A list of anime and manga that I like, in no particular order.
1. The Irresponsible Captain Tylor
A product of the early 90’s, The Irresponsible Captain Tylor might just be the most underrated anime ever made.
Meet Justy Ueki Tylor, a professional slouch with a care-free attitude whose only goal in life is to just enjoy it. One day Justy is bored and decides to join the United Planets Space Force to get a nice cushy desk job and coast on that to a nice easy retirement. After inadvertently saving a retired admiral from a hostage situation, Justy is put in charge of his own destroyer, the Soyokaze. And that’s where the real fun begins.
When he’s not pissing off his uptight bureaucratic second in command, Lt. Yamamoto, Justy is wooing the ladies, including the queen of an enemy alien race known as the Raalgon. That’s right, this guy gets captured by the enemy and manages to somehow seduce their queen just by being himself. Justy’s care-free attitude gets him out of countless dangerous situations during the course of the series. In fact, Justy gives so little of a fuck that most of the time he doesn’t even realize he’s in danger.
This might be one of the funnest anime shows to come out of the 90s, and I definitely encourage any anime fan young or old to watch this. Viewer be warned though, it ends on a massive cliffhanger, and it’s been 30 years so I wouldn’t hold my breath for any resolution.
2. Sun-Ken Rock
Sun-Ken Rock is without a doubt the most slept-on manga ever written.
Created by mangaka Boichi (who’s probably better known for his work on Dr. Stone), Sun-Ken Rock tells the story of Japanese immigrant Ken Kitano, chronicling his rise from a worthless bum on the streets of South Korea to the largest mob boss in the entire world through sheer will power and determination. Throughout the entire story, Ken and his gang literally brute force their way through other gangs. When hitting them doesn’t work? Hit them harder. This manga is basically the story of an ass-whooping factory.
Definitely give this manga a read. But be warned, the translation on the first 50 chapters is iffy, so be prepared for a lot of “Engrish”. Also, there’s a lot of graphic nudity, many scenes could classify as outright hentai (one girl literally gets raped with a baseball bat). If that kind of thing makes you squeamish then this might not be the manga for you. Still, the story is very good and if you haven’t read this manga then stop wasting your life and go do it.
3. Crayon Shin-Chan
Remember that anime on Adult Swim about that little boy named Shin? It was based on a manga series called Crayon Shin-Chan. The Adult Swim version was funny, but it was heavily Americanized and a lot of liberties were taken during translation for western audiences (for example Georgie’s name is actually Kazama, and no, he has no interest in American Republican politics).
Weebs who want a more authentic experience should read the manga. It’s hilarious in its own right, and no liberties are taken with the translation. Footnotes are included for English readers that clarify what certain food items are or other stuff that doesn’t always translate well from Japanese to English. If I had to compare it to anything, I’d say it’s like Dennis the Menace on steroids.
If you’re a fan of the Adult Swim dubs, give the source material a read.
4. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba
I’m sure everyone and their mother already knows about this series, but this list isn’t meant to just be obscure or lesser known stuff, it’s anime and manga that I like.
Demon Slayer has become immensely popular over the last couple of years (seriously, last Halloween half the kids showed up at my door as Naruto characters and the other half were wearing Demon Slayer uniforms), and it’s very easy to see why. It’s a great anime.
As someone who grew up playing the original Doom, I can always get behind ripping and tearing some demons. The fight scenes are animated awesomely, and there’s a decent balance between action and story.
I will take issue with one thing though, or should I say, two characters.
Inosuke and Zenitsu might possibly be the two most obnoxious anime characters I’ve ever seen. When they actually fight they’re total badasses and you’re rooting for them the whole time. But when they’re not fighting they’re busy screeching like autistic fucking dickheads. It’s not just once in a while either, it’s practically every non-combat scene that they’re in. Still though, when it comes time to slice and dice some demons, you’ll find yourself cheering for them anyway and almost forgetting how annoying they are.
