I’ve been wanting to do a blog on good anime moments for a while now. I feel like there have been some solid scenes in recent years and that they deserve some praise. So, cutting some corners here, below is my list of the top ten anime series moments in recent years and my reasoning for choosing that particular moment. Let it be known that there can and WILL be spoilers throughout this blog. Important moments are usually what make a show, and spectacular moments are what makes spectacular shows spectacular. I will subtitle the scenes and the name of the series they are from so that those who wish to ignore anime they have not scene can do so.
10. The Power of the Dollar – Durarara!!
Although Durarara!! is one of my favorite series, it’s not because of it’s specific moments. The director, instead, does an amazing job of making connections between events, characters, and ideas. This scene however was quite powerful. Only slightly before this we learn that Mikado, the seemingly useless lead role of the series, is actually the leader of the Dollars, the largest and most powerful “color” gang in Ikebukuro. The scene depicted above is truly where we see that, differences apart, the entire cast of Durarara!! belongs to this semi-secret organization called the Dollars. Mikado brings together the entire city from the shadows and creates a powerful team for himself all while only few know his identity. The scene was just so powerful because it’s unexpected. We don’t expect Mikado to have such power, but it all makes sense and all ties together at this moment. The remainder of the series only becomes more and more of an extension of this, but this scene was the catalyst for making the series unique.
9. The End of a World – High School of the Dead
Despite the fact that I couldn’t make it past episode 5 in Highschool of the Dead, I thought that the series had a great intro. The opening throws the characters into a world full of chaos and a true zombie apocalypse. In the first episode we fight with the final survivors of the human race and watch them battle against their friends and peers. Insofar as zombie series go, this pretty much exemplifies what can be good about mindless mobs of assailants. What was particularly good about the introduction to the series was that at the last bit of the episode, our survivors are trapped and their friend/boyfriend begins to turn into what they are fighting against. Instead of waiting for him to become a mindless beast, he’s put out of his misery and smashed with a baseball bat. That moment had true feeling. The rest of the series went on a downhill slope until the overwhelming amount of fanservice took over the premise of the series. It was a shame but I had to drop it, even though I wanted more of how the series began.
8. The True Side of a Brother – Naruto Shippuden
The single best moment in all of Naruto, and really the only reason why I still continue watching Naruto, is pictured above. This scene is the biggest twist ever presented in Naruto, if not in Shounen Anime, in general. All the hatred that Sasuke has for his brother throughout the series, all of the lies that have been told, and the buildup to this moment have finally come unwrapped. In this moment, Sasuke has finally defeated his brother, only to find that not only is his brother loyal to the Leaf, but that his entire clan had tried to cause an uprising and, because his brother loved him so much, he was the only Uchiha spared. This moment is when Sasuke becomes a true avenger and when the story continues to get darker. The fact about Naruto is that there is some unprecedented depth to some of the characters, and they do a great job of playing roles. Sasuke plays the role of the hero becoming corrupted by evil, and Itachi becomes the martyr.
7. You Have My Heart – Angel Beats
If you want to watch something depressing, but excellent, Angel Beats is definitely the best pick. The entirety of the story is full of great moments because of all of the characters leaving purgatory, but this final moment definitely tops the rest of the moments if not for being so utterly bittersweet. Earlier in the series, it is revealed that Otonashi died by being trapped in a subway accident and convinces the rest of the people dying in the accident to become organs donors to save people that are in the same need that they are. Angel, like the rest of the characters has died, as well, but not before having received Otonashi’s heart because he donated his organ. It is just very sweet that the two of them fell in love with each other in the afterlife and that Otonashi saves Angel twice. I’m not super big on sappy endings, but this one was done particularly well, and Otonashi stays around as a shepherd to lead people out of purgatory.
6. Stargazing – Bakemonogatari
Okay, so I know I said I’m not big on sappy things, but here’s another moment that was spectacular. The greatest part of Bakemonogatari is the dialogue, and especially the dialogue between Araragi and Senjougahara. Unlike other harem anime, the point of Bakemonogatari is that Araragi immediately picks his girlfriend and sticks with her despite being surrounded by plenty of other women who like him. Senjougahara and Araragi’s date was just another moment that made this show great. The moment was almost cliche, but the dialogue of Bakemonogatari is what set the moment apart. The relationship between Senjougahara and Araragi feels so innocent and so right. It’s just one of the moments in anime that solidified my love for good characters, good plot and well-scripted dialogue.
5. Bells in the Rain – Death Note
If you don’t know by now, you probably don’t watch anime: L dies in Death Note. It’s not his death that is the best moment in the series, though. The fact that there was so much buildup, evasion, intrigue and suspense leading up to this moment causes L’s final moments to be brilliantly played out. Along with the obvious biblical allusions in this scene, Light finally sees his victory in his hands. L finally finds a friend in someone and that friend becomes his worst enemy, but I don’t believe that L would have had it any other way. His defeat means that he has accepted that he and Light are equals. Unfortunately, after L’s death, the show becomes somewhat of a disappointment. Near is not L, and that is about all that needs to be said.
4. Noblesse Oblige- Eden of the East
Alright, before I get the influx of fanrage from fans that liked the ending to the movies better, I definitely thought the ending to Eden of the East was much better than the movies. Takizawa started out in obscurity, a naked man with a gun and a cell phone walking around outside of the White House, and became powerful enough to both become emperor of Japan and annihilate a missile attack created by others like him. The final moment when his memory is wiped only shows that there is another chapter to this story and that we are to interpret what is to happen. He leaves his phone with Saki and disappears back into obscurity. To me, this is perfect and spectacular, but I suppose I understand the fangirls’ sadness that their Takizawa–kun has disappeared.
3. あばよ、ダチ公 – Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
Episode 8 of Gurren Lagann. To any fan of Gurren Lagann, all you have to say is “Episode 8” and instantly feelings from this scene are invoked. Kamina is what made the beginning of this series, if not only just for his raw bad-assery. I remember having read that nobody can be as much of a man as Kamina was, and that is entirely true. No death in anime is as shocking or as powerful.
2. A Descent into Corruption – Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica
I can’t say enough about how great Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica was. I definitely did not think that a show could accomplish what it did: tore apart the Mahou Shoujo genre by its limbs – nearly literally. This scene, easily one of the best moments in anime, features Sayaka who fights entirely for justice becoming engulfed in her desire to protect others. She is facing the cruel truth that a Puella Magi is designated to hunt witches and eventually become one herself. In this realization, she exhausts her powers because she cannot handle that burden. Human weakness is not something that we see from powerful characters in anime, and this scene shows the weakness of Sayaka and her downfall. The rest of the series is worthy of commentary, but I’m waiting for a moment when I have plenty of free time for that.
1. The Zero Requiem – Code Geass
The ending to Code Geass is good enough that it would be a shame to ruin it. The above pictured should be enough to stir the emotions that this scene invokes.