My Top 20 favorite anime

GUP tanks

Oh yeah, we are doing this! For my first year operating this blog I felt like doing a proper introduction to my taste in anime by writing a lengthy top 20(!) countdown list of my current favorites. Top X favorite shows are not uncommon, but I feel they are the quickest way to get a sense of what somebody is into. Before we start though, I want to do some quick rules, and before even that I want to seriously thank everybody that subscribed to this blog. I was blown away by the amount of likes and views I got this year, and enjoyed reading all the nice comments you left on my articles. I am going to be increasing output in 2018, so thank you again for all the support.

Now then, the rules:

  • I am referring to anime series as a whole, not separate seasons. The shows on this list include OVA episodes, movies, and all the seasons of the show.
  • Additionally, I am not including anime movies that have no show attached or short OVA series.
  • This is a subjective list and not a declaration of the objective best anime of all time. I’d love to hear some of your recommendations based on the shows I enjoy, but please don’t take the exclusion of any of your favorites as an insult. I love you, after all.
  • I have by far not seen every anime ever or even every anime I’d love to watch. There are a lot of shows I have on my Plan-To-Watch list which may one day take up a spot in this list, so we may revisit this topic sometime.

#20 Witchcraft Works

Perhaps not the most bombastic entry to kick off this list with, Witchcraft Works is a somewhat obscure anime that I nevertheless have a lot of passion for. A lot of this owes to the theme of witches, a personal favorite of mine, and writer Ryu Mizunagi fleshed it out tremendously, creating a magical fantasy world hidden in plain sight among our everyday society.

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I adore the setting and characters, yet I also have to admit the show makes the list because it just happens to nail some elements in anime I really appreciate. First and foremost, the costume design is fantastic and really suits the creative, wacky characters that populate Ryu’s world. I also really enjoy the romance between Kagari and Honoka, as for once it’s the girl taking the initiative and directing the pace of the relationship. Add in the complicated magic system, surreal visuals, and, most importantly, penguins, and you got a recipe for an anime that was almost tailor-made for me.

#19 Mysterious Girlfriend X

Another anime famous for the romance in which the female counterpart decides how it proceeds, Mysterious Girlfriend X is also notorious for its bizarre setup. Tsubaki is a young teenager slowly coming to the conclusion that he likes girls, which is helped along when a mysterious transfer student (Mikoto Urabe) appears. After finding her asleep well after class one day, Tsubaki wakes her up but discovers a small puddle of drool left on the desk. In a move that is admittedly kind of creepy, Tsubaki samples a bit and learns, the hard way, that Urabe’s drool has an addictive quality.

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He ends up sick, Urabe figures out what happened, and the two end up in a relationship out of necessity, but which ends up blooming, despite the many challenges the two are faced with. It’s a show I started watching for the weird and ended up unironically enjoying as a nice coming-of-age romance story for Tsubaki. The developing romance is honestly cute to watch unfold and gets interesting when Tsubaki begins getting surreal dreams about Urabe. This show also made my earlier list of excellent voice acting for Ayako Yoshitani’s captivating performance as Urabe.

Just take my word on it: there is much more to Mysterious Girlfriend X than a creepy dude drinking a girl’s drool. Though there is definitely more drool on display than you’d ever think to see in anime.

#18 Persona 4

I typically enjoy it if my games are relatively short, like maybe 10 hours or so if I am really into it. After all, if I am playing video games I can’t watch anime. Keep that in mind, because finishing all of Persona 4 took me a whole 124 hours, and I enjoyed every darn moment of it.

P4A

Shockingly, Persona 4 – The Animation is a stellar adaptation of the video game. Sure, it doesn’t have every bit of dialogue in it and having a mystery story told to you rather than actively uncovering it has a different feel, but it does faithfully adapt the main story of the game. In fact, the show actually surpasses expectations by managing to tactfully include optional content, like the highlights of various social links, and having the whole adventure animated is nicer than watching stilted PS2 models reacting to dialogue.

The video game already ranks among my favorites and while I don’t dare to ever replay it, the anime adaptation is so good I honestly don’t think I have to.

#17 Sound of the Sky

One of the first anime I reviewed for this blog and which still adorns the header image to this day. Sound of the Sky is a beautiful anime in every sense, featuring a warm art-style with excellently designed characters, a masterful soundtrack that often borrows familiar music pieces, and stellar directing from the mastermind behind Elfen Lied, a man who knows exactly how to use stunning visuals and heartfelt music to get people emotionally invested.

