Japanese animation is beloved by many fans all over the world. Anime has a distinct style and blends awesome animation with beautiful cinematography, the anime world has hundreds of production studios, some well known such as Madhouse and Toei Animation (Dragon Ball, One Piece).
Anime series’ first found popularity outside of Japan in the 1980s and continue to increase in fanbase more and more throughout the west. A host of classics shows – such as Cowboy Bebop or Dragon Ball Z have developed core fanbases with their dubbed english speaking versions. With no more ado we present The Fresh Committee‘s 50 Greatest Anime Of All Time!
#50 Assassination Classroom
Japanese Title: 暗殺教室
Aired: Jan 10, 2015 to Jun 20, 2015
Genre: Action, Comedy, School, Shounen
When a mysterious creature chops the moon down to a permanent crescent, the students of class 3-E of Kunugigaoka Middle School find themselves confronted with an enormous task: assassinate the creature responsible for the disaster before Earth suffers a similar fate. However, the monster, dubbed Koro-sensei (the indestructible teacher), is able to fly at speeds of up to Mach 20, which he demonstrates freely, leaving any attempt to subdue him in his extraterrestrial dust. Furthermore, the misfits of 3-E soon find that the strange, tentacled beast is more than just indomitable—he is the best teacher they have ever had!
Adapted from the humorous hit manga by Yuusei Matsui, Ansatsu Kyoushitsu tells the story of these junior high pupils as they polish their assassination skills and grow in order to stand strong against the oppressive school system, their own life problems, and one day, Koro-sensei.
#49 God Eater
Japanese Title: GOD EATER
Aired: Jul 12, 2015 to Mar 26, 2016
Genre: Action, Military, Sci-Fi, Fantasy
The year is 2071. Humanity has been pushed to the brink of extinction following the emergence of man-eating monsters called “Aragami” that boast an immunity to conventional weaponry. They ravaged the land, consuming almost everything in their path and leaving nothing in their wake. To combat them, an organization named Fenrir was formed as a last-ditch effort to save humanity through the use of “God Eaters”—special humans infused with Oracle cells, allowing them to wield the God Arc, the only known weapon capable of killing an Aragami. One such God Eater is Lenka Utsugi, a New-Type whose God Arc takes the form of both blade and gun.
Now, as one of Fenrir’s greatest weapons, Lenka must master his God Arc if he is to fulfill his desire of wiping out the Aragami once and for all. The monsters continue to be born en masse while the remnants of humanity struggle to survive the night. Only God Eaters stand between the Aragami and complete and total annihilation of the human race.
Japanese Title: バッカーノ！
Studio: Brain’s Base
Aired: Jul 27, 2007 to Nov 2, 2007
Genre: Action, Comedy, Supernatural, Historical, Mystery, Seinen
During the early 1930s in Chicago, the transcontinental train, Flying Pussyfoot, is starting its legendary journey that will leave a trail of blood all over the country. At the same time in New York, the ambitious scientist Szilard and his unwilling aide Ennis are looking for missing bottles of the immortality elixir. In addition, a war between the mafia groups is getting worse. On board the Advena Avis, in 1711, alchemists are about to learn the price of immortality.
Based on the award-winning light novels of the same name, Baccano! follows several events that initially seem unrelated, both in time and place, but are part of a much bigger story—one of alchemy, survival and immortality. Merging these events together are the kindhearted would-be thieves, Isaac and Miria, connecting various people, all of them with their own hidden ambitions and agendas, and creating lifelong bonds and consequences for everyone involved.
Baccano! is based on Ryohgo Narita’s award-winning light novels of the same title and mainly adapts the first 4 novels. While more faithful to the first 3 novels, the 4th novel (1932) is followed more loosely and is mostly an anime-exclusive story. In addition, content from later novels is briefly included in the anime as well. Unlike the novels however, which follow a mostly linear narrative per book, the anime adopts a non-linear storytelling style; the tale of each novel is told simultaneously with one another, with the focus jumping back and forth in time between and within the different plotlines.
Japanese Title: Charlotte（シャーロット）
Studio: P.A. Works
Aired: Jul 5, 2015 to Sep 27, 2015
Genre: Drama, School, Super Power
While on the surface Yuu Otosaka appears to be just another charming and intelligent teenager, he has a secret—he has the ability to slip into people’s minds and fully control their body for five seconds at a time. Yuu has been using this skill for years to gain the highest grades, which allowed him to enter a prestigious high school.
When the enigmatic Nao Tomori catches Yuu using his power, she coerces him and his sister Ayumi into transferring to Hoshinoumi Academy, a school for students with supernatural abilities. The student council of the school, led by Nao, is tasked with secretly tracking down adolescents who abuse their powers. Yuu is forced to join the student council and together, they face formidable challenges that bring him closer to the shocking truth that his own, seemingly incomplete ability, might be more powerful than he could have ever imagined.
An original story from Jun Maeda, creator of Angel Beats and Clannad, Charlotte explores the supernatural lives of these teenagers and the price they must pay for being special.
#46 Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu
Japanese Title: フルメタル・パニック? ふもっふ
Studio: Kyoto Animation
Aired: Aug 26, 2003 to Oct 18, 2003
Genre: Action, Comedy, School
It’s back-to-school mayhem with Kaname Chidori and her war-freak classmate Sousuke Sagara as they encounter more misadventures in and out of Jindai High School. But when Kaname gets into some serious trouble, Sousuke takes the guise of Bonta-kun—the gun-wielding, butt-kicking mascot. And while he struggles to continue living as a normal teenager, Sousuke also has to deal with protecting his superior officer Teletha Testarossa, who has decided to take a vacation from Mithril and spend a couple of weeks as his and Kaname’s classmate.
#45 The Future Diary
Japanese Title: 未来日記
Aired: Oct 9, 2011 to Apr 15, 2012
Genre: Action, Psychological, Supernatural, Thriller, Mystery, Shounen
Lonely high school student, Yukiteru Amano, spends his days writing a diary on his cellphone, while conversing with his two seemingly imaginary friends Deus Ex Machina, who is the god of time and space, and Murmur, the god’s servant. Revealing himself to be an actual entity, Deus grants Yukiteru a “Random Diary,” which shows highly descriptive entries based on the future and forces him into a bloody battle royale with 11 other holders of similarly powerful future diaries.
With the last person standing designated as the new god of time and space, Yukiteru must find and kill the other 11 in order to survive. He reluctantly teams up with his obsessive stalker Yuno Gasai (who also possesses such a diary), and she takes it upon herself to ensure his safety. But there’s more to the girl than meets the eye, as she might have other plans for her unrequited love…
Mirai Nikki also spawned a live-action television show with a different plot from the manga and anime, as well as a visual novel.
#44 Kill La Kill
Japanese Title: キルラキル
Aired: Oct 4, 2013 to Mar 28, 2014
Genre: Action, Comedy, School, Super Power
After the murder of her father, Ryuuko Matoi has been wandering the land in search of his killer. Following her only lead—the missing half of his invention, the Scissor Blade—she arrives at the prestigious Honnouji Academy, a high school unlike any other. The academy is ruled by the imposing and cold-hearted student council president Satsuki Kiryuuin alongside her powerful underlings, the Elite Four. In the school’s brutally competitive hierarchy, Satsuki bestows upon those at the top special clothes called “Goku Uniforms,” which grant the wearer unique superhuman abilities.
Thoroughly beaten in a fight against one of the students in uniform, Ryuuko retreats to her razed home where she stumbles across Senketsu, a rare and sentient “Kamui,” or God Clothes. After coming into contact with Ryuuko’s blood, Senketsu awakens, latching onto her and providing her with immense power. Now, armed with Senketsu and the Scissor Blade, Ryuuko makes a stand against the Elite Four, hoping to reach Satsuki and uncover the culprit behind her father’s murder once and for all.
Episode 1 was previewed at a screening in Tokyo on September 28, 2013. Regular broadcasting began on October 4, 2013.
