Do you reminisce of better days when anime was good (-cough-inyouropinion-cough-)? Do you hate modern anime? Do you seethe with rage when anyone so much as mentions Naruto, One Piece, Bleach, or K-ON? Then boy do I have the list for you!! I've compiled a list of 12 anime from 2010 and later (except for Bakemonogatari, which is 2009) that don't suck. Its only the tip of the iceberg but I think they help to prove my point. I hope those of you who have never seen most of the anime on this list will seek them out and enjoy them. Also, they are in no specific order.
1. Usagi Drop (Bunny Drop)
Personal Rating: 9/10
Usagi Drop is the rather heartwarming tale of a 30 year old bachelor named Daikichi who takes in the illegitimate child of his now dead grandfather. Poor little Rin was a silent and distant girl born from an old man with an unknown mother, so the other family members avoided taking her in out of embarrassment. Through the anime, Daikichi makes certain sacrifices to balance taking care of Rin, work, and his personal life.
They grow closer and closer, opening up to each other and eventually growing to love each other. Usagi Drop is an adorable, sugary sweet slice of life show that examines just what it means to be a parent. Its no detailed examination but its still a fine show because of it. My only real complaint about this show is that its so short. Its only 11 episodes, a very quick watch. It covers only a short fraction of the manga. I'm hoping that one day this can get a second season.
2. Hourou Musuko (Wandering Son)
Personal rating: 8/10
Wandering Son follows Shuichi Nitori and Takatsuki Yoshino's interactions with the world and the people around them due to their gender identity. You see, Nitori is a boy who wants to be a girl, and Yoshino is a girl who wants to be a boy. Wandering Son is the first anime I've ever come across to revolve around and seriously focus on issues of transsexuality. Wandering Son also focus on issues surrounding puberty and gender identity.
Its a show that's very sweet, yet very heartbreaking at times. Yoshino comes across her own problems wanting to be a boy, but the anime really focuses more on Nitori. Nitori is an innocent and adorable young boy who also likes to dress up in cute girls clothes. He doesn't understand what's so wrong with wanting to wear the clothes he wants to wear. But he gets quite a bit of flak for doing it, bullied by his sister and those at school after he comes to school wearing a girl's school uniform and a wig.
This show is far from perfect. Its also short, only 11 episodes. This anime would have benefited from more episodes, as its amazing characters could have been even more fleshed out. It also takes a very subtle approach to its delicate subject. The execution also isn't perfect, as they could have given equal focus to Yoshino and Nitori. However, in a medium where transgender individuals and gender identity are usually treated as the butt of sometimes offensive jokes, this show is very refreshing.
3. The Monogatari series (Bakemonogatari, Nisemonogatari, Nekomonogatari, Kizumonogatari, 2nd season)
Personal Rating: 8/10, 7.5/10, 6.5/10, n/a, n/a
The monogatari series is a quirky and amusing little series full of rapid fire dialogue, humor, fanservice, and trippy animation. No doubt, this show will bore the crap out of some people, because it involves talking, talking, talking for the most part. But the interesting characters and their amusing interactions with each other make it very interesting dialogue. The show does have some instances of action, but its so over the top and comical that it will probably induce laughter.
The story involves our hero Koyomi Araragi, a high school student who recently survived a vampire attack, dealing with a bunch of different girls and their supernatural problems. The monogatari series is hard to describe. The way most people describe it makes it sound incredibly boring, and the first time you watch it you may not like it. But its a unique experience and a very fun show that definitely has charm.
The only thing I don't like about the Monogatari series is its use of sometimes awkward fanservice and its occasional reliance on tired anime clichés.
4. Yojouhan Shinwa Taikei (The Tatami Galaxy)
Personal Rating: 9/10
The anime doesn't get the attention it deserves, I swear. The Tatami Galaxy is an unusual and very humorous tale of a college student who comes across a self-proclaimed "god of matrimony." Simply referred to as "Watashi," the main character is thrown into a time loop of his college days being repeated over and over again due to the mystical tatami mat that resets after every episode.
