Movies & TV Shows

25 Greatest Anime Series of All Time

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25 Greatest Anime Series of All Time Cover

Selecting a mere 25 titles for this compilation of exceptional anime proved to be quite the challenge. Nevertheless, our team of adept professionals persevered and managed to curate the ultimate selection. Our decision-making process was multifaceted: Did the anime make a significant cultural impact? Did they shape the industry and genre? And naturally, did they resonate with our personal preferences?

My Hero Academia

My Hero Academia

In a realm overflowing with superhero sagas, My Hero Academia emerges as a rare gem, infusing a distinct perspective into the well-trodden genre. The series centers on Izuku Midoriya, an aspiring hero devoid of inherent powers yet unwavering in his determination to safeguard lives in a world teeming with individuals possessing extraordinary abilities. Even upon attaining the coveted “quirk” he had yearned for, MHA adeptly weaves intricate challenges into Midoriya’s archetypal hero’s journey, infusing fresh twists into time-honored conventions. Through a seamless blend of consistent humor and heartfelt moments, the narrative delves into the essence of heroism, all while orchestrating dazzling action sequences that captivate the audience.

Bolstered by its exquisite animation, the show boasts an endearing ensemble of meticulously developed supporting characters, and it showcases an uncanny knack for birthing some of the most ludicrous and unparalleled superpowers ever envisioned on-screen. My Hero Academia reinvigorates the landscape with its invigorating aura—a delightful concoction of whimsy, tenderness, and ceaseless surprises.

Dragon Ball Z

Dragon Ball Z

Dragon Ball Z served as an introductory catalyst for numerous budding anime enthusiasts, and its appeal is undeniably substantial. While the narrative itself doesn’t delve into profound depths, centering predominantly around Goku, a superhuman martial artist, and his comrades challenging ever-potent and eccentric adversaries, the series compensates for this with a surplus of wit, eccentric personalities, and exhilarating combat sequences. Engaging in a martial arts realm teeming with characters capable of pulverizing planets with their unaided hands, it’s nearly impossible not to revel in the amalgamation of amusement and fantasy.

Haikyuu!!

Haikyuu!! Anime

There are few sports anime that can excel in almost every aspect, but Haikyuu!! accomplishes this feat effortlessly. The series centers around a considerably large ensemble cast comprising a high school volleyball team. While this might appear as a challenge, the character development is adeptly managed, prompting you to cheer for every member, regardless of the scale of their role. The animation by Production IG is of the highest quality, intensifying the suspense of each match and play to the extent that you’ll remain captivated in front of your screen throughout every episode. Haikyuu!! triumphs in crafting an exceptional sports team formula that should serve as an inspiration for similar series.

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure

Jojo's Bizarre Adventure

Oh my goodness! Such a reaction is entirely expected when delving into the enchantingly unique world of this wonderfully captivating shounen anime, which intricately traces the diverse epochs of the Joestar lineage. Originating as an influential manga series in 1987, its anime adaptation only graced screens from 2012 onward. The challenge of selecting a singular segment from this expansive saga proved formidable, ultimately leading us to encompass the entirety of this eccentric series.

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure stands as a vibrant tapestry woven with exhilarating action, an ensemble of eccentric characters, and a constellation of indelible moments that will eternally resonate within the anime community, while concurrently perpetuating through the avenues of memes.

Trigun

Trigun

Trigun stands as a quintessential late 90s sci-fi space Western, unfolding its narrative upon the arid expanse of a desert planet aptly named No Man’s Land. The central figure, Vash the Stampede, defies the conventions of the stern and resolute gunslinger archetype. Instead, he embodies an idiosyncratic and whimsical persona, draped in a striking scarlet duster coat, all while possessing an animated pacifist inclination. The tale delves into Vash’s odyssey to piece together his enigmatic forgotten history, confront an enigmatic faction in pursuit of him, and unearth the rationale behind the staggering 60 Billion Double Dollar bounty etched upon his head.

What truly sets Trigun apart lies in its distinctive stylized character and weapon designs, coupled with a serpentine narrative that unveils additional layers with each successive viewing. The forthcoming revival, Trigun Stampede, slated for 2023, promises to reignite the allure of this series, beckoning fans to revisit its captivating world.