Sound of the Sky Aisha

Sound of the Sky is a war story about preserving peace, as the garrison of a scenic, peaceful town is forced into the forefront of the war by circumstances beyond their control. It’s a story about the power of music and appreciating beauty, about protecting what truly matters and the importance of peace. While it is often lighthearted, the anime knows when it has to be serious and comes to a thrilling conclusion that left me in awe.

Some people have a bias against A-1 Pictures, others immediately discard it because it looks like a “cute girls doing cute things” show, but you are honestly robbing yourself of an amazing experience if you skip it for either of those reasons.

#16 Soul Eater

While I often bring up that I am not really into shounen anime, I do have to say that several of my favorites fall under just that label. Contradictory? Perhaps, though in my defense many of these are outliers that do interesting things with the medium. Take Soul Eater, a shounen with a respectable episode count of 51, a unique art-style, animation so fluent it’s ridiculous, and a story that isn’t too absurd to follow. Sure, it has typical features of shounen anime, yet it’s also light on what makes those frustrating to watch for me.

Maka Albarn

In the mad world of Soul Eater, there exists meisters who are weapon masters and the weapons themselves, who are people that can shapeshift into various arms. An academy teaches these children to cooperate and maintains peace across the world, as each duo has to defeat 99 evil creatures, consume their souls, and then battle and eat the soul of a mighty witch to grant the weapon its final form. The characters are lively and eccentric, yet even the loud, obnoxious Black Star quickly grows on you as his character becomes more complex and sympathetic.

What makes Soul Eater unique in shounen land is its often dark subject matter, as the war between the academy and witches enters a new chapter. New horrors besiege the people under the academy’s protection, an ancient force that spreads madness across the world begins to break free, and the kids are forced to risk their lives to prevent the plots of various witches from reaching fruition. The show is definitely a shounen anime, its sense of comedy, its presentation, and the characters reveal as much, yet with just 51 episodes and a gripping story, it manages to be interesting to a wider audience.

#15 I Can’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying

Just like how I prefer short games, I am also known to really enjoy anime shorts. In fact, one of the first anime I reviewed here was Please Tell Me! Galko-Chan, whose episodes were like 7 minutes each. I don’t like conformity and if your story has to be stretched to fit in a standard 22 minute time slot, then you are just watering down art to fit archaic demands.

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Our #15 entry (no way I am repeating that whole title) is even shorter, with episodes taking up 3 minutes each. Telling the story of a romance between a passionate NEET and a beautiful, but troubled young woman, it’s an anime that certainly feels longer and more significant than its runtime implies. First and foremost, the female lead Koaru is not some walking anime trope swooning over the male lead (Hajime). Secondly, the male lead’s otaku behavior is neither glorified and pandered to, nor does the show disapprove of it. Both characters are portrayed as flawed individuals with wildly different interests, who nevertheless click together surprisingly well and are both making a sincere effort to live together and understand each other.

While you do need some knowledge of anime culture to appreciate the show, it really does feature an interesting take on a romance story. You’ll blast through its 26 episodes in an hour and a half, so if you can appreciate some nerdy humor then just go for it.

#14 Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid

From the same creator as the anime above comes a recent anime hit with a normal runtime, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid. Kobayashi is a female programmer at a big corporation, a reliable, independent person who lives on her own, but really, really likes her liquor. On one drunken escapade, Kobayashi winds up in a forest where a dragon, Tohru, has just appeared in from another dimension, after she was defeated in battle and fatally wounded. When Kobayashi somehow manages to drunkenly tend to her wounds, Tohru ends up agreeing to become a maid at her small apartment.

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There is no beating around the bush, Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid just kills me. It’s a fantastic comedy anime in every respect and it’s animated exquisitely thanks to Kyoto Animation and the director behind Hyouka. Kobayashi and Tohru make for two great lead characters and over time more side-characters and dragons join the cast, every one of them eccentric and very entertaining. The various adventures the cast embarks on as the dragons warm up to human life and Kobayashi attempts to keep them all in check are also great material, with seeing Kobayashi and Tohru growing closer as their biggest hook.

#13 My Hero Academia

Again, here I am claiming I don’t like shounen anime while simultaneously falling in love with Hero Academia, though in my defense, the entire anime community was fawning over this show since it came out. From the moment I watched the first episode and was introduced to Isuku Midoriya, I was smitten with his character. Never before has an anime character earned my sympathies this quickly, as Isuku is a massive hero fanboy, regrettably born as one of the shrinking amount of people in this world without a superpower.

