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The 21 Greatest Anime Episodes of All Time, Ranked

Updated December 16, 2020 77.9k votes 12.8k voters 256.3k views21 items

Ask the question "what is the best anime episodes of all time?" and you'll get a different answer from every anime fan. Still, these 20 episodes, which come from beloved shows like Tokyo Ghoul, Fullmetal Alchemist, and CLANNAD, are extremely good.

Often, these episodes are the more emotionally fraught ones within the series. That's because even anime that are normally humorous or action-packed still have powerful moments of character development and revelation that make the show truly memorable. Naruto has episodes that explore just about every theme possible, but the episode when Sasuke finally learns the truth about Itachi Uchiha is among the most compelling. But sometimes, what makes an episode great is the absolutely breathtaking action sequences - watching Armin's plan come to fruition in Attack on Titan's Hero was one of the most stunning anime experiences of the decade.

Which episodes do you think deserve praise?

  • Photo: Wit Studio

    Season 3, Episode 17

    The entire third season of Attack on Titan is filled with heavy hitters, but Hero is a truly exceptional episode. Here, Armin Arlelt, Eren's mild-mannered but blisteringly intelligent best friend, has the chance to formulate and execute a strategy to plug up the wall - and it actually works. Levi's fight with the Beast Titan is also memorable for many fans. Combine a fascinating plot with the best animation Wit Studio has to offer and you have one stellar episode.

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  • Season 6, Episode 29

    Because it's such a long series, there are enough amazing episodes of Naruto that they could fill a whole article. But among the very best is Truth, the episode where Sasuke finally learns the painful truth behind the massacre of his clan. But the episode isn't all emotional flashback - it also moves the plot forward when Sasuke awakens his mangekyo sharingan. 

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  • Photo: Studio Bones

    Episode 19

    This is one of the most incredible episodes in the entire series, and given what FMA: Brotherhood is like in general, that's saying something. Whether it's Roy Mustang cauterizing his own wounds and continuing to fight anyway, Alphone Elric refusing to back down on his principles, or new truths about the homunculi being revealed, this episode is an encapsulation of everything that makes FMA: Brotherhood great.

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  • Photo: Madhouse

    Episode 131

    Hunter X Hunter isn't your average shonen anime, and nothing proves it like Anger × And × Light. In this episode, Gon learns that his friend Kite has passed away. Enraged, he powers up to an adult form of himself, and beats the living tar out of Neferpitou. In most anime, this would be a moment of triumph, but in Hunter X Hunter it's a dark moment where Gon loses his control and his innocence.

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