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Aggretsuko
Released 2018
Fanworks

25 years old, single, exploited by her boss and frustrated in many ways— -life is not easy for Retsuko, a red anthropomorphic panda. We all know, sometimes things are not easy, sometimes everything is just too hard to deal with… and whenever that happens to Retsuko, she shouts it all out in a karaoke box, singing all her favorite death metal songs in order to get herself together. She’s too relatable not to love.

Mixing cute and charming characters with a good dose of humor, Fanworks brings this Sanrio property to life in a very unique – and enjoyable – way. Aggretsuko is just about a female panda trying her best in a cruel, wild world… and that’s why we love it.
– Carlos Moncken


The Ancient Magus Bride
Released 2016
Wit Studio

What is the strongest magic in the world? For most of her life, Chise Hatori has been tormented by magical creatures, causing a tragic amount of trauma in her childhood. But one day she finds herself far away from her native Japan, living with a mage and studying under him as an apprentice. As she grows in her magical ability, she begins to be able to open up to those around her, to heal. The evil in The Ancient Magus’ Bride is never really simple–nearly all of the antagonism in the series stems not out of evil intentions, but out of a character’s suffering and pain. Chise becomes more and more adept at magic, but she also becomes more adept at connecting to people. She is able to share in others’ pain, relate it to her own, and, more often than not, this is how seemingly unstoppable evil is quelled. So, what is the strongest magic in the world? Chise Hatori makes a good case that the answer is empathy. – Cayla Coats


Anohana: The Flower We Saw that Day
Released 2011
A-1 Pictures

The first original work from the Super Peace Busters creative team (which consists of writer Mari Okada, animator and character designer Masayoshi Tanaka, and director Tatsuyuki Nagai) blew the tear buds of people all around the world with Anohana. While the team’s first work together brought us Toradora!, the team, using the backdrop of Okada’s home town of Chichibu, gave us a group of kids that realistically felt like they went through a tragedy, and together, they have to overcome their trauma. AnoHana cemented Mari Okada as a household name in the anime community – for a good reason – and every work by the team as a must watch on release. Even rewatching the opening after all these years still gets a reaction out of me. Somehow the team can just pull at your heartstrings so much that even nearly a decade on, I still feel those tugs.     – Daryl Harding


Asobi Asobase – workshop of fun –
Released 2018
Lerche

The anime adaptation of Asobi Asobase is built around contrasts. It’s easily illustrated by comparing the opening, which focuses on the romanticized cuteness of the girls, to the darker grungy ending with the same girls playing heavy metal like the band BABYMETAL.

The main characters are three schoolgirls who started their own culture club where they spend time playing various games. Usually, their ideas quickly transcend the bounds of harmless fun, and they enter awkward situations in front of each other.  The jokes the schoolgirls make are unexpected and somewhat reminiscent of Monty Python’s “The Spanish Inquisition.”

The contrast between the sweet and the daring is in every aspect of Asobi Asobase, making it one of the most memorable gag comedies in recent years.     – Azaly Zeldin


Barakamon
Released 2014
Kinema Citrus

I consider Barakamon to be one of the sweetest and most soothing shows. Handa’s daily experiences with the islanders gave me fits of laughter, and at the same time reminded me of the little things we usually take for granted. The most enjoyable aspect of the show is the heartfelt atmosphere which streams through this delightful art. Barakamon is a beloved series filled with cheerfulness and inspiration that somehow spoke to something inside of me. I’m glad I’ve watched this anime.      – Reem Ali

 


Black Clover
Released 2017
Studio Pierrot

There’s something immediately lovable about Black Clover’s Asta, a kid with no wizarding abilities that desperately wants to be Wizard King, and so he’s forced to always work a little harder and yell a little louder than everyone else. This turns Black Clover into not just a thrilling adventure in itself, but also one of the best pure underdog stories in anime, reflecting the dreams of everyone who’s been told “You can’t do that” and still persisted in straight up doin’ that. With a dynamic plot, a treasure trove of a cast of characters (the Black Bulls are the most lovable clan of misfits this side of the Straw Hat Crew), and solid action scenes, Black Clover has established itself as a consistently delightful part of my week.      – Dan Dockery


Bungo Stray Dogs
Released 2016
Studio Bones

Bungo Stray Dogs has undeniably wonderful art, appealing character designs, iconic clothing and amazing songs. There are numerous anime with the same merits, but the reason I cherished this series so much is its connection to literature. Every main character, the detectives and antagonists as well, bear the names of famous writers, and their special abilities carry the names of the authors’ works. Even the characters’ demeanors and their idiosyncrasies take inspiration from the authors and their respective novels. Watching this anime made me want to research further to understand the references and to discover as many Easter eggs as possible.
– Francesco Ventura

 

 


Chihayafuru
Released 2013
Madhouse

For a series about the Japanese card game karuta, Chihayafuru grew into something much more than the sum of its parts. It’s a series that not only defines the game and even goes as far as to detail the rules, it’s also about growth and maturity while dealing with the self-imposed pressure of becoming the world’s best player of a card game based around Japanese poetry that is only played and taken seriously in Japan. You might expect such a series to be dry and uninteresting, but Chihaya’s journey from bright-eyed freshman player to wiser and well-practiced is why the series shines.    – Humberto Saabedra

 


The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya
Released 2010
Kyoto Animation

Over the course of me growing up, the idea of focusing on more “grown-up” things was something I was often confronted with. “Why do you read comics? Those are for kids!”, “Why do you care so much about the history of games?” and “This is animated so why should someone grown-up watch it?” have been sentences that were repeated at me so often that I started to question the legitimacy of sticking up for my hobbies. But then, I saw The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya, and its concluding movie that posed the question “Why shouldn’t it be okay to enjoy fun stuff?” Kyon’s journey to the self-realization that one can enjoy things that might not even be realistic or “adult” (and him delivering one of the most amazing monologues in all of anime) helped me immensely with standing up for what I love and embracing it even further. And who knows: I might not even work at Crunchyroll today if it hadn’t been for this movie.      – Rene Kayser


Dororo
Released 2019
MAPPA

Even though I find Dororo artistically fulfilling, the art is not the thing I loved most about this anime, but rather it’s the themes and its treatment throughout the anime. The story is told by the young Dororo, even if Hyakkimaru seems to be the hero and the victim of the events narrated. What fascinates me the most is Hyakkimaru’s quest and his preference for his human parts over the more powerful, but inhuman, prosthetics. Dororo is a reinterpretation of a cyberpunk story: the search for his own weakness and wonderful human fragility.     – Francesco Ventura


