30 Best Anime Series of All Time

There are countless “best anime” lists out there, but if you run an anime blog, it feels almost obligatory to create one yourself.

If you’ve explored my blog, you might have noticed that I usually create top lists based on users’ votes. I often rely on popularity rankings from websites like MAL or My Waifu List. However, this list is different. It’s my personal recommendation list. Having watched over 300 anime across a myriad of genres, I feel more than qualified to make it.

Please be aware that there are no anime from pre-war production, the 1970s, or the 1980s on this list. For those eras, there are separate lists; this one focuses on more contemporary titles.

I hate long intros, so without further ado, let’s take a look at the 30 best anime of all time you should definitely consider watching!

30. Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End

  • Genres: Adventure, Drama, Fantasy
  • Episodes: 28
  • Airdate: 2023–2024

Frieren doesn’t present anything revolutionary or genre-changing but still excels in every aspect—plot, characters, worldbuilding, animation, music, dialogue, voice acting, and even pacing. A simple yet touching slice-of-life story about dealing with loss, wrapped up in a fantasy adventure package, makes it difficult even for the harshest anime critics to find a weak spot. We can only hope that there will be more amazing shows like Frieren in the works.

The titular character, Frieren, an elf who lived for centuries alongside human heroes, now finds herself alone after their passing due to old age. She sets out on a journey with a new companion, a young mage, to rediscover the world and the purpose of her long life.

29. Violet Evergarden

  • Genres: Drama, Fantasy, Slice of Life
  • Episodes: 13
  • Airdate: 2018

Known for its lush greenery and delicate flowers, Violet Evergarden’s landscape presents an idyllic beauty, starkly contrasting the war-torn regions Violet originally came from. While the dreamlike soft color palette is beautiful, the series also offers a heart-wrenching yet touching story that explores poignant themes like love, loss, and finding your place in the world.

The heroine, Violet, is a young ex-soldier in a war-torn world, who struggles to reintegrate into society. She joins a postal company as an “Auto Memories Doll,” a ghostwriter who crafts letters expressing people’s deepest emotions. Through her work, Violet learns the meaning of love and human connection, a journey that heals both her and those she helps.

28. Spy x Family

  • Genres: Action, Comedy, Childcare, Shounen
  • Episodes: 37
  • Airdate: 2022–

Spy x Family was a hyped-up anime that lived beyond expectation from the manga readers and it has become my top pick for anyone new to anime. The show offers a wholesome family theme, which is filled with many heartwarming family moments that will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy after a stressful day at work or school. You can also watch this with your kids as it’s ~PG-13.

The premise is simple yet fun: a spy needs to form a family to complete his mission, and he ends up marrying a secret assassin and adopting a telepath. The twist? Despite being the best spy, he doesn’t know about their secret identities!

27. Jujutsu Kaisen

  • Genres: Action, Demons, Supernatural, Shounen
  • Episodes: 47
  • Airdate: 2020–

A well-executed battle shounen, it features a well-developed power system and avoids old, tired shounen tropes, making it feel fresh and creative. Additionally, those tired of overpowered “chosen-one” shounen protagonists will love Jujutsu Kaisen with its down-to-earth, relatable protagonist and a big, lovable supporting cast.

Jujutsu Kaisen follows Yuji Itadori, a high schooler who swallows a cursed object and becomes a vessel for a powerful spirit. Instead of being executed by exorcists, he joins their ranks as a Jujutsu Sorcerer to fight against malevolent Curses that threaten humanity.

26. Kimetsu no Yaiba

  • Genres: Action, Demons, Historical, Supernatural, Shounen 
  • Episodes: 55
  • Airdate: 2019–

Demons and supernatural elements are common in anime, but Kimetsu no Yaiba stands out for its exceptional execution. It’s a captivating story that explores profound themes like compassion, sacrifice, and perseverance in the face of overwhelming odds. Tanjiro’s tragic journey will resonate with viewers, even those with high standards for anime. Each episode leaves you wanting more, eager to see what happens next.

