Selecting twenty-five titles is already a considerable challenge, not to even sort them out – thankfully, the anime experts at IGN’s U.S. editorial office didn’t shy away from the task. There was also a top list of anime series that considered several factors: how deeply it left a mark in cultural terms, how it influenced industry and form, and most importantly – how many colleagues there were for it.
So come to the top 25 anime series of all time – don’t forget to share your favorites with us in the comments!
25. Sailor Moon (Magic Dreams)
Like Dragon Ball Z, Sailor Moon is excellent for pulling newcomers into the world of anime. In addition to its stunning animation, rich history, rich mythology, and live-breathing characters. It doesn’t matter how the team crushes the new monsters that pop up part by part – it’s more the chemistry between Usagi, Rei, Ami, Makoto, and Minako that can tie you down, from the way they play in the arcade until they reveal the kingdom secrets of his heritage. Sailor Moon has stood the test of time: nothing more proves its significance than the fact that several modern classics have nurtured it or that it has grounded the Mahou shoujo genre, not to mention its versatile LGBT characters. And the clothes were nothing!
24. Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-Kun
There are no magical girls or buffalo-powered mechs in Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-Kun, but her story is incredibly charming. The high school student is about Chiyo Sakura, the schoolgirl who snarled at her older classmate, Umetaro Nozaki. Gathering all her courage, she would finally admit her attraction, but the boy misunderstands his intention and thinks of the girl as just a fan who would be happy to be his assistant. Chiyo realizes that Nozika is none other than one of her favorite manga authors – she publishes her romantic stories under a female pseudonym. Chiyo not only becomes an integral part of Nozika’s life, but she also helps with writing – drawing ideas from the stories of her eccentric school friends. A funny and heartwarming anime that always puts a smile on your face.
23. Dragon Ball Z
For many young anime fans, this was their gateway drug, for a good reason. The series revolves around Goku and his friends, of course, and the story may not provide anything more profound to say. But the humor, the characters, and the incredibly executed actions make it easy to forget the shortcomings. An endless array of massive opponents and bare-handed planet-shattering plagues – what else?
22. Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju
Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū is a relatively new anime (debuted in the winter of 2016). His story is about a former convict who, after performing a rakugo master, will have every desire to be his disciple. Rakugo is a traditional form of Japanese storytelling – drawing a lot from modern stand-ups and Greek and Irish poetry. The series simultaneously functions as a love letter to this declining branch of art and a kind of clash between old and modern Japan. Rakugo performances will be presented in total length, while addressing topics such as gender discrimination, change, traditions, and modernization. The idea is quite original, and it can really dig deep into the mysteries of Japanese traditions, as well as the transformations they have had to go through today.
21. Ranma ½
The quality of the animation may seem outdated by today’s standards, but its heart is still in place. There are few overcast comedy series like Ranma ½, which is mostly due to its premise as well as its absurd characters. Be it the damn Shampoo trying to get Ranma’s attention somehow, or even the Genma capable of transforming into a panda – Ranma is full of crazy ideas.
20. Kill la Kill
Each scene in Kill la Kill tells you which series it is from, for a reason: it has a unique design and animation, and a whim, tempo, and heart that is impossible to confuse with other anime series. Its story is about the fierce rivalry between Ryuko Matoi and Satsuki Kiryuin. Ryuko follows in the footsteps of a pair of scissor blades left on him, as his mysterious owner killed his father – his number one suspect is none other than the chairman of the student council, Satsuki. As was typical of the series’ previous work, the skirmish between the two girls and their combat underwear are just the starting point. It’s not easy to digest because of its continuous fan service and some very fishy scenes, but in fact, it’s a thrilling adventure.
19. Revolutionary Girl Utena
Few as stylish and memorable anime exist as Revolutionary Girl Utena. The distinctive character design, the catchy tacts, and the way it can spin classic fairy tales – make Utena one of the most outstanding pieces of the anime golden age of the 90s. Not only is his romance, but his action scenes are elegant enough, and his 39 episodes are an easy-to-grind series, so it’s a must-have. Its protagonist is Utena Tenjou, an enthusiastic member of the academy whose dream is to become a prince once, and one day the boyish boy will have the opportunity to fight for his princess.
18. Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders
This shounen anime is not an everyday experience. Although the manga that formed the basis of the series, which spans several generations of the Joestar family, was released in 1987, the anime itself was only allowed to launch in 2012. Stardust Crusaders is about Jotaro Kujo, a high school student who one day realizes he has superhuman strength, thanks to his bloodline. Jotaro, therefore, embarks on a journey to save his mother, but in the meantime, he has to face the most bizarre bounty hunters possible. The series is full of spectacular action scenes, crazy characters, and iconic moments that will last a long time in the memory of the anime community (and meme culture).
