I figure that it’s time for me to be thankful and express my thankfulness for a few anime shows and mangas that have had a direct affect on my life and my anime watching career. Anime series that sometimes affected how I saw the world after I watched them.

Now this isn’t a real top five countdown list, this is my personal list and just because a show isn’t on here doesn’t mean that I don’t cherish them just as much, but these have a permanent place in my heart as cheesy as that sounds. So without further ado let’s get this going: Disclaimer: Cowboy Bebop has already gotten my appreciation treatment so it won’t be on this list.

Number 5: Dragon Ball

The first anime I’m thankful for is Dragon Ball. Even though Dragon Ball Z was the one that I actually grew up on, Dragon Ball was an anime that I thought had something more special to it. Dragon Ball had a different feel than Dragon Ball Z. There weren’t any planet destroying death balls, no Super Saiyans, only martial arts. Dragon Ball felt like more of an adventure and the fights weren’t about power level. As great as seeing someone power up for a whole episode was In DBZ, Dragon Ball was all about Goku learning and getting better while finding the Dragon Balls. The thing that made Dragon Ball special was that everyone was equal for the most part. A side character could fight Goku and push him to his limit because no one was overwhelmingly powerful in that show and I appreciated it.

It was funny and was all about Martial arts and the tournaments. AND the Tournaments are always great. Seeing Goku progress through the show was awe inspiring considering where he starts off. Goku doesn’t win every fight and when he loses he’s sometimes just as happy as when he wins. Dragon Ball was amazing and if there are any Dragon Ball Z fans who haven’t seen Dragon Ball then get to it and start watching Dragon Ball because you’re severely missing out. Also Yamcha was actually useful and important in this series which is just amazing can you believe that shit?

Number 4: One Piece

The Next anime I’m thankful for is One Piece. One Piece has been going strong for almost my entire lifetime and I’ve read every single chapter of it. One Piece is a Shounen like Naruto, Bleach, Fairy Tail and Dragon Ball Z. To people who have never watched or read One Piece it might seem like just another show where the main character is always happy and has friends and wins all of his fights because of friendship. While that may be true, friendship is a vital part of the One Piece formula, it still sets itself apart from the crowd. The raw emotion that One Piece has…there’s just no real way to describe it. One Piece is about a pirate crew going through their journey with each other. Learning about each other and sometimes fighting for and with each other. Bleeding for each other. The Straw hat Pirates are more than just a pirate crew, they’re family or “Nakama” as Luffy, the captain, likes to call them. At first I was like everyone else who hadn’t watched or read One Piece but after a few arcs and a few characters get introduced I felt something special.

The Straw hat Pirates don’t only fight for each other but they fight for anyone who needs fighting for. No matter how bad the person might seem. No matter if they get betrayed at first, they will fight for you because that’s what they believe is right. They follow their captain with smiles on their faces no matter what the danger is because they trust him and his decisions. Seeing the Strawhats develop into what they are now is a sight to behold and they’re still growing. Watching them get strong enough to face someone who once could beat them all down single handedly, or seeing the differences in how they handle certain situations just adds to the true feel of a pirate crew’s journey. One Piece is still one of the best things going right now and I appreciate all of it. The show also has a great soundtrack of course.

Number 3: Great Teacher Onizuka

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The third anime that I’m thankful for is G.T.O. or Great Teacher Onizuka. ¬†Great Teacher Onizuka is one of the greatest all around shows ever to me. It’s hilarious, dramatic, and heartwarming, you go through so many emotions during the course of this show. The show is about Eikichi Onizuka who is a 22 year old ex gang member and a virgin which is a running joke of course. He literally becomes a teacher because he sees an old ugly man dating a hot young girl and the old man was a teacher. He straight up becomes a teacher just so that he can get with high school girls. He becomes a teacher to a class that led a teacher to a mysterious death, another one to join a cult and another one to a nervous breakdown. After realizing that he actually has morals and starts to care for the students he teaches, he has a new goal. To become the greatest teacher that ever lived. The way that he cares for each student and uses his skills to go above and beyond what anyone ever thought was possible he changes their lives.

Great Teacher Onizuka has so much character development, so many stories and character arcs that it’s overflowing with emotions. Onizuka hates the way the school system treats students and does everything he can to step away from the norm and show his students that there’s more to teaching than what they’ve grown accustomed to. The show taught me so many things and made me appreciate some of the little things in life and it’s definitely a show that everyone should watch. This show also has great music I think that music is a big part of these shows that I’m listing huh?

