucking servant.

My Opinion: An updated version of a classic horror anime. This one is a gory horror fest. Dracula..I mean Alucard, fights vampires, religious fanatics, and Nazis.  This is one action packed anime.

 

Blood +

Where to watch it: Crackle

In modern-day Okinawa, Saya Otonashi is an athletic teen leading a happy home life with her adoptive family. However, she struggles daily against memory loss that prevents her from remembering anything before one year ago. After Saya meets Hagi, a mysterious cellist, the pieces of the puzzle begin to unfold when he bestows a Japanese sword upon her. Saya doesn't understand the role Hagi plays in her destiny, until a blood-sucking chiropteran attacks her adoptive brother Kai and Saya is forced to fight for his life. With the help of Hagi, Saya rediscovers her past and embraces her role in battling the onslaught of chiropteran vampires that has plagued Japan for centuries. Set to music produced by Hans Zimmer, Blood+ is based on Blood the Last Vampire, the sixth-best selling anime of all time in the United States.

My Opinion: A brutal anime where the main character fights vampires with a sword. This show is kind of gory. It’s also based on the anime movie Blood the Last Vampire.

 

PARASYTE-THE-MAXIM (KISEIJUU: SEI NO KAKURITSU)

Where to watch it: Hulu, Crunchyroll

Based on Iwaaki Hitoshi's science-fiction horror manga by the same name.

The 17-year-old Izumi Shinichi lives with his mother and father in a quiet neighborhood in Tokyo. One night, worm-like aliens called Parasytes invade Earth, taking over the brains of human hosts by entering through their ears or noses. One Parasyte attempts to crawl into Shinichi's ear while he sleeps, but fails since he is wearing headphones, and enters his body by burrowing into his arm instead, taking over his right hand and is named Migi.

Because Shinichi was able to prevent Migi from traveling further up into his brain, both beings retain their separate intellect and personality. As the duo encounter other Parasytes, they capitalize on their strange situation and gradually form a strong bond, working together to survive. This gives them an edge in battling other Parasytes, who frequently attack the pair upon realization that Shinichi's human brain is still intact. Shinichi feels compelled to fight other Parasytes, who devour humans as food, while enlisting Migi's help.

(Source: Wikipedia)

My Opinion: The show started off with some decent action in the first few episodes and has regular bloody fights throughout. We found that the action was not the main draw of the show though. Rather it was the main characters interaction with his parasite. There is a constant tone that asks the question: what does it means to be a human? Or at what point we cross the line into monsterhood?

 

Beyond the Boundary  (Kyoukai no Kanata)

Where to watch it: Hulu, Crunchyroll,

The last surviving member of her clan, Mirai Kuriyama is cursed with the terrifying ability to control and manipulate blood. Akihito Kanbara being half human and half youmo has made him immortal and doomed to a life alone. Alone their future seems bleak, but when a chance encounter brings them together, it becomes clear that they share more than just an unexpected bond. Beyond the world that we know, in a realm where nightmares are real and legends walk, their future awaits BEYOND THE BOUNDARY.

My Opinion: Part a slice of life show, part monster fighting show. There is good action and a unique power from the main character to user her blood to form weapons. While the action was great it was the relationships between characters that kept me watching the show.

 

 

Seraph of the End (Owari no Seraph)

Where to watch it: Hulu

With the appearance of a mysterious virus that kills everyone above the age of 13, mankind becomes enslaved by previously hidden, power-hungry vampires who emerge in order to subjugate society with the promise of protecting the survivors, in exchange for donations of their blood.

Among these survivors are Yuuichirou and Mikaela Hyakuya, two young boys who are taken captive from an orphanage, along with other children whom they consider family. Discontent with being treated like livestock under the vampires' cruel reign, Mikaela hatches a rebellious escape plan that is ultimately doomed to fail. The only survivor to come out on the other side is Yuuichirou, who is found by the Moon Demon Company, a military unit dedicated to exterminating the vampires in Japan.

Many years later, now a member of the Japanese Imperial Demon Army, Yuuichirou is determined to take revenge on the creatures that slaughtered his family, but at what cost?

Owari no Seraph is a post-apocalyptic supernatural shounen anime that follows a young man's search for retribution, all the while battling for friendship and loyalty against seemingly impossible odds.

[Written by MAL Rewrite]

My Opinon: Vampire action fighting galore. What more do you need?