Hero Academia broken

Despite this handicap Isuku remained sincere and worked tirelessly in an attempt to one day attend the most prestigious training program for heroes in the world. When he manages to impress the #1 hero All Might, it’s revealed that his superpower can be transferred between people, and Isuku becomes All Might’s heir to the power One For All. At least, he will be after enduring rigorous training and slowly acclimating his body to the massive amount of power he has to inherit. Animated by Bones, who you’ll quickly notice have a monopoly on shounen anime in my top 20, this is a fantastic-looking show filled with amazing character designs and battle choreography so good few other shows could hope to compare.

On top of looking great and having a lovable cast of main characters, Hero Academia also develops interesting stories looking to explore the dark side of what happens when 80% of your population has super powers. With two seasons out as of yet, we have already seen phenomenal stories like the Hero Killer Arc, so going forward I am excited to see what else Kōhei Horikoshi has in store for us.

#12 Nichijou

When people told me “if you like Azumanga then you’ll also enjoy Nichijou” I was honestly not prepared. I expected another calm, lighthearted slice-of-life show, and instead I got an explosive comedy show that is loud and more than a little insane.

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Nichijou is almost like a celebration of anime as a medium and I say that because you can’t look at it without suspecting everybody working on it was having a hella good time during its production. From Kyoto Animation comes a comedy show with fluent and highly creative animation, almost every few seconds of which could be cut out to be used as hilarious gifs. Any second Nichijou could turn a calm, everyday moment into an explosion of over-the-top animation and color. In discussing this anime and showing it to people, I’ve often gotten reactions along the lines of “wait, is that the show where the old dude fights a deer”, as it’s many scenes have made the rounds on the internet and are so thoroughly memorable.

Between all the crazy shit, Nichijou does actually have some charming storytelling and endearing characters, with my favorite being Nano, a robot girl with a large key in her back who wishes to be normal. Again, another example of a show I started watching for the weird and which just stuck around because I became legitimately invested in it. Had to import the bloody DVD from Australia though…

#11 Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Magical Girl shows have always had a particular click with me and, as I mentioned earlier, I have a soft spot for series about witchcraft. While in Madoka witches are kind of reinterpreted, I nevertheless found myself hooked in by Gen Urobuchi’s dark take on the genre.

Madoka Magica Rebellion

While I find Gen’s stories are usually hit-or-miss, Madoka Magica is one of his finer works. The story follows Madoka, a young girl who one day discovers the existence of magical girls when she tries to save a mysterious creature that was attacked by the new transfer student, the always sour-looking Homura. She ends up being saved by a magical girl when she herself is attacked by monsters, and the creature, a bunny-like thing called Kyubey, offers her and her friend Sayaka magical powers too. In return for their service protecting the town from monsters, they get to make one wish. Of course, this being Urobuchi, things go out of control.

Turns out being a magical girl is kind of shit, as having to deal with disgusting horrors all the time is a job that is both mentally and physically taxing. When people begin to die and a plot begins to unravel, Madoka is caught right in the middle of it. Animation powerhouse Shaft were absolutely the best people to tackle this show, lending it a surreal and artistic vibe, from the weird architecture seen in almost every locale to the bizarre witches that Madoka and friends must fight. This is an amazing and often heart-rending show to watch, that even those usually deterred by magical girl shows may find exciting to sit through.

#10 Elfen Lied

Kicking off the top 10 we have Mamoru Kanbe’s Elfen Lied, which for years was the go-to anime everybody reached for while trying to prove anime was totally mature and sophisticated… yeah, not much of a high point for the medium. Even though we embarrassed ourselves a lot and I kept my DVD copy hidden from my parents back in the day, Elfen Lied is still a rad show with a guilty pleasure appeal to it.

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In Elfen Lied we follow Lucy, a girl with psychic powers that has made a violent escape from a research facility, only to wash ashore in Japan with a bad case of amnesia. This causes her to switch between two personalities, the bloody psychopath Lucy and the cute, cuddly Nyu, the latter of which is taken in by the 18-year-old Kohta after he and his niece find her on the beach. Scientists, mercenaries, and other psychics are soon send after Lucy, whose violent side begins to resurface more and more often as the story continues.

