Best Japanese Anime Of All Time | 20 Best Anime To Watch

by Takashi Nomoni

I absolutely love Japanese anime and here I’ve made a list of best Japanese anime of all time so you can enjoy it too! I’ve listed down some of the best anime created ever. My personal favorite obviously is Death Note- the best anime of all time! And my childhood favorite was obviously Pokemon! **Gotta catch em all, Pokemon! (Sorry I have to shout out the theme song every time I mention Pokemon!)

I love binge-watching anime and the storylines keep you hinged! And the action and drama is just mind-blowing! You’ll stay hooked! There are so many, many anime series out there and narrowing them down to definite list is difficult because it’s so hard to choose the best ones! But I’ve listed down some of the best Japanese anime of all time you can binge-watch!

Whether you are a die-hard fan or just starting on the Japanese anime journey, you will definitely enjoy this list of best Japanese Anime of all time. You cannot miss out on any of the series on the list! Check it out!

Top Japanese Anime Of All Time

Best Japanese Anime Of All TimeGenreLink
Death NoteMystery, Thriller, Psychological thrillerCheck out on Amazon.com
Attack on TitanAction‎, ‎Dark Fantasy‎, ‎Post-apocalyptic‎ fiction Check out on Amazon.com
Fullmetal Alchemist: BrotherhoodAdventure‎; ‎Dark fantasy‎; ‎SteampunkCheck out on Amazon.com
Naruto‎Adventure‎, ‎fantasy‎, ‎martial artsCheck out on Amazon.com
Dragon BallAdventure‎, ‎fantasy‎, ‎martial artsCheck out on Amazon.com
Dragon Ball ZAdventure‎, ‎fantasy‎, ‎martial artsCheck out on Amazon.com
Naruto ShippudenAdventure‎, ‎Fantasy‎, ‎Martial arts, Action fiction, Comedy, DramaCheck out on Amazon.com
One PieceAdventure, fantasy Check out on Amazon.com
Neon Genesis EvangelionApocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, Mecha Anime, Psychological FictionCheck out on Amazon.com
Pokémon‎Adventure‎, ‎comedy‎, ‎fantasyCheck out on Amazon.com
Ghost in the ShellAction, Cyberpunk, Drama, Science Fiction, Thriller, Fantasy, Mystery, Crime Check out on Amazon.com
Love Live!Musical, ComedyCheck out on Amazon.com
Anohana: The Flower We Saw That DayComing of ageCheck out on Amazon.com
Detective Conan‎Mystery‎, ‎thriller, Comedy, Adventure, CrimeCheck out on Amazon.com
Tokyo GhoulDark fantasy, Horror, Supernatural, ThrillerCheck out on Amazon.com
FateDark fantasyCheck out on Amazon.com
InuyashaAdventure, fantasy, romanceCheck out on Amazon.com
Cowboy BebopSpace Western, Drama, Action Fiction, Science Fiction, Thriller, Space OperaCheck out on Amazon.com
Yu-Gi-Oh!Adventure Fiction, Science Fiction, FantasyCheck out on Amazon.com
Code GeassAlternate history, Mecha Anime, War storyCheck out on Amazon.com
My Hero AcademiaAction, Superhero, FantasyCheck out on Amazon.com
Hunter X HunterAction fictionCheck out on Amazon.com
Space Battleship YamatoMilitary fiction, Space OperaCheck out on Amazon.com

#1 — Death Note

Best Action Anime Of All Time

Death Note is a captivating series, which first came out in the form of a manga. The original manga series, published from 2003 to 2006, contains 12 volumes and 108 chapters. The anime series was built from the original manga version and includes 37 episodes. 

Best japanese anime of all time

Story Of Death Note Television Show

The protagonist of Death Note isn’t like the good guys we are accustomed to seeing in other series. It is a dark series and goes to places where no other anime series has ever dared to go. The storyline and its characters make this series enthralling and captivating. In the series, we have the God of Death – Shinigami, who can kill any person just by seeing his or her face. When Shinigami has killed a victim, he notes down their names in the Death Note notebook. 

