Hello everyone and welcome to another one of my editorials. I know that they are few and far between these days but you can blame a busy and hectic life for that. Being a graphic designer Monday-Friday, a writer for The Outerhaven by nights and weekends, and a self-published light novel author all adds up to less free time. Not to mention that most of that free time is devoted to watching anime and reading manga so that I can provide reviews for you guys here on the site.

Nevertheless, my workload is lessened right now so I decided that I was going to dip my toes back into the editorial pool and do a little feature which will show off my Anime of the Decade.

Of course, with any “top of” type of column, there always needs to be a disclaimer. In this case, the word before Anime of the Decade is “my.” It means exactly that. This is MY Anime of the Decade because if you think I’ve watched every single anime from 2010 to 2019, you are sorely mistaken. This is only based on anime I have watched which means, much to the internet’s chagrin, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba will NOT be winning because I haven’t seen it. Plus, giving the award to a show that came out in 2019 and has only had one season is just short-minded and undermines everything else that came out over the past ten years.

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Yeah, I said it. Fight me.

So, how this is going to work will be as follows: I will go year-by-year and list out the shows that I have watched. I will then pick an Anime of the Year for that year and give a short reason as to why I picked that show. Once all of those are picked, I will pick my Anime of the Decade from that list of winners. This way, I can assign multiple Anime of the Year awards and crown one king of all anime that I’ve seen in the past 10 years!

So, let’s get to it!

2010

# of Shows I watched: 19

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Shows Watched: Angel Beats, B Gata H Kei, Bakuman, Black Butler, Durarara!!, Fortune Arterial, Heroman, Highschool of the Dead, House of Fire Leaves, Mitsudomoe, Ookami Kakushi, OreImo, RAINBOW, Seikon no Qwaser, Shiki, Tegami Bachi, Togainu no Chi, Working!!, Yosuga no Sora

2010 Anime of the Year

RAINBOW: Nisha Rokubou no Shichinin

I think out of all ten years, this was THE hardest one for me to pick as there have been just a TON of great shows this year. Angel Beats is an instant classic among both anime and Jun Maeda fans, Bakuman was a huge left turn for Death Note creators Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata but it was still an amazing slice-of-life story (and one of my favorites), Black Butler was one HELL of a show, Durarara!! is, arguably, Ryohgo Narita’s best, Heroman saw comic legend Stan Lee try his hand at anime, Highschool of the Dead was just big titty memeland, OreImo captured the hearts of sister-loving otaku everyone, Shiki was heavily underrated and turned into a masterpiece, Tegami Bachi was quaint and something different and interesting, and Working!! was probably one of the best comedies to ever come along…

However, RAINBOW won it due to just how impactful it was. The simple story of juvenile delinquents going through hell itself in a detention block (aka prison) only to rise up, escape, and begin their lives anew was rather straight-forward but once you saw each character’s personality shine through, it just pushed it over the top. While Bakuman could have easily taken it for me, there was something about RAINBOW that just made it stand out. Everything from the gritty art style, to each character’s individual stories, the feeling of brotherhood between all of them, the tensions that mounted within them. All of it was just so enthralling. It didn’t get much attention either, which is a shame because this should be a series seen by everyone.

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2011

# of Shows I watched: 20

Shows Watched: AnoHana, Baka & Test, Blue Exorcist, C, Deadman Wonderland, Dragon Crisis, Dream Eater Mary, Fate/Zero, Mirai Nikki, GOSICK, Guilty Crown, Hanusaku Iroha, IS: Infinite Stratos, Kore wa Zombie Desu ka?, Level E, No. 6, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Shakugan no Shana, Steins;Gate, The World God Only Knows

2011 Anime of the Year

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Steins;Gate

Again, there were great shows in 2011. The tear-jerker AnoHana that everyone fell in love with, the edginess of Deadman Wonderland, ufotable just showing how gorgeous tv anime can be with Fate/Zero, the gripping battle royale style of Mirai Nikki, and of course, Mami loses her head in Episode 3 of Madoka Magica…. All of which provided great entertainment.

However, the King of 2011 was Steins;Gate. A show that mixes comedy, drama, and time travel to the most plausible and believable degree (in the theories of time travel, not the actual method they used) all formed one of the greatest anime I have ever seen in my life. Until this point, never has an anime made me scream out at my television when an episode ended. 23 minutes felt like 23 seconds with every show. Kurisu Makise is all-time best girl and my waifu because of this show. The emotion, the mental trauma suffered by Okabe, every single one of the cast of characters… it all meshed together in perfect harmony. Of course, the show had some faults but this was one of those shows that was about as perfect as perfect can get. It still, to this day, holds the #2 spot on MyAnimeList’s top anime of all time, right below the reigning champion Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.


