ChainsawXIV's Anime List

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11 Eyes

Broadly in the style of Shakugan no Shana, this modern fantasy series puts together some solid narrative and background, but its characterizations fail to stand out.

Agent Aika

This is a series about crotch shots in a post apocalyptic future where all women wear the same panties and have no modesty. Also includes androgynous incest, and submarines.

Ah! My Goddess

A cute romance with no character growth and no ending. I like the characters and premise, but they’re in college. They can do more than hold hands for goodness sake.

Aika R-16

A prequel to Agent Aika which takes the one interesting part of the original – the setting – and tells a concise little story in it. Still loaded with fan service of course, but this time it actually feels like a service.

Akane-iro ni Somaru Saka

A fairly stock high school harem anime in virtually all respects, with an ending that is likely to raise a few eyebrows amongst the skeptical.

Amagami SS

Pure, concentrated romance, presented in an unconventional format which explores multiple endings by way of multiple continuity resets, done in a way that really works.

Amagami SS Plus

An excellent sequel series which follows up on the various story arcs captured in the original. The final episode isn’t as good an ending, but that’s not the series’ focus anyway.

Angel Beats

A promising concept left all but entirely unfulfilled by clumsy storytelling, poor character development, and attempts to shoehorn a personal drama into a kids’ action adventure format.

Ano Natsu De Matteru

A gorgeous reinvention of Onegai Sense, with rich characters and solid narrative. The omission of the taboo relationships from the original make it lean on more common tropes, but the only real issue is its flip-flop ending.

Aria the Animation

A sedate and saccharine-sweet slice of life episodic about apprentice gondoliers in Venice of the far future (on Mars), the show is utterly conflict-free, but soothing in its way.

Arpeggio of Blue Steel

A visually beautiful science-fiction naval action show, I feel like there’s interesting – but totally unexplored – potential in the setting. Would have been better with more navy, and less kids on a boat though.

Astorotte’s Toy

Surprisingly, this showed some signs of having a good story, but ultimately dropped that in favor of the main character professing his love to his own step-daughter, thereby descending into creepy loli fan-service territory.

Attack on Titan

An excellent series in nearly every respect, well drawn and with a novel world concept, it needed to devote more time to it’s arc conclusion, and less to multi-eppisode action scenes.

Azumanga Diaoh

The quintessential slice of life series to which all others should be compared. Fun, lighthearted, and full of moments of overwhelming cuteness.

Baka And Test

A dumb-fun magical high school type series show that plays to most of the standard tropes, while strictly avoiding actual, visual fan service. Entirely entertaining, with an original art style.

Bakemonogatari

An artful drama about a fundamentally nice guy who ends up helping various girls out of supernatural binds, with extensive psychological subtext. Great character development.

Battle Athletes Victory

The essential sports girls anime, fun but not amazing, leading up to a rather strange ending which comes off like a last minute attempt to add more epic.

Battle Programmer Shirase

An amusing show about a world class hacker who works exclusively for old hardware and collectibles, and along the way collects a seriously dysfunctional harem. Sadly cut short mid arc.

Ben-To

An odd and original series about college students who do battle over the discounted bento at the grocery store. A well done short, complete arc, with good fight scenes.

Beyond the Boundary

Supernatural adventure romance with some good Exalted style visual fodder, and an engaging cast only a little spoiled by being cliche in inverse proportion to their prominence.

Binbogami Ga!

Amusing, original, and well written, this show embraces a few of the classic tropes while treading new ground with a slapstick story about a rich bitch and a god of poverty.

Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-Chan

Absurd violence, comic plot, and fan service. What’s not to like you ask? Well, she looks to be about twelve, and the whole thing comes off more creepy than good. Mostly good AMV fodder.

Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai

A slice of life show with some fun characters, it could have been great with a bit more development and conclusion, or another season. Science for the win.

Boku wa Tomodachi Ga Sukunai NEXT

The rare second season that surpasses the first, this takes the successful formula and builds upon it with some real character development (though of course more is desired) and some actual romantic tension.

Brynhildr in the Darkness

What Elfen Lied might be if you toned it down for a PG-13 rating and jammed in some fan service scenes. The powers are more arbitrary, the narrative less powerful, but it’s fully watchable.

Campione!

The globe-trotting magical adventure story of a guy who can fight gods and take their powers, and his typical passel of haremites. The story jumps confusingly at time, as major characters appear but are never introduced.

A Certain Magical Index

A neat premise, well visualized with cool supporting cast, but the main characters couldn’t be less interesting or likable, and the story just kind of rambles on.

A Certain Scientific Railgun

Focused on one of the more interesting characters from Index, this is definitely stronger, with a distinct arc and more focus. Worth watching, but needed more character development.

Chaika – The Coffin Princess

A fantasy epic with some cool world building, it’s held back by its characters, who are mostly simple fantasy or anime cliches. Never the less, worth watching for a cohesive, complete fantasy narrative.

Chobits

A solid take on the robot girlfriend concept, with minimal squick and a touching, sometimes fun story. It drags on too long, and waxes too philosophical to be an unqualified success.

