#16. Kill la Kill (2013, Trigger)
With talking sailor uniforms, giant scissors, and an organisation called Nudist Beach, Kill la Kill is a wild action anime that has also been interpreted as a satirical deconstruction of fanservice and magical girls. Searching for her father’s killer, Ryuko Matoi arrives at Honnouji Academy.
There, students don power-imbuing Goku Uniforms, and student council president Satsuki Kiryuin rules the school with an iron fist. The second half expands the scope, but the school-based first half provides the most fun.
#17. Puella Magi Madoka Magica (2011, Shaft)
In exchange for having a granted wish, a girl can become a magical girl who must battle witches. However, Madoka Kaname and her friend Sayaka Miki discover that that’s not the only catch.
The series doesn’t rely on gore, but it leaves an impression with its juxtaposition between cute character designs and a dark psychological story that carries a sense of hopelessness.
The Rebellion movie, which has a fantastic gun-fu duel and a WTF ending, also deserves a watch.
#18. Re:Zero – Starting Life in Another World (2016, White Fox)
After getting transported to another world, Subaru Natsuki discovers that he has the ability to “respawn” at an earlier point in time after dying.
With this ability, Subaru attempts to protect his new friends from the sinister forces of this world, but memories of previous tragic outcomes take a psychological toll on him. There’s a lot of suffering in this isekai anime, and the start of each new arc brings a welcome, but temporary, relief.
#19. March Comes in Like A Lion (2016, Shaft)
Rei Kiriyama is a young shogi prodigy, estranged from his adoptive family but acquainted with the kind Kawamoto sisters. Haunted by his past, the reclusive teen has to meet the demands of his shogi profession while learning to develop relationships with others. March Comes in Like A Lion is great because it’s not just about shogi or Rei.
A shogi player with chronic stomach pain steals the show with his backstory, while the ugliness of bullying is explored through one of the Kawamoto sisters’ experiences.
#20. Your Lie in April (2014, A-1 Pictures)
Your Lie in April may have ended in 2015, but it’s still hard to forget about its bubbly violinist, Kaori Miyazono. Her relationship with protagonist and pianist Kousei Arima is bittersweet and touching, but Kousei’s connections with his tutor, musical rivals, and other friends are no less meaningful.
Visually attractive, the show has plenty of classical music performances to enjoy, but at its core is a story about struggling with loss and moving on.