Dragon Ball Super
Released 2015
Toei Animation

Every anime that is based around a strong-willed good guy punching a less-strong-willed bad guy has its roots in Dragon Ball. Its influence cannot be understated and its legacy is tremendous. That said, how did Dragon Ball fit in the 2010s, in an age of titles that it’s spawned like My Hero Academia and One Piece? Well, quite nicely, actually. Dragon Ball Super never tries to “out Z” its predecessor, instead giving us a wider look at the franchise’s supporting cast that balances the Goku brawls that we want (and deserve.) It will likely never be the most revolutionary manga/anime in history again, but Super proves that Akira Toriyama’s classic world and characters are forever welcome.     – Daniel Dockery


Durara!
Released 2010
Brain’s Base

Durarara! presents a story of gangs facing each other in the streets, a mysterious internet group known as “Dollars,” corporations of doubtful intentions, and even dares to add a supernatural element. Despite including numerous elements, the anime manages to have multiple characters show us different perspectives of these events, making us feel really involved with the story and always keeping us on the edge of our seats with unexpected twists. Discovering what is hidden behind the Dollars allows the viewer to delve into a history of violence, surprises and betrayals that one might never expect when initially watching the show.     – Sergio Vaca


The Eccentric Family
Released 2013
P.A. Works

Durarara! presents a story of gangs facing each other in the streets, a mysterious internet group known as “Dollars,” corporations of doubtful intentions, and even dares to add a supernatural element. Despite including numerous elements, the anime manages to have multiple characters show us different perspectives of these events, making us feel really involved with the story and always keeping us on the edge of our seats with unexpected twists. Discovering what is hidden behind the Dollars allows the viewer to delve into a history of violence, surprises and betrayals that one might never expect when initially watching the show.     – Sergio Vaca


ERASED!
Released 2016
A-1 Pictures

A series where nothing is what it seems at first glance and rewards the viewer for playing along with its intentional misdirection. It drew praise for its writing, pacing and animation when it first aired in 2016 as a part of the venerable Noitamina block, but what makes it stick for so many people since then is the unique take on the time travel mechanic that turns it into more of a well-crafted mystery than a straightforward science fiction story. For a 12 episode series, it’s perfect to watch when you’re looking for something that completely demands your attention.    – Humberto Saabedra


Evangelion 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo
Released 2012
Studio Khara

Sometimes I feel like I watched Evangelion 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo in a fever dream. I’m reminded of the plot and think, “Wow, that really happened?” Eva 3.0 is definitely one of the most challenging depictions of Evangelion lore, but it’s also the one part of the Rebuild series that’s left a lasting impression. Putting 3.0 on here is also recognizing Anno’s direction with the Rebuild movies this decade and how the franchise overall continues to push its characters, plot, and audience this many years later. If it’s any consideration: I have no idea how Anno is planning on wrapping this series up in 2020, and frankly that’s exciting.      – Kyle Cardine


Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works
Released 2014
ufotable

Ufotable’s much anticipated follow up to Fate/Zero re-adapted the Unlimited Blade Works storyline from the Fate/stay night visual novel. The award winning series showcased the technological developments of animation from its earlier series, giving us some of the best looking 3D backgrounds and post-production to date (only being surpassed by other Ufotable works like Heaven’s Feel and Demon Slayer). Coupled with its outstanding direction and writing, Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works is a masterpiece of anime and one of the best Fate works to date. It also features the best girl, don’t @ me.     – Daryl Harding


FLIP FLAPPERS
Released 2016
Studio 3Hz

Genre fiction generally cloaks its meaning in metaphor, but few anime are as symbolically rich, aesthetically dynamic, and emotionally resonant as FLIP FLAPPERS. The story sucks you in with the promise of magical girl-style misadventures and then punches you right in the feels with a journey of self-discovery that takes you to sometimes dark places that you didn’t expect to travel. FLIP FLAPPERS is a work that begs to be revisited, and it deserves a larger space in the critical discourse.    – Paul Chapman

 


 Flying Witch
Released 2016
J.C. Staff

Flying Witch bewitched audiences with its lovable take on the witch genre that populates pop-culture, transporting the tropes from a European village to rural Japan. Even though the series is full of magic, that isn’t what makes it magical. The cast of characters are the main focus of the show, all being delightfully fleshed out – even the Harbinger of Spring – and a joy to get to know as the series progresses. While not an epic show, Flying Witch is a delightful watch that is as sweet as the cakes served at Cafe Concrucio.    
– Daryl Harding


 
Food Wars!: Shokugeki no Soma
Released 2015
J.C. Staff

Like That Time I Got Reincarnated As A Slime invited me into a wider world of isekai, Food Wars! helped me to realize that the world of action anime isn’t just reserved for flying fists. In fact, Food Wars! joins Yu-Gi-Oh! for me as the best battle stories that aren’t actually about battling in the physical, bicep-ey sense. The epic tale of Soma and Co. making their way through school and tournaments and festivals and going through various cooking competitions is as thrilling as any hand-to-hand combat that I’ve ever seen. Though it may already be in its fourth season, there’s still never been a better time to be a fan of anime cuisine.   – Daniel Dockery


GATCHAMAN CROWDS
Released 2013
Tatsunoko Production

Gatchaman Crowds could have easily been a rote recreation of the original Tatsunoko classic, but director Kenji Nakamura (tsuritama), writer Toshiya Ōno, and the rest of the staff aimed much higher. Instead we’re left with a true modernization rife with a timely allegorical narrative that operates in shades of gray rather than the more straight-forward and starkly shaded conflicts of past entries. Throw in wildly colorful designs, a memorable cast of characters, and some decent action and you have a series worth revisiting.       – Joe Luster  


Golden Kamuy
Released 2018
Geno Studio

Golden Kamuy immediately attracted me because of the maniacal historical reconstruction of the historic period. The Russian-Japanese war is not a typical topic for anime, and I suddenly became intrigued. But what really won my heart was the research that went into recreating the world, both from a historical standpoint and a biodiversity perspective. I remember an article about how the person who worked on the flora and fauna in the anime was going crazy attempting to draw realistic herrings, which were abundant in Hokkaido at the time. However, Golden Kamuy is not just a historical reenactment but also a riveting story full of strong characters, some of which actually existed. I also cannot deny how much the theme songs have contributed to my love for that series, and now, when I eat a really tasty dish, I can’t help saying “Hinna, hinna!”    – Francesco Ventura

 


Haikyu!!
Released 2017
Production I.G.

