Anime Tier List (July 2021)
Hello everyone, I return with more anime reviews. This past 6 months has been some of the most up and down moments of my life. I really appreciate how my love for writing, blogging, and watching 2D husbandos and waifus has kept me grounded in reality during this time. But you're not here for my sob story, you are here for my awful takes. So let's get rolling!
P.S. THERE IS AN ANNOUNCEMENT AT THE END READ ALL THE WAY IF YOU WANT TO SEE IT
As a reminder here are the tiers and what each stands for:
F tier is my general “did not finish” tier. Some anime here will be worse than others, but if it is here, I do not recommend the anime at all.
D tier is for lackluster anime. There are too many negative points about these anime for me to enjoy them, but I am either too committed or curious to drop the anime. I would not recommend them for most people, except for niche cases.
C tier is for decent anime. These anime are alright, and weren’t terrible, but weren’t the best either. I would situationally recommend these anime depending on what the viewer wants.
B tier is for good anime. I enjoyed these anime a lot, but they are not refined enough or executed well enough to be A tier. I would recommend most of them.
A tier is for great anime. I thoroughly enjoyed these anime, and they are well done and put together. I would highly recommend anything in this tier.
S tier is my favorite anime of all time. They are essentially the same as A tier anime but are my personal favorites. There will be 4 S tier anime in this list.
Once again as a reminder, these are all my opinions. Many shows that I rate low have fan bases around them, but simply let down my personal expectations. Likewise, many anime I like you may find lots of problems with since we have different values.
First up is Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai. This is one of the more popular shows on this whole tier list. I really enjoyed the general flow of the show, as it didn’t spend too much time in one place and it had a decent amount of variance throughout the show. The characters are simply incredibly written and none of them feel out of place or unused towards the story’s end goal. Even the MC wasn’t entirely hateable. Sure, he had the typical dumb MC moments, but he actually showed a nice mix of being smart and dumb, which feels very accurate to how an actual person would be, especially in his unique position. Mai is one of the best waifus of all time and every other character was not forgettable. I genuinely think the first season was pretty close to perfect. The movie was also pretty decent, for having a time travel plot device that often ends up being a trap. This show is still really good and one of the newer shows that almost everyone has seen and for good reason.
Five Centimeters Per Second is a very interesting story about distanced relationships and growing pains. It highlights 3 characters that all experience this in a connected way and honestly, it was really good at it for the first half. The animation is just stunning and the scenery that was chosen for every scene was just perfect. The characters, however, lack the depth to really carry this show to a better rating. Despite the characters gaining new problems, they don’t get any character progression because nothing is done about them. This movie feels like someone had a really good idea and made a lot of pretty backgrounds, and then did a scrappy story to tie it all together and make it work. It’s certainly not a bad movie or anything but it isn’t a home run either; just left as a middling movie. Trust me though, if you need ideas for backgrounds or backdrops, watch this. It’s worth it.
I was extremely impressed with how quickly the movie Summer Wars made me fall in love with its characters. It follows a very cookie-cutter formula for any movie, but the characters and the actual story make for something really unique. I was impressed by how it can display both wholesomeness and tension at the same time. It has a cool idea for a dystopia where we are so invested in online activities that we can make real life but it’s online with fewer consequences. This naturally has both its pros and its cons showcased, and it’s a good reminder to us that just because something is online and convenient doesn’t mean it’s the best option. Most of the rest of the show is pretty average, nothing special. But the combination of really good characters and a captivating story is always a good combination, and the rest of the show was by no means bad.
Adachi and Shimamura is a story about social awkwardness, naivety, and relationships. A slice of life show with some interesting themes to make it stand out is always a plus since the slice of life genre tends to be oversaturated with the same generic ideas. This slice of life definitely makes a strong attempt to push those boundaries, and in my opinion, succeeds. I feel like the final episode had a big build-up to a meh ending. If this wasn’t based on a light novel, I would be disappointed that this was how it ends, but ultimately there is more source material so there will likely be a season 2. This was definitely a solid comfy and feel-good slice of life show that I would recommend.
