What’s going on everyone? I’ve been thinking about stuff that I used to watch as a kid recently, and I remember the days when all I watched was anime. I was obsessed with it when I was younger, and I would also read manga from the small corner of my school’s library. My friends and I wanted to start an anime club in high school and everything! Anime was a big influence on my artwork, it still is actually. I draw a lot of fanart of my favorite anime characters all the time, and growing up I wanted to go to japan and be a mangaka.
So I’ve decided to compile some of my favorite anime/manga that I grew up with, and put them in a list going up to my most favorite anime. Feel free to click the name of the anime to listen to the opening on YouTube. Here we go!
Death Note is one of those anime that you kinda have to know if you’re into anime/manga. It’s the story of a student who finds a notebook where whenever you write someone’s name in it, they will mysteriously die of a heart attack. I have funny memories of watching this along with the openings/ending songs. It was one of my first introductions to metal/heavy rock music besides the stuff my sister would listen to.
While I didn’t watch the entire anime growing up, I was already spoiled from it from growing up on the internet, and I enjoyed all the memes that came out of it too. I watched the anime, but I’ve never actually read the manga, so I’d like to read it someday. It’s actually a really interesting story that will keep you on your feet.
Munto, or also known as “Sora o Miageru Shoujo no Hitomi ni Utsuri Sekai” is an anime adaption of a two-episode OVA, is a really short nine episode anime about two worlds, where one world has people who can control Akuto, or human emotions. The story follows a girl, Yumemi, who can see the other world, but no one else can.
I really loved this anime because of the story; it has a lot of fantasy elements along with pretty scenery animated by Kyoto Animation, who also did a number of anime that I love that didn’t make the list (K-On and Free, anyone??) I haven’t watched it in a long time, but listening to the opening and looking at the visuals makes me want to watch it again. And I might, since it’s only 9 episodes! You should watch it too! I’ll warn you, I couldn’t find a good, high quality opening, so you’ll have to endure this one posted to YouTube from 2010, which is probably the exact same one I watched as a teen. Still very good though.
5: Kitchen Princess
“Kitchen Princess” is a manga that I read back in middle/high school that I really love. It’s your typical shoujo manga with love triangles, a pretty girl, and a captivating story. It follows a girl with a passion for baking. From what I remember, she goes to a prestigious baking school to follow the boy who she calls her “Flan Prince”, that is, the boy that saved her life from drowning when she was a child. At the school she meets lots of people, including two brothers, one of whom she thinks is her “Flan Prince”. It’s a really cute story that actually has a lot of twists and turns. I have good memories reading this with my friend in high school, bringing the manga volumes that I borrowed from the library with me to school. Good times! The manga is 10 volumes, and an easy read. There is no anime adaption sadly, but it still makes my list because of all the fond memories I have with it.
Fooly Cooly, or FLCL is another one of those anime that you have to know if you’re into anime/manga. It’s a cult classic that I still don’t really understand as a story. With only 6 episodes, it follows the story of Naota, a middle school boy who meets an alien named Haruko Haruhara. His whole life is turned upside down as he becomes the passage for alien robots to enter the suburban city he lives in. It’s an interesting, funny, and serious anime all at the same time, with unforgettable characters and quotes. I have really good memories of being way too young watching this late at night on Adult Swim with my sister. I’m not sure if Adult Swim still plays anime late at night, but “FLCL” came on around 11pm or midnight, right after “Family Guy” and “Robot Chicken”. One thing to take away from this anime is a fantastic music from the band “The Pillows”. Every track I’ve listened to, whether from FLCL or otherwise, is great. I’m not very good at describing music, but it’s a nostalgic, relaxing type of punk rock that makes you feel like you’re a teenager waiting to grow up and live your life again.
If you want to watch this anime, I warn you, there is some suggestive content, so if you’re under 13, I would wait for a bit. So parents, be wary, but it’s still very good, so watch with caution.
“Tsubasa Chronicle” is very special to me because it came right after I finished another anime on this list, and this anime/manga is a spiritual successor to that story. It actually has a more “shounen” feel to it, which is different for me, being big into “shoujo” works. It follows a boy named Syaoran who has a very close friendship with Sakura, the princess of her world. The tables turn when Sakura looses her memories, in the form of feathers, and they get scattered across different worlds. It’s up to Syaoran and a team of people from other worlds to travel across these dimensions to get Sakura’s memories back. It’s a beautiful story by my favorite manga team CLAMP, that actually gets very tangled and confusing as it goes on. There are quite a few volumes of the manga, 26 I think, and I got to about volume 17 growing up, mostly since the library stopped carrying the volumes and I didn’t want to buy them (why, teenage Alla??).