17. My Hero Academia (Hősakadémia)
The Danube could be blocked by all sorts of superhero stories, but My Hero Academia can still twist one of the well-known formulas: its protagonist, Izuku Midoriya, was born into a world where everyone has superpowers – but Midoriya has no special abilities, yet he is destined to do so. to save lives. In order for him to gain the strength he desires, he also faces countless challenges. And the humorous story comes with a lot of twists and, of course, action. With its spectacular animation, well-crafted, lovable supporting characters, and more special than special powers, My Hero Academia is like a mouthful of bread in this genre. She’s crazy and cute at the same time, but she can surprise her at any time.
16. Devilman Crybaby
In contrast to the benefits of Netflix productions, Devilman Crybaby consists of only ten episodes – but it is still a very marrowy and moving story. But beware, the series is only recommended for adults, as it has been heavily scattered with erotic and violent scenes. The Devilman Crybaby may seem very dirty at first, but it still needs enough humanity. The series outlines a kind of biblical apocalypse – it is a modern interpretation of the book of Revelation. In addition to the teachings of love and sacrifice, it also touches on the subject of divine care (or even contempt). Not only his brilliant style, rhythmic Japanese hip-hop and memorable characters, but his bible passages are also able to leave a deep imprint through his modern tone.
15. Naruto Shippuden
Naruto, who has been running for a long time, is often counted as one of the “three great animes,” especially because he enjoys such incredible popularity around the world. With its action-packed fighting scenes, amazingly funny moments, and dramatic lines, it’s not hard to swing on a string. Naruto’s Shippuden story is already much more serious and darker, and his aging characters face much more daunting challenges – as well as themselves. Naruto has always been an unforgettable experience because of his characters and their relationships, and that’s no different in Shippuden. It’s in vain, so we’re still dealing with one of the greatest shounen anime series of all time.
Although only 16 parts, its story is still deeper and more twisted than any two or three times as long series. It is literally an adventurous wind: the heart of its twisted history is provided by its unforgettable train journeys and perhaps the most memorable psychopaths in anime history. Baccano is like a jigsaw puzzle: it can surprise and upset what you have seen so far. And if all that isn’t enough, its dubbing is one of the best work ever done in the anime series.
13. Ouran High School Host Club
It’s hard to put into words what’s good about everything at Ouran High School Host Club. Recommended for manga and anime fans because it pushes the boundaries of the genre in every taste. And if you’re just looking for a good story, Bisco Hatori’s shojo will sniff you in for a second. Our protagonist, Haruhi Fujioka, blends into the school’s popular host club – a club where male students entertain ladies in exchange for money. But the short-haired girl accidentally breaks a very expensive vase, in fact, they think she’s a boy, so she’ll soon be a host. Being a pretty shy girl, the situation soon becomes uncomfortable, but as she finds her place in the club, she becomes more and more courageous, making new friends as well. The series is a charmingly insane satire about the manic otaku culture and one of the pioneers of fujoshi comedies.
12. Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion
The series was originally launched in 2006, but it doesn’t show up at all, thanks to its two attractions. On the one hand, the basic line-up is captivating and its world is meticulously constructed. On the other hand, his storytelling is well thought out and full of screws, as if it were just a thriller. The story, reminiscent of 1984, takes place in an alternative age. According to this, there are three great powers in the world: the Holy British Empire, the Chinese Federation, and the European Union. Even before we pick up the yarn, the British conquer Japan with mechs, depriving the country of its name and freedom. Yes, it’s a pretty tough political mecha thriller whose action scenes only add to the excitement. Our protagonist, Lelouch, lives in Japan. As a denied British prince, he swears to one day ruin his father’s empire.
11. Samurai Champloo
After Cowboy Bebop, Shinichiro Watanabe’s popularity skyrocketed – his next work only secured his place among the greatest of the anime. The Samurai Champloo is a simple samurai story, and like Cowboy Bebop, it has an episodic structure. Although its central story is not very prominent, the separate story thread of the three protagonists clearly deserves attention. They managed to find the ideal balance between action and action: both emotional and furious at the same time.
The sci-fi comedy FLCL (pronounced Fooly Cooly) is short even at the anime level, yet doesn’t feel a second shorter or even longer than it needs to be. Just as bizarre and flamboyant as any anime: the protagonists are Naota Nandaba, the suburban boy, and his new friend, the rogue alien woman Haruka Haruhara. From the very first episode, we have to watch giant robots grow out of Naota’s head, and that’s just the beginning. Surreal tone, incredible music, and an experimental animation style make FLCL a truly unique and unforgettable experience.
