40 of The Most Watched Animes of All Time
Here is a list of the 40 most watched animes. It is not meant to be a ranking, so don’t pay attention to the positions of the individual animes. Also, it’s not the top 40 in general, but only 40 out of a top 100 ranking in the USA – I have only chosen animes that I have seen personally.
I have described each anime a little bit for people who may not have seen some of them yet. Furthermore, I have included other interesting information like first releases of the manga and also anime, the artist, number of sales, and some more.
Here are 40 of the most watched animes of all time:
- 40 of The Most Watched Animes of All Time
- 1. Dragon Ball Series
- 2. One Piece
- 3. Naruto
- 4. Fullmetal Alchemist
- 5. One Punch Man
- 6. Yu-Gi-Oh!
- 7. Death Note
- 8. Elfen Lied
- 9. Inu Yasha
- 10. Hellsing
- 11. Sailor Moon
- 12. Cowboy Bebop
- 13. Attack on Titan
- 14. Bleach
- 15. Fairy Tail
- 16. Fate/Stay Night
- 17. Tokyo Ghoul
- 18. The Seven Deadly Sins
- 19. Mob Psycho 100
- 20. Clannad
- 21. Sword Art Online
- 22. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
- 23. Pokemon
- 24. Hunter x Hunter
- 25. Gin Tama
- 26. My Hero Academia
- 27. Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic
- 28. Steins;Gate
- 29. No Game No Life
- 30. Angel Beats!
- 31. Akame Ga Kill!
- 32. Blue Exorcist
- 33. Your Name
- 34. Noragami
- 35. Future Diary
- 36. Black Clover
- 37. Assassination Classroom
- 38. Haikyuu!!
- 39. Demon Slayer
- 40. Detective Conan
1. Dragon Ball Series
© Toei Animation Co., Ltd.
Dragon Ball is a manga series by the mangaka Akira Toriyama and is loosely based on the novel “Journey to the West” by Wu Cheng’en. Dragon Ball was initially published from 1984 to 1995 in the manga magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump and was later published in 42 volumes. The total of 519 chapters contains over 8,000 pages. Also, it was first used in the anime TV series Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z.
Due to the great success, the franchise now consists of a total of four TV series, 18 feature films, three TV movies, and three OVA, as well as a variety of video games. In 1989 and 2008, two live-action film adaptations of the manga followed. With approximately 156 million copies sold in Japan and 230 million copies sold worldwide, Dragon Ball is the second best-selling manga of all time after One Piece.
Dragon Ball describes the adventures of the protagonist Son Goku and his friends, who are always on the search for the seven Dragon Balls and have numerous adventures to overcome. The story begins with Son Goku’s childhood from the age of twelve and his teenage years and ends with his adult life. The individual storylines are divided into sagas and become more complex as the plot progresses.
The manga can be assigned to the Shounen genre and still influences well-known mangakas such as Eiichiro Oda, Tite Kubo, Masashi, Seishi Kishimoto, and Hiro Mashima. Dragon Ball is one of the most successful anime series worldwide.
Take this Ultimate Dragon Ball Quiz to see how much you know about the world in Dragon Ball!
2. One Piece
© Toei Animation Co., Ltd.
One Piece is an Anime from 1998, which was created after the successful start of its Manga in the Shonen Jump and the 30 minute OVA (Original Video Animation) from the 30th anniversary of the Jump Super Anime Tour. The production began in the following year, and since then, over 900 episodes came out.
Furthermore, Toei Animation produced thirteen movies, two OVAs, and five TV Specials. Some Companies developed numerous merchandising products like collectible card games and video games. With annual revenue of $21 billion, One Piece is one of the most successful media franchises in the world.
One Piece is about a young man named Monkey D. Luffy who wants to become the next King of the Pirates. To do so, he has to find the legendary treasure, commonly known as the One Piece, which has been hidden by the Pirate King Gol D. Roger. But he is not the only one who wants to find the One Piece and therefore a lot of adventures are ahead of him and his future mates.
“Wealth, fame, power… Gold Roger, the King of the Pirates, obtained this and everything else the world had to offer, and his dying words drove countless souls to the seas.”
“You want my treasure? You can have it! I left everything I gathered together in one place! Now you just have to find it!”
“These words lured men to the Grand Line. In pursuit of dreams greater than they’ve ever dared to imagine! This is the time known as the ‘Great Pirate Era’!”
© Pierrot Co., Ltd.
Naruto is a worldwide successful manga series from the Japanese mangaka Masashi Kishimoto which was produced from 1999 to 2004 and also implemented into an anime. The manga began as a one-shot, which came out in Akamaru Jump magazine in August 1997.
