Anime, or Japanese animation, usually refers to cartoons with big-eyed characters. Most anime (but not all) are based on manga or comics, some on videogames. Some people who are not familiar with anime assume that otaku's are mostly children. However, anime is not limited to cute girl heroines or robot super heroes. There are diverse anime shows available in the market. Anime attracts just as much, if not more, adult viewers.
Unlike in most countries, the Japanese government requires permit in shooting locations. This limits the film industries’ development in genres requiring several different filming locations. Some films that have stories set in Japan had been filmed in other countries. In response, the Japanese had created more films and TV shows in cartoons to resolve Japan’s strict filming rules and to cater to the taste of a wider audience. With anime, filmmakers can freely set the story in any location they want without going through the red tape.
In this page, I’ve listed some of my favourite anime series. I watch a variety of anime shows so some may look out of place in the list. Most of these shows are pretty old too. I know I have missed a lot of nice anime series, so if you have any suggestion, feel free to share about it in the comment section!
The following shows are not in any particular order. All of them have been adapted from manga.
Also: Case Closed
Manga Creator: Gosho Aoyama
Genre: detective, comedy
Episodes: 626, still ongoing
Shinichi Kudo is a famous 17-year-old detective. After witnessing an illegal deal by syndicates, he is forced to swallow a deadly pill by two men from the so-called Black Organization. Shinichi, though unharmed, has turned into a boy. He realizes that the men will kill him once they realize that he's still alive. So as not to endanger himself and his loved ones, he disguises himself as a child and calls himself Conan Edogawa. He ends up living with his childhood friend and love interest Ran Mouri with her father Kogoro Mouri who is, coincidentally, also a detective. He keeps his real identity hidden except to Professor Hiroshi Agasa, his scientist friend. Agasa invents some gadgets to aid Conan in his mission. Conan is determined to find the men who attacked him to bring back his original body.
Manga Creator: Hiromu Arakawa
Genre: adventure, fantasy, action, comedy
Edward and Alphonse Elric are sons of an alchemist who is always away from home. They are brought up by their mother. One day, the brothers get home and find their mother dead on the floor. Without their father around, the devastated brothers decide to revive their beloved mother with alchemy. They undergo intense training and have researched for months. After they have collected all the ingredients needed, they perform the forbidden Human Transmutation. However, something goes terribly wrong. Edward loses a leg and his younger brother Alphonse loses his body. To save Alphonse, Edward sacrifices his arm in exchange for his brother’s soul. Edward gets his brother back and ties his soul to an armour. Their childhood friend Winry Rockbell makes Edward two automails, or prosthetic metal limbs, to replace his lost limbs. After their recovery, the two brothers set out to search for the Philosopher’s Stone, which they believe will turn them back to their original state.
Hikaru no Go
Manga Creator: Yumi Hotta
Genre: fantasy, school, psychological
Hikaru finds an old Wei Qi in his grandfather's attic and encounter a ghost who has been residing inside the board game. Sai, the ghost, is a great Go player. Since no one else can see him, he haunts Hikaru and begs him to play Go in his place. Hikaru knows nothing about the board game, but because of his new friend's persistence, he relents. Sai tells him every move and wins every game. This causes shock to several good players. They wonder how this boy who can't even hold a Go piece properly can play like a professional. As they play more games, Hikaru learns to love the board game.
Manga Creator: Naoki Urasawa
Genre: psychological thriller, horror
Dr. Kenzo Tenma, an outstanding neurosurgeon, has a bright future ahead of him. His promotion will come any time soon. Also, he is engaged with Eva Heinemann, daughter of the director of the hospital he is working at. However, he grows frustrated over the hospital’s corruption. When he is about to operate on Johan Liebert, a boy with a gunshot wound in his head, the director calls him. He is told to leave the boy to operate on the mayor. A man with deep values and principles, Dr. Tenma makes up his mind to operate on the boy and to let another doctor handle the mayor. The boy survives, but the mayor does not. As a result, he loses his fiancé and a possible promotion. As Tenma's world turns upside down, mysterious things start to happen. The director is killed, and the boy, together with his twin sister Nina Liebert, disappears from the hospital. Dr. Tenma starts to wonder whether or not saving the boy is the right thing to do.
Naoki Urasawa's Monster Box Set 1
Amazon Price: $59.98
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High School of the Dead
Also: Academy Apocalypse
Manga Creator: Daisuke Sato
Genre: action, horror, bishojo
A group of high school students find themselves surrounded by teachers and classmates who have turned into zombies. The survivors form a group and make a plan on their escape before getting themselves trapped in school. With the telephone system not working, the group decides to set out to check on their families. Throughout their journey, their friendship grows, and they struggle to survive despite the countless encounters with the living dead.
