menPsyche is always interested in entertainment with powerful messages to motivate audiences. In this article, our Guest Post contributor, Mayank Dwivedi, dissects his Top 5 Anime series and explains why these original storytelling cartoon series should be on your watch list.
What is Anime?
Anime is the term given to Japanese cartoon series. It is a shortened version of the Japanese word animēshon, which means animation.
I watched my first anime in undergraduate college and have been hooked ever since.
Not only do I find anime original, but the storytelling and quality of animation make it a memorable watching experience.
Many Hollywood movies and TV series have, over time, been inspired or adopted from animes. Some notable ones are VanHelsing, Looper, and Ready Player One.
Here, I share my top 5 animes. These are in no particular order, along with my candid commentary and why I feel they should be on your watchlist, as well. Let’s get started.
⛩️ A one-line quote that sums up the twisted plot of this anime: “If we catch him, he is evil. If he rules the world, he is justice. “
An intelligent high school boy stumbles around a notebook that can kill someone just by writing their name in the book. Shocked and intrigued at the same time, this boy takes this opportunity to use the notebook to eliminate criminals in the country.
What started as a hobby to deliver quick justice soon turns into an uncontrollable obsession, labelling this high-school boy as a mass murderer.
A special anonymous investigator has the job of finding and arresting this boy.
The plot thickens as more rules governing the notebook are discovered, and the death god who dropped the notebook also enters the human realm.
Once you have seen the first five episodes, you won’t be able to resist watching the remaining ones.
It is exciting and realistic to see how fast the mind of a high-school boy gets obsessed with the power of the notebook. And the lengths to which he would go to make full use of this power to fend off anyone else trying to take it away from him.
The clash of intellect between this high school boy and the hired anonymous investigator kept me on the edge throughout the series.
⛩️ “Society doesn’t always do what’s right. That’s exactly why we ourselves must live virtuous lives.”
The meaning of this quote from Psycho-Pass sinks deeper as the anime progresses.
Psycho-Pass is one of the best futuristic, perfected human civilization-based stories I have come across.
Later in the series, we discover that the flaws outweigh the perfection achieved and that returning to normalcy can be more difficult than one can imagine.
What starts as an advanced police force taking down criminals soon turns out to be an egalitarian society based on rules that seem well-intentioned on the surface but are inhumane in every way once you go deeper into the anime.
The anime series kept me questioning what is right and wrong. What does it take for someone to rebel when they have been on the right path all their life? What can one do against a larger-than-life, all-seeing and all-powerful perfect system?
It is captivating to watch the central characters evolve, question their belief, accept their powerlessness and still strive to do their best.
3. One Piece
⛩️“I’ll Do What You Can’t Do, And You Do What I Can’t Do.”
This one-line tells the level of coordination among the protagonist group of pirates in the longest-running anime of all time, One Piece.
A group of experts in their field, this group of pirates, or underdogs, evolve and grow together, fight and survive together, climbing the ladder of pirate hierarchy.
The anime starts with a young boy who dreams of becoming the pirate king.
As this boy pursues his ridiculous dream, he forms a team of pirates, each with their own crazy dreams.
This group of pirates grow, unlocking more powers, learning from every defeat, and inching closer to their dreams, one episode at a time.
Obtaining One Piece, the greatest treasure out there and every pirate’s dream, is the end game of this anime series.
One Piece is a story of hope, goodwill, friends, and dreams.
The action is top-notch, and the story build-up is insane.
No wonder Netflix has invested millions in making a real-life TV series based on One Piece. Link here.
‘Failure is the sweat of success’ can be another apt quote for this anime.
If you are feeling down on a day, watch a couple of episodes of this anime, and you might as well feel like trying again, and again, and then again!
4. Fullmetal Alchemist
⛩️ “A lesson without pain is meaningless. That’s because no one can gain without sacrificing something. But by enduring that pain and overcoming it, he shall obtain a powerful, unmatched heart… a Fullmetal heart.”
This quote captures the essence of Fullmetal Alchemist, where you sacrifice one thing to obtain another, the basics of alchemy.
Fullmetal Alchemist is the story of two brothers who learn and apply alchemy, the power source in their world.
When an alchemy experiment they try goes wrong, these brothers learn a valuable lifelong lesson and obtain rare but highly sought-after powers.
As these brothers search for the source of alchemy, they encounter higher-power alchemists. Not all these powered alchemists have good intentions.
Fullmetal Alchemist is a story of bonds, love, loss, regret, and an intense burning desire to move forward on the path that benefits all.
This anime might leave you in tears in one moment and shock you in others.
As the protagonist brothers face opponents who easily outmatch them in power and skill, they find friends in unexpected places and circumstances.
The entire story, fights, and climax revolve around the common theme of sacrificing something to obtain something else of equal value.
With the power to receive anything, what equivalent value can you sacrifice to obtain that which you seek?
As the world of young boys with simple thinking collapses with higher-powered adults with complicated schemes and plans, this series mesmerises you with how the boys mature and learn to bring back the world to a peaceful state.
5. Steins Gate
How can a top 5 anime list go without a time-travel-themed series? So here it goes.
⛩️“No one knows what the future holds, that’s why its potential is infinite.”
The gravity of this quote becomes clear as the story in the anime unfolds.
A university student and his friend accidentally discover time travel.
They can now send text messages in the past to change the present. But how do you know the future has changed for the better? Or are there no consequences? You don’t until you face those consequences yourselves.
The characters of this anime are well-developed and full of innocence. They portray the daily hurdles of a university student’s life well.
The humour in this anime keeps the mood light as the story intensifies.
The characters are as shocked and confused as the viewers are, making this feel like a realistic anime where you can guess what you would do, and then the character does something similar.
When everyone is trying to do the right thing, time travel does manage to mess things up.
Making hard choices, acting quickly, and thinking back and forth in time may make your head a little dizzy.
And if it does, it just means the anime creators have near-perfected their storytelling game.
Though many animes are hypothetical and far from reality, the imagination and real-life-like characters make them feel as real as any other drama/sitcom.
Many of these animes can immerse you into their own creative world with their own rules.
And once you are hooked, the story in that world starts unravelling and captivating you.
Which one is your favourite anime? Do share in the comments below.
Mayank is a typical Engg + MBA by education and works in the fintech risk domain. He writes on financial freedom, among other topics. Apart from this, he likes travelling, reading books, watching movies, and capturing his life experiences in byte-sized LinkedIn posts (https://www.linkedin.com/in/mayank-dwivedi/). His blog is here: https://mayankdwivedi.com.