 

Death Parade

Where to watch it: Hulu

There is a place after death that’s neither heaven nor hell. A bar that serves you one chance to win. You cannot leave until the game is over, and when it is, your life may be too. From Studio Madhouse (Death Note, Black Lagoon) comes a thrilling new series where the stakes are high and the rules are simple: your life is on the line.

(Source: ANN)

My Opinion: This anime felt like a series of short stories that tries to make sense out of what makes us human. The bartender uses the games to stress the players out to see who they are. We as the audience get to relive the last or most important moments of these players lives out. While there were a few funny moments, the series is mostly very serious as the spirits of the dead are judged. Each episode was interesting in it’s own right but the story arc behind the scenes keeps you tuning in to find out what happens next.

 

Shokugeki no Soma (Food Wars)

Where to watch it: Crunchyroll

Ever since he was a child, fifteen-year-old Souma Yukihira has helped his father by working as the sous chef in the restaurant his father runs and owns. Throughout the years, Souma developed a passion for entertaining his customers with his creative, skilled, and daring culinary creations. His dream is to someday own his family's restaurant as its head chef.

Yet when his father suddenly decides to close the restaurant to test his cooking abilities in restaurants around the world, he sends Souma to Tootsuki Culinary Academy, an elite cooking school where only 10 percent of the students graduate. The institution is famous for its "Shokugeki" or "food wars," where students face off in intense, high-stakes cooking showdowns.

As Souma and his new schoolmates struggle to survive the extreme lifestyle of Tootsuki, more and greater challenges await him, putting his years of learning under his father to the test.

[Written by MAL Rewrite]

My Opinion: I was surprised by how much I enjoyed a show about cooking food. There is a lot of action involved in preparing and cooking food. Also, I always seemed to get hungry watching this one so I’d recommend you have a snack while watching it. Be aware that there is a bit of fan service in the show.

 

Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata

Where to watch it: Crunchyroll

Synopsis: The life of Tomoyo Aki, a high school otaku working part time to support his BD hording. With remarkable luck, he bumps head-first into, Megumi Kato, the most beautiful girl he has ever seen. Naturally, the meeting twists his life into a complicated torrent of relationships. Eriri Spencer Sawamura, his half-foreigner childhood friend who’s always valued her relationship with MC. Kasumigaoka Utaha, a cold, composed renowned literary genius who shoves everyone aside from our protagonist. What is this? An eroge introduction?

The tale of a small not quite doujin circle, but not quite indie studio’s journey through the tough territory of comiket and beyond.

(Source: ANN)

My Opinion: This anime was a funny romantic-ish break from the other action oriented anime. The anime documents the efforts of a high school student, Tomoyo Aki, and his quest to produce a type of story driven game that is similar to an interactive novel. He enlists the aid of two high school girls that are secretly anime and otaku geniuses. One an erotic fiction writer. The other an erotic manga artist. His inspiration is a girl he runs into one day on his way home. This slice of life/romantic comedy anime revolves around Tomoyo and his relationships with these friends.

 

Ansatsu Kyoushitsu (Assassination classroom)

Where to watch it: Hulu

A humorous and action-packed story about a class of misfits who are trying to kill their new teacher – an alien octopus with bizarre powers and super strength! The teacher has just destroyed the moon and is threatening to destroy the earth – unless his students can destroy him first. What makes things more complicated is that he's the best teacher they've ever had!

(Source: ANN)

My Opinion: The plot to assassinate the alien octopus looking teacher is just a way to tell the story of a dedicated teacher trying to reach the worst students in the district. The anime is both funny, touching, and weird enough that you just have to see the next episode.

 

Junketsu no Maria

Where to watch it: Hulu

Synopsis: The story follows Maria, the most powerful witch who lives during the Hundred Years' War in France. She despises war, so she obstructs battles with her strong magical powers. Her meddling with her succubus Artemis and incubus Priapos has caught the attention of the heavens, and so the Archangel Michael issues an edict. When Maria loses her virginity, she will also lose her magical powers. A beautiful angel named Ezekiel is supposed to watch Maria and make sure the witch does not use magic in front of people, but Maria continues to use magic anyways.

(Source: ANN)

My Opinion: A surprise favorite. Both the story and art both felt very original. I came to love the idealistic determination of Maria and her quest to stop all wars. Maria stands up to anyone that would war in her territory. There are many factions that seek to stop Maria’s meddling, including: mercenary groups, the local nobility, the church, and an angelic messenger. However Maria won’t back down, no matter the consequences. There are some great sub plots that question the role of religion in war and the nature of right and wrong.

