RABUJOI’s Anime of the Decade – 70-61 – There’s Something Happening Here

Welcome to RABUJOI’s Anime of the Decade, a comprehensive and hastily-researched list of the 100 best anime we watched from 2009 to 2019. We attempt to provide one brief statement about each show, based in some cases on very fuzzy recollection and possibly guesses. This list is final. No reviews, no appeals, and no Gintama (but only because we’ve never watched it).—RABUJOI STAFF


70. Oregairu (My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU)

Spring 2013

Not all high school harem rom-coms are created equal…this one’s pretty good

railgun17

69. Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S

Spring 2013

We actually watched Railgun before Index…and still kinda like Railgun more due to the focus on Misaka

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68. Working!!!

Summer 2015

The third season of the family restaurant sitcom finally resolved will-they-won’t-they situations with “they wills”—and did a really good job doing it

67. ReLIFE

Summer 2016

If you could go back to your high school days, what would you say and do differently? ReLIFE, the first 13 episodes of which released all at once, Netflix-style, brilliantly explored every facet of that question

dr311

66. Durarara!! x2 Ketsu

Winter 2016

The third and best of the Durarara!! sequel cours

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65. Kill la Kill

Fall 2013

Studio Trigger dazzles the stage with a completely ludicrous action/sci-fi/adventure odyssey involving sentient—and often extremely skimpy—clothing

kami11

64. The World God Only Knows 3

Summer 2013

The third season that gave us hope that maybe the MC would actually end up with a real-life girl in the end. It wasn’t to be…maybe the upcoming Season 4?

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63. Zankyou no Terror

Summer 2014

Two human experiments with numbers for names meet a neglected girl from a broken home, and as the title suggests, there is a bit of terrorism

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62. KonoSuba

Winter 2016

One of the most consistently hilarious isekai anime ever made, KonoSuba commits to laughs like no other show in its genre

61. Kuragehime

Fall 2010

Squid. Princess. Any questions?

RABUJOI’s Anime of the Decade – 90-81 – From Family Restaurants to Generation Ships

Welcome to RABUJOI’s Anime of the Decade, a comprehensive and hastily-researched list of the 100 best anime we watched from 2009 to 2019. We attempt to provide one brief statement about each show, based in some cases on very fuzzy recollection and possibly guesses. This list is final. No reviews, no appeals, and no Gintama (but only because we’ve never watched it).—RABUJOI STAFF


90. Knights of Sidonia

Spring 2014

One of the only full-CGI animes that works better because it’s CGI, owing much to its futuristic sci-fi setting. Gritty, bleak, and awe-inspiring, its characters don’t inhabit the uncanny valley, but the infinite void of space.

89. Mirai Nikki

Fall 2011

A cute but murder-happy stalker and a battle royale to determine who inherets immortality and omnipotence from a character literally named Deus Ex Machina…what’s not to like

88. Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt

Fall 2010

Notable for its distinctive American cartoon-style look and general raunchiness, this was the last great anime Gainax made before Trigger split off

87. Working!!

Spring 2010

An absorbing slice-of-life centered on the eccentric staff of a run-of-the-mill Japanese family restaurant, filled with wit, humor, and a couple will-they-won’t-they situations that would take three seasons to resolve

86. O Maidens in Your Savage Season

Summer 2019

Took an strong unblinking look at the lives of a group of very different young women and men approaching their respective sexual awakenings in different ways

85. Golden Kamuy

Spring 2018 and Fall 2018

Part treasure hunt using human pelts as maps, part documentary of Ainu life, culture, cuisine, and spiritualism, all badass

84. Inuyashiki

Fall 2017

The story of the world’s most depressing salaryman finally gaining the power to protect family and strangers alike (thanks to aliens) is full of body horror and black humor in equal measure

83. Knights of Sidonia 2

Spring 2015

Like Knights of Sidonia 1, only Sidonia-er. Things get a bit darker, a bit weirder, and, at times, a bit funnier. The only mark against the series is that it needed a third season

82. The World God Only Knows

Fall 2010

In one of the first harem anime we watched that we enjoyed, an dating sim expert must reluctantly date girls IRL to capture the evil spirits hiding in their hearts. It’s much better than it sounds

81. Saraiya Goyou (House of Five Leaves)

Spring 2010

An unglamorous but absorbing drama in which a timid ronin joins a group of bandits making their own way in gritty Edo-period Japan

Vinland Saga – 19 – What Are You Looking At With Those Eyes?