Made in Abyss

Made in Abyss

Made in Abyss stands as a rarity, a narrative so intricately woven that its essence finds a home primarily within the realms of manga and anime, capitalizing on these mediums to craft a spellbinding tale that oscillates between heart-rending despair and resolute hope. Within this enigmatic universe, Riko and Reg navigate a captivating realm centered around a profound and mysterious “abyss.” Its unfathomable depths pose a grim challenge, where only a scant few emerge from the abyss’ innermost layers, often succumbing to effects more dire than a diver’s decompression sickness. Amidst this backdrop, Riko’s mother is lost to the abyss, prompting Riko and Reg’s unswerving quest to uncover her whereabouts and unveil the labyrinthine enigmas concealed within.

As the narrative unfurls, its allure becomes increasingly surreal and unsettling, mirroring the very essence of the titular abyss. From the intricate and captivating creature designs to the veiled mysteries shrouding each layer, the tenacity of the characters, and their unwavering sense of optimism, the story keeps one teetering on the precipice of anticipation. Despite its charming facade, Made in Abyss, like the abyss itself, merits the full breadth of its content warnings, and stands as a journey not for the faint-hearted.

Naruto Shippuden

Naruto Shippuden

The enduring saga of Naruto has earned its place as one of the distinguished “big three” anime, a designation attributed to its resounding global popularity—an accolade well-deserved. Bursting with adrenaline-fueled confrontations, moments brimming with uproarious amusement, and poignant scenes that tug at the very strings of your emotions, Naruto stands as a comprehensive experience.

With the advent of Naruto Shippuden, the narrative undertakes a somber metamorphosis, embracing a weightier and more mature demeanor as its characters age and confront increasingly formidable trials—both from the shadows that loom and the battles within themselves. The series thrives on its ability to forge indelible bonds among its characters, and its distinctiveness persists even long after its conclusion, solidifying its legacy as a cornerstone within the expansive realm of shounen anime.

Devilman Crybaby

Devilman Crybaby

Diverging from the usual tone of Netflix’s original content, Devilman Crybaby stands apart by delivering a concise yet emotionally resonant narrative across its 10 episodes. However, a word of caution is necessary, for Devilman Crybaby unabashedly traverses explicit terrain, showcasing explicit scenes of sexuality, violence, and profanity that may prove discomforting for younger viewers, particularly when parents are in close proximity.

Yet, within its seemingly provocative veneer, Devilman Crybaby unearths a profound exploration of humanity. This audacious reimagining of the biblical apocalypse, drawing parallels to the Book of Revelation, delves into themes of love, self-sacrifice, and the intricate web of God’s affection—or perhaps disdain—for mankind. Illuminated by a modern perspective, the biblical themes are channeled through a contemporary prism, seamlessly striking at the heart of present-day sensibilities.

Bolstered by its striking visual style, punctuated by an infectious blend of Japanese hip hop, and populated by a cast of indelible characters, Devilman Crybaby adeptly wields its aesthetic and narrative prowess. While the journey might evoke discomfort, the sum of its parts amalgamates into a captivating symphony that weaves beauty from pain.

Ouran High School Host Club

Ouran High School Host Club

Capturing the essence of Ouran High School Host Club’s brilliance proves a challenge, for its multifaceted allure defies simple description. For manga and anime enthusiasts, this series stands as an exquisite testament to innovation, ingeniously subverting the very conventions that define the medium. Should you possess an affinity for captivating narratives, Bisco Hatori’s comedic spin on the shojo subgenre will instantaneously ensnare your attention.

Haruhi Fujioka’s serendipitous encounter with her school’s esteemed host club serves as the catalyst for an uproarious escapade. A mishap involving a pricey vase shatters the boundaries of gender, casting her unwittingly as a young man and thrusting her into the world of hosts, where male students regale their female counterparts for financial gain. Although her reticence and awkwardness color this unconventional scenario, the Host Club becomes an unexpected haven where she discovers not only her true self but also the wellsprings of her bravery. Embracing this eccentric realm, she forges an unbreakable bond with a newfound ensemble of friends.

