Picking out the best anime series of all time is not an easy task. Everyone likes different genres, and the world of anime is vast, featuring slice of life, fun anime all the way to gore and horror shows. However, there are some series that are praised by virtually everyone, and while they might not be everyone’s taste, people tend to agree that the they deserve a place in this type of lists.
The original 2003 series should not be dismissed either, but it’s the Brotherhood version of the show that gets more praised, perhaps due to it sticking closer to the manga. The show ran for 64 episodes and gets constantly ranked high as being one of the best anime ever.
The series has a lot of seasons that go by slight variations of the same name. It has a total of 367 episodes, so if it manages to catch your attention then there’s a lot of material to enjoy. A lot of the story is episodic, which means you can set up your own pace at which you can watch the show, but there are also some story arcs that will keep you coming back.
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3. Cowboy Bebop
The soundtrack alone will manage to catch your attention – even if you’re not a fan of jazz, there’s a chance you’ll gain a new appreciation for it after watching Cowboy Bebop. Moreover, the show has an outstanding English dub, so if you prefer watching dubbed anime then this is definitely one of the best out there.
The series was revived in 2016, so chances are that you heard about it at that point. However, it’s the late-90s original series that stood the test of time, being considered one of the best of all time. The show has only 25 episodes, and the fast-paced action will make the show seem even shorter than it actually is.
Perhaps better known as Samurai X among the Western audience, Rurouni Kenshin and its OVAs are the type of shows that are considered to be “all-rounders” – featuring elements of action and adventure but also comedy and romance. The original series has 95 episodes, but it also has 2 OVAs as well as various films to check out.
A classic among shonen anime, with a story revolving around martial arts but with elements of the occult. Yu Yu Hakusho has 112 episodes, and has been dubbed in English – the show ranking high whenever there’s a discussion of best dubbed shows. The show aired on Toonami in the early 2000s, so it’s fairly familiar to the Western audience.
If you were a fan of Yu Yu Hakusho, or appreciated the work of its creator, then Hunter x Hunter could be a good option to follow it up with. Hunter x Hunter was adapted into an anime in 1999, but it’s the 2011 version (with 148 episodes) that is considered to be one of the best ever by anime fans.
Fans of horror and psychological thriller anime are definitely familiar with this title. However, for those who want to dip their toes into this type of genres, what better way than to start with one of the best anime they have to offer. Monster ran for 74 episodes.
Being based around a video game, Steins;Gate received a manga adaptation as well as an anime adaptation, which ended up becoming one of the best series of all time. The show has 24 episodes and 1 OVA, and despite being fairly recent (less than a decade old) it’s constantly getting praised. The show also received a sequel in 2018.
10. Lupin the 3rd
For those who want to go back in time and see how anime used to look in the 70s then Lupin the 3rd is a good anime to check out, given that it’s one of the best (not only from that decade but ever). This show is an interesting watch not only due to the fact that it’s historically important, but also because it’s an entertaining action-adventure anime.
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11. Death Note
An easy pick when it comes to ‘best anime’ list, as Death Note gets a lot of praise from the anime community. The show follows an ace student on his quest to get rid of all the evil in the world. Not only is it an interesting watch for its thriller elements but the show also features elements of the paranormal type. It aired for 37 episodes and received various movie adaptations since.
One of the series that was responsible for increasing the popularity of anime in the West. For that alone it deserves a spot on the list of the best anime of all time. However, historical significance is not the only thing that Neon Genesis Evangelion has going for it. The show spans across 26 episodes, and it’s considered to be a masterpiece in its genre.
13. One Piece
The show follows the adventure of Monkey D. Luffy on his quest to become the king of pirates. Given the number of episodes this one has (over 900 and counting), it can be rather intimidating to start. The upside is that if it turns out to be your cup of tea then there are plenty of episodes to go through. And there’s a big chance that this will be your cup of tea.
14. Naruto Shippuden
While the original series is successful in its own right, it’s the Shippuden series that gained the franchise even more acclaim. Despite the big number of episodes that you would have to go through if you embark on this journey, the quality of the show makes binge watching easy. You can also check out the original series if you want to gain more insight into the characters, but you can also enjoy Naruto Shippuden as is.
Another giant in the shonen genre, Bleach follows the adventures of Kurosaki Ichigo on his mission to hunt down ghosts. The series wrapped up in 2012, having a total of 366 episodes. Both the anime and the manga it was based on was well received, ranking high on the list of best anime of all time (especially in this genre).
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16. One-Punch Man
If you’re tired of watching shows that follow the journey of the protagonist on their quest to get stronger then you can simply enjoy a show with an overpowered protagonist. The story follows Saitama who seeks a worthy opponent to fight against after getting bored by the lack of chellengers. One-Punch Man has 24 episodes and 7 OVAs to its name, and the series is on-going, with the 2ndseason premiering in late 2019.
At this point, everyone knows about the series. The franchise is still going strong to this day, having many fans around the world, plenty of video games to its name, a popular card game, and movies. Many people grew up with this series, and perhaps it was their introduction to the world of anime. The series is on-going, and already has over a thousand episodes.
18. Fairy Tail
With a very popular manga as its source material, Fairy Tail was set to become one of the most popular anime series in the world. The show already aired over 300 episodes and is on-going, receiving an English dub from Funimation. Moreover, the popularity of the show gained it 9 OVAs and 2 films.