The Top 25 Anime of All Time

Enumerating the top 25 anime of all time is fun. There are so many great series to choose from, and I’m sure many readers will say that their favorite should be included in this list. Anime brings us to fascinating worlds where heroes and villains clash in a seemingly never-ending battle.

Anime lovers can choose from several genres: action, adventure, science fiction, comedy, romance, fantasy, and magic. There are different types of characters, from superheroes, aliens, ninjas, robots, beautiful girls, to bounty hunters. Enjoy the list!



  1. Dragon Ball Z


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Ka-Me-Ha-Me-Ha Wave! This ultra-popular anime series is about a race of super aliens known as Saiyans. The story revolves around Son Goku, who despite all his abilities, grew into a mild-mannered person. But eventually, he discovered a way to greatly increase his powers by becoming a “Super Saiyan.”

Dragon Ball Z is full of action, suspense, and when you least expect it, comic relief. Goku fought against equally powerful foes like Piccolo and Vegeta, who eventually turned into allies.  They (along with Gohan, Trunks, Kuririn, Android 18, Yamcha, and Tenshinhan) fought against powerful enemies such as Cell, Freeza, even the adorable character Majin Buu to defend planet Earth.


  1. Naruto


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The quest of Naruto Uzumaki to become a Hokage leads him to a path full of battles and mysteries. What Naruto doesn’t know is that he has a powerful fox-like creature inside him – Nine Tails. He, along with his friends Sasuke Uchiha and Sakura Haruno embark on trainings and missions to develop their ninja skills.

Under the guidance of his sensei Kakashi Hatake, Naruto slowly but surely reached a higher rank. One of his famous techniques is the Shadow Clone Jutsu. They, along with Jiraiya, Tsunade, and the others fight evil forces who are greedy for power, especially Orochimaru and Madara Uchiha. They defeated the bad guys, but not without losing some friends who perished in battle.


  1. Pokemon

Gotta catch ‘em all!

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“Gotta catch ‘em all!” Ash Ketchum and his friends seek out to find adorable creatures and become the best Pokemon trainer.  The first Pokemon Ash had was the “electrifying” Pikachu, who become his constant companion.

Each Pokemon (or pocket monster) has unique abilities and powers which can be used to defeat other Pokemon. Ash and his friends (Misty and Brock) must first battle other trainers and earn badges to be eligible for Pokemon tournaments. Pokemon Go, anyone?


  1. Yu Yu Hakusho


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If you want an action-packed anime, this could be one of your picks.  This anime has some violence in it, especially during battles (blood galore). It also deals with the topic of spirits and ghosts.

Yusuke Urumeshi died in an accident because he tried to save a boy who was about to get hit by a speeding car. The son of the Underworld King offered to bring him back to life if he can pass a series of tests. He was successful and was designated as an underworld detective.  Yusuke ended up joining tournaments; this is where he met his arch-nemesis Toguro.


  1. Rurouni Kenshin


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This anime (also known as Samurai X) is one of the best-selling manga.  In Japan alone, it was reported that it sold over 55 million copies. The story is about Kenshin Himura, an assassin who decided to reform his old ways.

As with other Japanese anime, this series also a love story.  In the end, love conquers all hardships. What’s nice about Rurouni Kenshin is that it has a happy ending, with Kenshin marrying his love Kaoru.


  1. One Piece


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Do you like Pirates of the Caribbean? Then, you’ve probably watched this anime series. Luffy and his band of pirates Roronoa Zoro, Nami, Usopp, and Vinsmoke Sanji embark on a journey to find the most coveted treasure of them all – One Piece.

You will be treated to a fun and crazy adventure where humans interact with “fishmen” (mermen and mermaids) and Minkmen (humanoid animals). The animation, plot and colorful characters are what makes this series a big hit.  One Piece is one of the best-selling manga series in history, do I need to say more?


  1. Fullmetal Alchemist


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Science fiction is not easy to gauge; it may click with audiences or it may not. Fullmetal Alchemist achieved a feat that other anime of the same genre failed to do, connect with the audience.

The series revolves around the Elric brothers, Edward and Alphonse. Alchemy is a combination of science and magic. This anime discusses several topics including family, politics, and war.


  1. Hunter X Hunter


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Gon Freecss is a young boy who decided to become a Hunter – someone who tracks rare beasts and secret treasures. Aside from the prestige of being a hunter, there is a deeper reason why Gon embarked on this journey – to find his long-lost father. This anime has an interesting plot and is fun to watch.


  1. Transformers


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Robots transforming into trucks, cars, jets, tanks, even dinosaurs. Transformers is about the conflict between two factions of robots who came from the far-away planet of Cybertron. Optimus Prime led his Autobots against Megatron and his Decepticons. Thanks to the highly successful film series of Michael Bay, Transformers will go down in history as one of the greatest franchises of all time.

The story behind the scenes of this series is a bit complicated. An American company, Hasbro, was the brains behind Transformers, but they employed Japanese animators.  Purists may argue that it is not a “real” anime. But fans around the world will surely agree that it should be on this list.


  1. Ranma ½


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This hilarious anime is about Ranma Saotome.  He got a curse because he fell into a cursed spring; he transforms into a girl when he comes into contact with cold water, and changes back into a boy when splashed with hot water.

Ranma is not the only one who was cursed, his father also has the same reaction to water, but instead of turning into a girl, Genma turns into a panda. Ranma has love interests both as a man and as a woman, and it is fun to watch him as he juggles his two personalities.


  1. Voltes V


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“Let’s volt in!” This is what Steve Armstrong says when he commands the five volt machines to form the super robot Voltes V. He along with the other team members (Mark, Big Bert, Little John, and Jamie) protect the Earth from the Bozanians and their beast-fighters.

