The Many List! Top 10 Best Manime Series
It is really hard for me to pinpoint the exact time in my life when I became a fan of anime and manga. I was about 10 or 11 when I would watch Toonami on Cartoon Network that would have quite a bit of anime series on it. I was enthralled by the series that I would watch. The action, the adventure, the adrenaline rush. I was addicted. It wasn’t until Junior High when I realized that there was more to anime and manga than I had initially thought. There are many different genres and subgenres that you would be hard pressed to not find one that suited your interest and tastes. As I got older the more popular series started to become the more “moe” or cutesy anime that fit into the slice-of-life category. I hated them. A lot of my friends who enjoyed anime and manga with me fit into that category and I could never get why. I started realizing that all the series I enjoyed fit into a category that I didn’t really have a name for. Shounen is the technical term for those kind as shounen series are ones that appeal to boys. They have all the action and adventure that I craved. It wasn’t until I found a page on Facebook that I followed that I found a new name for this kind of series: Manime.
This is a list of my favorite Manime series that are sure to get your adrenaline going and want to go out and fight the biggest foe you can find!
One-Punch Man originally started as a webcomic made by an author/artist who goes by the name of “One.” The original webcomic is crudely drawn but had a cult following. Later, Yusuke Murata re-drew the series and Viz Media officially published it in 2012. The series follows Saitama, a bald hero for fun, who has become so powerful that he kills every foe he faces with one punch. The series not only is a great one for beautifully animated action scenes, but the humour that is prevalent is always spot on and makes it very memorable. If you want a lighthearted but powerful series One-Punch Man is for you.
Growing up I had always been fascinated by pirates. When I had heard about One Piece I jumped at the chance to start it. I saw that it was on, what was at the time, 4Kids TV and started watching it. I hated it. Years later I decided to give the manga a try due to the high praise it keeps on getting and the massive popularity in Japan. As soon as I started seriously reading it I fell in love with it quickly. This, like Shaman King, is another series that I recommend the manga over the anime. From what I understand the anime was poorly translated and made for quite sometime until recently. Monkey D. Luffy is the main character of the series and he is striving to find the greatest treasure in the world called “One Piece” and to become the King of Pirates. Along the way he meets his crew that join to help him achieve his dream. The series is known for the humour as well as the action and I have found myself on multiple occasions laughing out loud at the many antics of the Strawhat Pirates. I honestly can’t recommend this series enough if you like pirates, laughing, and great character.
Fist of the North Star
In many circles, when the best manime series are brought up, many will say that Fist of the North Star is towards the top of their list. The series is a very brutal and violent one that follows Kenshiro, the successor of a secret assassination martial art called Hokuto Shinken which uses pressure points to kill the victim. It’s set in a post-apocalyptic world that is very reminiscent of ones that you can see in the Mad Max series. It has pretty linear story of Kenshiro facing off against foes that are stronger each time and some of them are even linked to Ken and the Hokuto Shinken. If you love Mad Max, awesome fights, and over the top violence Fist of the North Star is perfect for you.
When I was younger, I was not really that aware of what “anime” really was. I had seen a few shows that are categorized as such but was not aware of the fact. One such show was Outlaw Star which I saw on the Toonami block. From the first episode I watched, I was instantly hooked and religiously watched every episode every day. Gene Starwind is a jack-of-all-trades businessman with his 11-year old partner James “Jim” Hawking. They get caught up in a galaxy spanning adventure when they meet “Hot Ice” Hilda, an outlaw who steals an experimental starship that they name the “Outlaw Star.” The series has great visuals and some great action. The space battles are intense and even add the “grapple” battle where the ships sprout robotic arms and go hand to hand with other ships. It’s great one for those who love space settings and great story telling.
In the minds of many an anime fan there is a “Holy Trinity” of anime that comes up in conversation. Outlaw Star is considered one and the next is a fan favorite that actually made anime popular in the West and that series is Cowboy Bepop. It is widely considered one of the best anime series due to the fact that it almost fits into a genre all to it’s own. The characters are great, the story is engaging, and it often deals with some heavy themes that make you think and wonder. The story follows Spike Spiegel, a bounty hunter just trying to find work after Earth has been made uninhabitable. His partner is a man names Jet Black who once was a ISSP, or a space cop essentially. They meet a bounty hunter with amnesia, a young genius and a corgi as the series goes on. The glimpses into the pasts of the characters in specific episodes is what made me love it and I always looked forward to finding out more about them as I watched.
