Has this ever happened to you? Starting off that anime ride, you end up devouring at lightning speed, racking up your total anime-viewed count like it’s a drug addiction. Eventually, you start getting a big head, so you rate all of them and start ranking them in a notebook based on enjoyment and objectivity. Then years go by and that notebook is long abandoned. You don’t have the appetite you used to, and all those impactful titles that you used to hold dear are but vague images, dancing in your subconscious. Awful, isn’t it? Such a specifically common occurrence that totally wasn’t just describing me.
I’ve seen a decent amount of anime. 451 accumulative series, films, and OVAs, according to MyAnimeList. I started this journey back in 2012—eight years ago, when I was just beginning adulthood. The person back then was not the person now, and the sincerity and appreciation I had for this medium may have been infected with naive conditioning. Nevertheless, I watched a lot of really good anime, anime so good that thinking back to them now, I draw up a blank. Is it the result of a suddenly bad memory? Are the titles actually so uneventful that nothing sticks out anymore, compared to what I’ve experienced since? Whatever it may be, I decided to make a list out of it, because doing so is great fun.
For some clarification, this will be a list of anime I rated a 6/10 or above, ranked from lowest to highest score. The measure of memorability will not be a factor; if it’s here, I probably don’t remember much, but I’ll do some extra elaboration upon every anime listed.
Current Score: 6/10
This one is interesting, because I’ve seen this twice. Indeed, despite having seen Kannagi two times—once in 2013 and again in 2014—I still remember very little from it. Is it really that unremarkable? Well… I’m not actually sure.
What I do remember from this is a feeling. Some weird fascination for it that, to some minimal degree, still resides in me today. There’s a weird, watchable quality to this that makes me want to revisit it whenever it comes to mind. Almost fantastical in that way, but chances are if I’ve already seen it twice and still remember nothing, it’s probably not worth it. Even searching Google for the above image “rewarded” me with a lot of sexual fan service, so, uh… no thanks.
As for the series’s content, I remember various stills that I think occurred in the show. The blue-haired girl getting all frustrated because the male lead is oblivious to something… not exactly distinguishable considering the medium, I’m aware. Some light fantasy elements are also prevalent, probably, and the Google search reminded me of the two additional female leads that basically serve as a subtle harem. Typical stuff, I suppose.
Current Score: 6/10
Y’know what I remember from this series? A girl’s ass. Shown proudly, without any subtlety, at the end of the first(?) episode. It had such an effect on me that that ended up being what I took away from this.
Otherwise, Fractale, as I recall, was described as an undercooked, underwhelming fantasy adventure. There was so much it could’ve done with its world-building and setting, yet it decided to go for other opportunities, such as objectifying women. This is all conjecture, though—I don’t really remember anything, apart from ass and some snippets of the final episode. I remembered the ending because I remember the feeling of “What? That’s it?”
Fractale is a series I’ve considered re-watching a few times since the first viewing. Something about that purple-haired girl keeps making me want to remember what her point was. Yet whatever desire appears is quickly thwarted by the ever-present feeling of “It was disappointing then, why expect any differently now?” And so, it will be relevant only for the obtuse affinity for moons.
8. Nyan Koi!
Current Score: 6/10
You would think this would be more memorable, given the adorable premise and bouncy visual bombast shown from the cover image. And… it kind of is! Indeed, I’m almost breaking criteria here by admitting that I do remember some things about this series, whether individual scenes, characters, or how I felt about it. The thing is, there’s one important factor I have forgotten:
Why did I enjoy this?
I look at the above image and this train of thought occurs: The girl on the left has a thing for the male lead, and the girl on the right doesn’t(?), but the male lead has a thing for the girl who doesn’t have a thing for him and through a variety of wacky situations, many girls end up having a thing for him… probably. I remember some, not all. The obvious harem implications are obvious, yet the male lead actually has a romantic goal, and the tone of the series is more comedy-focused(?). So… what? Where is this going? Anywhere? Is it slice-of-life? Why do I like back on this fondly?