2012

# of Shows I watched: 15

Shows watched: Accel World, Another, Zetsuen no Tempest, Shinsekei Yori, Jormungand, K, Kill Me Baby, Little Busters, Mysterious Girlfriend X, Ozuma, Sakurasu no Pet na Kanojo, Robotics;Notes, Sankarea, Sword Art Online, Zetman

2012 Anime of the Year

Shinsekai Yori

Sorry Sword Art Online fans, but even though Reki Kawahara dominated 2012 with two shows (which were both good, don’t get me wrong), Shinsekai Yori offered a very unique premise that stood out above all others. While I did enjoy SAO and Accel World, I also enjoyed Little Busters, Jormundand, and Mysterious Girlfriend X… as odd as that last one may be with its spit-swapping telepathy… They each brought some high entertainment value to the anime world but when I reflect back, the one that stuck out the most and I enjoyed the most was Shinsekai Yori.

Shinsekai Yori (or From the New World by its English title), shows a future where technology is all but gone. The world got send back to the stone age (well not that far) and these children venture out and discover the truth behind their world. However, little did the realize what kind of truth awaited them. The entire mystery aspect of the show kept you watching and while some of it tipped on the edge of trippy sci-fi, it added a lot of charm to the show. I know a lot of people gave up after the Yaoi scene without even looking into WHY that happened, but those of us who looked past it were given quite the treat in the form of an incredible story!


2013

# of Shows I watched: 16

Shows Watched: Attack on Titan, Danganronpa, Hataraku Maou-sama, Genshiken NIdaime, Hajime no Ippo: New Challenger, Kill la Kill, Log Horizon, My Youth Romantic Comedy is Wrong as I Expected, WataMote, Non Non Biyori, NouCome, Samurai Flamenco, Silver Spoon, Sunday Without God, Unbreakable Machine Doll, Vivired Operation

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2013 Anime of the Year

Kill la Kill

This one was pretty easy for me. Attack on Titan was a phenomenon and while Hajime Isayama’s manga adaptation was incredible… it didn’t stand out as much as Studio Trigger’s Kill la Kill. Still, this year had a couple of gems like Hiromu Arakawa’s Silver Spoon which was a healthy detraction from FMA, Samurai Flamenco which was just the biggest WTF anime I’ve seen in a while, Hajime no Ippo’s return was simply awesome, and Genshiken just filled you with that otaku goodness that we’ve been missing.

Still, a Studio Trigger show is a Studio Trigger show. Kill la Kill gave us great action, a story which was completely out there, and as completely expected of Trigger, over-the-top characters. Kill la Kill mixed it all into a mature and warped version of a magical girl anime. Yes… think about it… Kill la Kill is a magical girl anime. Ryuko and Satsuki’s rivalry is iconic but it ends up just being this smokescreen for Satsuki’s mother to swoop in and attempt to take over the world… using fashion and clothing. It’s absurd but hilariously entertaining. This is why it stands out above any and all others for me.


2014

# of Shows I watched: 13

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Shows Watched: Akame ga Kill, Black Bullet, Broken Blade, Fate/stay night Unlimited Blade Works, Monthly Girls Nozaki-kun, Nisekoi, The Pilot’s Love Song, Pupa, Sailor Moon Crystal, Zankyoku no Terror, Tokyo Ghoul, World Trigger, Your Lie in April

2014 Anime of the Year

Your Lie in April

HOW DARE I NOT PICK TOKYO GHOUL!! How dare they go on to do one of the poorest adaptations of a manga I have ever seen… Sorry, Tokyo Ghoul was edgy for the time and while the parent story is phenomenal, it didn’t draw me in as much as Your Lie in April. Outside of Tokyo Ghoul, I did enjoy World Trigger, Akame ga Kill, and The Pilot’s Love Song but while they were great in their own right, they weren’t so great to the point where they just rented out a part of my head to live in.

Your Lie in April did that. It proves that you don’t need dark, seinen action, mature plot, or anything of the sort to be a great anime. Your Lie in April told a fantastic story about a boy named Arima who was known as the Human Metronome. After his mother passed, he couldn’t hear the notes he was playing anymore. Enter Kaori: a violinist who had a keen interest in Arima and decided to help him remember what it was like to play beautiful music. Everything from that humble beginning to the highly emotional ending was just one hell of a ride. It’s a simple slice-of-life story everyone should check out!