Kill La Kill’s Toshio Ishizaki won the Tokyo Anime Award for Best Character Design in 2014. The series got another Character Design Award along with a Storyboard Award, Soundtrack Award, Theme Song Award (for Sirius), Mascot Awards (for Senketsu and Guts), Female Character Awards (for Ryuuko Matoi and Mako Mankanshoku), and Series Award for TV Broadcast in the 2014 Newtype Anime Awards.
Japanese Title: とらドラ！
Aired: Oct 2, 2008 to Mar 26, 2009
Genre: Slice of Life, Comedy, Romance, School
Ryuuji Takasu is a gentle high school student with a love for housework; but in contrast to his kind nature, he has an intimidating face that often gets him labeled as a delinquent. On the other hand is Taiga Aisaka, a small, doll-like student, who is anything but a cute and fragile girl. Equipped with a wooden katana and feisty personality, Taiga is known throughout the school as the “Palmtop Tiger.”
One day, an embarrassing mistake causes the two students to cross paths. Ryuuji discovers that Taiga actually has a sweet side: she has a crush on the popular vice president, Yuusaku Kitamura, who happens to be his best friend. But things only get crazier when Ryuuji reveals that he has a crush on Minori Kushieda—Taiga’s best friend!
Toradora! is a romantic comedy that follows this odd duo as they embark on a quest to help each other with their respective crushes, forming an unlikely alliance in the process.
Toradora! was selected as a recommended work by the awards jury of the 13th Japan Media Arts Festival in 2009.
The light novel was also adapted into video games for PlayStation Portable, published by Namco Bandai Games in 2009.
#42 Oran High School Host Club
Japanese Title: 桜蘭高校ホスト部
Aired: Apr 5, 2006 to Sep 27, 2006
Genre: Comedy, Harem, Romance, School, Shoujo
Haruhi Fujioka is a bright scholarship candidate with no rank or title to speak of—a rare species at Ouran High School, an elite academy for students of high pedigree. When she opens the door to Music Room #3 hoping to find a quiet place to study, Haruhi unexpectedly stumbles upon the Host Club. Led by the princely Tamaki, the club—whose other members include the “Shadow King” Kyouya, the mischievous Hitachiin twins, and the childlike Haninozuka “Honey” and his strong protector Mori—is where handsome boys with too much time on their hands entertain the girls in the academy.
In a frantic attempt to remove herself from the hosts, Haruhi ends up breaking a vase worth eight million yen and is forced into becoming the eccentric group’s general errand boy to repay her enormous debt. However, thanks to her convincingly masculine appearance, her naturally genial disposition toward girls, and fascinating commoner status, she is soon promoted to full-time male host and plunged headlong into a glitzy whirlwind of elaborate cosplays, rich food, and exciting shenanigans that only the immensely wealthy Ouran Host Club can pull off.
#41 Gundam Wing
Japanese Title: 新機動戦記ガンダムW
Aired: Apr 7, 1995 to Mar 29, 1996
Genre: Action, Military, Sci-Fi, Space, Drama, Mecha
The United Earth Sphere Alliance is a powerful military organization that has ruled over Earth and space colonies with an iron fist for several decades. When the colonies proclaimed their opposition to this, their leader was assassinated. Now, in the year After Colony 195, bitter colonial rebels have launched “Operation Meteor,” sending five powerful mobile suits to Earth for vengeance. Built out of virtually indestructible material called Gundanium Alloy, these “Gundams” begin an assault against the Alliance and its sub organization OZ.
One Gundam, whose pilot has taken the name of the slain colony leader Heero Yuy, is forced to make a crash landing into the ocean after an atmospheric battle against OZ’s ace pilot Zechs Marquise. Upon coming ashore, he is found by Relena Peacecraft, daughter of a peace-seeking politician, who witnesses Heero’s descent to Earth. Although neither of them realize it yet, this encounter will have a profound impact on both their lives, as well as those on Earth and in space colonies.
Japanese Title: ノラガミ
Aired: Jan 5, 2014 to Mar 23, 2014
Genre: Action, Adventure, Shounen, Supernatural
In times of need, if you look in the right place, you just may see a strange telephone number scrawled in red. If you call this number, you will hear a young man introduce himself as the Yato God.
Yato is a minor deity and a self-proclaimed “Delivery God,” who dreams of having millions of worshippers. Without a single shrine dedicated to his name, however, his goals are far from being realized. He spends his days doing odd jobs for five yen apiece, until his weapon partner becomes fed up with her useless master and deserts him.
Just as things seem to be looking grim for the god, his fortune changes when a middle school girl, Hiyori Iki, supposedly saves Yato from a car accident, taking the hit for him. Remarkably, she survives, but the event has caused her soul to become loose and hence able to leave her body. Hiyori demands that Yato return her to normal, but upon learning that he needs a new partner to do so, reluctantly agrees to help him find one. And with Hiyori’s help, Yato’s luck may finally be turning around.
#39 Dragon Ball Super
Japanese Title: ドラゴンボール超（スーパー）
Studio: Toei Animation
Aired: Jul 5, 2015 to ?
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Super Power, Martial Arts, Fantasy, Shounen
Set just after the events of the Buu Saga of Dragon Ball Z, a deadly threat awakens once more. People lived in peace without knowing who the true heroes were during the devastating battle against Majin Buu. The powerful Dragon Balls have prevented any permanent damage, and our heroes also continue to live a normal life. In the far reaches of the universe, however, a powerful being awakens early from his slumber, curious about a prophecy of his defeat.
Join Gokuu, Piccolo, Vegeta, Gohan, and the rest of the Dragon Ball crew as they tackle the strongest opponent they have ever faced. Beerus, the god of destruction, now sets his curious sights on Earth. Will the heroes save the day and prevent earth’s destruction? Or will the whims of a bored god prove too powerful for the Saiyans? Gokuu faces impossible odds once more and fights for the safety of his loved ones and the planet.
#38 Case Closed
Japanese Title: 名探偵コナン
Studio: TMS Entertainment
Aired: Jan 8, 1996 to ?
Genre: Adventure, Mystery, Comedy, Police, Shounen
Shinichi Kudou, a great mystery expert at only seventeen, is already well known for having solved several challenging cases. One day, when Shinichi sees two suspicious men and decides to follow them, he inadvertently becomes witness to a disturbing illegal activity. When the men catch Shinichi, they dose him with an experimental drug formulated by their criminal organization and abandon him to die. However, to his own astonishment, Shinichi is still alive and soon wakes up, but now, he has the body of a seven-year-old, perfectly preserving his original intelligence. He hides his real identity from everyone, including his childhood friend Ran Mouri and her father, private detective Kogorou Mouri, and takes on the alias of Conan Edogawa (inspired by the mystery writers Arthur Conan Doyle and Ranpo Edogawa).
Animated by TMS and adapted from the manga by Gosho Aoyama, Detective Conan follows Shinichi who, as Conan, starts secretly solving the senior Mouri’s cases from behind the scenes with his still exceptional sleuthing skills, while covertly investigating the organization responsible for his current state, hoping to reverse the drug’s effects someday.
In 2003, FUNimation licensed the first 104 episodes of the series for North American production under the name Case Closed. They later decided to stop pursuing more episodes past episode 123 due to poor sales. In 2014, Crunchyroll obtained a license to stream simulcast episodes of Detective Conan on their website starting with episode 754.
Winner of the Animation Award (DIVE Award) of the 2010 Japanese Movie Critics Awards.
Japanese Title: 遊☆戯☆王 デュエルモンスターズ
Studio: Studio Gallop
Aired: Apr 18, 2000 to Sep 29, 2004
Genre: Adventure, Game, Shounen
Legend says that the enigmatic Millennium Puzzle will grant one wish to whoever deciphers its ancient secrets. Upon solving it, high school student Yuugi Mutou unleashes “another Yuugi,” a peculiar presence contained inside. Now, whenever he is faced with a dilemma, this mysterious alter ego makes an appearance and aids him in his troubles.