Having entertained him so much thus far, Thorkell gives Thorfinn a few minutes to rest before continuing the fight. An intermission, if you will, during which he tells the boy about Thors. The two of them were fellow Jomsviking commanders, and Thorkell is Thorfinn’s great-uncle, since his brother, their leader, gave Thors his daughter’s hand in marriage.

In one battle, Thors was thrown from his boat, never surfaced, and presumed dead. But one night, Thors returned. Thorkell was delighted, until he realized Thors didn’t mean to stay. Thors wouldn’t explain to his satisfaction why, only that he learned the secret to being a true warrior, and had a look in his eye Thorkell had never seen.

Thorkell tried to kill Thors for deserting, but ended up with his axe smashed and knocked out cold by Thors…who didn’t even wield a sword. Fifteen years later, Thorkell learned Thors had died for real. Thorkell doesn’t see that same look in Thorfinn’s eyes, which means Thors never told him his secret.

Thorfinn listens to Askeladd one more time, warning him if he loses, the man he wishes to duel will be killed by another. Askeladd is the only one there who has ever seen Thorkell fall in battle, and the reason is almost comically simple: the man has a glass jaw.

Thorfinn jobs for a while, until Thorkell drops his guard to kill him. Askeladd blinds him with the reflection of the sun on his blade, and Thorfinn leaps up and kicks him straight in the jaw, knocking him flat on his back. When Finn tries to go for the kill, he’s surrounded by Thorkell’s men.

The first duty of those men is to keep their commander alive, but Thorkell is furious they disrupted his duel. That’s when Prince Canute arrives, the changed man he became last week, and orders all fighting to stop. When Thorkell bristles, Canute tells him the truth about his father not loving him, choosing Harald as his successor, and sending him to England to die in battle so he didn’t have to assassinate him.

What Canute seeks to do is head to the main camp at Gaineborough and fight his father the king, snatching the crown and the throne from the man who forsook him. Thorkell thinks this is just a tough-guy act, and Canute will crumble if he pretends to punch him, but Canute doesn’t flinch in the slightest. Furthermore, Thorkell sees the same look in Canute’s eyes that Thors had.

Thorkell tells his men his one greatest regret in life was not following Thors rather than trying to stop him. By getting knocked out, he missed his chance to learn what Thors had learned about being a warrior. In Canute, he’s been given a fresh chance to learn, so he agrees to become his follower and fight for him. No doubt Thorkell’s men will follow his lead.

Finally, the wounded but not-as-near-death as we thought Askeladd confesses to killing Ragnar, and offers his sword to Canute with which to kill him. He adds that if Canute spares his life, he will fight for him as well. Canute, loather of pointless deaths, declines to execute Askeladd, instead ordering him to honor Ragnar through leal service.

And with that, ladies and gents, everyone we’ve been following have joined forces behind Prince Canute in what is to be a glorious fight against King Sweyn. Since Thorfinn is Thorfinn, he’s going to follow the man who killed his father. Oh, and he shouldn’t look now, but Canute is now his legit co-protagonist, while Thorfinn remains a callow boy who needs to grow up.

