My Top Ten—Percent! – Another Favorites List Theory

I have a curse. No matter how much I try—no matter how frustrating it can be—I can’t stop fucking around with my favorites list; and now I’ve found yet another way to structure it, based around Sturgeon’s Law.

Unrelated images all by Aruru no Zaki

The law states that “90% of everything is shit” (obscenity mine), but I prefer to think of it as, “only 10% of anything is relevant to your interests.” After all, we’ve all got different ideas about what belongs in that 10% called Great and that 90% called Shit. Moreover, we must consider the corollary of Sturgeon’s Law, The Theorum of Narrow Interests, which I consider to work like this: only 10% of what you deliberately look for is relevant to your interest. I highly doubt that most anime fans would enjoy a full 10% of all anime made—what they’ll really care about is 10% of what they find. That’s not to say of what they watch, since plenty of viewers (like myself) will just drop a show or avoid it entirely if it seems to fall into their Shit filter. What the Theorum actually states is that the more constrained your search criteria is, the fewer good examples there will be; but I think it remains proportional to the existing Sturgeon’s Law.

So how am I applying this to a favorites list? My theory is that 10% of the anime that I’ve completed consists of my favorite anime. Why only completed? Because that’s the Narrow Interests part—the shows that I dropped are already out of the equation because they weren’t what I was looking for (with possible exceptions for shows I actually tried to complete and dropped later in. Most of my dropped list happened after one or two episodes when I decided it wasn’t my thing.)

This makes sense because in my experience of reading hundreds of favorites lists, I’ve always found that people who’ve seen more anime have bigger favorites lists. The amount of favorites remains proportional, and from the lists I’ve seen, almost all of them reflect the 10% rule. I know that I had a top ten at the time that I’d seen around 100 shows, and while I don’t know the count for the 200s, I definitely started keeping a top thirty around reaching 300 completed shows. Lately, I’ve had about 33-34 favorites on my list, even though I’ve reached over 400 completed anime, but I realized that the cause of this is my listing entire franchises as single units on my list. If I divide them all up, removing the parts I don’t care about as much from the list and giving the parts I do care about their own space, then it evens out to almost exactly 10%, give or take the fringe shows that hang right on the edge of the list already.

If you keep a favorites list, give it a hard look. See if it isn’t either already 10% of the anime you’ve completed, or if would benefit from being that length as opposed to the length it is now (too many stragglers/some excluded unsures). I could be wrong, but I think there’s a great chance that your numbers will add up.

Currently, MAL has me listed for 416 completed shows, which means that if I attempt to define my favorites list as an exact 10% of my completed shows (I like this because it’s good to have a well-defined number for a favorites list, and this is way easier to work with than a static number), then I’d have 41.6 favorites, which I’ll go ahead and round up to 42. I’ll spread the franchises out by parts and count them individually, and…


1. Baccano!
2. Baccano! specials
3. Bakemonogatari
4. Canaan
5. Cardcaptor Sakura
6. Cowboy Bebop
7. Durarara!!
8. Durarara!! specials
9. ef ~a tale of memories~
10. Eureka Seven
11. Evangelion 2.22: You Can (NOT) Advance
12. FLCL
13. Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood
14. Gakuen Utopia Manabi Straight
15. Gintama
16. Hidamari Sketch
17. Hidamari Sketch x365
18. Higurashi no Naku Koro ni
19. Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai
20. K-On!!
21. Kara no Kyoukai 5: Mujun Rasen
22. Kara no Kyoukai 7: Satsujin Kousatsu
23. Kure-Nai
24. Lucky Star
25. Lucky Star OVA
26. Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha A’s
27. Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha: The Movie 1st
28. Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion
29. Pokemon Best Wishes!
30. Revolutionary Girl Utena
31. Revolutionary Girl Utena: Adolescence Apocalypse
32. Seikon no Qwaser
33. Serial Experiments Lain
34. Shiki
35. Simoun
36. So Ra No Wo To
37. Strike Witches 2
38. Summer Wars
39. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Lagann-hen
40. The Sky Crawlers
41. Toradora

I’ll leave spot 42 open on the chance that one of the next 4 shows I watch deserves a place on the list. Or, you could consider the spot occupied by my “Honorable Favorite,” Avatar: The Last Airbender.