Wishing to unravel the mystery behind this strange spirit, Yuugi and his companions find themselves competing with several opponents in “Duel Monsters,” a challenging card game used by people seeking to steal the Millennium Puzzle in a desperate attempt to harness the great power within. As the questions pile on, it is not long before they figure out that there is more than pride on the line in these duels.
#36 Elfen Lied
Japanese Title: エルフェンリート
Aired: Jul 25, 2004 to Oct 17, 2004
Genre: Action, Horror, Psychological, Supernatural, Drama, Romance, Seinen
Lucy is a special breed of human referred to as “Diclonius,” born with a short pair of horns and invisible telekinetic hands that lands her as a victim of inhumane scientific experimentation by the government. However, once circumstances present her an opportunity to escape, Lucy, corrupted by the confinement and torture, unleashes a torrent of bloodshed as she escapes her captors.
During her breakout, she receives a crippling head injury that leaves her with a split personality: someone with the mentality of a harmless child possessing limited speech capacity. In this state of instability, she stumbles upon two college students, Kouta and his cousin Yuka, who unknowingly take an injured fugitive into their care, unaware of her murderous tendencies. This act of kindness will change their lives, as they soon find themselves dragged into the shadowy world of government secrecy and conspiracy.
Elfen Lied is based on Lynn Okamoto’s seinen manga series of the same name and premiered while the manga was still in publication. The anime follows the source material through the first 7 volumes, with several alterations to the story, and concludes with an exclusive ending. In an interview, director Mamoru Kanbe expressed his disappointment in having to ‘condense’ to story into 13 episodes and felt that more were needed to include significant plot details that would have made the series more emotive.
The artistic design of both the opening and ending sequences are heavily inspired by the works of Austrian symbolist painter Gustav Klimt. Colors and patterns resembling Klimt’s distinct style were used and characters of the series were drawn to recreate several paintings from the artist’s golden period, including The Kiss (Lovers). The opening theme Lilium, which is sung in Ecclesiastical Latin, uses lyrics taken from The Bible, the Renaissance hymn Ave mundi spes Maria, as well as the alchemical compendium Theatrum Chemicum.
Japanese Title: ゲットバッカーズ 奪還屋
Studio: Studio Deen
Aired: Oct 5, 2002 to Sep 20, 2003
Genre: Action, Comedy, Drama, Mystery, Shounen, Super Power, Supernatural
Mido Ban and Amano Ginji are known as the Get Backers, retrievers with a success rate of 100%. Whatever is lost or stolen, they can definitely get it back. Despite their powerful abilities and enthusiastic behavior, Ban and Ginji are terminally broke no matter what they do simply because few people would actually desire to hire them. As a result, the pair of them tend to do dangerous jobs, often leading to unwanted re-encounters with their old (and dangerous) friends.
Japanese Title: Hellsing [ヘルシング]
Aired: Oct 11, 2001 to Jan 17, 2002
Genre: Action, Horror, Supernatural, Vampire, Seinen
Hellsing, an organization specializing in dealing with supernatural threats, is called in to eliminate a vampire that is turning the villagers of Cheddar into ghouls. To put an end to this, the leader of the organization, Sir Integra Fairbrook Wingates Hellsing, dispatches her most formidable asset: a powerful vampire known as Alucard.
Armed with only a single handgun, Alucard wreaks havoc on the monsters plaguing Cheddar. However, a young police officer, Seras Victoria, gets caught up in the chaos and becomes mortally wounded as a result. Taking pity on the girl, Alucard gives her a choice: die as a human or live on as a vampire. Seras accepts his offer and begins a new life as a member of Hellsing.
Though it was her decision, Seras struggles with the fact that she is no longer human. Nevertheless, she must embrace being a creature of the night soon if she wants to survive on the front lines in the fight between humans and the supernatural.
Hellsing was based on Kouta Hirano’s manga of the same name. The anime utilizes the same characters but the story strongly deviates from the manga, which was still ongoing at the time of the anime’s creation
#33 Ghost In The Shell
Japanese Title: GHOST IN THE SHELL（攻殻機動隊）
Studio: Production I.G
Aired: Nov 18, 1995
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi, Police, Psychological, Mecha, Seinen
In the year 2029, advances in Cybernetics allow people to replace nearly all of their body parts and organs with robotics. Through these prosthetics, the weak are made strong, and the dying are given new life. Public Security Section 9 of Niihama City (a fictional setting inspired by Hong Kong), a diverse team of AI, cyborgs and unmodified humans, must investigate cases of corruption and terrorism. Major Motoko Kusanagi has full-body prosthetics, owing to a childhood accident. She, her second in command Batou and information specialist Ishikawa have been assigned an important task: to investigate a hacker known only as “The Puppetmaster.” But as Motoko and her team discover, things are never so simple.
Ghost in the Shell is a futuristic thriller with intense action scenes mixed with slower artistic sequences and many philosophical questions about one’s soul, gender and human identity in such an advanced age of technology.
Mamoru Oshii’s Ghost in the Shell was the first film to adapt Masumane Shirow’s manga of the same name. It heavily condenses the original storyline, reducing the original material’s comic relief and sexual content in favor of a more serious tone and changing the setting from Japan to a city modelled after Hong Kong. The artwork within the animated film was produced using an innovative mix of cel animation and digital effects. Ghost in the Shell is one of the world’s most famous Japanese animated films, being the first to reach #1 on Billboard magazine’s video best-seller list, and also served as a major inspiration for the Wachowskis in their creation of the Matrix movies. A special edition titled Ghost in the Shell: 2.0 was released in 2008, which features scenes reanimated with additional CGI to match the style of the 2004’s sequel, Ghost in the Shell: Innocence.
#32 Sailor Moon
Japanese Title: 美少女戦士セーラームーン
Studio: Toei Animation
Aired: Mar 7, 1992 to Feb 27, 1993
Genre: Magic, Romance, Demons, Shoujo
Tsukino Usagi is a 14-year-old girl in junior high. She’s ditzy, whiny, and a crybaby. She often flunks her tests, and she is always scolded by her family. However after a bad day, Usagi is surprised to encounter a black cat that can talk! The cat, Luna, grants Usagi the power to transform into Sailor Moon, a fighter who is to save the world against the Dark Kingdom and its evil ruler, Queen Beryl.
Of course, Usagi can’t do it alone, and there are others who will help her on the way..
The series won the 1992 Animage’s Anime Grand Prix Award.
Japanese Title: 銀魂
Aired: Apr 4, 2006 to Mar 25, 2010
Genre: TV Tokyo, Aniplex, Dentsu,Trinity Sound, Audio Highs, Miracle Robo, Shueisha
The Amanto, aliens from outer space, have invaded Earth and taken over feudal Japan. As a result, a prohibition on swords has been established, and the samurai of Japan are treated with disregard as a consequence.
However one man, Gintoki Sakata, still possesses the heart of the samurai, although from his love of sweets and work as a yorozuya, one might not expect it. Accompanying him in his jack-of-all-trades line of work are Shinpachi Shimura, a boy with glasses and a strong heart, Kagura with her umbrella and seemingly bottomless stomach, as well as Sadaharu, their oversized pet dog. Of course, these odd jobs are not always simple, as they frequently have run-ins with the police, ragtag rebels, and assassins, oftentimes leading to humorous but unfortunate consequences.
Who said life as an errand boy was easy?
Several games based on Gintama have been released on a variety of platforms such as the Sony PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable and Nintendo DS. Characters from the series have also appeared in Weekly Shounen Jump’s crossover titles such as Jump Super Stars and Jump Ultimate Stars.
The series received high-definition reruns of older episodes by TV Tokyo from April 5, 2010 till March 28, 2011 under the name Yorinuki Gintama-san which included 51 selected episodes as well as 4 new Openings and Endings.
Sentai Filmworks licensed and released only the first 49 episodes of Gintama, along with the first movie; in 2016, Crunchyroll gained the license and plans to release the entire series dubbed/subtitled at some point in the future.
