On this list are the anime that I have watched before meeting John. These are the starters that brought me deeper into the Anime/Manga world and have a very special place in my heart. Some of these John and I aren't as interested in rewatching together considering we have a huge list (over 300) to skim through and see if we are interested in. While in Ecuador, I spent some time on a huge anime list and going through each and every one of them to read their excerpt. From there I check to see if it hits any aspects we aren't interested in (such as no mecha or a certain type of story or only dub and no sub). Then we put some time aside each week (if we can) to watch the first episodes of some of them. A lot of times the art or description doesn't do the anime justice so I take lightly how they describe the story and hope the creators do better. Usually, within 5 minutes we can tell whether we really can't stand watching it. If we can make it through the whole episode and can't decide, we determine whether the storyline, artwork, AND characters look like they could bud into something greater. Otherwise, if they haven't caught our attention for any aspect, we move on. So as you can see we have a bit of a process we take for each new discovery and want to start chipping away at the list of ones we would "watch later when we have time".
But onto the list!
"The story is set in an alternate recreation of the ancient Old World with several regions and nations having some resemblances with real-life counterparts from that time. In this world, all living beings possess an essence known as Rukh (ルフ, Rufu) and when they die, this essence returns to the huge flow (also known as "guidance") of Rukh that gives life to all subsequent beings in an eternal cycle of rebirth called "Fate". Once a person is overcome with sadness, anger, and hopelessness, their Rukh becomes corrupted, unstable, and black, and deviates from the main guidance in a process known as "Fall into Depravity" (堕転, Daten).
There are also several magic castles full of treasures and traps known as "Dungeons", which are each the lair of a powerful magic being, a Djinn (ジン, Jin). Individuals that manage to overcome the trials of a Dungeon and earn the allegiance of its Djinn are known as Dungeon Capturers (迷宮（ダンジョン）攻略者, Danjon Kōryakusha), gaining the ability to use its powers infused in a personal item of theirs known as a "Metal Vessel" and create less potent "Household Vessels" for their companions as well.
People can use the Rukh in their bodies to create an energy known as Magoi (マゴイ) to power their magical weapons and abilities. This energy must be used with care, as despite the fact that an individual's magoi can be restored with feeding and rest, once fully exhausted it causes their death. Among those that can perform magic with their own Magoi there is a rare class of magicians known as Magi (マギ), that can also use Magoi from the Rukh around them, greatly increasing their capabilities. A Magi usually chooses Dungeon Capturers to offer guidance and protection making them into their King Vessels (王の器, Ō no Utsuwa). There are several nations in history that were founded or improved by the rule of such individuals.
After being secluded for his entire life, a boy called Aladdin travels the world with his "friend" Ugo, the Djinn contained within Aladdin's flute, until he meets Alibaba Saluja, a young man aiming to one day explore the nearby dungeon Amon and claim its treasures. Aladdin and Alibaba eventually become friends, and conquer Amon together, despite facing the opposition of the ruthless Jamil and his slave warriors: Morgiana and Goltas. After a desperate fight, the two protagonist fend off Jamil and assist Morgiana in breaking the mental chains that bind her to her former master. Alibaba claims the dungeon while the Djinn Amon appears in front of Aladdin to briefly explain that he is a Magi and that Alibaba is his king's candidate. However, they are interrupted by an outside force trying to close the dungeon off. Alibaba, Aladdin, and Morgiana escape the dungeon while Goltas resolves to die to atone for his sins along with broken former master, but not before cutting Morgiana's shackles. For some reason, Aladdin ends up teleported to a distant land, far away from the others, where he learns what a Magi is, and that he is one."
My Evaluation: I love the character and world-building they did in this anime. The main character is adorable, the surprising OP kind of character but with the innocence of a younger child. There are quite a few surprises with twists and turns throughout the story. There is also a different prequel that follows Sinbad's journeys. That is also great to watch to get a more well-rounded understanding of what is happening in this series.
2. Rurouni Kenshin
"In the final years of the Bakumatsu era lived a legendary assassin known as Hitokiri Battousai. Feared as a merciless killer, he was unmatched throughout the country, but mysteriously disappeared at the peak of the Japanese Revolution. It has been ten peaceful years since then, but the very mention of Battousai still strikes terror into the hearts of war veterans.
Unbeknownst to them, Battousai has abandoned his bloodstained lifestyle in an effort to repent for his sins, now living as Kenshin Himura, a wandering swordsman with a cheerful attitude and a strong will. Vowing never to kill again, Kenshin dedicates himself to protecting the weak. One day, he stumbles across Kaoru Kamiya at her kendo dojo, which is being threatened by an impostor claiming to be Battousai. After receiving help from Kenshin, Kaoru allows him to stay at the dojo, and so the former assassin temporarily ceases his travels.
Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Kenkaku Romantan tells the story of Kenshin as he strives to save those in need of saving. However, as enemies from both past and present begin to emerge, will the reformed killer be able to uphold his new ideals?"
