Everyone has had the conversation. The AniTAY Podcast asks new guests the question. Maybe you’ve had the question asked on a Discord server somewhere along the way. Maybe you have friends in real life who like to discuss this sort of thing and asked you. The question, as I’m sure everyone knows, is what is your favorite anime of all time? 

When I was in the situation first listed, I said Your Lie in April in a heartbeat. The truth is, however, I have never made a serious consideration into where I would “rank” my favorite anime, let alone my all time favorite. I don’t really like the idea of making “top lists” because I feel like there are two incredibly negative things that come from it: either someone gets fired up and mad about it or it comes off as “clickbait” on an article.

With all of that said, however, I decided two months ago that I really wanted to make a list of all of the anime (190) I’ve ever seen. With the data in front of me, I thought it might be a good idea to sort them in order by the ones I personally liked the most. I don’t really do “ratings” because I feel like everyone’s view of a rating is different, and having to deal with ratings is how there is such a mess of fights over what the number is instead of conversations.

So, for the last two months, I have worked on a spreadsheet whenever I had a minute of free time and figured out a way to go about having a little fun with this sorting. Rather than sit to myself and sort these anime, I wanted to make it a fun experiment with all of you. In sports, typically writers will give weekly “power rankings” of the teams throughout a season. The fun part of this weekly ranking is they show who jumps and falls the most, as well as brief explanations for the climbs and falls.

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So I decided over the course of six parts, I will take 32 anime per part (besides the last part that will be 30) and list them out. These are the anime I have finished (sorry ones I dropped). After each group of ten, I will place them on the “big board” so to speak, and tough decisions will have to be made on what gets plugged in where. It won’t be an issue for this first part, but starting next update, I will probably refrain from putting the whole list out until the end (I will put a “ahead/behind of” part so there is more than just a number). Additionally, we’ll get to see the biggest climbs and falls as far as ranking goes.

The cutoff for my anime watched will be 4/6/19, and any anime I watch after the fact will not be included. I have seen 190 “titles” according to MyAnimeList, and I sorted them depending on if I had any differing opinions on one of the “series” (I always just think of it as “season”, but hey) over the other or not. So for example if I really love Code Geass R2 more than the original “series” to be released, I don’t need to penalize R2 for it. If I felt the same about the multiple “series”, I will indicate them together on a ranking.

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With movies and stand alone OVAs, I was conflicted on how to rate these. For some of the movies, there are several parts to a whole story, whereas for some like Persona 3 had very different films in both feel and execution. I know this sounds completely arbitrary, but I ordered them in a “can I justify this as a whole or on its own” criteria.

To carry on from the movies, I left what would easily be my favorite if every part was weighed in together, The Garden of Sinners, as separate anime to evaluate for the sake of fairness to the rest of my list. Similarly with Monogatari, if I left Monogatari Second Season as one show it would be fighting for #1 with Garden of Sinners. So I wanted to analyze the pieces to it independently. I left the rest of the Monogatari franchise together...Monogatari Second Season has some arcs that are lightyears better to me than a whole lot of anime and I wanted to highlight them independently. I know that feels arbitrary but those two franchises in particular would hog the top two spots without question.

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I’m going to try and keep it to at least one paragraph per anime and no more than two (or 500 words) to keep things rolling. After I do a full group I can discuss leaps and drops.

I’m not full of myself and I certainly don’t think I’m the first person to do a list like this, and I encourage AniTAY community members to make their own lists, but if I inspire you to make your own list, I wouldn’t mind a shout-out. Thanks in advance!

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I’m keeping my stuff as spoiler free as I can, if you really want to know what I thought, ask in the comments and I will give a spoiler explanation.

Finally, I want to remind the audience this is just my list of anime I enjoyed the most, or the ones that mean the most to me contributing into the “favorite” category. I have not seen every anime there is to man, so if yours isn’t on this list, chances are I haven’t seen it yet. Let me know if you think I’d like it! If I put an anime on a number you don’t like, remember it doesn’t mean I don’t like the anime...unless it is School Days, in which case I hate it.

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Without further ado, I begin my selections with the good ol RNG tool! That’s right, I’m picking from the pool of 190 at random.

First 10

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JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders

I had an very complicated relationship with this show, but it was far greater to me than I thought it was bad. There were moments where it would drag on and get a little boring to me, but it was never a bad time. Looking at the entire ensemble, this might be my favorite JJBA cast (although I might have a change in opinion on this whenever I have to ponder deeper on Part 4). The final stretch was well worth enduring everything else though, and I don’t regret trying to power through some of the weaker “Stand user” fights.

