This came up last month and it was an excuse to sit down and think about what anime I really liked in the last ten years.
What about you? Anything that stood out? Something that touched your life, or others shouldn’t miss?
For those not wanting to read thru the list:
Panty and Stocking (2010)
Usagi Drop (2011)
Puella Magi Madoka Magica (2011)
From the New World (2012)
Thermae Romae (2012)
Uchoten Kazoku (2013)
Aku No Hana (2013)
Gin no Saji (Silver Spoon) (2013)
Your Lie in April (2014)
Ping Pong the Animation (2014)
Space Dandy (2014)
Descending Stories -Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinjou (2016-2017)
The Red Turtle (2016)
Flying Witch (2016)
Land of the Lustrous (2017)
Made in Abyss (2017)
Lu Over the Wall (2017)
Laid Back Camp (2018)
Had fun trying to think of extremely short, dry descriptions, as you might read in a cable on demand window for example.
Proud of Flying Witch: “Extremely relaxed witchcraft in rural Japan.”
Mawaru Penguindrum. Not even a contest.
I can’t think of any anime that manages to pile as much thematic depth and ambition into one series as Penguindrum does and even when it fails it does it in the most incredible ways. I’ve watched it maybe four times now and every time I come away from it thinking it was way better than I had even remembered. Nobuyuki Takeuchi’s solo episode 9 is the single best anime episode of anything, ever.
Also because it’s extremely the underdog here Revue Starlight is the best anime of the last 5 years and it’s your duty to watch it
A Place Further Than the Universe
I love this show for its story and characters. The writers definitely understand how teenagers interact and talk to each other and the relationships feel so real as a result. It’s also an incredible story and has some really great things to say about spite, forgiveness (or the lack thereof), and closure.
The scene where Shirase finds her mother’s laptop and all the unread emails is such an emotionally devastating scene, but the one that also gets me is the scene earlier where she’s laying out all the money. Just her quietly stating each job she worked at as she lays out a grid of bills shows just how much she had to sacrifice and do to get to that moment.
Land of the Lustrous
What a gorgeous show wrapped in some incredible imagery and symbolism. Also Phos is my sweet disaster child.
Because writing is tiring, here’s a list of the shows that stand out to me:
Blood Blockade Battlefront
Restaurant to Another World
Yuri on Ice
Little Witch Academia
Land of the Lustrous being unfinished is probably the thing that keeps me from just picking it. One day, hopefully. I think the back half of the manga might be harder to adapt, though. But also that means Symphogear wins.
March Comes In Like a Lion
Kill la Kill
One Punch Man
Mob Psycho 100
The latter Hidamari Sketch seasons
The Monogatari series post-Bake (which I think was 2009)
Girl’s Last Tour
Also Mushishi if it counts since the second season was 2014.
Nozaki-kun definitely high on the “would watch another season of” list.
Just the most earnest show about a plucky group of teens wanting to memorize old poetry really good. Anime can do that thing where you could have a concept that sounds like the most boring thing imaginable, but through the language of its medium, it manages to translate that idea into something utterly captivating, inspiring, and devastating. So just imagine how good a show must be if it can convey the act of slapping cards quickly as an intense sporting event!
Hunter X Hunter
The show that got me back into anime, honestly. I love my shojo romances, and slice-of-life’s, and seinen dramas, but at the end of the day, shonen-ass action series are going to be the thing I’ll always come back to. What makes this one special though, is how it manages to elevate this subgenre above just about anything that came before it. It’s got big fights, yeah; it’s got the power of friendship overcoming all obstacles – but it also has a core of pathos that sees a major antagonist who may as well be named “Not Frieza” and figures out how to make them one of the most poignantly tragic villains I’ve ever seen. Or have a “super saiyan moment” that ends up condemning the physical and emotional brutality that comes from a truly godlike capacity for violence. Or, hell, have the A-plot of the show’s last arc be an extended metaphor for trans acceptance. If nothing else, some of my current favorites – e.g. Demon Slayer – wouldn’t even exist as they do today if it weren’t for this series telling everyone how to do shonen better.
A Place Further Than the Universe
A beautiful story about getting on and riding a boat that genuinely respects its child protagonists as wholly competent and emotionally complex. It’s adorable, hilarious, uplifting, and tragic – often all in one episode – and ends up being this gestalt where so many great aspects come together to tell a story about grief and love as well as anything that’s come before it.
Made in Abyss
I swear, one day I’ll finally get around to doing the “Foucauldian Biopolitics in Made in Abyss” essay I’ve been inspired to write since first watching this.
This should be mandatory viewing for anyone looking to rudely complain about a poor anime production on the Internet. Like, y’all, how does this shit even get made? How does anything get made? Shirobako may seem like a very moe, “let’s follow our dreams!” show at first, but it’s ultimately a devastating plea for viewers to understand how much hard work is put into even the lousiest anime you’ve ever seen. Also, the time skip in the first episode remains one of my favorite jump cuts of all time.
