Here is a small list of some of my favourite anime which I’d happily ‘recommend to a friend’. It is by no means scientific, so don’t complain to me if you hate them. I will regularly update and add to this list!
1) Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (2009)
This is my all-time favourite anime series. The wonderful FMA:Brotherhood is based on the original manga and is not to be confused with Fullmetal Alchemist (2003), which released before the manga was finished. It’s a fairly deep alchemical-magic story set in the early 20th century that questions topics from sibling rivalry to religion, territorial warfare and artificial life. By the end, we have been introduced to a large cast of very well-developed characters and suffered some brutal losses. The animation is crisp, the scenery is attractive and the feels-timing is spot-on.
For me, this is in joint first place with FMA:B but is good for rather different reasons. This anime is adapted from a visual novel and is set in a current-day Tokyo city. It’s not your standard sci-fi time travel and poses a rather interesting parallel world theory for those into that. There is also goofiness and tear-jerking aplenty. The characters are very interesting, even loveable at times, and I certainly found myself surprised by how much I cared about seemingly minor characters’ feelings. One caveat is the slow start – it only really gets rolling in the 5th or 6th episode. As with FMA:B, the animation is great and the timing is perfect.
3) Tokyo Ghoul
Starting this was a bit of a gamble for me. I actually found out about it after being taken in by some of the artwork of the main character’s mask. It’s really fricking cool. This is set in a Tokyo suburb during a Ghoul (read: vampire) crisis and takeover. It has some of the best choreographed fights in any anime and some truly excellent camera work. The characters are thoughtfully presented, and the feels-bashing as the main character’s personality changes is enough to make any adult weep. I’m eagerly awaiting the next season!
4) Fate/Stay:Night and Fate Zero
Be sure to steer well clear of the Studio Deen version of this, and stick with ufotable!
5) Owari no Seraph
7) Naruto and Naruto Shippuden
8) Akame ga Kill
9) Kill la Kill
10) Cowboy Bebop
I’ve only just cracked the ice on this one so I don’t know where to place it yet. I’m enjoying it so far, but it’s not up to the amazing quality of FMA:B if you’re after raw science-magic adventure.
I’m hesitant to suggest this one at all. It has so many good things going for it but it’s only 12 episodes, so the characters aren’t developed that much. If you want the full story, you’ll have to track down the manga.
This one is produced by an American company called RoosterTeeth. It’s got some really interesting lore and the animation is steadily improving in quality. Frustratingly little happens in each episode and you really have to do some digging into the wiki for the full backstory, but it’s worth the effort.
Again, I haven’t got very far with One Piece yet. It’s a bit too long to sink my teeth into properly when there are so many excellent shorter series available. It’s currently up to nearly 800 episodes, which is a daunting catch-up task for anyone who has any kind of a life away from a computer screen.