While everyone was spending December doing their *insert whatever* of the decade posts and such, I wanted to wait until 2019 had actually ended before diving into that subject and listing off my favorites. And if you want to really get technical about it, I should just wait until 2021 before posting this. Anyways, for this post I’m going to pick just 10 anime from the past 10 years to talk about. Now keep in mind this is by no means a Top 10 post or anything, it’s just a post of 10 anime that really stand out to me when I look back over the past decade. Even then after finally deciding on which anime to list here, there are so many more than deserve a spot here because it’s honestly really hard to narrow down 10 years worth of anime into a list of just 10. Anyways, as this will be a long post I should stop rambling and get started already.
Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu
It only seems fitting that the first anime on this list be the first anime I ever watched, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. If it wasn’t for my curiosity on YouTube one day, I wouldn’t be here on my own anime blog talking to you 10 years later with a list of 10 memorable anime from the past 10 years. I really don’t thank Haruhi enough for starting me on this journey into the anime world and I owe it to that series for where I am right now. True at some point down the line I might have gotten into anime, but I can’t see myself being at where I am right now though. Maybe I’d be somewhere better, somewhere worse, but whatever the case because of that one series it’s brought me into this amazing community of people who have really shaped the past 10 years of my life. One anime is all it took for me to get me hooked and here we are 10 years later having the chance to actually write a post like this.
(and the whole Monogatari series in general)
One of, if not the, flagship shows of SHAFT has got to be the Monogatari series. True you could easily say Madoka Magica or one of their other many shows, but the Monogatari series is right up there at the top. While the first entry in this long running series first aired back in June of 2009, which is about a year or so before I got into anime, I didn’t actually get around to watching Bakemonogatari until December 2014. For the longest time it was one of those shows I’d seen so many out of context clips and gifs from and it did intrigue me and I wanted to know more about this show. But upon learning that it had many parts to it and they all had similar titles and such, I got confused and wasn’t really sure where to start. I eventually found out that Bakemonogatari was the jumping off point and from there I went all in. I think up until that point I’d only seen a handful of SHAFT shows, Madoka Magica, Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko, Nisekoi S1, and I was just about to start Koufuku Graffiti, so it was nice to finally get around to watching this show and understand what all these out of context clips and gifs meant. I greatly enjoyed watching Bake and even now I still hold it up high on my list of all time favorite shows. Sure the rest of the series as some great entries, but it’s always the first one that has that lasting impression on you. Even as I write this now I’m still not all caught up on the Monogatari series as a whole (waiting for a certain fan sub group will do that to you) but it’s something I plan on getting done soon. Love it or hate it, Bakemonogatari, and the Monogatari series as a whole, is one of those shows that really stand out over the past 10 years and it fully deserves to be on this list.
Love Live! School Idol Project
Of course this list wouldn’t be complete without having Love Live! mentioned. As with many anime throughout the years, Love Live! holds a very special spot in my heart as it was such a huge part of my life for a while. Before watching Love Live! I hadn’t really seen too many other idol shows. I think maybe the 2011 iDOLM@STER anime and maybe some smaller idol shows too, but that was about it. I started Love Live! shortly before S2 aired and it was something I absolutely loved. True it’s nothing groundbreaking or anything, but it just clicked with me and I loved everything about it. The girls and their story, their quest to save the school from being closed, the songs and dancing, it was a magical experience when I first got into Love Live! and because of getting into that series I’ve had the opportunity to meet some amazing people who also love Love Live!, and of course the highlight of it all is going to the Love Live! The School Idol Movie screening. Truly an incredible night that was and it ranks up there with some of the most fun I’ve ever had. Love Live! also introduced me to the amazing Nishikino Maki who still holds that coveted title of waifu all these years later.
It’s kinda funny how this keeps happening to me, anime that I’m recommended almost always end up being something I come to love greatly. I wasn’t ever really into idol anime before Love Live!, I didn’t like iDOLM@STER (still don’t actually, Cinderella Girls is miles better in every way, don’t ever fucking @ me about it) but after watching Love Live! I can safely say my appreciation for idol anime grew a lot and since then it’s a genre I’ve come to enjoy a lot more. True I may not still be as into Love Live! as I once was, but the posters on my wall are a constant reminder to me that this series is close to my heart. Since then we’ve had Love Live! Sunshine and coming soon the Nijigasaki High School Idol Club and even another group after them, so Love Live! is by no means dead at all. If anything, Love Live! is bigger than it has ever been. With the new anime on the horizon I can already feel that Love Live! passion starting to build up inside me once again. Once that finally airs, I’m sure I’ll get right back into where I was before.
Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai
Given its subject matter this is a pretty controversial pick, but I’m not here to appeal to everyone’s likes or morals compasses. I went through a big, big Oreimo phase early on in my anime career, it was a show I loved with a burning passion. True I still hold this anime very highly, maybe not as much as I did back then, but I’m not going to hold back in saying I love this show given what it’s about. Hell I was right out there when Eromanga-sensei aired a while ago and I loved that as much. It’s hard to really put a finger on what exactly makes me love Oreimo so much, it’s a bunch of things I guess that just all came together in one package and checked all the right boxes for it. It’s a show that not everyone will like or feel comfortable watching, but even though I was so early on in my anime watching career, I could understand it was still fiction and that even if I enjoyed watching something like this it didn’t mean I condoned its message in real life. Whatever the case is though, something I feel a lot of anime fans as of late have a hard time understanding is fiction from reality. Let’s face it, I’ve beaten around the bush long enough and haven’t come out and said this show has some strong incest themes present in it, but at the end of the day it’s just a fictional story with fictional characters living out their fictional lives. Nothing more and nothing less. Oreimo deserves a place on this list here as had such an impact on me and how I viewed anime going forward, even to this very day. And yes, Kirino is still and will always be the best girl. Don’t @ me on that either.
I’m not one for horror stuff in general. I don’t watch horror movies, I don’t like overly gory movies and the likes of, but that said I still wanted to check out this 2012 horror anime Another, as it was back when P.A. Works still made good shows and I was a fan of them. Still early on in my anime career, I was once again excited to check out something different than what I had been watching before, so this was a new and exciting experience for me. At the time I indeed found it quite scary and suspenseful to watch and I was on the edge of my seat in my dark room watching each ep unfold. True watching it now and knowing everything that happens, it’s not the same experience, but at the time I was genuinely scared while watching. But the thing that surprised me the most is just how much I enjoyed it, scariness and everything. It was something I looked forward to each week, the terror and fear of watching this scary anime late at night. I loved the thrill of it and it was something I couldn’t get enough of. As soon as the ep was over I wanted more of it right away, I was just so involved with characters and story. Since then I haven’t watched much more in the way of horror and the likes of, my feelings for horror movies and blood and gore haven’t changed at all, but this anime really was a walk on the wild side for me so early on and it’s one anime I wish I could go back and watch again for the first time. That’s not something I feel too often about shows, but Another is one I really, really, wish I could do that with.
Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata
While harem shows aren’t really my favorite genre anymore these days, the occasional one gets added to my watch list and I’ll check it out. In recent time Bokuben was one of those harem shows I normally wouldn’t check out, but after a certain tanned redhead swimmer caught my attention, I had to check this show out. Back to this show though, Saekano is one of those harem shows I might not have checked out if I wasn’t feeling so adventurous at the time. Taking us way back to the Winter 2015 season, Saekano offered another entry in the crowded harem genre, but for me I found this show a refreshing take on it. I ended up reviewing both seasons and I might even review the movie whenever that gets released. Anyways though as most harem shows so, it’s the girls that are the center of attention and the girls of Saekano are some of the best. Of course if you’ve known me for a little bit and have seen my Twitter profile, you’ll have seen that amazing gif of Utaha Kasumigaoka which has been pinned for years. It’s clear I’m a big Utaha fan. To put into perspective of how much I love her, she’s probably the next girl I’d pick to hold the “waifu” status after Maki, I love her that much.
Saekano continued to become more and more of a favorite anime of mine as the years went by. I bought Saekano manga that was licensed and released in English, I have a couple of Utaha nendos in my newly lit display case, I regularly talk about it on Twitter, and Utaha in general is just one of those characters I really came to love as time went on. I think what I admire about her the most is that she’s a writer and back when this show aired I wanted to call myself a writer too. True I’m sure plenty of other anime characters are writers in their respective shows, but for me Utaha just stood out and really captured my attention. I’m sure I could just say it’s because she’s this amazingly beautiful girl and that’s why I like her so much, but she’s much more than a pretty face. Her work ethic is incredible, while at times questionable, but at the end of the day she delivers on what she set out to do. Her talent to write and create stories is something I’ve wanted to do with every story idea I dream up, so watching her follow through on that is just something I greatly enjoyed watching.
I debated with myself about whether Saekano or New Game! should get put on the list, both anime are excellent and I enjoy them greatly, but Saekano won out by the slimiest of margins. Not to say New Game! isn’t good or anything, Saekano just had a few additional points to give it the edge and make this list of my memorable anime for the last 10 years. I hope to watch the movie at some point in the future whenever it’s released and subbed but I guess until then I’ve got the stack of manga on my bedside table to keep me occupied in the meantime.
