Japanese anime has slowly been taking the cartoon industry by storm, not just in Japan where it originated, but all over the world. Die-hard fans of the genre who call themselves “weebs” (this writer’s 12-year-old and 8-year-old daughters included) have been raving about their favorite Anime in social media – particularly in TikTok – one of the most popular social media platforms right now. Content platform giants like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu have also made anime even more popular by adding an anime section in their selection.
Using data from 12 different sites including Ranker, IGN, BuzzFeed, List25, WatchMojo, and MyAnimeList, we assigned points to each anime series depending on how high they were ranked in these sites and tallied the totals to come up with the list below. The criteria for the data used required that the rankings had to be as recent as possible.
Without further ado, here are the results:
#10 (Tie): Bleach (366 episodes, 2004 – 2012)
Based on Tite Kubo’s manga of the same name, Bleach is a Japanese anime television series produced by Studio Pierrot. It follows the adventures of Ichigo Kurasaki whose family is attacked by a Hollow, a corrupt spirit that seeks to devour human souls. He meets a Soul Reaper – a death personification similar to the Grim Reaper – named Rukia Kuchiki, who gets injured trying to protect Ichigo’s family from the Hollow. To save his family, Ichigo accepts Rukia’s offer of taking her powers and becomes a Soul Reaper himself. From there, Ichigo is forced to take on the duties of defending humans from evil spirits and guiding departed souls to the afterlife.
Ichigo Kurasaki and the rest of the Bleach characters *Image courtesy of comicbook.com
#10 (Tie): One-Punch Man (24 episodes, 2015 – 2019)
One-Punch Man is a Japanese superhero franchise created by the artist ONE. It is based on the 2009 web-comic of the same name. One-Punch Man follows Saitama, an ordinary bloke who wanted to pursue his dream of becoming a hero. He trained relentlessly for years until he became so powerful that he could beat any opponent – literally anyone – with a single punch. Saitama meets Genos, a 19-year-old cyborg who wants to train with and become Saitama’s disciple. Together, they join the Hero Association to become certified heroes whose positive contributions will be recognized by society.
Saitama and Genos *Image courtesy of viz.com
#9 Neon Genesis Evangelion (26 episodes, 1995 – 1996)
The only mecha anime on the list, Neon Genesis Evangelion is a Japanese mecha anime television series produced by Gainax and Tatsunoko Production and broadcast between 1995 and 1996. It is set 15 years after a worldwide cataclysm, in the futuristic fortified city called Tokyo-3. It follows Shinji, a teenager recruited by his father Gendo into the special paramilitary agency Nerv to pilot a giant mecha named “Evangelion” and combat beings called “Angels.”
Neon Genesis Evangelion *Image courtesy of fansshare.com
#8: Cowboy Bebop (26 episodes, 1998 – 1999)
Do you like westerns? How about space westerns? Set in the year 2071, Cowboy Bebop is a Japanese science fiction anime television series by Sunrise that follows the lives of a bounty hunter crew who chase criminals and bring them in for a reward riding their spaceship called the “Bebop.” The lead protagonists are Spike Spiegel, an exiled former hitman of the criminal Red Dragon Syndicate, while his partner, Jet Black, is a former Inter Solar System Police officer. Together with their crew, they embark on thrilling adventures that reveal each crew member’s dark and mysterious past.
The Bebop Crew *Image courtesy of wallpaperswide.com
#7: Hunter X Hunter (148 episodes, 2011 – 2014)
Hunter X Hunter (pronounced Hunter Hunter), is an anime television series that aired from 2011 to 2014. It is a complete reboot of the 1999 anime of the same name, and both are based on Yoshihiro Togashi’s manga. It is set in a world where Hunters perform all manners of dangerous tasks including chasing and capturing criminals or searching for lost treasure. The lead protagonist, Gon Freecss, is a 12-year-old aspiring Hunter searching for his father who himself was known for being a legendary Hunter. Throughout their journey to becoming real Hunters, Gon and his friends embark on adventures that put them through many hardships and struggles.