Chronicles of the Going Home Club

Yet another thoroughly unremarkable installment in the girls slice of life genre, this series isn’t bad, but it’s just got nothing to especially recommend it.

Chu-Bra

I expected a series about a middle school lingerie club to be too squicky to watch, but the recommendations were right. This show handles the subject with such consistent class that it’s actually quite innocent and touching.

Clannad

A touching and very emotional romance in a high school setting with fantasy elements. If you’re human, this will make you tear up. Beautifully done visuals.

Cosplay Complex

A thoroughly mundane show about a high school cosplay club in a world where cosplay is apparently a competitive sport. Summarily fails to be exciting in any sense of the word.

Cube x Cursed x Curious

An interesting and original premise presented poorly with hard to like characters, cliche references, and predictable story telling.

Dance in the Vampire Bund

A rather uninspired presentation of a story told without much intelligence, this series was interesting enough in premise, but left much to be desired in terms of execution.

DearS

Chobits redux, for all intents and purposes, this manages to get a better pace going, and provides a greater variety of fan service, but sadly fails to stand out.

Death Note

A good series that didn’t know when to quit, and rides heavily on its (very nice) artwork. The second season and series conclusion amount to a big letdown.

Demon King Daimao

A more or less standard issue magical high school harem anime, it has more of an ending than most (in that it has one at all).

Denki-Gai

An oddball comedy about a bunch of people working at a comic shop, predictably loaded with lots of in-references and surprisingly light on the usual character tropes.

Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko

A quirky pseudo-romance about a girl who thinks she’s an alien (maybe), and the random guy who ends up living with her. Well crafted, but not super memorable.

Dog & Scissors

An odd show about a guy who dies and gets reincarnated as a dog, the characters would feel overplayed except that the whole thing is exaggerated until they fit right in. Could have used a bit more of an arc overall.

Dragon Crisis!

A harem show of the surprise magical girlfriend variety, set in a generic modern fantasy background, this was watchable but completely unremarkable in my eyes.

Elfen Lied

Shockingly violent and graphic, this harem anime gone wrong features endearing characters and interesting plot, with very well rendered artwork.

Engaged to the Unidentified

A terribly unremarkable show where-in virtually every character was totally unmemorable, and the core conceit of the story was basically irrelevant.

Eureka Seven

A series that tries hard to be good, but falls a bit short. Cool world and workable characters can’t quite make up for a rather lackluster story arc.

Familiar of Zero

A fun, lighthearted harem fantasy adventure that defies enough of its tropes to be interesting, while sticking with enough of them to be familiar.

Familiar of Zero F

No surprises here. A sound enough conclusion to the series without venturing at all from the formula established for the previous installments. I still say the queen is the better choice…

Fate Stay Night

A solidly entertaining show with some interesting depths, which falls down a bit by spreading itself thin over too many characters, and too many unexplained or cryptic plot points.

Fate Stay Night – Unlimited Blade Works

An alternate path for the Fate Stay Night plot, reduced to movie length and focused down more clearly. The vagaries of the original series are more easily ignored in the short format.

Fate Zero (Season 1)

A beautiful and well realized prequel to the other Fate series entries, this backs off the slice of life in order to delivery more and better exposition, and stronger characters.

Fate Zero (Season 2)

The second season runs out of gas a bit narrative-wise, but continues to be gorgeous and well thought out, with solid dove-tailing to the rest of the extended series.

Fruits Basket

A low impact drama with a vague but acceptable ending, remarkable mostly for its inversion of the typical harem composition to include one girl and numerous guys.

Full Metal Panic

A thoroughly entertaining series which has aged quite well, driven by the contrast of fish-out-of-water comedy and well done action, with some romance and drama for good measure.

Ga-Rei Zero

A strangely paced but interesting supernatural drama which struggles with an off-putting first several episodes, propped up on interesting characters.

Genshiken

A three season series following the adventures of a college otaku club. Mostly romance and school drama driven, it’s a fine example of the type, and an enjoyable if unamazing watch.

Giant Robo

A short, story rich OVA with a lot of elements to recommend it, but the super-hero team up wasn’t particularly my thing, and I felt the main character was somewhat superfluous.

Gingitsune

A heartwarming slice of life series about a girl – the true heiress to a shrine – and the cranky old fox spirit that only she can see. Pleasantly down to earth despite its fantasy premise.

Girls Bravo

A personal favorite and a definite guilty pleasure, loaded with fan service throughout. Funny, well drawn, and featuring a superior English dub.

Girls und Panzer

Girls drive old tanks in the tank club on their giant flying aircraft carrier school. Less weird than Uppote, but with the same general feel and format, and nothing to distinguish itself beyond the initial concept.

GJ Club

This show has no meta-plot to speak of, really goes nowhere, and is often pointless, but something about the characterizations in it made me come away feeling fond of them all, and better about the show than I can justify.

Glasslip

A run of the mill romance drama rendered weirdly convoluted by the characters’ apparent precognitive abilities, which are woven into the presentation oddly, and put a down spin on the story.

