Anime is no longer confined to the Japanese entertainment realm. It has a global appeal with an ever-expanding fanbase consisting of children, teenagers, and even adults. With dozens of anime released over the decades, it would be nearly impossible to appreciate the best ones in a list of just 15 entries. So here are the 30 best anime of all time that you should definitely watch:
30. Future Diary
Deus ex Machina is on the verge of permanently losing his coveted status as the god of space and time. In order to find his successor, he calls upon twelve people and gives them the task of predicting the future in the form of Future Diaries.
That is not the only task in their hands as they also have to engage in battle against each other until just one combatant remains. Having powers that can alter space and time really does come at a heavy cost.
If this was a popularity contest, Pokémon would easily rank among the top five. It is no secret that anime is not among the greatest. In fact, it is far from it but there is no denying that the universal appeal of Pokémon is achieved by only a handful of animes.
Who isn’t familiar with Ash Ketchum and Pikachu? The beloved duo has spawned countless episodes, multiple movies, trading cards, and even an insanely addictive gaming app Pokémon Go.
28. Soul Eater
Who knew that an anime about students in school could be so entertaining? With the name of the school being Death Weapon Meister Academy, it can be easily judged that the students are not focusing on trigonometry or algebra.
The Academy trains humans who have the unique ability to transform into weapons and the wielders of those weapons are known as meisters. With great power comes great responsibility as the students have to protect their city by collecting souls.
27. Tokyo Ghoul
Not a stranger to controversy, Tokyo Ghoul is one of the darkest and goriest animes in recent memory. When college student Ken Kaneki is attacked by ghouls, he barely manages to escape with his life but he is never the same again.
Now half-human and half-ghoul, he manages to adapt to the societies of both creatures. If you love gore, violence, bloodshed, and malevolent ghosts, then Tokyo Ghoul is a must-watch, especially the uncensored version.
26. Akame ga Kill!
With the aim to earn some money for his dirt-poor village, Tatsumi enters the Capital with big dreams. Down on his luck, he is separated from his friends when bandits attack them and is later rejected from joining the army.
Just when he thought that things could not get any worse, he is soon swindled out of his money. Running out of options, Tatsumi joins a ruthless assassin group known as the Night Raid. As the title of the anime suggests, Akame ga Kill! features a lot of violence and murder.
15-year-old Kagome Higurashi is a schoolgirl in modern-day Tokyo. After falling into a well that was located in her family shrine, the least she expected from the fall was to be transported to the Sengoku period of Japan.
In that era, she befriends half-dog-demon Inuyasha. It is up to the unlikely duo to stop the evil half-spider-demon Naraku from finding the shards of the magical Shikon Jewel that are scattered across the country.
24. Fairy Tail
Lucy Heartfilia’s lifelong dream had always been to become a powerful wizard. In order to achieve her goal, she s on the hunt for celestial keys. Misfortune crashes down her path when she is almost abducted.
When the dragon-slayer wizard, Natsu Dragneel, saves her from being abducted, not only her life is spared but she also reaches closer to fulfilling her goal as he offers her to join his Fairy Tail guild.
Cole Sear from The Sixth Sense is not the only one who could see dead people. Ichigo Kurosaki was born with the ability to see ghosts. After his beloved family is confronted by the evil lost soul Hollow, Ichigo’s life is never the same again.
With the mantle of “Soul Reaper”, Ichigo dedicates his life to defending innocent people from wicked souls. With the purpose of protecting humanity from ghostly creatures, Ichigo unravels the mysterious path that lies ahead of him.
Set in a dystopian environment, Psycho-Pass follows the adventures of rookie inspector Akane Tsunemori of the Ministry of Welfare Public Safety Bureau’s Criminal Investigation Department.
Suspenseful and gritty, the cyberpunk anime has just twenty-two episodes but was cool enough to spawn one feature film and three independent films. Another film titled Psycho-Pass 3: First Inspector is not too far away.
Only 26 episodes but remarkable enough to make the list. Vash the Stampede is quite a revered hero on planet Gunsmoke. He saves countless lives while making sure that he does not murder anyone.
With a sixty billion double-dollar bounty on his head, it is to be seen whether or not his patience wears too thin. The bounty was placed when he recklessly decimated the city of July but due to retrograde amnesia, he hardly recalls the incident.
