You love anime but what tops this list of the best anime series ever made? Top anime series include shows like Death Note, Attack on Titan, and so much more. Plus, with so much new anime debuting each year, the list of best anime will only grow. The blanket term “anime” in the US can refer to any animation originating in Japan, and specifically differentiates a few aspects of Japanese animation from more Western styles. For example, the top comedy animes can be much more explicit in their humor. This includes the Japanese propensity to feature adult themes and stories in animation, as opposed to Western “cartoons” aimed primarily at children, as well as the exaggerated, fantasy-oriented and colorful style of Japanese animated visuals.
Anime can refer either to animated films or TV series, furthering the confusion. (Anime is often incorrectly used to refer to Japanese comic books as well. These are actually known as “manga,” though many anime series are based on or inspired by popular manga.) Check out the best anime of 2014 for newer recommendations!
Anime TV series first found popularity outside of Japan in the 1980s and have continued to find larger and larger audiences in the West. A number of popular anime shows originating in Japan – such as Cowboy Bebop or Dragon Ball Z – have found enthusiastic audiences for dubbed versions in English speaking countries. (Pokemon, a series inspired by Nintendo’s blockbuster series of video games, has been an ongoing hit franchise in both Japan and the US.) The anime-style has grown so popular in the US, it has stared to significantly influence the style and aesthetics of American animation. Shows such as Avatar: The Last Airbender, Afro Samurai, and Samurai Jack have borrowed heavily from anime in terms of pacing, subject matter, and design.
This list collects the best Japanese anime TV series of all time. American series that have been influenced by anime, such as Avatar: The Last Airbender, are not included. Forget a top 10 anime list- ours has over 200 entries!
1. Death Note
Death Note is a Japanese manga series written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata. The story follows Light Yagami, a high school student who stumbles across a mysterious otherworldly notebook
2. Attack on Titan
Several hundred years ago, humans were nearly exterminated by giants. Giants are typically several stories tall, seem to have no intelligence, devour human beings and, worst of all, seem to do it for the pleasure rather than as a food source. A small percentage of humanity survived by walling themselves in a city protected by extremely high walls, even taller than the biggest of giants. Flash forward to the present and the city has not seen a giant in over 100 years. Teenage boy Elen and his foster sister Mikasa witness something horrific as the city walls are destroyed by a super giant that appears out of thin air
3. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is an anime adaptation of the Fullmetal Alchemist manga by Hiromu Arakawa. Developed by Bones, the series is directed by Yasuhiro Irie and written by Hiroshi Ōnogi. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is the second anime television series based on Fullmetal Alchemist, the first being 2003’s Fullmetal Alchemist, and unlike its predecessor, it directly follows the events of the manga. It was first announced in the manga series’ 20th tankōbon volume. In Japan, it is differentiated from the 2003 series by the inclusion of the English language title and is sometimes abbreviated as Hagane no Renkinjutsushi FA. The series premiered on April 5, 2009, on MBS-TBS’
4. Naruto Shippūden
Naruto Shippuuden is the continuation of the original animated TV series Naruto. The story revolves around an older and slightly more matured Uzumaki Naruto and his quest to save his friend Uchiha Sasuke from the grips of the snake-like Shinobi, Orochimaru. After 2 and a half years Naruto finally returns to his village of Konoha, and sets about putting his ambitions to work, though it will not be easy, as He has amassed a few (more dangerous) enemies, in the likes of the shinobi organization; Akatsuki.
Naruto is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Masashi Kishimoto. It tells the story of Naruto Uzumaki, an adolescent ninja who searches for recognition from his peers and the village and also dreams of becoming the Hokage, the leader of his village. The manga was adapted into an anime television series produced by Studio Pierrot and Aniplex
6. Dragon Ball Z
Dragon Ball Z is a Japanese anime television series produced by Toei Animation. Dragon Ball Z is the sequel to the Dragon Ball anime and adapts the last 325 chapters of the original 519-chapter Dragon Ball manga series created by Akira Toriyama, that were published from 1988 to 1995 in Weekly Shōnen Jump. Dragon Ball Z first aired in Japan on Fuji TV from April 25, 1989, to January 31, 1996, before being dubbed in several territories around the world, including the United States, Australia, Europe, India, and Latin America. Dragon Ball Z follows the adventures of the protagonist Goku who, along with his companions, defends the Earth against an assortment of villains ranging from
7. One Piece (US)
8. Code Geass
Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion, often referred to as simply Code Geass, is a Japanese anime series created by Sunrise, directed by Gorō Taniguchi, and written by Ichirō Ōkouchi, with original character designs by manga authors Clamp. Set in an alternate timeline, the series focuses on how the former prince Lelouch vi Britannia obtains a power known as Geass and decides to use it to obliterate the Holy Britannian Empire, an imperial monarchy and a superpower that has been conquering various countries. Code Geass first ran in Japan on MBS from October 5, 2006, to July 28, 2007. Its sequel series, Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2, ran as a simulcast on JNN stations from
9. Fairy Tail
Fairy Tail is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Hiro Mashima. It has been published in Weekly Shōnen Magazine since August 2, 2006, and has been published by Kodansha in 48 tankōbon volumes; the individual chapters are being published in tankōbon volumes by Kodansha, with the first released on December 15, 2006, and the 48th volume released on March 17, 2015. Fairy Tail follows the adventures of Lucy Heartfilia, a teenage wizard, who joins the titular wizards’ guild and teams up with fellow guild member Natsu Dragneel as he searches for the dragon Igneel. The chapters have been adapted into an anime series produced by A-1 Pictures and Satelight, which began
Bleach is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Tite Kubo. Bleach follows the adventures of the hotheaded teenager Ichigo Kurosaki after he obtains the powers of a Soul Reaper from another Soul Reaper, Rukia Kuchiki. His new-found powers force him to take on the duties of defending humans from evil spirits and guiding departed souls to the afterlife and set him on journeys to various ghostly realms of existence. And she also appoints him to be an acting Soul Reaper. Bleach has been serialized in the Japanese manga anthology Weekly Shōnen Jump since August 2001 and has been collected into 67 tankōbon volumes.