2015

# of Shows I watched: 18

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Shows Watched: Assassination Classroom, Attack on Titan: Junior High, Chaos Dragon, Charlotte, Death Parade, Durarara!!X2 Ken, Gangsta, GATE, God Eater, Heroic Legend of Arslan, One-Punch Man, Plastic Memories, Ranpo Kitan: Game of Laplace, Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers, Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend, Testament of Sister New Devil, Utawarirumono: Itsuwari no Kamen, Young Black Jack

2015 Anime of the Year

Death Parade

GATE was a breath of fresh air in the isekai genre, Arslan was phenomenal if you liked sword and board medieval war anime, One-Punch Man was just One-Punch Man, Saekano was a great slice-of-life anime, and Young Black Jack shows why Osamu Tezuka is still one of the best mangaka of all-time (God rest his soul).

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As great as those shows were, it still came down to Death Parade for me. A bar between Heaven and Hell where the souls of the recently departed go to get judged… by playing games. These games weren’t there to win or lose, though. They were there to bring out the true characters surrounding those who had died so that they could be judged fairly. The premise of the show took a real backseat while the characters drove home the emotion. Each story was unique and drew you in. Slowly, the show developed a story of its own which is ended up closing out the series with. Everything the show did was impactful and who didn’t love the opening by BRADIO and the that ending by Noisy Cell? This show just had everything going for it!


2016

# of Shows I watched: 16

Shows Watched: 91 Days, Ajin, D.Gray-man Hallow, Dimension W, ERASED, Fairy Tail Zero, Heroic Legend of Arslan: Dust Storm Dance, Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress, ReZERO, Mob Psycho 100, My Hero Academia, New Game!, Orange, ReLIFE, Rewrite, She and Her Cat

2016 Anime of the Year

erased

ERASED

I hadn’t had much conflict since 2010 in picking out an Anime of the Year. There were SEVERAL shows here that could have taken it. 91 Days was just a perfect 1920’s mafia-style anime, Ajin took CG anime to new heights, Dimension W was one of the greatest sci-fi stories I’ve seen in a while. ReZERO also took isekai to a whole new level, and MHA is just MHA (as if the Crunchyroll Anime Awards were any indication).

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I picked ERASED (Boke Dake ga Inai Machi) due to the emotional ties I have to this show. In 2015, I began working on my light novel series Final Hope. Then, in January 2016, ERASED hit the airwaves and I discovered that it was telling the same story I was… only better. I stopped writing for eight months because I felt like I was just ripping off someone else’s work (even though I wasn’t aware of it when I had started writing). I did, eventually, finish the story but ERASED still holds a special place in my heart because of it. The story really was that good… even if Hinazuki pulled off the ultimate betrayal in the end… (I’m STILL pissed off over that). Plus, it had time travel in it and time travel is my favorite sub-genre of Sci-Fi! That kind of helped nudge it along, too.


2017

# of Shows I watched: 10

Shows Watched: Anonymous Noise, Boruto, Eromanga Sensei, Gamers!, King’s Game, Made in Abyss, My Girlfriend is ShoBitch, Princess Principal, Re:Creators, UQ Holder

2017 Anime of the Year

Made In Abyss

Made in Abyss

2017 was a dismal year for me in terms of anime. I just couldn’t find much to get into. Which meant picking an Anime of the Year came down to Made in Abyss and Re:Creators… a reverse isekai that would be any otaku’s dream come true turned worst nightmare. One thing I will say, though. 2017 also held my WORST Anime of the Decade and that goes to King’s Game. Not only was the plot completely unbelievable, but the animation was also atrocious in parts and it had some of the worst character development I had ever seen. Mother F’n PUPA had better character development than King’s Game and Pupa was a complete and total shit show served up to you in 4-minute increments. So, uh… congrats King’s Game? You won something!

As for Made in Abyss… here is a show that was the Madoka Magica of the more current times. What I mean by that is that Made in Abyss threw people off with its misdirection. I still remember Gen Urobuchi apologizing for misleading young girls into thinking Madoka Magica was a cutesy magical girl anime… much in the same way Made in Abyss led people to believe it would be a cutesy anime about little kids going exploring in caves! Oh, how wrong we were. What Made in Abyss gave us was one great big spiral into one of the darkest stories in all of 2017. What poor Riko went through on her descent into the Abyss was a bit hard to watch. Then, there was the whole Mitty situation. Still, it was absolutely phenomenal, gripping, and always left you wanting more!