Golden Boy

A solid and self contained story that goes out of its way to offer variety, it’s certainly worth watching, but won’t leave you wanting more.

Golden Time

A straight up love story, I feel like this could have been done in fewer episodes, and without the cliched amnesia plot, but that it executed well on the choices that were made.

Goshuushou-Sama Ninomiya-Kun

A mostly unremarkable micro-harem show about a mysteriously-hard-to-kill guy who ends up attracting a passel of supernatural suitors. Hijinks ensue.

Grenadier

A good but not great adventuring warrior type series, held together by its style and the protagonists huge tracts of land. Full of great Exalted stunt reference material.

Guilty Crown

A good series, unafraid to confront difficult decisions in an honest light. Some stupid decisions get made, and some of it is tough to watch, but that feels in character.

Haiyore! Nyralko-San

High school anime plus Cthulhu should make for an awesome combination, but tragically the closest they get to the old ones in this sad excuse for a show is borrowing their names.

Hanasku Iroha

A very nice character drama about a girl who’s forced to go work at her grandmother’s inn. Sweet and heartfelt, although it quickly becomes obvious that nothing truly bad is going to happen to anyone involved.

HaNaYaMaTa

A club drama about a group of friends who get together to form a yosakoi dance team, built on the same frame as every other club drama.

Haruhi Suzumiya (2009)

A well rendered and interesting story with just the right blend of believable drama and mind-twisting science fiction. Better by far if watched in broadcast order.

Haruhi Suzumiya (2010)

A rebroadcast of the original with more episodes mixed it, it breaks the view order that created arc in the original in favor of mostly tedious material and back-fill. Very unnecessary.

Heaven’s Lost Property

A rambling ecchi comedy about a chivalrous pervert playing host to escaped robot angels. A touch repetitive, and the female lead isn’t much of a character, but it’s a well realized story.

He is My Master

As guilty pleasures go, among the guiltiest and most entertaining around. Cute art. Cute girls. Lots of fan service. The ending waxes a bit serious, but fun over all.

Henneko

This lighthearted story of teenagers with access to mischievous magical wishes could have been great, but when wishing for personality changes is a central thread, it needs to be reflected it in more than exposition.

Hen Semi

A slice of life show which juxtaposes cute, strictly inoffensive visuals with a cast involved in frank, theoretically academic exploration of literally dozens of unusual fetishes. A riot, if you aren’t too squicked out.

Hidan no Aria

A stylish action harem show that obviously needs more seasons, but manages a nice finale to its first season. Not super original, but the setting has some unconventional features, and it’s well rendered and animated.

Highschool DXD

An interesting premise saddled with utterly banal storytelling. I suppose it’s meant to succeed on the distractingly large racks of its female cast members.

High School of the Dead

A gorgeous series with likeable, attractive characters (yes, even her… maybe its the glasses) and a solid story. Misses a 5 of 5 only by lack of a real ending for season one. Apparently season two is on the way though…

Himegoto

It tries to bring some fresh air to the suggestive comedy genre by making literally every character a cross dresser, but even at four minutes an episode that joke goes only so far.

Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere

This is a bad show. Too many characters who are too shallow. A story that’s no better. The setting concept has potential, but it goes unfulfilled. It’s got a good sound track, and I watched both seasons, but I don’t really know why.

Hoshizora e Kakru Hashi

A pretty generic harem show about a guy who moves to the country with his kid brother, complete with all the usual tropes, and nothing much new beyond a nice happy ending.

I Couldn’t Become A Hero, So I Got a Job

An entirely unrepentant echi comedy, this series is well executed (for what it is). I’d say something about its examination of a post-adventurer economy, but it’s really nothing like so high brow.

If Her Flag Breaks

A pretty stock seeming romantic comedy about a guy who sees dating game style choices when interacting with girls, this takes a weird twist towards the serious further into the story.

Infinite Stratos

An entertaining enough giant robot high school harem show which is typical and average in most respects, but has significantly above average visuals.

Infinite Stratos (Season 2)

Much like the first season, but with – as if just to prove that it’s possible – even less focus and direction. It has its high points, but ultimately doesn’t even provide the awkward comedy of the first installment.

Inugami-san to Nekoyama-san

Lesbian schoolgirls with personalities modeled on various animal stereotypes would get annoying fast, but at three minutes an episode it’s actually pretty amusing.

The Irregular at Magic High School

A novel magic system and interesting characters can’t quite balance out narrative choices that waste half the season on a pointless sports event at the expense of framing its main conflict.

Isekai no Iukoto wo Kikinasai

This wants to be a good show from the Tenchi crew, but falls completely flat in its attempts to stretch episodes out to double length. It feels outright incomplete.

Is the Order a Rabbit?

A positively dull entry into the ranks of the slice of life genre which somehow manages to have even less going on than the conflict-free Aira series.

Kamen no Maid Guy

A combat maid and a ridiculously super-powered Maid Guy protect two siblings from would-be assassins and the perils of teenage life. Over the top silly fun, but not going anywhere.