The demons themselves are also great. Muzan is literally just Michael Jackson in his outfit from the “Smooth Criminal” video. The Twelve Kizuki are often quirky but powerful, and you’ll find yourself wondering just how the hell Tanjiro and his group are going to win this one. I also appreciate how the demons are “humanized”, and we get to see their backstories and the lives they led before Muzan turned them. It turns them from pointless killing machines into actual characters with some depth.
I could probably write an entire article about this series. Definitely go watch it if you haven’t already, it lives up to the hype.
5. The Way of the Househusband
For a Netflix anime, this series is pretty damn good.
The Way of the Househusband (known in Japan as Gokushufudō) follows the life of former Yakuza Tatsu, better known by his alias “The Immortal Dragon”, as he does household chores, shopping, and other basic everyday stuff. Except, Tatsu does it all so over the top in ways that only an ex-Yakuza responsible for killing dozens if not hundreds of rival gang members could do.
The stories are hilarious, but where this anime really shines is the animation. The animation is done in a way that makes you feel like you’re watching a moving manga. This might sound off-putting to some, but it’s honestly so well done that it enhances your viewing experience and only adds to the enjoyment.
Keep in mind though, this is a slice of life comedy, not some action-packed bloodbath revolving around a murderous Yakuza hitman. If you’re looking for a gangland gorefest then this isn’t the anime for you. If you’re looking for a series about an ex-gangster who does everything dialed up to 11 then you’ll love this series.
6. One-Punch Man
This is a great series, and I recommend you watch the anime and read the manga on this one. I’ve never read ONE’s original web comic, but I’m aware that his strength lies less in his art skills and more in his story telling. I’ve heard good things about the web comic too though, so don’t be afraid to check that out.
One-Punch Man is the story of Saitama, a hero who’s reached his peak and has grown bored with it. Every hero needs a challenge in order to thrive and grow, and when you can decimate any opponent in literally one punch, well, that just takes the fun out of it. After taking on a disciple named Genos, the two join the Hero Association and compete with other heroes to take down monsters while building public notoriety.
You might think the idea of a series about an overpowered superhero who wins every fight in one punch would be boring. You’d be wrong in this case. While the other characters often find themselves struggling against opponents and suffering the emotional pain that comes with being defeated or watching their allies be defeated, Saitama’s insane strength is played mostly for laughs. A monster that puts several top-ranked heroes on their asses is casually dismissed by Saitama, and yet most people and heroes often don’t notice Saitama’s strength, keeping him at a lower rank. In fact, one top hero constantly receives credit for Saitama’s feats, much to that hero’s own dismay. It’s also hilarious to see a bad guy give this long impassioned monologue about his motivations, only for Saitama to simply tell him that he doesn’t care.
I definitely recommend watching the anime, because the fight scenes are just too damn awesome. Sure, the animation in the second season is a little iffy, but for the most part you’ll find yourself enjoying this different take on the classic hero’s journey. And when you’re done watching the anime, read the manga, since it’s way ahead of the anime and the story gets insanely good.
Saitama is one of my favorite heroes in any media, and if you haven’t at least watched the anime yet then you’re missing out.
Many years ago, I watched the anime version of Gantz, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was disappointed when it ended on that cliffhanger and no new episodes were made.
The plot of Gantz follows high school student Kei Kurono, his friend Masaru Kato, and multiple other people who all die and get resurrected into a strange game that involves hunting aliens on Earth (It’s actually a lot more complex than that, and those who only watched the anime definitely didn’t get the full experience, I’ll explain why in a moment), at the behest of a strange black orb known as “Gantz”. The people who manage to survive the game are allowed to return to their normal lives as if they had never died, with the caveat that they’ll be called upon again to play another game. Players earn points depending on how many aliens they kill, and after reaching 100 points can choose between being allowed to permanently leave the game with their memories of the game erased, receiving an extremely powerful weapon, or resurrecting someone who died during a past game. Gantz is often indiscriminate about who it recruits, so as you can imagine many different personality types come into play. Gantz literally recruits an elderly lady and a dog at one point, as well as a toddler. It also has a habit of recruiting psychopaths, which is great for killing aliens but not so great for the other humans who are stuck with them on their team.
