You can see my list of my top ten anime ranked #10 through #6 here. This post will finish off the list. Please remember, this is a subjective list. These are only the anime that I personally like above all others. I’m sure you have one that you personally wish was on the list and if you think it should be included you’re free to let me know. There could be some omissions from this list since I have not yet seen all of the anime out there that people consider to be top-notch. With that said, here we go…
#5 – Akame ga Kill!
A group of assassins working to take down a corrupt government. Some awesome ancient weapons with special powers. Fights to the death. Sign me up for this anime! The aforementioned group of assassins, known as Night Raid, is the focus of this anime. Leading boy, Tatsumi, is on a mission to go the the capital to earn money to send back to his hometown. He gets caught up in the corruption of the capital and Night Raid’s attempts to fix things. Once he “joins” Night Raid, somewhat unwillingly, then the action can really get started.
One piece of advice if you want to watch this anime and you haven’t gotten around to it yet, just know that there are some emotional goodbyes. It’s an anime about a group of assassins, death is a certainty to either the target or the assassin.
#4 – One Punch Man
I’ve loved One Punch Man since I started reading the webcomic. Saitama’s overwhelming strength has led to him being completely bored. He no longer gets the rush of adrenaline that comes from a fight to the death with a monster. Defeating incredibly powerful monsters has become as mundane as brushing his teeth.
The entertaining part of this anime is how the story plays with many of the popular tropes within anime itself. Genos, Saitama’s disciple, fails to ever win even though his determination and fighting spirit is second to none. “Powering up” is inconsequential. Villains monologues are met with a disinterested look. It’s all just funny. It’s even funny seeing that Saitama without his unparalleled power is really just a loser unable to hold down a job. This anime is definitely worth a look as it provides something different in a genre that is easily predictable.
#3 – Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
I initially didn’t watch this anime as I thought to myself “how could it be that different from the first Fullmetal Alchemist anime?” I’m glad I ended up spending the time to watch Brotherhood. It’s just better. I thought the ending to the first Fullmetal Alchemist was a bit strange and disappointing. That’s not the case with Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. The final battle will have you on the edge of your seat.
It’s easy to fall in love with the Elric brothers. Their whole world is turned upside down when their mother dies. Stricken with grief, the boys try to bring their mother back using alchemy. The attempt goes horribly wrong with Alphonse Elric losing his body and Edward Elric losing multiple limbs. The boys then start their search for the philosophers stone, an object that hold immense power which they believe will help them get Alphonse’s body back.
The storytelling is excellent, the animation is great, and alchemy itself is an interesting idea that helps make this anime unique. The highs and lows of this anime will have you thoroughly entertained.
#2 – Dragon Ball Z
This is the anime that started it all for me. Goku and company always seem to be in the midst of some world threatening problem. That’s just fine, though, because our favorite Saiyan is there to save the day.
Some of my all time favorite anime episodes come from this anime. They usually revolve around one of the Saiyans reaching a new level of strength (Gohan’s transformation to Super Saiyan 2 being my personal favorite). These transformations typically come at a time when they’re needed most, when it looks like one of the villains is about to be victorious.
What can I say about this anime that people don’t already know? If you’re here then you probably have already watched Dragon Ball Z. As of right now it’s listed as #16 on Wikipedia’s page for the top grossing media franchises in the world, bringing in an estimated $25 billion USD. That puts Dragon Ball Z in the company of the Batman and Spiderman franchises. If you haven’t watched Dragon Ball Z yet, do you live under a rock? Go watch it!
#1 – Rurouni Kenshin
Here’s my all-time favorite! I know most people will think that Rurouni Kenshin is not deserving of the #1 spot but I’m putting it here nonetheless.
I enjoy anime that are based on historical events. I studied History in college so it’s a topic that interests me a lot. Knowing that the main samurai in Rurouni Kenshin are based around famous people from the Bakumatsu period helps me get into the story. It’s a romanticized telling of the story from this period, but that’s OK with me.
I’m a sucker for good sword fights and there’s plenty to go around in this anime. We quickly are introduced to Kenshin Himura, a wandering swordsman in the Meiji period, and see that he’s heads and shoulders stronger than those that oppose him. As his opponents become steadily stronger, you start to see the ghosts of his past come back to haunt him. Kenshin’s fight with an old adversary from the revolution, Hajime Saito, brings this front and center in an epic showdown.
I want to go re-watch Rurouni Kenshin now after thinking about it for this list. If you haven’t seen this anime, go do it. You won’t be disappointed. Take my advice though, and stop after season two ends. As far as I’m concerned season three doesn’t exist. If you’ve already watched this anime make sure you go take a look at the OVA Samurai X: Trust and Betrayal. It highlights the events that led up to Kenshin being known as the unbeatable monster that he is.
There it is, my top five anime. I hope you enjoy!
Now go watch some anime!