Kamichu

Cute, fun, and (perhaps most importantly) original. It’s like a magical girl series without the silly magical girl tropes. The plot can be a bit absurd, but the nonsense is so in keeping with the character that it works.

Kamigami no Asobi

An unremarkable reverse harem show with a human girl who’s supposed to teach a bunch of bishonen gods from various pantheons not to be dicks to humans. Spoiler alert: she succeeds.

Kamisama Kiss

A fun little reverse harem show about a girl who gains divine powers, and her growing collection of bishonen familiar spirits and other magical friends. Mostly unremarkable, but well crafted.

Kampfer

Hot super-powered high-school girls (and a dude who turns into a hot super-powered high-school girl) fight. There is also sexual tension. Not bad on the whole, but subject to weird mood whiplash, and a complete non-ending.

Kannagi

Magical girlfriend anime about an artist who inadvertently awakens a goddess by carving a sculpture from the wood of her sacred tree, there’s some good drama to be had here, but nothing that blew me away.

The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behavior

An enjoyable romance about a guy living on his own for the first time, and the cast of characters (some more nuanced than others) that live around him. A solid drama on the whole.

Kemeko DX

An underwhelming and unmemorable romantic comedy who’s characters are mostly intolerable. I don’t actively hate it, but I came away feeling like I’d wasted my time.

Kenkoo Zenrakei Suieibu Umishou

A sports anime about a high school swim team, seasoned tastefully with romance and slice of life. Predictably full of fan service, and not amazing, but fun and well made.

Kill la Kill

What happens when the makers of Gurren Lagann make a show in the style of Medaka Box. The visual style was off-putting at first, but I think ultimately necessary to capture the story’s energy.

Kimi Kiss

A touching psuedo-harem romance, sticking to the drama of the characters’ lives without need for fantastic trappings. The ending is solid, positive, but necesarely bitter-sweet given the cast.

Kinmoza!

A fun little slice of life show about a group of girls, like many others, but with at least enough unconventional backgrounds and character relationships to keep things a bit fresh.

Kiss X Sis

A show about a reluctant guy and his… not-so-reluctant twin stepsisters. It strolls casually up to the visibly-moist precipice of being outright hentai, but it’s amusingly audacious.

KoihimeMusou

A rather dull fight of the week, wandering adventurers style show that attempts to ride on the fact that all the characters are cute girls. Might mean more to me if I knew Chinese history.

Kokoro Connect

A pretty cool show that mixes up regular teenage drama with unexpected and uncontrolled magical body swapping, and gives a pretty thorough and interesting exploration of the circumstances and situations that ensue.

K-On!

A fun slice of life series with a bit more overarching plot than most, a focus on music, and great artwork. Not quite as endearing as Azumanga, but still very good.

Korewa Zombie Desuka? (Is This a Zombie?)

A fun show that observes all the compulsory contemporary-fantasy-harem tropes while keeping things original. The meta-plot is a bit muddled, and the season two ending leaves a lot hanging, but well worth watching.

Kotoura-San

A nicely self-contained one shot series about a high-school girl who can hear other people’s thoughts, and the drama that that creates in her life. Heartfelt, smart, and entertaining.

Little Busters

A reasonably well executed drama about a group of kids overcoming the various traumas life has thrown their way, with a supernatural (or perhaps psychological) flourish.

Log Horizon (Seaon I)

Focusing on world building where Sword Art focuses on characters, it examines the fallout of an MMO world come to life, and especially the way the trapped players fall into their niche as unwilling immortals.

Log Horizon (Seaons 2)

Following on from the first season, situations begin to fray as players grow more desperate to escape, and the pseudo-reality of the world starts to give up clues as to how and why they’re trapped there.

Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions

A nice but fairly unremarkable romance that revolves around characters who indulge their childhood fantasies of being magical bad-asses. A fun and unique enough concept, but not a standout.

Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions, Season 2

I won’t call the second season unnecessary, but it definitely struggled to find purpose compared to the first. The technical execution was notably good, but the narrative seemed comparatively lazy.

Love, Elections & Chocolate

A passably well crafted harem romance with a good dose of drama, this was a solid enough show, but doesn’t carry the drama side of things as well as some of the better examples of the genre.

Love Hina

An endearing harem anime with a diverse and interesting cast, and a nicely coherent overall story. Benefits from a proper ending, though it’s dragged out over a couple of post-season OVAs.

Love Lab

A fun series of the girls slice of life variety, this time revolving around a group of girls speculating on romance in a school where actual relationships are strictly off limits. The blind teaching the blind.

Lucky Star

A well told slice of life series in the typical format, set apart by a wealth of very plausible references to gaming, otaku culture, and other anime at large.

Mai-HiME

An obvious precursor in concept to Puella Magi Madoka Magica, this series is, by comparison, overly drawn out and afraid of its own darkness.

Maji de Watashi ni Koi Shinsai

A potentially interesting show about students at a battle-oriented highs school which is pretty fun to start with and falls rather flat in the ending department.

Maken-Ki

A dull and poorly assembled iteration of the standard school-of-fight high school series concept, this one fails to excite.