Number 2: Katanagatari

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Second to last of the anime shows I’m thankful for is Katanagatari, a 12 episode anime series. If art could be personified in an anime Katanagatari would be a prime example. To this day I haven’t had that same feeling I had when I first heard this song during an episode. Each episode is about 50 minutes long and each one has enough story elements and development and action and emotion that it’s almost overwhelming. The show revolves around Shichika Yasuri who is a swordsman who doesn’t use a sword and Togame, a girl who seeks his help to search for the 12 Demon blades. Shichika lives on an island and has never seen or been in the outside world which adds to his character. Togame is a strategist who is surprisingly awkward but can come up with the most ruthless schemes. Shichika’s sword style basically makes his body into a weapon instead of wielding a kantana himself. Shichika was raised and bred up as a weapon which makes expressing emotion and some other simple tasks harder for him.

The journey that these two go through is essentially everything that makes a great story and a great anime. From start to finish you’ll be thinking about each episode after you watch them and once the show is over you’ll be thinking about it for months and maybe years later. Each ending song is different and the feel of episode is different and just as great as the last. I really, truly can’t express how great this show is enough and it’s a show that I feel everyone should watch if they’re an anime fan. Katanagatari is as close to a perfect as you can get and I appreciate every single second of it.

Number 1: Gintama!

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So we’ve reached the last and final show that I’m thankful for and it’s Gintama. This is the best show and manga going right now and it has been for years. If you haven’t heard of this anime it’s most likely because you’re hanging around the wrong crowd. Go get some new friends and if they haven’t heard of Gintama just know that they’re a bad influence on you. Gintama is a comedy, action, drama, sometimes romance, with so many characters that you’d think you’d lose track of them. This series is the absolute best in terms of comedy and action. The comedy of Gintama can go from a running joke to a parody of an anime show which rewards you just for knowing what the show they’re parodying is. Gintama revolves around Gintoki, Shinpachi, and Kagura who run an Odd Jobs business where people can hire them to complete any task as long as they get paid.

The backstory is this: the age of Samurai is over and wielding a sword in public can result in being arrested and other penalties. The main character Gintoki fought in the Joui war in the past and became known as the “White Demon” because of his swordsmanship and demonic appearance on the battlefield. Gintoki is lazy, uncaring, and selfish most of the time and the fact that he’s probably the best swordsman in this universe just adds to the comedic value of his character. He also likes to read manga and loves to practice his Kamehameha wave. He can go from comedy to being the most pure badass mofo in the galaxy. He is never afraid to fight for someone and push every single limit he can push…unless it has to do with paying a bill then he probably won’t fight for it. Shinpachi and Kagura each have just as much character to them and all 3 of them together serve as the glue that holds all the other characters together.

The greatness of Gintama is its ability to have comedy arcs and serious story arcs. The first time a serious arc started was when Gintama, as a show turned into a perfect 10 for me. Never have I seen a show that can do comedy, drama, and action so perfectly for so long. The writer of the show makes fun of producers, himself, and the anime business as a whole sometimes and breaks every single wall you can break. Sometimes Gintoki, Shinpachi, and Kagura will say that they aren’t moving a lot because it would be too expensive to animate. Or that a word was bleeped out because it was too close to a real anime title and they would have to pay to say the name. Gintama has so many characters that are all so fleshed out that whenever they pop up you’ll be happy just to see them interact with each other.

The characters develop and the show itself develops with its comedy and action. After characters are introduced, established and settled they immediately get pushed into situations that really showcase them and who they are. This anime is my favorite show going on right now and it’s probably one of my favorite shows of all time. Gintama can go from putting a goofy smile on your face to making your eyes watery in the same episode and there’s nothing like it.

These five shows have significantly affected me and my anime experience for the better and I hope that this little ol’ list of mine did them justice. Most likely all of these shows will be getting their own super special articles of their own but for now this should suffice. These shows are all vastly different but they share a single characteristic: They’re great shows, well at least to me they are. Every single show I’ve put in this list is extremely special to me and I’m sure that if you gave them a chance they’d be just as special to you as well.

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  • William Young

    Staff Writer

    Lover of Hamtaro and an eater of Oreos. Careful with what you say about me because I might throw it "Right Back Atcha." That's just a Kirby joke. I speak in references and I'm the awkward guy in the corner at a party. Hit me up if you wanna talk about magical girls in a totally appropriate way.

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