Whether you need ideas for your next anime, or just a little help to get started in this vast world, our special episode is for you!
In a context where the supply of series has never been so bloated, the Screen saver[s] intends to be your guide through the seasons. Whether it’s an old cult series today, a recent card or a more anonymous show, this column will help you waste your time only in good company.
We used to wait until the 13th and last episode of each screen saver season[s] to offer you special episodes like the one you are reading … But the urge to talk to you about Japanese animation has been too strong in recent weeks to wait even longer!
Here is a selection, subjective, of what is best on the anime side: recent or older works, all deserve a look, and this, whether you already like the genre or not.
As usual, this list is classified only in alphabetical order, in order not to favor a title more than another, and not exhaustive, for lack of having appreciated everything or seen everything (I must find the time to start One Piece, Hunter x hunter and many others, I know …).
On the availability side, note that if conventional streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have some of the works listed below, it will probably be easier to turn to specialized sites like Wakanim or DNA to find the majority.
In short, 始 め ま し ょ う! *
* let’s start!
Attack on Titan – 3 seasons (the 4th and last one coming soon)
The coincidence of the alphabet wanted me to start with one of the most obvious recommendations of this selection, but that’s how it is. That said, I think I will remember all my life the gigantic slap that stuck to me the very first episode ofAttack on Titan and many other passages thereafter.
With its impressive quality animation and extremely dynamic, its soundtrack as efficient as edgy, provided by the brilliant Hiroyuki Sawano (or Linked Horizon in its openings epic) and its universe always richer and ruthless as the seasons go by, the show is probably not for everyone, but it undoubtedly marked the genre. For those who do not know it, the intrigue follows what remains of Humanity, hidden behind walls in a world of dark fantasy largely dominated by mysterious gigantic creatures and eaters of humans.
Let me also quote in passing Kabanerii of the Iron Fortress, a series (and a film) overseen by a large part of the team hidden behind Attack on Titan. This time replace the Titans with some kind of zombies, and place them in a context of industrial revolution: you get a short anime, also of quality, efficient and loaded with action!
Cowboy Bebop – 1 season (and a film)
Cowboy Bebop takes place a few decades into the future and follows the daily life of the members of a spaceship, bounty hunters in the solar system. It’s simple, its atmosphere and its universe are incredible, its themes and its colorful characters impressed me, when its catchy music and its solid animation do wonders. She is thus part of this small handful of works that create a real feeling of lack and strangely make salt water appear in the eyes when finished.
Let me crochet again with Samurai Champloo, the anime that Shinichiro Watanabe will make after Cowboy Bebop. No SF here, but an alternative version of the Edo era and the samurai (amazing, huh?). Less successful (in my opinion), it remains just as recommendable and striking.
Death Note – 1 season
Another fairly obvious recommendation from this list since even people living at the bottom of a cave have probably already heard of Death Note. What do you want, despite its slightly weak second half, this anime remains a real must.
The spectator follows an extremely intelligent high school student who comes into possession of a mysterious notebook with a strange and disturbing power: to write the name of a person who kills the latter. Our hero will then take it into his head to become a vigilante god, by purifying the world of criminals, before a genius inspector sets out to chase him …
Very well animated (at the time anyway), the series has a well-crafted scenario full of twists and turns that turns the brain through this rich and intense psychological duel from a distance. Death Note deserve that I see him again, hold on!
Demon slayer – 1 season (a film suite is under construction)
Make way for something newer with Demon slayer. This show was already mentioned in our selection of the best series of 2019. Shonen pure juice, who manages to avoid some of the main flaws of the genre (by avoiding filling episodes, in particular), this anime is not only interesting to follow thanks to its nice characters, but also stands out for its combat visual effects that shatter the retina. There will be a before and an after Demon slayer at this level, that’s for sure.
The show follows a young boy whose sister has been turned into a demon. Going in search of a cure he will have to fight the ever more powerful enemies who stand in his way. Nothing very original, you will agree, however the execution and the mixture of drama and humor are so controlled that the whole goes like a letter in the post.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – 1 season
She had the honor of introducing Season 2 of the Screen Saver[s] with a full column, and it’s not for nothing. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is fantastic for a bunch of reasons. His universe mixing dark fantasy and steam punk, like his script, addicting and full of twists, work wonderfully, while his characters are all more successful than the others. Here too, the mixture of humor and drama as well as the animation alternating graphic genres sparkle.
If this selection had a ranking, ” FMA: B Would easily be placed among the titles at the top of the list, as the adventures of the Elric brothers, in search of their bodies, are deeply striking.
Kill the kill – 1 season
Also discussed in detail in season 2 of our weekly column, Kill the kill is certainly not intended for all audiences, unlike Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood a little more general public. With its rhythm and its cocaine characters, its partial nudity staged almost permanently, or its completely crazy scenario, based on fights and revenge in a school equipped with uniforms which give powers, the show of the studio Trigger can be exhausting, even embarrassing. But if you manage to get into it and you like the absurd and the assumed idiocy, what wrinkled my friends !
I’ll probably have to watch it a fourth time …
One Punch Man – 2 seasons (season 3 to come)
I think I can say that today few people completely ignore the story or even just the features of Saitama, this superhero not very smart, whose training was so intense that he lost his hair and can now take down any enemy with one punch, without forcing.
Even if I liked season 2 less (both in terms of history and animation, unfortunately at a discount), the show regularly goes fast and strong where we do not expect it, whether on the side of scenario or that of the characters, for the simple pleasure of good-natured entertainment. And it’s already not bad.