RABUJOI’s Anime of the Decade – 100-91 – The Worst of the Best

Welcome to RABUJOI’s Anime of the Decade, a comprehensive and hastily-researched list of the 100 best anime we watched from 2009 to 2019. We attempt to provide one brief statement about each show, based in some cases on very fuzzy recollection and possibly guesses. This list is final. No reviews, no appeals, and no Gintama (but only because we’ve never watched it).—RABUJOI STAFF


saoii238

100. Sword Art Online II

Summer 2014

Asuna is finally able to reach détente with her strict mother, and a terminally ill girl receives a fitting sendoff from her fellow gamers. A lot more happened, but that was some memorable stuff

99. Yuri Kuma Arashi

Winter 2015

Using heavy symbolism and vibrant iconography to promote LGBTQ advocacy and critique a nation notoriously weak in that area

98. Aku no Hana (Flowers of Evil)

Spring 2013

Animating a popular manga with live action rotoscoping was bold as hell, but not too popular, crossing a boundary between anime and reality

97. Darling in the FranXX

Winter 2018

An admirable bid to bring Evangelion into the 21st century, depicting a harsh world where too heavy a weight is placed on the slender shoulders of the young

96. Sword Art Online

Summer 2012

Not the first, not the best, but the show that launched a thousand isekai, anchored by a compelling central love story that endures to this day

95. Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata (Saekano)

Winter 2015

A witty and attractive self-aware harem rom-com that explored artistic talent, collaboration, and the practicalities of making a video game as much as cute outfits and compromising situations

94. Re:Creators

Spring 2017

An anime that brought colorful characters from anime, books, and games of many genres—all fictitious, in-world works—into the real world, resulting in an Avengers-style fish-out-of-water crossover epic, a tantalizing premise

93. Sword Art Online: Alicization

Spring 2018

Crippled IRL, Kirito dives deeper than ever before, starts over in a new virtual world utilizing tech coveted by governments and organizations the world over, and makes friends along the way

92. Kekkai Sensen

Spring 2015

In a premise that combines Men In Black, Hellboy, and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, universes and realms collide in the former NYC in a stirring feast for eyes and ears

91. Akame ga Kill!

Summer 2014

A majority-female assassin guild-vs.-empire bloody slugfest that managed to became surprisingly emotionally resonant as it went on

Winter 2020 Season Guide (Updating)

Koishikawa in the Morning after a Snowfall, Hokusai, c.1830-1835

It’s right up there in the site description: Purveyors of Fine Anime Reviews and Ratings Since 2010. That means 2020 will be our tenth year in operation. A decade might as well be a century on the interwebs, and all we can say is we’ve been both blessed and cursed with the time and the means to do this as a hobby for so long.

We’ve watched a lot of shows in the last decade—the 100 best of which we’ll probably be posting listicles for in due time—but before that, it’s time to do our thing we do when the current season is around half-over: present the shows we’ve penciled in for viewing next season, which will also mark Decade Number Two.

Those shows are below. We’ll update this list as we add or drop shows. Leave any recommendations you might have in the comments and we’ll take them under advisement!

RABUJOI STAFF

LAST UPDATED 18 Nov 2019

Braverade

Fate/Grand Order: Zettai Majuu Sensen Babylonia (Fall Carryover)
Infinite Dendrogram

Kuutei Dragons
Toaru Kagaku no Railgun T


sesameacrylic

Chihayafuru 3 (Fall Carryover)
A3! Season Spring & Summer
Dorohedoro
Eizouken ni wa Te wo Dasu na!
Rikei ga Koi ni Ochita no de Shoumei shitemita.


MagicalChurlSukui

Darwin’s Game
ID:Invaded
Isekai Quartet 2nd Season
Kyokou Suiri
Magia Record: Mahou Shoujo Madoka☆Magica Gaiden

Summer 2019 Anime, Ranked.

With the exception of Fire Force’s twelfth episode, we’ve wrapped up our coverage of the Summer 2019 season, which is just as well since we’re technically in the second week of Autumn.

Between Braverade, sesameacrylic and MagicalChurlSukui we watched and reviewed eleven shows in all (plus additional coverage from Oigakkosan, not detailed here), totaling 132 episodes, or approximately 53 hours. Without further math, here’s how we ranked those shows, and why. Break out the thesaurus!

11. HenSuki

RABUJOI Score: 7.00/10 MAL Score: 6.83/10

Pros: Novel premise, colorful pastel palette, likable characters, generally witty banter, risque ecchi situations that never cross hard lines of decency.