As a reminder that we as a society overcame 2020, I decided to watch Japan Sinks: 2020 to commemorate us making it to 2021. I also got a recommendation for it, so I figured it would be ok. This show has a lot of good ideas and a few brilliant moments, but a large portion of the show was really underwhelming to me. I didn’t like the art style at all, and there were times, specifically with vehicles, that the show felt like it was dated and unprofessional. I believe this is largely because of the stylized format of this show, but it was occasionally very ugly to look at. The characters aren’t bad per se, but most of them felt generic, predictable, and somewhat underwhelming. The whole 2 characters that weren’t generic had really weird character developments that didn’t seem natural or fluid. One of the main themes of the show was about death and the need to accept it, especially given the dire circumstances. However, this theme’s impact is lessened by how frequent death is in this show. For something with as much of a focus on drama in drastic times, the last episode was quite unimpressive and boring, I don’t think I’ve actually almost fallen asleep watching an anime before but this episode almost did it for me. I wanted to like this show because I think a lot of the ideas were really cool and it had a few really amazing moments. If nothing else, watch episode 1 because it actually sets the scene extremely well for the remainder of the show, but unfortunately, I didn’t end up liking the actual meat of this show at all.
Sing “Yesterday” For Me had a brilliant premise and first episode. The show promised to be something more than the typical slice of life, with this one being set after college, showcasing the difficulties of young adult life. It didn’t fail to deliver on this premise, but it very quickly turned into a standard slice of life. Despite the 2 main characters not being in school anymore, most of the other characters were, so school drama was still a focal point of the show. The actual content of the show was just OK, nothing special. It did showcase some problems young adults face now, such as motivation to get a job and finding your passion in life. It was nice to see a form of media able to showcase how someone can go from a nobody to a somebody, but that’s about all the show has going for it. There was a nice emotional scene in the final episode as well, but everything else was very standard to me. A decent slice of life, but nothing to really write home about.
SSSS.Gridman is a great mecha anime that has references to the original Ultraman and is overall a pretty solid show. However, the unfortunate reality is that I really don’t like mecha anime in the first place. I would be turned off by most mecha anime, however, I managed to tolerate this one for the main reason that I started watching this show in the first place: Rikka. Rikka is absolutely top-tier waifu material, and I decided to spice things up by trying this show. Admittedly, I liked the show a bit more than I initially thought I would, but it will be a long time before I watch another Mecha anime and I still don’t like them very much. So take my rating with a grain of salt.
Love, Election, and Chocolate had a pretty interesting idea: a show focused on campaigning in a school somewhere between fantasy and reality. It very clearly has realistic aspects to it as most drama shows do, but it had a few scientific improvements compared to our universe. However, this show really failed to deliver, as it lacked an identity. It was a passable drama, a passable slice-of-life type show, and a passable romantic comedy, but all 3 combined and cycled through in different phases felt pretty weird and random to watch. It starts out as a trashy slice of life show that lost its appeal after episode 1, and then proceeded to give another 5 episodes of poorly done drama and a really awkward way to get the female love interest in the guy’s sights. Admittedly the last couple of episodes were pretty OK, which saved it from a D tier rating, but this was the first show since Gamers! that I considered dropping partway through. I didn’t though, and the ending was not too bad, if a bit cringy. It had a really neat idea but really failed hard on execution and the writing of the characters to bring the plan to life.
I was really blown away by Tonikaku Kawaii and how it managed to paint such a perfect image of what many people want out of their relationship. This anime is one of the best representations of wholesomeness when it comes to living a married life. Anime is certainly an escape for many people, and one of the biggest reasons for many, including myself, is to escape the feeling of loneliness and feel comforted in wholesome animation. This might just be the best anime at solving this horrible problem so many of us weebs face. The wholesomeness factor of this show is through the roof and it always left a smile on my face because of how nice, wholesome, and happy the show made me feel. Truly the perfect show for me to watch during a season of depression. Some story elements of the show were weird and didn’t really need to be added and just make the small amount of lore the show has convoluted, but this was a very minor problem that rarely showed up. If you are looking for a brand new wholesome show, this is what you are looking for!