#30 Dragon Ball
Japanese Title: ドラゴンボール
Studio: Toei Animation
Aired: Feb 26, 1986 to Apr 12, 1989
Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Super Power, Martial Arts, Fantasy, Shounen
Gokuu Son is a young boy who lives in the woods all alone—that is, until a girl named Bulma runs into him in her search for a set of magical objects called the “Dragon Balls.” Since the artifacts are said to grant one wish to whoever collects all seven, Bulma hopes to gather them and wish for a perfect boyfriend. Gokuu happens to be in possession of a dragon ball, but unfortunately for Bulma, he refuses to part ways with it, so she makes him a deal: he can tag along on her journey if he lets her borrow the dragon ball’s power. With that, the two set off on the journey of a lifetime.
They don’t go on the journey alone. On the way, they meet the old Muten-Roshi and wannabe disciple Kuririn, with whom Gokuu trains to become a stronger martial artist for the upcoming World Martial Arts Tournament. However, it’s not all fun and games; the ability to make any wish come true is a powerful one, and there are others who would do much worse than just wishing for a boyfriend. To stop those who would try to abuse the legendary power, they train to become stronger fighters, using their newfound strength to help the people around them along the way.
#29 Yuyu Hakusho
Japanese Title: 幽☆遊☆白書
Studio: Studio Pierrot
Aired: Oct 10, 1992 to Jan 7, 1995
Genre: Action, Comedy, Demons, Martial Arts, Fantasy, School, Shounen
One fateful day, Yuusuke Urameshi, a 14-year-old delinquent with a dim future, gets a miraculous chance to turn it all around when he throws himself in front of a moving car to save a young boy. His ultimate sacrifice is so out of character that the authorities of the spirit realm are not yet prepared to let him pass on. Koenma, heir to the throne of the spirit realm, offers Yuusuke an opportunity to regain his life through completion of a series of tasks. With the guidance of the death god Botan, he is to thwart evil presences on Earth as a Spirit Detective.
To help him on his venture, Yuusuke enlists ex-rival Kazuma Kuwabara, and two demons, Hiei and Kurama, who have criminal pasts. Together, they train and battle against enemies who would threaten humanity’s very existence.
Yuu☆Yuu☆Hakusho was voted as the second best anime of the year in 1993 and best anime of the year in 1994 and 1995 at the Animage Anime Grand Prix.
#28 Seven Deadly Sins
Japanese Title: 七つの大罪
Studio: A-1 Pictures
Aired: Oct 5, 2014 to Mar 29, 2015
Genre: Action, Adventure, Supernatural, Ecchi, Fantasy, Shounen
In a world similar to the European Middle Ages, the feared yet revered Holy Knights of Britannia use immensely powerful magic to protect the region of Britannia and its kingdoms. However, a small subset of the Knights supposedly betrayed their homeland and turned their blades against their comrades in an attempt to overthrow the ruler of Liones. They were defeated by the Holy Knights, but rumors continued to persist that these legendary knights, called the “Seven Deadly Sins,” were still alive. Ten years later, the Holy Knights themselves staged a coup d’état, and thus became the new, tyrannical rulers of the Kingdom of Liones.
Based on the best-selling manga series of the same name, Nanatsu no Taizai follows the adventures of Elizabeth, the third princess of the Kingdom of Liones, and her search for the Seven Deadly Sins. With their help, she endeavors to not only take back her kingdom from the Holy Knights, but to also seek justice in an unjust world.
Netflix owns exclusive streaming rights to the series, all episodes were released on November 1, 2015 in both subtitled and dubbed format. Aside from the anime and manga, a video game adaptation and a few light novels also exist.
Japanese Title: トライガン
Aired: Apr 1, 1998 to Sep 30, 1998
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi, Comedy
Vash the Stampede is the man with a $$60,000,000 bounty on his head. The reason: he’s a merciless villain who lays waste to all those that oppose him and flattens entire cities for fun, garnering him the title “The Humanoid Typhoon.” He leaves a trail of death and destruction wherever he goes, and anyone can count themselves dead if they so much as make eye contact—or so the rumors say. In actuality, Vash is a huge softie who claims to have never taken a life and avoids violence at all costs.
With his crazy doughnut obsession and buffoonish attitude in tow, Vash traverses the wasteland of the planet Gunsmoke, all the while followed by two insurance agents, Meryl Stryfe and Milly Thompson, who attempt to minimize his impact on the public. But soon, their misadventures evolve into life-or-death situations as a group of legendary assassins are summoned to bring about suffering to the trio. Vash’s agonizing past will be unraveled and his morality and principles pushed to the breaking point.
The Japanese release by Victor Entertainment has different openings relating to the specific episode it’s played on. The initial Geneon Entertainment USA (then known as Pioneer) releases on VHS and DVD (singles, Signature Series, and box set) used only the first opening on each episode. This was due to the Japanese licensor providing them clean materials for only the first opening to put the English credits on. Geneon later fixed this mistake on their Limited Edition tin releases in 2005/2006, as well as on the Remix singles. Following Geneon USA’s demise in late 2007, the show went out of print. When FUNimation Entertainment picked up the show in 2010 and released it, they repeated Geneon’s mistake of using only the first opening on every episode. This mistake was later fixed in 2013 on the Anime Classics re-release.
#26 Rurouni Kenshin
Japanese Title: るろうに剣心 -明治剣客浪漫譚-
Studios: Studio Gallop, Studio Deen
Aired: Jan 10, 1996 to Sep 8, 1998
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Historical, Romance, Samurai
In the final years of the Bakumatsu era lived a legendary assassin known as Hitokiri Battousai. Feared as a merciless killer, he was unmatched throughout the country, but mysteriously disappeared at the peak of the Japanese Revolution. It has been ten peaceful years since then, but the very mention of Battousai still strikes terror into the hearts of war veterans.
Unbeknownst to them, Battousai has abandoned his bloodstained lifestyle in an effort to repent for his sins, now living as Kenshin Himura, a wandering swordsman with a cheerful attitude and a strong will. Vowing never to kill again, Kenshin dedicates himself to protecting the weak. One day, he stumbles across Kaoru Kamiya at her kendo dojo, which is being threatened by an impostor claiming to be Battousai. After receiving help from Kenshin, Kaoru allows him to stay at the dojo, and so the former assassin temporarily ceases his travels.
Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Kenkaku Romantan tells the story of Kenshin as he strives to save those in need of saving. However, as enemies from both past and present begin to emerge, will the reformed killer be able to uphold his new ideals?
Japanese Title: 寄生獣 セイの格率
Aired: Oct 9, 2014 to Mar 26, 2015
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi, Horror, Psychological, Drama, Seinen
All of a sudden, they arrived: parasitic aliens that descended upon Earth and quickly infiltrated humanity by burrowing into the brains of vulnerable targets. These insatiable beings acquire full control of their host and are able to morph into a variety of forms in order to feed on unsuspecting prey.
Sixteen-year-old high school student Shinichi Izumi falls victim to one of these parasites, but it fails to take over his brain, ending up in his right hand instead. Unable to relocate, the parasite, now named Migi, has no choice but to rely on Shinichi in order to stay alive. Thus, the pair is forced into an uneasy coexistence and must defend themselves from hostile parasites that hope to eradicate this new threat to their species.
The anime was simulcast by Crunchyroll outside of Asia.
Aside from the manga and anime, the series also has two live-action film adaptations.
The Chinese Ministry of Culture blacklisted Parasyte as well as 37 other works on June 9, 2015.
Japanese Title: ポケットモンスター
Aired: Apr 1, 1997 to Nov 14, 2002
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Kids, Fantasy
Pokemon are peculiar creatures with a vast array of different abilities and appearances; many people, known as Pokemon trainers, capture and train them, often with the intent of battling others. Young Satoshi has not only dreamed of becoming a Pokemon trainer but also a “Pokemon Master,” and on the arrival of his 10th birthday, he finally has a chance to make that dream a reality. Unfortunately for him, all three Pokemon available to beginning trainers have already been claimed and only Pikachu, a rebellious Electric type Pokemon, remains. However, this chance encounter would mark the start of a lifelong friendship and an epic adventure!
