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Top Thirty Anime: Part Three [Dish #72]

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    Top Thirty Anime Series

    Alright, this is the final entry for this mini-series. So far I've shared with you not only just how big a weeb I've become but also twenty of my thirty favourite anime series. Below is the final ten series that are, in my opinion, the best of the best.

    Number Ten - Orange

    Orange is an anime that is weirdly similar to Erased even though this is a drama/romance series not a mystery/thriller. The premise is that a high school student receives a detailed letter from her future self that is attempting to give instructions that should lead to saving the life of one of her classmates. It's a touching story that takes place across two timelines as we watch the Naho of the future trying to deal with her regrets and the Naho of the past attempt to give herself a life where those regrets don't occur. As an added bonus this story is very complete with a perfectly managed storyline and no pacing issues.
    MAL Rating: 9

    Number Nine - Gakkougurashi!

    Gakkougurashi is an interesting anime and I'm sorry that I'm about to spoil the surprise for anyone who hasn't seen it. It begins looking like a typical cheesy school slice of life series but at the end of the first episode you're suddenly hit with the reveal that this comfortable life is all in the head of the MC and that the world is actually in the middle of the zombie apocalypse. In a surprisingly dramatic and psychological anime, we watch as a group of survivors try to live out as normal a life as they can all the while coping with the dangerous world they live in and the fragile mental state of the MC. It's very different and very fun to watch.
    MAL Rating: 9

    Number Eight - Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica

    This is another anime that isn't quite what it appears. Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica definitely has the appearance of your standard magical girl anime - bright colours, fluffy opening theme, a cute critter and cutesy moe characters. Gradually the truth reveals itself though and we're introduced to the disturbing reality that the characters inhabit as we watch those same cutesy characters traumatised as they suffer through an unimaginable hell. It might not appear that way at first glance, but this is honestly one of the most twisted stories I've come across in anime. It's also fantastic.
    MAL Rating: 9

    Number Seven - Shinsekai Yori

    Of all the series on this list, this one has the most incredible world building which may well be because it's based on a proper novel. Shinsekai Yori is a dystopian story that takes place in an alternate version of the world where humans have developed psychokinetic powers called "cantus". It explores the darkest parts of human nature as the secrets of the story's society are slowly and shockingly revealed to us and makes us question a lot of things. This anime definitely needs more love (so far the novel is also very good by the way).
    MAL Rating: 9

    Number Six - Hourou Musuko

    Hurou Musuko is a brilliant anime that primarily focuses on a transgender protagonist and deals with their struggles as they seek acceptance by their family and peers whilst also exploring the typical problems young people face as their bodies and minds develop like your typical romantic and social complications. It's a series that's beautiful in its honesty as it makes an obvious effort to portray its drama and characters with realism instead of relying on overblown gags and tropes. Definitely a masterpiece of the drama genre.
    MAL Rating: 9

    Number Five - Death Note

    As this list has already showed, Death Note is not unique in its use of battles of the mind and suspense and there's still nothing quite like it. It treats us to the intellectual battle of the ages a genius with a god complex uses the supernatural death note to enact his idea of justice of the criminals of the world (and eventually his opposition) and the equally as genius detective who matches wits with him in an effort to end his reign of terror. Death Note gets the blood pumping in a way that an action-based attempt at this premise never could and has clearly and understandably served as inspiration for several anime attempting to follow in its footsteps. The second half of this anime is unfortunately weaker than the first (although still solid) but the first half is just so incredibly good that it still earns such a high rating.
    MAL Rating: 9

    Number Four - Hanbun no Tsuki Nobaru Sora

    This is an interesting anime in the romance and drama genres. Taking place in a hospital it follows a teenage boy who is in hospital due to hepatitis who comes into contact with a girl the same age who turns out to have life threatening heart problems. Whilst we're still treated to some of the typical elements of the genre, this anime goes a step further as the protagonists deal with a battle against time that none of us ever want to experience. It's a bittersweet and beautiful series that I strongly recommend to those who enjoy this genre.
    MAL Rating: 10

    Number Three - AnoHana

    I admit it, I've got a real soft spot for these bittersweet anime and, when it comes to those series, AnoHana is number one. In this supernatural drama, a group of formerly very close friends is confronted by their past when the ghost of their deceased childhood friend begins haunting one of them. Wounds old and new are ripped open as the group must confront their past and present selves alike as the protagonist attempts to help the ghost of his friend rest in peace all the while questioning if that's what he really wants. By the end of AnoHana, you'll find yourself questioning why you put yourself through the emotional turmoil of watching it... and then promptly spend the next month thinking about how much you love it.
    MAL Rating: 10

    Number Two - Serial Experiments Lain

    Serial Experiments Lain is quite probably the ultimate mindfuck and is also the closest any series has ever come to dethroning Higurashi as my number one favourite series. Serial Experiments Lain goes to strange psychological levels I've never seen contemplating not only society's relationship with the internet but also the very nature of reality itself. Serial Experiments Lain has a unique and exciting plot, great artwork and surprisingly compelling characters with realistic vulnerabilities. It is definitely a masterpiece and has earned its fantastic reputation.
    MAL Rating: 10

    Number One - Higurashi no Naku Koro ni

    As per usual, Higurashi is my number one choice. This series just stands out above the rest in my eyes and has for years. Combining thriller/horror, sci-fi, supernatural, drama, comedy and (most importantly) mystery elements might sound like it'd result in a mess but, in the case of Higurashi, results in the most unique and compelling anime I've seen. Higurashi is a work of art with excellent characters, designs, sounds, performances and a top-notch story that spans across several alternate timelines as we slowly watch the mystery behind a group of friends gradually becoming paranoid and murderous in different timelines unfold. If you haven't watched this you need to.
    MAL Rating: 10

    Well that's it. As far as I'm concerned, these are the ten greatest anime series I have ever seen. What do you think of my selections? Would you change the order of my top thirty in any way? Did you actually bother to read all three of these? xD