It has a lot of uncensored nudity, a lot of blood, and all the necessary violence to make that blood appear. People are cut in half, organs are ripped out, and whenever you think the show has done all it can, it manages to stun you with another twist or act of violence. It never grows stale through overexposure and manages to actually reel viewers in emotionally through the superb voice-acting of Kira Vincent-Davis or Sanae Kobayashi (depending on whether you prefer sub or dub) and the mind-blowing music score.

#9 Shirobako

As somebody who is interested in anime to the point I look into the careers of the people making it, Shirobako really felt like a special treat. An anime about making anime, which features characters obviously inspired by people in the industry and story arcs based on real events. It’s almost like a documentary!

Shirobako stress

Aoi is a production assistant at an anime studio. Its shows haven’t been the best lately and their current project, Exodus!, is similarly left struggling under the weight of a lazy, indecisive director and various other problems, which Aoi is obliged to fix as part of her job as an assistant. There are a ton of characters involved in this story and part of its appeal lies in watching everybody come together and do their part to make a big project like a regularly-airing anime actually work within the tight deadlines it has to deal with. All this while subtly explaining some of the ins and outs of making anime to the viewer, of course.

Its a show both exciting to watch for its tense story driven by office drama, its educational value for people who want to know what making anime is like, and for the various cameos it features. I can’t even describe the hype I felt when I realized the childhood anime Aoi alluded to was Fables of the Green Forest, for example. It’s not a show I’d recommend as anybody’s first, but if you have seen a lot of anime, then this is just pure joy to watch.

#8 Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood

This is the single-longest anime I ever watched, not counting stuff from my childhood that was on Dutch TV, and if it’s up to me it will stay that way. I feel that a lot of long-form anime is just milking its popularity for money, dragging out a story for as long as it can retain an audience. It’s cynical and I tend to avoid long shounen anime for just that reason, which is why shows with peculiar episode counts like Soul Eater‘s 51 or, indeed, Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood‘s 64, stand out so much.

FMAB church

The story is about Edward and Alphonse, two brothers who followed in their father’s footsteps and became alchemists. However, in their youth they committed a taboo and attempted to resurrect their deceased mother. This cost Edward some of his limbs and left Alphonse without a body, his very soul bound to an imposing, medieval set of plate armor. The two are on a quest to find the mystical philosopher’s stone, which could potentially help Alphonse regain his body.

While researching the two begin to uncover a plot within their empire, involving inhumane experiments, military conspiracies, and a brutal massacre that happened years earlier. Like with Soul Eater from the same animation house, FMAB feels distinctly unlike any of other shounen that would otherwise be its rival. Its plot is large, expansive, and dark, but which really begins to click together over the course of 64 episodes. Events from the very start may suddenly make sense in the grand scheme of things way later and characters you discarded as extras resurface constantly as well. It’s a masterfully written plot that definitely centers around the two young brothers, while also featuring a lot of adults.

Like with Soul Eater it doesn’t wholly discard its shounen status, it still has comedy elements very familiar and appealing to a teenage audience, and a lot of focus is put on the growth of Edward and Alphonse. It’s just that its plot has a wider appeal than just teenagers thanks to its interesting themes and plot twists that hit like a wrecking ball.

#7 The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

Haruhi Suzumiya is a Goddess, and I mean that in the literal sense. Unbeknownst to herself, Haruhi has the power to warp reality, which the jaded highschool student Kyon discovers the hard way when she wishes she could meet with aliens, time-travelers, and espers. When she later decides to form a club all about spreading excitement across the world (though primarily just in school), he soon discovers the three other members are exactly what Haruhi wished for.

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The show takes on the form of a slice-of-life comedy anime mostly centered around school, in which the members of the club are trying to keep Haruhi in check and prevent her from wishing for something dangerous to happen. Adventures include filming an amateur movie, solving a mysterious disappearance, as well as more natural stuff like spending the summer vacation well. Though even that is hard to do normally when Haruhi is involved…

Besides me adoring the characters involved and the hilarious writing, what makes Haruhi so interesting is its gimmicky nature. The show really is unlike other series and pulls stunts that are absolutely amazing in retrospect, if not always as fun to watch through the first time. At the best moments it may suddenly dedicate part of an episode to an animated Aya Hirano concert, but on the flipside it also had a time loop story that literally had people watch small alterations of the same episode 8 weeks in a row.

The show is mad, both in its plot and dedication to animating some of the novel’s bizarre story-lines as faithfully as possible. Like I said, I couldn’t always appreciate the directing the first time I watched the show, but when I watched the attached movie, The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya, it made me reflect on just how damn much I love this crazy franchise.

