Favorite Anime of the Decade

#1 — Mawaru Penguindrum (2011)

Seizon senryaku, bitches.

(I don’t usually spoiler tag things because I expect people to realize that this is a very spoilery blog, but just in case, MAJOR CONTENT SPOILERS for Mawaru Penguindrum.)

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#2 — From the New World (2012)

I hadn’t rewatched From the New World until I reviewed it specifically for this list. Because it has been seven years, I had forgotten the actual opening of the series — instead, the ubiquitous image of this show, the children standing on a hill at sunset, is what had stuck in my mind.

From the New World begins with a flickering camera, tension that the viewer can instantly feel, before it’s released in a series of human explosions to Antonín Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 (From the New World). More specifically, “Largo” or “Going Home” as it’s more commonly known in the United States. It then transitions, still playing this song, to the image I remembered. As if they’re talking to the viewer directly, one of the children says, “When they play ‘The Way Home’ plays on the speakers you have to head back.” It’s equal parts haunting, stunning, and (upon rewatching) emotionally-affecting despite the fact that a fresh viewer knows nothing about the violence shown in brief bursts or these children arguing at sunset.

It’s only a taste of what’s to come.

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#3 — Ping Pong the Animation (2014)

There is likely to be a lot of Masaaki Yuasa’s work in decade top tens, especially if they include films (which mine does not). Beginning with The Tatami Galaxy in 2010, Yuasa had a remarkable decade that included Kick Heart (2013), The Night Is Short, Walk On Girl (2017), and Devilman Crybaby (2019) along with other successful projects and animation guest spots in Space Dandy and Adventure Time.

Ping Pong the Animation surpasses any other Yuasa work for me personally.

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#4 — Yuri Kuma Arashi (2015)

I didn’t enjoy Yuri Kuma Arashi all that much on first watch. I enjoyed dissecting it and writing about it, but it didn’t fill me with the same exuberance of Kunihiko Ikuhara’s other works (Revolutionary Girl Utena and Mawaru Penguindrum). The ending was phenomenal but the series itself felt too dense. The characters were too distant and cold. And the series felt like it had more than its 12 episodes allowed it to say.

I’ve not-so-coincidentally mentioned this regarding Sarazanmai‘s placement in my personal top ten of the decade as well, and expect that I’ll feel differently after watching it a few times as well, but I don’t think it will ever top Yurikuma for me due to personal reasons. With every rewatch, Yurikuma remains dense but admirably concise in its storytelling. Like any Ikuhara series, there is more to discover with every rewatch, but only with Yurikuma have I loved the series exponentially more with each viewing.

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#5 — Flip Flappers (2016)

In my Yuri!!! On Ice post, I mention how difficult it is for me to watch currently-airing series during the fall season due to my job. Yuri!!! On Ice was an exception.

I didn’t watch Flip Flappers right away or keep up with it while I was inundated with work, but once I watched the first episode, I was hooked. I couldn’t look away.

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