No matter which timeline he's in, his goal to live a perfect rose colored campus life is always thwarted by his troublesome and devilish friend Ozu. I always like to refer to this show as a "classier version of Bakemonogatari." Its perfect for those who liked the dialogue heavy, character focused nature of Bakemonogatari, but not the fanservice and clichés.
The Tatami galaxy sports a lovable cast of fun characters, rapid fire dialogue, hilarious humor, and a strange yet oddly attractive cartoony art style. Give this underrated gem a watch.
5. Shinsekai Yori (From the New World)
Personal Rating: 9.5/10
Shinsekai Yori is a striking and unsettling anime. It takes place in a utopian society a millennium in the future. It establishes this seemingly peaceful world that is perfect by all accounts. Through the main characters' eyes, we see its perfect layers peeled away, and are left with the horrific reality of their society.
Shin Sekai Yori is an excellent anime. Its a chilling tale that will leave you impressed long after you've finished it. Its slow paced and subtle story actually ends up working in the animes favor. Its detailed and intricate story as well as its themes will leave the viewer immensely satisfied in the end. Some of the best kinds of stories are the one that make you feel emotion, and boy will this anime invoke plenty of that. Its a spectacular show that shouldn't be missed by anyone.
6. Mahou Shojo Madoka Magica (Puella Magi Madoka Magica)
Personal rating: 8/10
Don't you dare be deceived by the cute art style! Madoka Magica is a very dark magical girl anime that intentionally sets itself up in the beginning to look like a cute, heartwarming show. The first two episodes are light hearted and fun for the most part and then BAM! Tragedy strikes. Madoka Magica is a great deconstruction of the magical girl genre. Normally in magical girl anime, the girls are upbeat and cute and can overcome anything with the power of love and friendship. Its far more complex than that in Madoka Magica.
A positive personality and strong friendship does not exempt these characters from their fate as magical witches. Being a magical witch is stressed as being one of sacrifice and great danger. There are a lot of twists and turns in the story that will keep you on the edge of your seat all the way until the bittersweet end. Madoka Magica is by no means perfect. It does rely on a good amount of shock factor and violence to strike emotion within the audience, a technique I can't say I really cared for.
But its superb story, art, animation, and characters are a treat to behold.
Personal Rating: 7.5/10
Shiki is a mystery/horror/thriller that details the exploits of a group of vampires ravaging a small peaceful village during one raging hot summer. You will see no sparkling and silly teen romances here. Shiki makes no effort to romanticize its vampires. Its clear that these vampires are out for blood. Tragically, they aren't doing it for kicks. These vampires need to eat, or they'll die or be overcome with a raging hunger that will cause them to feast anyway. Some of their victims die, and others become vampires themselves.
What I like about Shiki is that its not simply black and white, good and evil. Its very gray at times. The vampires must feast to survive, much like humans must kill other animals to sustain themselves. You will see a few of the vampires struggle not to attack their friends and family, brought to tears over the fact that either they have to kill their fellow townsfolk to live or that the humans are out for their lives simply because of a deadly hunger they cannot fight.
I must warn you though; the ending is very very gruesome, and quite a bit unsatisfying.
Personal Rating: 8.5/10
Steins;Gate wins the award for having the dumbest sounding description yet somehow drawing me in anyway. This show was described to me as a show about a group of friends who customize their microwave to send text messages into the past. That was it.
But Steins;Gate is so much more than that. Its a tale of time travel that starts out as harmful fun but turns pretty dark for the main characters later. Conspiracies, death, evil organizations; but that doesn't even scratch the surface. The series is mostly light hearted for the first part, until EPISODE. FREAKING. TWELVE. That is all I will say. Steins;Gate also boasts a cast of very charming and humorous characters, as well as a number of geeky internet jokes.
9. Psycho Pass
Personal Rating: 7.5/10
Psycho Pass follows the exploits of a team of police officers in a futuristic world. This world is ruled by the Sibyl system, an omnipotent being that can instantly measure a person's mind and personality. It can then measure the person's criminal tendency. The police are armed with a gun that utilizes the Sibyl System in order to handle latent criminals. Right from the very beginning, its made apparent just how flawed this system really is.