#6 Chobits

While in the anime field I tend to be critical of their shows, I make no secret of it that I absolutely adore CLAMP manga. Cardcaptor Sakura is by far my all-time favorite manga series and following shortly is Chobits, which is actually remarkable for its stellar anime adaptation.

Chobits Chi and Hideki

Hideki is a country boy who moves to the big city to study, where he quickly learns that everybody uses persocoms, high-tech personal computers in a human-looking shell. Too broke to afford one himself, he is surprised when he one day trips over a discarded model of an attractive, young female and brings her home. Upon activation the persocom turns out to be absolutely adorable, but also completely broken. Lacking any kind of software or functionality, Hideki is forced to now teach the persocom, Chi, everything from scratch.

While it’s on the surface a comedy show, Chobits quickly shows its romantic side. With the persocoms looking so human, many have found themselves falling for them, and Hideki himself begins to wonder if he has feelings for Chi and if that should even be a problem or not. In fact, he isn’t even sure whether or not to see her, and by extension other persocoms, as individuals. Through his struggles with teaching Chi and a mystery that develops around her origin, an answer to these questions slowly begins to form, and Hideki makes many friends who all have personal stories relating to persocoms and love.

The show is funny and Chi is adorable, yet I also found myself absolutely absorbed in the mystery around where she came from and Hideki’s struggle to figure out his feelings for her.

#5 Re:Zero

I avoided watching Re:Zero for a long time, because it was recommended to me by the same cousin who has been nagging me to watch One PieceNaruto, and Bleach for the better part of our lives. Turns out even he can sometimes hit the mark, because I found Re:Zero a gripping show that presented me with a great fantasy world I wanted to learn more about and characters I deeply cared for.

Subaru is weak and small

Natsuki Subaru is an otaku that one day suddenly appears in a rich fantasy world. There he quickly meets and befriends a stunning girl, but in doing so he is dragged into a big, political race for the throne of the kingdom. An electoral contest in which assassinations, backstabbing, and plots are just as vital as speeches and policies. After ending up dead hours after his  arrival, Natsuki soon learns he is probably at the very bottom of the foodchain in terms of power, but has the remarkable ability to rewind back to an earlier point in the story after (painfully) dying.

With this one trick up his sleeve, Subaru sets out to befriend the girl once again, figure out who or what killed him, and set in motion events to prevent that. Except the day is not so easily won and Subaru will have to overcome many more challenges, win the trust of wary potential allies, and overcome many more attempts on his life and that of his friends. It’s a show remarkable for a lot of different reasons. Its characters are intriguing and interconnected, its mysteries a joy to follow, the animation and directing are fantastic, and watching Subaru die is absolutely horrifying, though also a little cathartic considering what a dorky asshole he often is.

If you aren’t yet tired of stories about a nerd lost in a fantasy/video game world, then be sure to check out Re:Zero. I breezed through its 25 episodes in record time and though its ending doesn’t conclude the whole story, it’s a darn satisfying point to end the anime on. It would be rad if this got a second season, though as it stands I wouldn’t be too too sad if it didn’t.

#4 Girls und Panzer

Even as a kid I always had a fascination with the military, which in my adult life has taken the shape of a possibly insane fascination with tanks. I adore armored vehicles and feel an almost childlike glee whenever I see them roll around in movies or, indeed, anime. In short, Girls und Panzer is possibly one of the best things to ever happen to me.

GUP BOOM

Set in a world where tank battles are completely safe and considered a sport for girls, this anime sees a school start up it’s own tank squad to participate in the big, upcoming tournament. except with no experience and poorly-maintained tanks, the team is forced to rely on unconventional strategies and the skills of it spirited crew to make it work. While the show hardly adapts the realism of tank combat, it makes up for that by being darn hilarious and exciting to watch.

I love tanks.

#3 Azumanga Daioh

Trying to explain what makes Azumanga Daioh click for me is extremely difficult, because the existence of the show and my enjoyment of it are matters I have taken for granted for many years now. I remember watching the show for the first time years back and laughing within the first minute, before I had even learned any character’s name, and after completing it I began collecting the manga and reading all of that.

