Based on your experience, you might think that anime is a relatively new phenomenon, but it is a fact that anime is more than a century old. Still, the rise of anime began with Osamu Tezuka in the 1960s and continued on until it peaked during the 1980s and 1990s, thanks to shows like Dragon Ball and Neon Genesis Evangelion. The emergence of the “Big Three” in the 2000s cemented that rise and today, anime is one of the most popular art genres in existence. In order to honor the popularity of anime, we have decided to bring you a list of the 33 best anime series of all time; since it is impossible to rank such shows properly, we are just going to list them and you can create your own rankings based on that. So, let’s look at the best anime series of all time.
Best Anime of All Time
Original Run: October 5, 2004 – March 27, 2012
Number of Episodes: 366
Bleach is a must watch shonen anime series. Ichigo Kurosaki is a young man gifted with the ability to see spirits. His life undergoes a drastic change when a Shinigami named Rukia Kuchiki crosses his path in search of a Hollow. During the battle with the spirit, Rukia is seriously injured and is forced to transfer part of her powers to Ichigo, who accepts the Shinigami’s proposal in an attempt to protect her family.
However, during the transfer process, something goes wrong and Ichigo absorbs all of Rukia’s powers, becoming a full-fledged shinigami. Meanwhile, Ichigo replaces Rukia in her duties as Shinigami, battling the Hollows and leading the souls to the realm of the afterlife, known as the Soul Society. Bleach is easily one of the best japanese anime of all time and features some of the most memorable characters.
Original Run: October 3, 2002 – March 23, 2017
Number of Episodes: 720
The story begins during Naruto’s adolescence, around the age of twelve. The orphan dunce and great prankster, he does all possible stupid things to get noticed. His dream: to become the best Hokage in order to be recognized by the inhabitants of his village. Indeed, the nine-tailed fox demon sealed within him has fueled the fear and contempt of the other villagers, who, over time, no longer differentiate between Kyūbi and Naruto.
Easily the greatest anime series on this list that every fan of the art needs to watch. Honorable mention has to be Naruto Shippuden series. Naruto Shippuden is an adaptation of Part II of the original Naruto shonen series and features our best-known and memorable characters.
3. One Piece
Original Run: October 20, 1999 – present
Number of Episodes: 1011
Originally a manga, One piece follows events Twenty-two years after Gol D. Roger’s execution, the interest in the One Piece treasure is waning. Many have given up on it, some even wonder if it really exists. Although pirates are still a threat to the locals, the Navy has become more effective in countering their attacks on all four seas: East Blue, North Blue, West Blue, and South Blue.
However, this change did not deter Monkey D. Luffy, a young boy, from wanting to become the successor to the legendary Roger. He will thus set off on an adventure, giving himself the first objective of creating a crew in order to reach the Grand Line sea, where the fever of the “great wave of piracy” continues to rage, and where many big names in the piracy are in pursuit of the One Piece, supposed to be on the last island of this great sea, Laugh Tale. One piece features memorable characters, a great animation style, and a pirate captain, and is considered a tv series with most episodes out there. A must-watch for all fans of the genre.
4. Dragon Ball
Original Run: April 26, 1989 – January 31, 1996
Number of Episodes: 291
Originally a Manga series, Dragon Ball anime tells the story of Son Goku, a little boy who is very good at martial arts, and who has a mysterious monkey tail. He meets a young woman named Bulma, and the two go together in search of the Dragon Balls (seven magic crystal balls which allow, if they are united, to invoke the dragon Shenron, then offering to grant the wish of the one who pronounces a specific formula in front of him), meeting many adversaries along the way (most of them being competitors in the quest for the famous Dragon balls, often with selfish or even evil intentions), some of whom later become allies, such as Yamcha or Ten Chin Han.
With another young boy named Krillin, he follows a very rigorous training with Kamé Sennin known as “Turtle Master”, a renowned martial arts master, hiding great power under his appearance as a lecherous old man, who prepares his two disciples for the Grand Tournament. martial arts (Tenkaichi Budokai). More and more formidable enemies appear, until the incarnation of Evil in the form of the Demon Piccolo. If you haven’t been living under a rock all these years you have surely heard of Dragon Ball and its memorable well-developed characters. Honorable mention is Dragon Ball Z anime.