I haven’t been so enamoured with a show quite like Haikyuu. Much like Shoyo Hinata himself, it was exciting to see this passionate volleyball series take off and continue to fly. What really makes Haikyuu is the characters, how much they clearly care for each other, and their drive for mutual success. Also the third season, which takes place during a singular championship match, is some of the most gripping television I’ve ever watched. Haikyuu is one of this decade’s best and I can’t wait to see it come back early next year.     – Kyle Cardine

 


Humanity Has Declined
Released 2012
AIC A.S.T.A

Combine a cute, pastel color palette, a nihilistic worldview, and an acidic sense of humor, and you get Humanity Has Declined, a post-apocalyptic series that posits that maybe the slow decay of human civilization into absurdity and obscurity isn’t such a bad thing after all. Sharp, cynical, and unapologetically weird, Humanity Has Declined is also surprisingly sentimental. If a show can make you tear-up over the plight of a lonely satellite, then it’s definitely worth your time.     – Paul Chapman


Hyouka
Released 2012
Kyoto Animation

I love mysteries! I love riddles! And I love uncovering big secrets! I am a very curious person and there are few things that suck me in as quickly and deeply as good mystery stories—which is why I hold Hyouka so dear to my heart as it defies so many expectations of the genre.

Van Dine’s 7th rule declares that “No lesser crime than murder will suffice” for a mystery story but Hyouka takes this rule and dashes as far away from it as possible. Instead, it focuses on rather mundane seeming mysteries that any of us could encounter everyday and thus provides a more personal connection to its cast. Add the beautiful animation of KyoAni and fantastic direction by the late Yasuhiro Takemoto, and you get a completely unique series that makes you feel more connected to its characters than any high-and-mighty, know-it-all detective will ever be able to.

Also, special shoutout to its brilliant double-layered meta twist in the show’s second arc. Not even Umineko managed to blow me away with a question as simple as “What about the rope?”.     – Rene Kayser


In This Corner of the World
Released 2016
MAPPA

In This Corner of the World depicts war in a way a lot of other movies set during World War II do not: tedious. Where other movies during Japan’s wartime may focus on the soldiers and a glorification of battle, In This Corner of the World is far more concerned with the everyday lives of its citizens and the sacrifices made in order to survive. The film is also a success story for director Sunao Katabuchi and MAPPA, starting from a crowdfunding project that would go on to win countless awards, including the 40th Japan Academy Prize for Best Animation. MAPPA was successful in bringing to life Fumiyo Kono’s manga depicting life right outside of Hiroshima before, during, and after the war, and is required viewing alongside other period classics such as Grave of the Fireflies and Barefoot Gen.     – Kyle Cardine

 


Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress
Released 2016
Wit Studio

It’s not really fair to call Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress Attack on Train,” but if that inspires more people to watch it, so be it! Beyond the beautiful animation and some really awesome setpieces, there’s nothing I love more about this anime than the distinctly ‘80s OVA character designs. It totally makes sense, too, because they come from none other than Haruhiko Mikimoto, a veteran of the industry known for designing characters for the likes of the original Macross, Mobile Suit Gundam 0080, and Megazone 23.      – Joe Luster


Kaguya-sama: Love is War
Released 2019
A-1 Pictures

Anime is rife with “will they or won’t they” stories of two people in love but Kaguya-sama: Love is War dives deep into the trenches and comes out as one of the best romcoms ever made. Kaguya-sama director Shinichi Omata – under the name Mamoru Hatakeyama – was trained on series such as Madoka Magica and Arakawa Under the Bridge at Shaft and the studio’s style can be felt here alongside Omata’s own style. Couple that with on-point animation, the relationship between all the school council members, great gags, and Chika, and you get a series that everyone can fall in love with (especially that second ED!), not that we’d say we’re in love with it.   – Daryl Harding with it.    – Daryl Harding


Kids on the Slope
Released 2012
MAPPA

If Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo didn’t already clue you in, music and Shinichiro Watanabe are one of anime’s great peanut butter + chocolate combinations. This perfect pairing was exemplified even further in MAPPA and Tezuka Productions’ 2012 adaptation of Yuki Kodama’s josei manga Kids on the Slope. Come for the lovingly animated jazz jams and a Yoko Kanno soundtrack, stay for a time-tested tale of earnest friendship.    – Joe Luster


Katanagatari
Released 2010
White Fox

Katanagatari is really, really good, and has some of the absolute best character writing and action choreography I’ve ever seen in TV anime, but it’s really not for everyone. First off, each episode is about double the length of a normal anime episode (generally around 50 minutes long). Secondly, there’s… a lot… there’s just so much talking. I’d say about 60-70% of each episode is comprised of dialog that, a good portion of the time, is sort of difficult to follow. BUT despite that high barrier of entry, Katanagatari is an extremely rewarding watch, with plot elements set up in each episode that ultimately pay off in beautifully satisfying ways in the last two episodes. The simple art style is charming and allows the animators plenty of freedom for some absolutely stellar battle scenes. Protagonists Shichika (country bumpkin idiot/OP powerhouse) and Togame (highly intelligent and prissy tsundere) have one of my favorite character dynamics since I first watched the main cast of Samurai Champloo and parting with them at the end of the series genuinely left me sad for a good while afterwards. Also, stick around to the end and I promise you you’ll cry. It has one of those endings.    – Cayla Coats


Kino’s Journey -the Beautiful World-
Released 2017
Lerche

The first adaptation of Kino no Tabi in 2003 was a meditative series that gradually immersed you in its melancholic atmosphere. Due to the simple character design and non-detailed backgrounds, it was hard to call that series beautiful, but that was precisely its beauty.