The series follows Tanjirou, a young boy whose life is shattered by tragedy when a demon slaughters his entire family, leaving only his younger sister, Nezuko, alive. However, she has been transformed into a demon herself. Determined to avenge his family and find a way to restore Nezuko’s humanity, Tanjirou sets out on a dangerous journey.

25. One Punch Man 

  • Genres: Action, Sci-fi, Comedy, Parody, Superpower, Supernatural, Seinen 
  • Episodes: 24
  • Airdate: 2015–

Saitama, a man who trained tirelessly to become invincible, defeats all foes with just one punch. Seeking excitement, he joins the Hero Association in hopes of finding a worthy opponent.

While the concept may seem typical, One-Punch Man cleverly pokes fun at this overused trope. In fact, our hero Saitama lacks recognition despite his power, while his handsome disciple Genos is adored by everyone around him despite being less powerful than Saitama. To keep things interesting, the series showcases other heroes in action alongside Saitama.

24. No Game No Life 

  • Genres: Fantasy, Ecchi, Comedy, Isekai
  • Episodes: 12
  • Airdate: 2014

No Game No Life follows two genius gamer siblings who prefer the virtual world. Known for their unbeatable skills in online games, they receive a mysterious email challenging them to a game of chess. After winning, they’re transported to a fantasy world where games settle everything.

An isekai with a blend of ecchi, comedy, and mind games? Sounds like my kind of show! The quirky rules of this world, coupled with charming characters and a hint of ecchi, make it a dream come true!

23. Death Note

  • Genres: Police, Thriller, Psychological, Supernatural, Shounen
  • Episodes: 37
  • Airdate: 2006–2007

Light Yagami, a smart high school student, finds a mysterious notebook called Death Note. However, this is no ordinary notebook—it’s from a death god and lets the user kill anyone by writing their name. Light wants to make a world free of crime, so he starts using it to get rid of criminals. But there are consequences, and he’ll have to pay a price.

It’s no surprise that Death Note consistently tops popularity charts, including MAL (rated #2). Regarded as a masterpiece, it’s a staple on countless ‘best anime’ lists. And rightfully so—it’s a riveting tale packed with psychological intrigue. Also, the main character isn’t the only genius; the detective pursuing him is equally brilliant, which makes their mind games entertaining to watch.

22. Sword Art Online

  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Romance, Fantasy, Game
  • Episodes: 96
  • Airdate: 2012–

In the year 2022, gamers can finally live their dreams. NerveGear, a revolutionary helmet, lets players control in-game characters with their minds. Kazuto Kirigaya, a seasoned gamer, eagerly jumps into the highly-anticipated Sword Art Online (SAO). But 10,000 players who log in, including Kazuto, soon discover a horrifying truth: they’re trapped!

Sword Art Online was one of the first isekai anime set in a game world. Its idea of controlling avatars with the mind grabbed gamers’ attention and became a model for later series in the genre.

Moreover, the series introduced a compelling gamer couple: a charismatic male protagonist who is both attractive and overpowered, and a capable, beautiful female lead.

21.  Psycho-Pass

  • Genres: Police, Psychological, Action, Sci-fi
  • Episodes: 41
  • Airdate: 2012–2019

In the 22nd century, Japan uses the Sibyl System to scan citizens’ minds for criminal thoughts. New inspector Akane Tsunemori joins the force, but soon uncovers a dark truth: the Sibyl System may not be perfect.

Psycho-Pass is certainly not for kids. It’s a mature and dark anime that will challenge your perception of right and wrong. Set in a future where the Sibyl System judges citizens’ mental state for criminal intent, the series explores profound questions about morality, ethics, and the true meaning of justice.

20. Akagami no Shirayuki-hime (Snow White with the Red Hair)

  • Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Drama, Shoujo
  • Episodes: 24
  • Airdate: 2015–2016

Show me a girl does not want to be treated like a princess. In Akagami no Shirayuki-hime, the dream of every little girl becomes true for the heroine. Some might say that it’s cliché but fans don’t care; the show is so heartwarming and sweet that we can’t help but love it!