Sword Art Online
Come on, did you really think I’d make this list without including the Anime of the Summer? In all honesty though, SAO is a fantastic show and one that despite first aired way back in July 2012, it’s still hotly debated to this very day about whether or not it’s actually good. Silliness aside though, SAO was a great watch for me and I thoroughly enjoyed it, both the first season, second, Extra Edition, Ordinal Scale, Gun Gale Online, and the most recent entry, Alicization. Like many other anime, SAO does nothing new or different compared to anime with a similar type plot of characters being stuck in a game world and having to fight for their survival, and maybe even others do this better, but for me SAO was just a fun to watch show and enjoyment I got out of it was great. When I look at a show in general I take a lot of things into consideration when reviewing it for example or scoring it up at the end, but a massive factor that goes into whether or not I like a show is if it’s just fun and enjoyable to watch. Because at the end of the day this is all entertainment and if we’re not entertained from watching it, then it’s failed to do its job.
SAO doesn’t have a deep story honestly, it’s easy to grasp but it’s still surprising how many people get hung up on details that have no bearing in the grand scheme of it all. No anime will ever be perfect and holding anything to that unattainable goal is pointless because you’ll always be let down in the end. SAO isn’t without flaws, it’s not perfect, it’s got wonky things in it here and there, a few moments made me feel uncomfortable, but it’s not that hard to overlook them and still enjoy it. Shocking I know, but it’s quite easy to do. As long as anime is made, SAO will be a topic that will never die out. It’s always going to be the one anime everyone brings up at some point for some reason or another, but the best thing to do is just ignore the crowds and go on liking what you like and watching the anime you want to watch. I honestly don’t care if you hate SAO with a passion, that literally means nothing to me because that’s your view and I’m not going to try changing it to suit my views. Like what you like, not what others say you should like. This is way off topic but seeing how I never get a chance to talk about SAO in length, I thought I’d through my two cents into the abyss. Let’s move on!
Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou
Something about this show stuck with me for long time afterwards and to this day it’s a rare anime I think about every now and then. True a lot of anime leave lasting impressions on me, but Girls’ Last Tour did and then some. I picked this show as my 2017 Anime of the Year because it left that much of a lasting impression on me, which was extremely hard to do if you go back and look at what else aired that year. Nevertheless, Girls’ Last Tour was the anime I chose above everything else because it was something that just struck a cord with me and stayed with me for such a long time afterwards. It’s a show I’d best describe as hauntingly beautiful, for lack of a better term. I guess you could say it’s an iyashikei anime as it pretty much checks all those boxes, more or less, whatever the case is though, don’t go into this anime expecting a lot to happen. Since then there have been a few other shows that made me feel this same way, that have stuck with me for a long time afterwards and for a show to do that it has to leave a big impression on me. It’s kinda hard to imagine a show about two girls traveling through a post-apocalyptic world on a Kettenkrad leaving such a big impression on me, but it did and I applaud it for doing so because so many other much more complex and seemingly “better” anime haven’t been able to do that, no matter how hard they try.
Shuumatsu no Izetta
Fall 2016 was not an easy season to make a big impression because of all the incredible shows airing, but one that definitely stood out for me, among many others I watched that season, was Izetta: The Last Witch. The funny thing about this show is that I didn’t actually like the ending of it all that much and it did ruin my overall enjoyment of it, which is strange because I’m on Twitter raving about how much I love the main girls in this show so much. More on this legendary couple in a bit. What irked me the most about this show, not to get too spoliery here, but after all the build up the final eps had and then the final scene at the end just didn’t jive with me at all. To me it felt too forced and like they had to give us a happy ending even though it was extremely improbable and just honestly didn’t work story wise. I’m not bashing happy endings, but when they come way too far out of left field like that, it just doesn’t work and ruins the flow.
With that said, the main couple in this show, Izetta and Finé are truly something amazing. Regardless of how the show ended, I gotta say these girls were incredible and are worth checking out the show just to see how great of a couple they are. Maybe one day I’ll make a list of my top yuri couples, but without a second thought I’d put these two very high up on that list, top 5 for sure, if not higher. True I probably haven’t seen a ton of yuri anime to make a seriously informed call on this, but for me and the amount of shows I’ve seen, these girls are breathtaking. The way their relationship grows over the course of the show, the way they face the problems head on and the love they so for each other, it’s so amazing. They just hit all the right notes and everything came together for them to be this couple that’s held in such high esteem. Had it not been for them and how much impact they brought to this show, it wouldn’t be on this list and I wouldn’t be talking about them on Twitter to this day. Also helping was the fact Izetta is a gorgeous redhead and if you’ve known me for a little bit then you know how crazy I get about redhead girls in anime. And I can’t write this without mentioning Finé’s voice actress, the extremely talented and popular Saori Hayami. As always she brought her A game to this show and it carried across all 12 eps. She’s by far a top favorite voice actress of mine and I always enjoy hearing her in anime I’m watching.