Considered by many the greatest anime of all time, Naruto has often been credited with popularizing the genre again outside Japan. The series has a gigantic following and has dedicated fans who fell in love with it for a variety of reasons.
Beautifully balancing martial arts, fantasy, and fiction, Naruto is truly one for the ages. Above all, the lead character Naruto Uzumaki is truly an anime icon and easily one of the most recognizable faces even to those who do not watch the genre.
19. Gurren Lagann
Lordgenome the Spiral King rules with an iron fist and forces the persecuted humans to live in isolated underground villages. Teenagers Simon and Kamina had been desiring for a long time to return to the Earth’s surface but the inhospitable conditions prevent them from doing so.
Their luck alters soon when a gigantic mecha known as Lagann unexpectedly crashes into their home. With its help, Simon and Kamina reach the Earth’s surface and attempt to topple Lordgenome’s tyranny.
18. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
Exactly when a sibling rivalry goes too far? Jonathan Joestar aka JoJo is involved in one against his step-brother Dio Brando. The latter is determined to have full control over their family fortune and wears a mysterious stone mask in order to become a mighty vampire.
As bizarre as it may seem, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure does not confine itself to the paranormal. It excellently juggles multiple genres such as action, adventure, fantasy, and even comedy.
It is time for the Fourth Holy Grail War in Fuyuki City. The centuries-old war showcases seven mages summoning historical warriors and competing against each other in order to gain the mystical powers of the “Holy Grail.”
Anime fans and even history buffs would surely enjoy Fate/Zero as apart from the traditional elements featured in the animated genre, both real and fictional warriors are summoned such as Hassan-i-Sabbah and King Arthur Pendragon to name a few.
16. Samurai Champloo
Arch-rivals Mugen and Jin cannot stand each other. Their hatred for each other extends to failure to co-exist but when Fuu requests them to let go of their differences and accompany her on a quest, the trio embarks on an epic journey.
Determined to find the “samurai who smells of sunflowers”, they travel across Japan and engage in several sword-fighting combats. The action sequences are impressive enough but Samurai Champloo exceeds everyone’s expectations by incorporating hip-hop music.
15. My Hero Academia
A bold tale of commitment and sheer will, My Hero Academia is about Izuku Midoriya. In a world where everyone has superpowers (referred to as “quirks”), the young boy is born without them.
Yet that does not discourage him from lagging behind everyone or being an outcast in society. Determined and focused, Izuku dares to dream big as he hopes to attend the prestigious Hero U despite having no quirks.
14. Neon Genesis Evangelion
A relationship between a father and his son can certainly be a strenuous one and Neon Genesis Evangelion perfectly exhibits it. When gigantic aliens called Angels swarm down the Earth to wreak havoc, a father-son duo is put to test.
NERV Commander Gendo Ikari is not an easy guy to work under and he recruits his reluctant son Shinji to pilot a humongous mecha known as an Evangelion to fight off the Angels and save humanity.
13. Fighting Spirit
High school student Ippo Makunouchi is extremely shy and reluctant to make new friends. He spends most of the time with his mother to aid their family’s fishing charter business. One day, a group of bullies roughs him up.
During the excruciating beating, middle-weight professional boxer Mamoru Takamura scares off the bullies. Ippo’s luck changes for the better when Takamura takes him under his wing and trains him to become a professional boxer.
Dr. Kenzo Tenma is a brilliant brain surgeon at Eisler Memorial Hospital in Düsseldorf, West Germany. A terrifying mystery begins at the hospital when the rest of the doctors are slowly being killed off one by one.
That leaves Kenzo as the prime suspect but there is no evidence to back it up. In a genuine plot twist, the serial killer is none other than one of his own patients, Johan Liebert.
11. Code Geass
The dystopian world, robot battles, rebellion, and alternate history are quite common in anime but Code Geass employs all of those elements to take the viewers into an epic story of a lifetime.
Japan has been conquered by the Holy Empire of Britannia. Now referred to as Area 11, its citizens are stripped from their rights and are called Elevens. To maintain control over the area, robotic weapons known as Knightmares are used to keep the people obedient.
Disgusted by oppression and cruelly subjected to the Elevens, Lelouch vi Britannia decides to take a stand. After having the power to control minds, he initiates a rebellion among his own family members of the Holy Empire of Britannia to save the persecuted people.
