Everyone has their own opinion of what the best anime is. The best anime also changes over time, as new series are introduced and older ones fall out of favor.
In 2021, the anime is more popular than ever. If you’re just getting started and want to know which series you should watch, this list of the 10 best anime series will give you a great place to start!
These aren’t listed in any particular order, so consider choosing a title to watch based on the genre. Each of them has English dubbing as well as Japanese subtitles, so you can choose to watch the original as is or go for the English version.
The best animated series of 2021
1. Demon Slayer (Kimetsu No Yaiba), a Shonen animated series
Widely hailed as one of the best anime of all time, Demon slayer was a hit in 2021. It is so popular that it has had a massive movie release in major theaters across the United States. With the little anime hitting theaters, it shows just how famous this anime is getting.
It follows the story of Tanjiro Kamado, a teenager who becomes a demon slayer after his family is brutally murdered. Her sister remains the only survivor. The turn of this story is that his sister, Nezuko, is now a demon other killers would love to take down.
Unlike other newly transformed demons, however, she maintains her humanity as she fights alongside her brother. His goal? To find a cure.
You can currently watch Demon slayer to Netflix, Crunchyroll, Hulu and Funimation.
2. One Punch Man, the best animated series for laughs
If you’re in the mood for an anime that pokes fun at typical superhero tropes, this is the best anime series for you. As a comedy series, it takes a look at some of the more common tropes, like mega-monsters entering the city, and takes them lightly.
The story follows Saitama, a young man who wants to be a hero. He sees a child in distress and steps in to help him, but he is unable to do whatever he wants. So he starts to train… and loses all his hair. Now looking more like Master Roshi than an attractive young man, he is able to defeat his opponents with a single punch.
With what some would say was minimal effort, he has become somehow more powerful than any opponent. Watch as he searches for a reasonable opponent while still being bored of having no challenges because of his overwhelming strength.
look A punch on Netflix, Hulu, Funimation, and Crunchyroll.
3. Cowboy Bebop, an anime that creates its own genre
Cowboy Bebop is a sci-fi anime, but it bears no resemblance to Gundam or the like. In fact, the anime is trying to say that it creates a genre of its own, and that’s not wrong.
Whether you love heroes armed with guns or want to have a story of wayward bounty hunters looking to find their place, this is an anime that has it all.
The general story follows the male lead role, Spike Spiegel, as well as Jet Black and Faye Valentine, as their lives collide while trying to find answers. They work as bounty hunters to bring in money. But each has their own story, like Spike trying to find his true love again after fleeing the Syndicate or Jet in search of a goal after leaving the police force.
Cowboy Bebop is also experiencing some kind of resurrection this year. Netflix has released a live-action remake and the anime is currently available on multiple platforms. Watch it on Netflix, Hulu, Tubi, Funimation, Adult Swim, and Prime Video.
4. My Hero Academia, a story of overcoming differences
My hero university is a popular anime following college boy Izuku Midoriya. The student does not have magical superpowers, although most people now have them naturally. Despite his alleged handicap, he wants to become a hero. He receives a “Quirk” for his determined attitude and ends up enrolling in a high school known for its heroes in training.
It’s a story centered on your greatest strength: the family that will always be there for you. If you like this series, you will also like that there are spin-offs and movies already available.
look My hero university on Hulu, Netflix, Apple TV, Funimation and Crunchyroll.
5. Fullmetal Alchemist, a story of loss
Japanese animation comes in many forms, but nothing is as gripping as a classic alchemy story gone wrong. In Fullmetal Alchemist, two alchemist brothers, Alphonse and Edward Elric, search for the Philosopher’s Stone in hopes they can restore what they lost after trying to bring their mother back from the dead.
In this series, alchemy is widely practiced, so expect to see philosophical and proto-scientific traditions. There is a lot of drama, but there is also a strong character building action.
look Fullmetal Alchemist on Funimation, Netflix, Crunchyroll, Hulu and HBO Max.
6. Death Note, a psychological thriller
Death threat is one of the few TV shows that continues to be remade over and over again due to the strength of the storyline. He had several film releases in the United States. It has been remade by Japanese and American producers, among others.
In Death threat, Light Yagami finds the “Death Note”, a notebook that belongs to Shinigami Ryuk. Ryuk, a somewhat clever and mischievous demon, decides to allow Light to keep the Death Note, as a means of occupying himself and himself.
After all, immortality can get boring for a Shinigami. So by dropping a Death threat in the human world with simple instructions is sure to liven things up.
When Light writes a person’s name in the book, they will die shortly thereafter. If it includes a way of dying, that will also happen. Knowing this, Light starts off with good intentions, but he quickly becomes obsessed with his divine power.
Light takes the pseudonym “Kira”. Kira, however, is followed by an elite Japanese task force and detective, “L,” who is equally clever and ready to take down this serial killer.
look Death threat on Netflix, Peacock, Hulu, Crunchyroll, and many other streaming services. Fortunately, this anime is older and has traction on most platforms.
7. Violet Evergarden, a post-war think tank
In Violet Evergarden, a detached weld from life enters the realm of ghostwriting to try and connect better with his own feelings. During the war, Violet loses both of her arms. She had them replaced by advanced prostheses and became an automatic memory doll.
Initially, she was employed to help a scientist’s wife, Mollie, write. Mollie is blind and cannot write herself. However, Violet works for many people in need of her writing services.
A visually stunning anime, this one takes viewers on an emotional roller coaster. Watch it on Netflix, the streaming service with exclusive streaming rights.
8. Jujutsu Kaisen, a sports anime
For older teens and adults who like sports anime, this is a good choice. Follow high school student Yuji Itadori as he joins the Occult Research Club and unseals a cursed talisman that leads him to become possessed.
Jujutsu kaisen is rated TV-MA for 16+. It is currently available to stream on Netflix.
9. Attack on Titan, a violent anime focused on war
An anime that pushes the boundaries, The attack of the Titans is a crowd favorite. It takes place in a world where all of humanity lives in cities surrounded by high walls. Why? Outside these walls, the titans rule the earth. These titans will eat until the last person if given the opportunity.
The plot follows a young man, Eren Yeager, as he swears revenge on the Titans and seeks to overcome walls.
This series is so popular that there are several video games available for the title. And the series is not over yet.
Watch it now on Funimation, Crunchyroll, Hulu, or Netflix.
10. Ronja the Robber’s Daughter, a Studio Ghibli anime
Produced by the famous Studio Ghibli, Ronja the Thief’s Daughter is the studio’s very first animated series. This is a 26-episode series based on the 1981 fantasy novel by author Astrid Lindgren.
The story follows a band of thieves of the woods as they deal with interactions with rival groups and strange new creatures.
This series is exclusively available on Amazon Prime.
These are our picks for the Top 10 Best Anime Series of 2021, but there are also a ton of other great series to check out! Whether you love sci-fi or Slice of Life anime, 2021 had something for everyone.
Let us know your favorite animated series in the comments section below!
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