What Makes An Anime Memorable?

Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou

Sure, I’ve talked about the top 5 anime I’ll rewatch countless times because I just adore it so much. Or maybe how I’d choose which anime to watch and I tend to stick my favorite genres. I won’t hesitate to give other genres a go, of course. Otherwise, I won’t be watching Haganai or Mayo Chiki. They’re not that bad. I have a habit of ranking my favorite anime of the year too.

But what make an anime memorable? Memorable, as in easily remembered. What makes it stands out more than the rest? An anime season consists of a lot of series so it needs that extra special something to stand out from the rest. After thinking for a while, I decided I have a list if a few criteria that makes an anime memorable for me.


Too Scary or Weird

Anyone watching Psycho-pass this season? What do you think of it? Personally, I find it disturbing – whether it’s the gruesome nature of a crime or the reasoning behind an action. Thank goodness I’ve gotten passed all episodes without having a single nightmare. Despite being realistically scary, Psycho-pass has a way of keeping its audience’s attention. That’s what a good story do, I suppose.

Chaos;Head is another example. I don’t think of it as a good anime; it could’ve better. However, the impact it made with the equally scary scenes during the first half of the series made it memorable.

By the way, I say scary, I really meant scary, and it’s not in Another kind of way. It isn’t really that scary. Another reminded me of Final Destination, but I can’t guarantee I’ll be reminded of Another at the mere mention of Final Destination.

Amazing Music

I’m a lover of music, so it makes it easier for me to recall anime with good music. Or rather, anime that focuses on music. Nodame Cantabile, Sakamichi no Apollon, and even K-ON! are memorable because they are all music-centric. It doesn’t really matter what genre the music is, so long there’s good music.

Occasionally though, an anime can be memorable without good music. It goes without saying that when there are unforgettable tunes, I’m bound to be able to recall the related anime. That’s how my brain works anyway.

Resonated with Me

There’s this aha! moment or I-did-that-too moment in an anime. And there were a ton in Lucky Star. For example, Konata was complaining about her dilemma about when to pick up her phone ever since she set a new ring tone (back then I didn’t know how to extract only the chorus from a song before setting it as my ring tone). Or how she hated cleaning right after she started. It’s little things like things that made me remember the series.

Mawaru Penguindrum

Utterly Confusing or Mind-boggling

I bet whoever saw Mawaru Penguindrum will remember it, although it could be for different reasons. For some, the series is filled with fascinating puzzles that were open for interpretations. On the other hand, there are some who find the series completely confusing and thus, hated it. The bottom point is, whether one hate it or love it, he/she remembers the series.

Simply Being Different

In an era in which anime series are dominated by (at least four) high school girls, being the opposite can make it memorable. I remember series like Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou and Kimi to Boku because they’re simply different. Both series’ main characters are high school boys and it’s not harem. I must say thought, I like neither series.

Having a boldly different character design also makes a series memorable for me. Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt anyone? I tried watching the series, but I just couldn’t finish it. Still, I’ll remember it.

These five points round my list of what makes an anime memorable for me personally. It’s something that popped up in my head when I was trying to list out my favorites of 2012. What makes an anime memorable for you?

12 thoughts on “What Makes An Anime Memorable?

  1. The first animes are the most memorable fo me, I will never forget NGE, Amaenaide yo!!, Hyakko and Nanatsuiro Drops. Theres nothing memorable than a first anime experience.

    What is more important is the overall presentation of the show, setting, characters and the overall style of the show. The usual 12 episode long shows each season can be quite forgettable if they have no distinctive feature like a especially charismatic character.

    Haha sometimes shows are memorable because they are bad or tasteless XD
    How could you watch Psycho Pass?, I had enough after 20 minutes and had a bad aftertaste for several days.

    • Hyakko! If I’m not wrong, that’s one of the very first high school themed, slice of life series I watched. Before that, I was too caught up in shounen titles like Naruto, Bleach and One Piece to be watching other genres. I love that show.

      I agree with you. Without giving something extra, a series tends to be forgettable, especially it didn’t last long enough to make an impact. I know 12 episode series is short but I’m currently digging them right now because of the length. I suppose that’s why I can hardly remember any series I watch these couple of years. Sigh.

      I had somewhat similar impression as you on Psycho Pass after watching the first episode. Despite being gruesome and all, the series is quite enjoyable. Of course, I don’t enjoy the killings and stuff. But the series sets itself apart. It has quite the air of mysteriousness too.

  2. Think ever point you listed just about does it. I fell in love with Noir just from music and aesthetic angle alone and still can’t forget a single detail. However, some of the most memorable shows for me like: Dennou Coil, Simoun, Shana, Aria, etc tend center around great settings and world building. The atmosphere itself just makes it worth watching and sometimes, just like you touched upon, they are simply different series from the crowd.

    • Being different definitely makes a series a lot more memorable. Although what I think is different and what others think is different varies.

      Speaking of settings, I suppose quite a number of shounen series are appealing and memorable to the crowd specifically because of their unique or sometimes unworldly setting.

  3. “Being different”, is probably one of the main key in making memorable anime. An anime can be “different” in making their soundtracks (e.g. Sakamichi no Apollon and their unusual choice with Jazz music), it can be “different” and unique in their visuals (e.g. Bakemonogatari, Nisemonogatari, etc..) or it can be “different” in setting up a unique world (e.g. Aria).

    This post reminds me of why I like Sakamichi no Apollon so much anyhow. I admit that the drama parts of the shows had it’s ups and downs, but the phenomenal soundtracks just made me forget about those flaws altogether.

    • True, being different is the underlying reason why an anime is memorable. While some can be categorized, some couldn’t because it appeals to each individual differently. It’s more of psychology maybe.

      I couldn’t agree more on Sakamichi no Apollon’s soundtrack. I played it quite often while the series was airing and a little while after that. Same goes to Guilty Crown. I don’t particularly like GC, but I don’t deny it has good music and animation.

  4. Judging by the series that I can actually remember, there are 4 things that make an anime memorable for me:
    1. cute girls – even if an anime was terrible, I still remember it because it had cute girls (ie: Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu)
    2. comedy – if I laugh a lot, I’m more likely to remember it (ie: Seitokai no Ichizon)
    3. action – plenty of cool fighting scenes always stick with me (ie: Rurouni Kenshin)
    4. intelligence – anime with a hidden meaning always make a good impression on me (ie: Mawaru Penguindrum)

    • Thanks for sharing.

      I’d also more likely to remember a series better if they are really funny. Comedy is something I look forward to in an anime. I’m more inclined to watch if there’s some humor.

  5. Like Nopy, I also like cool fighting scenes so I really enjoyed Rurouni Kenshin. I also remember the Fate series for the same reason. I think some series are memorable because of their soundtracks (Bakemonogatari, Witch Hunter Robin). Most of the time I remember the characters especially the cute ones when they are made into figures, then I became reminded of the series where they came from ^^;

    • I’ll definitely remember series more too if they have good soundtrack. After all, I’ll probably listen to the music for quite a period of time so naturally, it stays.

      Speaking of figures, this Sunday is WonFes! Can’t wait to see what sort of figures will be unveiled. >.<

  6. Pingback: What makes an anime memorable? — 毎日アニメ夢

  7. Pingback: This show is so darn Memorable, why and how? | Ancient Chinese Series

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