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Fate/stay night Heaven’s Feel I Presage Flower

This is a film that is really hard to gauge on this list because while some film series are bundled in with their sequels, this is the only one I’ve seen at the time of writing. I’ve heard really good things about the sequel, but since we are discussing this first one, I’ll do my best to say more than “it is a work in progress”. I found the introduction to be a little slow but I understood the character building it was going for. In fact, I sort of wanted it to go back to that character building when the fights were getting smashed into the second half of the film, since that direction made me feel like it was just a way to meet a quota.

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Patema Inverted

What a cute little film. I feel like if I said the messages were a little too on the nose as my impression for an anime, I would be saying it almost half the entire time on this list (anime isn’t particularly subtle with some messages). I loved the childlike wonder of why diversity couldn’t be a thing, and seeing people come together will never not be a wonderful time. Also, the gravity elements are incredibly well directed and there was a ton of creative shots here.

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Garden of Sinners: Recalled Out Summer

This was one of the more recent watches I had, and I absolutely loved it. It captures the paranormal mystery of the world built and shows an entire character arc within an incredibly short time without feeling rushed. The second half of the film (I understand there are two “halves” that are separate stories so to speak) was a lot weaker than the first half to me, but it was not enough to sink the experience I had. As someone who is actively showing a friend this series, I’d be curious to see if putting this one before the seventh film would make the experience more effective.

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GARO: Vanishing Line

When I first heard about GARO, I was very bearish on getting into it. Gritty, monster infested city with a guy going around on a skull motorcycle. Sounded like an ugly love child of Sin City and Ghost Rider. Then after binging the first half at the end of its’ run, I found myself absolutely hooked on the story of young Sophie trying to find her way in a dangerous city. Her character was so good because the audience was able to be along for the ride of meeting so many fascinating characters and all of the wild villains they fought along the way. The ending was of particular sentimental value, with the confrontation between Sword (awful name) fighting the series’ bad guy (I won’t spoil) and Sword’s amazing monologue in it. I actually got that monologue on the back of my running singlet for a marathon the month it aired.

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Toradora!

Probably the weakest of the titles so far, this show was not ashamed to play it safe with a pretty basic formula for a slice of life/romance anime. I liked the characters but didn’t love them, and there were a few surprisingly great moments despite having a few dull ones. The dub is on my short list (no pun intended) for Dubs w/ Dil, with a great ensemble and some amazing performances to elevate a weak(er) scenes.

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The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya

I didn’t think we would get to something this amazing this early. Let me let the cat out of the bag now: I love this movie with all of my heart. It hits all the check boxes for what I look for in anime- an amazing dub, great writing, rewatchability, and sentimental value for days. I have made it a tradition of mine to watch this film every December 18th because of my personal convictions. It is such a wonderful film that needs to be experienced even if you haven’t seen the original Haruhi series.

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Bakemonogatari

This first entry into the Monogatari franchise is one of the greats for a good reason. For better or worse, this is like ordering a sampler platter appetizer. Only this ranges from some of the very best foods to ones that make you feel very uncomfortable eating. The amazing bits of the samples make you come back for more another time, or order a full entree consisting of the particular part you really liked. Like a real sampler platter, however, there are those disgusting bits that you really wish were not on the plate to the extent you might skip them (ask for them to not be in the order). Ultimately, when your friends or family ask about good food at the place, you rave about the really great food in the sampler but don’t really waste any time with the bad tasting ones.

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Did I just sum up Bakemonogatari by comparing it to a sampler platter appetizer? You’re dang right I did.

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Kizumonogatari

I swear this was randomly picked. I have some of my favorite anime film attending memories from this trilogy since I was fortunate enough to go see it with AniTAY writers Mael and Messy. That aside, this is a really visually stunning anime and has jaw dropping moments that almost completely outshine the usual cringe moments Monogatari loves to give. Anyways, there is a scene almost as bad as the infamous Nisemonogatari one (you know the one) that holds this experience back from being undisputed.

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Kill la Kill

While it might not be an all timer for me, I think this anime is one that has aged the best for me in retrospect. I’ve been working on an article about it for a while, but I went from being very lukewarm with my impressions from this to loving it after watching a lot of films the last few years (yes I said live action films). There is something to be said about wild vision that isn’t afraid to be an expressionist piece without losing charm or senseless action that seems to be lost in the more pretentious artsy pieces of media. I sound so dumb saying this I know, but ultimately what I am trying to say is it manages to be really fun while still carrying itself with an important vibe in its artistry.