Naruto is about an orphan named Naruto Uzumaki from Konohagakure, also known as the village hidden in the leaves or just Konoha, who wants to become the next Hokage to get accepted by the villagers. He has the Kyuubi, one of the nine-tailed beasts, sealed within him. The Kyuubi is the nine-tailed beast and attacked Konohagakure when Naruto was born and was stopped after being sealed into Naruto by his father and former Hokage Minato. Both of Naruto’s parents died in order to protect their son and the village.
The first series chapter of the Naruto manga was released in edition 43/1999 of the Weekly Shonen Jump manga magazine on September 21, 1999. Since then, they were published once a week as single chapters until edition 50/2014 on November 10, 2014. The publisher Shueisha also released those separate chapters in 72 anthologies.
Naruto was issued in 23 countries, including Italy, Spain, France, Poland, Sweden, Indonesia, Norway, and the USA. The American version of the Naruto manga was lightly reworked, like covering naked body parts and changing “offensive” scenes. Until September 2014, they had been sold the mangas more than 200 million times worldwide.
4. Fullmetal Alchemist
© Bones Inc.
Fullmetal Alchemist is a manga by the mangaka Hiromu Arakawa from 2001 to 2010, which was adapted twice as an anime TV series with the titles Fullmetal Alchemist and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and as the feature film Fullmetal Alchemist – The Conqueror of Shamballa (2005) and Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos (2012).
The series is about two brothers who lose their bodies or parts of them when they try to revive their dead mother with alchemy. They then try to regain their original bodies and search for the Philosopher’s Stone. In the process, they get caught in a conspiracy within the military and the consequences of a past war.
Hiromu Arakawa had initially been planned Fullmetal Alchemist as a story with only one chapter. But the responsible editor of the publishers wanted her to develop the idea. Nevertheless, individual events were determined in advance but were integrated into the story later on. Other characters, who were only supposed to have a small role, were later expanded, like Barry the Chopper in the manga.
The topic of the equivalent exchange was already determined at the beginning. This theme also represents an important part of the life of the mangaka, who comes from a peasant family of Hokkaidō, where it was said: “Those who don’t work, don’t get anything to eat.” In Hokkaidō, especially in rural areas, it is a common practice to demolish a house when you move away. Even Ed and Al burn their house down when they start their travels. This is a symbol of their homelessness and loneliness.
5. One Punch Man
© Madhouse Inc.
One Punch Man is a Japanese webcomic series by the artist ONE, which has been running since 2009 and was also realized as an anime. A remake has also been published digitally since 2012. Besides One, the artist Yūsuke Murata was involved as a draftsman.
The new manga was released in Tonari no Young Jump by the Japanese publisher Shueisha. The story is a parody of the superhero genre and quickly found a great following. One stated that the webcomic was viewed a total of 7.9 million times in June 2012.
Saitama is a young bald hero. He lives in the city of Z, where various monsters appear and cause damage. He only became a hero as a hobby. When he faced a monster one day and couldn’t do anything, he trained hard for three years (according to his statement 100 knee bends, 100 sit-ups, 100 push-ups, and running 6.2 miles per day, furthermore no air conditioning in summer and no heating in winter).
So Saitama now has incredibly great powers and always defeats his opponents in a fight with just one punch. T When the cyborg Genos meets him, he joins Saitama, full of admiration for his power. Geno is looking for a cyborg who destroyed his hometown and killed his parents. Meanwhile, Saitama suffers from his invincibility, as he defeats (and most of the time kills) every enemy with just one punch, even if he only hits lightly and thus never experiences a real challenge.
In 2015, Studio Madhouse produced an anime adaptation of One-Punch Man for television. It was directed by Shingo Natsume and written by Tomohiro Suzuki. The character design was created by Chikashi Kubota, and artistic direction was provided by Shigemi Ikeda and Yukiko Maruyama.
On September 6, 2015, the first two episodes were previewed at Saitama City Cultural Center. TV Tokyo showed the series from October 5 to December 21, 2015, and later it was shown on other channels. Animax shows an English version in Asia, J-One broadcasts a French dubbed version. A Spanish translation was broadcast by Canal+ Series Xtra, and a version with German subtitles was released by the streaming platform Anime on Demand. An Italian dubbed version was also released.
For the Japanese release on DVD and Blu-ray, an OVA was produced for each of the six volumes.
© Toei Animation Co., Ltd.
Yu-Gi-Oh! is a manga series by the mangaka Kazuki Takahashi, first published in 1996, which was also realized as an anime and for which several merchandising products, including the internationally successful Yu-Gi-Oh! trading card game, are distributed.
The student Yugi Muto receives a three-dimensional ancient Egyptian puzzle that no one has been able to put together until now. The attempt to solve it changes his whole life. After putting the “Millennium Puzzle” together, he awakens the spirit of an old pharaoh whose memory has been erased and with whom he now shares his body.
