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The Best Anime Series of All Time

List Criteria: Japanese animated TV series only

You love anime but what tops this list of the best anime series ever made? The blanket term "anime" in the US can refer to any animation originating in Japan, and specifically differentiates a few aspects of Japanese animation from more Western styles. (This includes the Japanese propensity to feature adult themes and stories in animation, as opposed to Western "cartoons" aimed primarily at children, as well as the exaggerated, fantasy-oriented and colorful style of Japanese animated visuals.) "Anime" can refer either to animated films or TV series, furthering the confusion. (Anime is often incorrectly used to refer to Japanese comic books as well. These are actually known as "manga," though many anime series are based on or inspired by popular manga.) Check out the best anime of 2014 for newer recommendations! 

Anime TV series first found popularity outside of Japan in the 1980s and have continued to find larger and larger audiences in the West. A number of anime shows originating in Japan - such as Cowboy Bebop or Dragon Ball Z - have found enthusiastic audiences for dubbed versions in English speaking countries. (Pokemon, a series inspired by Nintendo's blockbuster series of video games, has been an ongoing hit franchise in both Japan and the US.) The anime style has grown so popular in the US, it has stared to significantly influence the style and aesthetics of American animation. Shows such as Avatar: The Last Airbender, Afro Samurai and Samurai Jack have borrowed heavily from anime in terms of pacing, subject matter, and design.

This list collects the best Japanese anime TV series of all time. American series that have been influenced by anime, such as Avatar: The Last Airbender, are not included.

The Best Anime Series of All Time TV Programs
  • 249 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 18283
    - 6903

    the people's #1 & most listed
    L, Light Yagami, Near

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  2. 2
    + 16587
    - 3992


    Edward Elric, Roy Mustang, Winry Rockbell

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  3. 3
    + 17085
    - 4452

    added by maxryan3003
    Eren Yeager, Historia Reiss, Captain Levi Attack on Titan (進撃の巨人 Shingeki no Kyojin?, lit. "Advancing Giants") is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated byHajime Isayama. The series began

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  4. 4
    + 12842
    - 4693


    Sakura Haruno, Naruto Uzumaki, Kakashi Hatake

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  5. 5
    + 12316
    - 4369

    added by Lepticidio
    Asuna, Leafa, Kirito

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  6. 6
    + 4546
    - 1964

    often listed
    Yoruichi Shihouin, Orihime Inoue, Ichigo Kurosaki

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  7. 7
    + 12248
    - 5146


    Sakura Haruno, Naruto Uzumaki, Kakashi Hatake

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  8. 8
    + 10275
    - 3588


    Natsu Dragneel, Lucy Heartfilia, Gray Fullbuster

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  9. 9
    + 12492
    - 4984


    Vegeta, Goku, Android 18

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  10. 10
    + 8618
    - 2689


    Kallen Stadtfeld, Shirley Fenette, C.C.

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  11. 11
    + 9556
    - 3465


    Monkey D. Luffy, Nami, Roronoa Zoro

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  12. 12
    + 8054
    - 2987


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  13. 13
    + 6599
    - 2106


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  14. 14
    + 6281
    - 2885

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Faye Valentine, Spike Spiegel, Jet Black

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  15. 15
    + 5419
    - 2068


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  16. 16
    + 5117
    - 1769

    added by ValedPuud
    Rintarou Okabe

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  17. 17
    + 4795
    - 1629


    Rin Okumura, Yukio Okumura

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  18. 18
    + 3224
    - 1024

    added by AdamJones
    Akame Ga Kill

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  19. 19
    + 3407
    - 1981

    often listed

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  20. 20
    + 4436
    - 2004


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  21. 21
    + 2716
    - 550


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  22. 22
    + 3008
    - 742

    added by ketan-gupta
    Hunter X Hunter (2011) HUNTER X HUNTER (2011) is the remake of the Hunter x hunter anime series ,which aired in 1999.It is based on the manga ,HUNTERxHUNTER by Togashi Yoshihiro.A Hunter is one who travels the world

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  23. 23
    + 3545
    - 1814

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks

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  24. 24
    + 3898
    - 1500


    Jin, Mugen, Fuu

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  25. 25
    + 4847
    - 2546

    often listed
    Ash Ketchum, Misty, Meowth

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  26. 26
    + 3447
    - 1060


    Parasyte

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  27. 27
    + 5001
    - 2450

    often listed
    Goku, Bulma, Piccolo

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  28. 28
    + 3121
    - 1430


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  29. 29
    + 3276
    - 1119


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  30. 30
    + 4655
    - 1895

    added by kesh777
    Sword Arts Online II Better than SAO I, Considered as one of the ten short classics

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  31. 31
    + 3115
    - 1216


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  32. 32
    + 2562
    - 1092

    added by ValedPuud
    Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial

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  33. 33
    + 2786
    - 1009


    Masami Iwasawa, Yuzuru Otonashi, Yui

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  34. 34
    + 5090
    - 1624

    added by SensitivePsych0
    Max Thunderman

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  35. 35
    + 3203
    - 1078

    added by SensitivePsych0
    Shinya Kogami, Nobuchika Ginoza, Shion Karanomori

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  36. 36
    + 2532
    - 960


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  37. 37
    + 2569
    - 1170


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  38. 38
    + 2376
    - 1520

    often listed
    Maximillion Pegasus, Yugi Mutou, Anzu Mazaki

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  39. 39
    + 2245
    - 1108


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  40. 40
    + 2611
    - 1695

    often listed
    Asuka Langley Soryu, Rei Ayanami, Misato Katsuragi

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  41. 41
    + 2672
    - 1247

    often listed & added by kiaoncelucas

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  42. 42
    + 2466
    - 1209

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Kamina, Yoko Ritona, Simon

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  43. 43
    + 2045
    - 498


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  44. 44
    + 2859
    - 990

    ranked low on reranks & added by Tatsuki34
    J. Michael Tatum, Brina Palencia, 

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  45. 45
    + 2791
    - 1062

    added by sophiagubbels
    Kyoya Ootori, Mitsukuni Haninozuka, Haruhi Fujioka

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  46. 46
    + 1794
    - 697

    added by kesh777
    Magi Among the ten short classics, with fifty episodes and the best morals there is to offer in its genre, unlike Naruto Shippuden

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  47. 47
    + 1860
    - 615

    added by BrianTwistedSoulHarrison
    Nami, Nico Robin, Roronoa Zoro

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  48. 48
    + 2483
    - 1075


    Korra, Azula, Asami Sato

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  49. 49
    + 1629
    - 758


    Huang, Mao, Yin

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  50. 50
    + 1495
    - 673

    added by penmetsa-rahul
    Akeno Himejima, Issei Hyodo, Koneko Tōjo

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