The new 2017 adaptation from Studio Lerche is strikingly different from the first: it’s light, vivid and designed in the moe style; however the essence remains the same. Kino’s Journey is still a collection of philosophical parables on issues of morality, politics and personal freedom. Rather than trying to surpass its predecessor, the 2017 adaptation presented a modern look at the story of Kino. The 2003 adaptation proved to us that the world is not black and white, and the 2017 series brought colors to this world.      – Azaly Zeldin


K-on!!
Released 2010
Kyoto Animation

K-ON!! was a series that helped define half a decade of anime, of which its influence is still seen in series like Yuru Yuri. The Kyoto Animation masterpiece, helmed by director Naoko Yamada, set the standard for slice of life anime series with its witty banter, realistic relationships, beautiful animation, and great music. To me, these girls were like friends, people I wanted to see happy.  Ultimately, no series has been able to recapture the same magic as K-ON!!, with few even coming close. As the sequel to Yamada’s first work (K-ON! In 2009), she was able to flex all her prowess and deliver a series that feels like a warm cup of tea on a cold day.    – Daryl Harding

 


Kyousougiga
Released 2013
Toei Animation

Kyousougiga has one of those reputations for being off-the-wall weird and difficult to follow–similar to the initial reactions shows like FLCL and Paranoia Agent received back in the heyday of Toonami. But, honestly, behind all the colorful abstract aesthetics and alternate-history-Kyoto-trapped-in-a-painting it isn’t really that deep. There’s a girl who wants to find her missing father, three siblings struggling to meet the expectations left by their parents’ reputations, and two star-crossed lovers who are deeply flawed but loving parents. It’s a story about family. The series is admittedly difficult to follow for the first two episodes, but the vibrant setting, outstanding animation, and, most importantly, absolutely engaging and lovable cast really carry you through the experience until plot threads start falling into place. Kyousougiga is unlike any other anime I’ve ever seen, and it’s a lovingly told story I want to share with everyone in my life.  – Cayla Coats


Laid-Back Camp
Released 2018
C Station

Every anime that is based around a strong-willed good guy punching a less-strong-willed bad guy has its roots in Dragon Ball. Its influence cannot be understated and its legacy is tremendous. That said, how did Dragon Ball fit in the 2010s, in an age of titles that it’s spawned like My Hero Academia and One Piece? Well, quite nicely, actually. Dragon Ball Super never tries to “out Z” its predecessor, instead giving us a wider look at the franchise’s supporting cast that balances the Goku brawls that we want (and deserve.) It will likely never be the most revolutionary manga/anime in history again, but Super proves that Akira Toriyama’s classic world and characters are forever welcome.    – Cayla Coats


Land of the Lustrous
Released 2017
Studio Orange

If you’re still in some way, shape or form hesitant about 3D anime, stop reading this right now and watch Land of the Lustrous. I cannot think of a better anime that shows that a full 3D project is possible, and that it can also exceed expectations. Not only has Studio Orange’s visual direction gone on to influence US projects (Spider-Verse in particular, which has now influenced Japanese creators!), Land of the Lustrous’ harrowing story about the loss of adolescence and distrust of authority makes for one hell of a package. More people need to watch this show. #JusticeforLustrous!!!     – Kyle Cardine


Little Witch Academia
Released 2013
Studio Trigger

What started as a project for young animators took flight overnight, winning the hearts of fans worldwide. Little Witch Academia blends the distinctive style of Studio TRIGGER (especially that of Gurren Lagann animation designer Yoh Yoshinari), a charming coming-of-age story, and a throwback to the early days of anime when magical girls and witch girls were practically one and the same. From its Anime Mirai roots to its series evolution to the interactive game spinoff, the magic of Akko and her friends is infectious… and a reminder that TRIGGER has a lot more range than we often give them credit for.      – Kara Dennison


Liz and the Blue Bird
Released 2018
Kyoto Animation

The plot first seven or so minutes of Liz and the Blue Bird can be described in six words–two girls are walking to school. How is it, then, that something so seemingly benign and simple brought my friend and I to tears when we first watched it together? The way Mizore’s footsteps perfectly match the rhythm of Nozomi’s, the way those footsteps become the rhythm of a slowly building soundtrack, how Mizore’s idolization of Nozomi is shown through the quietly desperate way she mimics her friend’s every move. A lot is conveyed through visuals and sound. That opening truly sets the table for the rest of Liz and the Blue Bird. Sound! Euphonium is a very thoughtfully directed series, but each episode ultimately has a narrative structure built around providing a satisfying plot arc. Liz isn’t concerned with that. The film’s story of two high school friends slowly drifting apart is told more through the abstract, beautiful interplay of images and music than conventional narrative. I like to think of the mainline Sound! Euphonium series as a novel and Liz and the Blue Bird as a poem. They compliment each other very well, but Liz stands on its own as a masterpiece of the art form.  – Cayla Coats


Love, Chunibyou & Other Delusions
Released 2014
Kyoto Animation

Before Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions, the anime community didn’t have the term ‘chunibyo’ in its lexicon. Think about that; one anime gave us a new word to use that wasn’t translated from Japanese to English for the English title. Beyond just a word, Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions was director Tatsuya Ishihara doing what Ishihara does best: a cute series with fun characters, with a touch of love, and a whole lotta amazing animation done by the talented staff at Kyoto Animation. The “will they, won’t they” of Rikka and Yuuta’s relationship does gripe many, but you can’t deny watching it all unfold, especially with the help of the supporting characters of Nibutani and Dekomori, is a joy to watch, even if the lewdest thing they do is hold hands….     – Daryl Harding


March comes in like a lion
Released 2016
Studio Shaft

March comes in like a lion could be just another anime about sports with a strong message about friendship, but, the series offers a little bit more. Following the life of Kiriyama Rei, viewers are presented with a dark atmosphere initially: the protagonist deals with depression. Rei needs to deal with a hard life with his family while needing to be a good shogi player. In this chaotic situation, he meets people that change his life: the Kawamoto sisters, three girls who offer Kiriyama a second family.

March comes in like a lion is a journey about self discovery. It’s a very important series about dealing with a serious illness, but more than that, the anime shows topics like bullying, overcoming obstacles, and responsibilities when entering adulthood. The series has wonderful casting with great character development. It’s a brilliant piece of work that deserves to be appreciated by the new generations and audiences beyond our current anime fanbase.   – Carlos Moncken


Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms
Released 2018
P.A. Works

March comes in like a lion could be just another anime about sports with a strong message about friendship, but, the series offers a little bit more. Following the life of Kiriyama Rei, viewers are presented with a dark atmosphere initially: the protagonist deals with depression. Rei needs to deal with a hard life with his family while needing to be a good shogi player. In this chaotic situation, he meets people that change his life: the Kawamoto sisters, three girls who offer Kiriyama a second family.