With the help of the card game Duel Monsters, Yugi and Yami (the name with which the pharaoh wants to be addressed) try to restore the pharaoh’s lost memory. However, the Millennium Puzzle is only one of a total of seven Millennium Items, which are said to have the power to destroy the world. Many evil forces are after the Millennium Puzzle and its power. But together with his friends Joey Wheeler, Téa Gardner and Tristan Taylor, he faces them.
From April to October 1998, the Japanese television station TV Asahi ran an anime series based on the manga, produced by Toei Animation with 27 episodes. Like the beginning of the manga series, this one is about the life of Yugi and his friends at school. The card game Duel Monsters didn’t take an important role here yet. This series has so far only been broadcast in Japan.
4Kids Entertainment secured the worldwide rights to the series, imported it into the USA as Yu-Gi-Oh! and made some changes to make it more accessible to a US audience. The names, religious symbols, and scenes of violence and sexual references were removed. Even dialogues were changed.
7. Death Note
© Madhouse Inc.
Death Note is a manga series, which was drawn by the mangaka Takeshi Obata from 2003 to 2006 based on a story by Tsugumi Ōba. It is about the student Light Yagami, who can kill other people with a found notebook – the Death Note. He uses this ability to implement his ideal of justice, and in doing so, triggers not only a change in society but also police investigations against him. The investigations become an intellectual duel between Light and the investigators, especially the detectives L and Near.
The mystery thriller has been adapted into various media, including an anime TV series, which has been distributed and successful not only in Japan but also internationally. Critics praised the unusual approach to morality, the exciting and well-thought-out play between the protagonists, and the successful implementation. The success, especially among young people, and occasional “imitation attempts” with their own death notes led to debates on bans and disciplinary measures against school students.
From October 3, 2006, to June 26, 2007, the Japanese television station NTV ran a realization of the story as an anime television series. The series was produced by Madhouse and comprised 37 episodes. The anime was directed by Tetsuro Araki, and the lead author was Toshiki Inoue.
8. Elfen Lied
© Arms Corporation, Ltd.
Elfen Lied is a manga by Lynn Okamoto, of which there is also an anime of the same name Elfen Lied. The manga can be classified into the genres Dark Fantasy, Horror, Psycho-thriller, and Etchi.
In 2004, the manga was adapted by a 13-part television series, which reproduces the content of the first 60 chapters, but differs from the manga in many details. An additional 14th episode was published as OVA. However, it did not continue the anime but added its own storyline, which can be classified chronologically between the 10th and 11th episodes.
The core of the plot is formed by the ” Diclonius “. They are human beings with skeletal deformations on their heads, reminiscent of cat ears, and strong telekinetic powers, which manifest themselves in the form of several invisible arms. These arms are called vectors within the manga. The origin of these beings is a virus, which leads to the corresponding mutation of a human child.
Because of their vectors, they are considered a threat to humanity, as they can cause enormous damage with these arms, which, however, have a limited range, and by nature, have the instinct to kill other people. Out of fear of that, some Diclonii are locked up since birth in order to study them better. But many of them are killed immediately because from about the age of three the Diclonius get their special abilities and even kill their own parents.
The general population does not know about the existence of the Diclonius because great efforts are made to keep the incidents secret. However, it is treacherous that the Diclonius can pass the virus on to perfectly healthy people by touching their vectors, which are invisible to humans, who then give birth to a Diclonius. Newborn Diclonius are mostly female and cannot reproduce, male Diclonius cannot reproduce either and have no special abilities, but still have the external characteristics.
9. Inu Yasha
© Sunrise Inc.
Inu Yasha is an internationally successful manga series by the mangaka Rumiko Takahashi, which was published in Japan from November 1996 to June 2008. The work comprises almost 9,500 pages, has also been realized as anime, cinema film, theatre play, novel and computer game, and can be classified in the genres adventure, fantasy, drama, and comedy.
The plot of Inu Yasha is set both in Japan during the Sengoku period (15th – 16th century) and alternately in modern times. Many of the characters are Yōkai, Oni, or other beings from Japanese mythology. The protagonist Inu Yasha, as well as some others, is based on the Inugami. Yōkai are powerful supernatural beings, who also appear in a human-like form.
In contrast to the western demon, they are by no means exclusively evil. The main plot tells primarily about the fight of the main characters against a half-demon called Naraku. The main plot revolves around the triangular relationship between Inu Yasha, Kagome, and Kikyō.
Inu Yasha was produced by Studio Sunrise as a television series in initially 167 episodes. In 2009, Inu Yasha: Kanketsuhen was produced as a second season, which includes the content of volumes 36 to 56, the last 21 volumes of the manga. This part contains 26 episodes. The realization of the manga as an anime should remain as close as possible to the original.
Although it is often usual to make well-known or popular characters appear more often in a series, the sequence was kept in Inu Yasha’s case as intended by Takahashi. As in the manga, the tension should be built up first with Inu Yasha and Kagome alone until Shippō, Miroku, and Sango are added. They “didn’t want to cheat the fans in any case” by distancing themselves too much from the original.