Ryuk, who is tired of living the life of the God of Death, leaves a Death Note notebook in the human reality to see what humans make of it. The Death Note notebook falls in the hands of a high school student, Light Yagami. Yagami does not know how the notebook works. However, he makes a good guess and writes the name of a criminal in it to test it out. The criminal, whose name he writes in the notebook, immediately dies, and he realizes the power of the lethal weapon he has in his hands. 

With this knowledge, he decides to rid the world of criminals with the help of this notebook. He starts eliminating the criminals, and people start worshipping him. However, the police believe that there is a serial killer who is targeting criminals. The police try to arrest him with the help of an eccentric detective by the name of L. 

Now isn’t that a killer story? This is why I absolutely love watching Death Note on repeat and is definitely the best Japanese anime of all time.

Related: Prefer manga instead? Check out these best Japanese manga to add to your collection now!

#2 — Attack on Titan – Shingeki no Kyojin

Top Anime 2020

A revolutionary anime, Attack on Titan – Shingeki no Kyojin, was voted the Best Action Anime by Ranker. The original series came out in 2013, and the second one came in 2017, while the third series aired in 2018.

Best anime ever created

Story of Attack On Titan

The fantastic anime series revolves around a young man called Eren Jaeger. He vows to destroy and eliminate all giant humanoid Titans roaming the earth. His enmity with the titans is a result of them destroying his hometown and killing his mother. 

The series has captivating imagery, a wonderful storyline, and an atmosphere of utmost suspense. These factors make this series unique and so, is loved by all fans of anime. 

#3 — Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

Best Japanese Anime Of All Time

The first series of Fullmetal Alchemist was partially based on the incomplete manga series by Hiromu Arakawa. The Brotherhood series, however, was made after the manga series was completed. The series has 65 episodes that are all so engaging.  

Best anime to watch 2020

Story Of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

The storyline follows the life of two disfigured brothers, Edward and Alphonso. These brothers wish to resurrect their dead mother and to restore themselves to a healthy form. For this, they go on a quest to improve their training of alchemy. 

One of their alchemic experiments for resurrection goes wrong in which, Edward loses his leg and sacrifices his arm to preserve his brother’s soul. Alphonse turns into body armor, and Edward takes his soul on him. Edward then travels to the city with his other brothers to become a Fullmetal Alchemist. He proceeds to search for the Philosopher’s Stone that will give him an immense load of powers. The story progresses in such a way that it will keep you hooked.

Click below to check out the complete collection!

#4 — Naruto

Most Successful Anime

In the history of manga, Naruto holds the prestige for being the third-best in the industry. There are over 235 million copies sold of Naruto in over 35 countries. Now that is a feat you cannot question!

Best anime series

Naruto is a bildungsroman, which means it is a coming of age story. The story narrates the life of Naruto Uzumaki, a child ninja who wants to receive popularity and recognition.

He wishes to become a leader, known as Hokage, of his village. However, problems with Naruto goes way before his birth. A huge demon Kyuubi gets sealed inside of him before his birth. 

The captivating story is divided into two parts. The first part of the story deals with an adolescent Naruto, whereas the second part narrates the story of Naruto as a teenager. This popular anime series has a total of 220 episodes. 

#5 — Dragon Ball

Best Long Anime Series

The story of Dragon Ball revolves around a good-natured man called Gokuu. He is exceptionally strong and lives alone in the woods. He meets a girl called Bulma who takes him along with her. They both go on a hunt for seven dragon balls. The dragon balls, when combined, can grant any wish.

Gokuu is already the owner of one dragon ball and Bulma wishes him to accompany her to search for the rest. They meet two more people during their journey – Muten-Roshi and Kuririn. Both of these people join Gokuu and Bulma in their quest. Gokuu trains with them for the World Martial Arts Championship. 

The series has everything from funny moments to action scenes. With 153 episodes, Dragon Ball is a classic that still manages to grab the hearts of millions.

#6 — Dragon Ball Z

Best Action Anime Of All Time

This list of best Japanese anime of all time would be incomplete without Dragon Ball Z.

