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  1. Recommending Anime to your Friends (Part 1)
  2. List of Anime to Recommend to your Friends (Part 2)
  3. Special Anime Recommendations, K-On! and Angel Beats! (Part 3)

If you haven’t read Recommending Anime to your Friends (Part 1) yet, I highly encourage you to do so! It covers the basis of my suggestions and how I arrived at choosing these Anime for my friends.

Welcome to Part 2 of my Recommending Anime post. As always, my posts are spoiler-free unless otherwise indicated (and in great detail). This list is by no means designed to be the “End all, be all” guide to Anime out there. Treat this as more of a personal, but educated example of recommendations. A couple of things I want to go over first:

Keep in mind there are Anime that fall into multiple genres, so for those cases I chose the most prominent one matching its overall plot and story.

I will not be describing the story or plot of each Anime recommendation. You can find that on any Anime database.

Lastly, note that I did not include the big three for reasons which are provided at the end. Without further ado, dozo!

Drama – Typically when you think of Drama, you think of suspense, tension, and left-wanting-more-at-the-end-of-each-episode. These are usually packed full of emotions and focuses on strong character development. Drama doesn’t necessarily mean Romance, and of course you will find a separate category for that later.

Drama Anime Description
Air

13 Episodes
+ 2 optional Specials
+ 1 recap movie

The premise of Air is reincarnation, where two main characters follow a long line of ancestry dating back to feudal Japan (or at least that’s what I think). What people don’t know is that Air at first glance seems like a very light-hearted Anime. You have characters like Misuzu who are so cute and bubbly, it almost seems like this anime can be an easy, I-dont-want-to-think-about-anything series.

However, once you get past the first couple of episodes, you realize there’s a deep plot behind the struggles of Misuzu and her family. I would highly recommend this Anime to anyone who enjoys cute characters, but involves a lot of drama and suspense near the end.

Clannad ~After Story~

24 Episodes (season 2)
+ 1 OVA special

After Story is the second season of Clannad. Before you watch After Story, make sure you watch Clannad. The second season focuses more on plot development. Okazaki Tomoya, who sees life as a general waste of time, happens to interact with a rather odd type of girl, Furukawa Nagisa who changes his life in more ways than one.

I was stuck choosing whether or not this series should be classified as Romance instead of Drama, but after re-watching After Story it’s safe to say that the second season focuses more on a strong plot and dramatic finale to a great series. Clannad ~After Story~ is ranked #4 among the highest rated anime in the world according to MyAnimeList, with Clannad (the first season) sitting at #27. If my recommendation doesn’t convince you, then listen to the millions of other voters who ranked this Anime highly. For anyone who enjoys highschool-type settings, as well those looking for the whole package to what makes a good Anime, this is for you. Almost all sorts of genres can be found in this Anime, mixed in with the drama. Be forewarned, this Anime will make you extremely emotional and tense (at least for me), but it is WELL worth it.

Notable Mentions: Description of Each:
Elfen Lied A psychological drama/thriller. Very deep story line, but beware of the gore. See below for details.
Code Geass I put Code Geass here because there is a lot of drama in it as well. See below for details.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica Another drama that amazed me. So many different sudden plot changes. See below for details.

Action – Anime when they’re classified as Action could mean many different things. It could be about Military warfare, Martial Arts, Tactical Espionage, Gundams, pretty much anything that involves violence to some extent. While not all action may be about violence, most can be classified as so. I will explain each Anime and their description of action respectively.

Action Anime Description
Code Geass

24 episodes
+ 24 episodes (season 2)
+ Tons of extra spinoffs

So here we have Code Geass, another one of the highest rated Anime in the world according to MyAnimeList. The story is about two factions —Britannia and Japan, fighting for domination and independence set in the late future. However ultimately the story is focused on Lamperouge Lelouch, a highschool student caught in the middle of this with a unique upbringing; he was born Britannian, but chooses to fight for Japan due to family circumstances. Because of this, aspects of betrayal and sabotage arise frequently in this series, but make it very interesting to watch.

What we have is another anime with a mixed bag of all sorts of genres. You get a little romance, some slice-of-life (with the student council), lots of betrayal, and lots more that ultimately lead to a recipe for success. Throw in Meccha (large robotic exoskeletons piloted by humans), and supernatural abilities that allow people to be mind controlled, and we have Code Geass. I HIGHLY recommend this to anyone who enjoys rollercoaster plots, lots of action and fighting among robots (and humans), futuristic environments and a high-tech setting, as well as a good cast of characters that leave you wanting more at the end.

