These last ten years the anime realm has given us action-packed battles, slice-of-life stories viewers can relate to, surprisingly heart-wrenching character dramas, and knee-slapping hilarity. The second part of our Top 50 anime list has a whole lot of these qualities and much more. So let's stop hesitating and jump back into the countdown!
WRITER'S NOTE: To qualify, the anime must have premiered between the years 2006 and 2015. New seasons of older anime will not be counted.
40: Detroit Metal City
Negishi just wants to be a pop singer with a message of love and positivity, but instead winds up taking the demonic alter-ego of Krauser II in the violent sadomasochistic death metal band Detroit Metal City. Not even the mighty Tokyo Tower could withstand Krauser's pelvic thrusts and misogynistic lyrics, and with his fans cheering his lewdness on there is unfortunately nothing that can stand in Negishi's way of becoming the biggest metal god in the world. Poking fun of all the metal tropes in a very Spinal Tap fashion, Detroit Metal City was just one laugh-out-loud moment after another. Plus, the music was great, despite it being very pro-slut pig.
39: Panty & Stocking With Garterbelt
GAINAX paid huge homage to 90s American animation with this massive love letter to the entire genre. Following two fallen angels and their reverend leader, Panty & Stocking With Garterbelt was filled to the brim with gross-out humor, sex, and some clever violence. Like the John K.-era of Ren & Stimpy, Panty & Stocking went to some disgusting lengths just for a laugh, but those laughs always wound up being worth the price of admission. Sure, it got weird in certain places, but in the end the adventures of a sex fiend, a sugar addict, and their Franken-dog managed to put a smile on every viewer's face.
38: Death Note
With a pen in hand and a name & face in mind, Light Yagami could end the life of whomever he pleased. For 37 episodes, Death Note made the tale of Kira quite the edge-of-your-seat thriller. Light's transformation from anti-hero to super-villain was what made viewers keep on tuning in, not to mention how he managed to be one-step ahead of the likes of L, Near, and even those closest to him at every turn. And, of course, watching the Shinigami Ryuk partake in the events unfolding made it all the more entertaining, especially when it came time for him to write down a name of his own...
Licensed by Viz Media, and streaming on Hulu
Ikebukuro is one hopping place, where students, gang members, and a headless motorcyclist go about their daily lives as they tried to not cause too much mayhem. Durarara!! is the type of anime where there are so many important characters, that figuring out who the real top dog is -- be it Izaya, Celty, Shizuo, or Mikado -- is impossible to accomplish. Nevertheless, when all these separate lives became intertwined, the different perspectives of such unique characters helped to give way to a magnificent -- and often humorous -- story about life, crime, and a missing head.
Two girls living under the name roof whom share the exact same name. One is a small town girl looking to follow her boyfriend and college pals, the other a rock star in the making. Two different worlds colliding into something that was both gorgeous and heart-wrenching, in ways that only creator Ai Yazawa can accomplish. Nana had it all: a beautiful story, moments of hope and betrayal, great rock & roll, and some relatable comedy.
Licensed by Viz Media, and streaming on Hulu
35: Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
Piercing their drill into viewers' hearts each week, GAINAX's other mecha show was filled with style, attitude, and action-packed badassery. Hiroyuki Imaishi's trademark flair was all over the place, with the visuals vibrating with virtuosity during a time when a show's anime was slowly becoming more copy-and-paste. The show that had you cheering on Simon's piloting, quoting the positive words of Kamina, or admiring Yoko's marksmanship, Gurren Lagann made fans believe that anything was possible, so long as they were willing to fight for it.
34: Soul Eater
Like some crazed love child of Jamie Hewlett and Tim Burton, Studio Bones' Soul Eater was dark, grim, funny, and action-packed. It also helped that every character in the show was brimming with uniqueness, be it Death the Kid's OCD quirks, Black Star's loud showmanship, or even Shinigami-sama's goofy warmness. Of course, it was the jazz-like chemistry between Maka and Soul Eater that glued everything together, making each week's adventure rewarding for the eyes. Whether they were at each other's throats or hearts, the main duo of Soul Eater showcased why they were the Meister and weapon anyone should cheer for.
33: Nodame Cantabile
The pairing of Chiaki and Nodame in Nodame Cantabile was like that of The Odd Couple. The former a man of cleanliness, the latter a woman who doesn't mind wallowing in her own filth. However, when the two of them get together, they literally make beautiful music. With Chiaki conducting the Rising Star Orchestra and Nodame performing gleefully on the piano, this unlikely romantic duo brought forth some of the most standing ovation-worthy classical pieces that have ever been heard in an anime. Be it in Japan or Paris, Nodame Cantabile always managed to bring both a level of fun silliness and high-browed musical charm to every episode.
32: Outbreak Company
An otaku is sent to a mystical kingdom to promote anime, manga, and other things from the geek realm. What follows is a tale of bridging cultures and fourth-wall-shattering clichés, in one of the most entertaining riffs on the Japanese pop culture realm of the last decade. There's a real knee-slapping mentality when you witness Shinichi attempting to teach about the otaku culture to elves, dwarves, and furries, and the chemistry between him, Myucel, Petralka, and Elbia had a veil of sweetness that covered some of the more fan-service-y aspects of the series. Outbreak Company's brilliance can truly be understood by those who've been anime fans for awhile, but even newcomers to the genre will find a good chunk of it hugely entertaining (especially when it comes to the greatest soccer match ever caught on film).
Ryuji and Taiga were quite the unique duo. At first, they team up to try to help one another with their respective love interests, only to find themselves becoming closer as the episodes went on. Toradora! was about seeing people for who they really are, not just by their outer shells, and Ryuji's kindness and Taiga's shy awkwardness became ever apparent as the episodes went on. While the end result of the series may not have gone the route that was planned, at the very least Toradora! did a fine job with explaining the path that was taken instead of shoehorning an incompatible romance. A great and often emotional romantic comedy, Toradora! managed to spin a web of a love story in ways that Hollywood has yet to accomplish.
Check back next week for the third part of this Top 50 anime countdown!