Looking to watch good anime? If you’re a die-hard anime lover, here’s a list of the best anime shows of all time, You’ve most likely seen most of the anime series and movies out there, but can you name your top favorite ones?
We have been watching and loving the endless new series, playing anime-based games, and getting to know the genre up close and personal since the 1980s when anime started to gain prominence outside Japan.
Here are 25 of the best anime series, including new-gen anime series and all the classic anime franchises. This list of anime series will allow newcomers to find which anime to start watching or to settle on the next series to start.
Table of Contents
1. Death Note
Death Note is very grim and unlike many other shows, the protagonist is not a conventional good guy. The anime goes to places that other anime series have not dared, and that’s what makes it utterly interesting.
The Shinigami is a god of death who can kill any person as long as he is able to see the face of the victim and write down his name on a page of the Death Note.
Ryuk, bored with living the deity lifestyle, leaves one of these notebooks to see how people use it in the human realm.
Light Yagami, the prodigal high school boy, finds the Death Note and starts testing it by writing a criminal’s name in it.
Immediately, the criminal dies, and Light realizes how crippling the force of the notebook in his hands truly is.
With the aid of the notebook, Light decides to rid the world away from criminals.
The authorities, however, discover that a serial killer targeting criminals is out there and attempt to arrest him with the aid of an eccentric detective named L.
The anime is filled with a lot of suspenseful and thrilling moments. If you haven’t watched it yet I’ll recommend you do so. Death note absolutely is one of the best anime series of all time.
2. Attack on Titan-Shingeki no Kyojin
Studio: Wit Studio
It is important to mention Attack on Titan as one of the best action anime in recent years and one of the best anime series of all time. It was first released in 2009 as a manga, and 2013 saw the airing of the first season of the anime adaptation.
The series is about humanity being invaded by the titans, stands on the brink of extinction. Eren Yeager and Mikasa Ackerman, the main protagonists, fight against the titans alongside the other soldiers of the Survey Corps.
Although there are only 25 episodes of the original Attack on Titans, the captivating plot and the entire development of the anime series made it as popular as the longest-running anime series.
3. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
Fullmetal Alchemist is a globally popular Japanese sci-fi anime. This anime is split into two separate animes Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and Fullmetal Alchemist. Because the manga series did not complete the plot, the former Fullmetal Alchemist was broadcast, meaning the story is distinct from the original one. On the other hand, in the above Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood, the manga’s plot is truly reflected.
The tale is about disfigured brothers Edward and Alphonse, who are on a journey to develop their alchemy skill to revive their dead mother and regain their physical bodies.
During an alchemical experiment for resurrection, Edward loses a leg and sacrifices his arm to save his brother’s soul. Alphonse is transmuted into a body armour, and when he journeys to the capital with his younger brother to become a Fullmetal Alchemist at the State Military, Edward vows to get their bodies back and they start traveling to find the way to retrieve their bodies.
We can’t make a list of the best anime of all time and not mention naruto. If you’ve ever heard of manga and anime, you’ve definitely heard of Naruto. With over 235 million copies sold in over 35 countries, it ranks third on the bestselling manga chart in history.
Naruto, the best Ninja-themed anime, was originally published as Masashi Kishimoto’s Weekly Shonen Jump manga in 1999 and ran until 2014. After no fewer than 15 years, the anime Naruto series was finished in 2017, comprising of two titles: Naruto aired from 2002-2007 and Naruto: Shippuden aired from 2007-2017.
Naruto’s setting is the Shinobi (Ninja) fantasy world, and the unsuccessful boy Naruto grows up there with the aid of several peers and masters. Naruto and other Ninja characters use chakra energy to fight with multiple Ninja techniques.
This anime illustrates many of the basics of anime, such as close relations between friends and families, betrayal, and parting. Many anime fans will choose Naruto, particularly foreign people, as the top anime, and it deserves it.
5. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba
In 2019, the emergence of a surprisingly high-quality anime shocked anime fans around the world. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba is adapted from Koyoharu Gotoge’s manga anime, which was serialized in the 2016 Weekly Shonen Jump. Demon Slayer’s first season: With 26 episodes, Kimetsu no Yaiba was welcomed by both manga fans and people who hadn’t read it.
The tale is set In Japan, where demons live with humans, the anime is set in the Taisho era (1912-1926). Tanjiro Kamado, the main character, learns that his family has been slaughtered by a demon attack and that only his sister Nezuko has been turned into a demon. To return her to a human, he decides to become a demon slayer.