So, the story stays as in the manga for a long time, only, later on, there are filler episodes and Ayame as the fiancée of Kōga as an additional character.
© Gonzo K.K.
Hellsing is a manga series by the mangaka Kōta Hirano from 1997, which was also realized as an anime TV series and original video animation.
The anime takes place in a fictional world inspired by our modern times, in which the Hellsing Organization, known as the Royal Order of Protestant Knights, secretly has been successfully fighting vampires and other undead for centuries on behalf of the British Crown in Great Britain.
However, for some time now, not only the Natives, real vampires, have existed, but also freaks(artificial vampires), artificially created with the help of an implanted computer chip (Freak Chip). Disturbed by their rapid reproduction, the organization sends the vampire Alucard to help eliminate the freaks. Seras, a survivor of a massacre and forced to become a vampire by Alucard, now serves as an adjutant.
But not only Hellsing but also the 13th division Iscariot, which comes from the Vatican, was specialized in vampire hunting. As a fierce enemy of the British Protestant organization, they want to put an end to them and especially to Alucard. Above all, however, Hellsing must fear for the National Socialist group Millennium, under whose leadership “the Major” goes to war against England with a vampirized military battalion of 1000 vampires and whose real agenda remains in the dark until the end.
The 13-part anime series was produced by Studio Gonzo in 2001. The plot follows only the first two volumes of the manga. After that, the plot of the anime deviates strongly. The first broadcast on Japanese television was from October 10, 2001, to January 16, 2002.
2005 to 2012, the manga was again realized, but this time as an original video animation under the title Hellsing Ultimate. Episodes 1-9 have an average running time of about 50 minutes, whereas the tenth and last OVA runs for almost 1 hour. Each episode dealt with a whole manga band and was released in Japan from February 10, 2006, to December 25, 2012.
11. Sailor Moon
© Toei Animation Co., Ltd.
Sailor Moon is a manga series by the mangaka Naoko Takeuchi. In addition to the most famous adaptation of the work as an anime series and the remake Sailor Moon Crystal from 2014, it has also been realized in the form of movies, games, and musicals.
The clumsy girl Usagi Tsukino (in the first translation and the anime Bunny Tsukino) meets one day the talking cat Luna, who reveals her fate as Sailor Moon, a warrior for love and justice, to the girl. Bunny has to find the moon princess, as there is a mysterious power that threatens the Earth and the moon. Only the moon princess can defeat these evil forces and banish them from the galaxy forever.
She uses the Silver Crystal, probably the most powerful weapon in the universe, which takes the life of the one who develops its full power. Bit by bit, she meets the Sailor warriors Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, and Venus, who support her in the fight against evil with their special attacks, but above all, with their friendship and love. Since the first fight that Sailor Moon had to pass, Tuxedo Mask has also stood by her side and helps her again and again to fight the bad guys.
The prequel to Sailor Moon, Sailor V, was published in 1991. In it, Sailor V (which was later added to the series as Sailor Venus) fights against the Dark Agency, a sub-organization of the Kingdom of the Dark, which Sailor Moon fights against at the beginning of her own manga series.
Sailor Moon was published in Japan from February 1992 to March 1997 in single chapters in the manga magazine Nakayoshi of the Kōdansha publisher. These single chapters were also combined in 18 anthologies. As part of the TV reality series, the manga series was again published in Japan from September 2003 to July 2004, this time in twelve anthologies.
12. Cowboy Bebop
© Sunrise Inc.
Cowboy Bebop is a 26-part anime series that was broadcast in Japan in 1998 and the United States in 2001 and enjoyed great popularity.
In 2021, a series of rings were constructed that made it possible to travel quickly through the solar system in hyperspace and colonize other worlds. However, a defect in the ring system, which was largely ignored by the Gate Company, caused the rings, which connected Earth to the rest of the solar system, to explode. In the process, a large chunk of the moon was blown away.
The remains of this crushed piece now form a kind of asteroid belt around the Earth, from which parts continuously hail onto it. Thus the Earth’s surface became uninhabitable, and some people looked for shelter in the underground. However, most of them moved to the newly developed planets and moons (Venus, Mars, Ganymede, and Europe) or rougher worlds (Callisto, Io, Titan, and others).
In 2071 the crew of the ship Bebop travels through the solar system to pursue their business as bounty hunters (called “cowboys”). The crew initially consists of only two members; in the course of the series, three more join them. Each contributes unique skills to capture individuals who have bounties placed on them.
While the plot revolves primarily around the Bounty Hunters and their constant failure in a futuristic world, the individual experiences and destinies of each character are described – every single one of them has a unique history, which makes their ambitions and wishes understandable.