10. Dragon Ball Z
An anime that certainly needs no introduction. Even casual viewers and non-anime fans are familiar with it or at least aware of its popularity. Without a shadow of a doubt, Dragon Ball Z is one of the most critically successful animes of all time and is responsible for popularizing the genre in the United States and other countries besides Japan.
The anime has explosive mainstream popularity. Even former MMA fighter and current WWE superstar Ronda Rousey has cited the character Vegeta as one of her inspirations. That alone speaks volumes about how massively impactful Dragon Ball Z really is.
9. One Piece
Due to eating a supernatural fruit, Monkey D. Luffy gains the ability to stretch and elongate himself like a rubber. So what do you do after attaining such physical powers? As the Fantastic Four to replace Mister Fantastic with you?
Well, not quite. Monkey had other plans. He gathers a pirate crew and begins searching for a mysterious treasure known as the “One Piece” which would make him the undisputed King of Pirates.
8. One-Punch Man
Despite anime overflowing with overpowered fighters and warriors having super-strength, there is a unique reason why Saitama is so different from the rest. As the name of the anime suggests, he can easily beat his opponents with a single punch.
Instead of boasting about his uncanny abilities and celebrating his heroic persona, Saitama decides to put his training and skills to the test by finding a worthy opponent to engage in a grueling battle.
7. Attack on Titan
The world is swarming with man-eating humanoids known as Titans who exhibit a lack of mercy while cornering their prey. Ten-year-old Eren Yeager had lost his dear mother to the Titans and the awful memory still haunts him.
Emotionally scarred by the dreadful incident, he vows that once he is old enough, he would join the defense force to unleash the same wrath on Titans and terminate as many as he can.
18-year-old Rintaro Okabe often proclaimed that he is a “mad scientist” but not even he was mentally prepared for what his experiments would unravel. With his friends who share the same enthusiasm regarding “super-science”, they embark on time travel.
However, time-traveling was anything but enjoyable as they had been anticipating. After stumbling upon SERN, a ruthless group that intends to take over the world, they soon realize that their journey has merely begun.
5. Hunter x Hunter
For many years, young boy Gon Freecss had thought that his father had been dead. After discovering that he is alive and working as a licensed Hunter, he embarks on a journey to find his father.
His plans soon include joining his father’s Hunter group as well but it turns out that it is not as easy as it may seem. The group’s membership depends upon the performance in the vigorous Hunter exam and only a few people are daring enough to pass it.
4. Cowboy Bebop
Set in the year 20172, Earth is no longer livable and humans have now been living on other planets and moons. To maintain peace in the galaxy, Inter Solar System Police valiantly patrols all corners of space.
At first glance, Cowboy Bebop is a western set in space but it avoids any kind of reliance on either of the genres. The heart of the series is Cowboy Spike Spiegel and his adventurous travels with his squad in the galaxy.
3. Legend of the Galactic Heroes
For 150 long years, the galaxy had been in a catastrophic state of unrest. The monarchic Galactic Empire and the democratic Free Planets Alliance have been engaged in what seems to be a never-ending war and a conclusion is nowhere in sight.
With tensions boiling, respective rulers Reinhard von Lohengramm and Yang Wen-li are at odds with one another and determined to retain dominance over the galaxy by any means necessary.
2. Death Note
As Michael Corleone once said,
“If anything in this life is certain, if history has taught us anything, it is that you can kill anyone.”
Be that as it may, Death Note puts that quote to the test.
After teenager Light Yagami discovers a mysterious book, he becomes a vigilante. The book is not an ordinary one. It has the ability to kill anyone by just writing the person’s name in it.
1. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
Enjoyed by viewers of all ages, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is arguably the greatest anime of all time. Its nail-biting scenes keep the audience glued to their screens as if they are accompanying brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric in their epic adventures.
The two brothers are searching for the legendary Philosopher’s Stone in order to restore their bodies which were unfortunately lost while they attempted to resurrect their dead mother with their alchemy skills. From its engaging storyline to remarkable characters, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood easily tops our list of best anime.
We cannot resist mentioning some of these great anime as well in our list:
- No Game No Life
- The Seven Deadly Sins
Hope you enjoyed reading our list of the best anime of all time. Feel free to share your views in the comments below!