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Big Board:

The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya

Bakemonogatari

Kill la Kill

Kizumonogatari

Garden of Sinners Recalled Out Summer

GARO: Vanishing Line

JJBA Stardust Crusaders

Patema Inverted

FateHeavens Feel 1

Toradora!


11-20

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A Certain Scientific Railgun

Talk about a lovely little series completely ruined by a fan-base. I watched this series before I knew about how nasty fans can get, and I thought this was a wholesome adventure with charm and great characters. I like this first series significantly more than the sequel, and the antagonist’s character arc was really fascinating to me. The toxic fans aside, I think this series is a fun ride worth going on for some super powers and a great cast.

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When They Cry Kai

I have some serious quarrels with the story of this. The original Higurashi was really effective to me because it told several horror stories with the same characters reshuffled every time without any explanation as to why. I am not dumb enough to ignore the fact there was source material that developed the plot, however I liked the novelty of short, couple episode horror stories with great payoff and minimum consequence due to the nature of the “reshuffling”. There were too many “explanations” going on here and the entire thing felt really convoluted and unnecessary.

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Kanon (2006)

While I know it isn’t exactly fawned over by fans, I think this is the most underrated anime from Key works. I found the characters and their respective stories to be much more engaging than any other cast of a Key anime (with exception to a sequel to one of the others...) and found the “main” relationship plot to be really gripping. When the audience learns the big twist, the lengths the main character goes for the main relationship’s...focus...was something really sweet and unlike most anime I’ve seen.

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Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online

The most recent anime I’ve seen (also another that has an article in the pipeline), this show was not very hard to get a pulse on. It has some really effective points it makes with the values of online relationships and escapism in games while staying (mostly) away from regular SAO melodrama. It gets a little rough when the “stakes” are introduced, however that plot line manages to be resolved relatively painlessly. Definitely is a show worth shotgunning in a sitting or two.

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Fate/Apocrypha

Potentially the most underrated anime I will die for, I love Fate/Apocrypha. It is arguably more endearing than Fate/Zero (although deciding which I like more will be weighed when the time comes) and has criminally underrated action sequences because they aren’t made by ufotable. Say what you want about the character due to Internet memes, but Astolfo is an amazing character that compliments Jeanne and Sieg as the “Big Three” main characters with a ton of chemistry. This show has double the cast which means double the stories to show and double the characters to develop and the results reflect that. Some really miss, but the ones that hit are really effective and there are far more that hit than miss.

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Garden of Sinners 6

What a problematic film. I never thought I would be saying The Garden of Sinners would have some of the same problems that Monogatari has, but it does. There is a character dynamic that makes you just ask “uh...why?” and unfortunately this film is a casualty of said dynamic. It is a shame too because the character in central focus has a very rewarding moment towards the end, but things sink right back down to the problem that people love to bring up about with a certain sister.

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One Punch Man

I’m endlessly intrigued by the flak this show gets for having an overpowered main character. Even if I was at a party as we marathoned this whole series, I found the whole thing to be really comedic. I’m sure after sticking around through this for a whole season it must have grown thin on a viewer, but I was super entertained by the comedy to the extent I found it vastly better than the animation. Overall a fun watch that I know plenty of casual anime fans enjoyed too, which is always a wonderful way to get more people into the medium.

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SNAFU 2

Oh boy. I can hear the rumblings already. SNAFU was always a series I really liked, but wasn’t as head over heels for as some of our writers. I am certainly happy they enjoyed it as much as they did, but as I’ve aged I revisit this one a little less fondly. Maybe it is simply something that is more effective the closer you are to the main characters in age and experience, but I can’t help but to feel like there might something miss-

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Who am I kidding. I love this show. Shizuka for life.

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Tokyo Ghoul Root A

This show has me for a loss. Even all these years later, I can’t seem to get a solid opinion on if I liked it or disliked it. Typically if I don’t like something, I try my best to give reasoning (unlike many corners of the Internet). Root A was incredibly challenging for me to like since I wasn’t very interested in the characters or story. While the first series was fresh, it felt like this ran out of gas and was still trying to make it work. The bits about the people fighting ghouls was an interesting angle, but it all ended up feeling like a gory mess.

