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The 21 Greatest Anime Episodes of All Time, Ranked

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?

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  • 'Attack on Titan' - Hero
    Photo: Wit Studio

    Episode 54

    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.

    7,829 votes
  • 'Death Note' - Silence
    Photo: Madhouse

    Season 1, Episode 25

    In this episode, which caps off the first season, L meets his end. Not only are Light's methods for dispatching of his longtime rival cruelly brilliant, but the anime drives home the emotional resonance of this pivotal moment through brief flashbacks to L's childhood at Wammy's House, biblical imagery, and more. It's one of the few times where Madhouse took a risk and fleshed out an important scene from the manga, and the risk paid off.

    5,271 votes
  • 'Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood' - Death of the Undying
    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.

    6,223 votes
  • 'Hunter X Hunter' - Anger × And × Light
    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.

    5,878 votes
  • 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. 

    6,000 votes
  • 'Demon Slayer' - Hinokami
    Photo: ufotable

    Episode 19

    In this episode, Tanjiro and Nezuko must contend with a spider demon. Not only is the fight itself exquisitely animated, the episode also offers insight into the Kamado family's daily life before the tragedy. What's more, Nezuko protects Tanjiro, a cool inversion of what happens throughout the beginning of the series. 

    6,435 votes