Ugh. Okay, fine. You people are relentless. Let’s open this can of worms, then, I guess. But if you’re disappointed… well, you’ve been warned.
I don’t have any such list.
If you know anything about my rating system… well… it sort of follows the same logic. I just don’t like quantifying those things. Because a story’s a story and I love stories. I also find attaching obligatory values to things to not really be useful in the grander scheme of gauging a person’s fondness of a thing. I’ve seen tons of posts in which people give 10/10 to things I absolutely loathe. And that’s because their life experiences, their priorities in entertainment, and so-on are just… different. Numbers are terrible in that regard because they provide absolutely zero context on the person giving them unless that person actually assigns context to them.
The entire premise of our latest Anime TKO is literally about pitting the two schools of thought – intellectual vs. entertainment – against one another and seeing which factor wins out in the end. It’s essentially an experiment. My scores don’t relate to how much I enjoy a thing. They relate to raw mechanical observation. The character I play just makes it seem otherwise. God only knows where Bob’s numbers come from. I don’t ask him. That’s his call to make and I press him about it no further than that. Is it frustrating that I don’t have any idea where those numbers are coming from? Oh my, yes. But I don’t have to understand everything. Furthermore, it was my decision to do it this way because I was interested in testing it out. It’s not even based on a theory, I just want to see what happens.
I’ve said this many, many times. I’m ridiculously easy to please. If you execute your story beats competently, I’m happy. I don’t care about what you could’ve done unless what you did was poorly executed based on my storytelling sensibilities. That being said, I am also absurdly difficult to genuinely impress. This probably mostly comes from a standpoint of being emotionally inert, half the time. But I get nothing, really, out of being surprised unless it’s funny, so expectation subversion does nothing for me. I don’t get swept up in the emotions of a story aside from the most basic of responses because… well, I just don’t feel them, more often than not. If I get emotional, it’s (usually) because I think a story is poorly executed in its attempts to get at my emotions. So what’s left to impress me with? You’d think it’d be mechanical storytelling proficiency, right? Well, not even then. Because I expect that. Unless it is absolutely airtight – which is nigh on impossible – that means nothing. And so you see the issue. Impressing me… is hard. Because it means you have to transcend my expectations (keyword: transcend, not subvert). You have to essentially put out an experience that affects me in ways no other story really does. And that’s a difficult thing to even grasp.
So what now? Do I just leave you without a real answer to the question? Well… no. See, because of the way I think, I don’t have a top ten. I have a top TIER. That’s what World’s Finest is. Nothing in any of my tiers is ordered. Because if I did that, everything would be subject to moving around constantly, just based on my mood, let alone new things getting thrown in. And that top tier is far larger than just 10 items. So here’s what I’ll do. If you watch my webshow, you’re probably familiar with the concept of the “Bullet List.” It’s a little play-on-words, sure, but note that in the ones we’ve done so far, nothing’s in order. And that’s because the lists aren’t quantified. They’re just… a number of things that are good. I think every now and then I’ll just do something like that. An occasional, short, easy Lightning List of maybe 5 anime in my Top Tier. How’s that sound?
I’ll even spoil you by throwing five out there, right now. Though I’m sure you’ll have seen all of these coming if you read my reviews or pay attention when I talk about some stuff.
Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru/Yuki Yuna is a Hero
It’s pretty much the only “dark and grim” magical girl series I’ve ever liked. I don’t generally like watching cute things get brutally tortured. But this one got me to empathize with the characters in a completely different way. I’m sure I sound like a broken record on this, by now, but I just really liked it. As its execution was something I really didn’t expect. It likewise struck me as almost a sort of commentary on the very nature of the magical girl genre (particularly the action variety, in general, and not just the darker ones), providing a sort of meta-commentary on how royally f–k’d up it is that the followers of these young girls’ adventures are so bent on making them suffer absolutely horrific, gruesome fates. The ending that just bucks that idea completely is what actually pushes it over the edge for me in the best way. Because… yeah. It’s not fair. Why should they have to make these massive sacrifices? They’re children. I don’t think it’s actually calling out things like Madoka Magica as “bad” (if anything, its respect for that and others of its ilk is very apparent). It’s just made more for someone of my sensibilities while still carrying themes and messages of other varieties that one would expect from a series like Madoka and so-on.