This anime is full of drama and twists. It is better not to tell the whole story, but I know older people who were able to watch this series will surely agree that it deserves a spot in the best anime of all-time list.


  1. Dragon Ball


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What is the difference between Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z? I think you can easily answer that question. Both series revolve around Son Goku, but Dragon Ball was about him when he was still a young boy.

Even as a young kid, Gokou possesses great power. Together with Kuririn and Bulma, they battled the Red Ribbon Army to search for the magical Dragon Balls (whoever gets all seven will be granted a wish). Funny and entertaining, Dragon Ball is one of the most well-loved anime of all time.


  1. Steins; Gate


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A sci-fi thriller dealing with time travel, Steins; Gate will keep you on the edge of your seat until the end. This anime is like “Back to The Future” with a twist. Scientist Rintaro Okabe, together with his friends Mayuri Shiina and Itaru Hashida runs a lab called Future Gadget Laboratory.

They developed a cellphone-operated microwave oven that can send text messages back in time (D-mail), and this is where the story will start to unfold. Evil forces try to get hold of this “time machine” with Okabe trying his best to stop them.


  1. Sailor Moon


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Anime not only caters to male audiences; it can also capture the female market, especially young girls.  Sailor Moon is a good example of that. Pretty girls, beautiful costumes, and humor all combine to entertain viewers.  You can think of it as the Barbie of anime.


  1. Cowboy Bebop


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Spike Spiegel and his crew Jet Black, Edward Wong, Ein, and Faye Valentine pilot the spaceship Bebop to catch criminals in exchange for a bounty. Spike has a heated rivalry with his arch enemy Vicious.

The reason behind it is a woman – Julia, Vicious’ girlfriend who later had an affair with Spike. Vicious was so enraged that he ordered to have the two killed. Julia died, and this led to the final duel between the protagonist and the antagonist.


  1. Code Geass


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War, rebellion, and drama – all of these are featured in this very popular Japanese anime. It has gained critical acclaim for its fast pacing and appeals to a wide variety of audiences worldwide. The main character is Lelouch, who has the power of Geass – the ability to order anyone to do what he wants.

Code Geass bagged the Best TV Anime Series award in 2007 at the Tokyo Anime Awards. It is one of the best-selling anime on DVD and Blu-ray discs, selling over a million copies. It is not only popular in Japan; it enjoys widespread popularity in North America as well.


  1. Doraemon


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An adorable character complete with gadgets that can almost do anything, Doraemon became the favorite pastime of children and those who are young at heart. He has a strong bond with his friend Nobita, although the latter likes to take advantage of the situation.

With the help of Doraemon’s gizmos, Nobuta tried to impress his crush Shizuka, get even with school bullies, and evade household chores (although it backfires on him most of the time). Even with all their quarrels, at the end of the day, they always manage to patch things up.


  1. Bleach


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It is entertaining to watch Ichigo Kurosaki use his weapon Zanpakuto (sword) as he battles his enemies.  The sword can change its form depending on the spiritual strength of the person holding it.  This series is about friendship, hope, and determination.


  1. Case Closed (Detective Conan)


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If you are a fan of crime series like CSI, Case Closed is the best anime for you.  It has suspense, mystery, and it will keep you guessing until the end. Jimmy Kudo is a junior detective who was transformed into a child because of a poison. You can play the role of a detective and guess who the real killers are in each case that he is investigating.


  1. Lupin III


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Lupin is not just an ordinary thief. He is very good at it! See how he evades being caught by the police and how he outsmarts his rivals. His love interest is Fujiko Mine, a beautiful and sexy thief who uses her looks in her criminal activities. When Lupin least expects it, Fujiko will steal the bounty for herself, given a chance.


  1. Slam Dunk


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If you are a big fan of basketball, you probably watched Slam Dunk. Hanamichi Sakuragi and his team Shohoku rises from complete obscurity from being a top contender. Although he is not a natural basketball player, he is gifted with athletic abilities.

Each episode is filled with laughter as Sakuragi is a natural comedian, making fun of situations on and off the court. His teammate Kaede Rukawa is also his greatest rival when it comes to winning the heart of Haruko Akagi, the girl that he loves.


  1. Yu-Gi-Oh!


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Monsters coming out of playing cards? Yes, that is what Yu-Gi-Oh is all about. Each monster has a rating – attack power and defense. Some fighting arenas will favor a particular monster, increasing its power and abilities.

Yu-Gi’s quest is to become the ultimate champion when it comes to duel monsters. This anime is entertaining. It will remind you of a time when you were still collecting your own set of glossy playing cards.


  1. Initial D


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A series about cars and street racing, Initial D caters to fans who are passionate about automobiles. The main character is Takumi Fujiwara, an ordinary guy with extraordinary driving skills. He drives his Toyota Sprinter Trueno AE86 when racing. Other cars featured in the series are the Subaru Impreza WRX and Mazda RX-7, just to name a few.


  1. Trigun


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With a huge bounty on his head, trouble and chaos follow Vash the Stampede wherever he goes. He is an easygoing and cheerful guy, despite the constant threat to his life. It is entertaining to watch him use his “skills” to beat his enemies.


  1. Sword Art Online


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Dig into the world of virtual reality in this popular anime series. Imagine yourself playing an online role-playing game. Then, you suddenly became trapped; now it’s not only a game, it’s for real! The only way to get out is to finish the game successfully.



This list of the top 25 anime of all time is a compilation of amazing series that we have come to love over the years. These anime captured the imagination of viewers all over the world with their great stories and fascinating characters.

Readers are most welcome to post their views and comments regarding their favorite anime. You can also share this article if you liked it.