Cowboy Bebop almost didn’t make it into Japanese television as a completed series. In the first attempt at TV Tokyo 1998, only episodes 2, 3, 7 to 15 and 18 were shown, but from October 23, 1998, to April 23, 1999, the complete series was broadcast by WOWOW.
The series was shown in the USA in 2001 as the first anime on the cartoon network Adult Swim. This was risky at that time, as anime for adults was almost unknown in the United States. This type of cartoon had not yet established itself, and the TV station could not expect stable viewer numbers.
Nevertheless, the series was top-rated and Cartoon Network later expanded the program with anime series like Inu Yasha, Lupin III, and Witch Hunter Robin. Cowboy Bebop played a significant role in making the anime genre popular in the United States, even among older viewers.
Due to the popularity of the series, the feature film Cowboy Bebop: Tengoku no Tobira was produced, which was released in Japanese cinemas in 2001. In the USA, it was released in 2003 under the title Cowboy Bebop: The Movie.
13. Attack on Titan
© WIT STUDIO, Inc.
Attack on Titan is a manga series by the mangaka Hajime Isayama, which was also implemented as an anime, received several manga spin-offs and other implementations.
The plot of Attack on Titan revolves around the young Eren hunter, his adopted sister Mikasa Ackermann, and his best friend Armin Arlert, who live with the rest of humanity in cities protected by massive walls from attacks by the so-called Titans, giant humanoid creatures who eat people for seemingly no reason.
For 107 years, the walls that promised peace have existed. But one day, the titans broke through the outermost wall of Mary, and the humans were pushed further back. Erens mother dies, and he flees with many other people behind the second wall Rose.
Eren swears on his mother’s death that he will extinguish the titans. He grows up inside the second wall, while many people die due to the onset of famine or desperate attempts to recapture the outer wall – And so begins the battle between Eren and his friends against the titans.
Hajime Isayama sent an advance one-shot in 2006 as his contribution to Kōdanshas Young Artist Award MGP (Magazine Grand Prix). Although mainly his drawings were criticized, the plot, originality, and presentation convinced the jury so that he received a 300,000 yen award. A one-shot tape called Attack on Titan 0 was added as an extra to the 2013 limited edition of the first DVD/Blu-ray of the anime created by Isayama in 2005.
For the release of the manga, he also offered it to the editors of Japan’s best-selling Shōnen manga magazine Shōnen Jump from the publishing house Shūeisha, who, however, had to adapt the style and plot to their own target group as a requirement for publication.
Finally, he went back to Kōdansha, where the manga Shingeki no Kyojin, with the English subtitle Attack on Titan, has been published monthly in single chapters in Bessatsu Shōnen Magazine since September 9, 2009 ( edition 10/2009).
WIT Studio adapted the first 8 volumes of the manga as an anime series with the support of the parent company Production I.G. Directed by Tetsurō Araki assisted by Hiroyuki Tanaka and Masashi Koizuka. At the end of the third season, it was announced that a fourth and final season, with the title “The Final Season”, would follow in autumn 2020 on NHK General TV.
After rumors, while the second half of season three was still being broadcast, that WIT Studio would not produce another season, it was officially confirmed with the release of a preview at the end of May 2020 that the studio MAPPA would produce the final season. Therefore almost all the staff had been changed.
© Pierrot Co., Ltd.
Bleach is a manga series by the mangaka Tite Kubo, which was also realized as an anime.
In the world of Bleach, there are other parallel dimensions in addition to the human world. In one of these, the shinigami live, which is organized as a military-led training center. The world itself is called the Soul Society, with the Seireiti, the training center, in its center.
There the still young recruits are trained to become shinigami, who are supposed to prevent the Hollows from robbing people of their souls. At the same time, they are supposed to bring the souls of the deceased into the Soul Society, where they spend their further life outside the gates of the Seiretei.
Meanwhile, the Hollows come from a third world known as Hueco Mundo. Characteristic for a Hollow, no matter what shape it finally took, is a hole somewhere in its body (mostly in its chest), which clearly distinguishes it from the rest of the characters. Furthermore, the shape of Hollows is often based on individual animals.
The 15-year-old student Ichigo Kurosaki could see spirits since childhood. One day he meets the shinigami Rukia Kuchiki, who is hunting for a hollow. As she is seriously injured during the fight, she is forced to transfer her powers to Ichigo so that he can defeat the Hollow in her place. Until Rukia’s recovery, Ichigo must now do the work of a shinigami. Rukia registers at Ichigo’s school and moves into the closet with him.
Studio Pierrot (among others also Saber Rider and the Star-Sheriffs, Naruto) produced an anime series with 366 episodes directed by Noriyuki Abe. The series was broadcast weekly on the Japanese TV channel TV Tokyo from October 5, 2004, to March 27, 2012. Most recently, it was shown every Tuesday at 6 pm Japanese time. Studio Pierrot also produced the two 30-minute Bleach OVA episodes Memories in the Rain and The Sealed Sword Frenzy.
