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Top 45 Anime Recommendations from the Last Decade (Part 2)

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My top 45 anime recommendations from the last decade continues with Part 2. There’s a bit of a theme with this batch – comedies and good characters. I also improved the layout so it’s easier to look up certain genres. These are my picks, in no particular order:


Date: 3-4-2010
Subject: Anime
Article By: Bradley Beeck


Nodame Cantabile
Genre(s): Comedy, Romance, Drama
Description: Chiaki is a top notch pianist but his dream is to be like his idol and become a conductor. He’s also arrogant which sees him sent the catch up class at the music academy he attends. There he meets Noda Megumi or Nodame as she likes to be called, an eccentric pianist who immediately declares herself Chiaki’s girlfriend.
Appraisal: The last season of Nodame recently ended bringing a close to this wonderful, musically infused romantic comedy. The central characters are odd balls but still very likeable and it’s pretty funny, check it out.

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Karas
Genre(s): Action, Supernatural
Description: Karas is the protector of the balance between the world of humans and the world of demons. However humans have lost their fear of demons. Disgusted by them, the previous Karas turned his back on his duty and turned against the humans. Now it’s up to the new Karas to stop him.
Appraisal: This ova series has some of the best CG I’ve ever seen in an anime. The opening fight scene will blow you away with its sheer awesomeness, but you’ll have no idea what’s going on plot wise. In fact you’ll have no idea what’s going on for most of the first episode. After that it comes together for a pretty decent story.


Someday’s Dreamers
Genre(s): Slice of Life, Drama, Romance
Description: Yume Kikuchi is an apprentice mage who travels to Tokyo to study under a professional mage – Masami Oyamada. Magic is tightly controlled and no mage can use its special power without an official request. This is Yume’s first mistake on her journey to help those around her through her power.
Appraisal: In the same mold as Natsume Yuujinchou, Someday’s Dreamers is a gentle and quietly emotional story about mages. It’s character driven and nothing much happens but that’s its charm. As long as you enjoy that kind of thing you’ll be left wanting more. Read my full review here.

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The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
Genre(s): Drama, Science Fiction, Comedy
Description: Kyon, a cynical highschool student, finds himself dragged into the strange world of Haruhi Suzumiya. She has no interest in ordinary things and is obsessed with finding aliens, time travelers and espers. To that end she starts a club, the S.O.S brigade, which she drags Kyon into it. To Kyon’s surprise, and Haruhi’s ignorance, the club’s other members are an alien, a time traveler and an esper.
Appraisal: Haruhi Suzumiya is the Otaku’s favourite series thanks to its character designs. Although it defies description having comedy/parody, slice of life, drama, and science fiction elements. It was originally aired out of chronological order which made the over all plot neigh impenetrable. If you want to know what was popular in anime for the last half of the decade watch this series.


Macross Frontier
Genre(s): Mecha, Drama, Science Fiction, Romance
Description: Humanity has spread to the stars in an effort to colonize the galaxy following a war with the aliens known as the Zentradi. The story revolves around Alto Saotome - a former kabuki actor and now a pilot in training, Ranka Lee - a wanna be idol, and Sheryl Nome - a famous idol from the Galaxy Fleet. Everyone’s lives are thrown into turmoil when the Vajra, semi intelligent insectoid creatures, attack the Fleet.
Appraisal: Macross Frontier has a bit of everything: action, story, character development, catchy music, and even romance. Ranka may be a plot device instead of an actual character but the rest of the characters more than make up for that. It’s set in the established Macross universe but I didn’t have a lot of trouble following it. The almost seamless blend between normal animation and CG is the way of the future. One of the best series from 2008.

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Nana
Genre(s): Comedy, Drama
Description: The story of this series is the story of the lives of two characters called Nana: Nana Komatsu (who often goes by the nickname Hachi) and Nana Osaki. The show is about the trials of their loves, relationships and life.
Appraisal: Nana is funny and dramatically mature (all the characters are adults), and at its heart it’s a story about the friendship between the two Nanas. It’s also anime’s version of a soap opera as there are plenty of twists and turns messing things up. The show’s music is another great feature of this title.


Full Metal Panic
Genre(s): Mecha, Drama, Comedy
Description: Sousake Sagara has grown up fighting war after war. Now a member of Mithril, an organization determined to prevent conflict, he finds himself protecting Koname Chidori. A highschool girl who just might hold the secrets of Black Technology.
Appraisal: Combining comedy and drama is never easy but Full Metal Panic does it well. It’s also takes a more realistic approach to mecha design and has a contemporary storyline (terrorists and familiar dodgy countries) involving advanced technology. Read my full review here.