Setting off on a journey to become the very best, Satoshi and Pikachu travel across beautiful, sprawling regions with their friends Kasumi, a Water type trainer, and Takeshi, a Rock type trainer. But danger lurks around every corner. The infamous Team Rocket is always nearby, seeking to steal powerful Pokemon through nefarious schemes. It’ll be up to Satoshi and his friends to thwart their efforts as he also strives to earn the eight Pokemon Gym Badges he’ll need to challenge the Pokemon League, and eventually claim the title of Pokemon Master.
#23 No Game No Life
Japanese Title: ノーゲーム・ノーライフ
Aired: Apr 9, 2014 to Jun 25, 2014
Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Ecchi, Fantasy, Game, Supernatural
No Game No Life is a surreal comedy that follows Sora and Shiro, shut-in NEET siblings and the online gamer duo behind the legendary username “Kuuhaku.” They view the real world as just another lousy game; however, a strange e-mail challenging them to a chess match changes everything—the brother and sister are plunged into an otherworldly realm where they meet Tet, the God of Games.
The mysterious god welcomes Sora and Shiro to Disboard, a world where all forms of conflict—from petty squabbles to the fate of whole countries—are settled not through war, but by way of high-stake games. This system works thanks to a fundamental rule wherein each party must wager something they deem to be of equal value to the other party’s wager. In this strange land where the very idea of humanity is reduced to child’s play, the indifferent genius gamer duo of Sora and Shiro have finally found a real reason to keep playing games: to unite the sixteen races of Disboard, defeat Tet, and become the gods of this new, gaming-is-everything world.
#22 Akame Ga Kill
Japanese Title: アカメが斬る
Studio: White Fox
Aired: Apr 22, 2010 to Dec 22, 2016
Genre: Action, Drama, Fantasy, Horror, Shounen
In a fantasy world, fighter Tatsumi sets out for the Capital to earn money for his starving village, and finds a world of unimaginable corruption, all spreading from the depraved Prime Minister who controls the child Emperor’s ear. After nearly becoming a victim of this corruption himself, Tatsumi is recruited by Night Raid, a group of assassins dedicated to eliminating the corruption plaguing the Capitol by mercilessly killing those responsible.
Akame ga Kill! has been published in English by Yen Press since January 20, 2015; in Spanish by Norma Editorial since October 29, 2015; in Italian by Panini Comics since October 24, 2015; and in French by Kurokawa edition since September 11, 2014
Author Takahiro stated in Akame ga Kill! 1.5 that the series is heavily inspired by the historical drama series Hissatsu.
#21 One Punch Man
Japanese Title: ワンパンマン
Aired: Oct 5, 2015 to Dec 21, 2015
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi, Comedy, Parody, Super Power, Supernatural, Seinen
The seemingly ordinary and unimpressive Saitama has a rather unique hobby: being a hero. In order to pursue his childhood dream, he trained relentlessly for three years—and lost all of his hair in the process. Now, Saitama is incredibly powerful, so much so that no enemy is able to defeat him in battle. In fact, all it takes to defeat evildoers with just one punch has led to an unexpected problem—he is no longer able to enjoy the thrill of battling and has become quite bored.
This all changes with the arrival of Genos, a 19-year-old cyborg, who wishes to be Saitama’s disciple after seeing what he is capable of. Genos proposes that the two join the Hero Association in order to become certified heroes that will be recognized for their positive contributions to society, and Saitama, shocked that no one knows who he is, quickly agrees. And thus begins the story of One Punch Man, an action-comedy that follows an eccentric individual who longs to fight strong enemies that can hopefully give him the excitement he once felt and just maybe, he’ll become popular in the process.
Episodes 1 and 2 were previewed at a screening in Saitama city cultural center (small hall) on September 6, 2015. Regular broadcasting began on October 5, 2015.
One Punch Man is based on Yusuke Murata’s manga remake of ONE’s original web comic. The anime adapts the first 7 volumes of the manga.
#20 Samurai Champloo
Japanese Title: サムライチャンプルー
Aired: May 20, 2004 to Mar 19, 2005
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Historical, Samurai, Shounen
Fuu Kasumi is a young and clumsy waitress who spends her days peacefully working in a small teahouse. That is, until she accidentally spills a drink all over one of her customers! With a group of samurai now incessantly harassing her, Fuu desperately calls upon another samurai in the shop, Mugen, who quickly defeats them with his wild fighting technique, utilizing movements reminiscent to that of breakdancing. Unfortunately, Mugen decides to pick a fight with the unwilling ronin Jin, who wields a more precise and traditional style of swordfighting, and the latter proves to be a formidable opponent. The only problem is, they end up destroying the entire shop as well as accidentally killing the local magistrate’s son.
For their crime, the two samurai are captured and set to be executed. However, they are rescued by Fuu, who hires the duo as her bodyguards. Though she no longer has a place to return to, the former waitress wishes to find a certain samurai who smells of sunflowers and enlists the help of the now exonerated pair to do so. Despite initially disapproving of this idea, the two eventually agree to assist the girl in her quest; thus, the trio embark upon an adventure to find this mysterious warrior—that is, if Fuu can keep Mugen and Jin from killing each other.
Set in an alternate Edo Period of Japan, Samurai Champloo follows the journey of these three eccentric individuals in an epic quest full of action, comedy, and dynamic sword fighting, all set to the beat of a unique hip-hop infused soundtrack.
Samurai Champloo is the only anime to have featured music from the Japanese hip-hop producer Nujabes prior to his death in 2010. The anime also spawned the 2006 video game Samurai Champloo: Sidetracked for the PlayStation 2.
The show aired in two parts, with the first half airing Thursdays at 2:28 AM on Fuji TV from May 20, 2004 to September 23, 2004, and the second half airing Saturdays at 10:30 AM on BS Fuji from January 22, 2005 to March 19, 2005.
Geneon Entertainment USA originally licensed and released the show in North America, but after their closure in late 2007, the show went out of print. FUNimation Entertainment later entered a distribution deal with Geneon to distribute some of their titles, including Samurai Champloo. After the distribution deal ended, FUNimation later outright licensed the series.
Japanese Title: 犬夜叉
Aired: Oct 16, 2000 to Sep 13, 2004
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Demons, Fantasy, Magic, Romance, Shounen, Supernatural
Based on the Shogakukan award-winning manga of the same name, InuYasha follows Kagome Higurashi, a fifteen-year-old girl whose normal life ends when a demon drags her into a cursed well on the grounds of her family’s Shinto shrine. Instead of hitting the bottom of the well, Kagome ends up 500 years in the past during Japan’s violent Sengoku period with the demon’s true target, a wish-granting jewel called the Shikon Jewel, reborn inside of her.
After a battle with a revived demon accidentally causes the sacred jewel to shatter, Kagome enlists the help of a young hybrid dog-demon/human named Inuyasha to help her collect the shards and prevent them from falling into the wrong hands. Joining Kagome and Inuyasha on their quest are the orphan fox-demon Shippo, the intelligent monk Miroku, and the lethal demon slayer Sango. Together, they must set aside their differences and work together to find the power granting shards spread across feudal Japan and deal with the threats that arise.
The anime won the “Property of the Year” award in ICv2’s Anime Awards for both 2004 and 2005, and received third place in Animage’s Anime Grand Prix “Best Anime” category in 2003.
#18 Steins; Gate
Japanese Title: シュタインズ・ゲート
Studio: White Fox
Aired: Apr 6, 2011 to Sep 14, 2011
Genre: Sci-Fi, Thriller
The self-proclaimed mad scientist Rintarou Okabe rents out a room in a rickety old building in Akihabara, where he indulges himself in his hobby of inventing prospective “future gadgets” with fellow lab members: Mayuri Shiina, his air-headed childhood friend, and Hashida Itaru, a perverted hacker nicknamed “Daru.” The three pass the time by tinkering with their most promising contraption yet, a machine dubbed the “Phone Microwave,” which performs the strange function of morphing bananas into piles of green gel.
