My Top Ten Favorite Anime (Sort Of).

Everyone’s got a a list of their favorite shows and what’s on the list is always different for everyone because we’re all different people with differing opinions. But since I’m awesome, my opinion is fact and everything in this list is pure gold and if you disagree with that then… Okay. I hope you liked the list anyway!

Not everything in this list is an anime that I’d describe as a masterpiece per say. They’re all just shows that I really like for multitudes of reasons, but with that, let’s just get to it already starting with!

10) Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma (2015)

Food Wars is a cooking manga/anime (that I’ve reviewed.)

NSFW foodgasms inbound.

NSFW foodgasms inbound.

Here’s a tip for all you Food Wars fans out there—go read the manga. The anime’s just as good, but go read the manga because woof… the anime ended too soon and left out one of my favorite tournament arcs ever and one of my favorite scenes/speeches from a manga (Ch.102). For those who aren’t familiar with the show: Food Wars is a hilarious and strangely epic cooking anime that revolves around Yukihira Soma as he battles (cooking battles) his way to the top of Totsuki Culinary Academy, the best damned cooking academy in all of Japan. Seriously, if you want a good laugh and great thrills, go watch Food Wars… Just make sure that you have food in the house because you’ll get hungry.

9) One Piece

A grand adventure in an even grander world seen through the eyes of a small, but larger than life pirate crew.

800 chapters in and we're still probably only half way there.

800 chapters in and we’re still probably only half way there.

Okay so everyone knows what One Piece is about and some people might have groaned seeing a member of the Holy Shounen Trinity in a Top Ten anime list. But while my taste in anime have developed and I’ve fallen out of love with the rest of the trinity, One Piece remains to this day as one of my favorite shows to watch—okay maybe not favorite show to watch because as big a fan as I am, I’m not ignorant to the fact that it drags on way too long with it’s flashbacks. But I do love it all the same because at its core, One Piece is a really fun show featuring a cast of fun and awesome characters.

8) Kimi Ni Todoke/Ore Monogatari!!

One features a girl that looks like the creepy chick from The Ring while the other features a gorilla, I mean a boy… who looks like a gorilla—both shows are about two misunderstood teenagers who simply want to be accepted.

Kimi Ni Todoke has some annoying bits regarding misunderstandings, but I still find it to be very endearing.

Kimi Ni Todoke has some annoying bits regarding misunderstandings, but I still find it to be very endearing.

When I think of romance anime, I laugh. I laugh because when I think of romance anime I think of harems and ecchi anime—two things about anime that I despise. I’m not a prude by any means, but I like subtlety. I’m the type of guy who cringes at most girls that twerk and I prefer seeing women in fall fashion to no clothes or summer clothes. I’m also the type of guy who believes in the idea of love, or at least likes to, because even I’m not dumb enough to know that it’s all just a lie…

Screw moe anime, Ore Monogatari is the epitome of cuteness!

Screw moe anime, Ore Monogatari is the epitome of cuteness!

But lie or not, two anime that never fails to put a smile on my face are Kimi Ni Todoke and Ore Monogatari!! Yes, these two shows are only here because of how cute they can be… and because of how much joy they both give me. I’m a fairly pessimistic person, but even I feel fuzzy inside watching these shows. Are they the best ever? No, but I love them regardless. They both feature outcast teens that just want to be accepted and find true love, and though the idea of love in both is highly idealized and innocent, I love it all the same.

If you want to know more about Ore Monogatari then you’re in luck! I already reviewed it here!

7) Mekakucity Actors

A show about something

Someone please explain this to me!

I really don’t get why this is here either.

Look I’m not going to lie, Mekakucity Actors is in this list because I’m looking for someone to try and explain to me why I love it so much because even I don’t know why I love it. Like seriously… Mekakucity Actors is a fine show, but it’s not even an 8/10 in my book. And yet for some reason… I really love it. All I know is that it features an ensemble cast of teens with special powers and a plot… I guess. I also know that it’s an anime based on a series of Vocaloid songs and somehow, it made me not want to punch my computer screen in the face.

6) Death Parade

A show about life. (And another show that I’ve reviewed!)

Boom boom boom! Dancing through the skies!

Boom boom boom! Dancing through the skies!