The Weekly Shonen Jump announced in March 2020 that the anime would be continued. The “Quincy Blood War” arc of the manga will be adapted. The one-shot manga Burn, the Witch, will also be adapted in autumn 2020.
15. Fairy Tail
© Aniplex Inc.
Fairy Tail is a manga by Hiro Mashima, released between August 2006 and July 2017. The work, which tells of the adventures of a young magician and her companions, can be classified into the genres Shōnen, action, adventure, comedy, and fantasy. In 2009, the manga was adapted as an anime TV series and finished almost ten years later.
The manga has received several spin-offs, artbooks, original video animations, anime films, and in 2018 even a manga sequel called Fairy Tail – 100 Years Quest, which will be drawn by Atsuo Ueda instead of Mashima as he is working on his new manga Edens Zero at the same time.
Fairy Tail takes place in a fictitious Earthland, a world of magic. The magic, which is always used for trade, is an integral part of the inhabitants’ lives. In addition to the traders, there are also people who make a living from magic, which are called magicians. Mages belong to different guilds in which they take orders. In the city of Magnolia, which is located in the kingdom of Fiore, resides one of the strongest guilds in the country, Fairy Tail.
One of the main characters is Lucy Heartfilia, who leaves home to join Fairy Tail. On her way, she meets Dragonslayer Natsu Dragneel, who is looking for his father, the dragon Igneel, who disappeared seven years ago. His partner is a flying blue cat named Happy. After Natsu rescues Lucy from a magician who pretends to be the salamander, and finally reveals himself as the real salamander, she follows him to his guild Fairy Tail and joins it.
She forms a team with Natsu and Happy, but at times this team also includes the ice mage Gray Fullbuster and the weapon magician Elsa Scarlet. The team around Lucy goes on missions together to earn money. These are usually written out by normal people (e.g., hunting monsters), but nevertheless, there are often fights with illegal, the so-called dark guilds, and other villains.
Following the announcement of the Kōdansha-Manga-Prize award in Shōnen Magazine, two weekly editions later, the start of the production of an anime TV series was announced. This first season of the series is animated by Satelight and A-1 Pictures, directed by Ishihira Shinji.
The series was produced by both animation studios and the TV station TV Tōkyō. They broadcasted the anime from October 12, 2009, to March 28, 2013, with 175 episodes. Crunchyroll streamed the series in English.
16. Fate/Stay Night
© Studio Deen Co. Ltd.
Fate/stay night is a Japanese Erogē visual, which was released on January 30, 2004. It is the company’s first commercial computer game. The game was later also implemented as anime and manga.
Fate/stay night accompanies the life of Emiya Shirō, a student at Homurahara High School in Fuyuki City for two weeks. Ten years ago, his parents died in a fiery inferno that almost killed him too and completely destroyed a part of the city. Shirō was saved and adopted by Kiritsugu Emiya at that time.
Kiritsugu wanted to protect the weak and innocent in his life, with the idea that everyone should be happy. Because he did not achieve this and because this very moves Shirō, he decided to take over this task of life from his adoptive father and not to fail. To achieve this, he wants to learn from him to use magic but turns out to be almost without talent. After Kiritsugu’s death, he continues to train alone.
What Shirō does not know is that Fuyuki City is the venue of a secret, bloody fight between magicians. Seven magicians gather to obtain the Holy Grail, a legendary artifact capable of granting any wish. The battle usually takes place every 60 years, with the last one a decade ago.
Each of the participating mages called “Master” is assisted by a “Servant”, a summoned being who is the personification of a hero from the “Throne of Heroes”. These heroic souls possess superhuman abilities and use powerful weapons or abilities called “Noble Phantasms”. These are activated by the Servant pronouncing their real name.
The downside of this is that once enemies know the Servant’s special ability, they can often deduce the hero they represent. This reveals their weaknesses, so using a Noble Phantasm is usually meant to kill the enemy instantly. In each battle for the Grail, one Servant can be summoned for each of the seven classes. The classes are Saber, Archer, Lancer, Berserker, Rider, Assassin, and Caster.
Only Servants or similar beings can attain the Holy Grail. Masters, therefore, make a pact with a servant. The servants are forced to cooperate with the masters, as they cannot remain in the world without an anchor and enough mana. Masters can control their servants with three command spells. With each spell, they can give the Servant a command that cannot be refused.
In 2005, Studio Deen produced an anime TV series about the game, directed by Yuji Yamaguchi. The anime follows the plot of Fate. The series was broadcast by TV Saitama from January 7, 2006, shortly after midnight.
17. Tokyo Ghoul
© Pierrot Co., Ltd.
Tokyo Ghoul is a manga series by the mangaka Sui Ishida. It was published between September 2011 and September 2014 in Shūeishas Seinen-Manga-Magazine Weekly Young Jump and was summarized in 14 anthologies.