Cons: Uneven at best animation, silly central mystery that drags on too long, “twist” resolution feels like a cheat.

Verdict: An enjoyable, fluffy guilty pleasure. I try to watch one per season.

10. Lord El-Melloi II Case Files

RABUJOI Score: 7.77/10 MAL Score: 7.44/10

Pros: Built-in goodwill from Fate/Zero, always intriguing setup for cases, sumptuous setting, production, and mechanical design, stirring score, bonkers magical battles.

Cons: Excessive magical technobabble can be exhausting, conclusions to mysteries can feel contrived/arbitrary, non-Fate fanatics will end up hopelessly lost by most cameos or name-drops.

Verdict: A pale shadow of the classic upon which it’s based, but nonetheless a fun and moderately clever detective series.

9. Fire Force (Episodes 1-11 of 12)

RABUJOI Score: 7.82/10 MAL Score: 7.75/10

Pros: Gorgeously bizarre alternate-universe setting, elegant world-building, virtuoso action sequences, powerful orchestral soundtrack.

Cons: And MC who is dull and cliched within an inch of his life, Characters who go from evil-to-good (or vice versa) at the drop of a hat, a tedious central conspiracy, the potential for character bloat, frustratingly uneven gender balance, pathetic bouts of fanservice.

Verdict: A stylish show primarily about spontaneous human combustion might’ve weathered news of the horrific KyoAni arson attack, but isn’t quite good enough to watching following into the Fall.

7 (tie). How Heavy are the Dumbbells You Lift?

RABUJOI Score: 7.83/10 MAL Score: 7.68/10

Pros: A fresh, original premise to which it remains totally devoted, marvelous comic timing in the rapid-fire, self-deprecating, fourth-wall breaking dialogue, lovable and believable MC, decent animation, one hell of an earworm OP.

Cons: Ecchi elements and a superfluous Russian chick don’t add much, some parody bits are too on-the-nose, the show loses momentum in the final couple episodes.

Verdict: The show that inspired me to get off my skinny, underdeveloped backside and actually join a gym for the first time in my life!

7 (tie). Cop Craft

RABUJOI Score: 7.82/10 MAL Score: 6.94/10

Pros: Cool reverse-Isekai-lite premise, Range Murata character design, toe-tapping OP and lively soundtrack, entertaining buddy cop dynamic, engaging fights and chases.

Cons: Lame villains, some odd narrative choices, inconsistent/unfocused direction, disappointing animation, underutilized supporting cop cast, lots of loose ends.

Verdict: A show with some good parts to work with, mostly used badly. A wasted opportunity that’s not as good as our episodes ratings indicated.

6. DanMachi II

RABUJOI Score: 8.25/10 MAL Score: 7.45/10

Pros: Appealing, charismatic characters you love to root for, amusing romantic polygons, tremendous score, superb utilization of twelve episodes to tell a variety of engaging stories with a beginning, middle and oh-so-epic end, culminating in a quiet finale that doesn’t forget its core goddess-child dynamic.

Cons: Villains’ barks prove far worse than their bites, a couple slower episodes between mini-arcs don’t really distinguish themselves, and that huge Amazoness Phryne…what the hell?! 

Verdict: After the very lame Sword Oratoria spinoff DanMachi got a proper sequel, focused on the characters we cared about, full of emotion, excitement, and good old-fashioned fantasy ass-kickin’.


5. Fruits Basket 1st Season (Episodes 14-25)

RABUJOI Score: 8.50/10 MAL Score: 8.36/10

Pros: Impeccably-rendered characters and depictions of their various psychological issues, dark and poignant flashbacks, exquisitely cozy slice-of-life, a good balance of the mundane and the mystic, and hard-hitting cathartic scenes.

Cons: Some members of the Souma family are more interesting (and tolerable) than others, but even the less interesting ones get plenty of screen time, Tooru’s saintly selflessness can wear thin at times.

Verdict: A beautifully-crafted second half that rewarded patience by delivering some of the strongest and most moving episodes of the year.

