Strawberry Smirk’s Top 5 Anime

A brief explanation of my current top 5 favorite anime.

5. My Hero Academia

I know MHA is being heralded as the greatest Shonen of all time, and while I have no interest in trying to debate that, mostly because I haven’t seen every shonen ever made, I can say that it is definitely a really great one. I absolutely love most of the characters *cough* Mineta *cough* and find myself eagerly awaiting every new episode that comes. For me, there are very few episodes that I consider unimportant or skippable, which is rare for most shonen. Unlike many other shonen, which rewatch value essentially becomes a series of fights fans watch as clips on YouTube out of boredom or nostalgia, MHA has moments outside of battles that filled my heart with so much joy that I could rewatch them over and over again. Even now, while I eagerly await the fifth season, moments from the first season still leave me with a giant smile on my face. Personal moments can bring a tear to my eye and the humor honestly still makes me laugh no matter how many times I’ve heard it. The only reason MHA is not higher up on this list is because unlike everything else on the list, it’s not finished yet. It still has the potential to disappoint me at some point. That possible future, along with a few minor complaints, are the only reason MHA is not my favorite shonen of all time yet.

4. Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood

Not sure I even need to explain this, I don’t think I’ve ever met an anime fan who doesn’t have this on their list, but here goes. If I’m being honest, I’ve probably rewatched FMAB more than any other anime ever. Almost every time I go back to watch a single scene from an episode, I find myself watching every episode again from that point. FMAB is unbelievably well written, striking the heart and making you think for yourself and question the world around you, while also teaching you to never abandon hope. It depicts a far more honest view of conflict than simply “good vs evil” and makes almost every character someone we can understand and sympathize with. I don’t think I’ll ever get bored of FMAB. Also, FMAB has the greatest collection of well written and inspirational women of any anime ever. I give it a 9.5/10

3. Your Lie In April

Honestly, if there’s any anime in the world that has more rewatch value than FMAB, it’s Your Lie In April. I genuinely can’t watch a single episode in one sitting. In the past few days alone, I’ve rewatched the series for what must be the tenth time. It’s such a beautiful story and even though it has it’s darkness, I never feel like my time is wasted watching it again. I will admit that I have a deeply personal relationship with this anime. It was recommended to me by the one that got away, during an especially dark time in my life, and helped me bring myself back into the light. Arima might be the only anime protagonist I’ve ever seriously related to, despite my lack of musical genius. Kaori is the eternal best girl and I will happily fight anyone who ever disagrees with that. Your Lie In April is painfully, beautifully honest in it’s exploration of loss, disappointment, trauma, and recovery. No anime has ever touched my heart the way this one does. This series is a perfect 10.

Also, greatest OP of all time.

2. Banana Fish

This anime is absolutely incredible. I honestly could praise it for hours, so first, I’ll address my only complaints with it. Lack of a English dub, and the fact that it’s on amazon prime instead of a better streaming service. Other than that, I absolutely love this series. Second best OP of all time, Ash Lynx is a complex, truly tragic hero unlike any other I’ve ever seen in an anime. Eiji is unbelievably precious and watching these two’s story unfold is absolutely incredible. While it may not have the rewatch value of other anime on this list, it doesn’t need it. Banana Fish is like a punch to the heart, I’ll never forget it. It knocks the wind out of me every time I see. I’ll admit, it’s not an easy watch, but it is absolutely unforgettable. I can’t even bring myself to give it a number rating because any points against it would be the tiniest nitpick

1. Castlevania

I absolutely love this series. Inspired by a pretty fun though overly elaborate and convoluted game series, Castlevania is the perfect vampire anime. It paints a deeply flawed and dark world. Society is dominated by the Church, and much like our own real-life history, most people are miserable. While Dracula is the primary antagonist of the series, it’s made quite clear that he’s not the real villain. Our heroes are complex, well written, and have perfectly believable chemistry that really touches your heart and makes you want to see them succeed. A plucky optimist, a tragic hero, and a broken demigod not only make the world a better place but also make each other better. The animation is some of the best I’ve ever seen, the sound design is absolutely beautiful, and my only complaint is that I need more.

10/10

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