Death Parade is an original anime by Studio Madhouse and it’s probably my favorite anime of 2015. The basic concept of Death Parade is simple, two people enter a bar, they’re forced to play a game, an Arbiter watches the proceedings of the game and based on how the players reacted while playing said game, the Arbiter will then decide which of the pair would be sent to the void and which one would be sent for reincarnation. Again, simple concept, but like any good show, there’s so much more to Death Parade. Because despite being a show featuring dead people, it is a show about life itself as well as the experiences people have living it, may they be good or bad.

5) Hajime no Ippo

An anime featuring a bullied youth that learns the true meaning of strength through boxing.

Packs a PUNCH... Get it? No? Okay then... v ~ v

Packs a PUNCH… Get it? No? Okay then… v ~ v

I don’t enjoy boxing, or sports—actually I watch a little soccer here and there, but for the most part I don’t care for any of it. And yet… One of my favorite animes of all time is a boxing anime. But saying that Hajime No Ippo is JUST a boxing anime is like saying that Moby Dick is just a story about trying to kill a white whale. There’s more to both these stories than just their surface plot, and though Hajime No Ippo doesn’t go as deep as Moby Dick does in a thematic way, Hajime No Ippo does do a pretty impressive job of telling a riveting, pulse pounding and inspiring drama about an underdog who makes it big as a boxer. And yes, I consider Hajime No Ippo as a drama more than I consider it a fighting or sport anime, because though there is fighting and sportsmanship involved but at it’s core, Hajime no Ippo’s really all about the main character Ippo Makunochi and his rise to glory and greatness.

4) Gatchaman: Crowds/Insight

An anime about clashing ideals regarding the evolution of humanity as a society.

IN THE NAME OF LOVE! GATCHAMEN! ASSEMBLE!

IN THE NAME OF LOVE! GATCHAMEN! ASSEMBLE!

I’ve never seen the Gatchaman of old, but from what I’ve gathered, (and please correct me if I’m wrong) the original Gatchaman was a fairly simplistic hero anime where a group of Power Rangers esque individuals get together to fight aliens who threaten to destroy the Earth. The Gatchamen of Crowds and Insight however are vastly different. Rather than have a black and white narrative, the newest reincarnation of Gatchaman focuses more on opposing ideologies. In both Crowds and Insight, there was never a clear villain (maybe more so Insight than Crowds), for the most part, the enemies that the Gatchamen are going up against are well meaning, but dangerous individuals or groups who just want to see the world be a better place. And it’s exactly because of this that I’m putting Gatchaman in my list—it’s an anime that not only has fun and interesting characters, but it also takes time to look at society and even criticize it in a non-pretentious manner.

3) Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

A show about sacrifice, brotherhood and a bunch of other really awesome shit.

Remember October 3rd.

Remember October 3rd.

Action, comedy and drama—FMA: Brotherhood has it all. I never really liked the original anime, I thought it was fine, but was severely flawed. Brotherhood on the other hand is hands down just a masterpiece of awesome. It has a well-written narrative, great characters and some of the best fight scenes in anime. Go check it out if you haven’t seen it yet what the hell are you doing with your life?!

2) OreGairu (My TEEN RomCom SNAFU!)

An anime about a loner who sees himself above his peers as he treks through the icy road to true maturity.

Chin up kid, you'll get there one day.

Chin up kid, you’ll get there one day.

My Teenage Rom-Com SNAFU! is a show with a fanbase that irritates the heck out of me… Sort of. I just don’t like how every time I go into comments sections of episodes or discussion boards I seem to always find people who are constantly obsessing about the protagonist Hachiman’s harem. I don’t like that because it’s not what the show is about and it goes against everything that Hachiman stands for. It’s just not genuine. But I get it, talking about pairings and harems is fun—sure, I’m not going to take that away from anyone.

But it’s not why I love SNAFU and it’s not why I watch the show. To me, SNAFU is more than just about romances or harems. It’s not about how cool it is to be a loner, because even the show itself depicts Hachiman as being in the wrong even though his methods work. SNAFU is Hikigaya Hachiman’s coming of age story. I know that the synopsis says otherwise, but ignore that because trust me, this show really is something special.

Similar to how I have Kimi Ni Todoke and Ore Monogatari in this list for mostly emotional reasons, part of why SNAFU’s on this list is because of how much I can relate to Hachiman’s struggles with life. It’s rare for any work of fiction (and non-fiction) to ever affect me this show has, which is why I have so much respect and adoration for it—because not only does it make me feel all weird inside, it’s also a very well-written show filled with great characters and both hilarious and dramatic scenes and conversations.

1) Gintama

An anime that made me cry way too much, especially since it’s primarily a comedy show about a feudal Japan that has been taken over and modernized by aliens.

