If you’re new to anime, picking out your first show from tons of options can be tricky. We have you covered with the top 27 anime shows ever.
There are thousands of animations produced and released worldwide every year. The Japanese term anime refers to animations made in Japan and is a term originating in Japan.
Japanese animation is said to have been made and released in 1917. Astro Boy (also known as Mighty Atom) was the first anime series to be broadcast on TV in Japan. The number of must-watch anime titles continues to grow every year as hundreds of new shows are aired on TV and distributed to streaming services.
Top Anime Shows
All of these are certainly worth watching, and I have watched them all. With many years of anime-watching experience and hundreds of series seen, I can appreciate when an anime is truly legitimate. This is only 27 shows, I could literally list all 100 and keep you reading here all day.
1. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba
Author: Koyoharu Gotouge
Volumes: 23 (List of volumes)
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Koyoharu Gotōge. The story follows Tanjirō Kamado, a young boy who becomes a demon slayer after his entire family is slaughtered by a demon.
The series has been well received, with praise for its story, characters, and art.
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba won the first Manga Taishō Award in 2015. As of October 2019, the manga had over 30 million copies in circulation.
2. Death Note
Episodes: 37 (List of episodes)
Published by: Shueisha
With a whopping 9/10 rating from the top Rotten Tomatoes critics, Death Note is a must-watch. Plus, it’s not as long as other anime shows, so it could be a good fit for a quick binge!
Did you ever wonder what would happen if you gave a cynical and misunderstood high-schooler the power to kill people with a scribble of a pen?
Well, that’s the entire premise of Death Note. So, any name written in the mystical notebook dies, but the real question is whether this kind of power can be harnessed for good.
3. Dragon Ball
First episode date: April 26, 1989
When we’re talking Dragon Ball, things can get a bit confusing since there’s quite the array of sequels that came after the original series: Dragon Ball Z, Dragon Ball GT, and Dragon Ball Super.
Dragon Ball Z (DGZ) was particularly successful. In fact, its 2002 premiere had the highest viewership ratings of anything else in the same demographic, including The Simpsons!
Many fans still look back to the original series with the Pilaf saga as something on a different level. That’s because it simply sets the scene for what this anime is all about. It’s basically a set of action-packed adventures that never miss the mark on comedy.
4. One Piece
First episode date: October 20, 1999
Episodes: 1,035 (List of episodes)
One Piece is currently the most trending anime in the US, and it’s all for a good reason! Imagine a pirate king who had it all; money, fame, power, and a priceless treasure that he left behind before meeting his demise. Wouldn’t the news of this treasure attract some ambitious adventurers that want to become the next pirate king?
Well, that treasure is Gol D. Roger’s One Piece, which sent the men of the sea into a frenzy.
However, our protagonist isn’t a rough-around-the-edges kind of pirate. Instead, he’s a wonder-driven young boy willing to take on adventures and unveil mysteries. All while not even being able to swim! To be fair, he does have one “superpower” going on for him, though. As it turns out, Luffy can stretch out his body as if it’s made of rubber.
Episodes: 500 (List of episodes)
Author: Masashi Kishimoto
Published: September 21, 1999
Adaptations: Naruto: Shippuden (2007), Naruto (2002),
Naruto seems to be a number-one hit in 81 countries, with 220 episodes for the original series and 500 for the Shippuden sequel. In a village that’s suffered tragedies, a leader called the Hokage carries the burden of protecting the people but also earns their respect. The core of the story is that a young boy, Naruto Uzumaki, tries his best to be worthy of becoming the next Hokage, but that’s a bit difficult in a village that shunned him. Along the way, he has to overcome enemies, navigate his way through unrequited love, and even save his friends from turning to the dark side. Just be warned; the plotline gets to an ugly-sobbing level of heartbreak at certain points.
6. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
First episode date: April 5, 2009
Final episode date: July 4, 2010
By finding the Philosopher’s Stone, Edward and Alphonse Elric hoped to resurrect their deceased mother.
In contrast to Fullmetal Alchemist, Brotherhood is an adaptation of the original series based on the Japanese manga art form that was released in 2009. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, also known as Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, is the original series released in 2009.
7. Attack on Titan
First episode date: April 7, 2013
Theme song: Guren no Yumiya
Executive producer: George Wada
Networks: NHK General TV, MBS TV
The first man-eating Titans appeared 100 years ago, but humans found safety behind massive walls that stopped them.
Humanity was reminded that day of their fear of the titans. When Attack on Titan was released in 2013, it became an instant classic. Their battles against gargantuan Titans and the threats beyond their city walls are led by three friends, Mikasa Ackerman, Eren Yeager, and Armin Arlert.