March comes in like a lion is a journey about self discovery. It’s a very important series about dealing with a serious illness, but more than that, the anime shows topics like bullying, overcoming obstacles, and responsibilities when entering adulthood. The series has wonderful casting with great character development. It’s a brilliant piece of work that deserves to be appreciated by the new generations and audiences beyond our current anime fanbase.   – Carlos Moncken


MEGALOBOX
Released 2018
TMS Entertainment

What do you get when anime studio TMS Entertainment and director Yo Moriyama put together an original anime to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the legendary Ashita no Joe boxing manga? You get the hard-hitting, metal-on-metal world of MEGALOBOX, in which even the junkiest of Junk Dogs can aim for the top of a futuristic spin on boxing. Somehow, TMS made this series look like it came straight out of 1998, and that’s a high compliment. The fights are decent, but the contentious story of Junk Dog and his morally dubious trainer are what really give MEGALOBOX its lasting impact.      – Joe Luster


Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid
Released 2017
Kyoto Animation

This was a series that became one of my most unexpected favorites, as well as for a lot of other people that were initially wary at first, because it subverted expectations by being genuinely funny and heartfelt. From the first episode to the last, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid lets us see the growth of Kobayashi as a person and her relationship with Tohru, which grows even further during the progression of the series to include Kanna, Lucoa and Elma in one big combined family.

One of the biggest elements that made the series one of my favorites was how it handled the quieter moments between characters. Whether it was Kobayashi learning to get used to her new family, Tohru learning how to care for Kobayashi and growing closer to the extended cast of characters, and Kanna just being her bug eating self, Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid is a definite must watch if you want to see a genuinely great series.     – Humberto Saabedra


 

KONOSUBA -God’s blessing on this wonderful world!
Released 2016
Studio Deen

KONOSUBA doesn’t really find its voice until the second season, but as soon as the show starts firing on all cylinders, it’s a comedic masterpiece, reminiscent of the classic British sci-fi comedy Red Dwarf in its dedication to skewering genre conventions and making a cast full of buffoons, loonies, and creeps somehow lovable. KONOSUBA is low-brow humor at its finest, and it pokes fun at isekai tropes better than any of its contemporaries. It’s every D&D campaign that has ever derailed spectacularly rolled into one slick package.    – Paul Chapman


Mobile Suit Gundam the Origin
Released 2019
Sunrise

A lot of Gundam fans will tell you to not watch Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin if you’re unfamiliar with the Universal Century. Well, as someone just starting to dip my toes in, I’m here to tell you I did not listen to them and still absolutely loved my time with this OVA series. Adapting Yoshikazu Yasuhiko’s manga, specifically the arc that covers the rise of Char Aznable, Gundam: The Origin gives Gundam’s political backstory an incredible amount of character and weight, fully exploring how the characters positioned themselves by the start of the original 1979 series. Regardless of your Gundam experience, The Origin’s storytelling and visuals make it an incredibly compelling series.      – Kyle Cardine


Monogatari
Released 2013
Studio Shaft

Monogatari is nothing short of a behemoth of a series with over 100 episodes and three films. The first season of Bakemonogatari still holds the crown as the highest selling anime of all time in Japan, and its follow up series are not too far behind. The franchise helped solidify what we now know as the distinct “Shaft” style that can now be seen in anime studios across Japan – some with older Shaft staff members that were regulars on older Monogatari series, and some trying to emulate a style they like. While the staff at Shaft gave the series its style and look, Nisio Isin’s trademark witty writing and deep characters gave Monogatari its heart and depth that fans adore.     – Daryl Harding


Mr. Osomatsu
Released 2015
Studio Pierrot

What happens when the child stars of a comedy anime grow up, never leave the house, and only seemingly interact with each other, their parents, and the same small group of bizarre individuals that live in their neighborhood? Well, in Mr. Osomatsu, they grow absolutely insane and this makes their antics more absolutely watchable than ever. Mr. Osomatsu is hilarious, and its stories of sibling rivalries that always inevitably spiral into madness make for two breezy seasons. Fingers crossed that the second season (and movie) isn’t the last that we’ve seen of the six same faces.   – Daniel Dockery


New Game!
Released 2016
Doga Kobo

Work is serious business—especially when you’re Aoba, a talented designer fresh out of high school who just got a job at the game studio responsible for creating her favorite JRPG of all time. New Game does not delve too deeply into the real-life details of game design, but it’s an entertaining story with lots of charismatic sidekicks. Studio Doga Kobo brings comedy and tenderness in equal levels at the right times, with some fantastic subtleness and expression. The second season goes even further, showing many characters growing way above their well-established roles and creating some of the series’ most hard-hitting conflicts and dilemmas. Although marred a bit by some fanservice scenes that are a bit of hit-and-miss, New Game!! is still a real gem of the last decade.   – Carlos Moncken


The Night is Short, Walk on Girl
Released 2017

After The Tatami Galaxy anime, the great director Masaaki Yuasa once again adapts a novel by Tomihiko Morimi. To realize this, The Tatami Galaxy staff is back, including Yusuke Nakamura, one of the most talented artists of his generation, who is involved in the character designs, and even the fantastic composer Michiru Ōshima, who provides the soundtrack. The result is The Night Is Short, Walk On Girl, an extraordinary piece of animation with haunting beauty.      – Joan Lainé


Non Non Biyori
Released 2013
Silver Link

Renge Miyauchi and her four friends live in a town so small that they are the only students at the local school. They live a life of lazy days spent outdoors wandering through the scenic countryside. You won’t find much plot in the world of Non Non Biyori. It’s a slice of life series much more interested in capturing the small mundane details of the world, like the games Renge and Natsumi play with erasers to pass the time at school, or the task of taking care of class pets. There’s something really beautiful, almost melancholy about the series. Oftentimes the characters will be walking and holding a spirited conversation and the camera will drift away from them and focus on the gorgeous background art. Their voices will trail off into the distance and we’ll be left with a minute or two of almost meditative still shots of nature accompanied only by some sparse, lilting piano chords. Renge and her friends live a life of quiet beauty and friendship, insulated from many of the troubles associated with urban living. The world can often be an unkind place, and we sometimes need fiction that gives us a glimpse into a softer, kinder way of life. When the stress and sadness of the world wear on you, remember you have a friend in Ren-chon and her classmates.     – Cayla Coats