There is an anime adaption of Tsubasa, but I’m not the biggest fan of it. The story is altered in the anime, and the beautiful artwork of the manga is not translated as well as I like. That’s probably an unpopular opinion, but that being said, the 1st opening is one of my favorite anime openings of all time. I had an art book of this manga (which I still have!) that has gorgeous pieces made by CLAMP that I would sit and stare at as a budding teenage artist. I would do re-drawings of the art with my own characters in colored pencil. I don’t know if I still have those drawings, but if I do, I’ll put them here. I was real proud of them!
Cardcaptor Sakura is very special to me. It was the anime/manga that introduced me to the genre of Japanese anime and culture. I remember seeing a random volume of the manga in my middle school’s library and thinking the cover art was so beautiful. I ended up reading CCS out of order but I was able to read the whole thing in order at the library. I was a huge library goer, but only for the manga! I’m not sure if you’ve seen others on social media talking about the old days where, in order to watch anime, you had to go on YouTube and watch it in three parts in low quality. All before Crunchyroll or Netflix, that was it. And with Cardcaptor Sakura, that’s what I did. I watched all 70 episodes on that format and I’m proud of it.
CCS is about a girl in elementary school who discovers a book in her father’s library called the book of Clow. It hold the Clow cards, magic cards created by the great sorcerer Clow. When the cards escape, Sakura goes on a journey in her town to restore the Clow Cards and awaken her own magical powers, all with the help of Keroberos, the guardian of the cards. Sakura has many friends and family that love her, like her older brother, her father, and best friend Tomoyo. Yukito, her crush, also becomes very important to her further in the story. Sakura even has a rival, Syaoran Li, who also wants to collect the cards. It’s a very cute and heartwarming story that makes me feel good. The anime has a great, 90’s anime vibe to it that so many people love right now, since it WAS from the 90’s! The manga, which I now own, is beautifully drawn by CLAMP. CCS is currently on Netflix, and I have been watching it again in beautiful high quality, and I can love it all over again! Along with it’s successor “Tsubasa”, CCS also has a new direct sequel called “Clear Card” that is still coming out, and I have been buying the volumes as they come out. It’s great to see Sakura’s story continue! I haven’t watched the anime adaption of “Clear Card”, but the opening brought me back to middle school again.
I do have to warn you though. While CCS is a lovely manga, it does have some strange depictions of love that many cannot appreciate. CLAMP is all about “True Love” in most of their stories (see “Chobits”), and there are some questionable relationships in CCS, including a teacher-student relationship. So if that rubs you the wrong way, please be careful. I know when I was younger, I didn’t think much of it, but if you’re a parent watching with your child, I would proceed with caution, and you can feel free to skip some episodes of the anime that show these relationships. A lot of the anime is filler anyway, so you won’t miss anything!
Here it is! My number 1 anime! Probably comes as no shock if you know me personally. I assume this manga/anime is on many people’s top 10 lists as their favorite. But I would say “Sailor Moon” has got to be my favorite anime/manga of all time, very closely followed by “Cardcaptor Sakura”. It’s the 90’s anime that influenced so many others to follow in its footsteps, and it holds such a strong legacy for artists everywhere.
If you don’t know the story of “Sailor Moon”, it follows a girl named Usagi, who discovers her magical powers with the help of the cat Luna, and reawakens her past self as the moon princess. She goes on a journey to find the moon princess and the Mythical Silver Crystal, a gem that grants the power of life. She meets new friends that become her allies, and meets her true love, Tuxedo Mask.
My first introduction to Sailor Moon was when I was very young. I watched the Sailor Moon movies as a kid on VHS without knowing what anime was. Even as a child, I thought that the covers of the VHS tapes were so beautiful. It wasn’t until later that I watched Sailor Moon and read the manga that I started to really love the anime. I would watch the transformation sequences over and over again. While this may be another unpopular opinion, I very much prefer the manga over the anime; Naoko Takeuchi, the artist behind Sailor Moon, is my favorite artist. Her artwork speaks to me in a way that no other art has, and I’m not sure what it is about it that I love. I’ve done re-drawings of my favorite pieces recently that you can see on my instagram. I could go on and on about Sailor Moon, but I’ll say that Sailor Moon influenced my art greatly, and I have been enjoying watching the anime on Hulu. Usagi is a very relatable character, and I love to see her grow into her role as a sailor scout.
I currently have the “Eternal” editions of the manga, and have read them again under quarantine, and I am waiting for the next few volumes to come out to complete my collection. Whenever I need to feel inspired to work on an art piece, I just look at Sailor Moon, and when I don’t know what to draw, I draw Sailor Moon characters. It really is a part of my life!
That’s my list for you! I hope you enjoyed it, and can find some new things to watch. This list is a lot of older anime/manga that people have already seen or read, so I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve seen all of these somewhere. But they all have a special place in my heart. Anime is really awesome, and I’m glad that millions out there can watch, read and get inspired. My list of anime to watch is huge; there are lots of new ones coming out, and ones I need to catch up on, so maybe I’ll make a list of new anime that I love!
Thanks for reading! I have some more posts that I’ll be making very soon, so I will chat later. Stay safe everyone!