The story of Tokyo Ghoul is about the student Ken Kaneki who falls in love with a young woman named Liz. After meeting her, she bites his shoulder in a secluded alley and reveals that she is a “ghoul” (ghouls are creatures that resemble humans in appearance, but can only feed on human flesh). As Liz is about to eat Ken, several large metal rods fall down on her from the construction site of a tower – Liz dies.
Ken is taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries. After he recovers, he is released from the hospital. On the same day, Ken is discharged; he finds out that he is no longer human. He looks in the mirror, and a shiver runs down his spine as he now has one ghoul eye (ghouls actually have two ghoul eyes, but Ken only has one). He realizes that Liz’s organs were transplanted into his body in the hospital. Since he now owns Liz’s organs, he is a so-called and very rare “half-ghoul”.
Since Ken has no one else to turn to, he is taken in by a group of ghouls who run the “Café Antik” (original: Anteiku). They teach him how to master his new life as a half-ghoul and explain to him a lot about the society of the ghouls, their factions and that he has to keep his identity secret from other people.
A sequel with the title Tokyo Ghoul:re was launched in October 2014 in the same magazine and a prequel with the title Tokyo Ghoul: JACK was shown online on Jump Live, an OVA adaptation of this story was released in 2015. An anime series with 12 episodes by Studio Pierrot was broadcast on Tokyo MX between July and September 2014.
A second season, Tokyo Ghoul √A (pronounced Tokyo Ghoul Root A), also with 12 episodes, was broadcast from January 9, 2015, to March 3, 2015. The first part of the third season, Tokyo Ghoul:re, consisting of 12 episodes, was broadcast from April 3, 2018, to June 19, 2018. The second part of the third season, Tokyo Ghoul:re 2nd season, with 12 episodes, was broadcast in Japan between October 9, 2018, and December 25, 2018.
18. The Seven Deadly Sins
© Kodansha Ltd.
Seven Deadly Sins is a manga series by Nakaba Suzuki that has been released in Japan since 2012. It is classified in the genre fantasy, adventure, and action has been supplemented by a second manga series since 2014 and was realized as an anime TV series in 2014.
In the region of Britannia, the King of the Kingdom of Liones is plunged by the Holy Knights. They capture the royal family and establish a tyrannical government. Elizabeth, the third princess, sets out in search of the Seven Deadly Sins – seven knights who ten years earlier allegedly also wanted to plunge the King and were defeated.
However, they are said to be still alive. On her search, she first meets Meliodas, a child host of a wandering bar. The talking pig Hawk is his companion, who keeps the bar clean by eating all the garbage. Meliodas turns out to be one of the Seven Deadly Sins, the sin of wrath and leader of the group. They set out to find the other knights and save the kingdom.
The series has been published since October 10, 2012 ( edition 45/2012 ) in single chapters in the Weekly Shōnen Magazine of the Kodansha publishing house. The story is also published in 34 anthologies so far. Since August 2014, a comedy offshoot has also been published in Bessatsu Shōnen Magazine under the title Nanatsu no Taizai Gakuen.
In addition, a crossover with the series Fairy Tail was released in October 2013, as well as specials on Seven Deadly Sins in the magazines Nakayoshi and Magazine Special. The volumes of Seven Deadly Sins have each sold over 700,000 copies in Japan.
The studio A-1 Pictures produced an anime series based on the manga in 2014. The concept was designed by Shōtarō Suga and directed by Tensai Okamura. The first broadcast took place from October 5, 2014, to March 29, 2015, at MBS in Japan. Animax Asia showed the series in English.
19. Mob Psycho 100
© Bones Inc.
Mob Psycho 100 is a Japanese web manga of the mangaka ONE, which was released from April 2012 to December 2017. Since March 2018, a spin-off web manga called Reigen from ONE is published in Japan.
The story follows the male protagonist Shigeo Kageyama, also known by his nickname Mob, in his life as a 13-year-old medium – a person with supernatural, psychic powers. He received his nickname because he is inconspicuous and does not stand out in a crowd. However, Mob keeps his powers mostly hidden because he prefers to live a normal life and fears to use his powers to harm others. But when his emotional level reaches 100%, his powers get out of control.
The twelve-part anime adaptation was broadcast in Japan over the summer of 2016. The anime was given a movie in 2018 that retells the events of the series from the autobiographical point of view of Mob’s mentor Arataka Reigen. A second season was confirmed in March 2018, which was broadcast on Japanese television from January 7, 2019. Also, a stage play was performed in January 2018, and a Japanese live-action series was released.
© Kyoto Animation Co., Ltd.
Clannad is an anime TV series based on the first storyline of the Ren’ai adventure game of the same name, Clannad. The 23 episode series was produced by the Japanese studio Kyōto Animation under the direction of Tatsuya Ishihara.