One-Punch Man
Released 2015
Madhouse / J.C. Staff

ONE’s original web manga for One-Punch Man was a hit for a reason. It’s hilarious and has some great takes on superhero tropes, but it was missing one key component: the inimitable art of Eyeshield 21 illustrator Yusuke Murata. When anime studio Madhouse brought his dynamic lines to life in the anime adaptation’s first season, it was absolutely electric, and while J.C. Staff’s second season doesn’t hit the same skyscraping highs, the anime is the perfect encapsulation of what makes Saitama and the rest of this ridiculous roster of heroes and monsters so endearing.      – Joe Luster


Panty & Stocking
Released 2010
Gainax

When Gainax initially showed the first images of Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, many people thought the same thing: “Doesn’t this style look much like a certain western series starring three girls with powers?” What we didn’t foresee is that Gainax would bring out a more edgy and cheeky side, intimidated by nothing while animating the series. Panty and Stocking are two angel sisters, who were expelled from heaven because of their “inappropriate” behavior, so they must atone for their guilt by hunting creatures in Daten City under the desperate supervision of an unorthodox reverend. Crazy action, surreal but funny situations, and distinct animation make this series one of the most unique that the anime world has offered us in the last decade. If you are able to endure its excessive coarseness and its banal way of dealing with certain issues, you’ll enjoy it a lot.     – Sergio Vaca

 


Parasyte -the maxim-
Released 2014
Madhouse

This decade saw a lot of anime projects that handled older, never-before-adapted manga, with Parasyte -the maxim- being one of the higher profile ones we finally got to see. Telling the story of Shinichi Izumi and his alien-infected right hand, Parasyte is a bloody supernatural thriller that does a good job of respecting the source material while also adapting it to a new era. Shinichi’s journey, and how the series questions the morality of handling human-possessing aliens, is something that still successfully translated decades after the manga’s original release.     – Kyle Cardine


Planet With
Released 2018
J.C. Staff

There are only a handful of anime that I’d praise primarily for how they explore their themes, and Planet With is one of the first among them. A show that crams 52 episodes worth of character moments into a lean 12 episode package, Planet With deals with thorny philosophical concepts such as justice, pacifism, and cultural imperialism as well as personal quests for forgiveness and redemption, and it explores these ideas with both kindness and unwavering moral clarity. It’s a great series with a beautiful message, and I can’t recommend it highly enough.     – Paul Chapman


Pop Team Epic
Released 2018
Kamikaze Douga

On the surface, a show that can be described as “a comedy that is 11 minutes long and repeats itself immediately afterwards, but only changes the voices” doesn’t sound very appealing; in fact, most people would consider it a total waste of time. True, a lot of Pop Team Epic’s charm sounds absolutely terrible on paper: nonsensical jokes, inside baseball industry comedy and internet humor that follows no discernable plot or structure and based on a gag manga would likely rank pretty low on most people’s lists of “good shows.” You’ll probably know if you hate or love Pop Team Epic within the first episode’s 24 minute time limit, but being so divisive is what makes it so unique and impressive. Pop Team Epic transcends all logical reasons why it shouldn’t work to just be perhaps one of the best abstract comedies in the last 10 years. Popuko and Pipimi’s trail of terror is only heightened by the literal avalanche of legendary voice actors lending themselves to the show; somehow, Pop Team Epic just WORKS, and we’re all better off because of it.     – Nicole Mejias


Princess Jellyfish
Released 2010
Brian’s Base

It’s rare to see anime written from the true point of view of a female fan. There’s plenty that fans of any gender can see eye-to-eye on, but the anime take on a girl turning out to be an otaku is often pretty samey: it’s shocking because she’s pretty or popular (or a girl). Princess Jellyfish is one of those rare precious gems that doesn’t depict female otaku-dom as unicorn-rare, but digs into what it really feels like to be a young woman in that walk of life. Seeing it on display in the British Museum’s manga exhibit earlier this year was no surprise: it deserves to be showed off large, from its charming art to its heartfelt story.     – Kara Dennison


PROMARE
Released 2019
Studio Trigger

Promare is full concentrated Trigger: A visual suckerpunch with passionate characters, intense action, and a killer soundtrack. On top of all of that, it’s also a movie that’s looking to lead the way for future 2D/3D hybrid projects. It was really exciting to see Promare evolve from announcement to release: What started as an announcement at AX with a singular promo image came fully around to have multiple rescheduled showings in the US. There’s a reason you should be excited every time Hiroyuki Imaishi and Kazuki Nakashima collaborate, and Promare is an encapsulation of it all. Promare gave me some of the best movie theatre experiences (yes, plural!) this decadeA movie that’s ready to party and wants the audience to go along for the ride.     – Kyle Cardine

 


THE PROMISED NEVERLAND
Released 2019
Cloverworks

Fans were predicting an anime adaptation of THE PROMISED NEVERLAND well before any announcement was made—and it’s not hard to see why. The story swerves from sweet tranquility to existential horror in one fell swoop, continuing to cling to its deceptive image while its protagonists plot their escape. The camera angles are paranoia-inducing: whose point of view are we watching from? How much does anyone know at any given time? With a second season on the horizon and the bandage ripped away, this gorgeous shonen series has nowhere to go but up.     – Kara Dennison


Psycho-Pass
Released 2012
Production I.G.

The early 2010s saw the rise of Gen Urobuchi’s anime writing starpower, particularly with Psycho-Pass’ release after Madoka and Fate/Zero. The show imagines a future where algorithms determine everything from career to morality, something that seems to be creeping into reality more every day. Provocative for its time, Psycho-Pass has had a lasting effect as a gripping dystopian sci-fi cop drama among the Urobuchi repertoire.     – Kyle Cardine


Samurai Flamenco
Released 2013
Manglobe

There’s nothing quite like a good bait-and-switch anime, where the plot flips mid-series and reveals you’ve been watching a completely different story all along. Where shows like GaoGaiGar turn on a dime at the halfway point, Samurai Flamenco swivels every handful of episodes, peeling back a new layer of the madness. Is it a gag series? An idol series? Super sentai? Is any of what we’re seeing even real? In the midst of the chaos, it also manages to be a love letter to vintage tokusatsu.    – Kara Dennison


