Lately, I’ve been picking pretty niche subjects for my top 5 lists. So it’s been a while since I’ve run into this particular problem. What problem you might ask. The problem of having way too many options to pick from. Anime is a huge pantheon! There are Gods all over the place. Big strong powerful ones, minor comical ones, ones that are more or less the same as people, ones that are monstrous to behold. It was almost impossible to narrow it down to 5.
So I added a bunch of arbitrary rules. For one, they have to be referred to as gods within the anime itself. And I have to think of them off the top of my head. Ok, so two rules. These are not the only anime gods I like and I bet if I were to do this list again in a month, it would have all new entries. But that’s part of the fun.
So here are my current top 5 anime gods!
The show is a little obscure when it comes to exactly what Haruhi is but the most common theory both within the show and in the fandom is that Haruhi is in fact god. Not just a god but the god. Now that is a rare honour.
I think the premise of the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya remains one of the greatest in anime and offered up almost limitless potential. And if only for that, Haruhi has earned her spot today as one of my favourite anime gods.
Is it Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon is probably one of the first anime I think of when I hear the expression anime gods. First of all, it’s completely full of them and they actually play a very active role in the story, rather than being vague powers that be or ex machinas that show up now and then. and second, a lot of them are really fun.
I chose Hermes because he happens to be my favourite but I honestly could have chosen just about any of the gods from the show. I find it particularly interesting that so many pantheons are mixed together. Ancient Greek and Roman gods rub shoulders with Norse deities, Hindu divinity and Japanese kami. It’s a very interesting godly mix that I have not seen anywhere else.
He may only have shown up in a single episode of Natsume’s Book of Friends but Tsuyukami made an indelible impression on me. Like many things in Natsume, Tsuyukami is not an imposing or bombastic god, he is a tiny Dew God that will be forgotten by men and move on as we all do.
But there was something ineffably beatific about Tsuyukami that resonated with me and made me happy in a way I can’t explain. Now, what more can you really ask out of a god. I will always remember Tsuyukami and whenever I do, it will be with reverence.
Yato is not only a god, he’s also a protagonist. Now that’s exciting. Yato is of course the main character of Noragami and the driving force behind pretty much all of the events. But beyond that, he s deeply seeped into divine politics and bureaucratie.
Noragami delves deep into the complex and very wide-reaching mythology of the Shinto pantheon. It is part action-adventure, part coming of age and part classical eastern theology lesson. So when you get to know Yato, you also start to understand the weight of history and tradition that he represents. And there’s also something fun about an underdog god.
Serial Experiments Lain had a pretty big influence on me and my anime watching. From what I am given to understand, I’m hardly alone in that. Influence over the real world. What better meta-narrative could there be for a show like SEL.
Serial Experiments Lain is not only an anime with a god in it, it’s not even exactly an anime about a god. It’s an intricate musing on the very nature of divinity and what that means in an increasingly secular and technological world. It about the very essence of godliness once stripped of history, magic and even faith.
To me, Serial Experiments Lain is a thought experiment on man’s relationship with God. It’s a lot of other things as well. Pretty impressive for a mere 13 episodes. Impressive enough to make it to number 1.
There you go, these are my top 5 anime gods of the day. There are so many others. Kyousougiga clearly belongs here somewhere but I believe God is never called god in the show. See, that rule came in handy.
Do you have a favourite anime god. And why are they your favourite?