Our resident otaku looks back on the last decade with year-by-year picks of the best of the best.

While most otaku would argue that every day is “Anime Day,” the Association of Japanese Animators officially bestows that honor upon October 22. That’s because it’s the date of the 1958 premier of The Tale of the White Serpent, Japan’s first feature-length color theatrical anime.

To celebrate Anime Day this year, we asked SoraNews24 Japanese-language reporter and all-around otaku Seiji Nakazawa if he could recommend some good anime from the last decade. “Sure!” he replied, then nonchalantly flexed his fan muscles by saying “Here’s 92 of them, broken down by year!”

● 2010
Aragami SS, Angel Beats!, Baka and Test: Summon the Beasts, Highschool of the Dead, And Yet the Town Moves, Durarara!!, Sound of the Sky, Occult Academy

Sound of the Sky

Seiji’s comments: While they were airing, I was also into Oreimo, Katanagatari, The Tatami Galaxy, and Yosuga no Sora. But looking back now, 10 years later, my eight recommendations are the ones I’d like to watch again. In particular, Sound of the Sky is a succinct, extremely enjoyable masterpiece.

● 2011
Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day, Steins;Gate, Chihayafuru, Nichijou, Hanasaku Iroha, Fate/Zero, Ben-To, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Mawaru Penguindrum

Seiji’s comments: There are many series from 2011 that are still actively popular. With Anohana, Fate/Zero, and Mado Magi, it was truly a monster lineup for the year. At the time, I also had fun watching Tiger and Bunny, Haganai, and Future Diary.

● 2012
Girls und Panzer, K, Psycho-Pass, Kids on the Slope, Joshiraku, Jormungand

Kids on the Slope

Seiji’s comments: At the time, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions, and Nyaruko: Crawling with Love had big impacts. It was a year with a large gap in tone between the serious and silly series, but I think my picks all retain their appeal even now.

● 2013
The Eccentric Family, Kyousougiga, Kill la Kill, Attack on Titan, Nagi-Asu: A Lull in the Sea, Non Non Biyori, Free!, My Youth Romantic Comedy Is Wrong, As I Expected, Yowamushi Pedal, Love Live!

Seiji’s comments: 2013 belonged to Attack on Titan. It just towered over everything else in terms of presence, but there was still space for series like My Youth Romantic Comedy, Non Biyori, Free!, and Love Live! to build loyal fanbases.

● 2014
The Fruit of Grisaia, Your Lie in April, Knights of Sidonia, Shirobako, No Game No Life

The Fruit of Grisaia

Seiji’s comments: In 2014, a lot of the attention went to the second seasons of Psycho-Pass, Yowamushi Pedal, and Love Live!. The above recommendations were all wonderfully made series that started that year, though, and I don’t think any of them feel old or outdated today.

● 2015
Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception, Blood Blockade Battlefront, Gate, Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend, Shimoneta, Charlotte, Sound! Euphonium, Prison School, Overlord, Chivalry of a Failed Knight, One-Punch Man

Seiji’s comments: Somehow, I’d thought that Gate was older than 2015. Mr. Osomatsu and School-Live! were big deals at the time, but the enthusiasm for them seems to have faded. Still wondering if we’re ever going to get a second season of Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers, by the way.

● 2016
Girlish Number, Active Raid, Girls Beyond the Wasteland, Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju, New Game, Flying Witch, Flip Flappers, Re:Zero − Starting Life in Another World, Rewrite, ViVid Strike

Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju

Seiji’s comments: 2016 had a bumper crop of good series. Re:Zero was a definite standout, and the quality of Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju and Flying Witch were superb as well. This was also the year Yuri on Ice burst onto the scene. Truly a year with an unusually high number of great anime.

● 2017
Kakegurui, Scum’s Wish, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, Girls’ Last Tour, Welcome to the Ballroom, Masamune-kun’s Revenge, Made in Abyss, Classroom of the Elite, ID-0

Seiji’s comments: In contrast to 2016, during 2017 I didn’t get all that fired up about any series in particular. Kemono Friends was the breakout hit, but personally I’d go for Made in Abyss or Welcome to the Ballroom. They’re on a level of quality where you can recommend them even to people who aren’t necessarily anime fans.

● 2018
Run with the Wind, Dropkick on My Devil, A Place Further than the Universe, Zombie Land Saga, Forest of Piano, Mitsuboshi Colors, Laid-Back Camp, Violet Evergarden

Run with the Wind

Seiji’s comments: 2018’s best series are all over the map in genre variety, but they’re all high quality works. Out of the bunch, Violet Evergarden and A Place Further than the Universe were probably the two most popular, but if you want an anime that’ll put fire in your heart, Run with the Wind is just as good as they are.

● 2019
O Maidens in Your Savage Season, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, The Hero Is Overpowered but Overly Cautious, Wasteful Days of High School Girls, The Rising of the Shield Hero, Babylon, Vinland Saga, The Case Files of Lord El-Melloi II

Seiji’s comments: This is recent enough that everybody probably remembers it, but Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba pretty much had a monopoly on the attention in 2019. And honestly, the animation in the climax of Episode 19 might be some of the best the industry has produced in the last several years. I’m in my 30s, but watching it gave me the thrills I got from watching anime as a kid.

● 2020
Id–Invaded, If My Favorite Pop Idol Made It to the Budokan, I Would Die, Cagaster of an Insect Cage, My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom, Kakushigoto, Great Pretender, The Misfit of Demon King Academy, Japan Sinks 2020

Great Pretender

Seiji’s comments: 2020’s not done yet, so these are my picks from the winter, spring, and summer TV seasons. There’s been a poor selection of grand fantasy series this year, but My Next Life as a Villainess and Kakushigoto were especially well done.

OK, that ought to tide you over for at least a couple binge-watching sessions. And if you want even more, you can find Seiji’s picks from the currently ongoing fall anime season right here.

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