Sarazanmai
Released 2019
MAPPA

Sarazanmai is visually gorgeous. It’s a show that has the aesthetic sharpness of a highly acclaimed graphic design firm. Through all of the artful abstract imagery and stunning splashes of red and pink, we are told a story of connection and loss. Three middle school boys–Kazuki, Enta, and Toi–are all troubled in ways that keep them from building genuine connections with those around them. While the show was airing, it got somewhat of a reputation for being difficult to follow and full of difficult to decipher imagery (a lot of it having to do with butts). For my money, though, the show wants to tell a simple but affecting story about the ways we let our pain keep us from growing, and how being brave enough to reach out and connect to someone else is often the only way we can heal from that pain.    – Cayla Coats


Silver Spoon
Released 2013
A-1 Pictures

Silver Spoon does one thing that one could deem impossible, making learning agriculture fun. Fullmetal Alchemist manga creator Hiromu Arakawa brings the farm-to-table manga to life, and Tomohiko Ito brought the table-to-screen before passing off the reins to Kotomi Deai to work on Erased. Arakawa and the team at A-1 Pictures bring the town of Obihiro, Hokkaido to life in how the characters live in the declining city. The coming-of-age story that transports Hachiken from his suburban home to the middle of farmland somehow gave us one of the most thoughtful, and lighthearted take on the genre that left me wanting more. I never thought I could get so invested in a pig!    – Daryl Harding

 


Sound! Euphonium
Released 2014
Kyoto Animation

Sound! Euphonium, the adolescent story of the members of the Kitauji High band, is in every sense an absolute pleasure to watch. The animation is gorgeous, the music (both in the background score and the pieces played by the school band) is superb, and the writing and direction are on par with some of the better live action films I’ve seen. What I love best about this series, though, is the protagonist Kumiko Oumae. Kumiko has become one of my absolute favorite characters in fiction. Her growth from someone more or less adrift and apathetic about herself, those around her, and her direction in life into the driven, empathetic, and lovely person she is at the end of the series is truly a delight to witness. It’s one thing for a series to depict a character with easily discernible goals and passions, but Euphonium manages to–through some absolutely terrific writing sold by the amazing and subtle character animation–convincingly portray a young woman who is finding her way in life. Getting to meet and grow with Kumiko was and continues to be one of my favorite experiences in my anime fandom.   – Cayla Coats


Space Brothers
Released 2012
A-1 Pictures

Growing up surrounded by stories of space missions wasn’t uncommon in my area — most kids at my school were the children of rocket scientists and NASA engineers, as we’re close to a major lab. Space Brothers is one of a very few titles I’ve seen, anime or otherwise, that manages to duplicate that feeling of love, excitement, and hands-on involvement. The story of two brothers, each with their own aeronautical aspirations, brought back that childhood wonder of the stars being oddly close but also just out of reach. It was inspiring to follow both Hibito, racing straight toward his dream, and his brother Mutta, picking up again after a false start. Plus, you can’t beat that opening — it’s never a bad time to “Feel So Moon.”


Space Patrol Luluco
Released 2016
Studio Trigger

Considering the pure kineticism for which they’re known, there’s no better candidate for short-form animation than TRIGGER. Space Patrol Luluco is a gag-a-minute series of shorts that, despite its overt silliness, has the kind of heart at its core that will keep you coming back for repeat visits over the years. It’s the very essence of “short but sweet,” and to date it might be my low-key favorite thing TRIGGER and Imaishi have done together.       – Joe Luster


SSSS.GRIDMAN
Released 2018
Studio Trigger

The genre of tokusatsu (which encapsulates such series as Godzilla, Kamen Rider and Super Sentai) has a long legacy in Japan, and SSSS. Gridman is a grand tribute to it, with hero and monster designs that seem straight out of an episode of Ultraman. But SSSS.Gridman isn’t just a non-stop homage or only worth a watch if you’re looking for a nostalgia trip. In fact, over the course of twelve episodes, you’ll meet a bunch of wonderful characters (and villains), get to view some terrifically produced kaiju fights, and engage in a genre that’s rewarding even if you’ve never seen a Godzilla vs Anything. SSSS.Gridman was an underrated gem from 2018, and deserves to be enjoyed for years to come.  – Daniel Dockery


Sword Art Online
Released 2012
A-1 Pictures

Ah, Kirito, the ultimate self-insert protagonist who is totally awesome at everything he does. His adventure through the various virtual world of Sword Art Online has been a rollercoaster from the you-die-in-the-game-you-die-in-real-life beginning, and A-1 Pictures have continuously knocked each season out of the park to create one of the most impressive light novel adaptations to date. SAO has come a long way since the mid-season whiplash of its inaugural outing, but even the mixed first season sold me on the potential of the series and its ever-expanding scope.     – Joe Luster


Symphogear
Released 2012
Satelight/Encourage Films/Studio Pastoral

The rallying cry of Anitwitter in 2019 is “Watch Symphogear.” But why? So many reasons. It’s a mash-up of magical girl aesthetic, giant robot tech, and idol singer determination—like Macross if the idols and robots occupied the same space. The animation is gorgeous. The action is epic. The songs are bold and powerful, and actually sound as though they’re happening in the moment. These are genuine battle-cries being sung, not a safe CD track behind a microphone. And every time you think you’ve seen it at its biggest and most stunning, there’s a new season waiting in the wings. In conclusion, Anitwitter is right. Watch Symphogear.       – Kara Dennison


The Tale of Princess Kaguya
Released 2013
Studio Ghibli

In April of 2018, the world lost legendary director, screenwriter, and producer Isao Takahata, co-founder of Studio Ghibli. To say this loss left a hole in the hearts of anime fans would be a massive understatement. Five years prior, he delivered what would be his final feature film, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, a resplendent take on a classic of Japanese folklore. From the sumptuous watercolor visuals to the elegant storytelling, Kaguya exemplifies the quiet giant of anime that Isao Takahata had established himself as throughout his career. It’s a singular gem of a film.      – Joe Luster


Tamako -love story-
Released 2013
Kyoto Animation

Silver Spoon does one thing that one could deem impossible, making learning agriculture fun. Fullmetal Alchemist manga creator Hiromu Arakawa brings the farm-to-table manga to life, and Tomohiko Ito brought the table-to-screen before passing off the reins to Kotomi Deai to work on Erased. Arakawa and the team at A-1 Pictures bring the town of Obihiro, Hokkaido to life in how the characters live in the declining city. The coming-of-age story that transports Hachiken from his suburban home to the middle of farmland somehow gave us one of the most thoughtful, and lighthearted take on the genre that left me wanting more. I never thought I could get so invested in a pig!    – Daryl Harding