5. Jujutsu Kaisen
Original Run: October 3, 2020 – March 27, 2021
Number of Episodes: 24
Anime fans are surely familiar with Jujutsu Kaisen and its slightly diabolic characters. The plot of Jujutsu Kaisen is similar to JoJo’s Bizarre adventure and takes place in a world where plagues are created from the negative emotions of Humans. Thus, to protect places with a high concentration of these emotions such as schools or hospitals, these infrastructures have a relic, receptacle of a plague, because we can only fight against plagues with a more powerful plague.
These are invisible to human eyes except for a handful of people, for example, exorcists. The exorcist’s job is to eliminate the plagues and thus protect the people from them, but this is not without risks, because these plagues can be more or less powerful. Best shonen anime you should be watching!
Original Run: January 8, 2016 – March 25, 2016
Number of Episodes: 12
The 29-year-old manga writer and anime fan Satoru Fujinuma has the ability to travel back in time. If a life-threatening situation for a person arises in his environment, he is suddenly sometime earlier and has the opportunity to avert the danger. However, he cannot consciously use the ability. When his mother, Sachiko Fujinuma, recognizes a serial killer and tries to call in the police, she is murdered and found by her son.
7. DEATH NOTE
Original Run: October 3, 2006 – June 26, 2007
Number of Episodes: 37
One more shonen anime on this list. Light Yagami is a model student, bored with his lifestyle and tired of being surrounded by a society filled with crime and corruption. His life takes a decisive turn when one day he finds on the ground a mysterious black notebook, entitled “Death Note”, which bears the following instruction: “The human whose name will be written in this notebook will die”.
Initially skeptical of his authenticity, Light changes his mind when he successfully tests the notebook on two criminals and meets the real owner of the Death Note, a shinigami named Ryuk; he then decides to use this new power to kill all criminals, eradicate evil and become the “God of the new world”.
8. Tokyo Ghoul
Original Run: July 4, 2014 – December 25, 2018
Number of Episodes: 48 (+2 OVA episodes)
The story of Tokyo Ghoul anime revolves around the student Ken Kaneki, who falls in love with a young woman named Rize Kamishiro. After meeting her, she bites his shoulder in a secluded alley and reveals that she is a ghoul, which shocks Ken.
As Rizeis about to eat Ken, several large metal poles fall on her from the construction site of a building. Roze dies in the process, while Ken is rushed to hospital with life-threatening injuries. After recovering, he is released from the hospital. On the day of his release, he finds out that he is no longer human. He looks in the mirror and shivers run down his spine because he now has one “red eye”. He realizes that Rize’s organs were transplanted into him in the hospital. Since he now owns Rize’s organs, he is a so-called and very rarely occurring “half-ghoul”.
Original Run: April 4, 2007 – September 26, 2007
Number of Episodes: 26
Claymores are half-human, half-demon warriors called upon by villagers to protect themselves from monsters such as demons. Feared and dreaded, they are distinguished by their silver eyes and the gigantic sword they carry on their backs, hence their names by humans of “silver-eyed witches” or “Claymore” (the name of the type of sword they use). Claire is one of them. Called to a village to eliminate the demons that attack and devour the population, she kills the penultimate member, who has become a monster, of an already decimated family. The last survivor, Raki, finding himself alone, then decides to follow her in her bloodthirsty adventures, as a cook. He will gradually discover the secrets and the tragic destiny of these singular women.
10. Hunter × Hunter
Original Release: October 16, 1999 – March 31, 2001 / October 2, 2011 – September 24, 2014
Number of Episodes: 62 / 148
The plot of Hunter x Hunter is pretty straightforward. Gon Freecss is twelve years old and dreams of becoming a hunter. Hunters are elite citizens authorized to do almost anything they wish on simple presentation of their membership card: they can thus acquire free of charge any object for sale on the funds of the association; requisition all vehicles, accommodation, and tools for their work; and are de facto entitled to exercise all trades in the world, being able to become bounty hunters, chefs, archaeologists, zoologists, vigilantes or consultants in various fields as well.