It started out as a typical shonen anime but evolved into an amazing piece of art that tackled themes such as war, classism, and racism, among others. Director Alex Garland even cited this series as an inspiration for the series.
8. Cowboy Bebop
Languages: Japanese, English
First episode date: April 3, 1998
Genres: Anime, Western, Neo-noir, Space Western, Drama, Adventure
Cowboy Bebop holds up so well, both in its conception and in its execution, that it’s hard to believe it’s over 20 years old. Among the best anime ever made, Spike, Jet, Faye, Ed, and Ein’s space western has a resonant story, strong characters, and an epic soundtrack that make it stand out.
Among the many people who have praised Cowboy Bebop and the influence it has had on their works are Orson Scott Card, Rian Johnson, and Robin Williams.
9. Devilman Crybaby
Final episode date: January 5, 2018
The Netflix anime classic “Devilman Crybaby” set the anime world alight in 2018, but those familiar with Masaaki Yuasa’s work (best known for “Mind Game”) weren’t surprised to see its success.
In terms of themes and content, it’s far more mature than Go Nagai’s classic manga series “Devilman.” It’s brutal and heartbreaking at the same time, as opposed to “Devilman.”
During a crazy night out in Tokyo, Akira Fudo, a sensitive teen, is transformed into a demon. Exactly how does that happen? Akira is initially skeptical about Ryo Asuka’s claim that he has discovered the origin of demons after returning from an expedition to the Amazon. Afterward, his horror turns into terror when Ryo begins stabbing people in the nightclub with a glass bottle, and his terror turns into terror when Ryo’s victims turn into demons.
First episode date: October 4, 2007
Network: TBS Television
The Kyoto Animation masterpiece Clannad is highly recommended for all anime fans. In this anime, there are no action scenes or supernatural events, but human drama is sensitively portrayed.
The anime consists of two parts: Clannad in 2007-2008 and Clannad After Story in 2008-2009. Nagisa and Tomoya, the main characters, live their daily lives in high school. The anime reaches a climax in the second half, and you will be moved by touching episodes. The 44 main episodes are totally worth your time.
11. Hunter x Hunter
First episode date: October 2, 2011
Network: Nippon TV
It begins with a familiar trope: A young boy named Gon leaves his small town on his first adventure, Hunter x Hunter (pronounced Hunter Hunter).
In search of his long-forgotten father who had abandoned him, he leaves the island. What is his only clue? After learning that he is a world-famous Hunter, Gon decides to take the notoriously dangerous exam and become one himself.
Despite its seemingly mundane nature, Hunter x Hunter is anything but cheery. These are some of the best stories in terms of emotional highs and lows, and the arcs of the protagonists and antagonists. The action is fantastic.
12. Monogatari Series
Magazine: Mephisto (2005–2006); Pandora (2008); Bessatsu (2013)
In 2009, the anime series Monogatari Series was released by the animation studio Shaft under the direction of Akiyuki Shinbo. Nisioisin’s novels have been translated into an anime based on Nisioisin (Nishio Ishin).
Beginning in 2009, Monogatari Series began with Bakemonogatari, Nisemonogatari, and Nisemonogatari Black. There are various bizarre stories in Monogatari, including the story of the high school boy Koyomi Araragi and several heroines.
13. Neon Genesis Evangelion
Theme song: A Cruel Angel’s Thesis
First episode date: October 4, 1995
Program creators: Hideaki Anno, Gainax, TV Tokyo, Tatsunoko Production, Nihon Ad Systems
As one of the symbols of Japanese anime in the 1990s, Neon Genesis EVANGELION, directed by Hideaki Anno, is world-famous. Asuka Langley Soryu, Shinji Ikari, Rei Ayanami, and Kaworu Nagisa are the main characters of the famous mecha anime. By piloting giant humanoid robots called Evangelions, they battle their enemies called Angels.
14. Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
First episode date: October 1, 2002
Genres: Anime, Adventure, Thriller, Cyberpunk, Mecha, Neo-noir, Action fiction, Spy fiction, Crime TV genre, Real Robot, Animation
Anime film director Mamoru Oshii first released Ghost in the Shell in 1995. A TV anime series directed by Kenji Kamiyama followed Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex.
This anime is set in Japan in a parallel world after 2030 with highly advanced science and technology. Major Motoko Kusanagi, the main member of Public Security Section 9, works to prevent crimes in this anime. With 24 episodes released exclusively on Netflix in 2020 and 2022, Ghost in the Shell: SAC 2045 with full 3DCG was retitled Ghost in the Shell: SAC 2045.