Though miraculous in itself, the phenomenon doesn’t provide anything concrete in Okabe’s search for a scientific breakthrough; that is, until the lab members are spurred into action by a string of mysterious happenings before stumbling upon an unexpected success—the Phone Microwave can send emails to the past, altering the flow of history.
Adapted from the critically acclaimed visual novel by 5pb. and Nitroplus, Steins;Gate takes Okabe through the depths of scientific theory and practicality. Forced across the diverging threads of past and present, Okabe must shoulder the burdens that come with holding the key to the realm of time.
Steins;Gate is based on 5pb. and Nitroplus’ visual novel of the same name.
The first episode received a preview screening in Tokyo on Sunday, March 6, 2011. Participants were chosen through an email lottery held until Monday, February 28. Two other preview screenings were held in Aichi, Nagoya’s Gamers branch on Saturday, March 12 and Osaka, Namba’s Gamers branch on Sunday, March 13. Tickets for those two events were given out to people who pre-ordered and paid either the opening or ending single. The show was also streamed on NicoNicoDouga on April 3. The regular television broadcast started on April 6, 2011.
#17 Soul Eater
Japanese Title: ソウルイーター
Aired: Apr 7, 2008 to Mar 30, 2009
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Shounen, Supernatural
Death City is home to the famous Shibusen, a technical academy headed by the Shinigami–Lord Death himself. Its mission: to raise “Death Scythes” for the Shinigami to wield against the many evils of their fantastical world. These Death Scythes, however, are not made from physical weapons; rather, they are born from human hybrids who have the ability to transform their bodies into Demon Weapons, and only after they have consumed the souls of 99 evil beings and one witch’s soul.
Soul Eater Evans, a Demon Scythe who only seems to care about what’s cool, aims to become a Death Scythe with the help of his straight-laced wielder, or meister, Maka Albarn. The contrasting duo work and study alongside the hot headed Black☆Star and his caring weapon Tsubaki, as well as the Shinigami’s own son, Death the Kid, an obsessive-compulsive dual wielder of twin pistols Patty and Liz.
Soul Eater follows these students of Shibusen as they take on missions to collect souls and protect the city from the world’s threats while working together under the snickering sun to become sounder in mind, body, and soul.
#16 Blue Exorcist
Japanese Title: 青の祓魔師(エクソシスト)
Studio: A-1 Pictures
Aired: Apr 17, 2011 to Oct 2, 2011
Genre: Action, Demons, Fantasy, Shounen, Supernatural
Humans and demons are two sides of the same coin, as are Assiah and Gehenna, their respective worlds. The only way to travel between the realms is by the means of possession, like in ghost stories. However, Satan, the ruler of Gehenna, cannot find a suitable host to possess and therefore, remains imprisoned in his world. In a desperate attempt to conquer Assiah, he sends his son instead, intending for him to eventually grow into a vessel capable of possession by the demon king.
Ao no Exorcist follows Rin Okumura who appears to be an ordinary, somewhat troublesome teenager—that is until one day he is ambushed by demons. His world turns upside down when he discovers that he is in fact the very son of Satan and that his demon father wishes for him to return so they can conquer Assiah together. Not wanting to join the king of Gehenna, Rin decides to begin training to become an exorcist so that he can fight to defend Assiah alongside his brother Yukio.
Ao no Exorcist was licensed by Aniplex and simulcasted in North America. Due to the fact that the source material is on-going, the anime adaption of Ao no Exorcist diverges from it at key points, leading to an anime-exclusive ending.
#15 Cowboy Bebop
Aired: Apr 3, 1998 to Apr 24, 1999
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi, Adventure, Space, Comedy, Drama
In the year 2071, humanity has colonized several of the planets and moons of the solar system leaving the now uninhabitable surface of planet Earth behind. The Inter Solar System Police attempts to keep peace in the galaxy, aided in part by outlaw bounty hunters, referred to as “Cowboys”. The ragtag team aboard the spaceship Bebop are two such individuals.
Mellow and carefree Spike Spiegel is balanced by his boisterous, pragmatic partner Jet Black as the pair makes a living chasing bounties and collecting rewards. Thrown off course by the addition of new members that they meet in their travels—Ein, a genetically engineered, highly intelligent Welsh Corgi; femme fatale Faye Valentine, an enigmatic trickster with memory loss; and the strange computer whiz kid Edward Wong—the crew embarks on thrilling adventures that unravel each member’s dark and mysterious past little by little.
Well-balanced with high density action and light-hearted comedy, Cowboy Bebop is a space Western classic and an homage to the smooth and improvised music it is named after.
When Cowboy Bebop first aired in spring of 1998 on TV Tokyo, only episodes 2, 3, 7-15, and 18 were broadcast, it was concluded with a recap special known as Yose Atsume Blues. This was due to anime censorship having increased following the big controversies over Evangelion, as a result most of the series was pulled from the air due to violent content. Satellite channel WOWOW picked up the series in the fall of that year and aired it in its entirety uncensored. Cowboy Bebop was not a ratings hit in Japan, but sold over 19,000 DVD units in the initial release run, and 81,000 overall. Protagonist Spike Spiegel won Best Male Character, and Megumi Hayashibara won Best Voice Actor for her role as Faye Valentine in the 1999 and 2000 Anime Grand Prix, respectively.
Cowboy Bebop‘s biggest influence has been in the United States, where it premiered on Adult Swim in 2001 with many reruns since. The show’s heavy Western influence struck a chord with American viewers, where it became a “gateway drug” to anime aimed at adult audiences.
#14 Tokyo Ghoul
Japanese Title: 東京喰種-トーキョーグール-
Studio: Studio Pierrot
Aired: Jul 4, 2014 to Sep 19, 2014
Genre: Action, Mystery, Horror, Psychological, Supernatural, Drama, Seinen
Tokyo has become a cruel and merciless city—a place where vicious creatures called “ghouls” exist alongside humans. The citizens of this once great metropolis live in constant fear of these bloodthirsty savages and their thirst for human flesh. However, the greatest threat these ghouls pose is their dangerous ability to masquerade as humans and blend in with society.
Based on the best-selling supernatural horror manga by Sui Ishida, Tokyo Ghoul follows Ken Kaneki, a shy, bookish college student, who is instantly drawn to Rize Kamishiro, an avid reader like himself. However, Rize is not exactly who she seems, and this unfortunate meeting pushes Kaneki into the dark depths of the ghouls’ inhuman world. In a twist of fate, Kaneki is saved by the enigmatic waitress Touka Kirishima, and thus begins his new, secret life as a half-ghoul/half-human who must find a way to integrate into both societies.
#13 HunterxHunter (2011)
Japanese Title: HUNTER×HUNTER ハンターハンター
Studio: Toei Animation
Aired: Oct 2, 2011 to Sep 24, 2014
Genre: Action, Adventure, Super Power, Shounen
Hunter x Hunter is set in a world where Hunters exist to perform all manner of dangerous tasks like capturing criminals and bravely searching for lost treasures in uncharted territories. Twelve-year-old Gon Freecss is determined to become the best Hunter possible in hopes of finding his father, who was a Hunter himself and had long ago abandoned his young son. However, Gon soon realizes the path to achieving his goals is far more challenging than he could have ever imagined.
Along the way to becoming an official Hunter, Gon befriends the lively doctor-in-training Leorio, vengeful Kurapika, and rebellious ex-assassin Killua. To attain their own goals and desires, together the four of them take the Hunter Exam, notorious for its low success rate and high probability of death. Throughout their journey, Gon and his friends embark on an adventure that puts them through many hardships and struggles. They will meet a plethora of monsters, creatures, and characters—all while learning what being a Hunter truly means.
#12 Full Metal Alchemist
Japanese Title: 鋼の錬金術師
Studio: Toei Animation
Aired: Oct 4, 2003 to Oct 2, 2004
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Magic, Military, Shounen
Edward Elric, a young, brilliant alchemist, has lost much in his twelve-year life: when he and his brother Alphonse try to resurrect their dead mother through the forbidden act of human transmutation, Edward loses his brother as well as two of his limbs. With his supreme alchemy skills, Edward binds Alphonse’s soul to a large suit of armor.