9. Yu Yu Hakusho
Yusuke Urameshi is a 14-year-old villain who is already killed in the first part – he is hit by a car. However, he realizes that there is no place for him in either hell or heaven, but he will have a chance to be resurrected. In return, the Afterlife must work as a spirit detective. With the help of his friends as well as the Spirit Gun (which allows him to shoot Kamehamehas with his finger), Yusuke’s mission is to maintain a balance between the world of humans and demons. In addition to Dragon Ball Z, Yu Yu Hakusho is the second most influential anime series of the ’90s.
8. Neon Genesis Evangelion
Even more than twenty years after its release, its closure needs to be explained. The completion of the myth of Neon Genesis Evangelion, Hideaki Anno’s pioneering anime, is as important as the anime itself. The last two episodes are still divisive. The series, on the other hand, is undoubtedly brilliant – not only is his outstanding personal journey in the genre of mech anime, but also his heartbreakingly depressing personal journey. Despite the myriad cinematic and serial sequels and rethinking, none of them can match the original, which is still an audience favorite. It is a testament to the fact that an author almost reaches an artistic level through storytelling, and then provides something lasting for generations.
7. Hunter x Hunter
Hunter x Hunter starts with a familiar motif: our hero, young Gon, leaves his town and the island for the first time in his life to find his long-lost father. There is only one trace: his father was a professional, world-famous Hunter – so Gon also takes the infamous life-threatening exam, which allows him to become a Hunter himself. The story may not sound too imaginative or captivating, although there is more to it than Hunter x Hunter. It has an incredible emotional roller coaster ride, just as telling the path of its heroes and evils is one of the best in the genre. Compared to Shonen, the action was also fantastic.
6. Mob Psycho 100
Don’t be fooled by the title: Mob Psycho 100 is the brainchild of the creator of One-Punch Man. The series is both a parody of the shonen anime, but also an ornate example of the genre. Our protagonist is Mob, a quiet, speechless eighth-grader who is also a professional ghost. His superhuman power interacts with his emotions – if someone is knocked out of his whirlpool, the whole world will be on the brink of destruction. The strength of the series lies in its biting humor, its smaller but more enduring cast, and its strong visual style.
5. Hajime no Ippo
Known in English as Fighting Spirit, the manga series with a serious past has received a great adaptation, which can be described as essentially a mixture of Rocky and A karate kid. The protagonist of the growth drama is Ippo Makunouchi – as a teenager, he was punched a lot, but over time he realizes that he has a sense of wrestling. The series follows Ippo’s training and ascension throughout, and of course the matches, but not one-sidedly. After all, training alone is not enough: Ippo also needs to know and understand his opponents in order to become the best. That’s why we’re facing a great series.
4. One Piece
It is no coincidence that Eiichiro Oda’s series has been in perpetual validity since 1999, and it is not in vain that he has received many spinoffs since then. His unpredictable world is never enough, nor is that of Monkey D. Luffy. One Piece is an endlessly entertaining series, but it would be worth nothing without its characters, who have been rolling steadily for more than 900 parts – and where is the end!
Monster is one of the best stories in anime and manga history ever, but it’s not the only reason it’s special. In a genre dominated by giant robots and heroes with superpowers capable of firing laser beams from their hands, Monster is explicitly down to earth. He reveals a dark, lean, mature thriller in front of us: our protagonist is a decent man who thought he made the right decision, instead of losing everything. You have to stand in the deepest pots to make up for your mistake.
2. Cowboy Bebop
It’s almost unbelievable that the Cowboy Bebop is over 20 years old – it’s doing well in terms of space western, concept, and workmanship. The world of Spike, Jet, Faye, Ed, and of course Ein is still fascinating, the characters are still very strong and his story is always relevant, not to mention his first-class music. It remains one of the best animes of all time, with an undeniable impact on pop culture: it has inspired many creators from Rian Johnson to Robin Williams, and it fits smoothly even in today’s production. Through his adult themes, he has matured into a true genre-expanding work, unable to watch all 26 episodes at once. A live-action adaptation of Netflix is already underway – though, due to an unfortunate accident, filming will have to stop for a long time now.
1. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
It is not easy to create a new world, especially if you have to pay enough attention to the characters, the turning points, and the struggles. This is what makes Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood really special. With its frame structure, it can build the right sympathy in us in one fell swoop. It immediately becomes clear to everyone why the Elric brothers resorted to forbidden alchemy and why they are able to sacrifice even their physical reality to resurrect their dead mother. And they will continue their mission despite the setbacks, whether they lead their way through the world of monsters, the conspiracies of the government, or even through faith. But the Brotherhood also knows when to throw in its elegance and then serve such unforgettable moments until finally everyone stands to support Elrics.
So these would be the best anime series of all time. What are your favorite series? Be sure to write us a comment!