What changed from the list that already existed on my favorites page? Of major note is that nothing was added to the list, and no whole works were removed. I only spread out the works that were my favorites and removed the pieces that weren’t. The only place that this list is unsure is with Hidamari Sketch, because the series is divided into so many parts that I like as a whole more than as individual parts. I included the two seasons that I’ve seen in the list, but did not include their specials. I think this is justified in that I can’t actually remember what happened in the specials as separate from the rest of the show, unlike the other specials and OVAs on this list that I distinctly love, sometimes as even my favorite episodes from the series.

So far, I’m loving this idea, especially in that I can justifiably add a new show to my favorites for every ten shows I complete without feeling unsure about it. If you decide to apply this to your favorites list or give it a test run, let me know how it turns out!

19 thoughts on “My Top Ten—Percent! – Another Favorites List Theory

  1. That is a more systematic way of constructing your favourite shows! A bit of structure and discipline when it comes to constructing your favourite list is definitely welcomed:)

    As a start, I went through all shows in 2000s, of which I have only seen 67 (Hmm, I have not actually seen as many animes as I thought. My consumption must have slowed down a lot since I started working, sadly…). Anyway, out of the list, I went through and pick pout my favourite, of which I got 9. (Azuamaga Daioh, Baccano!, BECK, Bokurano, Fruites Basket, Planetes, Spirited Away, Summer Wars, Twelve Kingdoms). I can probably comb this down to 7 (minus BECK and FB), which would fit under your rule so first rough test does work. I need to expand the universe and spend more than 10 minutes on this to come up with a more definitive list!

    It’s interesting though that I thought I have been really selective about the anime that I watched already and make sure I only watch shows that are ‘good’ yet it is not that difficult to pick only 10% of the shows that I have seen as my favourite. Personally, I still like to separate my favourite list beween films, series and OVAs so I am not sure how that would dilute the results if it is segregated that way…

  2. The only problem I have is I don’t really have a favorites list. I keep track of everything via MAL so the shows I have rated 10 easily fit in (even though some of them may not be my favorite, I’m not sure) but the list of shows rated 9 extends well beyond 10% of what I’ve watched. So I’d have to go in and do some internal rewiring and try to like rate the top 40 shows and then select 33 of them from there.

    This would be difficult since I tend to rate more on merit then pure enjoyment. Sort of like your old heart and head scale. Head scale shows tend to get rated higher for me. Which is why Tatami Galaxy is rated 9 (used to be 10) because it is a great show but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t count it among my favorites.

    • Well the obvious cure for not having a favorites list is making one! I didn’t expect people to necessarily have one already and then switch to this formula, and in fact I’m more curious about how it works on people who don’t have a favorites list yet. (I’m excited to help my brother build one for instance.)

          • yeah but you clearly ain’t stalking gtalk or else I wouldn’t have had to add additional comments SUCKA.
            I just learned that the mangaka for Sket Dance used to be assistant to Sorachi Hideaki, which is probably why it reminds me so much of Gintama (though it’s pretty clearly inferior).

          • As I mentioned before, I actually can’t watch Sket Dance because of the similarity. I feel like I could be watching Gintama instead lol.

            I’m not stalking gtalk because I’m on my dad’s laptop (which is soon to be mine and this problem won’t exist anymore~!)

  3. Ah, well I’m gonna pass out since I unfortunately do have a life and it’s called school. (Summer failed to kill it.)

    8am Trigonometry woo

  4. I really like how you didn’t rank your favorites in numerical order like before. I find it really difficult to compare shows I really love in purely arbitrary categories.

  5. We share a lot of favorites. I can tell because even though I don’t watch many shows, I still found 12 of my completed shows on your list, and most of these I liked.

  6. this is a very interesting post cause when i was doing my top 100 list i just went down my list and put everything in a pile that i loved and then had to cut it down from like 300 titles to 100 :| but with this 10% dealio i should apparently have a top 225 list which makes more sense considering how much i’ve seen.

    and yeah ranking favourite lists sucks ass. a list is good enough haha

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