I started watching anime in elementary school and continue to do so, and now I’m in my late 20s! I usually have a few series at a time that I’m watching. I enjoy watching a variety of anime and I definitely have favorites in different categories. It’s hard to say if I even have an all-time top favorite anime. While One Piece is this amazing 800+ episode saga jam packed with crazy plots, characters and a lot of laughs, sometimes I want nothing more than to watch a feel good shoujo*. Here are my current top five, new and old!
1. Ouran High School Host Club
I can’t help but smile thinking of this one. From the opening credits (Kiss Kiss Fall In Love!) to the end it is a feel-good happy ride. This fun shoujo is about Haruhi, an androgynous no-nonsense book worm whose fate becomes intertwined with that of her prestigious high school’s host club boys. I’ve watched this series several times through and read the manga which progresses much further than the anime. This is my go-to when I want a mood-booster or am sick in bed and want to feel better. Tamaki-senpai wants you to watch this!
An oldie but a goodie. The manga debuted in 1996 and the anime aired in 2000. Kagome is a 15-year-old girl in modern Japan but after falling through her families well, finds herself in feudal Japan, the Sengoku period where she meets the feisty temperamental half-demon Inuyasha. I love that it’s an adventure story with a female protagonist. Lots of adventure, fantasy elements and a little romance!
3. One Piece
If you know anything about anime or manga (or Japanese pop culture!) you’ve heard of One Piece. With over 90 bestselling manga volumes and 876 episodes (and counting) it’s a massively popular series. This world Eiichiro Oda has created is truly addicting. There are hundreds of named characters, and so many interesting lands they travel to. When I started watching it about seven years ago, I was hooked. (And I’m all caught up on the anime!) Monkey D. Luffy puts together a rag-tag team to create his pirate crew as he goes on his quest to become pirate king! This may be the only Shonen that has made me cry and laugh out loud in the same episode. ICH NI SUNSHINE YUN WE GO!
4. Death Note
I love this series so much. Death Note stands apart for me from all others I’ve watched, however it’s definitely not a feel-good type of anime. Death Note is heart-wrenching. It makes me think. It makes me re-evaluate EVERYTHING. Okay I’m getting a little dramatic, but it truly is a fantastically deep and dark story line. Light Yagami is a high school student who accidently becomes the owner of the underworld notebook. Shinigami (‘god of death’)Ryuk, who purposely left the Notebook for someone to find, follows him around. What’s so special about this notebook? It’s called the “Death Note” and anyone’s face & name you know, writing their name in this book will kill them.
5. My Hero Academia
This is the most recent anime on my list but has already proved to be one of my favorite Shonen’s of all-time only a few seasons in. It’s not even much of an original concept. Some humans have special superpowers and go to a special school to hone them. However, the characters, storyline and humor are all original and delightful! I have so many favorite characters and anticipate every episode. Deku is an easy protagonist to love. The bad guys are complex and evil. The teachers and students at UA are funny and interesting individuals. I can’t wait for many seasons to come! Plus Ultra!
-Sailor Moon & Magic Night Rayearth were the first two manga/anime I ever got into and I still love them!
*Shoujo target audience: girls’ manga/anime
*Shonen target audience: boys