Gon and his friends *Image courtesy of pinterest.com
#6: One Piece (962 episodes, 1999 – present)
This list wouldn’t be complete without the anime based on the best-selling manga of all time. One Piece is a Japanese anime television series following the adventures of Monkey D. Luffy, a boy whose body gained rubber-like traits after eating a Devil Fruit. He is joined by his crew, the Straw Hat Pirates, and together they travel across the Grand Line and embark on exciting adventures, unravel dark mysteries, and battle fearsome enemies to find the greatest treasure in the world – One Piece.
Monkey D. Luffy and The Straw Hat Pirates *Image courtesy of pinterest.com
#5: Death Note (37 episodes, 2006 – 2007)
Death Note is another Japanese anime television series based on the manga of the same name. The story follows teen genius Light Yagami, who stumbles upon a mysterious notebook called the Death Note, which grants the user the ability to kill anyone whose name is written on its pages. Upon the discovery of the notebook’s powers, Light, who deplores the current state of the world, decides to use the notebook like a vigilante and eliminate all criminals from the world. Authorities meanwhile, believe that a serial killer is on the loose and employ the services of the best detective in the world: a young eccentric known only as L.
Light Yagami and L *Image courtesy of chakraswara.com
#4: Attack on Titan (69 episodes, 2013 – present)
Attack on Titan, or Shingeki no Kyojin to anime lovers, is a Japanese Dark Fantasy anime television series adapted from the manga of the same name. In a post-apocalyptic world, the last remnants of humanity live within three concentric cities, each protected by enormous walls to prevent the inhabitants from being attacked by Titans – gigantic humanoid beings with an insatiable desire for human flesh. It follows the exploits of Eren Jaeger and his friends Mikasa Ackerman and Armin Arlert, as they join the Scout Regiment – an elite group of soldiers trained to fight and kill Titans.
The Scout Regiment faces off against the Titans *Image courtesy of itl.cat
#3: Naruto: Shippuden (500 episodes, 2007 – 2017)
Based on Part II of Masashi Kishimoto’s manga series, Naruto: Shippuden takes off two and a half years after Naruto Uzumaki left Konohagakure, the Hidden Leaf Village, to undergo intense training and follow his quest to become Hokage. Naruto and his team face off against the sinister criminal organization of elite rogue ninja, Akatsuki, to rescue Naruto’s former nemesis, Gaara. While the original series was filled with issues, Naruto: Shippuden dialed everything up a notch, thrusting Naruto into a world of war, death, and betrayal.
Naruto: Shippuden *Image courtesy of suwalls.com
#2: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (64 episodes, 2009 – 2010)
Unlike the original adaptation, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is almost a 1:1 adaptation directly following the original events of the manga. Brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric have shown an interest in Alchemy since their younger years. Together they traveled the world to advance their knowledge in Alchemy. Returning home from extensive training, they botched an attempt to bring their deceased mother back to life resulting in Al’s body being obliterated, and Ed losing his left leg. Ed sacrifices his right arm to bring Al’s soul back and houses it in a suit of armor. Thus begins the brothers’ quest to regain their full bodies back through the fabled “Philosopher’s Stone.”
Edward and Alphonse Elric *Image courtesy of syfy.com
#1: Dragon Ball (546 episodes, 1989 – present)
Considered to be the most popular anime worldwide, the Dragon Ball anime series kicked off in 1986 produced by Toei Animation. Additionally, the studio developed 20 animated feature films and 3 television specials, as well as 2 animated sequel series called Dragon Ball GT and Dragon Ball Super. Several companies sold various types of Dragon Ball merchandise ranging from collectible card games, action figures, and numerous video games. The story follows the adventures of Son Goku, an extraterrestrial from the planet Vegeta and his exploits to gather the seven Dragon Balls on planet Earth. Goku trains vigorously to become a very powerful martial artist, and encounter various extraterrestrial foes in the process. Powerful enemies threaten to invade planet Earth, and Goku and his friends become the planet’s de-facto protectors.
Dragon Ball characters *Image courtesy of recommendmeanime.com