For an exceptional anime from the innocence of the main character and developing into friends with the spirit of brotherhood and love for all characters, this anime contains all the important aspects. The anime is beautifully animated has an awesome storyline and wonderful character development and the reality is that the plot is so captivating that you would find it very difficult to avoid viewing all 26 episodes in one sitting, even though you don’t happen to be an anime binge-watcher! Although new Demon Slayer has definitely earned it’s spot as one of the best anime of all time.
6. One piece
Studio: Toei Animation
One Piece is without a doubt, the most popular and top-selling ongoing manga and anime. In 1997, the first volume of the manga was released, and over 90 volumes are now being distributed around the world. Two years later, after the first manga was released, the anime adaptation began, and over 900 episodes have been broadcast since then. The whole One Piece story can be broken into about 10 parts, and even if they start randomly, beginners can enjoy it.
It starts with the exploits of the main character in the world of pirates, Monkey D. Luffy, and his crews. In quest of the greatest treasure named “One Piece,” he sets out at sea. In the world of One Piece, there are Devil Fruits, which give those who eat one a superpower, while the fruits are unable to swim. Strong battle scenes are fantastic between the eaters of Devil Fruits, like Luffy. One piece is one of the best and greatest anime series of all time.
This is one of the longest anime series on our list, with a whopping 366 episodes. It was aired from 2004 to 2012 and over the years it gathered a serious fan base.
The plot revolves around a high school student who can see ghosts named Kurosaki Ichigo. After an accident in the hollow of a tree, he is granted this special ability. A Soul Reaper named Rukia Kuchiki runs to rescue Ichigo and his family and gets hurt while defending them during the event when he and his family are assaulted by the Hollow.
Ichigo vows to seize the powers of Rukia to rescue his kin, and the young boy starts preparing to be a Soul Reaper as a result (Shinigami). The storyline is very similar to Sixth Sense, so if you liked the movie, you’re most likely going to like Bleach, too.
Ichigo then continues to hunt all the hollows that attack individuals. He is accompanied by Yasutora Sado, Orihime Inoue, and Uryuu Ishida, his classmates, who all have special skills. Bleach is one of the best and greatest anime series of all time.
8. Tokyo Ghoul
Between anime and manga enthusiasts around the world, the Tokyo Ghoul anime series has stirred quite a bit of uncertainty. All of them believe that it is much better than the TV version of the original manga on which the series is based.
Mainly since only 12 episodes have been made into the entire dark manga series written by Sui Ishida and beloved by millions. This means that the characters that anime fans anticipate are not in-depthly discussed.
Even so, Tokyo Ghoul is a superb dark anime series, especially if you want to watch the uncensored version, which is very gory.
It’s about Ken Kaneki, a serious college student who befriends another ardent reader named Rize Kamishiro and gets dragged into the grim depths of the ghouls’ inhuman universe as a consequence. Ghouls are frightening beings that consume human flesh. Kaneki is almost killed during an assault on him by the ghouls. He manages to escape but transforms himself into half a human being and half a ghoul. This forces him to adjust and adapt to this modern lifestyle so that all cultures are integrated into him.
The series is set in Tokyo, which has become a city full of bloodthirsty evil ghouls who can change themselves to appear normal and thereby fit in with humans to find more victims.
You’ll love Tokyo Ghoul if you prefer dark and gory anime. You can easily watch the censored edition if you do not fancy bloody and gory scenes!
With 56 volumes altogether, and translated into an anime, Inuyasha is a successful Manga released by Weekly Shonen Sunday. The anime series consists primarily of two parts: the first part, based on manga vol.1-36, and the second part, based on the remainder of the original manga plot (Inuyasha: The Final Act). In the past, a 15-year-old Kagome girl, transported to another planet, encounters a half-dog demon called Inuyasha. Kagome and Inuyasha complete the Shikon Jewel with their party tour, which helps the dream of someone to be fulfilled.
10. Cowboy Bebop
Cowboy bebop is one of the best anime of all time airing between 1998 and 1999, with 26 series, Cowboy Bebop, now one of the most popular Japanese anime among foreigners, was broadcast in Japan. Cowboy Bebop’s location is the location where bounty hunter Spike Spiegel and his partner Jet Black pursue suspects in 2071. Cowboy Bebop: Knockin ‘on Heaven’s Door was an anime film released in 2001.