In this anime, Shirayuki, a cheerful herbalist from Tanbarun, faces a life-changing ordeal when pursued by the prince to become his concubine. Refusing, she flees to the neighboring kingdom of Clarines. There, she encounters Prince Zen, poisoned by an apple meant for her. Utilizing her herbal skills, Shirayuki helps him, and they embark on a journey back to Clarines. Despite their differing social statuses, can their bond evolve beyond friendship?

19. Tokyo Ghoul

  • Genres: Action, Mystery, Drama, Horror, Psychological, Supernatural, Drama, Seinen
  • Episodes: 46
  • Airdate: 2014–2018

It’s rare to come across a quality anime featuring ghouls, vampires, zombies, or demons. Often, they’re filled with fanservice and steamy ecchi scenes, lacking a solid foundation. However, Tokyo Ghoul broke this trend. It presents a compelling story of a half-ghoul boy grappling with his inner demons while striving to maintain peace between both species.

In an alternate reality where humans coexist with ghouls, college student Ken Kaneki is attacked by his date, who turns out to be a ghoul. After a life-saving organ transplant, Ken awakens to discover he’s become a half-ghoul. Now, he must deal with this harsh new reality if he wants to survive in the unforgiving world of ghouls.

18. Btooom!

  • Genres: Action, Sci-fi, Romance, Pychological, Seinen
  • Episodes: 12
  • Airdate: 2012

Many of us play battle royale games, so the concept of “the last one standing wins” is nothing new for us. That being said, Btooom! makes the whole battle royale experience a reality for a few people, and that is scary. Can you imagine being trapped on an island where others are trying to kill you for real? Unfortunately, while the anime was successful in creating an adrenaline rush, fans wish it didn’t end so abruptly with an open ending.

Our protagonist, Ryōta Sakamoto, is a lonely NEET teen who spends his days playing the shooter game Btooom!, where he ranks among the top players. With no aspirations for the future, his relationship with his parents suffers.

Suddenly, Ryōta finds himself transported to a secluded island alongside other strangers, nominated for a real-life adaptation of Btooom!. To survive and return home, he must fight and even kill others.

17.  Akame Ga Kill

  • Genres: Action, Fantasy, Adventure, Drama, Shounen
  • Episodes: 24
  • Airdate: 2014

Akame Ga Kill is one of the most merciless and ruthless anime you can watch. It touches upon dark themes and doesn’t shy away from gory scenes, which makes it unsuitable for the faint of heart. While there are some lighthearted humorous moments, you will often find yourself ugly crying. All in all, if you love happy endings, Akame Ga Kill is better left untouched.

In this anime, Tatsumi, a poor villager, journeys to the Capital with friends seeking a better life. Separated and broke, he stumbles upon a seemingly kind noble family. But that night, assassins attack, revealing the family’s dark secret: they torture innocents. Witnessing this horror, Tatsumi joins the assassins, Night Raid, to fight for justice.

16. Inuyashiki The Last Hero

  • Genres: Action, Drama, Sci-fi, Psychological, Seinen
  • Episodes: 11
  • Airdate: 2017

Maybe you had enough of the typical, young protagonists. If that’s the case, Inuyashiki might be an odd but interesting recommendation. This heart-breaking, unconventional story features a unique main character—an elderly man!

“Don’t judge a book by its cover” is a fitting quote here. The main character will win your heart with his empathy and kindness!

Our protagonist, Inuyashiki Ichiro, is a kind but unnoticed middle-aged man, who gets a second chance at life. After surviving a freak accident, aliens replace his failing body with a powerful machine. Now, Ichiro can finally help others. Unfortunately, his newfound purpose is challenged by another being like him, one who revels in destruction. Can Ichiro stop this villain, and what will it cost him?

15. Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu (Parasyte-the maxim)

  • Genres: Body Horror, Psychological, Drama, Action, Seinen
  • Episodes: 24
  • Airdate: 2014–2015

Do you fear bugs? Then imagine how it would feel if one alien-like little worm would just burrow into your skin while attempting to take over your brain. Not very pleasant, right? Fortunately for the 17-year-old high schooler Shinichi, the worm-like creature that tried to take over his brain failed and ate only his right hand!