Fate/Stay Night

24 episodes
+ Prequel series (Oct 2011)

Fate/Stay Night is an adaptation of the visual novel (VN), only shortened and of course condensed. The action involves “might and magic”, which is my way of saying spellcasting and close-combat with swords, spears, daggers, and other weapons. The unfortunate part is that this series is somewhat difficult to follow if you haven’t played through the VN. Certain elements such as detailed character backgrounds and rules for magic/engagement aren’t explained, and may lead you to question why a character did this or did that. As well, the main hero Emiya Shirou, is an idiot. You will understand why when you watch it.

Still, Fate/Stay Night was enjoyable and packed with some nice fight sequences. The VN is extremely popular, which of course is why they made an anime adaptation. I recommend this to those that really like the “Dynasty Warriors”-type fight scenes where characters use special attacks (and yell special names for them), cast magic that look very purdy (and deadly), and involve some romance to top it all off.

A prequel is due for release in late 2011 that follows the main heroine Saber in her previous quest for the Holy Grail.

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

64 Episodes
+ 16 Special Episodes
+ 4 OVA episodes

And of course I have to recommend FMA:Brotherhood as a must-see Anime. Considering the fact that this one is rated #1 in the world, if I didn’t convince you, read/listen to the millions of others and follow their recommendation. FMA:Brotherhood is about a story of two brothers who embark on an adventure to become stronger, smarter, and more knowledgeable in the use of Alchemy. After a tragic accident involving the Elric family, Edward and Alphonse are forced to use artificial limbs and an artificial body frame.

I put FMA:Brotherhood in the action category, but I think it’s safe to say I can throw it into any genre on here due to the amount of content. This is truly the Anime that contains the whole package. You have a very deep story that follows two brothers and their youth, fighting through thick and thin just to obtain that unreachable goal that they made. Throw in an all-star supporting cast and you have dozens of characters that you begin to love and hate. The entire series revolves around the bond between two brothers struggling in a world with angst, crime, and ultimately evil.

Again, if you don’t take my recommendation, listen to everyone else that’s ranked it #1 on their list. One final note: originally Fullmetal Alchemist was a 51 episode series that deviated away from the manga and went off on a tangent. There is a big difference in the FMA series and the remake which is FMA:Brotherhood. The newer series follows the manga much more closely, and I would suggest you avoid the original 51-episode series entirely.

Mobile Suit Gundam 00

25 Episodes (season 1)
25 Episodes (season 2)
+ 1 post-season movie

The Gundam franchise dates back to the late 1970s with the introduction of Mobile Suit Gundam, a 43-episode series featuring Gundams, or advanced armoured suits piloted by humans. Fast forward 40 years and we have one of the most popular Anime franchises in history, with multiple Anime and Manga spinoffs set in different universes, as well as a large collection of collectable models that are built and displayed. Gundam 00 (pronounced double O) is one of many spinoff Gundam series that features Meccha, or mechs, but contains a different story than the original.

Focusing on four pilots who each have their own specialized Gundams, they form a taskforce called “Celestial Being” that aims to eliminate all war and strife from the world. Acting mostly through armed intervention, Celestial Being aims to stop three different superpowers from battling each other and ultimately end a long history of conflict. What you get of course is a long (51 episodes to be exact) series where conflict doesn’t seem to want to end and heroes and heroines must emerge to claim victory.

What separates this series from others is that you don’t always have one faction that carries the “big guns”, and subsequently destroy all other superpowers. Celestial Being, despite having the specialized Gundams and highly-trained pilots often find themselves hiding and licking their wounds after armed intervention. Backgrounds for characters follow well with the story and plot, and lead to a lot of points of suspense throughout the series.

Though action is the main genre, politics and strategy are apparent in this series, so that may be a bonus as well. I would recommend this series to anyone who likes Meccha, and those that enjoy large-scale battles and conflict.

Notable Mentions: Description of Each:
Gundam SEED/Destiny Another spinoff Gundam series. Different story, but awesome Gundams just like 00.
Ga Rei:Zero Following the story of two girls and their friendship, they join an agency that specializes in demon exorcism to carry on their family virtues.