Steins;Gate probably doesn’t hold up as well as I remember it does (in fact i know for a fact parts of it will be pretty bad), but man its a fun time travel thriller and character drama. I even kinda like the OVA and movie which are unnecessary indulgent side stories.
Kill la Kill is the same way, in which it very much isn’t a modern classic, but the series’ art music and spectacle have very much stuck in my brain.
Pop Team Epic is another series lodged into my brain, I don’t think i’ve seen as much effort put into a gag series before. Even the show isn’t very funny, which is honestly a lot, I still have an immense appriciation for it.
Little Witch Academia & Kemono Friends are both utterly charming series full of fluff. Warm and inviting, sit down, relax and let the magic happen.
Sorry I’m really basic with anime and don’t watch too much of it I’m sure i’m missing some neat ones that i’ve watched, but these are the 5 that have really stuck with me.
Hunter x Hunter, the absolute epic. Ping Pong, March comes in like a lion, A place further than the universe, the absolute tearjerkers. These are probably the best and that.
Also greatly enjoyed Golden Kamuy, Sound Euphonium, Miss Kobayashis Dragon Maid, Mob Psycho, The Eccentric Family, Space Dandy, and I don’t know, a bunch of others. There’s been a massive amount of good shit.
Yuri!!! on Ice hit me at a good time to have a gay romcom sports anime, and that time was specifically the 2016 election when I was just… very depressed. A week after all that business wrapped up, the episode where Victor and Yuuri kiss aired, and lowkey it kind of saved me. Kind of default wins ‘favourite anime of the decade’ for me, for that. Also, some of my favourite music in anime this decade. Obviously the OP whips, but I can still sing the Theme of King JJ three years on.
My other favourites:
- JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
- Mawaru Penguindrum
- Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans (… and Unicorn, too)
- Asagao to Kase-san.
- Sakamichi no Apollon
- Samurai Flamenco
- Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu
Also, anything Lupin the Third that came out this decade. Part 5? It rocks. The Woman Called Fujiko Mine? Rad as hell. The trailer for the CGI movie that I think is out in Japan? Pretty cool.
JoJo Part 4, SSSS Gridman, Hinamatsuri and Toaru Kagaku No Railgun are the ones that spring to my mind. I’m likely forgetting a bunch, but I don’t watch a whole lot of anime, so it’s not a topic that lives at the forefront of my mind.
I only really started watching anime in the last couple of years, but it’s not like I don’t have favorites so here we go:
Symphogear is no-contest the show I had the most fun watching. It takes about half the first season to find its tone (it spends some time trying out being a ‘serious’ magical girl show) but once it does it has the most hell yeah moments per season I’ve seen. If I had to pick a favorite season, probably G? But maybe GX.
Kaguya-sama: Love Is War was the funniest show I watched. Two private-school students engaged in the most pointless, over-animated & over-narrated (in a good way) social battle and tripping over themselves. Favorite skits are ‘Chika drinks ramen’ (that video doesn’t have the whole thing) and ‘That was a lie’.
A Place Further Than The Universe gets the ‘show that made me feel feelings’ award (this could go to GRANBELM for different reasons, but I only just watched that and I’ve cooled a lot on similar shows over time so I don’t want to say so yet). Other people in the thread have better said what I’d say about it.
Non Non Biyori hit me in a way I didn’t expect from a nondescript slice-of-life show. I didn’t grow up as remotely in the countryside as the show depicts (and obviously not in Japan) but it still made me remember childhood moments and events living away from towns and cities.
Other stuff I want to mention but can’t give a long recommendation/description:
Flip Flappers - 13-episode magical girl show with great characters and action that doesn’t twist and fall into a grimdark abyss.
Nichijou is incredible in how it exaggerates mundane things (see the dog bite scene) and for having the medium’s second-most long-suffering cat.
Hitoribocchi no Marumaru Seikatsu - Girl with crippling social anxiety makes friends!
Mob Psycho 100 - Uhhh… I don’t know how to summarize this but it’s really good!
AIURA - Short slice-of-life with an amazing nonsense OP that has nothing to do with the show.
Pop Team Epic - Often not funny and overly-referential, but I am 100% behind what it’s going for.
Gabriel DropOut - Trash character protagonist is let loose on an unsuspecting world, along with her not-trash but just as dysfunctional ‘friends’.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond Is Unbreakable - Bizarre JoJo things are happening and everyone is friends.
Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn - I have yet to watch a Gundam series that I like without major reservations, but this one had a guy called ‘Full Frontal’ so it has that going for it.
Kyousougiga: Possibly my favourite series, just for style and tone. It’s hard to articulate what I find so compelling about it, but hey, it’s only 10 episodes, go check it out yourself.
