Come January 1, 2020 – the decade will have ended and a new one would have begun. The 10’s were a great decade for anime, even though we got a lot of repetitive isekai, poor CGI, and same ol’ character designs that all look the same, it allowed for the good stuff to really stand out and remind us what good anime actually looks like. I have watched a lot of anime this decade and have decided to create my list of top 10 anime series of the past decade. However, when building the list, I thought “Crap, that’s too many anime,” so in the spirit of content, I am writing this article as an “Honourable Mentions” article, so I can give every series their limelight and maybe even turn you onto something new.
Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans
|Mecha, Action, Drama, Thriller
|Orga latte and Zaku ice cream
I am a huge Gundam fanboy (I have watched 13 iterations of Gundam, which isn’t a lot for some intense Gundam fans), and this is without a doubt in my mind, the best Gundam series to have come out in the past decade. Thunderbolt is epic, Build Fighters is fun, and Origins is refreshing – but IBO is everything. From the development of the characters from episode 1 to the finale, to the distinct look of the mobile suits in this timeline, to the soundtrack – this series stands out on its own. I’ve been aware of Gundam since before I can remember and I can tell you, as a long time Gundam fan, Orga is without a doubt the best leader I have seen in any Gundam, and is forever “best boy”. Actually, when I went to the Gundam Cafe this summer, I order a latte with Orga on it, that’s how much I love Orga, haha. It doesn’t make the top 10 though because, the antagonist was not that memorable. In Gundam we’ve had villains like Char Aznable, Haman Karn, Mr. Bushido, Treize Khushreneda, and Ribbons Almark – the villains in IBO are kinda bland.
|Action, Comedy, Slice of Life, School, Drama
I have never cried harder watching anime, than I have watching Ansatsu Kyoushitsu. Character development is A1 and although this is probably the wackiest series on my list, because of the ending, this has to have the best emotional payoff. Maybe we can consider the wacky part of this series as the reason why it’s so unique and why Koro Sensei is such a good mascot. I really do feel like Koro Sensei probably inspired many Japanese youths to become teachers. I also, just happen to love stories of teachers inspiring their students, GTO and Rookies to name a few. It doesn’t make the top 10 because as a whole body of work, it’s not fantastic. There were definitely a few arcs in there that made me a little skeptical but overall, a fantastic series for character growth and fun casts.
Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day
|Drama, Thriller, Slice of Life
Ah yes, this series definitely makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. And it’s a show that actually gets better with every re-watch. You start noticing things that you hadn’t noticed in prior watches. Again, an amazing emotional payoff at the end. When watching this, I could tell that for the producers, this was a labor of love. With well written characters, fantastic pacing, and a sense of “what’s going to happen next?” Anohana is great. Honestly, out of all the series in my honourable mentions, this is the one that is hardest for me to leave out just because of how heart warming of a series it is. I’m actually looking at my top 10 right now and thinking about switching it in. Ah whatever, I’ll trust my first instinct. Watch Anohana!
|Action, Science Fiction, Thriller
OK you weabs, get at me. This isn’t in my top 10 because it just lacks the heart and emotion that I like from other series. It’s still really good and definitely a great piece of work that will stand the test of time. Maybe the best science fiction to have come out in the past decade, and it definitely had some huge shocking revelations but regardless, it’s not like the characters were that great anyways, beside Okabe and Mayuri. If Kurisu is your best girl, c’mon man figure it out. This series wins out because of the amazing plot dealing with time travel and conspiracy. Steins;Gate is definitely worth checking out! But be warned, the first few episodes may seem boring but are leading up to the first big event that triggers the rest of the series so stay patient!
Boku No Hero Academia
|Action, Comedy, Shounen, School
Again, come at me you weabs and anime viewers under the age of 16. I love BnHA and I think that it’s the best written shounen action series since like forever. It does the tropes well but creates new trends too, but as a manga reader, the manga gets it done better (although the anime adaptation is also stellar, and that’s why it made honourable mentions). Comparing it to the other big Shounen Jump series that I have in my top 10, as an anime – it doesn’t belong. But yes, BnHA really is a game changer in action shounen series. Deku’s ability to come up with new fighting strategies is fantastic and is a result of great writing that does not require constant power ups and cheat codes as seen in series like Dragon Ball, Naruto, or Bleach. BnHA is waaaay better than Black Clover which is actually just not good and what more could I say. BnHA, the manga anyways – is without a doubt the best Jump action title since Naruto. Yeah I said it!
|Action, Fantasy, Mystery, Slice of Life, Thriller
Honestly, I almost left this off my list. When I look at DRRR as a whole, the first season is without a doubt the best season and really the only one worth talking about and re-watching. But when I think about what I like in anime, which includes a sense of warmth, well written characters, and world building – DRRR does it really well. The plot points fall off after the first season but that first season is really good! Direction and pacing of this series are both terrific. I remember watching the first season and thinking, “Damn, why aren’t other anime following this kind of pace,” and being really drawn in by the art direction. I also think that the music is on point, from openings, endings, and just the music that plays while the narrator is speaking, it is really well made. And if we’re talking about a diverse array of interesting characters, there may not be a single series that has a better range of characters than DRRR has. It’s definitely worth watching for those who are looking to try a series that is really just a lot of fun.
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