Moving down the list, we’ve got my 7th and 6th favorite stories of all time! Displaying some of the most thematically powerful storytelling I’ve experienced in my life, we’ve got some stories that, in my mind, have very undeniable quality, yet aren’t quite the things that have touched me on a personal level. They’re wonderful stories, that I’ve loved to analyze and enjoy, and as such, have distinguished themselves as a cut above the rest.
And well, here they are.
My personal favorite indie game of all time, is my seventh favorite story of all time, blowing my mind out of the water with a story that used one of the most well-integrated ethical systems in all of gaming.
For those unfamiliar, Iji centers around a pretty terrifying doomsday scenario: aliens, the Tasen, have essentially nuked most of the planet into a barren wasteland. The 20-year old woman, Iji Kataiser, a survivor, is turned into a living weapon by a group of scientists using Tasen technology, as the last hope of humanity’s ultimate survival. Armed with a nanogun, her wits, and a desire for everything to turn out alright, she heads forward to convince the Tasen to leave the planet alone- if only things were that simple.
Iji is a damn good game, and a damn great story. Technically speaking, Iji’s level-up system, combat mechanics, and multiple pathways throughout the game, despite being slow, are definitely really fun. However, what really takes the cake is the game’s in-depth morality system.
Instead of being provided more choices, in games like Undertale or Fallout, Iji simply keeps track of how many Tasen you slaughter, and keeps track. Through logbooks picked up throughout the game, you get to learn one of two things.
- How terrifying and evil you are, slaughtering aliens who end up hunting you down out of desperation.
- How weird you are, a human anomaly that’s just being really nice for whatever reason.
As you’d guess, they each come with their perks. For entire sections of the game, you don’t have to fight at all! Or on the other hand, you could be faced with huge amounts of enemies to kill, and the weapons to do so. Iji offers vastly different experiences, and really makes you wonder about the consequences of your actions, especially considering some of the later events of the story.
Complex in the ethics it describes, honest and unapologetic in its depiction of death, social inequality, and political corruption, Iji was just a fantastic story all around, one that I enjoyed greatly.
And by the way, it has a killer soundtrack and it’s free. Go check it out.
6. Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood/Full Metal Alchemist (Manga)
FMAB is one of the most popular anime of all time, and man, there’s DAMN good reason for that.
See, if I had to tell anyone of the Shakespeare, the Plato, the Odyssey of anime, I would have to pick FMAB. It’s just…so damn good. Undoubtedly, in my mind, the best adventure anime of all time. Thematic strength, wonderfully developed characters, and some crazy, well-done action sequences, it has it all. But this is about the original story of Full Metal Alchemist- which, of course, is actually ridiculously good.
Centering around Edward Elric, the Full Metal Alchemist, and his brother Alphonse’s quest to regain their bodies after a terrible alchemic incident, the two get tied up in a conspiracy that goes farther than anyone could have guessed. From Philosopher’s Stones, and artifical humans, to the planning of the largest genocidal event in history, the Elric Brothers, and the friends they meet along the way, have a lot on their plate. However, together, they fully intend on accomplishing their goal, learning more about themselves and the world around them along the way.
The characters have unique motivations, fights are built up to be significant, tense, and important, and all the while, we learn just a little bit more about the world our protagonists live in. The lessons learned by the Elric Brothers compound quickly, resulting in character growth that makes them that much more likable, and what’s more, allows them to survive, to fight for as long as they do. And that’s not even mentioning how well-developed every other character in the series is as well.
All in all, it’s an anime that is built upon a variety of factors that work together, to create a narrative where every event has significance. Every theme is important, and every character is given the same treatment, giving Amestris, and the characters that live there, a special kind of depth that not many stories I know have. Combine this with religious, social, and ethical layers that are very clear, and well-conveyed, and you have, in my opinion, the most “literary” anime of all time, and one of my personal favorites.
Click down below, to see the next parts of the list, once they’re out!
10-8 — 7-6 — 5-4 — 3-2 — 1