All in all Izetta: The Last Witch might not have done a whole lot new in the alternate timeline genre and arguably there are much better shows with the alternate World War 2 setting, but Izetta and Finé make this show worth the price of admission. There are only a few couples I could truly call legendary and without a doubt Izetta and Finé are fully worth that title and then some.
I know I said above no anime is perfect, but one that probably comes the closet to making that statement false is the Winter 2018 masterpiece from KyoAni, Violet Evergarden. Honestly it’s hard to really sum up this show properly because it’s one you just need to watch and experience for yourself. It’s a show packed with breathtaking art and animation, heartfelt emotion, incredible music, and characters you fall in love with instantly. Aside from this being hands down the most beautiful anime I’ve seen, what I love so much about this anime is how emotionally invested I got in the characters and story of it all. Throughout the years there have been anime that get me all emotional and I get that choked up feeling, Clannad and Angel Beats! were among the first to hit me hard, over the years there have been others, but it wasn’t until Violet Evergarden that I felt like I was going to cry after every ep. The theme of the anime is about connecting to people and what love means and how to convey these emotions and feelings through letters. Letter writing is so old fashioned in this day and age and hardly anyone knows how to do that, let alone write with a real pen, but it’s true that a hard written letter does carry so much more weight that a text or email or something. Each ep had our lead girl Violet, journeying around to write letters for clients and help them express their feelings and emotions to someone special in their life. Throughout the course of that ep you really got to know the client and understand how important this letter they want to send is, so I love how these characters played a part in shaping Violet into the girl she is. True we don’t always see these clients again, they might get mentioned in passing, but since you felt like you really got to know them after the ep, you can’t help but wonder how their life is going after Violet wrote that letter for them.
Speaking of Violet, she’s by far one of my all time favorite characters. She’s just so pure and innocent, so graceful and beautiful, she’s someone you feel that strong urge to protect she’s just amazing in all regards. From her dark beginnings as a solider to where we see her by the end of the anime and in the movie and special ep, you can see how much she’s grown and how she takes every client’s letter with the utmost importance. To her it’s not just another job, she goes above and beyond to meet that clients needs and make sure that letter is the best possible letter they could ever want. Every client isn’t the same and I love how she adapts to each situation and also how she takes experiences learned in the previous jobs and uses them in the current situation she’s in. All in all Violet is such a precious girl and every time I think about her and the journey she’s on it’s just something that hits me right in the feels.
Sticking with the feels and emotion this anime has, I won’t shy away from saying it had me outright crying at times. I think two eps that stand out to me the most are ep 7 and 10, but for sure ep 10. I haven’t cried as much as I did after ep 10 in a long time. I hate it when you know it’s going to have sad ending and you can see this coming from a mile away, but then once it happens it’s still soul crushing and you’re not ready for it. Ep 10 had that happen to me but they went a step further than what I was expecting them to do and it just added to the tears. I mean had they just gone and done what I thought they would, that would’ve been enough feels right there, but they went all in with that ep. It’s not like I can even relate to most of the stories in each ep but they draw you in and make you feel like you’re part of it from start to finish. This happens time and again and it’s hard to think of another anime I’ve watched before or since then that drew me in each time as much as this one has.
At the end of the day anime will always be subjective and each person’s definition of “perfect” will be different. Out of all the anime I’ve seen over the years, Violet Evergarden is about as close to perfect as it comes. Miru Tights is in that category too. If this were a list of my Top 10 Anime of all Time, which it isn’t of course, I think I’d be safe saying Violet Evergarden would be that number 1 pick because for me and how I look at anime, this one just checks all the right boxes and then some. Hopefully when KyoAni recovers and gets back on their feet, they can continue with making the Violet Evergarden movie and once again I can cry my eyes out watching Violet on her journey to discover what it means to love.
Well there you have it, a list of 10 stand out anime over the last 10 years. I know this seems pretty out of place for getting posted in late May, but it took a while to go over everything and compile my thoughts about each anime into something half decent. Even so there are plenty of other anime I would love to mention on this list, but as it can only be 10 I’ll stick with these. I’m sure you’ve already done your top 10 list by now, but even so I’d love to hear your picks for 10 anime that stand out the most to you over the last 10 years, so let me know in the comments below.
That’s it for me and this post. I know I haven’t been the most active online recently but if you follow me on Twitter then you’ll know why I’m away until July. In the meantime I might try to get some more posts out across both my blogs, but we’ll see how that goes. Having all this time off has got me thinking about writing again which is something I didn’t think would happen.
As always thanks for reading and hope you enjoyed this post, I had a good time writing it and going over anime from recent years. Hope you guys are staying safe and healthy out there in this wild time we’re living in, we’re not out of the woods just yet so keep up that social distancing and mask wearing! I’ll be back to my regular online self in about a month and a bit, and I’m really look forward to chilling with you guys again soon!