With so many genres to select from, compiling a definitive list of the finest anime series of all time is a difficult undertaking. To one viewer, a show that is ultraviolent for the purpose of being ultraviolent is a masterclass in reality.
Slice-of-life shows aren’t for everyone, but for some, there’s nothing more soothing. Many people find the thought of massive robots fighting boring, while others find it exciting. From shonen, seinen, and shoujo to mecha, harem, and the ever-popular isekai, anime truly has something for everyone.
However, there are a few rare shows that transcend the confines of their genres, and it is those worldwide crowdpleasers that we will look at today. We rate the 30 best anime series of all time, from groundbreaking shows that influenced generations of fans and producers to modern-day classics that serve as a shining example of the industry.
Re: Zero − Starting Life in Another World
The fan fiction piece “Re: Zero Starting Life in Another World” was originally published on the website Shousetsuka ni Narou. It was based on the light novel series “The Familiar of Zero,” which served as its primary source of inspiration. The story revolves around a modern-day hermit known as a hikikomori, which is a phrase used in Japanese to describe people who isolate themselves from society.
They find themselves abruptly transported to a fantasy realm. Natsuki Subaru is a recluse who only ventures out of the house to gather food and other necessities. One day, he is on his way back from the convenience shop in his neighbourhood when he is suddenly taken to a place that is populated by a wide variety of magical creatures, including elves, witches, and other such beings. He is slain not long after he arrives in the Kingdom of Lugnica, which is one of the Four Great Nations in the universe of “Re:Zero.” However, he regenerates and comes to the understanding that he can change the past by dying in the present.
With this new information, Natsuki makes the decision to assist a half-elf by the name of Emilia, who became his friend shortly after he arrived in this strange new world. She is one of the candidates for the throne of Lugnica, and his regenerative abilities come in quite handy in this situation.
It may sound like your normal isekai, yet it has a self-awareness that is rather refreshing. Natsuki asks, “Is this one of those isekai summoning things?” after seeing him appear for the first time in Lugnica. In point of fact, the popularity of “Re:Zero” was a major factor that initiated the rise of the isekai genre in the first place. According to the explanation provided by the Anime News Network, “Konosuba” and “Re:Zero” demonstrated that Narou isekai books in particular were worthy of financial investment.
In “Elfen Lied,” the main character is a Diclonius by the name of Lucy. Diclonius are a mutated form of human that have invisible telekinetic appendages known as Vectors. When the story starts, Lucy has just broken free from the government facility where she was being held, and in the process, she has ruthlessly murdered a number of her captors.
However, she sustains injuries during the escape, and as a consequence of those injuries, she acquires several personalities. Her first identity, Lucy, has become jaded as a result of the horrific experiments that were conducted on her behind closed doors; nevertheless, Lucy’s second personality, Nyu, is kind and unassuming. Kouta and Yuka, two compassionate locals who take her in and provide her with shelter, get to know this part of her personality. They have come together in the hopes of shielding their new acquaintance from the federal officials who are looking for her.
The late, great Satoshi Kon, who was the mastermind behind such feature films as “Perfect Blue,” “Millennium Actress,” “Tokyo Godfathers,” and “Paprika,” created “Paranoia Agent,” an original anime series that aired in 2004, and it is a one-of-a-kind story that follows a large group of people who have all been affected by the same social phenomenon.
“Paranoia Agent” is the only original anime series that which Sato Tsukiko Sagi, a character designer who is under a lot of pressure, is walking home late one evening when she is confronted by a kid thug who is carrying a baseball bat and attacks her. She doesn’t get a good look at her attacker, but all she can tell you is that he was probably in his early to mid-teens, was sporting a pair of golden rollerblades, and wielded a golden baseball bat with a bowed handle as a weapon.
As a result of the improbability of her account, the law enforcement officers don’t trust her and instead feel that the character designer’s overactive imagination is simply going berserk. When other assaults take place, however, and the victims describe what seems to be the same youngster, the authorities are forced to examine the matter seriously.
The fear of being attacked by Shonen Bat, also known as Lil’ Slugger in the English version, begins to spread, and we are given a glimpse into the lives of his victims who are not related to one another. This show is great for bingeing because it only has 13 episodes, and it hasn’t lost any of its impact over the years. The Critics Consensus on Rotten Tomatoes, where it holds a perfect 100 percent rating, reads as follows: “Anime auteur Satoshi Kon brings his feverish vision to the serialised form in ‘Paranoia Agent,’ a disturbing meditation on individual and societal anxiety.” “Paranoia Agent” is a disturbing meditation on individual and societal anxiety.
The first season of the “Pokémon” anime may not be a masterwork of storytelling or a standard in animation, but it has a particular place in the hearts of children who grew up in the 1990s and 2000s, and there’s a good reason for that. Even if you’re feeling down in the dumps, reading about Ash (or Satoshi, as he’s known in the Japanese version, which was named after the founder of the brand, Satoshi Tajiri) and his loyal companion Pikachu will always make you feel better.