If you have seen Venom and enjoyed the human-parasite relationship or if you just want to see how it is to live in a symbiosis with an intelligent parasite, go for Kiseijuu. You certainly won’t be disappointed because it’s filled with high-octane scenes, memorable characters, and powerful music that will give you a rush of adrenaline.

14. Inu x Boku SS

  • Genres: Comedy, Supernatural, Romance, Shounen
  • Episodes: 12
  • Airdate: 2012

If you enjoy romantic comedies set in a fantasy world, then Inu x Boku SS is the perfect anime for you. Despite being categorized as shounen, it exudes shoujo-esque vibes, and you may find yourself falling in love with the endearing youkai servant. The only drawback is that the anime consists of only 12 episodes and lacks a second season.

In this anime, Ririchiyo, a fiery young heiress, moves into a mysterious high-security apartment—Maison de Ayakashi. But this isn’t your ordinary complex—here, residents are half-human, half-yokai (supernatural beings). To survive, humans need a bodyguard, and Ririchiyo gets the most devoted (and maybe slightly overzealous) one—Soushi, who treats her like royalty (or perhaps his canine master). Now, Ririchiyo must deal with quirky yokai neighbors and confront her own hidden insecurities.

13. Guilty Crown

  • Genres: Action, Superpower, Drama, Romance, Sci-fi, Mecha
  • Episodes: 22
  • Airdate: 2011–2012

A decade after a deadly virus, Japan is under the oppressive thumb of the CGQ military. Only Funeral Parlor, a shadowy resistance, fights back. Shu, a bored high schooler, stumbles upon Inori, a captivating rebel, and a shocking secret: he has the Power of Kings, wielding weapons called “voids” formed from people’s souls. Now, Shu must choose: stay ordinary or fight for a better future with Funeral Parlor.

First of all, Inori Yuzuriha is the epitome of a perfect waifu. She’s willing to sacrifice herself for the greater good, and she possesses a charming and cute demeanor while also being quite powerful. If that’s not reason enough to watch, the plot is engaging with numerous twists and turns due to its mysterious nature, making the ending unpredictable.

12. Mirai Nikki (The Future Diary)

  • Genres: Psychological, Mystery, Thriller, Romantic, Supernatural, Shounen
  • Episodes: 26
  • Airdate: 2011–2012

You know that a psychological anime is good when you don’t know what’s coming until the very end. This is the biggest appeal of Mirai Nikki—it’s both shrouded in mystery and sophisticated. Moreover, the female protagonist is the yandere queen herself. Thanks to the anime’s popularity, the yandere archetype was brought to a wider audience.

Mirai Nikki follows Amano Yukiteru, a solitary high schooler, who finds solace in observing others and recording his observations in his cellphone diary. Here, he carries on imaginary conversations with Deus, a self-proclaimed God of space and time, and his assistant. However, Yuki’s isolated world takes a shocking turn when Deus reveals himself to be real.

11. Black Clover

  • Genres: Action, Comedy, Magic, Fantasy, Shounen
  • Episodes: 170
  • Airdate: 2017–2021

Asta and Yuno are orphans who dream of becoming the Wizard King, the strongest mage in the kingdom. While Yuno excels in magic, Asta struggles to use any mana. Despite this, Asta refuses to give up and they both set out to become Magic Knights.

We all love a kind underdog protagonist. Even better if he has a worthy rival. In a way, Black Clover is yet another shounen story like Naruto that makes the fans of the latter nostalgic. It has fast-paced action, a large and lovable cast of characters, and most importantly, moments of humor and genuine heart.

10. Made in Abyss

  • Genres: Sci-fi, Adventure, Mystery, Drama, Fantasy
  • Episodes: 25
  • Airdate: 2017–2022

We all know those shows that appear cute at first glance but become much darker and sadder as we watch them. Made in Abyss is another one of those. Initially, it seems like a children’s show filled with cute chibi characters adventuring in a fantasy world. However, it becomes more and more messed up as we continue watching it.

