What Anime Should I Watch? Anime Rankings by an Anime Newcomer

Updated rankings can be found here: https://reallifeanime.wordpress.com/ongoing-anime-rankings/

What anime should I watch next? This is a difficult question for anyone who has just finished an anime they really enjoyed, or for anyone who wants to try out anime for the first time. There are many anime reviews drifting around online, but it can be tough to wade through all of them. To help answer this question, I have created a list of anime, ranking them into three tiers. Consider them a list of anime recommendations, if you wish. I plan to eventually elaborate on my rankings, but for now, I hope that my qualifications and rankings will help you cut through the many anime reviews online and address the question: what anime should I watch?

Tier I Qualifications: Great characters, top-notch storytelling, compelling character relations, a potent human element and transcending themes. angel-beatsAll of these are uplifting in nature, at least by the end of the story. Furthermore, they all possess the ability to create an emotional reaction in the viewer, while simultaneously providing room for deep though. In short, they are anime that I would recommend to anyone solely on their virtues, although some I might give caution about for certain elements (such as blood, sexuality, etc.). Among the top 4 in the tier, I have no set ranking; they are essentially interchangeable depending on my mood at the time. The fifth is solidly set as the fifth-place show on the list.


T1: Angel Beats! (2010)

T1: Sword Art Online (2012)

T1: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (2009-2010)

T1: Blast of Tempest (2012-2013)

2: A Certain Scientific Railgun (2009-ongoing)

Tier II Qualifications: The qualifications for tier II are essentially the same as for tier I, but each of these anime have what I would consider a major flaw, preventing them from being as emotionally stirring and intellectually compelling as tier I shows. These four shows are also ranked within the tier. In the rankings, I have included the flaw of each show.


1: Soul Eater (FLAW: Let down ending)

2: Shakugan No Shana (FLAW: The whole third season)

3: Fairy Tail-through episode 175 (FLAW: Repetitive plot arcs)

4: Fullmetal Alchemist (FLAW: The ending)


Tier III Qualifications: Tier III is essentially a catch-all for shows that I thought were at least good, ranging down to a couple of disappointments. They are ranked within the tier. I should note that even though these shows have been relegated to the third tier, I only regret watching one, Fate/Zero. Each of them had some redeeming element in them; they just were unable to be great.



A Certain Magical Index

Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere

Kaze No Stigma

Aria the Scarlet Ammo


[C] Control

D. Gray Man

Brighter Than the Dawning Blue

Infinite Stratos

Neo Angelique



Hakkenden: Eight Dogs of the East

Feel free to comment below if you agree or disagree with these rankings. I plan on elaborating on my views later on.

2 thoughts on “What Anime Should I Watch? Anime Rankings by an Anime Newcomer

  1. This list is generally pretty similar to stuff I would recommend, though I would rank Index above Railgun for its greater general appeal. Of course, it depends based on who you’re recommending it to. Fate/zero is great for people who like darker anime, but has a slow-moving first episode.


    • Index just felt like it got run down because of the jerky arcs. They were so quick, and the main supporting cast around Touma changed too much for my liking. Plus, a story about a “hero” who loses his memory and then spends his time getting dragged around by other people to do things just doesn’t appeal to me. However, to be fair, I am thinking about dropping Railgun’s ranking with the addition of the second season. The second season doesn’t have the easy charm the season 1 had. As for Fate/Zero, I felt like I spent the whole anime waiting for a big payoff at the end, but there was effectively no resolution and for an anime that props itself up to have some kind of deep them running through it, the ending was just sour.


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