Remember when I said that the people who only watched the anime didn’t get the full Gantz experience? In the last year, I got around to reading the manga. I was even more disappointed in the anime, and a little pissed off at what we got instead of what we could have had.
The manga was GREAT.
As I discovered, the anime and the manga diverge right after the battle at the Buddhist temple. Viewers of the anime will remember the two guys who beat and killed the homeless man. They aren’t in the manga. In fact, everything in the anime after the Buddhist temple fight wasn’t in the manga at all. The reason for this is because the anime and manga were being produced at the same time, and the anime managed to catch up to the manga (this is why series like Dragon Ball Z have a lot of filler episodes, it prevents things like this from happening). The anime producers were forced to improvise, and the result was a series prematurely meeting its end.
Meanwhile, the manga goes balls-to-the-wall crazy with its creative depictions of different aliens and insanely large battles. It also explains who made Gantz, why it’s resurrecting people to fight in its “game”, and builds up to a spectacular climax that I don’t want to spoil here. Needless to say, there’s a larger picture, and Gantz isn’t having people fight aliens for no reason.
I’m going to recommend reading the manga over watching the anime on this one. However, as with Sun-Ken Rock, be warned, this manga gets fairly graphic at times (a character rapes an alien in one part, and another alien is literally made of boobs). If you want a sci-fi bloodbath with creatively-designed aliens, check out Gantz.
8. Mob Psycho 100
Another series by ONE, Mob Psycho 100 is one of those anime that’s better than it has any right to be.
Mob Psycho 100 tells the story of middle-schooler Shigeo Kageyama, more commonly known by his alias “Mob” due to his seemingly insignificant appearance. But Mob is far from insignificant, he’s actually one of the most powerful psychics (or “ESPers” as the series calls them) in the world. Throughout the course of the series, Mob struggles with his personal identity as he helps his employer Arataka Reigen (who is debatably a con-artist) perform exorcisms and spiritual cleansings, befriends a ghost, and goes up against other ESPers. Yet again, ONE shines as an excellent storyteller, with decent pacing, awesome battles, and great character development.
I haven’t read the manga on this one (pun not intended), but personally I’d rather watch the amazing fight scenes in animated form anyway. Mob Psycho 100 isn’t just some silly slice-of-life anime about a kid with psychic powers, it’s an intense action-packed adventure about a kid figuring out exactly who he is while kicking ass with powers that someone like El from Stranger Things could only dream of. In fact, Vecna should be thankful that he’s facing El instead of Mob, because Mob would beat Vecna like the unwanted child he was, then make it to Reigen’s office on time to start work.
On a side note, anyone who thinks Mob could beat Tatsumaki from One-Punch Man needs to read the OPM manga to truly understand why Mob wouldn’t last more than a few minutes at best in an all-out fight between the two, even if Mob was at 100% or “???”. There’s a reason Tornado is number two only to Blast.
9. The Devil is a Part-Timer!
Imagine, the devil, who resides in another world on another plane of existence, launches a destructive campaign of conquest against his neighbors. Just as all hope seems lost, a hero appears and begins to turn the tide of battle. Before long, the devil gets his ass handed to him, then flees to Earth and gets a job at
McDonald’s MgRonald’s, where he aspires to make it from cashier all the way to CEO of the company.
Sounds silly, right?
The Devil is a Part-Timer! takes that silliness and leans into it, turning what was once a powerful magic-wielding demon lord into an ambitious fast food worker who strives to provide only the best service to his customers. He’s followed to Earth by a couple of his generals, as well as the hero who managed to best him, and other people from his homeworld who want to eliminate him for their own agendas.
Don’t think that this is just a stupid comedy with no real plot though. The show balances its silliness with decently-animated fight scenes, as well as legitimate character growth and an overarching plot that keeps you invested.
A lot of anime takes itself seriously. The Devil is a Part-Timer! is definitely not one of those anime. It knows what it is, and it doesn’t try to pretend to be anything more, making it a fun watch for sure.