Hunter x Hunter is easily one of the most exciting anime on this list. There are two versions of Hunter x Hunter. The 2011 version of Hunter x Hunter is generally regarded as better due to pacing.
11. Attack on Titan
Original Run: April 7, 2013 – ongoing
Number of Episodes: 70 (+8 OVA episodes and several movies)
How can we not mention Attack on Titan, anime adapted from manga series? Many fans are arguing whether this is shonen anime or not. The plot of Attack on Titan revolves around the young Eren Jäger, his adoptive sister Mikasa Ackermann and his best friend Armin Arlert, who live together with the rest of humanity in cities that are protected by huge walls from the attacks of the so-called Titans, gigantic humanoid beings who devour people for no apparent reason.
Since this anime is full of action if you’re looking for a slice-of-life anime, this is not going to be a good fit for you. Attack on Titan is deservedly taking its spot on our list. I’m 100 % sure there’s no anime fan that missed this series.
12. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
Original Run: April 5, 2009 – July 4, 2010
Number of Episodes: 64 (+ 4 OVA)
The plot of Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood (not to be confused with Fullmetal Alchemist ) happens in the country of Amestris, a country where alchemy is elevated to the rank of universal science, two brothers, (Fullmetal Alchemist) Edward and Alphonse Elric, travel the country in search of the legendary philosopher’s stone. Their father left them and their mother, Trisha Elric, died a few years later of an illness, leaving her two young children behind.
13. Fairy Tail
Original Run: October 12, 2009 – September 29, 2019
Number of Episodes: 328
The story of this absurdly fun shonen anime focuses mainly on the missions carried out by one of the teams of the Fairy Tail guild, composed of Natsu Dragnir (fire dragon hunter), Lucy Heartfilia (constellationist), and Happy (an Exceed, blue cat that can be done appear wings, fly and speak), who will soon be joined by Erza Scarlett (knight mage) and Gray Fullbuster (Ice mage and later Ice demon hunter), two other members of the famous guild.
14. My Hero Academia
Original Run: April 3, 2016 – present
Number of Episodes: 113 (+ 5 OVA)
In a world where 80% of the world’s population has superpowers, here called “Quirks”, we follow the adventures of Izuku Midoriya, one of the few humans without Quirks. Despite this, Izuku still dreams of joining the super-heroic branch of the great Yuei academy and one day becoming one of the greatest heroes of his time.
One day, Izuku had the chance to meet his lifelong idol, All Might, the number 1 superhero. This one will bequeath to Izuku his Quirk, the One For All. My Hero Academia is one of the most famous anime out there currently. It features quirky characters, lots of comedy, and great animation if you’re a fan of the genre you should be watching this.
15. Black Clover
Original Run: October 3, 2017 – March 30, 2021
Number of Episodes: 170
Black Clover follows Asta, a determined young boy who lives with his childhood friend, Yuno, in an orphanage in Clover Kingdom. From a young age, Asta’s ambition was to become the most powerful magician in the kingdom, “Emperor-Mage”, which also inspired Yuno to want the same.
But unfortunately, Asta was born without any magical talent, while Yuno has spectacular predispositions. Asta and Yuno both vow to fight for the title of Emperor Mage. As their paths separate on the Knight-Mage route, their goal is still the same: to become the next Emperor-Mage. This is one of the most recent but exciting shonen anime on this list.
15. Ghost in the Shell
Original Run: November 18, 1995 – present
Number of Episodes: Numerous series and movies
Ghost in the Shell is a futuristic, science fiction, cyberpunk-style manga set around the 2030s. The main character is a female cyborg1, Major Motoko Kusanagi in her mobile suit. Kusanagi is part of an elite anti-criminal police section, Section 9.
