I have to admit that a lot of popular animations I am not super fond of. (For instance I don’t really like anything by Pixar, never got into Avatar/Kora, and don’t much fancy Shrek or How to Train Your Dragon.) So one of my friends asked me if I even liked any animations at all. I had to think about it, but luckily it turns out that I really, really do. Admittedly, some of these are old but here are my favorite animated movies and shows (I’ll do a top 10 for each).
Quick word about methodology: I’m leaving out everything by Disney (though Robin Hood, Jungle Book, Black Cauldron and Aladdin are my favorites and also everything from Ghibli (although Princess Mononoke, Nausica, Spirited Away and Totoro could be number 1) so they don’t dominate the lists. I’m going to leave out Holiday themed animations because they’re kind of their own things. If it uses live actors I’ll skip it-sorry Roger Rabbit and Waking Life (and muppets like Dark Crystal). I’m also leaving out well-known classics like Simpsons, Futurama, Robot Chicken and South Park because liking them isn’t so much a vote for animation as just liking funny things.
The order isn’t entirely important and there are many things I have yet to watch that could easily surpass some of these. That said, here are my favorite animations.
Series (Top 10)
10. Beware the Batman
Of all the animated superhero ‘toons, this one is the one I enjoyed the most.
A well-written 90’s cartoon that holds up improbably well.
8. Rick and Morty
Sort of Back to the Future meets Cards Against Humanity.
7. Mad Jack the Pirate
Sort of Pirate Cartoon version of Blackadder, complete with a Baldrick-like rat.
6. Wallace and Gromit
Aardman is awesome and this is my favorite character of theirs.
5. Adventure Time
With the stipulation that you should watch it with someone else and it’s best when marathoned, there is so much silly happiness here.
4. Clone Wars
By about seasons 3-4, this is as good as anything Star Wars related since Empire.
Another show that took me a little while to grow to love, but Love it I do.
2. Samurai Jack
So ahead of its time, this show has a bit of everything.
He’s the greatest He’s fantastic Wherever there’s danger he’ll be there
Movies (Top 10)
10. Highlander: Search for Vengeance
The coolest take on Highlander apart from the OG Lambert movie.
9. The Secret of Kells
My brother introduced me to this anime with awesome animation and a cool story.
A classic tale of Norse Gods and Goddesses and the troll child who won’t go away.
This Bakshi film is an uneven hodgepodge, and not for everyone, but pretty incredible for all that.
6. Secret of NIMH
Don Bluth had to make it somewhere, and I think many agree this is his masterpiece.
5. The Hobbit
Who knew this Rankin Bass special would remain the most faithful to the story even 30 years later?
Gaiman’s tale is even creepier once animated.
3. Heavy Metal
For those of us who grew up in the 80s/90s, Akira was the introduction into anime and precious few contenders have emerged since then.
1. The Last Unicorn
Few movies, animated or live-action, successfully incorporate such pathos into a straight forward adventure story.