Ouran High School Host Club unfolds as a delightful, whimsical satire on the fabric of otaku culture, laced with an endearing silliness that epitomizes the trailblazing spirit of fujoshi comedy. In the labyrinthine realm of anime, it remains a beacon of ingenuity, both a reflection and a disruption of the very art form it celebrates.

Demon Slayer

Demon Slayer

Demon Slayer’s meteoric rise to unprecedented heights over the past few years is a testament to its awe-inspiring allure, a development hardly shocking for those who have been entranced by the series from its inception. Each episode of Demon Slayer unfurls as a masterpiece in its own right, boasting an unwavering consistency in its animation, which seamlessly harmonizes with its resplendent art. The visual tapestry is elevated by mesmerizing effects, which breathe life into the breathtaking battles, rendering them truly spectacular. This crescendo of visual artistry is complemented by an extraordinary soundtrack that punctuates the narrative’s myriad emotional crescendos.

Moreover, Demon Slayer transcends its action-packed core, unearthing a treasure trove of laughter through the extravagantly absurd personas of characters like Zenitsu and Inosuke. Yet, it is equally adept at inducing poignant moments, leaving you both in stitches and on the brink of tears as it navigates profound themes of loss and the complexities of familial bonds.

Baccano

Baccano Anime

Within a mere 16 episodes, Baccano manages to encapsulate more narrative depth and intrigue than many anime accomplish across twice or even thrice that span. It materializes as an exhilarating rollercoaster, reminiscent of the indelible train journey that serves as the linchpin of its labyrinthine tale, introducing a cadre of the most unforgettable psychopaths to grace the anime realm.

Baccano unfurls akin to an intricate jigsaw puzzle, each episode unveiling a fresh revelation that radically reshapes the prism through which the story is perceived. This enigmatic narrative dance ensnares the viewer in a whirlwind of surprise and suspense. Beyond its narrative prowess, Baccano also boasts one of the most exemplary English dubs in the medium, further enhancing its immersion factor.

In its compact frame, Baccano harnesses a narrative potency that lingers long after its conclusion, a masterful mosaic of storytelling prowess that defies its brevity.

Samurai Champloo

Samurai Champloo

Following the resounding success of Cowboy Bebop, Shinichiro Watanabe’s reputation reached unparalleled heights. His subsequent creation, Samurai Champloo, a fusion of a straightforward samurai narrative with a hip-hop infusion, further solidified his position as an anime directing maestro. In similar fashion to its predecessor, Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo adopts an episodic structure. While the overarching plot may not stand as a groundbreaking tale, the individual odysseys of its trio of principal characters captivate, weaving a tapestry of emotionally poignant moments and explosively unconventional action.

Amidst its episodic landscape, Samurai Champloo’s allure unfolds through the absorbing trajectories of its three central figures. These arcs, brimming with emotive resonance and unbridled, gravity-defying action, beckon the viewer on an enthralling journey. Just as Cowboy Bebop showcased, Watanabe’s craftsmanship shines anew in Samurai Champloo, firmly etching his name among the pantheon of anime directing luminaries.

FLCL

FLCL

FLCL (pronounced Fooly Cooly) defies even the standard brevity of anime, yet its brilliance lies in its ability to deliver a science fiction comedy that departs just at the right juncture, evading the risk of overstaying its welcome. Embracing the pinnacle of eccentricity and hilarity, FLCL stands as a paragon of the absurd within the realm of anime. The foundation of this original series rests upon the life of Naota Nandaba, an unassuming suburban youth, and his peculiar extraterrestrial companion, the idiosyncratic Haruko Haruhara.

From the very outset, the series bursts forth with surrealism, as Naota sprouts gargantuan robots from his cranium—a mere prelude to the kaleidoscopic chaos that follows. FLCL’s surreal ambiance is further amplified by its resplendent soundtrack and an experimental animation style, intertwining to create an unparalleled and indelible anime odyssey. A testament to its uniqueness, FLCL stands as an inimitable tour de force, delivering an experience that remains etched in the annals of anime history.

