After watching many of the best anime series of all time, and rewatching some of my favorites, I’m fairly confident in providing my take on what I found to be my personal favorites. Even as I type that sentence, I realize that it wouldn’t agree with many others, with each fan having their own personal favorites.
Anime, referring to animated productions made in Japan, is said to have first come about more than 105 years ago in 1917. But the popularity of the Japanese art form wasn’t as widespread until the 1960s when the first anime was broadcast on television. This honor belongs to Astro Boy (a.k.a. Mighty Atom). Today, there are 100s of new anime series broadcast every year, only growing in popularity with each passing year
have a special relation to each of the series selected. Not only did they draw me in, each for their reasons, but the art styles, voice acting, music and score, difficult themes, and thought-provoking nature of many of them are what make them stand out to me. I could have watched each of these shows more than once, with the second watching providing a lot more appreciation for each.
Looking for good anime to watch? We’ve got you.
After discovering a notebook capable of killing people when their names are written into it, the series revolves around a highly intelligent high school student, Light Yagami. Death Note is based on a manga of the same name, which ran between 2003 and 2006.
The show is popular largely in part thanks to its mystery and horror genre themes. It’s enjoyed by both Japanese and international audiences. The story is relatively short, spanning less than 40 episodes, making it concise and to the point without deviating too much, which can often happen with extended series.
In a not-too-distant future, Major Motoko Kusanagi, or simply just Major, and her group of officers as part of the Public Security Section 9 fight high crime around Japan. Ghost in the Shell is set in 2030 when science and technology have advanced allowing humans to become cyborgs with varying abilities to help humanity progress. However, Japanese syndicates have started to use these to their advantage.
Ghost in the Shell has inspired a generation of other anime, TV series, and movies thanks to its concepts and art style, directed by Mamoru Oshii. While its live-action movie may not have received similar praise, it remains one of the best anime series of all time.
Rurouni Kenshin is an anime based on a wandering swordsman who attempts to put his tormented past behind him. It takes place in Japan’s Meiji era with a glimpse into the life of people during that time. After stumbling upon a struggling martial arts school, he decides to help out, trying to live a simple life but turns out to be anything but.
The series takes on a wide range of topics, but there’s an underlying tone of remaining humble and giving of yourself to help those less fortunate and in need. There are numerous adventures in the series packed with great action with an anime style that pairs brilliantly. It’s just an all-around great story.
Re: Zero starts off simple enough, but quickly turns into a series based on time loops, character development, and unique villains. The adventure isn’t linear, and the time loops don’t always follow the expected path once reset.
The lead character, Subaru, is thrown into another world, Isekai, with his adventures kicking off after a chance encounter with the heroine, Emilia. It has quite a lot of comedic undertones, with Subaru, an anime fan, initially trying to predict all that will happen in his surroundings based on his experience watching anime. But things don’t turn out this way for him.
Steins; Gate is in the top 10 highest-ranked anime series of all time across many of the rating platforms. This isn’t the only reason it deserves its spot on my list. Its sci-fi and time-travel themes are one of the best around, across TV and film. The show takes place in Akihabara, Tokyo, which is a location for many fans to visit.
Rintaro Okabe, a university student, discovers time travel, and along with his fellow co-workers at Future Gadget Laboratory, must try to prevent an evil corporation from fulfilling its plans. There are several plot twists and surprise moments to keep you tuned in episode after episode
The anime series is split into two series, Fullmetal Alchemist and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. The series is based on a manga series, which both shows follow fairly closely at the start. The former, however, proceeded to its end without the manga series having concluded, much the same as Game of Thrones. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is based on the entirety of the completed manga.
After an attempt to revive their deceased mother using alchemy, two brothers are badly inflicted when it goes horribly wrong. The older brother, Edward, loses his arm, while his younger brother, Alphonse, loses his entire body, and takes the form of metal armor to save him from death. Reviving someone from the dead is a huge taboo in the world of alchemy, with serious consequences, as the results prove. They set out in search of the Philosopher’s Stone in an attempt to right their wrongs.
