And here we go! Starting with #20...
Iria: Zeiram the Animation
This gets a little bias for being the series that truly got me into anime, but it really is deserving of its spot. In only six episodes, this great adventure plays out that you can't help but enjoy as hunter-in-training Iria hunts down and fights the monster Zeiram while trying to figure out what happened to her brother. It's action-packed and it all comes on one DVD. Plus, I just love tough, self-reliant female characters like Iria.
Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica
Sometimes I base my appreciation for something on how much it sticks with me after I watch it, and Madoka has stuck with me just as well as most anything. A dark take on the magical girl genre, it's a fascinating story with fascinating characters that you'll come to be hooked on. The third movie is very polarizing amongst fans, but I personally loved what they did with it.
I love baseball, I love anime, and this is a great baseball-themed anime series! You get to follow Goro through six seasons and most of his life in his pursuit of becoming the best baseball player he can be, and it is a heck of a captivating story. Excellent main character and an interesting supporting cast.
And he-....wait, what? The series you write most of your fanfiction about only ranks this high? Absurd! I understand any such sentiment, but I'll explain myself on this one. I've loved the Ranma story since I first started watching it. It's a hell of a lot of fun. So much fun, in fact, that I wrote a bunch of fanfiction about it. As fun as it is, though, the plot itself has glaring flaws(namely the gross underutilization of a very interesting supporting cast) and the anime is filled with a whole lot of very lackluster filler episodes, especially in seasons four through seven. But those flaws are part of why I like writing Ranma fanfiction. It's hard to come up with anything interesting to write about for some of the higher-ranked items because they're so complete and well done. I'll give Ranma this, though: it took me to a level of fandom that no other series has or likely ever will.
Kimagure Orange Road
The ultimate love triangle. The story between Kyousuke, Madoka, and Hikaru is very down-to-earth and it doesn't take long for you to get attached to the characters. Comes complete with a long TV series, an OVA series, and a couple of very emotional movies to close things out. If you're looking for a down-to-earth and fun romance story, this is a fantastic option. You'll absolutely love it.
For anyone who was a fan of anime in the 90's, it was tough not to fall in love with Tenchi Muyo. In a way, it's the best harem-type series in existence. Though there's a lot of different takes on Tenchi, this entry is specifically for the OVA. Very good animation quality, excellent cast of characters, and a great story to go with it. Plus, I really like how the OVA goes so far in-depth with Ryoko's feelings toward Tenchi. The long-anticipated third OVA was a bit of a disappointment compared to the first two, but just the fact that there was a third OVA made shows how much demand there was for it.
In a time where most every anime series is just a rehashing of another's story, Death Note totally won me over with its originality. The intellectual battle of Light vs. L had me captivated from the very beginning, and while the manga handled the ending better, I liked the anime's version as well. On another note, I don't particularly care for music by Maximum the Hormone, but I absolutely loved the second opening and ending themes featuring their tracks.
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
The strong point of GITS:SAC is its animation quality, but its futuristic plot and sometimes impossible-to-follow philosophical dialogue make it a very addictive and exciting show. It's really interesting to see how they've portrayed cybercrime evolving as technology improves over the years, and even more interesting to see how Motoko and the others combat it.
It pains me to not have this any higher, but that's how it goes. For me personally, Cowboy Bebop has some of the highest re-watch value of any series. I especially love the Knockin' on Heaven's Door movie. A lot of the episodes don't have much of an overall impact on the plot, but they're still plenty of fun to watch. This also has one of the best and most well-known endings of any series out there, and rightfully so.
Hajime no Ippo
I'd never really been interested in boxing, but I decided to give this series a try anyway. In the end, it was so good that it actually made me a boxing fan. Starts off fresh with Ippo, who gets bullied at school, but then meets Takamura and joins a boxing gym. From there, it's one hell of a ride as Ippo grows as a boxer and faces challenge after challenge. And it's not just the boxing matches that make this great, but the hilarious antics of everyone at the gym as well. Even if you're not interested in boxing, this series is a real gem.
Hikaru no Go
Much like Hajime no Ippo did with boxing, Hikaru no Go took the game of go, which I'd never been interested in, and made it interesting enough to keep me hooked on this series right until the end. It's really fun to watch the story progress from Hikaru just playing for Sai to him actually playing himself, and then the whole rivalry with Touya that follows. You may not be interested in go, but this series makes it exciting.
