Life’s too short for mediocre anime. Sorry to say so, but the truth hurts. Our years in this wonderful world are slowly slipping away one moment at a time, and rather than confront that grim existential reality, why not cram the best possible anime we can find into whatever days we have left? Yay, escapism!
To help you make the absolute most of your anime watching time, Two Beard Gaming is counting down the 30 anime that you absolutely must watch before you die, broken into three instalments because we just love the antici…
…pation (*insert Dr. Frank-N-Furter gif*). The titles that follow are varied in age and genre. Some you will already know, but hopefully a few might surprise you. And the one thing they all have in common? They carry the TBG seal of quality.
If you missed Part 1, you can check it out here. Otherwise, on with the 30 Anime You Absolutely Must Watch Before You Die, Part 2:
20. Perfect Blue (1997)
A psychological masterpiece by the master Satoshi Kon, this disturbing, disorienting film tells the story of a pop idol who quits singing to pursue an acting career and loses her grip on reality when she’s pursued by a mysterious stalker.
19. Barakamon (2014)
After an embarrassing public incident, a disgraced calligrapher is sent from Tokyo to rural Gotō Island to discover his own style of calligraphy. So cute and so, so funny! Naru will steal your heart.
18. Princess Mononoke (1997)
A prince searches for a way to lift a curse and finds himself caught in a battle between humans and spirits over natural resources. A wonderfully grey story without black and white morality.
17. Samurai Champloo (2004)
Director Shinichirō Watanabe’s follow up to Cowboy Bebop, this is a genre-blending, hip hop romp through an alternate Edo-era Japan. The story follows a waitress who recruits two swordsmen to help her find a samurai who smells of sunflowers.
16. Death Note (2006)
Don’t understand the backlash against Netflix’s live-action adaptation? Check out the original anime about a student who is given a notebook that kills anyone whose name is written inside. This story is a cat ‘n mouse game between two brilliant minds.
15. Darker Than Black (2007)
Individuals called contractors gain super abilities but must pay a price each time they use them. The show follows one contractor as he searches for his missing sister. Yet another killer soundtrack by Yoko Kanno.
14. Kino’s Journey – The Beautiful World (2017)
This show is based on the light novel series by Keiichi Sigsawa. In each episode, Kino travels to a different country, and the experiences are sometimes beautiful, sometimes horrifying.
13. The Promised Neverland (2019)
Grace Field House is an idyllic, loving home for orphans up to age twelve. Everything changes when the kids learn the truth. This show is a master of the cliffhanger. An engaging, emotional battle of wits.
12. Puella Magi Madoka Magica (2011)
If you think this is typical cutesy, fluffy magi-girl anime, think again. Middle school girls must decide whether to have a wish granted and gain magical powers (along with all the consequences). This is deep, dark anime at its best.
11. Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit (2007)
This anime adapts the first book in Nahoko Uehashi’s fantasy series. Wandering warrior Balsa is tasked with protecting a prince who hides a mysterious secret. No crazy superpowers here, just excellent storytelling.
Are we two-thirds of the way done already? Time flies when you’re talking about awesome anime. Stay tuned for Part 3 and the epic conclusion, and don’t forget to let us know: what titles would go on your bucket list?