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. All 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
D. Gray Man
Brighter Than the Dawning Blue
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.