It might sound strange to use the term “more believable” when talking about battling animals who reside in little red and white balls, but the designs of the original 151 Pokemon are just that; they are less fantastical and were created with certain tasks in mind. Unfortunately, as time went on, the distinctions between the many varieties of Pokemon grew less clear, and the game’s creators appeared to run out of new ideas, which caused fans to pine for the year 1997. After all, the “Indigo League” series is still considered to be the absolute finest because of its unique characters and unforgettable theme song.
No Game No Life
The 12-episode anime series “No Game No Life” is a vivid and binge-worthy show about a pair of orphaned step-siblings who are transported to a world focused on gaming. The show is short and pleasant, clocking in at just under an hour per episode. After the death of their parents, Sora and Shiro choose to live a hermit’s life, withdrawing from society and placing all of their trust in one another.
They spend most of their time playing video games together, making a formidable team that is renowned throughout the world of online gaming as Blank. They achieve so great accomplishment that Tet, a god who resides in an other universe, makes contact with them. They accept Tet’s challenge to a game of online chess because they think it’s a practical joke, but Tet has actually issued the challenge. When they do win, they find themselves transported to a fantastical world known as Disboard, where the outcome of everything is determined by a series of games.
Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion
In “Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion,” the events that take place take place in an alternative timeline in which the world is ruled by three different superpowers. Europe and Africa have come together to form a new nation that operates under the name Europa United. In contrast, Asia is now known as the Chinese Federation, and the Americas are referred to as the Holy Britannian Empire.
After her armies were routed by Napoleon’s forces at the Battle of Trafalgar, the fictitious Queen Elizabeth III of this planet escaped to her colonies in the United States and was never seen or heard from again. When we join the story, the aggressively expanding Britannian Empire, which is now ruled by Emperor Charles I of Britannia, has just begun an assault on the islands of Japan, and it is wreaking havoc there.
Dragon Ball Z
The original “Dragon Ball” series, which is based on Akira Toriyama’s manga of the same name, was among the best anime of the 1980s, but in terms of its cultural impact, it pales in comparison to “Dragon Ball Z.” Although the original “Dragon Ball” series is often overlooked, it was among the best anime of the 1980s. A large amount of time passes for the main character throughout the cherished sequel series.
In the original “Dragon Ball” series, Goku was a youngster, but in this series, he is a young adult with a child of his own and a parent to the equally formidable Gohan. They have no choice except to band together and wage war against an extraterrestrial race, to which they unwittingly belong. When a Saiyan named Raditz arrives on Earth, he dumps a massive truth bomb on Goku. Raditz reveals that Goku and he are blood siblings, and that Goku’s true mission is a very evil one indeed.
You are not alone if you are beginning to feel exhausted by superheroes; the protagonist of the popular webcomic that was adapted into an anime series, “One-Punch Man,” is experiencing the same thing. Saitama is so powerful that he can vanquish any adversary with (you guessed it) just a single punch, and as a result, he has developed a fairly cynical attitude as a result of this ability.
According to what the character’s creator, who simply goes by the name ONE, told ComicBook.com, “Punching is oftentimes quite ineffectual against life’s difficulties.” “But within the context of One-Punch Man’s world, I crafted Saitama to be the kind of person who could adjust his way of life to the environment in which he found himself using just the tremendous power that he possessed. The only things that stand in his way are unremarkable challenges, such as a lack of financial resources.”
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders
At first sight, “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure” may appear to be fairly difficult to understand; yet, if you have a basic understanding of the show’s premise, it is not only simple but also highly amusing to watch.
Each season is based on a distinct arc from the long-running manga series created by Hirohiko Araki, and they more or less stand alone, each focusing on a different member of the Joestar family (all of whom have names that can be abbreviated as “JoJo,” hence the title of the series). This means that you may skip the first season and go straight into “Stardust Crusaders,” which is where many of the elements that “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure” is most well-known for were originally introduced.
Naruto / Naruto: Shippuden
Even if you’re not familiar with anime, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of Naruto, and more specifically, his signature way of running. Naruto’s style of sprinting is iconic. The so-called “Naruto run” came to the attention of people all over the world in 2019, when a prankster performed it during a news report from Area 51. As a result, the classic anime earned a large number of new followers.
The story follows the exploits of Naruto Uzumaki, a teenage ninja with lofty goals: he wants nothing more than to rule his home village of Konoha as its Hokage. When Naruto was a baby, the village was invaded by Kurama, also known as the Nine-Tailed Fox, and Naruto’s father was compelled to imprison the demon inside his newborn son in order to protect Naruto. As a result, Naruto is not exactly the most popular pick. Because of this, Naruto’s peers have begun to avoid him, but he is unwavering in his commitment to establishing himself as a capable leader despite their rejection.