But this is just the start of a wild adventure for the duo. As they leave their small hometown, they’re thrust into a world much bigger than them, having to overcome quite a lot of challenges and also prevent an evil group from also finding the Philosopher’s Stone to achieve their goals.
After a chance encounter, Fuu, a teenage waitress working in a teahouse, rescues two master swordsmen, Mugen and Jin, who have been arrested by the Japanese police after their battle inadvertently result in the death of the son of the local magistrate. At the time, the son was harassing Fuu, who saves the duo as a result of assisting her. She asks the two to accompany her across Japan in pursuit of the Samurai who smells of sunflowers, and this is where the adventure really begins.
The show takes place in Edo-era Japan. What’s great about that is that Samurai Champloo attempts to be historically accurate with the period, not just in the lifestyles, but also in the events that take place, in which the characters happen to be indirectly involved.
It’s an easy-going anime series that’s funny and, at times, over-the-top. But its art style and comedic elements make it an easy watch for first-time anime watchers.
Samurai Champloo is also only one of three anime shows my fiancé has indevoured to watch through its entirety. The hip-hop music themes are also relatable, bringing a unique style along with it, to accompany the great sword battles throughout the series.
The story of Saitama, a hero that does it just for fun & can defeat his enemies with a single punch.
In a world of superhuman beings, Saitama is a unique hero, he can defeat enemies with a single punch. But being just one hero in a world filled with them, his life is empty and hollow: he gets no respect from anyone, he displays a laidback attitude to everything, and for the most part, he finds his overall hero life pointless… and worst of all, he lost his hair due to intense training. These are the adventures of an ordinary yet extraordinary hero.
Follows the life of an average hero who manages to win all of his punches with one punch! This ends up being the cause of a lot of frustration as he no longer feels the thrill and adrenaline of fighting a tough battle. Maybe all of his rigorous training to become strong wasn’t worth it. After all, what’s so good about having an overwhelming power?
A decade ago, a mysterious anomaly known as Heaven’s Gate appeared over the majority of South America. Soon after, another of these appeared in Tokyo, known as Hell’s Gate, which altered the sky and wreaked havoc on the surrounding area. As a result of this, the stars in the sky disappeared, replaced with fake stars. Each of these fake stars is linked to people who possess special abilities, known as Contractors.
These Contractors have been found and trained by various governments to utilize as spies and assassins. However, whenever they use their abilities, they have to “pay the price”, which comes in various forms, eating excessively, doing self-harm, changing their bodies, and the like. The powers come at the cost of their humanity, murdering through objectives and rationale, suppressing any emotional and other human hindrances to stop them from achieving their goals.
Darker Than Black is one of my all-time favorite anime series. It’s highly rated by many but doesn’t often appear on many lists, unfortunately. I love the show and it requires at least two series watches to appreciate all the details and meaning extracted from the show. It may be a relatively short span of episodes, but isn’t an easy watch, especially for any new anime fans. Despite the Contractor’s lack of humanity, Hei, the lead character, is a slight contradiction of this, battling against other Contractors through a group known as the Syndicate.
Attack on Titan is the only series on the list that is still ongoing. The series is based on a manga released in 2009 with the first episode airing in 2013. After eight years, the show is in its final season, due to end within the next month or so. The story starts off on Paradis Island, where its inhabitants have built huge walls to protect themselves from attacks from mindless titans.
Things quickly take a turn for the worse when two titans break through the walls, sparking a war that spans almost 13 years from the start of the series. Eren Yeager and Mikasa Ackerman join the Survey Corps as they seek revenge on the titans after destroying their home and eating Eren’s mother. But what starts off as a simple battle against titans, there is a lot to uncover beyond the walls. Having initially thought of themselves as the last humans, there’s, even more, to discover further across the oceans.
Even beyond the show, there is a lot to unpack. There’s rich lore that has the potential to be explored beyond the show’s episodes, with just as many questions. The plot twists are crazy with bombshells at almost every turn. The voice actors do a great job for both the Japanese and English dubs, making the emotional connection that brings me back for more.
my favorite anime of all time
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