• Anime Underground

Ranking The All Time Best Years For Anime Releases

List RulesVote up the year that featured the best contributions to anime canon.

No one can agree on the best year for anime, as more often than not, verdicts are based on personal favorites. If you love Cowboy Bebop, you probably think 1998 is the year anime peaked. If Barakamon is more your speed, you might see 2014 as the best anime year.

Things get even trickier when you start considering every great show that released in a single year. Pokémon and Princess Mononoke are beloved by countless fans, but are they collectively better than Naruto, Azumanga Daioh, and Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex?  

Which year left us with the most memorable additions to the anime canon? It's likely a question without a definite answer, but one worthy of debate. 

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  • 1

    2019

    Photo: ufotable, TMS Entertainment, Kinema Citrus

    2019 was truly a great year for anime across all genres. Not only were there amazing shonen series that premiered like The Promised Neverland or Dr. Stone, but even fantastic romance series aired like the hilarious and charming Kaguya-sama: Love is War and the much-anticipated reboot of the shojo classic Fruits Basket. And for Isekai fans, The Rising of the Shield Hero was a stand-out. 

    There were so many memorable and tear-jerking moments in the new seasons of Attack on Titan (S3 Pt. 2), My Hero Academia (S4), and Mob Psycho 100 (S2) too. 

    Plus, we can't forget the cultural phenomenon that was Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba. A series that brought anime fans all over the world together.  

    Notable releases:

    3,764
    543
    Was this a great year for anime?
  • 2

    2006

    When discussing the theoretical golden age of anime, fans are quick to bring up 2006, as many of the year's new series are remembered as the greatest anime of all time. 

    That year, the Japanese animation industry's collective worth peaked at ¥258.8 billion (roughly $2.9 billion), an all-time high it has yet to surpass as of 2018. 

    Notable releases:

    3,468
    527
    Was this a great year for anime?
  • 3

    2009

    Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, which came out in April of 2009, is commonly held up as a high water mark for anime. The second FMA anime adaptation features spot-on animation, nuanced characters, and a wildly creative plot that faithfully recreates the source material. 

    It's hard to find a better anime than FMA: Brotherhood, but it wasn't the only stellar show to come out in 2009. The Monogatari series, which is still running as of 2018, got its start with Bakemonogatari in the summer of '09. 

    Fairy Tail, a long-running fantasy anime that rivals One Piece and Naruto in episode count, got going in October of that year, and K-On! proved to be one of the most successful examples of the slice of life genre.

    Notable releases:

    2,915
    535
    Was this a great year for anime?
  • 4

    2015

    Even if no other shows were released, One Punch Man's debut is enough to make 2015 a banner year for anime fans. Luckily, the subversive shonen series was accompanied by several other stellar shows. 

    The fan service laden Food Wars began in April of 2015, and instantly found a wide audience on Crunchyroll, an anime streaming service that achieved over 750,000 paying subscribers by the end of the year. 

    Death Parade and Assassination Classroom – two touching anime with insanely violent premises – also made their first appearances. Whether you wanted to watch people have foodgasms, or just wanted to cry, 2015 was a great year for anime.

    Notable releases:

    3,135
    583
    Was this a great year for anime?