 

Golden Time

 

Where to watch it: Hulu, Crunchyroll

Tada Banri, a newly admitted student at a private law school in Tokyo, found himself completely lost after the opening ceremony, trying to find his way to the freshman orientation. At that moment, he ran into another lost freshman from the same school, Yanagisawa Mitsuo, and they hit it off at once. Somehow arriving at their intended goal just on time, there appeared in front of the two a beautiful girl holding a bouquet of roses. The girl then whacked Mitsuo across the face with the bouquet and handed the flowers over to him. "Freshman, congratulations," was all she said, and then left. The stylish, well dressed, perfect woman that had swung at Mitsuo was his childhood friend, Kaga Kouko. As children they had promised to marry each other one day, fulfilling their dreams. In order to escape from her, Mitsuo had gone out secretly and taken the examination for this well known private college, but now she showed up in the freshman orientation hall. She too had taken the law school entrance examination, catching up with him there.

(Source: Baka-Tsuki)

My Opinion: One of the few anime shows I love that doesn’t have any fight scene. This is a touching drama. The show is one part slice of life, and one part romantic comedy. Tada Banri is starting life over after he loses his memory in an accident. He has started college and falls for a high maintenance girl. However, his childhood love shows up. Unfortunately, he does not remember her at all or the love he felt for her. But she stirs up a part of him that has a hard time remembering. The show ponders the question: Are we just our memories? What happens if we lost them, are we now a different person?

 

Kino’s Journey

Where to watch it: Hulu

Based on a hit light novel series by Keiichi Sigsawa, the philosophical Kino's Journey employs the time-honored motif of the road trip as a vehicle for self-discovery and universal truth. Deeply meditative and cooler than zero, the series follows the existential adventures of the apt marksman Kino along with talking motorcycle Hermes as they travel the world and learn much about themselves in the process. Imaginative, thought-provoking, and sometimes disturbing, Kino's journey is documented in an episodic style with an emphasis on atmosphere rather than action or plot, though still prevalent.

Our Opinion: Not too much action. Rather the story focuses on the journey of the main character and the people he meets. A light anime series that makes a great change of pace. Also nice that it isn’t too long.

 

 

One Punch Man

Where to watch it: Hulu

One-Punch Man: Saitama only became a hero for fun, but after three years of “special” training, he finds that he can beat even the mightiest opponents with a single punch. Though he faces new enemies every day, it turns out being devastatingly powerful is actually kind of a bore. Can a hero be too strong?

My Opinion: This hero defeats his opponents each episode with a single punch. He’s the ultimate Over Powered hero. Yet the story is still engaging and fun. You’d think the fact that you know the hero is going to win would get boring but it’s the way he wins. It is the increasingly weird and absurd villains that pop up to challenge him that keep you coming back for more. Loved every episode.

 

My Hero Academia

Where to watch it: Hulu

Despite being born powerless into a super-powered world, Izuku refuses to give up on his dream of becoming a hero. He enrolls himself in a prestigious hero academy with a deadly entrance exam. To make the grade, he’ll have to put in some serious study time with the mightiest hero of all.

My Opinion: In a world where super powers exist and are becoming progressively more common, a young powerless boy seeks to become a hero. The main character is just so earnest you can’t help but root for him to succeed. The super powers and fights are good too.

 

World Trigger

Where to watch it: Hulu

The story of a friendship between a human boy and a visitor from another world. With superhuman technology at their fingertips, Yuma Kuga and Osamu Mikumo must work together to defend their new reality against unknown beings. Follow their dazzling journey full of courage, conflict, and gripping sci-fi action!

My Opinion: Parallel worlds with kidnapping aliens crossing over to get our resources. Who fights them? An organization with access to an energy source that gives its members weapons to fight. This anime is one part buddy story and one part fighting anime. Enjoyed it. Only downside is that the anime was canceled before the story arc finished.

 

Blood Blockade Battlefront

Where to watch it: Hulu

In Hellsalem's Lot, a city created by an intersection of worlds where New York City once stood, local crime fighting group Libra must bind together to defeat monsters, magic, and mayhem.

My Opinion: A very quirky anime. There are so many strange and interesting things that happen. This is a country boy in the big city story. Only the city also has aliens, magic, and vampires. Like I said, weird but in a good way.