Oh ho. So you’ve finally burned through Netflix’s meager offerings and the recommendations from that one friend whose favorite shows are Naruto and Death Note. Never fear, for I’ve trawled the anime waters for many moons in search of shows passed up by the casual viewer. This isn’t a list of my favorite shows: all of my favorite shows are here, but I’ve added pretty much anything that I feel has quality and merit. After all, the anime I love most won’t be the anime anyone else loves most, and I’m not here to try to force my taste on people. What I can attest to is that every show on this list is an impressive feat of some variety, and that someone out there is guaranteed to fall in love with it.
Rather than instituting some arbitrary ranking system for people to argue over, I’ve broken everything on this list into genre-vibes. I say genre-vibes because genre itself can be hard to define, and often completely useless as means of recommendations. Friends and Community are both popular, ground-breaking sitcoms, but I’ve never met a living human who loved both of them. Therefore, what I’ve attempted to do is separate shows by the kind of energy they have, using my personal brand of wordy, made-up labels. It may be helpful. It may be confusing. But either way it’s original, and deep down I’m mostly just desperate to be different than everyone else.
These anime aren’t in a hurry to get anywhere or keep you on the edge of your seat, but they’ll stick in your mind long after the credits have rolled.
A diverse selection of anime’s finest romps. Some of these are pure spectacle while others are meaty epics, but they’re all fast-moving and well-animated.
Yes, that is the fanciest way I could think of to say ‘high-school rom-com, with a few exceptions,’ but that doesn’t stop those rom-coms from being great, dammit!
Translation: don’t watch these until you’re also a weeb, or you’ll judge me. Now please move along.
Not useful for unwinding, probably. Very useful for when you’re emotionally a wafer and you just want to feel something.
Honestly, it’s great that anime has enough shows for this to be a category. These are sometimes referred to as the ‘hidden gems’ of anime, mostly because you have to think to watch them and us anime fans don’t like to do that.