21 Bucket List Anime You Must See Before You Die

List Rules
Vote up the anime you think should be on everyone's to-watch list.

Thousands of anime series exist out there, and more new ones debut every season. With so much available, it can be hard to know which series to choose. That's why it's great to have a bucket list – must-see anime everyone should familiarize themselves with at some point in their lives. 

Bucket list anime falls under any genre, from philosophically inclined mecha anime like Neon Genesis Evangelion to tragic romance like Your Lie in April. They can be short; the excellent FLCL only clocks in at six episodes if you don't count the sequels. Or, they can be so long that completing them is literally a lifetime goal; One Piece boasts over 800 episodes.

Whatever your taste, it's worth familiarizing yourself with these popular, high-quality titles, some of which are considered the best anime of all time. This will not only give you a good grounding in series that other people have rated highly, it will also help you establish your own tastes. That way, you can come up with a bucket list tailored to your own personal preferences. 

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  • 1
    29,386 VOTES
    Death Note
    Photo: Madhouse

    A teenage boy named Light Yagami finds a notebook that kills anyone whose name is written inside, and decides to use that power to eliminate crime from the world. This dark story forces viewers to confront hard questions about morality, while still providing a thrilling battle of wits that lasts up until the series's finale.

    29,386 votes
  • 2
    11,600 VOTES
    Attack on Titan
    Photo: Wit Studio

    Most anime fans have already seen or at least heard of Attack on Titan. Given that it's one of the most popular anime series in recent years, it'd be a pity to miss out on this cultural phenomenon. Set in a post-apocalyptic civilization, humanity must hide behind walled cities to protect themselves from giant flesh-eating titans. This is an incredible series with amazing world-building, clever plot twists, and impressive action.

    11,600 votes
  • 3
    24,280 VOTES
    Hunter x Hunter
    Photo: Madhouse

    Hunter X Hunter starts off with Gon Freecss' journey to become a Hunter, a person who isn't bound by normal societal rules and may take on life-threatening tasks. He quickly realizes there's more to being a Hunter, and more to the world around him, than he ever imagined. This anime stands as one of the smartest shows in its genre, so don't be deterred by its length.

    24,280 votes
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
    Photo: Bones

    If you're an anime fan, chances are high that you've already seen Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, but if you haven't, this anime about the power of alchemy is well worth your time. Whether you're into political intrigue, family drama, or just want a good laugh, FMA has it all.

    23,122 votes
  • 5
    27,318 VOTES

    Naruto is a long-running shonen anime, which means it's been a huge influence on anime as a whole. Initially focusing on the title character's goal to become the hokage, it quickly branches off to focus on political intrigue, warfare, and some of the most desperately sad villains in all of anime. You can skip some of the filler, but Naruto should be on every anime fan's to-watch list.

    27,318 votes
  • 6
    29,839 VOTES

    My Hero Academia is one of the newer additions to the shonen genre and has since become one of the coolest. It follows Izuku Midoriya and his classmates as they learn how to use their superpowers, like Hogwarts but for Marvel/DC-types. In fact, this show often feels like watching an anime version of a Marvel comic, which makes it a must-watch show for Western fans. 

    29,839 votes