A year later, Edward, now promoted to the fullmetal alchemist of the state, embarks on a journey with his younger brother to obtain the Philosopher’s Stone. The fabled mythical object is rumored to be capable of amplifying an alchemist’s abilities by leaps and bounds, thus allowing them to override the fundamental law of alchemy: to gain something, an alchemist must sacrifice something of equal value. Edward hopes to draw into the military’s resources to find the fabled stone and restore his and Alphonse’s bodies to normal. However, the Elric brothers soon discover that there is more to the legendary stone than meets the eye, as they are led to the epicenter of a far darker battle than they could have ever imagined.
Fullmetal Alchemist won the TV Feature Award in the 9th Animation Kobe Awards and was one of the Jury Recommended Works in the 2004 Japan Media Arts Festival in the anime division.
As the manga was still on-going at the time, the anime midway through diverged from the manga. This led to it having an anime-only ending, unlike Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood which would air years later.
On July 31, 2016, FUNimation Entertainment’s license to the series expired.
#11 One Piece (US)
Japanese Title: N/A
Studio: Toei Animation
Aired: Oct 20, 1999 to Present
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Shounen, Super Power
Gol D. Roger was known as the “Pirate King,” the strongest and most infamous being to have sailed the Grand Line. The capture and death of Roger by the World Government brought a change throughout the world. His last words before his death revealed the existence of the greatest treasure in the world, One Piece. It was this revelation that brought about the Grand Age of Pirates, men who dreamed of finding One Piece—which promises an unlimited amount of riches and fame—and quite possibly the pinnacle of glory and the title of the Pirate King.
Enter Monkey D. Luffy, a 17-year-old boy who defies your standard definition of a pirate. Rather than the popular persona of a wicked, hardened, toothless pirate ransacking villages for fun, Luffy’s reason for being a pirate is one of pure wonder: the thought of an exciting adventure that leads him to intriguing people and ultimately, the promised treasure. Following in the footsteps of his childhood hero, Luffy and his crew travel across the Grand Line, experiencing crazy adventures, unveiling dark mysteries and battling strong enemies, all in order to reach the most coveted of all fortunes—One Piece.
Several anime-original arcs have been adapted into light novels, and the series has inspired 40 video games as of 2016.
#10 Code Geass
Japanese Title: コードギアス 反逆のルルーシュ
Aired: Oct 6, 2006 to Jul 29, 2007
Genre: Action, Military, Sci-Fi, Super Power, Mecha, School
In the year 2010, the Holy Empire of Britannia is establishing itself as a dominant military nation, starting with the conquest of Japan. Renamed to Area 11 after its swift defeat, Japan has seen significant resistance against these tyrants in an attempt to regain independence.
Lelouch Lamperouge, exiled prince of Britannia, unfortunately finds himself caught in a crossfire between the two nations’ armed forces. He is able to escape, however, thanks to the timely appearance of a mysterious girl named C.C., who bestows upon him Geass, the “Power of Kings.” Realizing the vast potential of his newfound “power of absolute obedience,” Lelouch embarks upon a perilous journey as the masked vigilante known as Zero, leading a merciless onslaught against Britannia in order to get revenge once and for all.
Code Geass: Hangyaku no Lelouch is an original anime series by Sunrise animation studio with original character designs by the all-female Japanese manga artist group Clamp. Manga and light novels based off the show have been published by Kadokawa Shoten. The show has sold millions of DVDs and Blu-ray volumes and is extremely popular in both Japan and North America. The show is known for its multi-genre appeal and for its diverse cast of characters who face many moral dilemmas over the course of the series.
The last two episodes received a pre-airing on an event, July 21, 2007. Regular broadcasting was on July 29, 2007.
The series won: “The Best Anime TV Series” award at the 2007 Tokyo International Anime Fair, “The Best TV animation” award at the twelfth Animation Kobe, and “The Most Popular Anime” award at the Animage ’s 29th Annual Anime Grand Prix.
Japanese Title: BLEACH – ブリーチ –
Studio: Satelight, A-1 Pictures
Aired: Oct 12, 2009 to Mar 30, 2013
Genre: Action, Comedy, Super Power, Supernatural, Shounen
Ichigo Kurosaki is an ordinary high schooler—until his family is attacked by a Hollow, a corrupt spirit that seeks to devour human souls. It is then that he meets a Soul Reaper named Rukia Kuchiki, who gets injured while protecting Ichigo’s family from the assailant. To save his family, Ichigo accepts Rukia’s offer of taking her powers and becomes a Soul Reaper as a result.
However, as Rukia is unable to regain her powers, Ichigo is given the daunting task of hunting down the Hollows that plague their town. However, he is not alone in his fight, as he is later joined by his friends—classmates Orihime Inoue, Yasutora Sado, and Uryuu Ishida—who each have their own unique abilities. As Ichigo and his comrades get used to their new duties and support each other on and off the battlefield, the young Soul Reaper soon learns that the Hollows are not the only real threat to the human world.
Bleach adapts the first 54 volumes of Tite Kubo’s manga series of the same name. In addition, 4 anime-original arcs were broadcast in-between and during the adaptations of original arcs of the manga.
#8 Fairy Tail
Japanese Title: フェアリーテイル
Studio: Satelight, A-1 Pictures
Aired: Oct 12, 2009 to Mar 30, 2013
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Magic, Fantasy, Shounen
In the mystical land of Fiore, magic exists as an essential part of everyday life. Countless magic guilds lie at the core of all magical activity, and serve as venues for like-minded mages to band together and take on job requests. Among them, Fairy Tail stands out from the rest as a place of strength, spirit, and family.
Lucy Heartfilia is a young mage searching for celestial gate keys, and her dream is to become a full-fledged wizard by joining this famous guild. In her search, she runs into Natsu Dragneel and his partner Happy, who are on a quest to find Natsu’s foster father, the dragon Igneel.
Upon being tricked by a man, Lucy falls under an abduction attempt, only to be saved by Natsu. To her shock, he reveals that he is a member of Fairy Tail and invites her to join them. There, Lucy meets the guild’s strange members, such as the ice wizard Gray Fullbuster and magic swordswoman Erza Scarlet. Together as a family, they battle the forces of evil, help those in need, and gain new friends, all the while enjoying the never-ending adventure that is Fairy Tail.
Fairy Tail won Animax Asia’s Anime of the Year Award in 2010, and the Best Japanese Anime Award and Best French Dubbing Award at the 19th Anime & Manga Grand Prix in 2012.
Japanese Title: ナルト
Studio: Studio Pierrot
Aired: Oct 3, 2002 to Feb 8, 2007
Genre: Action, Comedy, Super Power, Martial Arts, Shounen
Moments prior to Naruto Uzumaki’s birth, a huge demon known as the Kyuubi, the Nine-Tailed Fox, attacked Konohagakure, the Hidden Leaf Village, and wreaked havoc. In order to put an end to the Kyuubi’s rampage, the leader of the village, the Fourth Hokage, sacrificed his life and sealed the monstrous beast inside the newborn Naruto.
Now, Naruto is a hyperactive and knuckle-headed ninja still living in Konohagakure. Shunned because of the Kyuubi inside him, Naruto struggles to find his place in the village, while his burning desire to become the Hokage of Konohagakure leads him not only to some great new friends, but also some deadly foes.
Naruto received numerous awards during its airing, including the “Best Full-Length Animation Program Award” in the Third UStv Awards and the 38th “Best Animated Show” in IGN’s Top 100 Animated Series.
#6 Dragon Ball Z
Japanese Title: ドラゴンボールZ
Studio: Toei Animation
Aired: Apr 26, 1989 to Jan 31, 1996
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Martial Arts, Shounen, Super Power
Five years after winning the World Martial Arts tournament, Gokuu is now living a peaceful life with his wife and son. This changes, however, with the arrival of a mysterious enemy named Raditz who presents himself as Gokuu’s long-lost brother. He reveals that Gokuu is a warrior from the once powerful but now virtually extinct Saiyan race, whose homeworld was completely annihilated. When he was sent to Earth as a baby, Gokuu’s sole purpose was to conquer and destroy the planet; but after suffering amnesia from a head injury, his violent and savage nature changed, and instead was raised as a kind and well-mannered boy, now fighting to protect others.