The heroine, Riko, is the daughter of the famed Diver Lyza, and lives in a world where brave individuals, called Divers, plunge into the Abyss—a vast chasm filled with mysterious creatures and relics. Despite her young age, Riko is determined to find her missing mother and works in the upper layers of the Abyss.

One day, everything changes when Riko meets a humanoid robot in the Abyss. Bonding quickly, Riko and the robot, named Reg, decide to venture into the deeper layers of the Abyss to uncover its dark secrets.

9. Fairy Tail

  • Genres: Magic, Adventure, Comedy, Shounen, Fantasy, Action  
  • Episodes: 328
  • Airdate: 2013–2019

If you’re a fan of long-running shounen shows with all the typical tropes, Fairy Tail is a perfect fit. The anime explores the background stories of many supporting characters, which makes it easier to like even some of the villains. Plus, there’s fanservice if that’s your thing. In its entirety, it’s another shounen similar to Naruto, but instead of ninjas, there are wizards.

Fairy Tail is set in the mystical land of Fiore, where magic is commonplace. Mages join magical guilds to undertake various jobs and missions. Lucy Heartfilia, a young Celestial mage, aspires to join the renowned Fairy Tail guild. After encountering the fiery Natsu and being rescued by him, she discovers his affiliation with Fairy Tail and decides to join the guild alongside him.

8. 86 Eighty-Six

  • Genres: Action, Drama, Sci-fi, Military
  • Episodes: 23
  • Airdate: 2021–2022

86 Eighty-Six is living proof that shows don’t have to have hundreds of episodes to genuinely connect with viewers and leave them wanting more. The anime grapples with deep themes like discrimination, war, humanity, and the cost of blind faith in propaganda. While the overall vibe is on the darker side, there are both lighthearted moments of joy as well as tear-jerking scenes.

86 Eighty-Six is a science fiction anime set in a war-torn world. The Republic of San Magnolia boasts of a bloodless war fought by autonomous drones. However, the truth lies hidden in “Eighty-Six,” a segregated sector where ostracized youths pilot these drones, risking their lives for a nation that deems them less than human.

7. Toaru Kagaku no Railgun

  • Genres: Action, Sci-fi, Superpowers
  • Episodes: 73
  • Airdate: 2009–2020

The whole rich Toaru Universe is worthy of exploration but the spin-off centered on Misaka Mikoto leans more on the scientific side of the Universe. While connected to the Index series, Railgun offers a more self-contained storyline. You don’t necessarily need to watch Index to enjoy Railgun, which makes it a good entry point for newcomers.

The series is set in Academy City, an advanced city 30 years ahead of the rest of the world, focused on researching psychic powers. Those with psychic abilities, called espers, are ranked from Level 1 to Level 5 based on their strength.

One of them is Misaka Mikoto, a Level 5 esper, who can manipulate electricity. However, Misaka’s carefree middle school life is suddenly disrupted when she learns of an evil project involving her DNA being cloned for experiments.

6. Kamisama Hajimemashita (Kamisama Kiss)

  • Genres: Romance, Demons, Shoujo, Fantasy, Comedy
  • Episodes: 25
  • Airdate: 2012–2015

Kamisama Hajimemashita is a perfect love story that doesn’t lack sweetness but is also not annoying or overly cute. As expected from a character-driven anime, the challenges the couple face together gradually push them to grow as individuals. Romantic aspect aside, it’s still a good story that mixes comedy and fantasy with some action here and there.

The story follows a high schooler Nanami who loses her home due to her gambling father. Homeless, she helps a stranger who, in thanks, offers her a rundown shrine as a place to live. However, it turns out the stranger is a land god who has transferred his god duties to Nanami!

5. Shingeki No Kyojin (Attack on Titan)

  • Genres: Action, Superpower, Mystery, Fantasy, Shounen 
  • Episodes: 94
  • Airdate: 2013–2023

There’s a reason why you’ve probably heard about Attack on Titan—it’s simply epic. The series features mind-blowing fights, touching scenes, and memorable dialogues (and monologues) that will leave you craving for more. Many people consider it the best anime of all time, and I can see why—it’s a masterpiece unlike any other.

