First let’s get the formalities out of the way. Spoilers! Spoilers everywhere! The events that make up this list will contain spoilers. So, to you reading this list, proceed with caution. One thing that may be readily apparent about this list is that the majority is made up from anime’s that have only been released within the last few years. As a result I may have excluded certain events. There is a reason for this. There was a period of time when I was younger that I decided that it was time to “grow up,” to be “more mature,” to put aside the more childish things that I had been enjoying to try and fit in better with my surroundings. It was during this period of time that I damn near stopped interacting with all things that would be considered “nerdy” or “geeky.”
It wasn’t until some years had passed and I was looking around that I noticed all the fun these other people were having doing the things I used to do. People, who were older than me, people who were, supposedly, more grown up than me. Gradually, self-imposed shell of maturity began to crack and I started dabbling in things like anime, western animation, and many types of video games that I had tried to move away from. It wasn’t until I met the people with whom I now work that I realized how stupid this course of action was. I saw these people fully embracing what they liked without a care for how others saw them. They liked what they liked, damn the consequences. These people helped me realize that being more mature, “fitting in,” wasn’t all it was made out to be. In short these people helped me realize that being a grown up fucking sucks. The best part was these people held the same interests as I did. As a result, they were able to introduce me to all the crazy things that I had missed in my self-imposed Dark Age. Much of what they told me about was all the kick ass anime that I had not heard of. As a result a great deal of my time recently has been exploring this new wealth of entertainment. This long and convoluted story hopefully explains why there are so many events from more recent anime. In all likelihood I’ll be revisiting this list so if I’ve missed something that should be here I’ll try to fix that situation.
I feel I should also clarify what an “oh shit” moment is for the purposes of this particular list. It doesn’t have to be purely a moment of unadulterated badass, or something so earth shatteringly insane (although those are appreciated). For me it is any moment that induces a strong emotional response. This could range from me jumping up and down in excitement to me sitting in a corner and weeping.
With that out of the way, let’s get going. Once again…spoilers abound!
5. Homura’s Episode: Madoka Magika.
I know it’s technically not a single moment, but bear with me here. While there were several moments from Madoka Magika that could have made this list (like the finale) it is near impossible for me to ignore this particular part of the show. Throughout the episodes leading up to this one I was having trouble really caring about, or connecting with the character of Homura. While it was clear from the first time you meet her that Homura is not a character to be messed with, it was her closed off nature and rather emotionless attitude that made it hard for me to connectwith her. I’d seen this type of character before. While they are certainly cool, and certainly badass I just can’t seem to care about them too much. This episode made Homura my favorite character of the series. Bar none. It is here that the viewer discovers that Homura is from a different timeline where she and Madoka were the best of friends. We also discover that Madoka has died as a magical girl in that timeline.
And thus began one of the most heart-wrenching series of events that I have seen in a long time. We watch as Homura travels back in time over and over again to save Madoka, only to watch as she is thwarted over and over again. We watch Madoka die repeatedly, and we watch as Homura transforms from a shy but happy girl, to the seemingly unfeeling destroyer that we knew her as for the majority of the series. The transformation that Homura undergoes in this episode is an impressive example of storytelling and more than just a bit crushing. This unwavering determination, combined with Homura’s soul shattering plea to Madoka in the finale makes Homura one of the best characters I’ve seen in any medium, and this entire episode had me close to tears the entire time. That is why this episode makes my top 5 list.