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Chrome Shelled Regios
Genre(s): Fantasy, Action, Drama
Description: Humans have been forced to live in mobile cities called Regios after the emergence of filth monsters. Layfon Alseif transfers to Zuellni, an Academy city. Despite his efforts to begin a new life he is pulled into the 17th Platoon, a military unit led by Nina Antalk.
Appraisal: One part action and one part character drama, Chrome Shelled is one of the best shows from 2009. Its characters have real depth – history, feelings, and opinions. Layfon is not your typical lead character in that he’s not trying to get stronger. He’s already strong, and he’s trying to leave his old life of fighting behind after he committed a crime. The ending was a total rush job and made little sense but it still stands as a great show. Someone license the Missing Mail manga please.


Natsume Yuujinchou
Genre(s): Slice of Life, Drama, Comedy, Supernatural
Description: Natsume Takashi is a high schooler with the ability to see spirits. No one knows his secret and he prefers to keep to himself. He discovers that his grandmother, Reiko, had the same ability. In the past she went around defeating and taking down the names of spirits to form a Book of Friends. So Natsume decides to return these names with the aid of a spirit called Nyanko.
Appraisal: Natsume Yuujinchou has the feel of an autumn day; relaxed and melancholic. The relationship between Nyanko and Natsume is the core of the series and it’s both funny and endearing. It’s also the reason why the show works so exceptionally well.

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Sora no Manimani
Genre(s): Comedy, Romance, Drama
Description: The central characters are members of the highschool astronomy club. Saku, a bookworm, and Mihoshi, obsessed with stargazing, are childhood friends but Saku moved away for seven years. Now he’s moved back to town and has bad memories of Mihoshi dragging him all over the place so he tries to avoid her. That doesn’t work for long and Mihoshi soon drags him into joining the astronomy club.
Appraisal: As featured in my 09 Summer Wrap Up, it’s one of the best romantic comedies I’ve ever seen. It manages to go beyond the usual clichés and does both comedy and drama excellently. The character are also genuinely good, even the side kick character. I want a second season.


Black Lagoon
Genre(s): Action
Description: Okajima Rokuro is a Japanese businessman sent to China to deliver information. On the way there he is kidnapped by mercenaries, the Black Lagoon. Through a series of events he ends up joining them and is nicknamed Rock.
Appraisal: Black Lagoon is a mature/violent action series that kicks ass. It’s the opposite of a dime-a-dozen school harem series thanks to characters like Revy, Black Lagoon’s female gunslinger. Although some of the stories do go too far. Titles like this are not that common so enjoy a rare treat.

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Scrapped Princess
Genre(s): Fantasy, Science Fiction, Adventure
Description: Pacifica Casull is the poison that will destroy the world when she turns 16. The whole world is against her, except for her two adopted siblings Shannon and Raquel.
Appraisal: An excellent blend of fantasy adventure and science fiction ideas, Scrapped Princess is the kind of series that would have got me into anime. Shannon and Raquel are the stars of the series, not Pacifica. Read my review here.

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Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion
Genre(s): Drama, Mecha
Description: Japan is ruled by Britannia through the power of Knightmare Frames and its people are subjugated. Lelouch, a Britannian studying in Japan, comes across a group of terrorists stealing a military secret. He ends up receiving the power of Geass from this military secret, and for his own reasons aids the terrorists. In the process Lelouch becomes Zero and so begins the revolution to free Japan.
Appraisal: Code Geass is not so much a mecha series as it is a soap opera, things get so twisted around and messed up it’s the only way to describe it. It’s also told from the point of view of the strategist and not the mecha pilot, which I like. All in all a unique show.


Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
Genre(s): Mecha, Drama, Romance
Description: Simon the Driller and Kamina live in an underground village which lives in fear of the monsters on the surface. However Kamina is not afraid and he strives towards the surface, pulling Simon along with him. One day they both discover a machine buried underground as a female visitor from the surface drops in unexpectedly. So begins the war against the Anti-Spirals.
Appraisal: Gurren Lagann is epic in every sense of the world. The mecha fights are as ridiculously over the top as some of the characters - Kamina is one of the best ‘manly’ characters in a long, long time. It also manages to tell a meaningful story although I personally didn’t care much after episode 8. At least watch that much and remember: “Just who the hell do you think I am?”

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Bamboo Blade
Genre(s): Comedy
Description: A highschool Kendo teacher desperately tries to build a girl’s Kendo team to win a bet. A few guys join but all he cares about is getting the five girls he needs to form a team. The focus of the story is on the students of the Kendo Club.
Appraisal: What makes Bamboo Blade so enjoyable to watch is the humour and the characters, who all have slight quirks. The character development is the icing on the cake. More please.


Stay tuned for Part 3 containing the cream of the crop.
Click here for Part 1.
Click here for Part 3.

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