While many of my viewers at the current time are already big Dota fans, the few that aren’t may have not heard of the next show. Dota: Dragon’s Blood is a very different and unique experience used to expand upon and promote Dota 2’s lore and to give the game some much-needed advertising. The show is not very similar to the game, since it simply expands upon some vague lore of how the heroes in the game came to be how they are, but if the show interests you, now is the time to check out the game since valve has expanded the new player experience to be decent. Back to the show though, Dragon’s blood is a weird show that manages to make everything work together. Many times it feels like this is a homebrew DnD world turned into a show, but then we are reminded with the various heroes showcased that this is, in fact, about Dota. Many of the criticisms are quite harsh about the show and honestly not very justified to me. My main 2 problems is an animation problem as well as pacing. While many people thought the default animation style was off and that the fight scenes were terrible, I definitely thought they looked great. Not groundbreaking, but a solid performance. However, the meme of the noses done in the show is admittedly quite embarrassing. The noses look purposefully bad when viewed at a head-on angle, and I’m not sure why there was the choice to do this. It didn’t bother me too much, but it was definitely noticeable. The pacing feels very rushed as well, but Netflix made an executive decision to cut off 5 minutes from every episode partway through development. Unfortunate for the creators, but this still does drive the score down. Regardless of those problems, everything else in the show is great and I would recommend this to anyone wanting a new and different fantasy experience, or if you are wanting an introduction to Dota 2.
It has admittedly taken me a while to finally watch this show, but I have now watched the fan-favorite show Steins; Gate. It was actually the first anime I ever decided to try, but I dropped it partway through episode 1 since it was slow and confusing, and being a new anime fan, I was not initially impressed. I’m definitely glad I got to save it for when I have more anime experience like now. This show is truly a masterpiece like none other I have experienced. It manages to craft a perfect blend of humor, drama, depression, and science fiction and prepares it in a nice little anime with a solid animation style. Given that it’s a 2011 show, it is animated really well and still holds up today. The beginning is a little bit slow, but when you get a few episodes in it gets really good. The story is about time travel, and the common stigma is that most time travel shows suck because they fall apart in explaining everything. I wholeheartedly agree and get disappointed when a show or anime goes in that direction, but Steins; Gate blew me away with how consistent and informed its time travel is, and how cohesive it all is. Characterization isn’t always easy to nail for any character let alone several, but Steins; Gate hit the nail on the head with not just 1, but 7 main/supporting characters where they all feel great and fleshed out. Nobody feels left behind and everyone has real motives involved in the story. Simply put: Steins; Gate is a masterpiece. There is a reason it has a 9.1 average rating on My Anime List, and let me tell you first hand: the ratings are accurate.
The successor to the massively popular and hyped show Steins; Gate; enter Steins; Gate 0. Serving as a midquel to Steins; Gate where we explore the original ending and the world created by it, and consequently how we get to the “true” ending presented at the end of the main series. Steins; Gate 0 gets a pretty bad reputation from big Steins; Gate fans because of a few key things that it changes. This is inevitable though, as Steins; Gate may have been too good to really make a satisfactory second chapter in the series. Notably, many people dislike how bland Okabe is compared to his persona as a mad scientist in the original, and the general slow pacing of the show. However, I think that is part of what makes this sequel amazing. We start at a very slow-paced beginning that seems normal for all of 3 episodes before we get into some more sci-fi drama. Slowly but steadily, we turn from a comfy show with familiar characters into the madness that is the original Steins; Gate with chaos and timeline shenanigans. Arguably more timeline problems than the original. I’m not going to claim that 0 is anywhere near the original in terms of quality and production, however, I really think that the people who claim that 0 is a cash grab on diehard fans are missing the point. We see the effects that the end of the original Steins; Gate has on Okabe, and how he tries to cope. This show will require patience and a bit of an open mind when compared to the original series, but I promise that this series is worth your time.