I actually remember liking the girl on the left (she’s a tsundere—I developed a weakness), and I don’t recall any character I didn’t like. Nyan Koi! is something I would actually re-watch now, if only to figure out this bumbling mystery. Also doesn’t help that I finished this in January of 2013, among the earliest watches of those on this list. Nevertheless, it remains kind of forgettable, yet surprisingly not so. It’s befuddling.
Current Score: 6/10
Yeaaaaaaaaaaah! The moment I saw the title of this anime, my brain did a McTwist over a helicopter flying in-between two awnings. It was perfect!
I don’t remember shit about Sola!
If memorability did play a factor in this list, this would certainly be top three, if not number one. One of the most bland, confusing, and unimpressionable experiences I’ve ever had the pleasure of sitting through. Do I remember absolutely nothing? Not quite—I remember this being really edgy. That’s it. Something about the male lead belonging to one of the female leads or something? I don’t know, I’ve forgotten all details.
I say all this, and yet this has a 6/10 on MyAnimeList in my records… not sure what it did to get one, but whatever, different person.
6. Mahoraba: Heartful Days
Current Score: 6/10
Okay, so I read a portion of my thoughts on this while searching for entrants in this list, and it jogged my memory banks somewhat. The female lead up there with the apron and broom has what was previously referred to as Multiple Personality Disorder. She changes personality seemingly at random (or was it by the day?), and people have to deal with it. She has a thing for the male lead because of course she does, and it’s basically just an episodic thing of shenanigans, except I kind of liked it.
As for details, I can’t give any. One of those series where I remember the premise more than I remember anything inside it. This would also be pretty high if memorability was a factor, as there isn’t too much I can recall that made me think, “Yeah, this is fun.” It’s probably like a more carefree, less polished version of Sakurasou, another series I desperately need to re-watch.
5. Ao Haru Ride
Current Score: 6/10
The 6/10’s will stop after this, I swear.
Even with a refresher via Idrinkandwatchanime (wink, wink), Ao Haru Ride remains pretty vague to me. Some memories of scenes here and there, along with some climax inside of a bedroom(?) where emotions are flushed out dramatically. A few entries in this piece may have had some snark to them, insinuating that I don’t think they deserve the positive score they currently have, but this is something I vividly remembering thinking, “Okay, this was alright, if a little underwhelming.”
I should’ve swapped “underwhelming” for “forgettable.” There are sections to this that ruminate in the noggin, though, like Mahoraba before it, only general themes rather than any detail. A boy and girl have a relationship bathed in familiarity, but closed off through unfamiliar friction. Finding oneself, past traumas, high school garbage, etc. Somewhat aimless, which may have aided its vivid exit from my brain.
Probably worth a re-watch. It’s hard to name any great shoujos off the top of my head (Nana, Kimi ni Todoke, Lovely Complex(?) come to mind). I should get on that.
Current Score: 7/10
I don’t think anyone even knows this anime exists. I might be the only person to have ever seen this. Allow me to introduce you to Bartender. It’s about a bartender. This is actually the first time I’m seeing this, too… wait.
In all seriousness, the episodic nature of this series makes it pretty easy to forget, especially considering it’s been since… October of 2014. Most episodes don’t have too much continuity; the main bartender listens to people’s stories, offers some advice, and fixes them the perfect drink. Ever heard of… any video game involving bartenders since the existence of time? Yeah, basically like that. Only near the end is any backstory provided to the bartender as a character, where it’s shown that he has his own struggles and all that. Again, pretty typical scenario.
“Well, gee, you sound like you remember a lot from this show!” I remember the structure, sure. It’s one that’s common in anime: episodic, then leaves some big, dramatic pull towards the end. What I don’t remember, which is especially important for episodic anime, is any story. I don’t remember any character outside the bartender. If this show consisted of a bartender talking to blank faces that spouted a bunch of filler, then some drinks, I’d remember this entirely. But that’s not how it works.