Romance – Ah yes, Romance. The genre that always seems to attract people and bring friends and family together. And for good reason! Everyone likes a little romance here and there, including myself. You’ll find my recommendations to be focused on one couple rather than multiple couples, as I like series that don’t have too many different stories going on at one time. There is one exception to this, and that’s Amagami SS, which I will explain later.

Romance Anime Description
Ah! My Goddess

24 episodes (season 1)
22 episodes (season 2)
+ 4 sequel OVAs
+ too many spinoffs to list

I watched Ah! My Goddess (AMG) when I was around 16. It became the first Anime that really changed my view on the romance genre in general. Although I thought I finished the series after the first season, it turns out that there was a second season planned and already in production at the time =(. In the end, I didn’t start the second season, but my experiences with the first still made a dramatic impact on my history with Anime.

Anyway, ever since Belldandy—the female protagonist—magically appears out of a mirror and in front of Morisato Keiichi—the male protagonist—I’ve been wanting the same thing to happen to me in real life. XD One can be hopeful I guess. More seriously, I just loved the artwork and unique story that AMG had. An angel that signs a contract to help you with your life, and begins a romantic relationship with you, and just happens to be beautiful? Sign me up any day.

It’s not just the setting though. The relationship between the main characters develops into a wonderful story. The main character had no previous relationships (from what I remember), and fails on so many levels to impress his angel. Despite all his struggles to make many ends meet, he somehow stays true to his goal and tries his best.

When you look at the relationship throughout the series, you get a sense of what love means and how much you want to fight for it. I recommend this to anyone who wants to see a very strong relationship between the two main characters, and a level of perseverance that you don’t see a lot nowadays in real life or even in anime.

Clannad

23 Episodes (season 1)
+ 1 OVA special
+ 1 recap movie (season 1)

As mentioned before, Clannad is a two-season series that has a mix of many different things. It begins off as more of a slice-of-life Anime with no real plot. Following the main protagonist around the school grounds and eventually to his home, the romance doesn’t really begin until 5-6 episodes in. Still, I would classify this more Romance than any other category, as you will see in the second half of the first season.

Clannad is really fun to watch because the story doesn’t revolve just around one character. There is some supernatural elements to it which is odd for a highschool-focused environment, but nonetheless works well. The real treat comes from the large supporting cast that interacts with the main characters. Many are fan favourites themselves, and have won several popularity contests on various fan-based competitions. Couple that with the art and animation—and of course Blu-Ray encoding—it really enhances the detail on characters and facial expressions. Of course this isn’t absolutely necessary, but if you want the full package you gotta’ have Blu-Ray.

Clannad is one of the classics that most anime lovers seem to have in their “watched” list. While of course it isn’t for everyone, many say that Clannad is one of, if not their most favourite Anime in the world.

Amagami SS
24 Episodes
+ 2 OVA specials
+ 6 DVD specials
Technically there are 25 episodes with 1 special, but that’s not what I listed to the left. Let me explain how this series works; the story follows an omnibus format, where different arcs are presented one after another. While the characters are the same in all arcs, the main protagonist interacts with them differently based on the focus of his love interest for that particular arc. Each arc consists of 4 episodes, meaning a total of 6 girls are portrayed. Think of it like after the finale of each arc, he loses all memory of his relationship with the girl, and then starts over again interacting with another.

Now I wrote down 2 OVA specials because the 25th episode is a bonus episode featuring the 7th heroine, and the “26th” episode is special episode featuring the main character’s younger sister, Miya. MyAnimeList lists it as 25 episodes with a special Blu-Ray release-only episode.

Anyway, you may recall that I said romance series are better when they feature only a single couple, and not waste time trying to weave all sorts of relationships together. You often find that when you have so many different characters interacting with each other it really complicates things and sometimes causes confusion. If you’ve seen Kimikiss Pure Rouge, it follows that to some extent where you have more than one love triangle or circle or whatever shape you want to use, fighting and causing all sorts of drama amongst each other.

If that’s what you’re looking for, then by all means go for it. Amagami SS however is different, where each relationship is the focus in that 4-episode arc. Nothing really hinders their experiences between the couple, and it makes for a much easier and lighter Anime to follow. I absolutely loved Amagami SS. It was funny, witty, really cute at some parts (especially Kaoru, who is my favourite arc), and ultimately very easy to understand and follow.