Mangirl!

This show about a bunch of girls starting a manga magazine does a lot with its five minute episode format, but not enough to be really special. Still well worth the watch though, given the small time commitment.

Maoyu

Though it felt a bit rushed, this show explores the drama surrounding the truly powerful in a world of iconic magical figures, and does it well. Destroying the world would be easy. Making it better is hard.

Maria†Holic

Interesting, unconventional, and strongly evocative characters manage to make a fun series out of what might otherwise be a cringe-worthy collection of off color sexual humor.

Maria†Holic (Season 2)

The second season is more or less on par with the first, but isn’t anything like as audacious as the first one in its context, mostly because the context has moved on and it hasn’t.

Martian Successor Nadesico

A rollicking space-born adventure, the story is occasionally hard to follow, but it’s full of appealing characters, and is generally well told, without ever taking itself too seriously.

Mashiroiro Symphony

A pretty standard visual novel adaptation, complete with the usual character archetypes, and the awkward story points around those characters not chosen as the protagonist’s love interest.

Mayo Chiki

A well done if fairly standard harem anime, the twist that could have made this different from its peers quickly gives way to more generic material. Still, good if you like harem shows.

Mayoi Neko Overrun!

Well rendered, entertaining, and genuinely funny, with a great cast of characters. Normally I don’t ship for the tsundere, but Fumino is my one exception.

Medaka Box

God Mode Sue goes to high-school. The first season is just like that. The second season is the dungeon crawl version of the same thing. Good exalted fodder, but that’s about all I can say for it.

The Melody of Oblivion

A strange show that seems random and broken at first glance, but is actually very consistent internally, this is now my point of reference for Exalted’s border marches and fair folk. Kind of a lame ending, but better than none at all.

MM!

A harem show that revolves around the extreme and entertaining masochism of the intrepid harem hero, complete with the usual trappings, including every kind of -dere under the sun, but as usual lacking much story progression.

Monogatari

The third major installment in the series, this comes back to focus on the primary characters of the first season. It’s a bit less existential, but hits the same general pace and themes overall.

Mouretsu Pirates

A fun, lighthearted series about a teenage girl who inherits her father’s space pirate commission. Never too serious, but fun and well made.

Muv-Luv Alternative

This wanted to be a four. I wanted it to be a four, and it could have been. It’s an interesting and characterful military drama, with bonus giant robots, but its story just comes up short without a hint of a conclusion.

My Bride Is a Mermaid

An excruciatingly long 26 episodes of Ranma style harem hijinks, revolving around a kid who has to marry a girl from a mermaid yakuza family to keep the secret of their existence in the family.

My Mental Choices

Constructed on the same lines as The World God Only Knows, the series is diminished by its protagonist’s lack of agency in the course of events.

Myself; Yourself

A workmanlike example of the harem drama genre, with plausible character establishment and a satisfactory conclusion, the show’s major flaw is that it does nothing to stand out from its countless cousins.

My Sister is Among Them

Garden variety harem anime where the main character learns that one – but he doesn’t know which one – of his haremites is apparently his sister. Generic fan-service ensues.

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU

Fun characterizations – especially for the often generic roll of the protagonist – bring what might otherwise be a rather standard story and setting to life in a really enjoyable way.

Nanana’s Burried Treasure

A thoroughly enjoyable adventure-school type show with likable if not terribly original characterizations and nice art. I really wanted more of this when I hit the end of the season.

Nazo no Kanojo X

A weird romance story about a boy and a girl who become telepathically bonded by the medium of her (horribly addictive) drool. Original but strange, in a cute way.

Needless

A pretty standard fighting anime over all, it closely resembles Scryed cut with a healthy dose of fan service and genre savvy added to help balance it out.

Negima

If you’re not too squicked out by the fact the he’s eleven, a school teacher, and his harem consists of his whole class of thirteen year old girls, it’s a good and entertaining watch, if occasionally less than perfectly coherent.

Nekogami Yaoyorozu

Another series about the adventures of a shrine or so’s worth of Shinto gods, this series is cute and all, but ultimately doesn’t bring anything especially exciting to the table.

Nerima Daikon Brothers

Strange, and strangely entertaining, the notion of a musical anime series is exceptionally novel. It’s held back however by the extremely formulaic presentation that (I suspect) was required to make it feasible.

Nisekoi (Seasons 1 & 2)

The same old tricks still work in this harem show – this time with a criminal underworld backdrop. Nothing new here, but I enjoyed it for what it was.

Nisemonogatari

The characters make this a solid second season to Bakemonogatari, despite being a bit less artful with a lot less story, and emphasizing a lot of seriously creepy theoretical fan service.

No Game No Life

Silly, trope laden, and simply having a lot of fun with itself, this show brings together the right kind of humor to make me smile with characters that I genuinely enjoyed watching.

Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu

A harem romance where the lead female is a secret otaku, loaded with references to other anime and fun story telling, wrapped up in nicely done artwork.