15. Mob Psycho 100
First episode date: July 12, 2016
One-Punch Man creator One returns with another fun romp in Mob Psycho 100.
It revolves around an eighth-grader named Mob, a quiet, reserved boy who specializes in exorcising evil spirits, who serves as both a parody and an example of shonen-style anime. In addition to his supernatural abilities, he also has emotional powers. The entire world is at risk if he is pushed over the edge.
16. Made in Abyss
Author: Akihito Tsukushi
Adaptations: Made in Abyss
Volumes: 11 (List of volumes)
This is a story that could barely be told in any medium but manga or anime, and it uses that to tell a fascinating, gut-wrenching tale fueled equally by despair and hope. It all revolves around a mysterious, deep “abyss” that Riko and Reg live in. Almost no one survives the deeper levels, since ascending can cause much worse effects than decompression sickness for divers. Riko and Reg set out to find the mother of Riko in order to unravel the mysteries of the abyss.
17. My Hero Academia
Volumes: 36 (List of volumes)
In a world filled with people with abilities, My Hero Academia features a hero born without powers who is determined to save people. As Midoriya earns the “quirk” he’s always dreamed of, MHA continues to challenge the traditional hero’s journey by offering new twists on well-worn tropes while exploring what it means to be a hero through constant humor and heart — as well as spectacular action sequences.
18. Violet Evergarden
Initial release: September 18, 2020
Director: Taichi Ishidate
Production company: Kyoto Animation
Box office: 21.6 million USD
Based on a 3 volume light novel, Kyoto Animation released the quality anime Violet Evergarden in 2018. After Violet Evergarden: Eternity and the Auto Memory Doll’s TV series, Violet Evergarden: Eternity and the Auto Memory Doll was released in 2019, and the film Violet Evergarden: Eternity was released in April 2020. An anime depicting the life of Violet, who writes for others as Auto Memory Dolls, is beautifully drawn.
19. Parasyte: The Maxim
Author: Hitoshi Iwaaki
Episodes: 24 (List of episodes)
It effortlessly flips between feel-good vibes and ultraviolence in Parasyte: The Maxim, one of the most memorable horror animes of all time.
A 17-year-old high school student is forced to coexist with an alien in this anime based on the manga by Hitoshi Iwaaki. Earth is invaded by a parasitic race of extraterrestrials in the opening scene of the anime.
Through nostrils and ears, these small, worm-like creatures burrow into the brains of unsuspecting victims. To keep their presence hidden, they maintain a human shape, but they can change into truly monstrous forms whenever they want.
20. Assassination Classroom
Published by: Shueisha
Episodes: 47 + 1 OVA
Magazine: Weekly Shōnen Jump
An alien with yellow tentacles threaten the world in “Assassination Classroom.”. After destroying most of the moon (making it a permanent crescent), the alien comes to Earth to teach Class 3-E.
As the school year ends, he begins molding the low-achieving students into skilled assassins, claiming Earth will suffer the same fate as the moon unless they kill him.
It is impossible for him to be killed, but on the other hand, he is the best teacher the kids have ever had – he brings them out of their shells and improves their grades dramatically.
21. No Game No Life
Episodes: 12 (List of episodes)
Magazine: Monthly Comic Alive
Genres: Isekai, Fantasy, Outline of science fiction
With 12 episodes, “No Game No Life” follows a pair of orphaned step-siblings who are transported to a world centered around video games. As a result of losing their parents, Sora and Shiro become hermits, shunned by the outside world and reliant on each other to survive.
In the online gaming community, they are known as Blank, a fearsome duo that spends a lot of time together gaming. They are contacted by Tet, a god from another world, while on their way to becoming successful.
In what they believe to be pranksters’ play, Tet challenges them to a game of online chess. In a fantasy world called Disboard, everything is decided by games, they suddenly find themselves winning.
22. One-Punch Man
Authors: ONE, Yusuke Murata
Volumes: 26 (List of volumes)
Studio: Madhouse (season 1); J.C.Staff (season 2)
Original network: TV Tokyo
You’re not alone if you’re feeling superhero fatigue – the hero of “One-Punch Man,” a webcomic turned anime, feels the same way. His strength allows him to defeat any foe with (you guessed it) just one punch, and it has left him feeling jaded.
“The use of punches is often pretty useless when it comes to dealing with life’s problems,” ONE, the character’s creator, told ComicBook.com.
23. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders
Number of episodes: 48
Original network: Tokyo MX
Original release: April 5, 2014 –; June 20, 2015
“JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure” might seem difficult at first, but once you grasp its concept, it’s incredibly entertaining.
