The Top 15 Greatest Japanese Anime Series of All Time
The following anime names sound familiar: Nicky Larson, Knights of the Zodiac, Dragon Ball Z, Black Clover and Naruto ? We are not surprised, they are some of the most famous Japanese anime in the world. These sh ōnen series (term for manga intended for boys and teenagers) leave no one indifferent. Young and old, men and women alike, we quickly become addicted to it. In fact, the craze for this fairly popular type of entertainment remains constant both in Japan and around the world.
Despite the evolution of the market and the passage through various phases in time, the production of anime in Japan is constantly growing. The Japanese animation industry relies on the know-how of mangakas (designers) to deliver masterpieces whose popularity spreads beyond the country. These anime are each better than the next, but some clearly stand out from the crowd.
Japan, a great specialist in anime
Japan has always been the great specialist in anime. This mode of entertainment contributes considerably to the economy of the land of the rising sun. The success of manga is no longer to be demonstrated, because for several years and for generations they have been an integral part of the pop culture of the world.
An anime, or an animated, sometimes referred to as Japanimation or Japanime, refers to an animated film or an animated series that originates in Japan. Japanese animation became popular beyond the archipelago’s borders between 1970 and 1980. However, the earliest known anime date back to 1917 and most were produced in the years that followed. However, the style and characteristic of Japanese anime developed through the work of Tezuka Osamu around 1960.
Moreover, although enjoying great popularity internationally, Japanese animation has historically been designed by the Japanese, in Japanese and for the Japanese. But that never stopped anime from gaining huge success around the world, whether translated or not. Whether you are from the “Club Dorothé” generation or the one born after the year 2000, there is bound to be one of those cartoons that rocked your youth.
Selection of the best Japanese anime
As in cinema and literature, there are classics in manga. With this selection, you will certainly make up for the anime that you did not follow. This list presents you the top 15 best anime & manga both recent and old. Whatever your preferences, you will certainly find some in this list.
- 120 episodes
Akira, written by Katsuhiro Otomo, was released in 1988. It is an animated which represents a reference for several mangakas. He was involved in the adoption of manga by popular culture worldwide. This cult film is a pillar in the history of Japanese anime. In an alternate future, a biker gang is staged, including Testsuo Shima and Shotaro Kaneda. Shima has an accident after which he finds himself embroiled in a mysterious army program that aims to develop psychic powers.Meanwhile, Akira is worshiped by some in Japanese society and feared by others. His name is heard all over the cities of Japan. Testuo sets out to find Akira to understand these powers that consume him.It is a very good Japanese animated to see and re-examine for its revelations and its revolutionary animation scenes.
2- Attack on Titan
- 3 seasons
- 59 episodes
Attack on Titan is a shonen of Hajime Isayama. This is the story of Eren Jäger in a world where humans protect themselves from titans, huge creatures, thanks to huge walls. The story shares with you the fight of humanity for the reconquest of its territory, by giving more or less clear explanations on the appearance of these giant beings.
- 16 seasons
- 366 episodes
Created by Tite Kubo, this sh ōnen describes the adventures of a teenager. Kurosaki Ichigo is able to see spirits and ghosts. He meets Rukia, a Shinigami (god of death). The latter is a fighter who confronts evil spirits to protect humans.Ichigo, thanks to this encounter, will develop his powers and help Rukia defend both the human world and Soul Society, the parallel world in which the Shinigamis and the souls of the dead live.
4- Darwin’s Game
- 1 season
- 11 episodes
Darwin’s Game is a shonen designed by Yuki Takahata and Shu Miyama who form the FLIPFLOPs ensemble. In this animated film, Sudo Kaname’s life is turned upside down the day he receives a message on his cell phone inviting him to play a game. He becomes the slave of a ruthless competition, the Darwin’s Game, after being bitten by a man. virtual snake that popped up from his cell phone screen.This game is an urban arena that brings together participants connected to each other through a social network and who face each other to the death in duels. The high school student quickly realizes that the other participants will do everything to find him, even if he tries to escape, to escape the game.
5- Death Note
- 1 season
- 37 episodes
Death Note was written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeishi Obata. It’s a very interesting psychological thriller. The main character is Light Yagami, a high school genius who accidentally discovers the Death Note, a book with supernatural powers. You just have to write someone’s name on it for that person to die.Light Yagami begins a hunt for people he considers morally unworthy, to create the world as he imagines it. Thus begins a game of cat and mouse, or a game of chess rather, between the police force of Japan and him. Only the mysterious Detective L. seems to be able to stop Light.
6- Demon slayer
- 1 season
- 26 episodes
Kimetsu No Yaiba or Demon Slayer is the most recent of the shonen carried out by the Shueisha. It tells the story of Tanjiro, a nice character who saw his family being slaughtered by a demon, except for his sister who was turned into a demon. The story takes place in the Japan of the Taisho era.Tanjiro embarks on an adventure to protect his sister Nezuko and restore her to his human nature. He will meet demon slayers who dedicate their lives to killing demons. This is where his apprenticeship begins with this caste of swordsmen. It’s a Japanese bustle perfect for chilling out. It is quite classic, with clear and neat animation.