4. Master Teaser Takagi-san 2

RABUJOI Score: 8.58/10 MAL Score: 8.40/10

Pros: Truly magnetic chemistry in the central pair, Deft use of subtle facial expressions and body language in the animation, superb performances by Takahashi Rie and Kaji Yuki.

Cons: Like the first season, the various teasing games can grow repetitive, as can Nishikata’s denseness and inability to see more than one or two moves ahead, the side stories involving side characters often felt like padding.

Verdict: Continues and refines the brilliantly simple teasing formula of the first season, while ever-so-gradually blurring of the line between teasing and flirting. A sweet and touching, slow-burn portrayal of young, awkward first love.

2 (tie). Vinland Saga (Episodes 1-12)

RABUJOI Score: 8.67/10 MAL Score: 8.57/10

Pros: Flawed but rootable MC whose character is more complex than it initially seems, his multi-layered antihero mentor, exemplary action and battle sequences, powerful score, compelling exploration of the hard old world, with enticing glimmers of a brighter new one.

Cons: That said mentor would keep a kid dedicated to murdering him around so long stretches credulity at times, those battle sequences sometimes feature individuals or groups doing superhuman things that detract from the otherwise naturalistic milieu.

Verdict: While not quite as big, loud, epic, or bonkers as Attack on Titan, or Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress, Vinland Saga is arguably Wit Studio’s most balanced and human series. Looking forward to the second half.

2 (tie). Astra Lost in Space

RABUJOI Score: 7.77/10 MAL Score: 7.44/10

Pros: Very well done futuristic world- and space-building, a large-ish main cast that you steadily come to know and love, the sense of family that arises from the crewmembers’ experiences together, an optimistic spirit of exploration that isn’t constantly beset by mortal peril, creative planets and lifeforms, thankfully subverted expectations for a Lerche-style bloodbath.

Cons: “Character gets a backstory” formula to some episodes felt repetitive at times, the crew almost faces too little mortal peril considering their circumstances, they similarly rely on a lot of luck, some major plotlines and twists could have been left out and still resulted in a pretty strong show.

Verdict: Maybe the season’s biggest surprise hit, the ambitious Astra calls to mind some of the best of live-action shades-of-gray sci-fi (Firefly, Battlestar, Expanse) while maintaining an old school optimistic, exploratory outlook. It set out to do and say a lot, and was mostly successful in doing so.

1. O Maidens in Your Savage Season

RABUJOI Score: 8.58/10 MAL Score: 8.40/10

Pros: Fearlessly tackles tough social topics on adolescence, sexuality, gender roles, upbringing, and abuse, ably juggles multiple, diverse love stories and triangles at once, pleasingly drawn and animated, and despite all its serious themes, doesn’t leave out the comedy.

Cons: What seemed to be an irreversible dive into an abyss that would tear the five girls apart, they work almost everything out almost too easily for a tidier ending than expected; while the show dips a toe in LGBTQ themes through Momo’s awakening, her’s is one of the least developed arcs despite being one of the most interesting.

Verdict: A rare-for-anime honest and unblinking exploration of the awkward, painful, and sometimes savage emotional journey to adulthood all kids must face (and not always at the same speed). By the numbers, the best show I watched this Summer, and the one I looked forward too most from week to week.


Summer 2019 Big Board:

Fall 2019 Season Guide (Updating)

“Autumn”, by Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1798 – 1861)

Lots of huge sequels/continuations air this Fall, which will make it tough for us to check out all-new shows. Here’s what’s on our radar so far. Chances are we’ll stick with most of these, and we’ll see if there’s any time for more.