Yagate Kimi ni Naru/Bloom Into You
This is the only romance anime I own. I remind you that romance is my second favorite genre. Let that sink in for a second. I have every intention of getting more (lookin’ at you, Kimi no Todoke), but this was the first one I had a mind to fork up the cash for. The thing is that it displayed an angle of portraying the romance that was very refreshing when compared to what I’m used to. While there was plenty of exaggeration in the drama surrounding the romance, the romance itself (and the drama surrounding it) was much more grounded and had a certain endearing quality to it that I just appreciated a lot and found myself more invested in than I have been in a while. What’s more, the portrayal of the relationship in the anime was… healthy isn’t quite the word, but you can tell it’s a relationship filled with genuine respect for the other person. As well as genuine remorse when either of the two parties makes a mistake or realizes they’ve stepped out of line. It does a good job of exploring romantic love and how slippery the concept of it can feel when we’ve got so many wildly exaggerated stories on the subject that can give us false (or, rather, unreliable?) ideas about it. As well as the emptiness that can make us feel. Love is an incredibly fickle, often bittersweet emotion and this series captured that splendidly. And so many adorable moments between Touko and Yuu. Also the manga’s good. So you know. Check that out.
Kill la Kill
It’s the reason I love Trigger. It’s just so bombastic, so packed with style, and so rich with themes that you can watch it 50 times and keep getting new things out of it. I should know. I’ve tried. It’s also a blast. I mean, let’s be honest. At the end of the day, we all just want to have fun. And Kill la Kill might as well just be called “Fun: The Anime.” In fact, it’s probably the most fun I’ve had watching any anime. And considering how much Shounen I watch, that’s saying something. But it’s also smart as a whip. Easily one of my favorites.
Mob Psycho 100
I just love what Mob represents. The idea that being special, having power… doesn’t make you more important than anyone else. But it’s a weird double meaning because it also doesn’t mean you should bring yourself down. You are the main character of your story, and no one else’s… but you’re still that story’s main character. Sort of a lesson on the two sides of humility and how others prop us up to recognize our potential. It’s just a message I thought was handled incredibly well across the two seasons we’ve gotten so far, showing what Mob’s friends mean to him. And that’s an incredibly condensed take on a subject I could probably talk about for hours.
I wasn’t really expecting Trigger to sneak into this tier with this series, but it did. And we already did an entire episode on what’s basically the reason for it. Which you can find HERE. I just think Akane’s arc was masterfully handled in a way I rarely see out of antagonist arcs. And it’s not just that she was lonely and such. I just love what Akane stands for on a thematic level. How easy it is to just turn to fantasy in an attempt to escape from the pains that ensnare our real lives, only to eventually have to come to grips with the reality that those problems – those pains – aren’t something we can always run away from and-… Look, I can probably write a thesis paper on the girl. I’ll not do that here. SSSS.Gridman is awesome because Akane is awesome and I love her character. And… yeah. Also giant robots punching giant monsters. So there’s that. This series took multiple watches and a lot of thought to get into that upper tier, but now it’s there to stay.
And there you have it. 5 of my favorite anime. Now there are some you’re already well aware of, I’m sure. The World God Only Knows. Or the very anime represented in the featured image of this post. But these 5 are the ones I’m choosing to share and elaborate on, today. So there you have it. Would you like another of these lists? Let me know, down below. As always, thanks for reading, folks.
Keep up the Awesome!
I will never understand the love for SSSS. Gridman. I know I’m in the minority, but it just felt ridiculous with the way they kept pulling out Deus ex Machinas. It was almost every episode. There was no development, it was just “Oh look, we have a fixer beam!” I liked Rika and Akane, but could not get into it and found myself shaking my head far too often. But like you say, everyone is evaluating things differently. Cool list, otherwise though.
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