Nobody with naturally wavy hair can be that bad.

Nobody with naturally wavy hair can be that bad.

When I first started watching Gintama I wasn’t sure what to think of it. I liked the protagonist Sakata Gintoki, but I couldn’t figure out what the show was going to be all about. There were hints of Gintoki’s past and how it might come back to form an overall and overarching plot, but fifteen episodes in and still there was nothing. For the most part, Gintama seemed to be just a comedy anime (a really funny and heartfelt comedy anime) but story or not, I was still in for the ride because like I said, I enjoyed the comedy bits a lot!

There were more hints of a plot thrown in there and I was satisfied just having a good time laughing at the almost self-contained comedy episodes. I loved the smaller dramatic episodes too and grew to really love the whole cast. But what really got me were episodes 58 to 61—that’s when everything changed. Not permanently. But it cemented Gintama as a series that would forever be in my list of favorite anime.

Episodes 58 to 61 were when the Benizakura Arc happened, Gintama’s first serious arc. Every Gintama fan knows what it was like to first to fill the thrills and chill of seeing our goofball favorite characters be put in a high stakes and life or death situation where they need to go up against a villain that better suited a more serious anime. The Benizakura arc still had plenty of comedy to it, but for the most part, it was the story arc that laid the foundation for what’s to come—it established the villain, the main story and a better look at Gintoki’s past. I mean we’ve always known that Gintoki was a badass, but it was his fight scenes in the Benizakura arc that showed just how awesome he could be.

I can’t really explain why I love Gintama so much, but I know that despite having hundreds of episodes I’d still recommend it to people. I know that that’s a commitment and I know that the payoff may not come until fifty episodes in, but my God, does it PAY OFF. And even after the Benizakura arc the show does return to form and remains a comedy for a dozen episodes before tackling another serious arc—but I’m okay with that. Others might not be, but I swear, you must give this show a chance. You owe it to yourself as an anime fan to watch Gintama because not only is it a hilarious parody comedy anime, but it’s also an exciting and touching story about a man who refuses to be broken by the world and how desperately he needs to pay his rent.

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Ore Monogatari!! (My Love Story!!) Full Series Review

If you’re too lazy to read, here’s a video I made a while back reviewing Ore Monogatari!!

My Favorite Romance (Or at least one of them).

Ore Monogatari has a simple plot. Gouda Takeo wants to have a girlfriend, but most girls don’t like him because he looks (and sometimes act) like a gorilla. However, when Gouda Takeo saved Yamato Rinko from a molester on the train, his life changed forever. It wasn’t exactly love at first sight, but both Takeo and Rinko were definitely attracted to each other when they first met. The show isn’t devoid of clichés despite breaking a few of them, but I still love it. The “misunderstandings” cliché was there, but by the end of episode three, both Takeo and Rinko quickly became a couple thanks to Gouda’s best friend Sunakawa Makoto.

Rinko confesses to Takeo.

Rinko confesses to Takeo.

Is it a good thing that they got together almost immediately?

Yes, I think so.

And Gouda answers.

And Gouda answers.

What’s there left to go back to after that? Where’s the tension and drama if there’s no more chase? Is there more to this story?

Plenty… but it may not be for everyone.

Likable Characters

This one might just come down to taste, as with most things about Ore Monogatari. But one of the main reasons why I love Ore Monogatari so much is its characters, namely, it’s MAIN character (I even maid a video all about him as scene above!). Gouda Takeo’s a fun character to watch and even though I’m not a super-athlete, I can relate to his struggles and insecurities. He feels genuine and feels like a well-realized character with a personality not built solely on tropes (even if he is at some points.).

Gouda Takeo wears the face of a real man!

Gouda Takeo wears the face of a real man!

The other two main characters are Yamato Rinko, Takeo’s girlfriend, and Sunakawa Makoto, Takeo’s best friend. I initially didn’t like Rinko due to her squeaky voice, but I’ve since grown to love her and find her endearing. Yeah, I understand people might disagree with me on Rinko, but like Gouda, she just feels real to me. Is she too pure and innocent? No, because she’s not entirely pure and innocent. She’s not devious by any stretch of the imagination, but she is flawed, she does have concerns and fears—but despite that she’s still very much an optimist, and often times I notice that optimism is seen as a bad thing or something reserved for dumb people. Look, I’m a cynic, a nihilist, but I admire optimistic people, so long as it’s not too in your face. And that’s what I like about Rinko; she’s not in your face about how cute or pure she is like most other romance heroines are. Like Takeo, she feels like a character that was written as a person rather a trope.