My Evaluation: I actually watched this a lot with my dad and we both loved it. We got into the history of the characters, the written story over the anime, and much more. This is the anime that I got my dad into and he doesn't care for many of them. He even got me a (fake) Sakabato for my birthday once! I was really happy to get it though I wasn't sure when I would get to use it. The story ties in with Japanese history with a fun twist. It just has nostalgia written all over it for me. If you are interested in action anime with humor and an OP main character, this is definitely for you.
3. Yu Yu Hakusho
"Yu Yu Hakusho (Japanese: 幽☆遊☆白書, Hepburn: Yū Yū Hakusho) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Yoshihiro Togashi. The series tells the story of Yusuke Urameshi, a teenage delinquent who is struck and killed by a car while attempting to save a child's life. After a number of tests presented to him by Koenma, the son of the ruler of the afterlife Underworld, Yusuke is revived and appointed the title of "Underworld Detective", with which he must investigate various cases involving demons and apparitions in the human world. The manga becomes more focused on martial arts battles and tournaments as it progresses. Togashi began creating Yu Yu Hakusho around November 1990, basing the series on his interests in the occult and horror films and an influence of Buddhist mythology."
My Evaluation: Another anime that I actually got my dad into. He bought the whole series for us to watch and we enjoyed every episode! I think we even rewatched parts of it again too. But this anime is like a rabbit hole in that more and more information is revealed creating a new exciting look at an already existing universe. It's an older classic but with hints of promise of our current style of anime that is coming out today. Definitely a great series that may have a slow start to some but I promise it builds to something bigger!
4. Fruits Basket
"Fruits Basket tells the story of Tohru Honda, an orphan girl who, after meeting Yuki, Kyo, and Shigure Soma, learns that twelve members of the Soma family are possessed by the animals of the Chinese zodiac and are cursed to turn into their animal forms when they are weak, stressed, or when they are embraced by anyone of the opposite sex that is not possessed by a spirit of the zodiac. As the series progresses, Tohru learns of the hardships and pain faced by the afflicted members of the Soma family, and through her own generous and loving nature, helps heal their emotional wounds. As she learns more about Yuki, Kyo, and the rest of the mysterious Soma family, Tohru also learns more about herself and how much others care for her."
My Evaluation: An old series I watched as a younger kid and the first anime I found that was a perfect PG rating. I saw that there is a third season out now and I haven't even gotten into the second season yet. But I really enjoyed the first season and am looking forward to seeing the following seasons. The main character is adorable and the options of who she ends up with is...very variant depending on who is watching. It's an odd series where suddenly people pick who the main character should be with. Either way, it's a great innocent series.
5. Code Geass - [This evaluation is for the first season only as the second season came out probably over a decade after me, watching the first one.]
"Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion (Japanese: コードギアス 反逆のルルーシュ, Hepburn: Kōdo Giasu: Hangyaku no Rurūshu), often referred to simply as Code Geass, is a Japanese anime series produced by Sunrise. It was directed by Gorō Taniguchi and written by Ichirō Ōkouchi, with original character designs by Clamp. Set in an alternate timeline, the series follows the exiled prince Lelouch vi Britannia, who obtains the "power of absolute obedience" from a mysterious woman named C.C. Using this supernatural power, known as Geass, he leads a rebellion against the rule of the Holy Britannian Empire, commanding a series of mecha battles."
My Evaluation: A tough and slow start but after the first few episodes it becomes addicting. The main character is the strategic/tactical character that looks a little into the psychological aspects of what the main character chooses to do. It's been a while since I watched this but I'm eager to rewatch it and start watching the second season that came out as well!
6. Monster Rancher
"Before the world's continents broke up into pieces, a huge disaster hit the world. People prayed to God for help, and God created new life forms. However, new life forms brought new troubles, so God became exasperated and sealed them in "disc stones". Many years have passed since then and God entrusted the humans with the secret of "disc stones". Today people still continue searching for these missing "disc stones" to unlock the lifeforms within.
It is said that the "disc stones" are almost impossible to find among the ancient ruins. It is said that one monster is trapped inside each one. One day a group of workers excavating the ancient ruins happened to dig up one of these mythical disc stones. The worker who first discovered a disc stone took the disc to the Monsters' Temple. There the priests, using the ancient methods, unlocked the monster inside the disc stone. In a place where ranchers and monsters coexisted peacefully, the battle of the monsters began! As time passed these monster battles became extremely popular, and monster breeding became the standard pastime of the land. Eventually, disc stones were found around the entire world. Now ranchers across the globe come together and enter a battle."
My Evaluation: I grew up loving Monster Rancher. We would be on vacation and I'd be able to watch cartoons early in the morning. this was around the time when Pokemon was turning out to be a huge thing and already overshadowing this series. It's a bit hard to watch now, being of the older classical generation. But the storyline and creatures captivated me when I was younger. I hope to have time again one day to get back into watching the full series!