2018

# of Shows I watched: 12

Shows Watched: Banana Fish, Citrus, Dead March to the Parallel World Rhapsody, Happy Sugar Life, Hi-Score Girl, Pop Team Epic, Steins;Gate 0, Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online, Sword Art Online: Alicization, Tokyo Ghoul:re, Violet Evergarden, WotaKoi

2018 Anime of the Year

Violet Evergarden

Violet Evergarden

Surprised I didn’t pick Steins;Gate 0? While my love for Steins;Gate is undying, I ruined myself by playing the visual novel first. Then when I saw the anime adaptation, I saw the flaws in it and that caused me to feel a bit jaded towards the show. I still gave it a 9/10 (or 4.5/5 for you star rating people), but it just didn’t capture the same magic as the first season because I knew what was going to happen ahead of time. As for the others, WotaKoi and Hi-Score Girl were two of THE BEST geek romance series I had seen PERIOD. And, honestly, Hi-Score Girl, Banana Fish, and Violet Evergarden all could have won this for me. The only thing that nudged Violet Evergarden ahead was the emotions invoked by its storytelling.

Violet Evergarden mixed episodic storytelling with overarching storytelling beautifully. After being a tool of war and knowing zero emotions, Violet goes on a journey to deliver people feelings through letters. It is through these deliveries that she learns about the world, the people in it, and the experiences of many different human emotions… all so she can find out about the one emotion she desired: love. There were many parts in this story that were sad and depressing. It made you feel a deep connection to Violet as a character and it made you root for her so that she could find the answers that she sought. Banana Fish and Hi-Score Girl had great emotion behind them as well but not as much as Violet Evergarden. That’s what sealed the deal for me.


2019

# of Shows I watched: 8

Shows Watched: Boogiepop and Others, Domestic Girlfriend, Dororo, Isekai Quaret, The Promised Neverland, Rising of the Shield Hero, Vinland Saga, OreSuki

2019 Anime of the Year

Dororo

2019 ended up being the year with the least amount of anime watched. I’m not counting SAO, MHA, or Hi-Score Girl because they are continuations. Much like I didn’t include the other seasons of Attack on Titan. I only included some sequels (like Tokyo Ghoul:re) when they were vastly different. Like how Steins;Gate 0 wasn’t a continuation but a completely new plot point that could stand alone by itself. Still, This one was another three-way battle between The Promised Neverland, Dororo, and Vinland Saga. No other show I watched this year came close to those.

In the end, Dororo took it only by a small margin. Again, another work of mangka legend Osamu Tezuka, Dororo just gave us that classic style story of a samurai going around and slaughtering demons. Of course, there is a reason why he’s doing it but everything about the show just screamed old school and it was definitely a treat to see. Hyakkimaru was one of the most diverse characters I’ve seen in a while and while Dororo was a little shit most of the time, she had some great moments and her loyalty to Hyakkimaru simply showed what true friendship was all about. Dororo was a reminder of just how great anime can be and in a world with tons of isekai, moe, harem, and other trope-like shows, Dororo stood out because it dared to be something different yet familiar at the same time.


Anime of the Decade

There you have it! As a quick recap, here all the shows that I picked for Anime of the Year and are, therefore, candidates for Anime of the Decade!

Nominees

RAINBOW, Steins;Gate, From the New World, Kill la Kill, Your Lie in April, Death Parade, ERASED, Made in Abyss, Violet Evergarden, Dororo

After careful consideration… my Anime of the Decade is:

Steins;Gate

For those who know me, this shouldn’t come as no surprise. Steins;Gate currently holds my title of Favorite All-Time anime. Sure, it’s not THE greatest anime of all-time as I’m sure there are many others that can easily dethrone this but for me and my interests and what I want to see out of an anime, Steins;Gate is as close to being as perfect as it can get.

Agree?

Disagree?

Be sure to let me know in the comments below or you can shoot me a message via email (joshpiedra@theouterhaven.net) or via DM on Twitter (@JJPiedraTOH).

Thanks for reading and I’ll catch you all later.

Ja ne!

About The Author

Josh Piedra

Josh (or J.J. as some have come to call him), is a long-time geek culture enthusiast with a deep passion for anime, manga and Japanese culture. Josh also has a Bachelor of Arts in Game Design and is a creative writer who has created original content for over 20 years! He is also the author of the original English light novel Final Hope.