Penguindrum: As Lilly mentioned upthread, there is just so much going on here, even if it never really delivers on what it sets up. Every time I watch through the series I find new things to love, but also new things to drive me up the wall…
Teekyuu: High speed comedy garbage. Less surreal than Pop Team Epic, but if you like that show, you should at least give this one a try.
Humanity Has Declined: A much more pleasant and relaxed comedy, set in a peaceful post apocalypse.
Kemono Friends: Anime of the decade.
Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid: Okay so about 80% of my enjoyment for this show comes from a specific reading I’d found and treating that as headcanon but that’s still valid, okay?
And a list of other shows that other people have touched on already:
Panty and Stocking, Madoka Magica, Stein’s;Gate, Little Witch Acedamia, and Pop Team Epic.
edit: oh wow I forgot Zombieland Saga. The later episodes didn’t really hold up to the pace the first two set, but Lily Hoshigawa bringing a gun into the British parliment is what I call praxis.
EDIT: This post ended up being pretty long so I’m putting all the text in drop-downs just so folks dont have to skim through a wall of text in the thread.
It been a while since I’ve kept current with a lot of anime, but I’ve still watched enough through the 2010s to make a top 10 list. Right now I think its:
Ok Tatami Galaxy is basically a perfect show for me. I watched this show after a terrible pair of semesters at school and watching The Protagonist try and sort out his bullshit was very important to me at the time. It’s also just fucking beautiful. My love for it is very personal, but I still think its a masterpiece that everyone should experience regardless of that.
Look, its partially to blame for the recent trend of “grimdark mahou shoujou” and that could be a knock against it but Madoka is still very, very good.
Little Witch Academia
LWA is like comfort food for me. It just makes me so happy to watch Akko persist through her failures to become the best witch she can be. Also she’s a gay marxist so its very relatable.
Yasuhiro Takemoto rest in peace, you made KyoAni’s best show of the decade. Such a good take on the “high school slice of life” genre by injecting some elements of noir. The ending still guts me when I think about it in the best way and I personally think its masterful
As someone who’s not usually drawn to straight up comedies but really loves spectacle I just really appreciated the level of exaggeration in Nichijou. I think its a super smart way to give importance to everyday mundanity.
Gridman is a toku nerds dream come true and I think it pulls a good bait-and-switch when you realize who the show is actually about. Weirdly enough for a Trigger show the action scenes are a little lackluster but they really grew on me.
Laid Back Camp
Makes me want to go to the woods and live my best life.
This show feels like the underdog of 2017. A fun noir mystery that I really loved to watch unfold. Also that OP is fucking bumpin’.
Either FLCL 3
imo a strong thematic continuation of FLCL, I think about it a lot in terms of how Diebuster relates to Gunbuster.
Kyousogiga was such a pleasant surprise for me. Just a joy to watch. The story didnt make much sense to me but I still really enjoyed experiencing it.
Honorable Mentions to:
it’s wild and super fun to watch but the story is nonsense in a way I find both frustrating and refreshing, but more the former than the latter.
maybe my favourite transformation sequence of the decade and packed with really amazing style. I only finished it like last week so I want to sit with it before being definitive about it being a all-time fave.
O Maidens in Your Savage Season
extremely good but I was reading about it and it seems like it falls into the “unrequited lesbian love” trope so ive been putting off finishing it.
Bloom Into You
I finished the manga after the anime and really, really loved seeing queer people go through life positively without massive tragedy and just… being, but was kind of disappointed with the epilogue chapter being a where are they now? time skip so im conflicted about it right now.
Oh worm? I really need to watch this.
To avoid getting hopes up, this was unfortunately not in the show (I await Franchouchou’s London tour OVA), but it’s still a good watch and I remember the consensus being Lily was good representation (not my lane). I had the problem I have with most idol/band anime - not liking the music - but I’ll be there for season two.
Just to be clear this didn’t happen in the show, it happened in real life (kinda).
Unfortunately not as cool as I may have suggested, and related to terf bs, but still pretty funny
Ah okay yes I remember this. Still cool and extremely funny imo and honestly makes me want to watch the show more.
Just from the ones I can remember:
- Gatchaman Crowds
- Aku no Hana
- Ping Pong: The Animation
- JJBA Diamond is Unbreakable
- Hunter x Hunter
- Mob Pyscho 100
Gatchaman is very underrated. Aku no Hana destroyed me. Shirobako is an earnest depiction of anime production hell. Madoka is so good it’s unfair. Ping Pong is utterly transcendent. JJBA 4 and HxH are master class shonen. MP100 is a creator learning from every mistake of their previous work.
(I would have liked to list Made in Abyss but while 95% of it is beautiful, 5% is an author’s sickening and barely concealed fetish)
There’s still a few more things from the past decade I’d have liked to watch. This was a time period where I remembered how much I like anime.