The story begins by narrating the life of Gokuu, who lives with his wife and son. Gokuu is a trained martial artist. The story begins five years after he won the martial arts tournament. The peaceful life of Gokuu changes after Raditz, a person claiming to be Gokuu’s long-lost brother, arrives in the village. 

Best action anime of all time

Raditz tells Gokuu that he is a warrior from another planet. Gokuu was sent to the earth as a baby to destroy and conquer it. However, as a result of a head injury, he lost his memory and forgot about conquering earth. Instead, he became a good person. The real action starts after this incident. Gokuu and his friends start facing threats from extraterrestrial beings. 

As an anime enthusiast, you must not miss out on the Dragon Ball series. 

#7 — Naruto Shippuden

Top Action Japanese Anime

Naruto series is a huge deal and has a big fan base across the globe. Naruto Shippuden is the sequel to Naruto and aired from 2009 to 2011. 

Top 100 anime

Story Of Naruto Shippuden

Naruto Shippuden continues narrating the story of Naruto Uzumaki. He is a ninja who wishes to become the strongest ninja and leader in his village. The series begins two years after Naruto leaves Konohagakure. He went to get intensive ninja training. 

The Naruto we see in Naruto Shippuden is older than in the Naruto version. However, the only difference we see in Naruto is his increased confidence. He puts his heart and soul in every fight, only because he wishes to become a leader. 

The characters, including antagonists, of the series are magnificent. The wonderful storyline and the characters make this series so popular amongst anime lovers all over the world. 

#8 — One Piece

Best Japanese Action Anime

If you ask me which is the best anime to watch, I think it’s One Piece without a doubt! The popular manga with over 90 volumes was adapted into an anime series in 1999. And has aired over 900 episodes since. 

Watch One Piece to get along on adventures with Monkey D Luffy and his pirate crew. Their mission? To find the ultimate treasure ‘One Piece’. 

The fight scenes and storyline is absolutely amazing. You’ll get hooked right from the first episode. Check out the trailer below! 

Best Japanese Anime Recommended For Beginners and Anime Fans

#9 — Neon Genesis Evangelion

Top Japanese Action Anime

Neon Genesis Evangelion is one of the best anime classics. In the 90s, this anime was seen as the symbol of Japanese anime. Neon Genesis Evangelion is a story of 4 teenagers and their fight with the Angels using giant humanoid robot Evangelions.  

Check out the trailer below! 

Best Japanese Anime Recommended For Beginners and Anime Lovers 

#10 — Pokémon

Best Japanese Adventure Anime

Do I even need to say anything about Pokemon? It’s a cult favorite amongst the 90s kids (and adults!). Pokémon is one of the most popular anime around the world. It was first aired in 1997 and new episodes are still being released. If you’ve never watched Pokémon, (first of all, are you living under a rock?) you’re missing out on one of the best anime storylines ever created! 

Pokémon is an exciting and adventure-filled story of Ash and his journey towards becoming the greatest Pokémon master with Pikachu, Charizard, Bulbasaur, Charmander, Squirtle, and so man more! Check out the trailer below! 

Best Japanese Anime Recommended For Beginners, Kids

And I absolutely love the original Pokemon theme song, so come enjoy it with me!

#11 — Ghost in the Shell

Best Japanese Cyberpunk Anime

This is another one of the best Japanese anime classics which was first released as an anime movie in ‘95. After the movie was released, the anime series Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex was aired in 2002. 

Ghost in the Shell takes place in a highly scientifically developed Japan in the year 2030. Join Major Motoko Kusanagi and her team as they fight to prevent crimes.

Best Japanese Anime Recommended For Anime Lovers

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#12 — Love Live!

Best Japanese Comedy Anime

This is another cult favorite amongst many Anime lovers. It follows a story of a high school idol group named μ’s (pronounced “muse”) in the first season. And in the second season, (Love Live! Sunshine!!) It follows the story of Aqours. Check out the trailer below! 

Best Japanese Anime Recommended For Beginners

#13 — Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day

Best Japanese Drama Anime

This is a beautiful anime about Jintan and how he skips school to watch video games all day. One day, he sees the ghost of his long-lost friend Menma. This is one of the best short anime series to watch with just 11 episodes! Check out the trailer below! 