Some of my favorite things about the Japanese culture and history is the stories of samurai and anything surrounding them. When I heard about Samurai Champloo was very eager to get started and was immediately met with something completely different than what I expected. The series is a samurai series to be sure, but with hip hop vibes and a less than traditional story. The story follows the samurai Mugen and Jin who get caught up with a young girl named Fuu, who is looking for a samurai who smells of sunflowers. The series has some the best action scenes I’ve seen and the humor is spot on and doesn’t get in the way. The soundtrack is one of my favorites on this list. As I said, it has a lot of hip hop elements and somehow fits into the show perfectly. While it may not be a traditional approach to samurai stories, Samurai Champloo is a must see and will not disappoint.
The last member of the “Holy Trinity” is the sci-fi Western series, Trigun. Trigun was one of the first anime series I watched alongside Outlaw Star and it has been one that is very close to my heart ever since. Vash the Stampede is a wanted man worth $$6,000,000,000 (that’s double dollars if you didn’t know) because he destroyed the city of July. The problem with this, is the fact that Vash is a pacifist and kind of a moron. As storytelling goes, Trigun is one of my favorites. While the series goes on, you find out more about Vash and how he became who he is. It’s a rather tragic story but I’ll let you find that out. The action is prevalent and wonderful especially the last battle. Another plus for the series is the character Nicholas D. Wolfwood, a priest who is really bad at his job.
Of all the series on this list, Berserk is the most brutal and needs to have a disclaimer “For Mature Audiences Only” attached to it. This is another one that I recommend the manga over the anime. One reason is that the original anime is unfinished and only tells part of the story. The other reason is that the manga is more brutal and violent, which is what makes this series great. Berserk is a dark fantasy that follows Guts, the Black Swordsman, who is travelling the world slaying horrific demons in search of his old friend-turned-nemesis, Griffith. I am huge fantasy fan so I took to the series very quickly and it satisfied all my fantasy cravings. The series is also so popular that the creator of the Dark Souls and Bloodbourne games took a lot of influence from it. The only problem with the series is that it is not complete yet. The manga went on a very long hiatus and is now getting back on track albeit very slowly. There are still 343 chapters available so don’t let that stop you from getting into it. In July 2016 a new anime adaptation will be airing and it sounds like it will be starting in a story arc that will be perfect for newcomers.
Kongou Bancho is the only series on this list that has no anime adaptation so you must read the manga and I HIGHLY recommend doing so. A bancho is typically a Japanese delinquent who are usually depicted wearing long, dark coats and are very strong. The series follows Akira Kongou, a bancho who is trying to stop what is known as the 23 Districts Project. The project is formed around the idea that Japan needs a rebirth so the strongest bancho in the 23 districts of Japan must fight to win. The winner becomes the new leader of Japan and can form the country to his/her ideals. Akira is one of my favorite manime characters in most of these series. The action is very fluid but what makes this series shine in my mind, is the cast of enemies that Akira faces. They are all over the place and get more ridiculous which each one. I cannot recommend this series enough.
Well we have hit that point. The revealing of my number 1 “Manime” series…
When it came to writing this list I had really centered all of them around Gurren Lagann because I knew that this was my number one. Gurren Lagann follows the growth of Simon, a young digger in a village hidden underground. The surface is ruled by the Beastmen who pilot giant mechs called “Gunmen.” Simon, with the help of his “bro,” Kamina, rise to the top and challenge everything that stands in there way. I have learned more about overcoming obstacles, finding who you are, and being a great person from Gurren Lagann than I have in any religion. One of the many pros to the series is the combat and fighting. It’s over the top, ridiculous, and breathtaking. It will leave you feeling very satisfied. The best thing in my mind is the growth that Simon takes throughout the series. He starts off being very timid and weak but by the end, he becomes a shining paragon of how a manime character should be. Kamina is another pro to the series. He is what Simon tries to emulate due to the fact that Kamina is the original paragon. I really recommend watching this one even if you don’t watch/read anything else on this list. You won’t be disappointed.
Here are some Honorable Mentions that didn’t make the list but are still great series worth checking out:
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures (Manga)
Ushio to Tora
Shaman King (Manga)