What is your favorite?
When I first started watching anime, I picked up a lot of the suggestions I was going to try to find by sifting through blogs, or vlogs, of other fans. I've been at it for a couple years now, and have came to realize I have my own personal list of what I consider to be the greats.
As a result, I thought it may be fun to list what each of us consider to be absolute necessities. While I initially though a top ten would be reasonable, it became obvious, once I started really thinking about it, that I have a massive collection of ties after I get past five. For that reason, it should be acceptable for anyone to post in the thread whether they have only have one which stands out from the pack, or ten. Likewise, if you can say what it is which makes you place it on your list that would be great also. With that in mind, please be mindful that others may read the thread looking for something of interest, and spoilers should probably be kept to an absolute minimum.
At the same time, it shouldn't be too surprising if several people have the same shows listed. If it's for the same reasons it's fine, or if you have something else you love about it, feel free to add your own introspection.
The only rule should be that nobody is allowed to be critical of any list. We all have our favorites, and it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks of it as long as we are happy with it.
I'll start this off with my list.
1. Has to be High School DXD. I've seen reviews which say the ecchi content is over the top, but if you're able to look past an aversion to seeing cartoon boobs the story and comedy are actually very good. I watched the first season quite a while back, and it's good enough that it's kept me waiting anxiously for both New and Born.
2. Angel Beats. I almost gave up on this one in the middle when it started to lag, and not as much fighting for meal tickets. However, the final episode makes the entire show. This was one of the first anime I watched which actually provided an end. Up till that point, I was excessively frustrated that I never got to find out what happened to the characters stories. By the time the last episode was over, and there's not much questioning left in this one, I wasn't sure I really ever wanted to have to see how it ended again. One of the most emotional shows I've ever watched.
3. Love, Chunibyo, and Other delusions. The first couple episodes I watched almost entirely for laughs. By the time it starts getting more into an understanding of what those delusions may actually be, I fell for the story in a big way. My personal opinion on this one, it could pass for one of the best literary examples in existence for its ability to define the human condition and the perceptions we have of ourselves. Hemingway or Steinbeck can't compete with this one. I'm almost scared to watch Heart Throb because I'm worried the second season can't hold up to the first.
4. The World God Only Knows. I really can't say much more about it other than "highly entertaining". I don't have any single reason for liking it other than that. After the fifth or sixth time watching it, I did realize that I kind of felt sorry for Keima because of the whole thing about everyone forgetting what had happened after the fact. It's a kind of lonely existence when looked at like that.
5. Good Luck Girl. Initially drawn in by the opening theme, Make My Day by Piko, via a fan video on youtube, the off the wall humor made it one of the better comedy anime I've seen. I don't want to give too much info, but I was hooked on this one from the first time I saw an oversize needle.
Now, I'd be interested in seeing what everyone else comes up with!!!
Just a heads up, here's the old one; I'm thinking perhaps maybe we should sticky it now.
But, for the hell of it, here's my most recent favorites list: https://animedeathmachine.wordpress.com/2015/09/20/general-ramblings-about-anime-and-favourites-list/
I think we had similar ideas in our posts, but not exact. I probably wouldn't have posted the same had I realized your thread existed. However, would have posted simply asking more toward why each person likes their favorites. While the long lists can be interesting to read through, I was hoping for something which may inspire the viewer to think about why they feel their favorites stand out from the hundreds of other shows they've watched. Even creating my list inspired me to start watching Love, Chunibyo, and Other Delusions again because I feel the message is just that strong. It could have just as easily been Angel Beats, but I really have to be in a specific mood to be ready for what I'm about to see. Although it's entertaining beyond belief, I think the creators should have put a warning label on that last episode because it makes "Old Yeller" look like the feel good movie of the century.
After having read through your blog, I think we have similar thoughts about what makes good art/literature. I simply want to know what those most inspirational series are, and hopefully something of why we're each so inspired. I thought about a "worst anime" thread, but didn't want to risk the possibility of something being listed that would offend someone because their favorite made that list.
I've only ever seen one anime I could absolutely not finish because I thought it was terrible. However, I only ever mention that to a select group because I'm fully aware that the same anime is frequently listed in beginner "must see" lists. No reason I should offend anyone just because of differing taste.
On that same note, I've noticed that you have a VERY long list, and would be interested in knowing which series you turn to for inspiration or emotional value. If willing to share why they inspire you, even better.
I'm not interested in creating a ranking of favorites, but in terms of overall franchises (ie, including the source material), Pandora Hearts and Fullmetal Alchemist are my absolute favorites. I'll just keep things alphabetical because of that.
ARIA: ARIA is one of the best feel-good anime. There's no real overarching plot other than the girls aspiring to be undines, rather it's more about their daily adventures and relishing in the beauty and mystery of Neo-Venezia and life.
Attack on Titan: Initially I was not so taken with this series. It wasn't until the midway point that I started liking it more, and not until I started reading the manga and rewatched it did it take a place on my favorites list. The pacing is slow, and it suffered from production problems, but I think this one taps into the raw emotion of giving everything you've got to stay alive and humanity's enduring strength and ability to survive. It also helps that the 3DGear is really cool and the Titans are good monsters, not to mention I do really like the political tensions.
Durarara: DRRR also didn't initially catch my interest. The dullahan legend is interesting and Celty's a great and expressive character in general. The cast is also really entertaining, outside of the high school kids (excluding Anri, I like her). It's just tons of fun to have a whole bunch of seemingly disconnected story threads tie together into a coherent whole at the end of each arc.
Fullmetal Alchemist and Brotherhood: FMA is near and dear to my heart. I love the tale of two brothers who go to great lengths to help each other and those that support them on their journey. I love the conspiracy. I love the alchemy. I love the exploration of equivalent exchange. And I love that there are two anime adaptations that give two different takes on the story with two very different outlooks and tones.
Higurashi: This show is one of the few anime that I found genuinely unsettling. I don't think anime really does horror well, or I'm just not that bothered by animated horror, but Higurashi does it very well. Most people who haven't seen it probably know this series from the violent, bloody clips of the characters going insane that get passed around the net, but those actually make up only a small part of the show. The rest is just the characters going about their daily lives with ever building tension and the sense that something is very wrong.
Little Witch Academia: Pure fun, wild characters and solid animation with a simple story that's just meant to entertain and let people have a good time. I hope Trigger makes more in the future.
Madoka Magica: I blind-bought the LEs after reading a review and seeing an unboxing video. I loved it. Not a second is wasted in telling this story. Most of the reasons that I like this are spoilers, but being vague I liked how it balanced and explored hope and despair.
Natsume's Book of Friends: Another feel-good anime, but I feel like this one has more meat than ARIA in what it's saying about life and relationships.
Neon Genesis Evangelion: I've tried many mecha shows, and they never really connect with me because I don't find giant robots all that cool or interesting. Eva to me was never really much about the plot or action or robots, it was always more about the characters, and the characters are compelling and interesting and make this show worth watching on their own.
Pandora Hearts: This one comes with the disclaimer that I'm much more a fan of the brilliant manga. The anime is woefully incomplete with poor art and animation and a filler ending. What I love about Pandora Hearts includes the plot twists, the tragic story, the characters and their struggles with past and present (and their memories), the themes, and the dark fantasy world and creepy imagery of the Abyss.
Spice and Wolf: Economics and romance and fantasy adventure. The chemistry between the two leads and their banter is a huge part of what makes this show so good.
Steins;Gate: I really liked the combination of nerd humor and sci-fi thriller. I actually didn't mind the first half and don't really think it's that slow. Rather, I think the first half is slightly better/more enjoyable than the second.