The series follows Eren Yaeger, a young boy whose life turns upside down after the wall protecting his village from Titans, monstrous humanoid creatures, gets breached, causing utter havoc. He loses a close relative in a very gruesome way and witnesses firsthand the atrocious power of Titans.

After this traumatic experience, driven by anger, Eren decides to dedicate his life to the eradication of Titans by enlisting into the Survey Corps, an elite military unit that fights the Titans outside the protection of the remaining walls.

4. D. Gray-Man

  • Genres: Adventure, Dark Fantasy, Superpower, Demons, Action, Shounen 
  • Episodes: 103
  • Airdate: 2006–2008

There is something about the 19th century that makes it appealing; you won’t see any tech there, just the good old-fashioned stuff which is perfect for “the old era” junkies like me (and maybe you). This is exactly where D.Gray-Man is set in. Now, the strength of the series doesn’t lie in action; instead, it’s rooted in its characters, atmosphere, and heavy themes. Unfortunately, this shounen continues to be underappreciated to this day.

D. Gray-Man follows a young boy named Allen Walker who joins an organization of exorcists known as the Black Order. Their mission is to combat the Millennium Earl, a powerful but evil individual intent on wiping out humanity using an army of demons.

The exorcists utilize an ancient substance called Innocence to confront the Earl and his minions. When the Black Order discovers that Allen Walker may be the destined prodigy with 100% compatibility with Innocence, they realize that defeating the Millennium Earl might be more achievable than they initially thought.

3. Code Geass

  • Genres: Mecha, Adventure, Fantasy, School, Military, Drama 
  • Episodes: 50
  • Airdate: 2006–2008

A masterpiece filled with morally grey characters, Code Geass boasts a genius protagonist loved by the masses. Instead of a simple, straightforward plot, the series has an unpredictable plot with many unexpected twists and turns.

The anime is set in an alternate timeline where the world is divided into three superpowers: Britannia, the Chinese Federation, and the Europia United. Britannia sought to conquer numerous countries, including Japan, which was eventually stripped of its rights and renamed Area 11.

Lelouch vi Britannia, an exiled prince, becomes entangled with a mysterious woman named C.C., who grants him the power of Geass. This newfound ability enables him to pursue his dream of seeking revenge on the Holy Britannian Empire.

2. Hunter x Hunter (2011)

  • Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Martial Arts, Superpower, Action, Shounen
  • Episodes: 148
  • Airdate: 2011 – 2014

Hunter x Hunter follows the journey of Gon to get a hunter’s license, all in hopes of finding his father. Similar to Naruto, the series is filled with life lessons and it tackles themes like friendship, morality, and identity. Unfortunately, Hunter x Hunter manga is often on hiatus and the story is far from being finished. That being said, it’s still one of the best anime of the decade (2010-2020).

Even though Gon is the protagonist, there are many characters that can grow on you since supporting characters are fleshed out and receive enough screen time. When choosing between the 1999 and 2011 versions of HxH, many recommend the latter because it has more episodes, superior animation, and neater art.

1. Naruto & Naruto Shippuuden

  • Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Comedy, Shounen, Superpowers
  • Episodes: 220+500
  • Airdate: 2002–2007 and 2007–2017

Naruto tells the story of Naruto Uzumaki, an adolescent ninja who searches for recognition from his peers and the village where he lives. He also dreams of becoming the Hokage—the leader of the village.

For many, including me, Naruto is one of the best anime, thanks to its relatable, powerful, and touching story. Also, the colorful and vast cast of nuanced characters combined with well-developed, complex powers provide depth to the story arcs and make its rewatch potential high. Most importantly, the anime is filled with important life lessons and characters that teach us about good values & morals: we discover the true meaning of kindness, sacrifice, forgiveness, justice, friendship, family, and of course, love.

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Mia Milanová
Mia Milanová

Hey, I'm Mia, the creator of 9 Tailed Kitsune. 🦊 Big fan of anime, games, and esports – it all started with Phantom Thief Jeanne when I was just 7. Fast forward, I've binged over 200 anime! At 9 Tailed Kitsune, I'm turning my love for this world into an awesome journey. ✨

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