Persona 5 The Animation – 1 season
The fact that I just finished Persona 5 Royal (and therefore to finish Persona 5 for the second time) must be no stranger to this recommendation. As indicated by his name, Persona 5 The Animation transposes the FAN-TA-STIQUE game from Atlus into an anime. Ideal for those who would not have a hundred hours to devote to it but who would still like to know the great story told there.
Without saying too much, the spectator is invited to follow a group of high school students capable of stealing people’s hearts. They will then become the Ghost Thieves, whose mission will be to reform society and corrupt people.
With this anime (but even more so with the game, all the same, and especially its version Royal) I have almost never been so emotionally invested in the destiny of characters and almost never have been so blown away by an artistic direction and a story. The soundtrack is one of the best I have ever heard. Wake Up, Get Up, Get Out There!
Psycho-Pass – 3 seasons (and several films)
A bit of scary techno thriller? OK ! Psycho-Pass takes us a hundred years into the future, in Japan, where the authorities in place are able to judge at a glance someone’s mental state and their propensity to commit a crime. So ideal for reforming, arresting or killing someone before they even act.
Dark and very (very) well done, the anime pleasantly mixes the police and anticipation genres while enjoying a pretty incredible atmosphere. So much so that I will embark on this step in the third season, which I only discovered when writing this article, as its release, several years after the last film released, was discreet.
The Promised Neverland – 1 season (season 2 to come)
Also mentioned in our 2019 selection, The Promised Neverland marked me for a bunch of reasons. Because this series reminds a little Death Note first of all, with his overly intelligent children who anticipate things over several episodes. For its splendid animation and its brilliant opening then, and finally for its very well rhythmic and surprising scenario, of which I really look forward to discover the continuation.
And if I don’t tell you anything about the history, it is absolutely not an oversight: I just think that it is better to go there without knowing in advance what is going on there. Be careful though: don’t be fooled by the visuals and her cute little children, the show is not intended for all audiences …
Imperfect but successful enough or unique enough to be at least mentioned here, here are a few more animes to, perhaps, find your happiness.
Berserk : be careful, here I am not really talking about the series which dates from 2016 and whose animation quality is regularly dubious, but rather the three films (available on Netflix) taking place before the events of the series. An intense, bloody, dark and epic story.
Bleach : if we omit the too many and too long special arcs, which I encourage you to avoid, and a moderately satisfactory end, Bleach remains one of my best memories of anime, dating from the time when I started to really get a foothold in this universe. Bankai!
Claymore : I have very few concrete memories of this anime as I saw it a long time ago, however I remember having liked it very much, despite its cancellation and an end to go look for the side of the manga.
Elfen Lied : with hindsight, I wonder how I finally made it possible to appreciate animes after having almost started with it many years ago. Probably the most gore and disturbing of this selection (no, really, there are truly horrible passages), this anime is not to be put before everyone’s eyes, but its intensity (and its opening!) Are memorable.
Gurren Lagann : at the risk of being insulted for not having mentioned this title in the main selection, I unfortunately found it too uneven for it to be found there. Gurren Lagann remains however a work regularly over the top which deserves a glance, especially for one of its plot twists which marked many spectators.
Hellsing Ultimate : this show focused on the eradication of vampires is, not surprisingly, very gory, but what a walk! There is a lot going on (often unlikely) despite its low number of episodes and if you like Castlevania on Netflix you should check it out.
My Hero Academia : I have not yet finished catching up with all the episodes, but this shonen compensates for its lack of overall originality with very nice characters and a nice animation that make it an easy entry point to the genre.
Naruto : so yes, it’s long, and there are a lot of filling arches to jump, but it remains one of the best shonen existing thanks to many striking elements, starting with its characters, unique, its universe captivating, its rich script or its incredible music.
Planets : there are not many anime in space, and this one, evoking the daily life of a space debris recovery team, is original enough to find its place here, despite a certain lack of action.
Pop Team Epic : this series of many often absurd mini sketches, referenced and metas, is quite uneven and some will probably pass you by, but when they hit the bull’s eye, it’s a treat. Aimed especially at connoisseurs, with a broad culture of the genre.
Vinland Saga : despite a somewhat long S01 so as not to always tell much, the atmosphere of this viking series makes me relatively anxious to see the rest. The readers of the manga have in any case promised me that the best was yet to come …
Violet Evergarden : fioulala, how beautiful! Often touching and from time to time a bit silly too, the series is nonetheless one of the most beautiful works of recent years, both in substance and in form.
One last word
Despite the already substantial length of this selection, I wanted to end with a final slew of series. It is made up of anime that I personally didn’t like (or even hated), but which are so acclaimed and appreciated by the majority of people that my professionalism obliges me. at least to quote them so that you can form your own opinion or that you can defend them in comments:
- Devilman Crybaby : I remember excellent music. And that’s about it.
- Dr. Stone : a super interesting concept that finally bothered me after a few episodes.
- GTO : some good episodes drowned in filler annoying.
- JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure : you have to go into delirium to appreciate it. It was not my case.
- Me, when I reincarnate in Slime : I have rarely seen such a lazy anime as it uses the same scripting schemes in a loop. Too bad because the concept was promising.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion : monsters, robots, and above all a lot of boredom …
- Serial Experiments Lain : ZzZzZz
- Steins; Gate : an incomprehensible scenario and hyper painful characters.