7. Magic Knight Rayearth
"Magic Knight Rayearth focuses on three eighth-grade girls: the tomboyish, headstrong but short Hikaru Shidou (獅堂 光, Shidō Hikaru); the quick-tempered and no-nonsense only child Umi Ryuuzaki (龍咲 海, Ryūzaki Umi); and the intelligent and ladylike Fuu Hououji (鳳凰寺 風, Hōōji Fū). While on a field trip to the Tokyo Tower with their respective schools, the girls find themselves drawn into another world, Cephiro. There they learn that Cephiro is influenced by one's will and that the Pillar maintains Cephiro through prayer. The girls are then tasked with rescuing the current Pillar, Princess Emeraude, from her abductor, the high priest and antagonistZagato, after which they will be returned to Tokyo."
My Evaluation: Again, one of my firsts and favorites. I absolutely loved the Isekai genre (which I believe was my first Isekai) and the artwork here was beautiful. It encouraged me to keep drawing, even though I sucked at it. I read the manga rather than watched the anime and I still clearly recall being dragged through a mall with my mom but being ok with it because I got 3 new Magic Knight Rayearth manga! The characters were fascinating, I could relate a little to each of the main characters. The scene and story were well put together, with a fun surprising twist that made me yell out in surprise. I look forward in watching it again but this time with my husband!
8. Cardcaptor Sakura
"Cardcaptor Sakura takes place in the fictional Japanese city of Tomoeda which is somewhere near Tokyo. Ten-year-old Sakura Kinomoto accidentally releases a set of magical cards known as Clow Cards from a book in her basement created and named after the sorcerer Clow Reed. Each card has its own unique ability and can assume an alternate form when activated. The guardian of the cards, Cerberus (nicknamed Kero), emerges from the book, explains only a person with magical powers could open the seal of the book, and chooses Sakura to retrieve the missing cards. As she finds each card, she battles its magical personification and defeats it by sealing it away. Cerberus acts as her guide, while her best friend and second cousin, Tomoyo Daidouji films her exploits and provides her with both battle costumes and moral support. Sakura's older brother Toya Kinomoto watches over her, while pretending that he is unaware of what is going on.
Syaoran Li, a boy Sakura's age and descendant of Clow Reed, arrives from Hong Kong to recapture the cards himself. While initially antagonistic, he comes to respect Sakura and begins aiding her in capturing the cards. Once Sakura captures all of the cards, she is tested by Yue, the cards' second guardian, to determine if she is worthy of becoming the cards' true master; Yue is also the true form of Yukito Tsukishiro, Toya's best friend. Aided by her school teacher Kaho Mizuki, Sakura passes the test and becomes the new master of the Clow Cards."
My Evaluation: My ultimate favorite anime/manga series. This is an older series that I think is a classic. As I was growing up, the characters were so innocent and adorable, they could be spun off into different stories through fanfiction. Which this series was a perfect start for that. I would read and read and read the various stories about them and try my hand at writing my own. Though I never finished anything, these characters helped me practice. I adore this series, the characters, the story, the artwork, and the designs, as well as the author's ability to wonderfully weave the story together.
9. Angelic Layer
"The primary protagonist is Misaki Suzuhara. Despite her short appearance she is a seventh grader who just moved to Tokyo to live with her aunt, Shouko Asami. After arriving in the city outside of Tokyo Station, Misaki watches a battle between two dolls on a big live-screen called Angelic Layer, a highly popular game in which players (called Deus) buy and custom-design dolls known as Angels that are moved by mental control when on a field called the "layer."
Interested in learning about Angelic Layer, an eccentric man wearing a white lab coat and glasses, calling himself "Icchan" (いっちゃん), encourages Misaki to purchase and create her own angel. She wants the angel to be "a short girl, but strong and happy", and names it Hikaru, based on Hikaru Shidō from Clamp's Magic Knight Rayearth (a manga in Angelic Layer's world)."
My Evaluation: I mostly read this one, years ago when it came out. Back then the Manga was easier to get ahold of and not readily streamed as it is now. But this series got me so excited about creating a character and I went off on a tangent making my own original characters. Angelic Layer inspired me a lot in my first designs and practice drawings. The characters are cute and the series is light. I will have to make my husband watch this one with me.
10. Anime de Wakaru Shinryounaika
"The psychologist Ryō and his cheerful nurse Asuna explain many aspects of mental illness to the reader. They cover topics such as the validity, prevalence, and origins of mental disorders, in addition to addressing specific disorders. The information is imparted in a cheerful and comic manner, with various jokes, puns, and pop culture references. "
My Evaluation: This one is definitely PG-13 but also a bit informative on the various mental health aspects. A fun way to look at how to understand and remember mental disorders. These are really short episodes and they are jam-packed with information so make sure you are paying attention! I would also add this is a NSFW series. I don't quite like that the series is short but they are pretty packed with information. Another one I will make my husband watch with me!
So these are my top 10 that I had been introduced to before I met my husband. I recommend you give them a shot and see if they fit your interests as well! This list is always growing and shifting as we come across more anime/manga! I'll be posting whatever new ones we come across so check back every so often!