11. Hunter x Hunter
Gon Freecss decides to follow in his footsteps and even become a Hunter after learning his father is not really dead but alive somewhere. From a Hunter called Kite, Gon discovers that his dad, Ging, is the world’s best Hunter.
A Hunter venture to new places to discover secrets and goes on adventures. They are allowed to hunt down treasures, animals, or persons. In order to find his father, Gon decides to become a Hunter himself. For Gon to become one, he must pass the Hunter exam first.
He becomes friends with some of the exam candidates, and together they launch their journey. The original Hunter x Hunter anime series premiered in 1999 and ran for 62 seasons, while 148 episodes were rebooted in 2011.
12. Fairy Tail
Studio: A-1 Pictures Satelight (1–175) Bridge (176–328) CloverWorks (278–328)
This fantastic long-running anime series makes it to the top 15 list because it puts together the series’ excellent animation, fascinating characters, and an arc-like structure.
Some may find that at some point, Fairy Tale seems boring, but this is a heaven-sent series for true fans of shounen anime.
Lucy Heartfilia has a fantasy of becoming a full-fledged, powerful magician, which is why she’s hunting for celestial keys. She finds Natsu Dragneel and Happy during her search, who are searching for the dragon Igneel, the adoptive father of Natsu.
Natsu is a magician and a Fairy Tail member, and during an abduction attempt, he saves Lucy. He proposes for her to join them.
Somewhere along the way, the party encounters Erza Scarlet, a magic swordsman, and Gray Fullbuster, an ice wizard who joins them in their journey.
They fight evil together and end up in numerous adventures, which makes it too much fun to watch this anime. Fairy tail is undoubtedly one of the best anime series of all time.
13. STEINS: GATE
Studio: White Fox
Mad-scientist Rintaro Okabe runs Itaru “Daru” Hashida and Mayuri Shiina’s “Future Gadget Laboratory.” Okabe discovers research scientist Kurisu Makise stabbed to death while holding a conference on time travel. The timeline abruptly changes after Okabe texts Daru and he learns not only that Kurisu is still alive, but that his message seems to have been sent a week ago.
They later discovered that his text message was sent back in time via their phone microwave (temporary name). Along with Kurisu, the research team continues to explore their time machine and experiment by sending back text messages to the past.
Steins: Gate is an anime adaptation of a game with a visual novel.
Studio: Brain’s Base
Baccano!-Baccano! It is a collection of apparently random stories that fall together and cross paths sometimes. Over numerous time spans, mostly during the 1930s, it takes place in different parts of a fictional United States.
The events continue to escalate out of control as each different plot starts to converge. Alchemists, mafia, outlaws, and thugs comprise the protagonists. In 1711, an elixir of immortality was given by a demon to a community of alchemists.
One renegade alchemist refuses, as they plan to let the key of immortality perish with them. in 1930s Manhattan, this alchemist recreates the elixir, but the solution falls into the wrong hands, and confusion ensues.
15. RUROUNI KENSHIN
Studio: Studio Gallop, Studio Deen
Himura Kenshin, who is now a roaming samurai, is the former assassin samurai, Hitokiri Battousai, who vowed to defend Japan but never kill again as an atonement for his mistakes.
Seeking a break from his travels, Himura agrees to stay at the place of Kamiya Kaoru to help her restore the Kamiya Kasshin Style kendo school of her father after a former classmate, bent on revenge, went on a spree that tarnished her reputation.
Himura gains new friendships after a stop at the kendo school for a few months. Rurouni Kenshin, covering the exploits of Himura, is an anime series about repentance and forgiveness. Over time, as rivals from his past come back to threaten him, the series gains a more intense feel.
Berserk is an anime series with a medieval European-type setting taking place in a dark fantasy universe. The plot follows the mercenary Guts who, until now has spent his whole life as a real mercenary, fighting for whoever the winning side is.
Before he meets the Band of the Hawk mercenary party, he has no loyalty to anyone and follows them after being defeated by their leader, Griffith. Griffith leads his band on a journey to conquer his own kingdom and goes across the Midland.
Guts gains friends and a reason for battling as he journeys with this party. He also discovers, however that man does not have any power of his will and that life is inevitable. Berserk is composed of brutal bloody scenes that have erotic components.
17. SAMURAI CHAMPLOO
From the same director as Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo takes on similar unorthodox stylistic elements, combining the typical roaming samurai narrative with hip-hop dimensions and historical Japanese Edo incidents.
After a scuffle between themselves and the governor’s son, Mugen and Jin find themselves in prison to be publically executed in the morning.
