11 Best Anime of all Time

Best Anime of all Time-There are numerous animations produced and released all over the world every year. Here, anime is a Japanese term originating in Japan and especially means animations made in Japan.

It is said that the first Japanese animation was made and released in 1917. Speaking of the earliest famous anime in Japan, Astro Boy (a.k.a. Mighty Atom) was released in 1963 as the first series aired on TV. Hundreds of new anime are aired on TV and distributed to movie streaming platforms and come to the screens every year, and the number of must-watch titles is going on increasing year by year.

The industry of anime has prospered substantially in Japan partly because the country has other Japanese pop cultures such as manga, video games and light novels. Some popular anime are adaptations of manga, video games, light novels, and other media. And, anime has flourished worldwide so rapidly since anyone can access Japanese animations with English dubs and subtitles.

Here are the 11 best anime series of all time including both the classic anime franchises and the brand-new shows. This greatest anime list will help beginners to find which anime to start watching within the world or anime fans decide the next one to try. Otherwise, check the best anime by Freak’s standards.

This anime list focuses on TV anime series which Ja1panese calls “anime”, so anime movies such as Studio Ghibli films or Makoto Shinkai’s animations are excluded.

Best Anime of all Time

11. Dragon Ball

Many anime fans associate the most famous action anime with Dragon Ball (ドラゴンボール), which started to be aired in 1984. Dragon Ball is originally made as the Weekly Shonen Jump manga by Akira Toriyama. There are several main parts in the Dragon Ball series, and it is ongoing as the new title Dragon Ball Super (ドラゴンボール超) from 2015. The well-known part is Dragon Ball Z (ドラゴンボールZ) where the story proceeds after the main character Goku is grown up.

Any battle scenes are worth watching, however, it is especially recommended to watch Goku vs Freeza and Goku’s son Gohan vs Cell.

Air Dates: From 1984
Genre: Action, Adventure
Recommended for Beginners

10. Death Note

The mystery and horror anime Dearth Note (デスノート), based on the manga published on the Weekly Shonen Jump from 2003 to 2006, is highly rated by both domestic and international anime fans. It is so popular worldwide partly because the anime is completed with a relatively short story (37 episodes) in addition to the well-elaborated storyline.

The protagonist Light Yagami finds a Death Note which makes people die if their names are written on the note. You can enjoy watching the high-level game of wits.

Air Dates: 2006-2007
Genre: Mystery
Recommended for Beginners/Fans

9. Pokémon

Pokémon (ポケモン) is one of the most popular Japanese anime and games around the globe now, and it was first aired in Japan as the Japanese title Pocket Monsters (ポケットモンスター) in 1997. New titles have been broadcasted every time a new game is released. The first series centering on the protagonist Ash concluded with Pokémon Journeys: The Series in 2023, and the new part titled Pokémon Horizons: The Series, which follows the new main characters Liko and Roy, just began.

The young boy Ash, who is known as Satoshi in Japanese, travels all over the world with various Pokemon like Pikachu to become a Pokemon master.

Air Dates: From 1997
Genre: Kids, Family, Adventure
Recommended for Beginners

8. Re: Zero -Starting Life in Another World-

Re: Zero -Starting Life in Another World- (Re:ゼロから始める異世界生活), which is also called just Re: Zero, is looked on as one of the best Japanese anime and light novels released in the 2010s. Season 1 started with 25 episodes in 2016; the newly-edited version was aired at the beginning of 2020.

Season 2 of Re: Zero was broadcasted with 25 episodes in 2020 and 2021. The main character Subaru is sent to Isekai (another world) with no superpower except a certain ability. The story proceeds with the encounter with the heroine Emilia.

Air Dates: From 2016
Genre: Isekai, Adventure, Dark Fantasy, Time loop
Recommended for Fans/Freaks

7. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure

The popular manga and anime franchise JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (ジョジョの奇妙な冒険) started to be published in 1987, and the series consists of 8 parts from Phantom Blood (ファントムブラッド) to Jojolion (ジョジョリオン) so far (as of 2020). The newest anime adaption is the 6th part of Stone Ocean (ストーンオーシャン) which was first distributed on Netflix in 2021.

The stories focus on the mysterious adventures of the Joestar family. The main character varies by part, but they all are the Joestar family. Unique characters and intense battle scenes are highlights of the anime.

Air Dates: From 2012
Genre: Adventure, Action, Fantasy
Recommended for Fans/Freaks

6. Neon Genesis Evangelion

Neon Genesis EVANGELION (新世紀エヴァンゲリオン), directed by Hideaki Anno, is worldly known as one of the symbols of Japanese anime in the 1990s. The famous mecha anime mainly depicts the story of 4 teenagers: Shinji Ikari, Rei Ayanami, Asuka Langley Soryu, and Kaworu Nagisa. They fight with the enemies called Angels by piloting the giant humanoid robot Evangelions.

The three anime movies were released: Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone (ヱヴァンゲリヲン新劇場版:序) in 2007, Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance (ヱヴァンゲリヲン新劇場版:破) in 2009 and Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo (ヱヴァンゲリヲン新劇場版:Q) in 2012. Additionally, the final title Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 (シン・エヴァンゲリオン劇場版:||) came to the big screen in movies in 2021.