Neon Genesis Evangelion

Neon Genesis Evangelion

The enigma surrounding Neon Genesis Evangelion persists, compelling us to seek elucidation for its conclusion even two decades after its initial unveiling. Hideaki Anno’s revolutionary anime isn’t just a tale in and of itself—it has metamorphosed into a narrative fusion, intertwining with the very mythology of its inception. The culmination, embodied by its last two episodes, stands as a contentious terrain, an arena where differing perspectives and interpretations converge.

Nonetheless, the enduring brilliance of Evangelion remains undisputed, traversing dual realms: an elevated reimagining of the mech anime genre and an unflinchingly intimate expedition into the depths of depression. In the tapestry of its narrative, countless sequels and reinterpretations have come to life, yet none can overshadow the resounding mastery of Evangelion’s original inception. It lingers as a resolute favorite among fans, a testament to how an auteur’s singular vision can birth an artistic endeavor that resonates, unfading, across the generations.

Yu Yu Hakusho

Yu Yu Hakusho

Our journey is guided by Yusuke Urameshi, a 14-year-old delinquent whose life takes a dramatic turn when he’s struck by a car and perishes while shielding a child. In an unforeseen twist, Yusuke discovers himself bereft of a place in both heaven and hell. However, a lifeline emerges when he’s bestowed the role of investigating supernatural phenomena in the Human World, bearing the mantle of Spirit World Detective. Armed with an extraordinary technique known as the Spirit Gun—a means to unleash a formidable energy blast akin to the Kamehameha—Yusuke, bolstered by his comrades, endeavors to safeguard the equilibrium between the realms of humans and demons.

Amidst its high-octane action and fantastical tapestry, this series stands as a seminal figure in the annals of ’90s anime, standing shoulder to shoulder with the iconic Dragon Ball Z. Their combined influence has reverberated far and wide, etching an indelible mark upon the realm of action-oriented anime.

Hunter x Hunter

Hunter x Hunter

Initiating with a narrative framework often tread in storytelling, Hunter x Hunter (pronounced Hunter Hunter) sets the stage through the lens of a well-known trope. Our protagonist, Gon, a youthful lad, departs his modest hometown, embarking on an inaugural voyage that carries him beyond the confines of familiarity. His quest, however, branches far from the usual pattern, fueled by a desire to reconnect with his long-estranged father. Guided solely by a solitary clue—he inherits the legacy of a globally renowned licensed Hunter—Gon embarks on an arduous journey, determined to conquer the perilous Hunter Exam and etch his own mark as a Hunter.

While this inception might evoke notions of mundanity and cheerfulness, Hunter x Hunter takes a dramatically different trajectory. This anime stands as a riveting testament to emotional depth, traversing a rollercoaster of highs and lows, while meticulously crafting the sagas of both protagonists and antagonists. Amidst the tapestry of compelling character arcs, Hunter x Hunter weaves an enchanting blend of dramatic action that stands among the finest in the realm of shonen anime. In its entirety, the series reframes and revitalizes familiar tropes, elevating them to new pinnacles of storytelling prowess.

Hajime no Ippo

 Hajime no Ippo

Known as Fighting Spirit in the US, Hajime no Ippo stands as an electrifying adaptation drawn from a sprawling and enduring manga series. Imagine a fusion of Rocky’s fervor and The Karate Kid’s coming-of-age essence, and you’ll begin to grasp the essence of this enthralling narrative. At its core lies the story of Ippo Makunouchi, an adolescent subjected to bullying, who stumbles upon an innate talent for boxing.

The tapestry of Hajime no Ippo chronicles Ippo’s evolution—a journey not just of training and mastery, but of forging connections and understanding the multifaceted nature of his adversaries. This unique approach, a distinctive facet of the series, breathes life into the matchups, transcending the conventional boundaries of mere competition. Ippo’s aspiration encompasses not solely victory, but also an empathy that bridges the divide between opponents.