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Disappearance of Yuki Nagato

This is such a disappointment with a silver lining. I simply adored the manga (yes I actually read a manga before I saw an anime, who knew!) and was really looking forward to seeing how things panned out. Unfortunately, the series hamstrung itself to only about half of the source material since the original Haruhi had reached that far the anime, making it difficult to introduce some of the best plot lines in the series (that and being restricted to one season). With that said, I saw the AniTAY review for this series on the front page of Kotaku and it was how I came into contact with this lovely blog. And you’ve all been stuck with me since.

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Big Board:

The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya

Fate/Apocrypha

Bakemonogatari

Kill la Kill

Kizumonogatari

Kanon (2006)

SNAFU 2

Garden of Sinners Recalled Out Summer

GARO: Vanishing Line

JJBA Stardust Crusaders

A Certain Scientific Railgun

Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online

Patema Inverted

One Punch Man

Garden of Sinners 6

Fate Heavens Feel 1

Toradora!

Disappearance of Yuki Nagato

When They Cry Kai

Tokyo Ghoul Root A

Nothing really splashy just yet as far as what goes down, Patema Inverted and the first Fate movie I had on here took a bit of a dip. As for where I put things, I really love Fate/Apocrypha and I know that ranking that high past greats like Bakemonogatari are sure to ruffle feathers. Like I said before though, I’m trusting my gut and heart on these picks as far as what means the most to me when I look at anime.

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21-32

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The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

Whoa baby. Here is one of the ones I was hoping I wouldn’t get to in this first part. I used to feel conflicted about this show since there were parts I scratched my head at with how suggestive they got, but after being weathered with anime viewing, I think they’re relative tame in the grand scheme of things. I am going to drive you all nuts bringing this story up a billion times but I’m sorry I have to...I had an online pen pal of sorts that I talked to about everything and some pretty dark stuff happened. His favorite show was Haruhi, and at the time the only anime I had seen were Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, and Naruto. I never had the courage to watch this, but it is the reason I started watching anime and it will forever be really high on my lists for that reason alone. With that said, I definitely think there are better anime that I enjoyed more, but the sentimental value elevates this one for me.

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Death Note

So this is one of my favorite crime stories in any media format, ever. I’ve seen a lot of crime stories too. It has everything you want out of the development and execution of the genre and it has enough twists and turns to keep you binging it even several times through. I spent a Saturday watching several episodes with my buddy from work with some beers despite jumping in right in the middle of the show. It is that fun to watch. I reference this show maybe once a month and it is way up there for me.

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Tokyo Ghoul

Eh. It had some really cool ideas and I liked where it was going for a good part of it, but it leaned way too much into the “lets make you uncomfortable” elements and the whole thing fell a little flat for me. I know I’ll get people mad saying that, but it just didn’t end up how I would have really liked. I’m glad it has the following it does, however.

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Children Who Chase Lost Voices

Snooze-fest with some great shots throughout. Plot was wonky as heck but still somehow surreal enough to continue watching. Probably was better to me because I saw it with the AniTAY group when we still did movie nights.

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Saga of Tanya the Evil

I’ve written about how wrong I was with this show. The season it aired I jeered at the first few episodes and laughed at the following it had. Then I watched it and swallowed my pride to admit I was wrong. This was a treat of a show with some awesome jetpack + old school rifle battles that are the stuff of directing dreams.

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Mayoi Jiangshi

To this day this might stick with me as one of my favorite adventures in the Monogatari franchise. Get that weird scene where Araragi...you know what, you know the one, there is always one in one of these arcs....get that out of the way and you have a really striking story that makes good use of time travel and consequences. There are super emotional moments that make audiences ponder on relationships and necessity for letting things go. It also has (Spoiler alert) one of my favorite scenes in the entire franchise.

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Your Name.

Another film I have fond memories of seeing with friends, this film is just incredible. I love every bit of it and it can be rewatched a million times with the same effect each and every time. It is a go to date movie for any couple who is okay with animation and will almost certainly age beautifully. I love the dub so much and I was honored that star and voice director Stephanie Sheh recognized my work discussing it.

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Psycho-Pass

Maybe I have a problem with putting anime up with normal crime story media, because this is way up there with Death Note for the level of entertainment it gives. Compared to another anime on this list, Tokyo Ghoul, I found the use of gore to be effective in storytelling here. There is just enough hyper-violence to hammer in the intensity but it doesn’t distract from the experience. The whole series is an absolute blast and I really hope the third season can be a fraction as fun.