This is just a downright amazing adventure tale. The story of Yoko is plenty exciting to start things off, and then the story transitions to some of the other kingdoms. Luckily, Yoko comes back into the picture as the stories of the other kingdoms all start to tie together near the end. This show could have gone on a lot longer, and I have a feeling it would have been just as good the rest of the way through.
Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
You'd better believe it. When I decided to watch this, I thought I was just getting a time-killer. Instead, I got one of the most fun and exciting action/adventure shows I've ever had the pleasure of watching. Kamina, Simon, Yoko, and Nina make for great protagonists, while Viral is one of my favorite recurring bad guys of all time. When you're watching and you hear "Nikopol" start playing in the background, you know something badass is about to happen. From start to finish, the action never stops. Gotta love it.
Turn A Gundam
If there was ever a show that started out slow and ended up turning into an epic story, this is it. I went through the first 15 or so episodes really slowly because I just never got overly excited about the story. Then, around episode 20 or so, I started to realize just how good it had gotten, and from there onward to the finish it was incredible. Great, great story with an equally great ending. Don't let the slow start fool you, this one is really something.
For something that seems so innocent and childish, Angelic Layer has some fantastic animation, a really addictive story, and some incredible battle scenes between the Angels. I don't know what it is about this show, but it has something special and I loved every bit of it, especially the final Angel battle between Misaki and you-know-who.
Hunter x Hunter (2011)
While the original Hunter x Hunter anime series was pretty good, the remake is just amazing with its crisp animation and the Chimera Ant Arc tacked on. The story of Gon seeking to become a pro Hunter and find his father is incredibly well done, and I love the Nen power scheme that comes into play later on. As far as shounen anime goes, it ranks right up there among the absolute best.
One Piece is at hundreds and hundreds of episodes and still going strong. It's just baffling to me that the creator of this story was able to create such a humongous amount of unique characters to serve as enemies and allies over the course of this story. Part of this show's allure is that it's broken up into long, detailed arcs that span about a year's worth of episodes each. And surprisingly, I really don't dislike anyone on the Strawhat crew. In fact, I can't think of one character in the story that I truly dislike. That's a testament to how well the plot and cast has been handled. The story continues to be interesting, and it also doesn't seem like it's going to end anytime soon, and that's a good thing for all of us.
I feel comfortable calling this the best romance story I've seen in anime thus far. The story spans about eight years worth of Yusaku's and Kyoko's lives if I remember correctly, and it's a heck of a journey following along. The other boarding house tenants can be amusing at times, annoying at others, and the misunderstandings that go on will oftentimes have you shaking your head. But in the end, it's a slice-of-life romance tale for the ages.
The Mobile Suit Gundam Saga
(Includes Mobile Suit Gundam 0079, Zeta, Double Zeta, and Char's Counterattack)
(Includes Mobile Suit Gundam 0079, Zeta, Double Zeta, and Char's Counterattack)
I group these four things together because they're all parts of the same extended story, and it's a true epic that starts and ends with Amuro and Char. You go from Amuro to Camille to Judau as main protagonists with a whole lot of supporting characters and great moments along the way, finally ending with the emotional finale in the Char's Counterattack movie. If you can get your hands on the various parts of this saga, you'll be in for a real treat.
You may have read my praise for Urusei Yatsura at various times, in which case this shouldn't be much of a surprise. So why is it #1? For starters, I consider it the best comedy series I've seen. It spans nearly 200 episodes, an OVA series, and six movies, and it never stops being funny. All of the characters are amusing, and things that happen are so random at times that you'll just die laughing. But within all of the hilarity, there's also the serious romantic elements between Ataru and Lum that are always fun to watch. I've watched the movies countless times, especially Movie 2: Beautiful Dreamer, which I consider my favorite movie of all time. Needless to say, the re-watch value of this series is through the roof. The animation quality is a little off during the first season, but improves a lot after that, so don't let it be a turnoff.
Urusei Yatsura is fantastic in pretty much every way. I don't know what else I can say about it. It's my favorite anime series ever, and there's a good chance it always will be.