This list will provide in my own opinion, what I believe to be the best anime out there (concurrently) that I have watched. I’ve tried to make this list as objective as possible, whereby the standard is generally whether it did well in a certain number of areas such as its genre, story, characters, music etc. For a more subjective look go to my Favorite Anime List, this list includes other factors that influence what I thought was good, such as tropes and among other niche factors.
Here we go!
Special Mentions: Toaru Kagaku no Railgun Series, Death Note, Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu
10. Star Driver: Kagakyaki no Takuto
Star Driver is a great show, with the Ginga-Bishounen! taking on a great story combined with colourful flashy animations and visuals. I believe this anime excelled in its genres where there was a mix of mystery, mecha and action. The music was pretty solid with good OPs and EDs.
9. Kimi ni Todoke S1/S2
For a genre I don’t usually watch (shoujo), Kimi ni Todoke shines. With a story about love and just living life in general, the characters mesh well with each other in order to provide that story of what would be a high school experience. With that being said, the drama was good, realistic and it was nice to see how everything developed along Sawako’s path.
For an anime that was released monthly, it could be said that the timing of watching the series would be disjointed. Though, every episode left me wanting more. The hour for each episode provided enough time to flesh out the story of collecting swords. With Shichika and Togame being the main protagonists, the story is well written for its genres of action and adventure, with a ton of different mysteries in defeating different sword users.
7. Kamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi
Have you ever wondered what a world would be like if you weren’t able to die? Kamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi provides the basis for this and the concept of grave keepers playing “God” deciding when you would die. The story follows Ai a young grave keeper. The anime provides a real in depth storyline for its genres of fantasy and mystery, where it delves into questions about life and death.
6. Spice & Wolf I/II
Set in a fantasy world, where God’s have been forgotten. Spice & Wolf provides a story about a merchant and a deity. There are many different links to different concurrent economic concepts, which provides some extra insight into the areas of business and working as a merchant. It is a great combination of adventure and fantasy as Holo and Lawrence solve the problems that come their way.
5. Bakemonogatari/Monogatari Series
The Monogatari series has always been a staple within the anime genre. Being adapted from the Light Novel Series, it results in a lot of depth and dialogue and is well adapted by Shaft into an anime. With the certain use of words to provide different meanings, it demonstrates the importance of language to get ones point across. It also delves into certain mysteries and questions about life, whereby the characters do a great job in portraying what they believe in, as opposed to what is odd. It also posts a very consistent music base whether it be the OP or the ED across the whole series.
For a music based anime, it shows the daily lives of the light music club (Kei-On-Bu). Mainly centering around 4/5 characters in high school on their desire to play music and just have fun. Some of the best songs and music I have ever listened to have come from the anime, and the band Houkago Tea Time. With a story that provides its ups and downs, a ton of comedy and the biggest moe blob I have ever seen, K-on!! Does really well for itself.
3. Angel Beats!
Angel Beats provides a story within a world where dying is a common occurrence, and resurrecting is the result. There are no rules about death, only that it hurts. The story is actually done quite well, where by a right balance of comedy and drama is mixed into the school lives of the Afterlife Battlefront (Shinda Sekai Sensen). The highs are high, with the comedic scenes being some of the best I’ve ever seen, and the lows bringing out the waterworks and hitting it where it hurts. With the combination of the story, characters and music Angel Beats is probably one of the best anime I’ve ever watched for a single 1 cour season.
2. Code Geass Hangyaku no Lelouch R1/R2
In a world where war is a common occurrence and where Japan has been subjugated by another country. Code Geass provides a really good insight into the way a world is changed whether it by a country or by the hand of a person. We follow Lelouch on his journey of revenge and to get back what was taken from him. The action is probably some of the best I’ve ever seen mixed in with the different tactics and strategy, it provides a solid mix of genres to complement its sci-fi and supernatural elements.
1. Clannad/Clannad: After Story
The Clannad series is one to be remembered for the ages. From its more comedic first season and its dramatic second season, Clannad provides a great balance between the two and its air time in general. Following Okazaki Tomoya and his life in a town, we follow his journey and maturing as a person from being a high school student to an adult. The story is adapted really well from the game by Key, the music has probably the best soundtrack for an anime I’ve ever heard and the characters some of the most funny to watch. With everything creating an amalgamation, that is hard to copy, The Clannad series had me laughing where it wanted me to and trying to hold back the water works when it got really sad and dramatic. In that being said, I believe the Clannad Series is probably the best Anime/Anime Series I’ve ever watched.