Rinko Yamato's smile is very heart warming.

Rinko Yamato’s smile is very heart warming.

Speaking of tropes, the one character that would have fit perfectly into a generic Shoujo romance is Suna. Suna is cool, aloof and intelligent—he’s often seen as a major hottie by fans and females in the show itself. When first watching Ore Monogatari! I was a little worried that maybe things might get clichéd and a love triangle between our three main characters decides to happen. Thankfully, that’s not the case. Suna plays a very supportive role in the show, and when more dramatic things do happen revolving his character, it’s often more about his friendship with Takeo… Which brings me to my next point.

Interesting Stories

Most of the show is still very much about Takeo and Rinko’s relationship. Just because they’re now a couple, life doesn’t just automatically become all sunshine and rainbows. For both of them, this is their first relationship and throughout the series we watch them grow closer together and learn what it means to be in-love with someone and what it means to be in a relationship. There are plenty of things that test our protagonists’ relationship, but that’s part of the fun.

One story focuses on the sad home life of Takeo's best friend Suna.

One story focuses on the sad home life of Takeo’s best friend Suna.

The other quarter of Ore Monogatari focuses more on the people around Takeo and Rinko. One story arc might focus on Suna’s sister, another might focus on their friends’ love life and another might focus more on Takeo’s mother.

These stories are a bit hit and miss, but most of them are pretty good, though, they are a little predictable at times which is probably going to be my biggest complaint about this overall. But the stories themselves aren’t exactly the draw of Ore Monogatari—it’s the characters. If you don’t like the characters, then chances are you’re not going to care much for the stories depicted in the show. As mentioned earlier, I found the characters to be likable and relatable due to how they were written.

Another story might revolve around a girl who falls for the already taken Yamato.

Another story might revolve around a girl who falls for the already taken Takeo.

Some of Takeo’s traits might have been amplified and taken to the extreme, but they don’t ever overshadow his more human traits, and the same could be said for the other characters. Though they’re not as extreme as Takeo, they’re all still very human. And it’s these very human qualities that make them approachable, thus relatable, which then in term makes it easier for viewers to sympathize with.

Heart-Felt

The other thing I enjoy very much about Ore Monogatari is the humor. Now I’m not going to pretend like the humor is revolutionary or even witty, but I get a great sense of joy watching it. It’s formulaic and repetitive, but the show just has such a happy vibe that I can’t help but feel happy whenever the show does anything humorous, when I would have other wise have felt nothing. This again is linked to my enjoyment of the characters, but also, with the genuine cuteness of the show.

I say genuine cuteness, because the cuteness that comes from the show doesn’t come from moe characters doing moe things—kind of like what one would see in an anime like YuruYuri or K-ON! where cute characters do cute things. In Ore Monogatari the cuteness comes more from within the characters themselves. This is a little hard to explain, but bear with me. When I watch a moe anime, I can’t help but think that some creepy otaku (probably has on really big glasses, a headband over his forehead and fingerless gloves on his hands) drawing all of these characters with one hand while his other hand strokes his penis.

That face is the embodiment of cuteness.

That face is the embodiment of cuteness.

Now I’m no white knight who champions chivalry and try not to objectify women, I’d be liar to say that I’m not… But I do have a line, a line developed by my own personal taste. The moe cuteness is disturbing to me because of one simple reason… I find creepy. I find it creepy that some creep is drawing little girls be in cutesy and often suggestive scenarios.

However, when I watch Ore Monogatari and see a cute scene, all I can imagine and think of is how adorable Gouda and Yamato are together and how nice it must be to be that happy. I’m not sure how to describe this other than call it cute, but I like it a lot. I don’t feel cynical about their cuteness or their relationship. It feels pure to me, and I like that a lot. You can tell that it’s about love (whatever that might actually mean) and not about satisfying some sort of physical desire within the writer, artist, reader or viewer.

Work that booty Takeo! WORK IT!

Work that booty Takeo! WORK IT!

VERDICT

I’m a depressed cynic who sees very little point in life, but Ore Monogatari shines a ray of hope and joy in my otherwise crummy life. It’s not the best anime ever, but it’s certainly one of my favorites, if not only because of how much I enjoyed and adored it.

My Personal Score: 8.5/10 Great!

