The Best Anime Series of All Time, Ranked

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Anime’s popularity has exploded in the West in recent years, with streaming services like Crunchyroll and Netflix having helped introduce viewers to some of the many hidden gems the medium has to offer. This also includes classic anime series, many of which have never been shown in the West despite their overwhelming popularity in Japan.


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At this point, however, the seemingly limitless supply of anime can feel a bit overwhelming at times, with more and more series being introduced with each new anime season. The best anime series of all time will always be worth watching and has helped inspire countless others in the years since its debut.

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10/10 The attack of the Titans

Attack on Titan Eren Yeager final season poster

Although its plot has become a bit convoluted over the years, The attack of the Titans is still a great anime with a fantastic cast of characters and wonderful story threads. The visuals are also top-notch, though those with an aversion to violence might want to miss this one, as it’s an incredibly gritty and gory affair from the start.

The story centers around Eren Jaeger, who lives in a world where humanity has been pushed to the brink of extinction by a race of giant human-eating creatures known as the Titans. After his hometown is destroyed and his mother is eaten, Eren joins the Survey Corps and vows to rid the world of Titans. However, things quickly get complicated as the story begins to unfold.

9/10 demon slayer

tanjiro sun breathing

demon slayer may be relatively new, but that doesn’t mean it still can’t be included in conversations surrounding the best anime series of all time. After all, it has been able to generate around $10 billion in revenue in the roughly six years since its inception, which is about the same as more established media franchises such as Thomas the Chariot Engine and sesame street; which have existed for more than half a century.

There are many reasons for demon slayerthe phenomenal success of, from its fantastic plot to its interesting cast of characters. The animation is also exceptional, helping to bring the source material to life in a way that very few other shonen anime series have been able to. With more to come, we really don’t know how much demon slayer can climb, both in terms of incredible commercial success and widespread critical praise.

8/10 Death threat

Light Yahami holds a Death Note

Similar to the tastes of Sword Art Online and the Spell series, Death threat is considered a kind of gateway anime. As a result, some seasoned anime fans seem to like going out of their way to punch holes in his plot and point out all the shows that are supposed to be better than him. However, there is a very good reason why so many people are welcome to try Death threat when they first dip their toes into the vast waters of the anime.

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For the best or for the worst, Death threat is an incredibly accessible anime with an easy-to-follow plot and a compelling cast of characters. The game of cat and mouse that plays out between Light and L throughout the first part of the anime is wonderful to watch and very difficult to predict. Whereas the series still adheres to certain anime tropesit’s nowhere near as over the top as the majority of its peers, and thus can be enjoyed by a much wider demographic than some of the other major anime series of the time.

7/10 Naruto Shippuden

Naruto in Naruto

As dragonball, naruto began life in the Japanese publication Weekly Shōnen Jump. After its successful debut in 1999, it was finally adapted into an anime in late 2002. The resulting series ran for 220 episodes, with the first 135 following the first part of the manga and the rest telling their own original story using unused elements. from the original plot ideas of creator Masashi Kishimoto.

The series explores a variety of themes while incorporating elements of Asian mythology. At its heart though, it tells the story of a young boy who dreams of becoming the leader of his village and his journey to becoming one of the greatest ninjas of all time. For those who can’t get enough, Boruto follows the story of Naruto’s son and is set in the same world, but the original series arguably makes a much better watch.

6/10 Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure

Screenshot from anime JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Golden Wind

It is difficult to distinguish a single volume from Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure because they’re all damn good. For fans of the popular seinen manga, the decision to create an anime adaptation to celebrate the series’ 25th anniversary was met with some trepidation, but the resulting series has so far proven to be just as good as the source material. Additionally, he helped introduce the world of Jojo to a whole new generation in the process.

The first five seasons of the series cover the first six parts of the manga, which means there are likely at least two more seasons to come. After the conclusion of Stone Ocean, fans still have Steel Ball Run and Jojolion to look forward to. At this point, JOJOLANDS will likely have arrived and will also be approaching its peak, potentially enabling both the show and the long running manga end at about the same time.

5/10 cowboy bebop

cowboy bebop anime

People sometimes complain that cowboy bebop is put on a pedestal, and that may well be true to some extent. It’s certainly not the perfect anime series, but ignoring the impact it’s had on the medium would be an act of sheer madness. It has inspired countless other anime series and manga over the years, not to mention several Western movies and TV shows.

RELATED: Shows and movies influenced by Cowboy Bebop

Basically, it’s a neo-noir sci-fi series which follows the exploits of a group of bounty hunters as they travel through space. The way it mixes elements from multiple genres is incredibly impressive, and a big part of why so many people hold the popular shojo anime series in such high regard. It might not be the best anime series of all time, but it’s definitely up there.

Edward Elric in FullMetal Alchemist Brotherhood

As for adaptations, they’re not much more loyal than Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Across its 64 episodes, it manages to stay remarkably faithful to the manga both in terms of the stories it covers and the look and feel of the visuals. Admittedly, as with almost all anime adaptations, there is a bit of filler here and there, but it never disrupts the narrative flow.

Edward and Alphonse’s relationship is arguably the highlight of the series, but the plot and the unexpected twists it takes are certainly a close second. After the mixed reception of the original seriesmore Fullmetal Alchemist fans were thrilled with how fraternity turned out and that the studio behind it had chosen to listen to previous criticisms of changes to the source material.

3/10 Neon Genesis Evangelion

Mecha anime has been popular since the 60s and 70s, but it wasn’t until the 90s that the genre really took off. There were plenty of great mecha anime series unveiled throughout the decade, but none proved as popular or as enduring as Hideaki Anno’s. Neon Genesis Evangelion and its various spin-offs and big-screen adaptations.

Of wonderfully crafted stories to jaw-dropping matchups, the show managed to cram a huge amount into its initial 26-episode run and still holds up incredibly well today. Most of what followed was also excellent, although figuring out the best order to watch it all could be a bit tricky and at times sparked fierce debate among evangelization fans over the years.

2/10 A play

One Piece - Wano Arc Luffy charging a big punch

It took a little longer to A play to establish itself in the west than it has for some of the other major shonen anime series. Once that’s done, it’s never been difficult to keep Western audiences engaged. The same could be said for its popularity in Japan, with several generations now having grown up with the popular manga and anime series.

The old one actually holds a Guinness World Record for the number of copies published by a single author and was the best-selling manga for eleven consecutive years between 2008 and 2018. The anime adaptation proved equally successful and, except for occasional small changes, remained largely true. to the source material – much to the delight of fans of the series.

1/10 dragonball

The main cast of Dragon Ball Z

When it comes to longevity, few IPs can compete with Akira Toriyama’s dragonball, which has managed to remain popular for nearly four decades now. Admittedly, there were dark periods during this time, such as the 18-year window between the end of Dragon Ball Z and the start of Dragon Ball Super. Similarly, it would be foolish to try to claim that every arc or episode of dragonball was of the highest quality. Even so, the franchise has still managed to remain hugely popular in Japan and the west.

At its best, there aren’t many anime series that can come close to matching dragonball in terms of entertainment, many also cannot claim to have had such a big impact when it comes to the popularization of anime in the west. For this reason alone, many believe that dragonball is one of the most important anime series ever made. Combine that with its fantastic storylines, incredible villainsand high-octane action scenes, and there’s a very strong argument to be made for this being one of the best anime series of all time, if not the the best.

AFTER: Each Dragon Ball series (in watch order)


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