With his failed attempt at forcibly recruiting Gokuu as an ally, Raditz warns Gokuu’s friends of a new threat that’s rapidly approaching Earth—one that could plunge Earth into an intergalactic conflict and cause the heavens themselves to shake. A war will be fought over the seven mystical dragon balls, and only the strongest will survive in Dragon Ball Z.
The U.S. version is a dubbed alternative version of the Original Japanese anime. For example, blood has been taken out, beer is called root-beer, dead is called “Another Universe” and people emigrate before the destroying of cities. (Source: YouTube movie – Anime History Day)
The U.S. version edited and compiled the original for a reduced episode count of 276, instead of the original 291. The proper episode count was later restored on the uncut “Orange Brick” Season Set releases by FUNimation Entertainment released from 2006 to 2009. Additionally, the North American “Orange Brick” Season Sets as well as the Season Set Blu-rays crop the show from its original 4:3 aspect ratio to 16:9. The only complete 4:3 release ever released in English were the Dragon Boxes which have long since gone out of print.
#5 Sword Art Online
Japanese Title: ソードアート・オンライン
Studio: A-1 Pictures
Aired: Jul 8, 2012 to Dec 23, 2012
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Game, Romance
In the year 2022, virtual reality has progressed by leaps and bounds, and a massive online role-playing game called Sword Art Online (SAO) is launched. With the aid of “NerveGear” technology, players can control their avatars within the game using nothing but their own thoughts.
Kazuto Kirigaya, nicknamed “Kirito,” is among the lucky few enthusiasts who get their hands on the first shipment of the game. He logs in to find himself, with ten-thousand others, in the scenic and elaborate world of Aincrad, one full of fantastic medieval weapons and gruesome monsters. However, in a cruel turn of events, the players soon realize they cannot log out; the game’s creator has trapped them in his new world until they complete all one hundred levels of the game.
In order to escape Aincrad, Kirito will now have to interact and cooperate with his fellow players. Some are allies, while others are foes, like Asuna Yuuki, who commands the leading group attempting to escape from the ruthless game. To make matters worse, Sword Art Online is not all fun and games: if they die in Aincrad, they die in real life. Kirito must adapt to his new reality, fight for his survival, and hopefully break free from his virtual hell.
Sword Art Online adapts the first 4 novels of Reki Kawahara’s light novel series of the same name.
The first episode received an early screening at the Tokyo International Forum Hall C on June 24, 2012. The regular TV broadcast started July 8, 2012.
#4 Naruto Shippuden
Japanese Title: ナルト- 疾風伝
Studio: Studio Pierrot
Aired: Feb 15, 2007 to Mar 23, 2017
Genre: Action, Comedy, Super Power, Martial Arts, Shounen
It has been two and a half years since Naruto Uzumaki left Konohagakure, the Hidden Leaf Village, for intense training following events which fueled his desire to be stronger. Now Akatsuki, the mysterious organization of elite rogue ninja, is closing in on their grand plan which may threaten the safety of the entire shinobi world.
Although Naruto is older and sinister events loom on the horizon, he has changed little in personality—still rambunctious and childish—though he is now far more confident and possesses an even greater determination to protect his friends and home. Come whatever may, Naruto will carry on with the fight for what is important to him, even at the expense of his own body, in the continuation of the saga about the boy who wishes to become Hokage.
Naruto received numerous awards during its airing, including the “Best Full-Length Animation Program Award” in the Third UStv Awards and the 38th “Best Animated Show” in IGN’s Top 100 Animated Series.
#3 Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
Japanese Title: 鋼の錬金術師
Genre: Action, Military, Adventure, Drama, Magic, Fantasy, Shounen
“In order for something to be obtained, something of equal value must be lost.”
Alchemy is bound by this Law of Equivalent Exchange—something the young brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric only realize after attempting human transmutation: the one forbidden act of alchemy. They pay a terrible price for their transgression—Edward loses his left leg, Alphonse his physical body. It is only by the desperate sacrifice of Edward’s right arm that he is able to affix Alphonse’s soul to a suit of armor. Devastated and alone, it is the hope that they would both eventually return to their original bodies that gives Edward the inspiration to obtain metal limbs called “automail” and become a state alchemist, the Fullmetal Alchemist.
Three years of searching later, the brothers seek the Philosopher’s Stone, a mythical relic that allows an alchemist to overcome the Law of Equivalent Exchange. Even with military allies Colonel Roy Mustang, Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye, and Lieutenant Colonel Maes Hughes on their side, the brothers find themselves caught up in a nationwide conspiracy that leads them not only to the true nature of the elusive Philosopher’s Stone, but their country’s murky history as well. In between finding a serial killer and racing against time, Edward and Alphonse must ask themselves if what they are doing will make them human again… or take away their humanity.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is an alternate retelling of Hiromu Arakawa’s Fullmetal Alchemist manga that is closer to the source material than the previous 2003 adaptation, this time covering the entire story.
On March 31, 2016, FUNimation Entertainment’s license to the series expired.
#2 Attack On Titan
Japanese Title: 進撃の巨人
Studio: Wit Studio
Aired: Apr 7, 2013 to Sep 29, 2013
Genre: Action, Super Power, Drama, Fantasy, Shounen
Centuries ago, mankind was slaughtered to near extinction by monstrous humanoid creatures called titans, forcing humans to hide in fear behind enormous concentric walls. What makes these giants truly terrifying is that their taste for human flesh is not born out of hunger but what appears to be out of pleasure. To ensure their survival, the remnants of humanity began living within defensive barriers, resulting in one hundred years without a single titan encounter. However, that fragile calm is soon shattered when a colossal titan manages to breach the supposedly impregnable outer wall, reigniting the fight for survival against the man-eating abominations.
After witnessing a horrific personal loss at the hands of the invading creatures, Eren Yeager dedicates his life to their eradication by enlisting into the Survey Corps, an elite military unit that combats the merciless humanoids outside the protection of the walls. Based on Hajime Isayama’s award-winning manga, Shingeki no Kyojin follows Eren, along with his adopted sister Mikasa Ackerman and his childhood friend Armin Arlert, as they join the brutal war against the titans and race to discover a way of defeating them before the last walls are breached.
Shingeki no Kyojin adapts content from the first 8 volumes of Hajime Isayama’s award-winning manga of the same name.
The last episode received a pre-airing in Tokyo, Marunouchi Piccadilly 1 theater on Saturday, September 28, 2013. TV broadcast took place after midnight, a few hours later.
#1 Death Note
Japanese Title: デスノート
Aired: Oct 4, 2006 to Jun 27, 2007
Genre: Mystery, Police, Psychological, Supernatural, Thriller
Shinigami, as a god of death, can kill any person—provided they see their victim’s face and write their victim’s name in a notebook called a Death Note. One day, Ryuk, bored by the shinigami lifestyle and interested in seeing how a human would use a Death Note, drops one into the human realm.
High school student and prodigy Light Yagami stumbles upon the Death Note and—since he deplores the state of the world—tests the deadly notebook by writing a criminal’s name in it. When the criminal dies immediately following his experiment with the Death Note, Light is greatly surprised and quickly recognizes how devastating the power that has fallen into his hands could be.
With this divine capability, Light decides to extinguish all criminals in order to build a new world where crime does not exist and people worship him as a god. Police, however, quickly discover that a serial killer is targeting criminals and, consequently, try to apprehend the culprit. To do this, the Japanese investigators count on the assistance of the best detective in the world: a young and eccentric man known only by the name of L.
Death Note has been adapted into live action films, TV dramas, video games, light novels and a musical composed by a Broadway composer. It is licensed in North America by Viz Media.