Anime refers to animated series from Japan and typically features manga-style artwork. The Japanese have been producing animated films since at least 1917. Though, anime as it is recognized today did not become massively popular until the 1980’s. There are over 430 anime production studios releasing hundreds of films and television series.
While many people associate anime with science fiction, the massive amount of anime available covers a wide range of genres. If you are looking for something entertaining to watch, take a look at this list of the top 10 best anime series of all times.
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#10 – Sailor Moon (1992 – 1997)
Some people will debate whether or not Sailor Moon is one of the best anime series of all times, but it they cannot disagree that it was definitely incredibly popular. The story follows a group of Sailor Soldier girls that defend the Earth and the rest of the galaxy from various enemies.
The classic combination of comedy, action, and adventure made this a popular series. It is a family-friendly anime and does not get mainstream recognition among adult anime fans. The dubbed version of the anime did well in the US and a remastered update the series has recently been released in both English and Japanese.
#9 – Blood+ (2005 – 2006)
Blood+ is a story about a young girl that fights shape-shifting demons. There was a total of 50 episodes covering Saya’s journey to discover her true destiny. An adult oriented show, Blood+ featured plenty of gory action, with teenage Saya slicing demons apart with her sword.
Blood+, like almost every anime in this list, is based on a manga with the same name. There are many more Blood+ stories to tell. Blood: The Last Vampire was an anime feature film telling the same story. Other sequels and variations have been released as well, including a couple of Blood-C series.
#8 – Eden of the East (2009)
Eden of the East features an original premise. A Japanese woman is saved by a naked Japanese man in front of the White House in Washington, DC. The man has no memory and together they embark on a journey. It is equal parts mystery, comedy, thriller, and romance. You will not get big fight scenes with robots or monsters, just an intriguing mystery that will keep you hooked until the end.
#7 – Knights of Sidonia
Knights of Sidonia is an ongoing anime series set in the distant future. Earth has been destroyed by giant aliens called Gauna. The last of the humans survive in spaceships – including the Sidonia. While it does have plenty of action and cool fight outer space fight scenes, there is also an interesting story with character development and humor.
The story follows a young kid who grew up living in the bowels of the Sidonia space ship. He had no contact with the population living above, but trained as a pilot in an old training simulator. After being discovered, he becomes one of the Knights of Sidonia that must fight the Gauna space monsters. It is a fun story with great artwork, sound, and action.
#6 – FLCL
FLCL is a pretty crazy anime series and it has a huge fan base, despite the fact that there are only six episodes. It is basically about a young boy that goes on an adventure with a strange woman on a Vespa. The series is bright, full of color, and filled with vibrant characters. It is non-stop ride with great music and bizarre story lines.
#5 – Neon Genesis Evangelion
A teenage boy is recruited to join an elite team of pilots. A group called the Angels attack the Earth and a group of pilots have to stop them. This is a Mecca combat series and is at the top of the list of the genre.
Even though the story starts off simple, with a basic plot line to follow, it slowly gets deeper and more interesting as you work your way through the series. Stick with it and it will surely become one of your favorites.
#4 – Dragon Ball Z (1989 – 1996)
Dragon Ball Z is the longest running anime series on this list, lasting for seven years in its initial run. Dragon Ball Z is a classic and you cannot have a list of the top anime series of all times without including this long-running series. The manga is also a long-lasting staple of the action and adventure genre. The story line is absurd, but the comedy is solid. Though, the real reason to watch this show is for the action.
#3 – Samurai Champloo (2004 – 2005)
Samurai Champloo is fun, a light-hearted adventure about two swordsmen saved from execution by a waitress. She then recruits them to help her find a samurai. The two swordsmen are constantly at odds with each other, even though are working towards a common goal in helping the waitress track down the samurai.
This series has some of the best artwork and animation you will find. It is very striking, especially during the fight scenes, but there is much more to this story. It is always entertaining and full of humor.
#2 – Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood (2009 – 2010)
Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood is a sprawling story that has actually been told before. This is the story of two brothers and their search for a Philosopher’s Stone. After using alchemy to attempt and revive their dead mother, the boys are severely damaged. The older brother, Edward Elric, loses his left leg.
The younger brother has it worse – losing his entire body. Luckily, Edward is able to link the younger brother’s soul to a suit of armor. A mixture of science fiction, comedy, adventure, and character development, Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood belongs in the second spot on the list of greatest anime series of all times.
#1 – Cowboy Bebop (1998 – 1999)
Cowboy Bebop tops the list of the top 10 best anime series of all times. Not only is it the greatest anime series of all time, it is also one of the most highly ranked television series of all time – across any medium or genre. Through 27 episodes, we get to follow the exploits of lazy bounty hunter Spike and his partners in crime.
The story is set in the far future and has a good mix of comedy and action. It is essentially a noir crime, space western. Mashing these genres together, Cowboy Bebop created a lasting impression when it was released over 15 years ago.
What do think of this list? Did you find some of your favorites? Obviously, not everyone is going to agree on this list. Though, that is the point of creating lists of the tops shows. You may discover something that you have not seen before or learn something new about a show that you have dismissed in the past.
Anime is a unique genre and die-hard fans are very committed to their own favorite shows. If you saw something on this list of the top 10 best anime series of all times that you have not seen before – give it a try.