Best Japanese Anime Recommended For Anime Fans

#14 — Detective Conan

Best Japanese Mystery Anime

This is one of the most-watched on-going anime series. The story follows a high school Detective Shinichi Kudo who is poisoned and turned into a kid. He then takes on the identity of Conan Edogawa to keep his true identity a secret from the Black Organisation. 

Filled with mystery and action, this is like one of those anime’s both kids and adults can watch. 

Check out the trailer below! 

#15 — Tokyo Ghoul

Best Japanese Dark Fantasy Anime 

Tokyo Ghoul was adapted into an anime series in 2014 inspired by the manga. In the world of Tokyo Ghoul – ghouls and humans live in one world and Ken Kaneki, half-human half-ghoul, tries to survive the deadly ghouls. Check out the trailer below! 

Best Japanese Anime Recommended For Anime Lovers

#16 — Fate 

Best Japanese Fantasy Anime Of All Time

The best Japanese anime of all time on the list is Fate. It’s an anime based on a game. The first season of this anime was released in 2006. 

This action-packed anime revolves around a teenager named Shirou Emiya – who is hardworking and honest. Unwillingly, Shirou enters a deadly tournament called the Fifth Holy Grail War. In this war, the warriors fight using magic. And all Heroes throughout history take part in this war to have all their wishes granted, 

Check it out below! 

Best Japanese Anime Of All Time Recommended for Anime Fans

best japanese anime of all time

#17 — Inuyasha

Best Japanese Adventure Anime Of All Time

Inuyahsha is one of the best anime of all time and was adapted from a popular manga published in Weekly Shonen. 

The anime is about a 15-year old girl Kagome who is transported to another world in the past. Here she meets Inuyasha, a half dog-demon. Inuyasha and Kagome with their team journey together to complete the Shikon Jewel that gives the opportunity to someone for their wish to be granted! Check it out below! 

Best Japanese Anime Of All Time Recommended For Anime Lovers

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#18 — Cowboy Bebop

Best Japanese Sci-Fi Anime Of All Time

Here’s another one of the most popular anime of all time, not only in Japan but in the US as well. Cowboy Bebop takes place in the space in the year 2071. The story is about bounty hunter Spike Spiegel and his partner Jet Black who chase criminals together. 

Check it out below! 

Best Japanese Anime Of All Time Recommended For Beginners

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#19 — Yu-Gi-Oh!

Best Japanese Fantasy Anime Of All Time

This popular anime series started in 1998 and is based on the Weekly Shonen Jump manga. The story revolves around a timid, young boy named Yugi Mutou who is always bullied around. Yugi loves to play all sorts of games and one day realises that the spirit of a nameless Pharaoh from the Ancient Egyptian times lives in one of his puzzles! And this spirit had lost all of his memories. Check out the series below to see what happens next! 

Best Japanese Anime Of All Time Recommended For Anime Fans

completed anime series

#20 — Code Geass

Best Japanese Dark Fantasy Anime Of All Time

Here’s another one of the most popular anime of all time you’ll definitely enjoy. The first season of the Code Geass anime series was released in 2006. The story revolves around how Price Lelouch VI Britannia fights against the Holy Britannia Empire to restore Japan’s dignity and freedom. In this journey, he meets a mysterious girl named C.C., who gives him the mystical powers of Geass to help him in this mission! Check out the full series below! 

Best Japanese Anime Of All time Recommended For Anime Fans

famous japanese anime

#21 — My Hero Academia

Best Japanese Fiction Anime Of All Time

The original manga of this anime was first first published on Weekly Shonen Jump in 2014 and today My Hero Academia is one of the most popular anime of all time! It first started airing on TV in 2016 and has been gaining a huge popularity since. 

My Hero Academia is about a young boy named Izuku Midoriya. In a world where having superpowers (or quirks) has become commonplace, this young boy was born without any powers. Regardless, he still dreams of becoming The Hero one day himself. 