  • PROS
    • Great characters.
    • Enjoyable scenarios.
    • Adorable and funny.
  • CONS
    • If you’re not into the characters you might not like this show at all.
    • Stories are mostly predictable (though they are still heart-felt).
    • Not every story arc has any kind of pay-off (most do, but I can think of a few that felt unnecessary).
  • Recommended For: Fans of love stories and cute things as well as hopeless romantics and saps.
  • Not Recommended For: People who only want to see cute boys/girls in their “romance” anime. People who are not into romance (obviously). People with no souls (unfortunately it does require a soul to enjoy this show).
Seriously, if you don't have a soul you might not like it.

Seriously, if you don’t have a soul you might not like it.

Ore Monogatari (My Love Story) First Episode Impressionsiew

Big Guy with a Big Heart.

You ever feel like one (or all) of your best friends is just so much better than you? Like in the looks, personality and luck department?

No? Me neither—cause I never had any friends to begin with.

But if you said yes, then Ore Monogatari might just be the anime for you.

It stars a rather ogre like protagonist named Gouda Takeo—voiced by Eguchi Takuya who not only voiced Yahari’s protagonist Hikigaya Hachiman, but he also provided the voice to Green from the Pokémon Origins Special.

Ore Monogatari Protagonist, Gouda Takeo.

Ore Monogatari Protagonist, Gouda Takeo.

Gouda's best friend since childhood: Sunakawa Makoto.

Gouda’s best friend since childhood: Sunakawa Makoto.

Now as you can see, Gouda isn’t exactly the typical anime protagonist in terms of design. Which has definitely given him a hard time with the ladies, especially since his best friend Sunakawa Makoto (voiced by Shimazaki, Nobunaga) is quite the heartthrob (and heartbreaker). For years Gouda has taken a liking to countless girls, only for them to actually harbor feelings for his best friend—who couldn’t really care less about the girls that are confessing to him.

But as fate would have it, it would seem that Gouda’s life is about to take an unexpected turn when he saves a girl being molested on the train to school. The girl, Yamato-san, quickly takes a liking to Gouda. However, it would seem that after years of always being in Suna’s shadow—our protagonist just automatically assumed that Yamato-san is actually going after Suna instead of him.

The girl from the train: Yamato Rinko.

The girl from the train: Yamato Rinko.

I like the concept of this show. It’s cute and very relatable.

I’m really glad to see a character like Gouda take center stage for once—not just because it’s an interesting twist on the stereotypical big oaf character, but I also like it because often times the protagonist of shows like this is a boy/girl that’s so plain and vanilla that anyone can put themselves in their shoes. And in all honesty I find that to be quite boring.

I get the purpose and hook of the vanilla protagonist, but I just think that big dudes like Gouda, cynical loners like Hachiman (Yahari) and misunderstood innocents like Kuronuma Sawako (Kimi ni Todoke) are more interesting to watch. The vanilla protagonist is a character—he’s not a person. And to me, people are more interesting than tropes.

Gouda begins to worry that Yamato-san might be going for his best friend like every other girl does.

Gouda begins to worry that Yamato-san might be going for his best friend like every other girl does.

And when you have a person (or well-rounded character), and not just a static vanilla character, you’re already one step closer to making a better story—and the writer of the manga, Kawahara-sensei, does a good job of portraying a likeable and well rounded character in Gouda.

Gouda has not only a large body, but he also has a big heart—and even a brain. He doesn’t seem like a very studious kid, but he does use his head a lot to contemplate what’s going on around him. He’s willing to help people out even when not asked and even if people are suspicious of him because of his appearance—Gouda’s a really good kid and I’m really rooting for him.

Gouda offers a seat to an elderly man in the train to school.

Gouda offers a seat to an elderly man in the train to school.

Only thing I didn’t like about the first episode was Yamato-san’s voice. Her voice actress Han Megumi, who also voiced Gon Freecs of Hunter X Hunter (2011), sounds a little too squeaky for me—I’m not really sure how to describe it but it definitely stands out to me. I liked her voice acting as Gon in the most recent Hunter X Hunter series, but right now I’m not that big a fan of her voice as Yamato. Hopefully she grows on me, because I’m definitely going to be watching more of Ore Monogatari.

When the series (or season) is complete, I’ll be writing a full review so keep an eye out for that one, but so far I’m really digging Ore Monogatari. In the mean time please comment on what you think of this review or just talk to me about the show!

Hang in there Gouda-kun, I'm rooting for you buddy!

Hang in there Gouda-kun, I’m rooting for you buddy!