Non Non Biyori

A sweet and well executed slice of life show about the only four students at a rural school, this series manages to be endearing and enjoyable, but – per usual – plotless.

Nyan Koi!

A well put together harem romance, with a fantasy twist at the heart of it’s story, but a strong sense of realism in its overall style.

Occult Academy

A well composed narrative with interesting characters, this series does a surprisingly good – or at least interesting job of handling its combination of subject matter.

Okami-San and Her Seven Companions

High school anime of the slightly fantastical problem solving club variety, this one surprises with deeper than expected characters and even a little bit of character development for the two leads.

Omamori Himari

A solid but mostly unremarkable harem show with a monsters and magic twist, about a guy who’s literal anti-weirdness-magnet charm quits working at an inconvenient time.

Onee-Chan ga Kita

Three minute episodes are as close as this gets to a saving grace. Just three minute segments of right off the shelf anime tropes with nothing much to recommend it.

Onegai Teacher

A lighthearted show with a now-classic blend of random alien silliness and romantic drama. It handles mature topics maturely, without making things too heavy, for good effect over all.

Onegai Twins

Another mostly unrelated story in the same setting as Onegai Teacher, the narrative possess a similar maturity, and the uncomfortable moments are clearly written that way on purpose.

OniAi

This story, ostensibly about an estranged sister who is very openly in love with her brother, who wants no part of her crazy fantasies, would be seriously tiresome except that the supporting cast of other girls is actually pretty fun.

Oniichan no Koto

Echi content is traditionally a subtext shared between the viewer and  the author. In this show, it’s a weapon wielded by the characters, in character, to entirely entertaining effect.

Oreimo

A fun show about an average guy trying to get along with his little sister who’s a sports star, a model, a published author, a pushy annoying twerp, a closet bro-con, and a secret otaku.

Oreimo (Season 2)

Some long term story progression makes this a solid follow-up season to the first, and there’s at least some good character growth to go with it, but the season just kind of ends without going anywhere none the less.

OreShura

An amusing but mostly generic harem romance, the key defining feature of this show is that the protagonist is explicitly disinterested in romance, thereby justifying a bunch of the standard tropes that keep a harem show running.

Outbreak Company

Way better than I expected from its premiss, this show wraps a smart but simple narrative about cultural infection in a self-aware cushion of out-of-context otaku tropes.

Papa no Iukoto wo Kikinasai

A touching drama series about a college kid who takes in his young stepsisters after the death of their parents. Neatly avoids or handles most of the obvious tropes in favor of down to earth drama.

Parallel Dual

An interpretation of the Eva concept by the folks who made Tenchi, fun over all, but would have been stronger with a more dramatic, conclusive ending.

The Pet Girl of Sakura Hall

A sweet romance that stretches a bit too long over 24 episodes but would have been too fast with only 12, my only real complaint here is that I know I would have made a different romantic choice in the protagonist’s shoes.

Photo Kano

A romance in the style of KimiKiss and Amagami, complete with resetting story arcs, this delivers much the same feeling with a bit more hijinks and general fun factor. Solid, though the format is starting to get thin.

Photon: The Idiot Adventures

An enjoyable short science fiction adventure series, it’s carried by its female cast members, but seriously let down by the titular character, who more closely resembles a prop than a person.

Popotan

A cute and touching adventure with a nice original premise. It features a variety of fun and emotional content, but might have been better with more background development.

The Problem Children Are Coming From Another World

This show brings together three classic overpowered archetypes – a skill borrower, a narrator, and a chungian solar – and puts them in a literal world of games where they can bet it all. Fun, right up until it just kind of ends abruptly.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Gorgeously well and artistically rendered, beautifully scored, and deftly told, this ostensible magical girl series subverts the tropes of its genre to become one of the best shows I’ve seen.

R-15

In a show about a porn writer attending a high school for prodigies, you’d at least expect raunchy humor. The show is gimped by the network standards.

RahXephon

The first time I tried to watch this I hated it to death, but I gave it a second chance, and ended up liking it. Solid storytelling leads to a better than expected ending, though the sound design is sub-par.

Rail Wars

Things happen. There are trains. There are girls. It’s not quite a comedy, a drama, or a romance, and it’s set against the most trivial alternate history backdrop you’ve never imagined.

Ranma ½

Tedious, formulaic, and showing its age badly, this is noteworthy for it’s long run, more as a historical footnote than as actual entertainment of any kind.

Read Or Die (OVA)

An entertaining short series with a cool premise and interesting characters. Well worth your time for a fantasy adventure somehow reminiscent of Indiana Jones, while totally unlike it.

Read Or Die (Series)

Take the OVA, make it longer, and center it around far less interesting and more angst-ridden characters, and this is what you get. Watchable, but not great.

Recently, My Sister is Unusual

The core premise of this show involves significant squick factor, which the writers managed to handle about as well as was probably possible. Past that though, pretty standard late-night anime.

Rin, Daughters of Mnemosyne

An excellent series of six long form episodes, with good story telling, clear character development, and an intriguing premise, plus well done artwork and unabashedly mature themes.