Camping is an undervalued and underrated topic to talk about and discuss, and I think that Yuru Camp does a great job at depicting this topic. Just like any other slice of life show, Yuru Camp has a chill pace and some wholesomeness. Applying this to a campsite setting with a bunch of young campers is a great idea, and is pulled off excellently. My favorite part about the show is definitely how it showed off multiple styles of camping, as well as broke major stereotypes about introverts. Introversion is very misunderstood by many people and we see how introverts really are with Rin. She enjoys being by herself and camping by herself but is occasionally able to camp with the others and have a good time. She is shown to not be a shut-in or socially inept, but generally prefers books over people. Many of the other anime on my tier list have examples of the “standard” form of introversion but in reality that does not apply to most introverts. This show also does a good job at describing and teaching us how to camp without going overboard on it like a couple of these other shows. If you are looking for a comfy show that will make you hungry with how much food is displayed, look no further, as this is one of, if not the best comfy shows out there.
From comfy to cute, we’re moving on to Non Non Biyori. When you initially read the premise, you may think this show will come across as boring. After all, who wants to watch a show about the countryside, and for 3 seasons no less? Somehow, Non Non Biyori manages to accomplish an interesting and unique niche for itself. A large part of it is just how amazing the characters are. Across about 10 characters, we have new and fresh takes on characters that would realistically live in the countryside. Beyond just the characters though, the dialogue is excellently crafted to not only draw in the wholesome slice of life crowd but also to be significant in expression. Somehow a 6-year-old girl is able to be a star of the show without being overly cutesy, and this is because of how amazing her dialogue with other characters is. She feels like an actual 6-year-old who managed to get along with some older classmates. Constantly curious and expressive. So if you’ve passed up Non Non Biyori because of its setting or weird choice of characters, go back and give it a try, because this show makes a difficult setting and topic very enjoyable and competes with the other really good slice of life shows.
Horimiya depicts a different type of drama rom-com than we are used to seeing. Rather than seeing a perfect guy with a broken girl or vice versa, we see 2 misunderstood characters who are trying to find their identity and find it through each other. Not only does it have a realistic-ish feel to it, but the characters are really well done. There is a reason this was one of the top-rated manga of all time, and the story and characters really drive this home in all their unconventional ways. The anime does fall a bit short of the manga though. While this is true in most cases when manga get adapted to anime, it is especially apparent when the Horimiya manga was so good. We have a good story but ultimately a LOT was cut from the manga to fit the narrative they wanted in 13 episodes. This leads to many good arcs cut as well as many underexplained or unexplained things that happen, which is unfortunate. An average-level adaptation of one of the best manga of all time is still very good since it has that base content to fall back on, and as such Horimiya still has a great rating.
To round out this bi-yearly list let's take a look at Quintessential Quintuplets Season 2. The first season of this show was a bit more generic and the second season sought to change that. There isn’t a whole lot to say about this season without massive spoilers, but the season does get a lot more interesting and a bit less generic. S1 laid down the groundwork for S2 to really come into its own. Also, make sure to tag me and let me know which quint you are rooting for!
Verdict: Updated to B+ from B
In all of my other tier list blogs, I have put my tier list here, where you can compare and contrast every show. However, that will not be here. Instead, I am announcing that I will be making a website for these tier lists! I haven’t been satisfied staying on medium since my reviews end up getting buried and have to be dug through to find them again. This is not what my goal was. My goal was to give my unwavering opinions on these shows and to have an organized tier list. Ultimately, none of the tier list makers really fit what I wanted, so I figured the best solution to both of my problems was to create my own website where I can organize everything. From the time of this post, the website will be finished sometime between 3weeks and a month and a half from now. I will make an additional post about it soon, with all of the features and ideas that will be presented there. I hope you all follow me there to continue my journey as a writer and reviewer!