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March Comes in Like a Lion (S1)

What a beautiful, slow burn show. I made a poor decision to try reviewing this week to week so I think that it might have ruined it to an extent, but I still love what I watched even like that. This is a go to for anyone looking to chew on something in a long binge for content that will make them reflect on what they saw. It isn’t dumb action or comedy or slice of life joy, it is depressive and dark and very grounded. These elements are why the payoffs, no matter how little along the way, stick with me more than some big twist. You’ll know if you like this watch within about five or so episodes.

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Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans (S1)

What a blast. This first half to Iron Blooded Orphans is a rocket ship right past the usual dry politics of Gundam and into high octane action that is oh so rewarding along the way. There are story arcs in even the smallest characters that are tasteful and done in ways that don’t feel hamfisted. I explained this one to my best friend, Umi, as “filthy orphans from Mars basically screw everything up for essentially the Empire” and that was enough of a pitch. All kidding aside this is a fun show and I can’t wait to get the Blu Ray.

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Steins;Gate

Here comes one of the hardest decisions to make on the list. I think I have seen this series five times all the way through, and I have picked it apart from every angle. Some of it really hasn’t aged well already, and some of it never was a good look to start with. With that said, however, I am always enthralled by the story of this show. You couldn’t ask for a better principal cast of flawed characters on a contained story that handles time travel so well. Not to mention I love the dub.

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Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion

Probably a song I don’t sing enough, this show is one of my all time favorites. Both seasons give me a little something different and I like them for very different reasons. I like the “build” of this one and how unpredictable things can be episode to episode. It is hard to weigh it against many of the ones already said, but I think I know where I will put this...

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Big Board:

The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya

Your Name.

Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion

Steins;Gate

Fate/Apocrypha

Bakemonogatari

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

Death Note

Kill la Kill

Kizumonogatari

Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans (S1)

Mayoi Jiangshi

Kanon (2006)

Psycho-Pass

Saga of Tanya the Evil

SNAFU 2

Garden of Sinners Recalled Out Summer

GARO: Vanishing Line

JJBA Stardust Crusaders

A Certain Scientific Railgun

Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online

March Comes in Like a Lion (S1)

Patema Inverted

One Punch Man

Garden of Sinners 6

Fate Heavens Feel 1

Toradora!

Disappearance of Yuki Nagato

Tokyo Ghoul

Children Who Chase Lost Voices

When They Cry Kai

Tokyo Ghoul Root A

I wasn’t expecting to have to make hard decisions this early on, but I really trusted my call on this one so far. I know if you’ve read this far you’re probably fuming over how high I have a few of these but I love (most of) these anime on this list. If I finish an anime it means I liked it enough to finish it. Starting next part I will be recapping the biggest rises and falls in the rankings at this part of the article. Obviously right now this list is the first group so it is hard to say how much of a change there is. I won’t be moving the anime but rather we will see which ones have the biggest jumps as far as distance between it and what was behind it previously.

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Finally I decided to let some of the AniTAY community weigh in on my list so we can hear how awful my taste is. I’m happy to be joined by none other than the Damian Lewis to my Paul Giamatti , Gugsy

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“Not too many surprises in Dil’s top 10 here, as many revered classic consensus great anime are all represented, with the exception of Fate/Apocrypha but this wouldn’t be a Dil list without something Fate being rated far higher than it deserves. Some of us have our faults. The Monogatari’s should be a lot higher in my opinion. Strange. SNAFU 2 is also way too low, especially sitting behind Tanya and Kanon 2006? To say nothing of F/A. For shame. Judging by Dil’s taste, I’m surprised that Garden of Sinners isn’t #1-7 here but I guess we’ll see in future lists. Here in the middle are also a bunch of well regarded series, so some higher, some lower is OK. Shoutouts to Railgun, and hearty boos to SAO and it’s mediocre ilk. Though here we go at the bottom. Stockholm Syndrome, I mean Toradora should be way lower, and I’m ashamed at the community at large that thinks this show is adorable. The Tokyo Ghouls have abominable reputations as they seem to keep blowing their remakes. I’ll defend When They Cry forever, and I think it’s second season gets a bad rap. Of course, answers are always less interesting than the questions being asked. It’s human nature to imagine all sorts of things, but Higurashi did a much better job than it gets credit for in wrapping everything up.”


I hope you have enjoyed the first installment in this little passion project of mine! Have a wonderful day :)