Seasons are based on arcs from Hirohiko Araki’s long-running manga series, and each follows a different member of the Joestar family (whose names are abbreviated as “JoJo,” hence the title of the series). The first season can be skipped and you can jump right into “Stardust Crusaders,” which brought many elements from “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure.”
24. Ghost in the Shell
Release date: November 18, 1995 (Japan)
Director: Mamoru Oshii
Music composed by: Kenji Kawai
Budget: 10 million USD, 600 million JPY, 330 million JPY
Anime film director Mamoru Oshii directed the legendary cyberpunk anime series Ghost in the Shell in 1995. A TV anime series directed by Kenji Kamiyama entitled Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex followed.
The anime takes place in a parallel world after 2030 where science and technology have advanced greatly. Major Motoko Kusanagi leads Public Security Section 9’s efforts to prevent crime in this anime. In 2020 and 2022, Netflix exclusively released 24 episodes of Ghost in the Shell: SAC 2045 with full 3DCG.
25. Detective Conan
Studio: TMS Entertainment
Published by: Shogakukan
Volumes: 102 (List of volumes)
The Weekly Shonen Sunday has been publishing the original manga of Detective Conan since 1994. The anime is also known as Case Closed. By consuming a poison named APTX-4869, Shinichi Kudo becomes a kid and hides his actual identity from the Black Organization by posing as Conan Edogawa.
26. Tokyo Ghoul
Author: Sui Ishida
Publishers: Viz Media
Genres: Dark fantasy, Thriller
Anime adaptation of the dark fantasy manga Tokyo Ghoul, which appeared on the Weekly Young Jump between 2011 and 2014, was released in 2014. The second half of the anime, Tokyo Ghoul:re, aired in 2018. This thrilling show features Ghouls, who live among humans and appear like them. Human flesh is the only food the ghouls consume.
First release: Pocket Monsters Red and Green (Japan); February 27, 1996
Platform(s): Game Boy; Game Boy Color; Game Boy Advance; Nintendo DS; Nintendo 3DS; Nintendo Switch
Pokemon is, hands down, one of the most marketable anime shows. Once you get into it, you’ll realize what the fuss is all about.
The Pokemon anime world builds on the same idea as Game Boy’s Pocket Monsters. So, the core concept is that trainers (mostly kids) get to raise monsters called Pokemon in orb-like housing to use in champions.
It sounds a bit unorthodox, but it actually reflects notions of preserving one’s sportsmanship and fair play through the toughest decisions.
Technically speaking, Ash Ketchum is the main character to root for, but the beauty of Pokemon is the variety of wholesome characters. Not just among the human trainers like Ash, Dawn, and May, but also the “monsters” themselves. After all, these are some of the most adorable monsters you’ll even get to see—just take a look at Bulbasaur or Charmander!
What Is The Longest-Running Anime Show?
Anime fans prefer watching anime shows that have been running for a long time, as they feel that it allows them to get more invested in the story and characters. So, what is the longest-running anime show?
The answer may surprise you! The longest-running anime show is actually Sazae-san. This anime first aired in 1969 and there have been 7,701 episodes. That’s an impressive feat, and it’s no wonder that Sazae-san is so popular in Japan. So, if you’re looking for a long-running anime show to watch, be sure to check out Sazae-san! You’re sure to enjoy it!
How Many Animes Shows Are There?
Over 6,000 anime are produced, and over 3,200 anime are aired on television, according to the survey. Approximately 60% of all animation broadcast worldwide is made in Japan.
What Is The Upcoming Original Netflix Anime?
An intriguing sci-fi horror premise is the focus of the upcoming Netflix anime Exception.
A team of spacefarers arrives on a spacecraft to terraform a planet in the far future after humanity has been forced to leave Earth and migrate out to the galaxy.
The 3D biological printers that create each member of this space-traveling team won’t all go as planned, as one might expect. The game will feature a unique CG animated art style with character designs by the revered Yoshitaka Amano, whose work is credited with the iconic Final Fantasy JRPG series.
Cast: Chikahiro Kobayashi, Takahiro Sakurai, Yuko Kaida
The series premieres on Netflix on October 13
Who is the strongest anime character?
Zeno – Dragon Ball Super
A powerful and strong anime character is Zeno. The Dragon Ball Super universe is ruled by Zeno, who is the ruler of each reality. It is possible for him to create and destroy existences across multiple universes at the same time.
Zeno doesn’t have any fighting skills or techniques, he is simply powerful. Since he has already destroyed numerous universes for the sake of some fun, he can command space and time with youthful abandon, which also makes him extremely dangerous.