Been watching anime for quite some time now, but really only started seriously watching it, aiunno, about five years ago? MAL, I started only recently and have been using it more or less just to keep track of what anime I've watched :'D I want to one day reach the thouuusaaands...
Anyways, enough of that.
And finally, my favorite anime & manga of all time?
Every season & chapter of Gintama and Natsume's Book of Friends.
There is no way for me to possibly rank them in order of most favorite, so they're tied 8V
Gintama is the perfect mix of Comedy & Drama & Action & Romance & Every Other Genre Out There In This World, that it just, it's astonishing. Sorachi is very, VERY great at being able to go from comedic to serious, and it never feels abrupt nor forced. Not only that, but when he makes the characters break the fourth wall, it doesn't feel awkward. It's just hilarious. Though a lot of the humor does depend on the knowledge of certain Japanese culture, it's still an amazing story, regardless. There are few stories in which I remember almost every character's names, and Gintama is one of them. Every character is lovable, they all have understandable and sometimes even relatable motives, and despite being a sci-fi historic comedic shounen, it makes sense. It might seem very random, but from the beginning, the story has always had an underlying plot that finally comes out and blooms completely at the end. Everything about the story is carefully planned, or at least Sorachi-sensei is very good at making it seem this way! This story is just an absolute masterpiece.
Favorite Arc in Gintama is the Shinsengumi Crisis arc. I've read it and watched it multiple times—have cried every time 8'V
Natsume's Book of Friends is in a typical day-to-day format with an underlying plot that pops up here and now. As with Gintama, Natsume's characters are all incredibly memorable, and you're able to get attached to characters that often only show up for a single episode and make you cry. Or maybe I'm just a wuss and cry easily. Regardless, the story is very soothing, and the art style, in both the anime but even moreso in the manga, is very soft on the eyes, which makes it pleasing to look at. Perhaps my favorite part about this story has to be the character growth, where Natsume's motives become apparent as the story goes on and as he meets more and more people and yokai that he cares about. It's a story about finding a place to belong, and wanting to protect it. It hits my heart very hard, and I don't think I'll ever stop loving it.
My TOP favorites, in no particular order (Manga & Anime):
Ookiku Furikabutte & Manga - Astounding character development. Very, VERY slow story, but almost EVERY single character, even side-characters, get a lot of attention and are fleshed out very, VERY beautifully! It literally moves me to tears seeing how much Mihashi grows. As I said, it's slow as heck, but it keeps you incredibly engaged. The manga's artwork is a bit messy at the start, but it's definitely worth it. Death Parade - Beautiful animation and incredibly deep and beautiful meaning. The story hits you hard at the beginning, and it really makes you think by the end of it. Orange & Manga - Incredibly touching, super realistic. The last chapter/episode made me cry so hard that my face hurt for a few hours, afterwards. Many people complain about Kakeru, but in my opinion, they don't understand what it's really like to suffer from what he's suffering. Unfortunately, from an outside perspective, it can become melodramatic or boring, but it's realistic and it hits you hard. It's super beautiful and has one of the most touching meanings you could ever get across. The ending IS a bit rushed, but I'll never be able to forget how beautiful this story is. Boku no Hero Academia & Manga - Blows your every expectation out of the water. Takes your typical stereotypes and throws them out the window just to prove people wrong (okay, not JUSt for that.) It's your typical hero story, but done in a very refreshing way that it catches your heart and refuses to let go. Don't even get me started on the character growth. Shokugeki no Souma & Manga - Sure it's ridden with fanservice (and manservice,) and its more or less directed towards a male gaze, but can you really help but to enjoy it when it has such great and fantastic character growth? No hardcore plot armor, everything's explained, and dear lord the food. Doesn't help that I'm obsessed with Takumi but that's that. Definitely a super enjoyable read that I had issues putting down because of how much I enjoyed it! 3-Gatsu no Lion & Manga - I'm dead. It's just so good it hurts my heart but in a good way. Rei's character growth is absolutely astounding, but the fact that it focuses not only on him but those around him? It's a story that will always remain in my heart. Nabari no Ou (Manga) - Now, mind you, the manga and anime are VERY different and they stand well on their own. They make their own story beautifully, but I must admit that only the manga made it to my top list. I wasn't expecting in the slightest, having watched the anime first, but then I simply couldn't stop reading the manga... It's a beautiful story, with amazing character growth and charming character dynamics. The relationships between each of the characters are nearly tangible, which make the events of the story that much more impactful. I truly, truly love the story, no matter how much it made my heart ache. I definitely recommend it, and it will definitely remain a favorite for a long time. Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro (Manga) - I forgot to add this in until I now, as I was adding in NnO's manga, and decided I should do that now. Nougami Neuro is a story that does well to balance out the different genres within its story. Amazing character dynamics, astounding growth... Its a story that's definitely a semi-typical Shonen, but it never fails to surprise you and just, overall make you sit at the edge of your seat. It's an amazing story that I simply could not put down. I definitely want to reread it one day.
Honorable Mentions (Manga & Anime):
Mob Psycho 100 & Manga - Loveable Characters. Definitely another case of a typical shounen story, but ONE's story-telling is just...???????? So good????? Like, my mind is dead right now so I can't explain it properly |D There is LOTS of character growth, and it depends a LOT on character relationships. This story wouldn't be anything without the way that Mob interacts with others and grows because of it. Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu - Where do I even begin? I haven't seen the second season completely, yet, so I'll give you a better review later. Katekyo Hitman Reborn! - It's a typical story with nothing special, and a lot of the story itself is just kind of half-arsed, but the characters are very, VERY memorable, though Young Lambo and Haru are meh at most, but what 5-year-old kid (Lambo) isn't annoying. I love it for the characters and their growth, but the story could be better. I finished the manga, which was definitely quite a bit of a ride. It was enjoyable, but no masterpiece. By far, nowhere near one, but still memorable and lovely : > The ending's also not as bad as everyone claims x'D