Beyond the realm of conventional sports anime, Hajime no Ippo’s narrative resonance resides in its commitment to character depth and emotional intricacies. Its narrative triumphs stand as a beacon, setting it apart within the tapestry of anime, an emblematic tale of grit, camaraderie, and human connection.

Mob Psycho 100

Mob Psycho 100

Despite its unassuming title, Mob Psycho 100 is another delightful escapade crafted by the ingenious mind of One, the original creator of One-Punch Man. This series functions both as a playful parody of the shonen anime genre and a masterful embodiment of its very essence. The narrative orbits around Mob, an unassuming eighth-grader harboring a unique talent—he excels at exorcising malevolent spirits. Yet, a captivating twist unfolds, for his supernatural prowess is intimately intertwined with his emotions. Should his emotions spiral out of control, the world itself teeters on the brink of peril.

The heart and soul of Mob Psycho 100 thrives on multiple fronts. Its humor, a hallmark of One’s storytelling, cascades effortlessly through its narrative fabric. The ensemble cast, though modest in size, leaves an indelible imprint, complementing the series’ magnetic allure. Anchored by a dynamic visual style, the show elevates the viewing experience, rendering the world vibrant and kinetic.

Amidst the tapestry of laughter and spectacle, Mob Psycho 100 flourishes as a dual entity—a satirical homage and a sterling exemplar of shonen anime brilliance. Its magnetic charm captivates, weaving a spell that lingers long after the credits roll.

Monster

Monster Anime

Undoubtedly, Monster stands as one of the most exceptional narratives ever to grace the realms of anime and manga. Its distinction, however, goes beyond its narrative prowess, as it defies conventions and emerges as a unique gem within a medium characterized by towering mechs, superhuman protagonists, and fantastical realms. Amidst this kaleidoscope of diversity, Monster carves its niche by grounding itself resolutely in reality.

This dark, mature, and gritty masterpiece steers away from the commonplace, introducing a narrative that delves into the harrowing descent of a righteous man who, driven by a sense of duty, inadvertently cascades into a vortex of loss and ruin. The subsequent odyssey navigates the depths of his struggles, unveiling a tapestry of consequences that resonate deeply.

In a landscape where the extraordinary takes precedence, Monster stands tall as a respite—a masterclass in storytelling that evokes real-world resonance and evokes contemplation. It magnifies the realm of anime, not only through its narrative brilliance but by serving as a torchbearer for narratives anchored in realism, leaving an indelible mark on the spectrum of anime and manga.

Attack on Titan

Attack on Titan

That fateful day etched a haunting reminder into humanity’s collective consciousness—a stark confrontation with the dread inspired by the Titans. Bursting onto the scene in 2013, Attack on Titan swiftly ascended to the ranks of an enduring classic. The narrative threads weave around the shared journey of Eren Yeager, Mikasa Ackerman, and Armin Arlert—intimate friends united against the colossal Titans and the looming perils that loiter beyond their city’s protective ramparts.

What commenced as a customary shonen tale soon blossomed into an extraordinary work of art, adroitly navigating a terrain of profound themes encompassing warfare, societal stratification, and racial prejudice, among other weighty subjects. The reverberations of this show have resonated far and wide, an impact felt ubiquitously, even by notable figures like director Alex Garland, who heralded the series as a wellspring of inspiration.

A fusion of electrifying, high-octane combat, contemplative character-driven interludes, and the sudden, heart-stopping demises reminiscent of the unpredictability of Game of Thrones, converge to birth one of the paramount anime to grace the modern era. Attack on Titan’s symphony of elements culminates in a magnum opus that stands among the vanguards of contemporary anime.

Cowboy Bebop

Cowboy Bebop

The fact that Cowboy Bebop has surpassed the two-decade mark is a testament to its enduring excellence, both in conception and execution. This space-faring Western, which introduced the world to the indelible cast of Spike, Jet, Faye, Ed, and the beloved Ein, retains its stunning visual allure and resonant narrative, solidifying its place as one of the foremost anime achievements.

The passage of time has done little to diminish the visual splendor of Cowboy Bebop, a fact exemplified by its striking aesthetics that continue to captivate. Yet, its allure extends far beyond mere visual appeal. Anchored by a poignant narrative and a gallery of robust characters, the series unfolds as an unrivaled masterpiece.

