By: Jacqueline Chavez, Jacqueline Martinez, and Gwynn Van Houten
Strange things are always happening in Tokyo (in the anime world of course) so seeing a hooded juvenile, with a bent golden baseball bat, attacking random citizens around Tokyo, while wearing inline skates shouldn’t be much of a big deal, right? In Paranoia Agent, a series of attacks reported to be by a deranged, young boy in golden inline skates, causes chaos for character designer Tsukiko Sagi. Tsukiko and the rest of the victims have nothing in common but there lives seem to improve in some ways.
Watch if you like: psychological thrillers/horror, dark humor, mystery, inline skates
Worick Arcangelo and Nicolas Brown are the “Handymen”, who make deliveries and carry out dirty work for the mafia and police in the crime-filled Ergastulum. Among the citizens of this city, including Nicolas, are Twilights, children of soldiers who used the performance-enhancing drug celebrer. They have improved strength and senses but are cursed with the addictive properties of the drug and often possess some sort of “compensation” — Nic’s deafness, for instance — and shorter life span. Worick and Nic eventually become involved in a city-wide war between the Twilights and their oppressors. Gangsta. has the distinction of being the rare seinen (teen/adult male-targeted) series created by a woman.
Watch if you like: mafia shows, characters with superpowers, swords, guns
- JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
JoJo’s is one of the best-selling manga series in history and the inspiration behind countless pop culture references and parodies. Currently, the first three arcs of this eight-part epic, Phantom Blood, Battle Tendency, and Stardust Crusaders, have been animated. The story follows several descendants of a noble family, who are all nicknamed JoJo, as they battle a vampire hell-bent on world domination and the chaos he and his followers leave in their wake, often in the form of supernatural artifacts with dangerous effects. This series is — as you might guess — often very, very bizarre.
Watch if you like: characters with superpowers, strange and complex plots, lots and lots of posing
Probably the softest anime we have on the list is Ore Monogatari. The show follows the story of freshman student Gouda Takeo. Takeo often has very bad luck when speaking to females and most of the girls he ends up liking always fall for his childhood best friend Makoto Sunakawa. All of this changes after Takeo comes to the rescue of a very shy brown haired girl by the name on Rinko Yamato. Despite Takeo’s broad and freighting appearance Yamato falls in love with him. As the story progresses we see Takeo’s relationship with Yamato blossom into a one of a kind love story.
Watch if you like: romantic comedies, emotional back stories, cute love stories, fluff
- Fruits Basket
Poor Honda Tohru has had a rough life: her beloved mother passed away, she works countless hours to pay her school tuition, and now she’s living in a tent in the woods. She finds herself in the house of high school heartthrob Souma Yuki and two of his family members. Because of Tohru’s clumsy mistakes, she discovers that the Souma’s are cursed to transform into animals from the Chinese zodiac when touched by the opposite sex. Tohru is given the chance to live in their home in exchange for their secret to be kept (and their chores to be done). Throughout the story, Tohru sees how dark their curse really is and sets out to break their curse.
Watch if you like: Chinese zodiac animals, characters with large eyes, characters with large eyes that transform into Chinese zodiac animals, comedic drama, reverse harem
6. Yowamushi Pedal
Yowamushi Pedal (Yowapeda for short) is a comedic anime about Onoda Sakamichi, an otaku (anime fanatic) that discovers that he has developed a talent for cycling by riding dozens of miles every day for anime merchandise. A member of his school’s bike club takes notice of his abilities, and Sakamichi joins the team. He and his new friends then train to compete in the Inter-High national race, where they face a myriad of strong rivals.
Watch if you like: bikes, bikes, very dramatic characters, bikes
- Yu Yu Hakusho
An extremely rebellious and delinquent young man, Yusuke, sacrifices himself to save a child from a drunk driver, dying in the process. The spirits in the afterlife are so surprised by this that they don’t know whether to send him to heaven or to hell! Yusuke is instead returned to the world of the living under the condition that he become an “Underworld Detective”, who investigates and battles dangerous supernatural forces, from bothersome poltergeists to powerful demons.
Watch if you like: characters with superpowers, demons, Hunter X Hunter
- Kyoukai no Kanata
One day, high schooler Akihito Kanbara attempts to save fellow student Mirai Kuriyama from jumping off a building…but then she turns and stabs him with a blade made of her own blood. It turns out that Akihito is an immortal half-demon and Mirai is the last descendant of a clan that hunts malevolent spirits, the true form of which only certain people can see. The two become unlikely but close friends, and Akihito helps Mirai gain the confidence to hunt stronger enemies.
Watch if you like: cute characters, demons, cute characters who are demons, cute characters who hunt demons
The Hellsing Organization, a generations-old order of English Protestant knights who exterminate the undead, has a dark secret: under their leader’s command is a powerful and terrifying vampire, Alucard, frequently cited as one of the most awesome antiheroes in anime. In the events of the series, Alucard turns a police girl, Seras Victoria, into a vampire to save her life. Seras joins Hellsing but initially finds herself struggling with her new identity. Over time, a new breed of vampire arises, and a familiar threat from the Second World War makes itself known again.
Watch if you like: violence, military shows, vampires who make Twilight and True Blood characters look like babies
- Space Dandy
This show follows the alien bounty hunter Dandy and his companions, a robot and a cat-like alien, who (unsuccessfully) attempt to find and capture rare aliens to make a living. Throughout their adventures, they are unknowingly pursued by an evil empire that believes Dandy is the key to the future of the universe. The episodes have extremely loose continuity, with our heroes often meeting tragic fates. Could there be a reason for this…?
Watch if you like: cheesy sci-fi fun, weird aliens, crude humor