Yep, I’ve finally put together a top shows list. As I hopefully made clear in part one and part two of my critical biases post, this is obviously my list – it represents the things I think are most valuable in stories in the way I think they’ve best been articulated. It’s also just a list of shows I enjoy – there’s no hard criteria here, so I wouldn’t stress the numbers too much. Also, it’s a bit front-loaded – I only started watching anime seasonally about two years ago, so the last couple years are disproportionately represented. Incidentally, I’m not including movies here either – I think direct comparisons between shows and films are a bit of a stretch, but if they were included, this list would certainly be somewhat different. And finally, I’m absolutely (and thankfully) certain this list will change over time – there are still piles of widely beloved shows I’ve never seen, so I’m sure the current rankings will be filled out in the years to come. So with that all said, let’s get to the list – Bobduh’s Top 30 Anime of All Time.
-edit- I have now created a Top Shows Addendum for shows that have either fallen off or just barely missed this list. Please enjoy these additional almost-top shows!
“Like a trash can fire in a prison cell,
Like the search lights in the parking lots of hell.
I will walk down to the end with you
If you will come all the way down with me.”
– The Mountain Goats, Old College Try
Set eleven thousand, nine hundred and ninety years after Gunbuster, Diebuster tells the story of a new hero – Lal’C Mellk Mal, who befriends the chipper robot Nono. Unlike Noriko, Lal’C begins our story a hero – not just one of the rare Topless, adolescents who pilot Buster Machines to defend the human race, she is the “curve breaker,” envy of her peers. A bright star, casting a light for all of humanity. And she’s proud of this – though she feigns indifference, in truth she exults in her position, cherishing the adulation she receives. Lal’C Mellk Mal exemplifies the power of youth, and in Diebuster, youth is not simply something to be coveted – it is a tangible power in this world.
Loss is a constant of living. As long as you live, as long as you continue to make connections and entrust others with your feelings, you will always be saying goodbye, always be letting go. And this can be a crushing reality – people can spend their whole lives seeking connections long past rekindling, and the grieving process is different for all of us. This letting go is perhaps not the cheeriest subject for a cartoon, but it is a powerful and deeply human one, and the ways we overcome the continuous goodbye of living can be inspiring in their own right. As is so with Gunbuster.