You might think that high fantasy is exclusive to Western media. You might be picturing Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, or more recently, Game of Thrones. Western media definitely does not corner the market on high fantasy, though—there’s actually a ton of fantastic anime that fits the bill.
So what is high fantasy, exactly? The term refers to more than just magical story elements. To qualify as high fantasy, a piece of media needs to take place in a magical world outside our own. So Erased, where the main character has the ability to travel back in time, doesn’t count, because he lives in the Earth version of Japan.
Other elements include the battle between good and evil, a protagonist who starts off childlike but matures as the series progresses, and, of course, magic. Sometimes there are dragons, sometimes there are wizards, and sometimes there are giant car-like insects who just need to be understood. There are tons of excellent high fantasy anime, so check out this handful of them, and let us know which one you like the best!
- Yona of the Dawn (Akatsuki no Yona) is a Japanese manga series by Mizuho Kusanagi and 2014 anime series. The story follows the redemption of Yona, the sole princess to the kingdom of Kouka, whose... more
- Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? (Tokyo MX, 2015), also known as DanMachi or Familia Myth, is a Japanese fantasy anime series based on the light novel series written by Fujino Ōmori... more
- Fairy Tail (TV Tokyo, 2009) is a Japanese fantasy anime series based on the manga by Hiro Mashima from A-1 Pictures. Natsu Dragneel, a fire dragon slayer wizard from the Fairy Tail guild, explores... more
- Magi: The Kingdom of Magic (A-1 Pictures, 2013) is a Japanese fantasy anime series based on the manga by Shinobu Ohtaka, and a sequel to the 2012 anime Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic. Aladdin, Alibaba,... more
- Berserk (Wowow, 1997) is a Japanese dark fantasy anime series based on the manga series by Kentaro Miura from OLM animation studio. Guts is a skilled swordsman who joins forces with a mercenary group... more
- Claymore is a dark fantasy manga series written and illustrated by Norihiro Yagi. The series initially premiered in the now defunct Monthly Shōnen Jump in the May 2001 issue. When the magazine was... more
- Record of Lodoss War is a franchise of fantasy novels by Ryo Mizuno based around the work he originally created for a world called Forcelia for role-playing games. There have since been multiple... more
- Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind is a 1984 Japanese animated post-apocalyptic fantasy adventure film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki, based on his own 1982 manga of the same name. Isao... more
- The Heroic Legend of Arslan is the title of a Japanese fantasy novel series. The author, Yoshiki Tanaka, started writing Arslan in 1986 and is still writing it as of 2008, with the current number of... more
- Slayers is a Japanese comic fantasy media franchise originating in a series of over 52 light novels written by Hajime Kanzaka and illustrated by Rui Araizumi. The novels had been serialized in Dragon... more
- She carries the pain of eight souls. He carries the burden of one sacred spirit. At a time when the balance of nature still held the civilizations of mankind in thrall, a single drought could spell... more
- The Vision of Escaflowne is a 26-episode Japanese anime television series produced by Sunrise Studios and directed by Kazuki Akane. It premiered in Japan on April 2, 1996 on TV Tokyo, with the final... more
- The Twelve Kingdoms is a Japanese TV series adaptation of The Twelve Kingdom literary series written by Fuyumi Ono.... more
- Magic Knight Rayearth is a Japanese manga series created by Clamp, an all-female manga artist team consisting of Satsuki Igarashi, Ageha Ohkawa, Tsubaki Nekoi and Mokona. Appearing as a serial in the... more
- Scrapped Princess is a Japanese light novel series by Ichiro Sakaki and illustrated by Yukinobu Azumi, also known as the popular adult dōjin artist Nakayohi Mogudan. In 2003, it was adapted into an... more
- "The seal will be broken after many years". In the land of Nospherus, four heroes embark on a patch of destiny that will weave a new legend. The story follows Guin, a powerful swordsman with a...
- In the war against neighboring countries, the Grand Duke’s warriors use dragon-like beasts called Touda as weapons. Touda are admired across the nation and villages take great pride in breeding them.... more