The main storyline of the manga, as well as the film adapted from the manga, chronicles the hunt for a cybercriminal known as the “Puppet Master”. This cybercriminal takes control of a human’s “ghost” through the Global Digital Network, the evolution of the Internet in this universe. It can be considered action packed mecha anime that all fans recommend. This is truly one of the best anime ever when it comes to the science fiction genre.
17. One-Punch Man
Original Release: October 5, 2015 – July 2, 2019
Number of Episodes: 24 + 12 OVA
A bit of comedy on our list. Saitama is an unemployed, depressed young man with no deep purpose in his life. One day, he meets a crab man who is looking for a young boy “with a chin slit like an ass” in his words. Saitama ends up meeting this young boy and decides to save him from the crab man, whom he manages to beat with difficulty.
His disproportionate strength is a source of problems for him since he cannot find opponents of his size and is bored in his job as a hero because the fights no longer give him any sensation or adrenaline. It might not be one of the oldest anime series on this list but One Punch Man is definitely popular it’s definitely popular and has managed to gather quite a bit of fans. It’s due to comedy and a truly brilliant cast of characters.
18. Cowboy Bebop
Original Run: April 3, 1998 – June 26, 1998
Number of Episodes: 26
Cowboy bebop goes as follows, in the year 2071, the crew of the spaceship Bebop travels the solar system in search of bounties. In the slang of the time, these bounty hunters were called “cowboys”. In Cowboy bebop Most episodes revolve around a bounty; however, the focus of the story is on each character’s past and more general ancient events, which connect as the series progresses.
19. Sailor Moon
Original Run: March 7, 1992 – February 8, 1997
Usagi Tsukino is a normal fourteen-year-old, a little inclined to study and sports, a little careless, and a crybaby. Her life changes when she one day saves a black kitten from a group of kids. That same evening, the cat introduces herself to her as she enters from her bedroom window, tells her name is Luna, and gives her a pin.
Sailor Moon is regarded as one of the best japanese anime series of all time with an incredible cast of characters, it managed to draw in fans from all around the world, and in some countries, it put the anime fantasy genre in the mainstream.
Number of Episodes: 1,197
Original Run: April 1, 1997 – present
The Japanese Pokémon animated series started out as a video game rather than manga series, it follows the adventures of a young boy named Ash and his faithful Pokémon Pikachu. Ash travels the Pokémon world to obtain the supreme rank of “Pokémon Master”; to achieve this, he captures and trains Pokémon, in order to earn eight badges. The duo is often accompanied by a pair made up of another young boy and a young girl. The Pokémon anime series is easily one of the best japanese anime of all time. It surely has the most fans, and most memorable characters, and features some great comedy moments and animation!
20. Neon Genesis Evangelion
Original Run: October 4, 1995 – March 27, 1996
Number of Episodes: 26
In 2000, a gigantic explosion occurred in Antarctica. This cataclysm, officially caused by the fall of an asteroid, causes the waters to rise several tens of meters and devastates a large part of the planet, causing the death of two billion people as well as a new world war.
To combat them, the secret organization NERV has developed the “Evangelion” (or “EVA”), humanoid giants of mechanical appearance (main character). Shinji Ikari, a 14-year-old boy, goes to Tokyo-3 at the invitation of his father, the director of NERV, whom he has not seen for ten years. Little did he know that he was called to pilot an EVA and take part in the fight against the “Third Angel”.
21. Digimon Adventure
Original Run: March 7, 1999 – March 26, 2000
This japanese series initially tells the story of seven protagonists, more precisely Digidestined characters, named Taichi “Tai” Kamiya, Sora Takenouchi, Yamato “Matt” Ishida, Takeru “T.K.” Takaishi, Koushiro “Izzy” Izumi, Mimi Tachikawa and Joe Kido. As they pass the time in their summer camp, snow accompanied by mysterious small objects falls from the sky.
22. Dragon Ball Z
The original will always stay dear and near to our hearts, but fans seem to enjoy both original and Dragon Ball Z almost equally. If you like sizzling action scenes but care a lot less about character development and appropriate pacing Dragon Ball Z might just be what you are looking for. Even though Dragon Ball Z might be considered drastically different with the same cast of characters, It still deserves the spot on our list of best anime.
23. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
This shonen fantasy anime series revolves around members of the Joestar family – “JoJo’s”, who bear star-shaped birthmarks that mark them as powerful users of ancient and magical martial arts techniques. The series itself can be broken apart into 9 major Arcs. The first season follows Jonathan Joestar, the second season follows Joseph Joestar, the third season follows several Joestar descendants, the fourth season follows Josuke Highashikata, and the fifth season follows Giorno Giovana. World of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventures is much like our own world except it’s filled with supernatural activity. Much like many other anime the characters in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure can use their inner energy and transform it into various combat techniques such as Sutando and Hamon. If you’re a fan of action anime JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is a perfect fit for you.
24. Code Geass
A new japanese anime on this list. Code Geass is an anime series set in the future where Japan is divided into two countries: Britannia and Japan. The story is set on an alternative Earth where the reigning superpower is the Holy Britannian Empire. Lelouch vi Britannia is an exiled prince living in Japan. One day he gets caught up in a terrorist attack where he meets a mysterious girl called C.C. who grants him the power of Geass. It allows him to command anyone to do whatever he wants and thus stages a rebellion to overthrow the Britannian Empire. If you’re a fan of intriguing and action-packed anime, Code Geass is a perfect fit for you.
25. Steins Gate
One more new anime adaptation on this list. Steins Gate ‘s story follows Rintaro Okabe, a mad scientist who in an exciting turn of events discovers that time travel is real. The key to the time-traveling phenomenon? His own microwave Owen! Our main character Rintaro Okabe along with his friends eventually learns that the future can be manipulated by sending so-called “D-mails”. SERN, a fictional organization based on CERN, eventually finds out and kills Mayuri, one of our cast members. Rintaro goes back in time and tries to stop the death of Mayuri but unfortunately fails every time. The only way to reverse the past events is to undo the damage they’ve done. Steins Gate is a true treat for science fiction fans.
26. Mob Psycho 100
Anime adaptation from the Manga of the same name, Mob Psycho 100 follows Shigeo Kageyama “Mob” who turns out to be esper with immensely powerful psychic abilities. Those psychic abilities come at a price though, he lives under a constant emotional strain. He eventually joins the crew of conman Reigen Arataka who is lying about his psychic abilities, in a poor attempt to gain better control of his powers. Internal struggles inside Mob are threatening to tip the scales for the worse since he is basically unable to live a normal life. Everything changes when Mob meets The Claws – a band of powerful Espers just like him.
27. Demon Slayer
Original Run: April 6, 2019 – present
Number of Episodes: 34
This shonen fantasy anime has its place in Taishō era Japan, Tanjirō a future demon slayer is the eldest son of a family of coal merchants whose father has passed away. To meet her needs, he left to sell charcoal in town. Despite the difficulties of life, they manage to find little happiness in their daily life. One day, due to rumors circulating about a man-eating demon hanging around after dark, he is unable to return home and ends up spending the night with a Good Samaritan in the city. Only, everything changes on his return when he finds his family massacred by a demon. Demon Slayer is no slice of life anime. A true treat for anime fans!
28. High School DxD
Original Run: January 6, 2012 – July 3, 2018
Number of Episodes: 49 + 6 OVA
Issei Hyoudou is a second-year high school student, very sensitive to female forms. Her life is turned upside down during her meeting with Yûma, a charming young girl who turns out to be a fallen angel. At the end of the day, Issei is taken to a small park and Yûma asks him if he wants to make his wish come true. He expects to receive a kiss, but she asks him to die for her by resuming her true appearance.
The boy is brutally attacked and killed by Yûma. Issei wakes up the next morning, believing in a dream. The next day after suffering a second attack from fallen angels, he notices Rias Gremory, a third-year student in his high school, naked in bed. She reveals her demon identity to Issei and tells him that she has reincarnated him as a demon to live as a servant of the Gremory family. Easily one of the best anime of all time. High School Dxd is no slice of life anime prepare to be excited and see some great animation and action scenes.