Rinne no Lagrange

A show about girls piloting giant alien mecha with unknown apocolyptic powers in moddern day Japan. The first season feels rushed and under-developed, but a second is forthcoming shortly.

Rinne no Lagrange (Season 2)

The first season of this seems promising, but the best that can be said for the conclusion is that it does in fact wrap up the story. That’s nice and all, but I’d have liked for it to fulfill its entertainment potential as well as its narrative.

Rosario + Vampire

A fan-service loaded high school harem show with the normal-guy protagonist attending a school for mythical monsters. The first season is very formulaic, the second is better but not great.

RWBY

A cheaply rendered westerner’s idea of what an anime is like, this is never the less quite enjoyable for its over the top Exalted style action, and a story with surprising depth and nuance.

The Sacred Blacksmith

An enjoyable fantasy series with a nice enough mix of characters and an interesting setting. The first season clearly isn’t meant to be the only one, but has a reasonably good arc.

Saionara Zetsubou Sensei

Another slice of life show, this one a dark comedy about a suicidal teacher and his class full of kids with issues. Entertaining if a bit heavy from time to time.

Saki

A fun enough little show that would probably be a lot more exciting to someone who knows how to play mahjong. Big bonus points for making a game about moving tiles around stylishly flashy.

Sakura Trick

A over-stretched romantic comedy about a girl trying a little too hard to convince her best friend that they should be schoolgirl lesbians. Come for the girls making out, leave when you’re bored.

Say “I Love You”

A thoroughly likeable romance, with well realized characters and a minimum of anime trope absurdity. This series hits you right in the feels, without taking cheep shots.

School Rumble

I didn’t finish, and I don’t intend to. This is the same style of show as Azumanga Diaoh, but the characters are annoying instead of endearing, and the show shows its age.

Seitokai no Ichizon

An entertaining show about a guy who’s explicit goal in life is to turn the student council at his school into his harem, with rather amusing results.

Seitokai no Ichizon (Seasons 2)

The second and apparently last installment of this series this really goes nowhere the first one didn’t, but it does manage to keep the same kind of fun appeal.

Seitokai Yakuindomo

A slice of life show with harem elements, it finds its fun by inverting the stereotype that teenage boys are over sexed pervs. Occasionally clever, often funny, mostly typical.

Seitokai Yakuindomo, Season 2

More student council hijinks with the pervy female student council members and their shanghaied male vice-president. A little more romantic tension, still no resolution, so basically more of the same.

Sekirei

A solid, but not amazing fighting-magical-harem anime, Sekirei can best be summarized as “Pokemon with tits!” Entirely watchable with above average season endings, and way above average bust sizes.

Shakugan no Shana

Compelling and somewhat dark, with a richly developed background, engaging characters, and high quality artwork. The series skillfully weaves fantasy action and high school drama.

Shakugan no Shana 3

Similar in content and quality to the first two seasons, the final season suffers somewhat from excessive complexity where clear narrative would better serve the story.

Shakugan no Shana S

A scatter-shot collection of Shana bonus episodes, with some random odds and ends, and a little back-story development for Shana herself. Nice, worth watching, but not amazing.

Shining Hearts – Shiawase no Pan

What seems at first to be a generic fantasy series averts the obvious harem tropes and goes for good warm feelings all around, with some adventure and fantasy action to keep things lively. Surprisingly good, if you like its style.

Shin Sekai Yori

An intensely dramatic story that’s miss-sold by its common descriptions as about kids. Rich, dynamic characters combine with a willingness to explore moral quandaries for a great story overall.

Shuffle

Well rendered harem anime with interesting, growing characters and a very satisfying romantic ending. It’s fantasy premise is a distracting, under-used side note in a good series.

Sleeping With Hinako

I should have known from the title that this would be an odd one, and it is. Fourty-five minutes of watching an anime girl sleep probably does it for someone, but if that’s not you, then this is extremely skippable.

So, I can’t Play H!

This is what you get if you take The World God Only Knows and replace all the fun and romance with fan-service and pointless violence. Maybe it’s supposed to be dark or something, but mostly it’s just bad.

Soukyuu no Fafner

This is what Eva would be if Eva made a lick of sense. It’s the same formula, but with better story telling and production values, somewhat weaker characters, and a fully resolved ending.

Steins;Gate

This series handles itself and its subject matter with considerable skill, allowing the viewer some fun questions while still bringing the narrative around to a smartly handled conclusion which does its concept better justice than most.

Strawberry Panic

A densely packed collection of schoolgirl les-yay which watches like an all-girls romance novel played out on screen. Entertaining if you like drama and romance with minimal fan service.

Strike Witches

Animal eared girls who fly around in their underwear fighting aliens in world war two. Guilty pleasure? I think so. Fun, interesting, and well made? Absolutely.

Sumomomo Momomo

A rollicking martial-arts romance adventure harem anime with a healthy dose of suggestive material and an expressive art style. Just plain fun if you like any of those categories.

Sword Art Online

A few forced feeling plot points tempt me to give this a four, but I simply liked it to much to do so. An ideal combination of romance, fantasy adventure, and science fantasy that I found fun, touching, and smart.