Manga Creator: Tsugumi Ohba
Genre: psychological, horror
Light Yagami is a gifted high school student who is extremely bored with his life. Then, he finds a “Death Note” with instructions written on it. According to it, writing down a person’s name on the book will cause that person's death. After conducting a few experiments on criminals and meeting shinigami (death god) Ryuk who is the previous owner of the Death Note, Light realizes that the notebook is real. Being disgusted with crimes and corruption that has been going on, he decides to make use of the book and become a “god” by killing all the evil people. He calls himself Kira. The police realizes that a “mastermind” is behind all the mysterious deaths of the criminals, which put Light face to face with an eccentric yet intelligent detective L. The two meet, and L believes that Light is Kira, but he has to prove it before Light kills him.
Also: Hell Girl, Girl From Hell
Manga Creator: Hiroshi Watanabe
Ai Enma, or the “Hell Girl”, has the power to take people to hell. She appears in front of anyone who visits a mysterious website that can only appear at exactly 12 midnight. After a person enters the name of his enemy into the website, the Hell Girl will show up and hand out a voodoo doll with a red ribbon tied around it. By pulling the ribbon, the person can send his nemesis to hell in exchange for his own soul. Each time a person pulls a ribbon, Ai, together with her crew, will punish the enemy before dragging him to hell.
Chibi Maruko Chan
Also: Little Miss Maruko
Manga Creator: Sakura Momoko
Genre: slice of life, comedy
The story revolves around Momoko Sakura, a typical Japanese girl who resides in the suburban Shimizu in the 1970’s. The third-grader, nicknamed Maruko because of her round face, is living with her grandparents, her parents, and an older sister. She is lazy, disorganized, loves to read manga, and is a procrastinator. Her bestfriend is Tamae Honami, a studios girl with eyeglasses who is also Maruko’s seatmate.
Genre: slice of life, comedy
Episodes: 330, manga is still ongoing
The story is about the everyday life of the Tachibanas, a typical Japanese family of four. The family consists of the quiet and poker-faced Father, the frugal and clumsy Mother, the fun-loving and outgoing Mikan, and the intelligent and adult-like Yuzuhiko.
Also: Ghost Fighter, Ghost Files, Poltergeist Report
Manga Creator: Yoshihiro Togashi
Genre: fantasy, action
Yusuke Urameshi, a delinquent high school student, finds himself alive in the Underworld after getting fatally hit by a car for saving a boy. He is faced with Koenma, the prince of the Underworld. Because of his heroic act, Yusuke is given a chance to return to earth. In exchange, he will give his service to the other world by becoming an Underworld Detective. He acquires a power called Rei Gun, which works by pointing his finger to a target just like a gun. He forms a group with Kazuma Kuwabara, Kurama, and Hiei, with Genkai as his trainer.
Also: Samurai X
Manga Creator: Nobuhiro Watsuki
Genre: action, adventure
Setting: Meiji period in Japan
Kenshin Himura, a man with a striking x mark on his face, is haunted by his dark past. He is a former assassin known as Hitokiri Battosai. After the Bakumatsu war, he turns over a new leaf and becomes a wanderer. Armed with a reversed-edge sword, he fights the wicked people to protect the weak. He encounters Kamiya Kaoru during his travels and saves her from a man claiming to be the legendary Hitokiri Battosai. Upon realizing that Kenshin is the real Hitokiri Battosai and being filled with gratitude, Kaoru lets him stay in her dojo. Kenshin forms a bond with Kaoru and has made some friends.
Shingeki no Kyojin
Also: Attack on Titan
Manga Creator: Hajime Isayama
Genre: dark fantasy, post-apocalyptic, action
One hundred years ago, giant humanoids known as Titans started to exist and nearly killed the entire human race. The survivors built three giant concentric walls and have been living peacefully for 100 years. Eren, Mikasa, and Armin live in the outermost town Shinganshina, protected by very high walls known as Wall Maria. One day, a 60-meter Colossal Titan suddenly appears, peering over Wall Maria. It is much taller than any Titan known to humans. It breaches the wall, causing hundreds of Titans coming in and killing the townsfolk, including Eren's mother. Eren and his friends barely escape. Filled with rage, Eren is determined to wipe out all the Titans.
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