There’s not too much drama, which may or may not be what you’re looking for, but there’s definitely romance. I recommend this anime to anyone who just wants to see a happy ending to a good romance between one couple.

Notable Mentions: Description of Each:
Nodame Cantabile I have not seen Nodame Cantabile yet which is why I can’t recommend it personally, but I know a lot of Anime enthusiasts say this is one series you do not want to miss. Using music as the basis of their relationship, two individuals find themselves in an unlikely situation. Highly rated on MyAnimeList.
Kimi ni Todoke Recently finished with its second season, KNT is a slower-paced Shoujo manga adapted into an anime. I recommend this to all those girls who just can’t get enough of the romance genre. Very light-hearted and “fuwa fuwa” anime.
Toradora! I myself didn’t find ToraDora! that enticing, however many people enjoyed this 24-episode series, placing it in the best romance anime of 2009. This one follows two individuals who just happen to like each others’ best friends, and so they decide to work together for mutual benefit. Maybe I didn’t like it as much because it was only in 480p.

Comedy – Nowadays it’s almost like if anime didn’t have some humour in it, it wouldn’t be worthwhile to watch. I’m a sucker for any sort of comedy, so whenever something makes me laugh I like it. To keep my recommendations focused, I will be recommending anime that’s just plain there to make you laugh.

Anime and Length Description
Azumanga Daioh

26 Episodes
+ 2 not-worth-watching bonuses

If you know me, you have probably heard me say by now that Azumanga Daioh is one of, if not my most favourite Anime. I watched it back in high school, and it was the one that kick-started my interest in Anime. Before that I used to watch Sailor Moon (real men watch Sailor Moon) and Dragon Ball Z, but Azumanga Daioh was the one that convinced me to start downloading and researching different series to watch. Ultimately it was the one that sparked my interest.

So what makes it so good? The Comedy. It’s a classic. The voice acting is so superb; each character’s voice matches perfectly with their personality. The dialog between them is amazingly funny, and never have I laughed in almost every episode of a series. You have 6 main characters who each have their own “uniqueness” or weirdness, and the manga-ka/animators incorporate that so well into the series. Definitely, definitely watch this series in Japanese dubbing with English subtitles. The voice acting is one you do not want to miss. In fact, this is the first time I mentioned it, but you should ALWAYS watch Anime in Japanese with English subtitles.

I recommend Azumanga Daioh for anyone that just wants to have a good time laughing their ass off. There’s plenty of humour packed into this 26 episode series, but it’s also quite fun to watch if you’re looking for a typical high-school Anime. While there’s no real plot to the series, it does portray the life of 6 girls as they mature and experience highschool up to the point where they graduate.

Working!!

13 episodes
+ second season in production

I’m really excited for a second season to this series. Working!! is about a group of individuals who are employed at the family restaurant, Wagnaria. The interactions between characters always make for a funny story or situation, due to them being so weird and/or unique.

You have a girl who harbors an extreme case of androphobia, you have a 15 year old who apparently doesn’t have a home and instead decides to live at the restaurant, and you have a girl who is cute, beautiful, and friendly, except for the fact that she carries a samurai sword with here where ever she goes. These are just some of the characters, and they all play off of each other when it comes to comedy.

If you like restaurants or have worked in one, I think this series is just for you. It’s got all the elements of how to run a restaurant, with the managers, supervisors, cooks, waiters and waitresses, and of course the customers. There are some very cute and fluffy moments as well, making this another one of those light-hearted Anime.

Notable Mentions: Description of Each:
Seitokai Yakuindomo This is more “mature” in that most of the jokes are crude and sexual in nature. However, it’s still extremely funny and I had a great time watching this 13-episode series.
Minami-Ke Minami-Ke has 3 seasons in total, but if you decide that you don’t want to watch all three then I highly recommend the first. A family of three sisters each unique in their own right enjoy life, but also share experiences with each other, sometimes good, often bad.
Shinryaku Ika Musume I personally found Ika Musume to be less comedy and more just… relaxing to watch. A “Squid” girl who comes from the sea, attempts to invade and take over the world.

So that covers four genres: drama, comedy, action, and romance. Typically, these are the most common genres in any television series, so it is natural to use these as a basis for recommendations. To condense this post from being WAY too long, in the final part (part 3), I list Anime that fall into very specific genres, or ones that don’t really match one genre and instead contain all sorts of genres in one. Please read on!