The first few episodes are largely episodic, but later on a cunning villain catches the attention of the police force. They must fight to stop him, all the while questioning their society and the Sibyl System as a whole. Psycho Pass does present some troubling moral dilemmas and themes. However what I didn't like about this show was that it introduced these themes yet didn't really flesh them out or explore them well.
Its still a great show though, and definitely worth a watch.
Personal Rating: 8.5/10
Fate/Zero is a superb action anime that takes place 10 years before the events of Fate/stay night. The story focuses on a war between seven summoners and their servants. The winner attains the "Holy Grail" which has the power to grant a miracle.
Fate/Zero thrives on the "rule of cool." It sports amazing action and animation, with a splendid score by Yuki Kajiura. The story involves a surprisingly intuitive use of both tactics and alliances. The characters are splendid characters not so much for the minimal development they get throughout the series. These characters all boast unique appearances, powers, and personalities. Their personalities practically command attention, making them memorable simply for their overpowering presence.
Definitely a must watch for action fans.
11. Panty and Stocking with Garter belt
Personal Rating: 8.5/10
This is a very love it or hate it show. Some will find this show hilarious; others will find it offensive and gross.
To put it bluntly, Panty and Stocking is probably the best ecchi anime I've ever seen. Its also one of the very few comedy anime to actually make me burst out in audible laughter, not roll my eyes or simply smile. Panty and Stocking is raunchy, funny, over the top, and ridiculous. It goes where no ecchi anime has ever gone, and it actually succeeds. Its an ecchi, but no it does not involve half naked underage girls flashing their panties and slapping the herbivore male lead just for walking in on her naked.
Panty and Stocking are two foul mouth angels that were kicked out of heaven to Daten city. They must fight ghost and collect heaven coins to gain access to heaven again. Of course, that is when Stocking isnt stuffing her face or Panty isnt banging anything that moves.
This show also sports a cartoony style reminiscent of the Powerpuff Girls and other American cartoons. Its also got a pretty sweet soundtrack. The jokes can be disgusting sometimes, consisting of humor that involves shit, piss, and semen. But for the most part, this series is hilarious.
12. Lupin the third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine
Personal Rating: 5.5/10
This is a prequel to the old school anime Lupin the Third, focusing mostly on the sexy bombshell Fujiko Mine.
You might be perplexed as to why I put this on the list even though I rated it so poorly. The only reason I rated it so poorly was because the show fell apart halfway through. They tried to make it all dark and twisty and give Fujiko some tragic backstory. It was nonsensical and unneeded.
But this is still a pretty unique and out of the ordinary anime. The first part was great; it was largely episodic and had a likeable cast of characters. My feelings of the show are mixed, but Id still recommend it for its willingness to do something different, its great moments, and its superb production values. Its also one of the few ecchi anime that I can actually stomach.
Despite what people say, I still think anime is a varied and highly entertaining medium that still has the potential to produce something great. But I'll let you guys in on a secret. Its a secret that goes for any entertainment medium, including gaming.
Most of the stuff you'll run into will range from Ok to absolute shit. Its normal to not be amazed by every single little thing you come across. Its normal for anime seasons to be full of generic tripe and mediocre anime along with about two or three rare gems hidden in the mist. The good anime is still out there. You just have to find it. The Tatami Galaxy, Wandering Son, Usagi Drop, Shiki, Shinsekai Yori, and the Woman Called Fujiko Mine all got 1/1000000000 of the hype that more popular shows like Naruto, Angel Beats, and Sword Art Online got. I had to squint to find these. The gems are out there. But you have to make the effort to actually LOOK for it.
Also, stop comparing the best of the past to the worst of today and then patting yourself on the back for it for thinking you made some grand realization and moved on to some higher plane of being. That is irksome.
My god this took up 7 pages in a word document. Is anyone even still reading this? Tell me your thoughts on the whole modern anime vs. old anime thing, or your personal choices for awesome modern anime.