29. Blue Exorcist
Original Run: April 17, 2011 – March 25, 2017
Number of Episodes: 37 (+ 2 OVA)
The sci-fi world of Blue Exorcist is made up of two dimensions that oppose each other like two faces of mirrors. The first is the world in which human beings live, Assiah. The other is the world of demons, Gehenna. Normally, travel and even any form of contact between the two is impossible. However, demons can pass into this world possessing everything that exists within it. The story goes as follows. After killing the guardian father Fujimoto, in an attempt that should have allowed Rin to return to the demon world, he gives him a dream: to become an exorcist to defeat the god of demons. This isn’t technically sci-fi since the only science fiction concept included is “dimensional travel but sci fi anime fans might like it.
30. Hellsing Ultimate
Original Run: October 10, 2001 – January 16, 2002
Number of Episodes: 13 (+10 OVA episodes)
The Royal Knights of Protestant Order are a noble house of London led by Abraham Van Helsing. For generations, he has been fighting against creatures that most ordinary people are unaware of like vampires, ghouls, and any non-human entity that is generally referred to as a “monster”.
Her father Arthur, sick and close to his death, orders his daughter, should she feel threatened, to go down to the basement of the mansion, where there is something able to protect her. If you’re an action anime fan this is a great series for you!
Original Run: October 7, 1997 – March 31, 1998 / 1 July 2016 – 23 June 2017
Number of Episodes: 25 / 24
Berserk tells the story of the meeting of Guts and Griffith, leader of the Falcon Troop, a band of mercenaries in the pay of the kingdom of Midland. From this meeting will be born an ambiguous friendship, but nevertheless efficient: the presence of Guts, warrior with the disproportionate sword, will quickly prove essential to the ambition of the young Griffith, swashbuckler and outstanding tactician.
The anime is thus the account of the rise and fall of the Falcon Troop, and of the relation between Guts and Griffith, particularly complex, between the relation of interest (Griffith uses the force of Guts), mutual respect ( both see each other as soldiers), and deep affection (each inexplicably needs the other’s presence).
Original Run: October 9, 2014 – March 26, 2015
This anime is kind of bizarre but has quite a few fans. The story goes as follows. One night, tennis ball-sized spheres containing snake-like creatures fell in numbers unknown all over the world. They are programmed to take the place of human brains. One of these attacks a young man, Shinichi, during his sleep, trying to enter through his ear but cannot reach him.
One of the best anime for science fiction fans. You would have expected aliens to be at least giant robots but nope, they’re small enough to crawl through your nose. An absolute must-watch anime on this list.
Original Run: January 14, 2016 – March 16, 2017
Number of Episodes: 20 (+ 2 OVA)
New anime on this list. After an untimely and embarrassing death, Kazuma Satō, a Japanese hikikomori teenager, meets a goddess named Aqua, who offers him to reincarnate in a parallel world with MMORPG elements, where he can embark on adventure and combat against monsters. A classic isekai story.
Although offered a divine item or overpowered ability to use in this new world, Kazuma, following a taunt from Aqua, chooses her to accompany him to Axel’s town, where he quickly finds that the latter’s lack of judgment is of little benefit to him.
33. Mirai Nikki
Original Release: October 10, 2011 – April 16, 2012
Number of Episodes: 26 (+ OVA)
The protagonist of this anime series, Yukiteru Amano, is an asocial boy, closed in on himself and isolated who keeps a diary on his mobile phone in which he notes everything that happens around him. Yukiteru thinks he has an imaginary friend, named Deus Ex Machina, the time lord.
One day Deus decides to organize a game and returns his mobile phone to Yukiteru, after having personally modified it, but the boy soon realizes some oddities: the diary, instead of containing the information written by him, reports facts not yet happened, and after those facts are fulfilled, the boy realizes that the cell phone can predict the future. It has an interesting story and it’s worth a watch if you like nice animation.