10. Gate: Thus, the JSDF Fought There!
Tired of all the anime where gun users get shit-stomped by sword wielders for no reason other than “lol magic”? Me too.
I found this series when browsing through manga on Crunchy Roll’s manga app (which sucks, just pirate your manga from Nyaa.si like any self-respecting weeb). I tried to read the manga, but the translation was horrible. I mentioned before that Sun-Ken Rock‘s translation was rough. The translation for Gate made that look like it was written by H.G. Wells. Hoo boy. I couldn’t even make it more than a few chapters before I dropped it.
The concept still interested me though, and when I discovered the anime version I went with that. And I’m glad I did.
Gate: Thus, the JSDF Fought There!, or simply Gate because I don’t feel like typing all those words out every time, takes the trope of gun vs sword and turns it on its head.
The series starts with a portal to a parallel world opening up in modern day Tokyo. Out of the portal comes a giant Imperial Roman-style army (known as “the Empire”), along with dragons, orcs, and all kinds of fantasy creatures, who proceed to wreak havoc upon the people of Tokyo… for about five minutes, until the military shows up and stomps the ever-loving shit out of them with modern weaponry. As it turns out, a tortoise formation is no match for .50 caliber machine guns or tear gas, and dragons are highly weak against Apache helicopters. Fire-breathing dragon, meet the AGM-114 Hellfire missile. The invasion force is quickly subdued, and the Japanese military goes through the portal and sets up shop in the parallel world.
The ass-kicking doesn’t stop there though. The Empire mobilizes an army of over 100,000 soldiers and attempts to attack the Japanese base. It goes about as well as you’d think a group of primitive screwheads charging headfirst into machine gun and artillery fire would go. This series isn’t just a giant pointless one-sided bloodbath or anything, but it doesn’t shy away from the harsh reality that sword and shield vs guns usually ends badly for the guy who doesn’t have a gun.
It also has this amazing scene:
Holy. Fucking. SHIT.
I understand that this scene is supposed to be a giant homage to the movie Apocalypse Now (which I’ve never actually seen), but the first time I watched this part I LOVED it. I ended up re-watching this scene several times because it was so awesome. Hell, I actually stopped to re-watch it several more times as I was writing this article. If you watch that video and still have no interest in checking out this series, then you suck as a person and don’t ever talk to me again.
I could go on and on about how great this series is, and I probably will soon in a future article. It’s disappointing how many people have no idea about this anime’s existence. Don’t be one of those people, wake up and stop sleeping on this great anime.
11. Detroit Metal City
Originally this article was only going to list ten anime and mangas. Then I realized that I forgot to mention one of my top five favorites.
I’m talking about Detroit Metal City.
Detroit Metal City is the story of a Japanese death metal band, named Detroit Metal City. These guys are basically the GG Allin of the metal scene, with one huge difference: The front-man doesn’t want to play metal.
Soichi Negishi, stage name “Johannes Krauser II”, absolutely despises his career with DMC, and would rather be playing upbeat pop music. Instead, he’s stuck playing heavy metal bangers like “Death Penis”, “Cop Rape”, and “Satsugai” (which literally means “Kill”; the song itself is about Krauser raping and killing his parents because he’s a “terrorist from hell”). DMC fans are depicted as raging violent lunatics who worship Krauser as a god. Kind of like Juggalos, but not braindead white trash. Soichi spends the series futilely attempting to run away from his Krauser identity, culminating in a huge balls to the wall battle of the bands against an American (fictional) heavy metal legend. I won’t spoil too much of the series for you, it’s actually very short and you could probably finish it in a few hours or less.
I’ve also heard that there’s a live action Detroit Metal City movie, and Gene Simmons from KISS makes an appearance in it. I haven’t been able to find a good torrent of it though so I have no idea if it’s actually any good.
I can however vouch for the anime. It’s crazy, it’s obscene, it’s fucking great. Watch it and you’ll see why it never got an English dub and probably never will. It’s so awesome that the average viewer just can’t handle it.