Air Dates: 1995-1996
Genre: Mecha, Action, Fantasy
Recommended for Beginners/Fans

5. Fullmetal Alchemist

Fullmetal Alchemist (鋼の錬金術師), which is abbreviated to Hagaren in Japanese, is a well-known Japanese sci-fi anime worldwide. This anime is divided into two different anime: Fullmetal Alchemist and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. The former Fullmetal Alchemist was broadcasted before the manga series did not finish the story, which means its story is different from the manga series. On the other hand, the manga’s story is truly depicted in the latter Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood, which is highly recommended to watch.

The alchemist brothers Edward and Alphonse lose a part or the whole of their body by violating a taboo: Using alchemy to try to revive their dead mother. And, they start traveling to find a way to retrieve their bodies. During the journey, they meet a variety of State Alchemists and vicious opponents Homunculi. You can enjoy fierce battles between them as well as moving episodes related to what is life.

Air Dates: 2003-2010
Genre: Adventure, Science Fiction, Dark Fantasy
Recommended for Beginners/Fans

4. One Piece

What is the most famous and top-selling ongoing manga and anime is One Piece (ワンピース) without a doubt. The first volume of the manga was published in 1997, and there are now over 100 volumes sold around the world. The anime adaptation began two years later after the first manga was released, and over 1,000 episodes have been aired since then. The whole story of One Piece can be divided into about 10 parts, and beginners can enjoy it even if they start anywhere.

It proceeds with the adventures of the main character Monkey D. Luffy and his crew in the pirates’ world. He sets sail on the sea in search of the ultimate treasure called “One Piece”. There are Devil Fruits in the world of One Piece, which grant a superpower to those who eat one while the fruits were unable to swim. Powerful fight scenes between the Devil Fruits eaters including Luffy are stunning.

Air Dates: From 1999
Genre: Adventure, Action, Fantasy, Drama
Recommended for Beginners/Fans

3. Clannad

The third position on the best anime list may satisfy many Japanese anime fans, however, some foreign people may be surprised at it since Clannad (クラナド) is less known worldwide. Clannad is one of Kyoto Animation’s masterpieces, which is recommended for any kind of anime fan. There is no action scene or supernatural event in this anime, but human drama is represented sensitively.

There are two parts to the anime: Clannad in 2007-2008 and Clannad After Story in 2008-2009. The story follows the daily life of the main character Tomoya and the heroine Nagisa in high school. It reaches the climax in the second half of the anime, and touching episodes move you. It is totally worth spending the amount of time for 44 main episodes.

Air Dates: 2007-2009
Genre: Drama, Slice of life
Recommended for Beginners/Fans/Freaks

2. Naruto

Naruto (ナルト), the greatest anime with the theme of Ninja, was initially released as the Weekly Shonen Jump manga by Masashi Kishimoto in 1999 and run until 2014. The anime Naruto series was completed in 2017 after no less than 15 years, consisting of two titles: Naruto (NARUTO -ナルト-) aired in 2002-2007, and Naruto: Shippuden (NARUTO -ナルト- 疾風伝) aired in 2007-2017.

The setting of Naruto is the fictional world of Shinobi (Ninja), and the ineffective boy Naruto is growing with the help of many friends and masters there. Naruto and other Ninja characters battle with various Ninja techniques using the chakra energy.

Lots of anime essentials such as strong bonds with friends and family, betrayal, and parting are represented in this anime. Many anime fans may pick out Naruto as the top of anime, especially for foreign people, and it deserves it. Nevertheless, Naruto yields the top position to a certain new anime being released.

Air Dates: 2002-2017
Genre: Adventure, Action, Fantasy
Recommended for Beginners/Fans

1. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba

The advent of a shockingly quality anime surprised experienced fans all over the world in 2019. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba (鬼滅の刃) is adapted into an anime from the manga by Koyoharu Gotoge, which was serialized on the Weekly Shonen Jump in 2016. The first season of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba with 26 episodes was welcomed by both fans of the manga and people who had not read it.

It is set in the Taisho period (1912-1926) in Japan where demons exist with human beings. The main character Tanjiro Kamado finds his family is killed by the attack of demons and only his sister Nezuko is changed into a demon. He decides to become a demon slayer to restore her to a human.

This anime includes every important part of an excellent anime from the main character’s purity and growth to friends with the spirit of brotherhood and respect for any characters. The battle scenes between demon slayers with swords and unique demon characters are intense, which is beautifully drawn. Each character’s past and background including even demons is respectfully depicted in this anime.

It is followed by the sequel story Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train (劇場版 鬼滅の刃 無限列車編) released in October 2020. At the same time as the second season of the TV series Entertainment District Arc finished in February 2022, it was announced that the production of season 3 of Swordsmith Village Arc was decided. This franchise has not been completed yet, but it is safe to say that Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba will grow to represent the best anime in Japan and around the world.

Air Dates: From 2019
Genre: Drama, Action, Adventure, Dark Fantasy
Recommended for Beginners/Fans