Because the world needs yet another “Top __ Anime” list, right?
So what is the use of creating another list of favorites? My reasons are completely personal.
- I have opinions on most of the shows I watch, but most of them are not comprehensive enough to warrant an entire review. So, this is the perfect place to put them.
- To look for patterns in what I used to enjoy from media, in what I currently like, and hopefully predict what kind of shows I’ll enjoy in the future. This seems idealistic, but it’s my best justification for personal rankings at this moment.
I used to have a tiered system to vaguely judge shows by their ambitions and how well they achieved their goals, and most importantly by personal enjoyment, but that system proved too unreliable upon re-watches. So, all the shows listed here will be in a non-specific order.
Note that this list is still under construction. The plan is to list a few shows for now, and constantly update them as my tastes change.
Let the fun begin!
#1.414: Cowboy Bebop
The thing about episodic series is that you’ll get your share of good episodes and bad ones, but the good episodes in Cowboy Bebop are outstanding. I was giggling at the mushroom episode, on the edge of my seat through the Pierrot le Fou episode, and generally awash with sweet melancholy at the episodes delving into the characters’ pasts. Cowboy Bebop tells a tragic story of aimless wanderers chained by their pasts, each trying to cope in their own way. You either move on, or you go out with a bang. The animation exudes confidence and style, and the score is excellent (the entire sequence from “Rain” to “Green Bird” in episode 5 still gives me the chills). All things considered, Cowboy Bebop is simply a well-put-together series.
#3.14: Kino’s Journey
I remember liking Kino’s Journey back when I watched it because I was into shows with thought-provoking themes. The different societies that Kino meets on her travels certainly provided food for thought–although I haven’t rewatched it so I wonder if I’ll enjoy it as much. I did like Kino’s attitude: she aims to learn, not to judge, taking in every strange cultural practice with a calm “ahh, I see”. In the end, I think what cemented Kino’s Journey in this list is the second episode that left me speechless. If you enjoy plot twists and betrayals of expectations and questions of moral responsibility, watch this episode.
Mushishi and Kino’s Journey are similar in that they are episodic adventures whose episodes tackle different themes, and that’s part of the reason why I enjoyed the two series–at least certain episodes. Similar to Kino, I also enjoyed Ginko’s attitude as a healer: he respects the choices and customs of the people he heals (like the girl who brings rain), he understands that sometimes there is no cure (like with the endlessly working guy), and sometimes he just does nothing except facilitate people putting their relationships back together–because healing is not only in physical health, but in social bonds as well. Through the ups and downs of interesting and less-interesting episodes, I always appreciated Ginko’s attitude.
#1.618: Hibike! Euphonium
There’s a lot of to love about Eupho: its protagonist is snarky and endearing, its audio and visuals come together to create moments of absolute magic (especially in moments between Kumiko and Reina), and it effortlessly juggles several character arcs that reinforce again and again a central theme: daring to have ambition despite the pain of failure. It resonates on the levels of both thematic analysis and visceral enjoyment, and when art can do that, you know it’s something special.