Mugen is a free-spirited vagrant, sword-wielding, while Jin is the complete opposite: a traditional ronin, stoic. In return for helping them escape, Ruu, a waitress at the teahouse that burned down in their battle, enlists their help to find the “samurai that smells of sunflowers.”
18. GHOST IN THE SHELL
Studio: Production I.G.
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex is set at a time when technology has progressed enough to integrate with modern technology for humans and machines. Although revolutionary for humanity, technology can be in the hands of the wrong people for humans with mechanical qualities or vice versa.
This can easily be exploited by offenders with nefarious motives and used for their dangerous benefits. Ghost in the Shell: The Stand Alone Complex leads Section 9 leaders Daisuke Aramaki and Motoko Kusanagi in their fight against crime and the abuse of this cyborg technology. Not everyone in the courtroom scene is rainbows and sunshine.
A hacker notoriously known as “The Laughing Man” has built a broad facade for the crew of Section 9. In their intention to benefit from a readily curable illness, the Laughing Man leaked corruption data between major industrial firms and the Japanese government.
Fate/stay night, based on the Windows game, was released in 2006 as the first season of the Fate Series, followed in 2011-2012 by the previous Fate/Zero plot.
Shiro Emiya, the main character, survives with his servant Saber in the Holy Grail War. Since 2019, the latest Fate/Grand Order-Absolute Demonic Battlefront: Babylonia series has been airing on TV.
20. My Hero Academia
One of the best and most famous ongoing anime of all time is My Hero Academia, while the original manga has been released on the Weekly Shonen Jump since 2014. A little boy, Izuku Midoriya, and other Heros use their superpowers, Quirks, to battle the Villains.
My Hero Academia is also popular with foreign anime fans because, rather than Japanese anime, the touch and atmosphere in the anime look like an American Superhero comic.
21. Detective Conan
Studio: Yomiuri Telecasting Corporation
A popular ongoing detective anime is Detective Conan, which is also known as Case Closed, while the original manga has been released since 1994 on the Weekly Shonen Sunday.
A poison named APTX-4869 turns the high school detective Shinichi Kudo into a boy, and he introduces himself as Conan Edogawa to conceal his real identity from the opposite Black Organization.
Fresh anime movies are reaching the big screen on a daily basis. The mystery anime that both adults and kids will enjoy watching is Detective Conan. It is most definitely one of the best anime of all time.
22. Dragon Ball
It’s no exaggeration to say all anime fans already know the most popular and one of the best action anime of all time Dragon Ball, which began broadcasting in 1984. Dragon Ball was originally produced by Akira Toriyama as the Weekly Shonen Jump Manga.
The Dragon Ball series has several key sections, and it’s ongoing as the latest 2015 Dragon Ball Super title. The well-known section is Dragon Ball Z, where the plot begins after Goku has grown up as the main character.
It’s worth watching some fight scenes, but watching Goku vs Freeza and Goku’s son Gohan vs Cell is highly recommended.
23. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
Studio: David Production Inc.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, the iconic manga and anime franchise, began to be released in 1987, and the series consists of 8 sections from Ghost Blood to Jojolion so far (as of 2020). The 5th part of Golden Wind that premiered in 2018-2019 is the newest anime adaptation.
The tales concentrate on the mysterious exploits of the family of Joestar. The main character differs by section, but the Joestar family are all of them. Highlights of the anime contain new personalities and thrilling fight scenes.
24. Code Geass
The Code Geass Franchise, which is popular with anime fans worldwide, began in 2006-2007 with the first season of Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion.
The protagonist of the Lelouch vi Britannia anime series stands out in contrast to the giant Holy Britannian Kingdom after the divine force called Geass was given. In 2019, the latest story Code Geass Lelouchi of the Resurrection hit the big screen as an anime movie.
25. Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World
Studio: White Fox
Re:Zero Beginning Life in Another World, also known as Re:Zero, is considered one of the best anime and light novels of all time published in the 2010s in Japan. Season 1 premiered in 2016 with 25 episodes, and the newly edited version aired in early 2020.
Subaru the main character is sent to Isekai (another world) with no strength other than a certain skill. The plot begins with a meeting with Emilia, the protagonist.
This best anime of all time collection includes the current trends, from the classic shows to the ongoing New-Gen series. To complete the ultimate anime rating that allows many anime fans to recognize the lineup of quality anime and find the one to watch next, I have done my utmost to be impartial as far as possible.
Please feel free to share your thoughts down below in the comment section.