RABUJOI STAFF

LAST UPDATED 23 Aug 2019

Fate/Grand Order: Zettai Majuu Sensen Babylonia (Absolute Demonic Front)
Fire Force (Summer Carryover)

Psycho-Pass 3
Sword Art Online: Alicization – War of Underworld

Vinland Saga (Summer Carryover)


sesameacrylic

Bokutachi wa Benkyou ga Dekinai 2 (We Can’t Study 2)
Chihayafuru 3 
Kabukichou Sherlock
Ore wo Suki nano wa Omae dake ka yo (Are You Really the Only One Who Likes Me?)
Shokugeki no Souma: Shin no Sara (Food Wars: The Fourth Plate)


MagicalChurlSukui

Assassins Pride
Beastars
Choujin Koukousei-tachi wa Isekai demo Yoyuu de Ikinuku you desu! (CHOYOYU!: High School Prodigies Have It Easy Even in Another World!)
Shinchou Yuusha: Kono Yuusha ga Ore Tuee Kuse ni Shinchou Sugiru (This Hero is Invincible but “Too Cautious”)

Summer 2019 Season Guide (Updating)

Kuniyoshi Utagawa, Sudden Shower in the Summer, c. 1849-1851

Spring is almost over, and with the warmer weather comes a fresh batch new anime, including some very familiar franchises (Fate, Index, DanMachi). We’ll be watching and writing about some of those shows when July comes around.

As usual, Bold titles mean we’re watching that show; non-bold means TBD, and crossed-out means dropped/skipped. Additional Spring 2019 shows may carryover; we will add them to the list below if/when their Summer cours are officially confirmed.

A reminder: we don’t read any manga, novels light or dark, or video games the below shows may be based upon—RABUJOI is an anime-only blog. This list will be updated as needed. If you think we’re missing something, let us know in the comments.

Thanks! —RABUJOI STAFF

LAST UPDATED 12 Aug 2019

Enen no Shouboutai (Fire Force)
Kanata no Astra (Astra Lost in Space)
Katsute Kami Datta Kemono-tachi e
Lord El-Melloi II Sei no Jikenbo: Rail Zeppelin Grace Note
Vinland Saga


sesameacrylic

Araburu Kisetsu no Otome-domo yo. (O Maidens of the Savage Season)
Dumbbell Nan Kilo Moteru? (How Many Kilograms are the Dumbbells You Lift?)
Carole & Tuesday (Spring Carryover)
HenSuki (Would you love a pervert as long as she’s cute?)
Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san 2 (Skilled Teaser Takagi-san)
Tejina-senpai


MagicalChurlSukui

BEM
Cop Craft
DanMachi II (Is It Wrong That I Want to Meet You in a Dungeon)
Fruits Basket
(Spring Carryover)
Isekai Cheat Magician
Toaru Kagaku no Accelerator
Tsuujou Kougeki ga Zentai Kougeki de Ni-kai Kougeki no Okaasan wa Suki Desu ka? (Do You Like Your Mom? Her Normal Attack is Two Attacks at Full Power, Okaasan online)

Spring 2019 Season Guide (Updating)

Tsuchi-yama, Spring Rain, in The Fifty-Three Stations of the Tokaido Road, c. 1834

Winter is almost over, and with the (hopefully) warmer weather comes a fresh batch new anime, including some very familiar titles. We’ll be watching and writing about some of those shows when April comes around.

As usual, Bold titles mean we’re watching that show; non-bold means TBD, and crossed-out means dropped/skipped. additional Winter 2019 shows may carryover; we will add them to the list below if/when their Spring cours are officially confirmed.

A reminder: we don’t read any manga, novels light or dark, or video games the below shows may be based upon—RABUJOI is an anime-only blog! This list will be updated as needed. If you think we’re missing something, let us know in the comments.

Thanks! —RABUJOI STAFF

LAST UPDATED 21 Apr 2019

Braverade

Attack on Titan Season 3 Part 2
Dororo (Winter carryover)
Magmel of the Sea Blue
Rising of the Shield Hero (Winter carryover)


sesameacrylic

Midara na Ao-chan wa Benkyou ga Dekinai (Ao-chan Can’t Study!)
Bokutachi wa Benkyou ga Dekinai (BokuBan)
Carole & Tuesday
Joshikausei
Kono Yo no Hate de Koi wo Utau Shoujo YU-NO
One Punch Man Season 2
Senryuu Shoujo


MagicalChurlSukui

Fairy Gone
Isekai Quartet
Mayonaka no Occult Koumuin
Sarazanmai
Shoumetsu Toshi