Join Izuku Midoriya where he and the other Heros, in this action-packed anime series, where they fight super villains using their superpowers.

This is one of the Japanese anime of all time and is popular amongst the western anime lovers as well. It has garnered a lot of international attention probably because the look and feel of this anime reminds us a lot of the American superhero trope. And who doesn’t love an American superhero? You can check out the full series below!

Best Japanese Anime Of All Time Recommended For Beginners

#22 — Hunter X Hunter

Best Japanese Martial Arts Anime Of All Time 

Hunter X Hunter is another one of the best Japanese anime of all time you just can’t miss out on. It has 148 episodes and each episode is about 25 minutes long. If you’re dedicated and binge-watch this show, you can literally finish it within a week, maybe less. And don’t be surprised if you actually do – cause the storylines are killer on this one! And before you know it, it’s 4:00 AM in the morning and you’re telling yourself , ‘just one more episode’. 

This Japanese anime is jam-packed with action, fantastical adventures, fantasy, super heroes, and super powers. It’s totally worth watching. The story is basically about a young boy Gon Freecss who finds out one day that his presumed dead father is alive! And to add more to that drama, his father is not just alive and doing really well but also a LEGENDARY HUNTER who goes by the name Ging. So obviously as any son would, Gon also wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps and work to get the title – ‘ Hunter’. The anime then follows Gon in his journey as he prepares to become a ‘Hunter’ and find his long-lost dad. Along this journey, Gon manages to capture enemies, find treasures, discover new territories, and make a whole lot of friends! 

The Hunter X Hunter Japanese anime is definitely worth watching. It really absorbs you for those 25 minutes you’re with Gon and his friends Leorio, Killua, and Kurapika in their adventurous world. They meet all kinds of characters including some really strange creature and monsters. You will definitely find yourself completely engrossed in this series and you might actually feel a little sad when it’s over because well, it’s over. But not to worry! That’s when you can start with the next Japanese anime on this list! 

Best Japanese Anime Of All Time Recommended For Anime Lovers

#22 — Space Battleship Yamato 

Best Japanese Space Opera Anime Of All Time

You are in on an intense journey with this Japanese anime. Definitely, one of the best Japanese anime of all time, it was created by the legendary Leiji Matsumoto. It originally appeared on Japanese screens in 1974 and has been a cult-favorite since. It has inspired a lot of anime makers in their childhood and even people who are already in the industry. It got so popular that it was even released in the US in 1979, a dubbed version of course and modified. It was amongst one of the first animes that followed a slightly mature tone and followed a story arc. (stand alone anime episodes were a thing back then, which is why this anime was so inspiring to a whole generation). 

The redubbed series was telecast on TV in 2013 with 26 episodes and was renamed Star Blazers: Space Battleship Yamato 2199 for Western audience. Both the original series and remake follow the same plot line, so you can watch either. 

The anime is set in an apocalyptic future where Earth comes in contact with an alien race – Gamila who destroys the Earth. This forces people to go underground with what’s left of humanity. Eventually, Earth comes in contact with another alien race – the Iscandarans who are the only hope to save Earth as they have something that can restore Earth and make it beautiful and liveable again. 

It goes without saying, in this Japanese anime you’ll see a lot of fantastical intergalactic wars and other such fantastical themes. Flying through the solar system, fighting off Gamilas and such hardships in hope to save the last of humanity – this Japanese anime can get pretty intense. If you love anime, you should definitely give this a go. 

Check out the series below!

Best Japanese Anime Of All Time Recommended For Anime Fans 

Check out the original anime below

Check out the remake of this anime below

What Is The Number 1 Anime Of All Time?

The best Japanese anime of all time is Death Note, It is definitely the number 1 anime of all time. The story line, suspense, and action are absolutely amazing!

I am sure that you cannot wait to get started with the series mentioned here. Whether you are an anime enthusiast looking for more options, or a newbie who wants to start from somewhere interesting, I hope this guide was of help. 

Start watching any of these series to see yourself diving deeper into this world. 

Top Japanese Anime

Check the best Japanese of all time recommendations to binge-watch!

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