Sword Art Online II

While this series continues to be well made, it’s ultimately about character relationships, and those were more or less locked in in the first season, leaving the second feeling light on tension.

Tasogare Otome x Amnesia

A cool and original love story and drama with a pretty solid narrative and good character work. It has its flaws, but it well worth the watch on the whole.

Tenchi Muyo! Tenchi Universe

I remember loving this series, but it simply hasn’t held up over the years. Slow pacing, uninteresting filler, and static, under-developed characters just aren’t as good as they could be. A nostalgic three at best.

Tenchi Muyo! War on Geminar

A good enough series which gains nothing of value from its tenuous connection to the Tenchi universe. Pacing and music are bad in the beginning, but get better as things progress.

Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann

A pretty solid sci-fi adventure series which couples over the top action with well above average writing to produce a coherent, entertaining net result.

They Are My Noble Masters

An unrepentant fan service comedy, loaded to the gills with echi and silliness. A guilty pleasure perhaps, but a pleasure none the less, and the spiritual precursor to He Is My Master.

This Ugly Yet Beautiful World

A concise and well scripted fantasy romance featuring a rare double harem. It’s nothing revolutionary, but a good show. If only it would decide if it’s trying for funny or serious.

Tiger & Bunny

A fun western style superhero show with a well built plot and well developed characters. Would have been stronger if it had explored the romance angle.

To LOVE-Ru

Harem shows have always been vehicles for fan service and echi, but seldom with so little hesitation or shame. A fun series that distills the classic Harem shows into one sexy package.

Toradora

A sweet if not super original romance show, with a lot to recommend it. The ending is more convoluted than it needs to be, but it has one, and it works  well unless you get your heart set on the wrong girl.

The Tower of Druaga

A spiritual predecessor to the Sword Art Online series, this fantasy series has the distinct feel of a game world without ever actually saying so. Sometimes strong, sometimes week, I think it’s over-all very worth watching.

Upotte!!

A rather pointless and odd show about moe-anthropomorphic personifications of assault rifles, and their odd interpersonal conflicts. Manages to be generic despite it’s bizarre premise.

Uuchu no Stellvia

Another solid and well resolved science fiction series from the makers of Fafner. The characterizations are stronger, but the series still doesn’t quite stand out as made of greatness.

Valvrave the Liberator

A solid and more modern installment in the teenagers with giant robots genre, this definitely feels incomplete, but is apparently slated for a second season in the future.

Valvrave the Liberator, Season 2

A workmanlike conclusion to the series, which manages to wrap things up better than a lot of other shows. It would have been stronger had it acknowledged how dark some of the events it contains were.

Vandread

An enjoyable space adventure series with a cast primarily composed of cute young women. Sadly, that’s about as much as I found memorable about it though, apparently.

We Without Wings

I was tempted to drop this a few eps in, but I would have been wrong to do so. A confusing, chaotic beginning does eventually pay off in a coherent and interesting conclusion. A famous feature film did the concept better though.

Witch Craft Works

An unlucky every-dude falls into the middle of a war between rival magical girl factions where he’s regularly confronted by how much more awesome than him they are. Promising idea, but kind of forgettable.

The World God Only Knows

I enjoyed the hell out of this contemporary fantasy romance, where a dating-sim pro is forced to romance various real world girls. It’s got good variety on its basic formula, and plenty of potential remaining, without leaving things hanging.

The World God Only Knows: Goddesses

A solid third season for the series finally brings us around to the emotional impact of the scenario on the protagonist that I’d been anticipating. It abandons the formula of previous seasons completely though.

The World is Still Beautiful

A well crafted fantasy romance which leans only minimally on the tropes and conventions typical of anime, opting instead for the feel of a stand-alone fantasy novel.

xxxHOLiC

Surreal and stylized, I know just enough about Japanese mythology to know that I’m not getting all the references in this series about a guy who can see ghosts and his strange employer.

Yamada’s First Time (B Gata H Kei)

The premise should be rom-com gold, but it’s actually poorly written schlock. It takes a lot for me to hate this kind of show, but this is how you do it. Also, spoiler alert: it doesn’t happen.

Yokuwakaru Gendai Maho

Needlessly drawn out and crippled by being told out of order for no apparent reason, this show is, while not unwatchable, definitely not bringing anything terribly worth-while to the table.

Yurumates 3Dei

A collection of very short two minute episodes, this slice of life series just doesn’t bring anything new or interesting to the table at all.

Yuru Yuri

A rambling school life show reminiscent of Azumanga Diaoh, only with a younger cast and a lot more lesbian jokes. Not bad if you like the format.

Yuru Yuri (Season 2)

An entirely entertaining continuation of the series, without deviating from the formula at all. I wasn’t excited about this, but as soon as I started watching it I remembered how much fun the first one was.

Zegapain

An excellent science fiction, giant robot type show with just enough mind screw to keep things interesting, and a satisfying if rushed ending.

ChainsawXIV's Anime List

Sins of the First Age ChainsawXIV