My Ten Favorite Anime Series

At work I like to organize some fun times at the end of every week — I even have a name for it, the “Friday Fluke.” Part of it is getting a drink, relaxing a bit with colleagues, and playing some games (our go-to tends to be various forms of Werewolf). Last week I introduced a new part to it, and that’s to encourage everyone to do a presentation about something they’re passionate about using the PechaKucha format. The idea is to have fun and get to know each other better, so it can be about anything, like your favorite albums, a trip you took, etc. I kicked it off with a round-up of my 10 favorite anime series (not including movies), and so here’s what I came up with, in alphabetical order.

Captain Harlock
Or to me, Albator, as he is known in French, which is the language I watched it as a kid. I believe it was the 1978 series, and it’s my favorite cartoon from my childhood. It’s a bit surprising in a way, because I’m sure so much of it went over my head, but I was obsessed with Harlock’s ship, and my go-to building project with my LEGO blocks was to create giant ships that looked like it.

Cowboy Bebop
I always consider this as one of my very favorite series, and I think it’s as close to perfect as a series gets for me. Great characters, an awesome soundtrack, and fun space adventures. What else do you need?

Future Boy Conan
Another series from the 70s (and in fact, 1978 as well), I only watched it a couple of years ago, and found it to be hugely enjoyable. Directed by Hayao Miyazaki, you do get a lot of proto-Ghibli feels, despite the admittedly crude animation (standard for the time).

Junji Ito Collection
I’m a huge fan of Junji Ito’s horror manga — favorites include Tomie and Uzumaki — and this is a fantastic adaptation of his short stories (each episode is made up of a few shorts). It was produced last year, but I already consider it a favorite.

Lupin III
I’m a longtime Lupin fan, and I’ve enjoyed pretty much everything I’ve seen, which includes various TV series, TV movies, and movies (Miyazaki’s Castle of Cagliostro is a fave). Most recently we got the Part V series, and it’s just as fun as any other Lupin series.

Based on the manga by Naoki Urasawa — one of my favorite mangaka — this anime adaptation is massive (over 70 episodes), and riveting. I absolutely loved watching it as it was airing, anxious to see where it would end up going (I had never read the manga, strangely).

Neon Genesis Evangelion
Well, it is a classic, and not for being a giant mech show, but rather for everything it did to deconstruct the mech genre, and mess with everyone’s expectations. I haven’t re-watched it since back in the day, but I am excited to revisit it when it shows up on Netflix this summer.

Paranoia Agent
I’m a huge fan of Satoshi Kon’s films, and loved this series — the only one he created — just as much. Psychologically daring and visually aggressive, same as with his movies.

Ronja, the Robber’s Daughter
Goro Miyazaki — Hayao Miyazaki’s son — doesn’t get a lot of love, but I quite enjoyed this series he directed a few years ago, the only Ghibli TV production. The use of CG was criticized, but I thought he managed to create a lovely series, with a lot of fun character moments.

Samurai Champloo
I usually consider my top 3 series to be this, Cowboy Bebop, and Monster. Just like Bebop, you get the fantastic soundtrack (here hip-hop instead of jazz), the great characters, and the fun adventure. Even better is how the hip-hop influences the aesthetics and pacing of the show.


Queen Millennia


This is an old Leiji Matsumoto series from the 80s that I somehow had never heard of, despite the fact that in the US it had been released alongside the 70s Captain Harlock series, which is one of my favorite series of all time (albeit I watched it in its French incarnation, as Albator). I’ve only watched the first episode, but was immediately sucked into the mysterious storyline that starts with the discovery of a 10th planet that is on a collision course with Earth. I’ve purposely not done any more digging about the series, as I don’t want to get spoiled, but it does indeed appear to tie into the rest of Matsumoto’s stuff. Yet another series to add to my current watchlist.

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Captain Harlock

I should start by saying that as a kid, Captain Harlock – or Albator, as I knew him in French – was my absolute favorite series. I loved that show so much, and my obsession with LEGO blocks was to constantly be building massive Arcadia-style ships, one after the other. So I was of course excited to see a CG animated version of it, and I must say, this film is stunning to look at. They really did an amazing job with the animation, and found the right balance between realism and the original look of the world and characters. In terms of the story, I honestly can’t remember if it’s similar to the series I watched as a kid (which would have been the one that aired in the early eighties), but it was fine, if not particularly special. I won’t lie, most of my enjoyment from watching this was for the visuals, and to see all of these characters in action, and the giant ship battles – although I wouldn’t have minded having a few more of those. I don’t know if it was a financial success, but I sure hope they continue to make more.