- 1 seasons
- 12 episodes
This anime is based on Q Hayashida, a cult science fiction manga. It takes place in an unsavory, dilapidated metropolis, in which live humans and unhappy souls mutated into chimerical monsters by wizards from a parallel dimension.Caiman is the main character of the series. He’s a bounty hunter who has forgotten his past. He is accompanied by his best friend, Nikaido. Caiman is looking for the sorcerer who cursed him with a lizard head. So he walks with Nikaido the depths of the Hole. It’s a Japanese anime not to be missed in 2020.
8- Dragon Ball (the saga)
- Dragon Ball 153 episodes, Dragon Ball Z 291 episodes, Dragon Ball GT 64 episodes, Dragon Ball Kai 159 episodes, Dragon Ball Super 131 episodes
- Dragon Ball is the legend of Akira Toriyama. The saga has known several parts namely Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, Dragon Ball GT, Dragon Ball Kai and Dragon Ball Super. Several films have also seen the light of day like ” Dragon Ball Super: Broli “. But the number of TV films and OAV (Original Animation Video) is quite large.
This manga released in 1986 tells the story of a little boy, Son Goku, gifted for martial arts and strangely endowed with a monkey’s tail. During the many episodes of the saga, we see him evolve with his friends, especially in his quest to find the 7 crystal balls. Over the course of history, he will become the defender of the planet accompanied by his faithful acolytes and a little later by his children.Dragon Ball is one of the drawings animated Japanese preferred the HPlay team.
9- Fullmetal Alchemist
- 1 season
- 52 episodes
This is the story of two brothers Alphone Elric and Edward who are looking for the famous philosopher’s stone by Hiromu Arakawa. In this anime, the world is ruled by the power of alchemy.After their mother died, Ed (Edward) and Al (Alphonse) attempted to bring her back, despite this being strictly forbidden. Their attempt to resuscitate their mother failed and Edward lost his leg, while his brother lost his body. Edward sacrifices his right arm to save his brother who has been sealed in massive armor.
10- Ghost in the Shell
- 2 seasons
- 52 episodes
This anime is created by Masamune Shirow. In a completely cybernetized future, a team of Japanese special forces solve criminal cases. In this society where androids, cyborgs, robots and humans coexist, the Major (a woman), team leader of section 9 and main character, must carry out the interventions.The characters are charismatic, mysterious, but it’s the great ethical reflections raised in each episode that make this anime special. Everything that defines man, such as love, soul, individual, etc. are values demonstrated in this animated which was recently adapted for the cinema with Scarlett Johansson.
11- Hunter x hunter
- 7 seasons
- 148 episodes
This Togashi Yoshihiro manga is a nugget. This is the story of Gon Freecs, a 12 year old child who wants to become a Hunter at all costs. A Hunter is an excellent adventurer who possesses exceptional abilities and powers both in combat and in other fields.Gon also wants to find his father who is said to be one of the greatest hunters of all time but whom he has never known. So let’s go for a great original adventure whose characters will certainly please you. It’s a world filled with suspense and fights that you are going to love.Hunter X Hunter is without doubt one of the best Japanese anime.
- 9 seasons
- 220 episodes
In this list, it would be unacceptable not to include Naruto, the successor of Dragon Ball, the most watched manga of the 2000s. Created by Masahi Kishimoto, this manga is a legend. Children and adults alike have had fun doing Rasengan at school or at home with friends or on their own.It is the story of an eponymous character in a Japan dominated by ninjas with breathtaking fighting techniques. Naruto Uzumaki is a child who comes from Konoha, a hidden village. Throughout the series, he will seek to fulfill his dearest dream: to become Hokage, the protector and chief of his village. We follow his adventures which lead him to face very powerful ninjas and the dark Akatsuki organization which threatens peace in the world. The animated refers to surpassing oneself, difficult family relationships, friendship, etc.
13- One piece
- 20 seasons (production still in progress)
- 950 episodes
One Piece is a great classic of Japanese anime. The story written by Eiichiro Oda centers around Monkey D. Luffy, a pirate who ate a devil fruit making him elastic. Nicknamed Mugiwara because of his straw hat, he has the distinction of being endearing, smiling, determined, motivated, but also silly.His dream ? Become the next pirate king. But for that, he must face formidable adversaries. The rich universe of One Piece leaves no room for boredom. On the contrary, it is filled with characters and is built around strong emotions.
- 1 season
- 13 episodes
Directed by Takahiro Omori, Pet is a puzzle. In the series, we follow Hitomi and Tsukasa, two characters who have the ability to dig into the heads, into the minds of others, in order to manipulate their perceptions and memories. They are employed by an organization known as The Compagny and are tasked with covering up assassinations, crimes and committing heinous acts. It can be shocking, but hold on, because as the episodes go on, the story makes sense and the more attention you pay to it the more drawn you are.
15- Promised Neverland
- 1 season
- 12 episodes
This is a Japanese animated film by Shirai Kaiu. In it, we discover a perfect orphanage with 3 specially intelligent children: Ray, Norman and Emma. Children are cut off from the outside world by doors and walls. However, one evening, after adopting a child, Emma and her friends find out their true situation. This series has a lot of potential and proves that a thriller can be put together without a lot of action, but with psychological twists.
Do you have a little preference in this selection of the best Japanese anime ? Do not hesitate to share it with us in the comments. And if you are more series, discover our selection.