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For a while I absolutely refused to watch any other slice-of-life works about cute girls because I was wholly convinced Azumanga Daioh was the end all, be all of that genre. Even nowadays I regularly pop in my old DVDs to rewatch a few episodes or read through the manga a bit, because it makes me laugh and it’s really nostalgic. There is no doubt that Azumanga was responsible for popularizing a formula for highschool-based SOL series, and as a result of that it’s honestly kind of vanilla, lacking a gimmicky twist to make it feel more special. Instead it’s a show all about the five main girls (later 6) that have fun encounters and grow up, as we get to see them for the duration of 3 full years of school.

A casual observer may not see much special in Azumanga Daioh, but screw the casual observer. This is special to me.

#2 Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha

Talk about a franchise that started off mundane and slowly shifted towards becoming something amazing. When Lyrical Nanoha first began airing it was, by all accounts, entirely unsurprising. The show had a cute girl with a talking animal companion hunt for the pieces of a magical relic while locked in a rivalry with another magical girl who is after them for malicious intentions. A snowball effect started as the show began getting weird twists, which leads us to the massive avalanche that is the Lyrical Nanoha multimedia franchise today.

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With 5 anime seasons, 3 movies, and a host of side-stories in various formats, this is a franchise that is truly massive, yet also really underappreciated outside of its niche. The show is about Nanoha, a magical girl (in this world simply referred to as a mage) who is aligned with the Time-Space Administrative Bureau, TSAB for short. Each of her adventures sees the cast dealing with villains that threaten to do serious harm on an interstellar scale, meaning armies of killer robots and cosmic horrors are among the villains.

Each season has unique appeals, from the simplicity of format presented in the first to the all-out war between various factions presented in season 3 or the more laidback tournament story of season 4. An appeal that stays consistent throughout is seeing characters grow up, as so far the story covers a whole 16 years, during which characters have grown up, died, started families, and everything in-between. Seeing characters like Nanoha who started her adventures at age 9 back in the latest season as a mother with a fulltime military job is really cool.

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While each season is radically different, my favorite remains either season 2 or its movie adaptation, which are largely interchangeable if you don’t mind some story changes. It still has the original cast of season 1 as young mages dealing with a new threat in the form of a band of mysterious warriors who are robbing people off their magic. While I don’t want to spoil too much, the villains in this story would rank highly if I were to ever compile a list of the best anime bad guys.

#1 Higurashi: When They Cry

I remember that back in the old days we’d often complain about anime adaptations of novels, games, etc. that would only adapt a bit of the source material. It could be they just stop way earlier than the original story did or they only follow one route of a multi-branching visual novel, whatever the case, it used to be super annoying. The other extreme is Studio Deen’s handling of the Higurashi series, as they took this visual novel series and proceeded to masterfully adapt every little bit of it.

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Aside from some small details and scenes that don’t matter too much, everything from the novels is here and presented as one of the medium’s finest horror stories out there. Keiichi Maebara has recently moved from the big city to the small, mountain town of Hinamizawa. There he joined a club of girls who play various games after school, but while life is enjoyable for Keiichi, he soon begins to uncover that the town has a dark history to it. An old dam project that caused an uproar in town and ended with the foreman being murdered and cut into pieces starts the mystery, and Keiichi soon finds out that each year, around the time of the local festival, one person dies and another disappears forever.

Is it the work of angry spirits? A hidden cult of demon worshipers living in the town? Or could it be the family of his dear friend Mion, a rich business family with mafia ties? Could it be related to the cute Rena and her spotty, violent past? As Keiichi investigates it seems like the town turns against him and he soon becomes uncertain of who can be trusted. As the box of the recent Sentai Filmworks release puts it: “It’s not paranoia, if they really are trying to kill you.”

The show is lengthy and filled with mystery and suspense. Once again we have a time-loop story wherein Keiichi and his friends frequently fail and are set back to the start of the story with no memories of their previous attempts to uncover and stop the source of the mysterious murders. Each story is really unique though, with each attempt tweaking events around and often following the story from the perspective of a different character.

Satoku

When I began watching the series way back I figured I’d have a great time watching the characters of a comedy show slowly going psycho and murdering each other. While that appeal is certainly here, the deaths in this show are often unnerving and kind of sickening, sometimes even pushing the boundaries of good taste. When the characters began endearing themselves to me over time and the story properly grabbed me, I was on the edge of my seat for every story arc, wondering if it would bring the characters closer to an answer and if death could somehow be avoided. When the single-last story arc concluded I had to put the show down for a while because it left me absolutely devastated, which no other show has come close to doing.

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