The symphony of emotions is further enriched by an unforgettable soundtrack, a sonic tapestry that has woven itself into the very fabric of the series. Cowboy Bebop’s influence transcends the realm of anime, leaving an indelible mark on a spectrum of creative minds—from luminaries such as Orson Scott Card and Rian Johnson to the late Robin Williams—who acknowledge its impact upon their own craft.

At its core, Cowboy Bebop remains compelling due to its exploration of universal themes, encapsulated by the pulse of its genre-defying 26 episodes. Through its exploration of complex emotions like loss, the narrative navigates the starlit expanse, imprinting a narrative so poignant and relatable that its magic persists through the sands of time. As the refrain of “three, two, one, let’s jam” resounds, Cowboy Bebop continues to resonate, an ever-illuminating star in the constellation of anime greatness.

One Piece

One Piece

Spanning almost two decades and amassing a staggering collection of over 1000 episodes, One Piece remains a global entertainment phenomenon, captivating audiences young and old with its enduring pirate odyssey. Maintaining the momentum over such an extended period can be a daunting task for any anime, but One Piece defies the odds, owed largely to the prodigious imagination of Eiichiro Oda.

The tapestry that unfolds in One Piece is a testament to Oda’s unparalleled creativity. It weaves a world as vibrant and intricate as the characters that inhabit it, a blend of whimsy, profundity, and uproarious escapades. The characters themselves stand as pillars of depth, their multifaceted natures etching indelible bonds with viewers.

As the journey unfurls, the series embraces laughter, adventure, and even poignant moments with unmatched finesse. The animated adaptation breathes life into Oda’s vision, often elevating it to new heights. One Piece carves its name into the annals of shonen anime history, a culmination of Oda’s artistry and a reflection of his enduring impact on audiences. Its enduring legacy shows no signs of waning, a testament to the enduring brilliance that continues to ripple across the years.

Death Note

Death Note

Death Note, now a venerable classic, chronicles the odyssey of Light Yagami, an adolescent bestowed with supernatural prowess courtesy of the titular Death Note—a sinister tome that bestows upon its possessor the lethal authority to eliminate any individual simply by inscribing their name within its pages. Empowered by this dread instrument and armed with an extraordinary intellect, Light embarks on a chillingly audacious campaign, masquerading as a “moral” crusader while orchestrating a genocidal upheaval that reverberates throughout the globe.

In the wake of this malevolent upheaval unfurls a gripping game of wits, a taut cat-and-mouse pursuit between Light and a cadre of world-class investigators whose intellect and guile rival his own. The legacy of Death Note extends far beyond its narrative confines, instigating the emergence of a pantheon of dark protagonist shonen anime and serving as a fount of inspiration for a plethora of live-action adaptations. Its indisputable stature as one of the paramount and most influential anime productions of all time is richly warranted.

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood

Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion

Code Geass Lelouch of the Rebellion

Debuting in 2006, this show’s enduring appeal can be attributed to its mastery of two captivating facets: an intricately woven setting enriched by meticulous worldbuilding, and a narrative that thrives on intricate strategy and spine-tingling plot twists, akin to the suspense of a thriller. The storyline unfolds within an alternate timeline that eerily echoes the dystopian landscape of Nineteen Eighty-Four. Here, the world is divided into three formidable superpowers: the Holy Britannian Empire, the Chinese Federation, and the European Union.

In this riveting backdrop, the Holy Britannian Empire exerts its dominion over Japan, obliterating its identity and autonomy through the deployment of colossal mechanized suits. This concoction of political intrigue and mechanized suspense propels the narrative forward, punctuated by exhilarating action sequences. At its core, the tale orbits around Lelouch, a dispossessed Britannian prince forced into exile in Japan. Driven by an unwavering resolve, he dedicates himself to dismantling his father’s empire. Within this intricate tapestry of political subterfuge, alluring mythology, and a cast of enthralling characters, the show cements its legacy as an exemplary entrant in the pantheon of mecha anime classics.

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