Tanaka-kun Is Always Listless
Released 2016
Silver Link

I could write an impassioned paragraph about what makes Tanaka-kun is Always Listless the epitome of slow-paced, laid-back, supremely relatable comedy, but that seems antithetical to the spirit of the work. Suffice to say that Tanaka is a very lazy boy whose entire existence is a big mood, and the comic timing for the series is pitch perfect, and the whole series is as soothing to the soul as a glass of warm milk before bedtime, and now I’m gonna go take a nap. Zzzzzz.      – Paul Chapman


The Tatami Galaxy
Released 2010
Madhouse

Hindsight is a heck of a thing. Not everybody spent their undergraduate years as a self-absorbed narcissist with grand delusions of the rewards that life had in store for them, but that description fits my college years to a T, and so The Tatami Galaxy tastes to me like a giant slice of humble pie. Pitched to me by a close friend as one part Fight Club and one part Groundhog Day, The Tatami Galaxy is an extremely literary and intensely hilarious mind-bender from Masaaki Yuasa (based on the book by Tomihiko Morimi), and it’s the kind of work that puts the “high” in high art.      – Paul Chapman


That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime
Released 2018
Eight Bit

Anime overflows with adaptations of isekai fantasy novels where the protagonists are reborn as over-powered beings in worlds of swords and sorcery, but few series can claim a main character as kindhearted as That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime. Although this may change in the second season when Rimuru Tempest and company come into greater contact with the outside world, I’m always pleased when empathy and a willingness to work together are key to solving problems. Bonus points for having a nonbinary character in the leading role.      – Paul Chapman


Tiger & Bunny
Released 2011
Sunrise

On its face, Tiger and Bunny was supposed to be yet another shonen action series with superheroes, with the added twist of corporate sponsorship and mass media playing a role in the perception of heroism. What we ended up getting was one of the most heartfelt and honest depictions of adulthood, fatherhood and the constant battle to perform under pressure, with nearly dire consequences for both Kotetsu “Tiger” Kaburagi and his partner Barnaby “Bunny” Brooks Jr. 

Tiger and Bunny deserves to be on this list not just for the depth of its narrative, but for the subtle way in which each character plays a vital role in shaping the series, from the sub plot between Kotetsu and Barnaby learning to trust each other, to Blue Rose struggling with the decision to remain a Hero or quit to pursue her true dreams of becoming a singer, all the while developing feelings for Kotetsu, and the most memorable subplot involving Kotetsu nearly losing his powers while struggling with keeping his relationship with his daughter intact. Tiger and Bunny not only deserves its place on the list, it would be shocking if it wasn’t included.     – Humberto Saabedra


The Wind Rises
Released 2013
Studio Ghibli

Hayao Miyazaki’s latest feature length film is, at its heart, about flight. Jiro Horikoshi, a maverick designer of some of deadly warplanes used by Japan in World War II is the protagonist of the film. As Miyazaki explores Horikoshi’s life in his film, we are treated to lovingly animated scenes of our hero working tirelessly on a drafting board, each stroke of his pencil and adjustment of his ruler meticulously rendered in lifelike subtlety. The film establishes a difficult push and pull between Jiro’s deeply held love for his work and the love of his wife, Nahoko. The film insulates Jiro (and us) from the implications of building machines of death for a global conflict, with absolutely no depictions of the war abroad. And yet Miyazaki pierces the facade in small but significant ways. It can be seen in the blood Nahoko produces in a tuberculosis-induced coughing fit, or the outright terrifying portrayal of the 1923 Kanto Earthquake. There is a subtle yet tragic push and pull between Jiro’s devotion to airplane design and the dual outside calls of his family life and the moral ambiguity of designing weapons of war. There is no concrete judgment passed on Jiro by the end of the film, nothing as easy and simple as that. We are just left with a postwar dream of planes piercing a beautiful and eternal sky, and Nahoko shining like the sun cresting over a gentle ridge of clouds.    – Cayla Coats

 


Wolf Children
Released 2012
Studio Chizu

Wolf Children is one of the most influential movies to me as it presents crucial messages in a fairy-tale concept about love, pain, struggle, self-acceptance, and moving on. There are multiple facets that I love about this movie: the skillfulness of connecting a fictional story with strong realism, the main theme remains solid although it is shown through different characters who live together but have distinctive paths, both the animated scenes and the soundtrack are marvelous and impactful, and the wonderful director’s vision. Mamoru Hosoda has always dazzled me, but in this particular movie, his work has impacted me personally and made me focus on the deeper aspects of things. Wolf Children reminds me to have more compassion toward others, put myself in their shoes, but most importantly to remember not to overlook the details as they are what make life what it is.     – Reem Ali


Violet Evergarden
Released 2017
Kyoto Animation

It’s a safe bet to say that Violet Evergarden is one of the prettiest TV anime ever made (as of 2019). The Kyoto Animation produced series deals with the ramifications of an orphaned teenager, who – scarred by war – is trying to find her own place in the world, ultimately finding her calling in writing letters for others and growing alongside the people Violet meets. The emotional gut punch of the series shouldn’t be understated with author Kana Akatsuki crafting a world that is then built upon by director Taichi Ishidate and screenplay writer Reiko Yoshida.

For me, every episode was a rollercoaster of emotions that made me feel everything from joy to sadness to empathy and so forth. Only the team at Kyoto Animation could craft something as magical as Violet Evergarden, which makes it a must watch.     – Daryl Harding

 


ZOMBIE LAND SAGA
Released 2018
MAPPA

ZOMBIE LAND SAGA turned out to be a brilliant parody of the whole idol industry. The (seemingly) complete disregard of the girls’ well-being by their producer Tatsumi Koutarou felt like a comical peek behind the curtain of the stress real idols have to endure. But this is only where the show starts off! It follows this fantastic setup with not only impeccable comedic timing and animation but also presents us engrossing backstories for its cast that finish off with real bangers as each episode ends on a cathartic (and thematically fitting) performance by all the girls—with the obvious highlight being Lily’s fantastic episode and heartbreaking performance.

ZOMBIE LAND SAGA made me love a genre that I avoided like the plague before. Maybe I’ll actually get around to giving Love Live a second chance one of these days …     – Rene Kayser