Anime Underground

The Best Anime Series of All Time 

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
Updated February 18, 2020 5.8M votes 656.1k voters 9.9M views 908 items

List Rules Japanese animated TV series only

You love anime but what tops this list of the best anime series ever made? Top anime series include shows like Death Note, Attack on Titan, and so much more. Plus, with so much new anime debuting each year, the list of best anime will only grow. 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. For example, the top comedy animes can be be much more explicit in their humor. 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 popular 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. Forget a top 10 anime list- ours has over 200 entries!

list ordered by
1
Tokyo Ghoul is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Anime Series of All Time
Tokyo Ghoul is a Japanese dark fantasy manga series written and illustrated by Sui Ishida. The story follows Ken Kaneki, a college student who barely survives an encounter with Rize Kamishiro, ...more
2
The Seven Deadly Sins is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Anime Series of All Time
Among the ten short classics with a damn dose of action The Seven Deadly Sins (Netflix, 2014) is a Japanese animated series based on the manga by Nakaba Suzuki. A once-active group of knights called the Seven Deadly Sins must band together to defeat ...more
3
Hunter × Hunter is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Anime Series of All Time
Star Takeda added
Hunter × Hunter is a 1999 television series and is part of the Hunter × Hunter media franchise. The story focuses on a young boy named Gon Freecss, who one day discovers that the ...more
4
Assassination Classroom ... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Anime Series of All Time
5
Naruto Shippūden is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Anime Series of All Time
Star Takeda added
Naruto Shippuuden is the continuation of the original animated TV series Naruto.The story revolves around an older and slightly more matured Uzumaki Naruto and his quest to save his friend ...more
6
Fullmetal Alchemist: Bro... is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Anime Series of All Time
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is an anime adaptation of the Fullmetal Alchemist manga by Hiromu Arakawa. Developed by Bones, the series is directed by Yasuhiro Irie and written by Hiroshi ...more
7
One Piece (US) is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Anime Series of All Time
8
Noragami is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Anime Series of All Time
Noragami is a Japanese manga series by Adachitoka. An anime television series adaptation by Bones aired in Japan beginning from January 5, 2014 to March 23, 2014, with a total of 12 episodes. ...more
9
No Game No Life is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Anime Series of All Time
No Game No Life is a light novel series by Yū Kamiya. Sora and Shiro are two hikikomori step-siblings who are known in the online gaming world as Blank, an undefeated group of gamers. One day, ...more
10
The Devil Is a Part-Time... is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Anime Series of All Time
PhillipAdams added
The Devil Is a Part-Timer! is a Japanese light novel series written by Satoshi Wagahara, with illustrations by Oniku. ASCII Media Works has published ten volumes since February 2011. The story ...more
11
Parasyte: The Maxim is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Anime Series of All Time
Parasyte is a science fiction horror manga series written and illustrated by Hitoshi Iwaaki, and published in Kodansha's Afternoon magazine from 1988 to 1995. Parasyte centers on a male ...more
12
Attack on Titan is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Anime Series of All Time
Star Takeda added
Several hundred years ago, humans were nearly exterminated by giants. Giants are typically several stories tall, seem to have no intelligence, devour human beings and, worst of all, seem to do ...more
13
Code Geass: Lelouch of t... is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Anime Series of All Time
lelouch added
Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion, often referred to as simply Code Geass, is a Japanese anime series created by Sunrise, directed by Gorō Taniguchi, and written by Ichirō Ōkouchi, with ...more
14
Naruto is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Anime Series of All Time
Naruto is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Masashi Kishimoto. It tells the story of Naruto Uzumaki, an adolescent ninja who searches for recognition from his peers and the ...more
15
Black Butler is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Anime Series of All Time
Tatsuki34 added
J. Michael Tatum, Brina Palencia,  Black Butler (A-1 Pictures, 2008) is a Japanese anime series based on the manga by Yana Toboso. Aided by Sebastian Michaelis, his loyal butler with seemingly inhuman abilities, Young Ciel ...more
16
Akame ga KILL! is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Anime Series of All Time
AdamJones added
Akame ga Kill! is a Japanese shōnen manga series written by Takahiro and illustrated by Tetsuya Tashiro. An anime television series adaptation of the main series premiered in Japan in July 2014. ...more
17
Fullmetal Alchemist is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Anime Series of All Time
Fullmetal Alchemist is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Hiromu Arakawa. It was serialized in Square Enix's Monthly Shōnen Gangan magazine between August 2001 and June 2010; the ...more
18
The Future Diary is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Anime Series of All Time
Future Diary is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Sakae Esuno. It depicts a battle royale in which each combatant has a diary with entries from the future. The manga was ...more
19
Ouran High School Host C... is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Anime Series of All Time
Star Takeda added
Ouran High School Host Club is a manga series by Bisco Hatori, serialized in Hakusensha's LaLa magazine between the September 2002 and November 2010 issues. The manga has been adapted into an ...more
20
Charlotte is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Anime Series of All Time
Owen_Paul_Sloane added
Charlotte is a 2015 Japanese anime television series directed by Yoshiyuki Asai. In an alternate reality, a small percentage of children manifest superhuman abilities upon reaching puberty. High ...more
21
Magi: The Labyrinth of M... is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Anime Series of All Time
Among the ten short classics, with fifty episodes and the best morals there is to offer in its genre, unlike Naruto Shippuden Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic is a 2012 TV anime series written by Hiroyuki Yoshino and directed by Koji Masunari.
22
Your Lie in April is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Anime Series of All Time
Your Lie in April, known in Japan as Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso or just simply Kimiuso, is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Naoshi Arakawa. Piano prodigy Kōsei Arima dominated ...more
23
Code Geass is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Anime Series of All Time
Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion, often referred to as simply Code Geass, is a Japanese anime series created by Sunrise, directed by Gorō Taniguchi, and written by Ichirō Ōkouchi, with ...more
24
Dragon Ball is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Anime Series of All Time
Dragon Ball is a Japanese anime television series produced by Toei Animation. It is an adaptation of the first 194 chapters of the manga of the same name created by Akira Toriyama, which were ...more
25
Is It Wrong to Try to Pi... is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Anime Series of All Time
Star Takeda added
Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?, also known as DanMachi for short, and with English subtitle Familia Myth, is a Japanese light novel series written by Fujino Ōmori and ...more