It’s unfortunate, too, as I remember being pretty moved by this. The ending was cliché, but the build-up to it was pretty nice. Something about the act of listening and feedback is soothing. Almost like therapy… sure, we’ll call it that.
3. Bamboo Blade
Current Score: 7/10
Alright, what do I remember about Bamboo Blade? Well, the dark-haired one on the cover is a prodigy, and the blonde-haired one is a goofball. She is also the subject of this legendary gif. Otherwise, I can only shrug.
There is actually some affection towards this series, buried deep down in my soul. It’s there, I can invoke it, but the reasoning is off. I have forgotten in my old age why this series was so enjoyable for me, though part of me wonders if it was a high off the then-recent inculcation of sports as a passion. Some vague storylines of family, individual expectations, and rivalries spring to mind, though that’s so typical of any sports-themed story even outside anime that I may just be remembering something else.
A re-watch is in order for this. Whenever that may happen, it’s hard to say if anything will ring familiar to me.
2. Nekomonogatari: Kuro
Current Score: 8/10
Confession time: I was a bit of a poser back then. The oh-so beloved Monogatari series, praised by the elitists members of the anime army for being unique and interesting and deep. Of course, I had to be right, so I went along and simply ingested good product™ and gave it the praise it deserved! Now, here I sit in 2020, struggling to remember what was so praiseworthy about the four-episode special surrounding Tsubasa Hanekawa. (Holy shit, I remembered a name!!!)
There’s two sides to each coin. Most coins are flipped to a side where everything is so straightforward, it becomes bland, therefore forgettable. The Monogatari series has the opposite problem: the other side is so bizarre and crammed with little details everywhere that it’s easy to get lost, and I think that’s what happened here. I don’t remember much because there was so much to see and nowhere to put it.
Some things are clear, such as the first sight of the cat form Hanekawa takes and the intentionally provocative black lingerie that compliments her overall whiteness. I also remember her licking Araragi (another name!) and blood shooting out of his neck. That was fun. Otherwise, whatever internal trauma Hanekawa was facing and why it correlated with the transformation is lost on me. How it was resolved, why, and the finer details have since escaped me, unfortunate as it is. At the time, I liked it because it was different, but having rewatched Bakemonogatari somewhat recently, there’s definite worth to this series that’s interesting to analyze, outside the overflowing sexual fan service.
Current Score: 8/10
There are people I know who adore this anime. Even I, watching it many years ago, thought it was great, and my current memory believes this was in contention for an 8.5/10 rating. But I must confess now, in my current state, I remember absolutely nothing. Nothing! Not a thing! An 8.5/10 and I remember nothing!!! How is this even possible?!
I take that back, I remember one thing: the couple in the top-left corner of the above cover is comic relief. That’s it!
I think something happens on a train… and there’s mystery elements? The story’s all out of order? Different perspectives? Characters eventually conjoining to figure out… something… I’m drawing blanks. I remember writing about a web-like story that was neatly intertwined, but I don’t remember what said story was! I barely remember any characters! Almost everything has escaped me, from a series I currently have sitting at an 8/10. Nekomonogatari: Kuro has an excuse: it’s too “deep.” Baccano! isn’t deep, right? It’s pretty easy to follow, yeah? Am I just dumb?
I’m sorry, everyone. Despite the high praise this series has, it’s something that has dulled in time and has left my memory unscathed. What can I do? Re-watch it, obviously. What I can muster now is the memory that it was a really cool watch… so cool that I forgot all about it. That’s really not much of a compliment at all.
What are some anime you consider good that you’ve forgotten all about? Can you even relate to this? Will I be alone for the rest of my life? Don’t answer that—worry about the other two.
For other Anime Top 10’s, check out the associated archive!
Thank you for your time. Have a great day.