It was first shown on Japanese television starting on October 4, 2007, and was later supplemented by an additional episode, which was released as an OVA. It was continued in the series “Clannad After Story”, whose plot reflected the second storyline of the game.
The storyline is mostly comparable to that of the computer game, but not all the storylines of the game have been covered, or in some cases, have only been broached in order to be able to tell a coherent story.
The plot focuses on the student Tomoya Okazaki and his experiences during his final year at high school. He comes into closer contact with five female characters and his school friend Yōhei and experiences various adventures, which deal in particular with the girls’ past and family situation.
Clannad was produced by Kyōto Animation, and Tatsuya Ishihara was the director. The anime is firmly based on the visual model of the computer game. Among other things, the same scene crossfades were used. But also other elements or allusions, to earlier productions, can be found in certain scenes.
From October 5, 2007, to March 28, 2008, after midnight, the 24-episode series was broadcast on TBS. The main plot already ended with the 22nd episode. Nevertheless, the 23rd episode continued the action in a unified fashion and lay between the 22nd episode and the announced continuation.
Outside Japan, the series was licensed for the English-speaking market by Sentai Filmworks and was first distributed by ADV Films, which released the series on two DVDs with English subtitles on March 3 and May 5, 2009.
When ADV Films went out of business and handed it over to Section23 Films, they produced an English dubbed version which was released on DVD on June 15, 2010. This version was previously broadcast on The Anime Network from March 25.
21. Sword Art Online
© A-1 Pictures Inc.
Sword Art Online is a light novel series by Reki Kawahara, which was also adapted as a manga and anime. Like the author’s parallel published work, Accel World, Sword Art Online takes place in the future in which it is common to achieve complete immersion in virtual realities through direct stimulation of the central nervous system, and shows the adventures of a group of teenagers in these virtual realities.
On November 6, 2022, the VRMMORPG (Virtual Reality Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) Sword Art Online (SAO) was launched. Its special feature is that players can fully immerse themselves in a virtual reality of a medieval fantasy world called Aincrad and, by recreating all sensory perceptions, have the illusion of actually living in it.
This is done by using a device called NerveGear, which can directly read and stimulate the sensory and motor areas of the brain. Similar to an MMORPG, players can gain experience points by killing monsters, which allows them to level up. The more powerful the monster, the more experience points the player gains. The higher the level of a player, the stronger the player is in combat.
One of the 10,000 players is the student Kazuto Kirigaya under the pseudonym Kirito, who had already participated in the beta test of the game. After some time, he notices that he cannot log out, and shortly afterward, the developer of the game and the underlying NerveGear technology, Akihiko Kayaba, announces that players can only leave this world after the bosses of all 100 levels of Aincrad have been defeated. Death in this world, as well as the removal of the NerveGear, automatically leads to death in the real world.
On October 2, 2011, at the Dengeki Bunko Aki no Saiten 2011, it was announced that the novel series would be filmed, making it the last light novel series in the Top 10 of Kono Light Novel ga Sugoi! 2011, which received an anime adaptation. The series is animated by Studio A-1 Pictures under the direction of Tomohiko Itō. The artistic direction was provided by Yūsuke Takeda and Takayuki Nagashima. Based on the templates from ABEC, the character design was created by Shingo Adachi and the sub-character design by Tetsuya Kawakami.
The 25 episodes were broadcast simultaneously on Tokyo MX, Tochigi TV, Gunma TV, and TV Kanagawa from July 8 to December 23, 2012, at midnight. The series is streamed on Bandai Channel, Nico Nico Dōga, and PlayStation Store. The first half of the anime was broadcast alongside the second half of Reki Kawahara’s other novel adaptation Accel World.
Simultaneously with the Japanese first broadcast, an English subtitled version was streamed on Crunchyroll for the regions North America, South America, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.
At the Tōkyō Anime Awards, Sword Art Online won Best TV Series alongside Kuroko no Basuke, and Reki Kawahara won Best Story.
22. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
© David Production Inc.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is a manga series by the mangaka Hirohiko Araki. It is the second-longest manga series of the publisher Shūeisha. It has been adapted as anime, video games, and light novels and translated into several languages.
The series tells the story of the House of Joestar, a powerful family with English roots, and its bitter enmity with the family of Dio Brando, which goes back generations. The story is structured in several plot lines, in each of which a descendant of the Joestar family assumes the role of the protagonist.
The enmity between the two clans is often settled in fights. The peculiarities of the fights are the supernatural forces, the so-called “Stands”, which not only the family members but also other allies outside the two families possess and which first appear in the 3rd storyline. The “Stands” can be seen as a manifestation of the body’s energy, which appears in an astral projection.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure was published in 1986 in the manga magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump of the publishing house Shūeisha. Meanwhile, the chapters are published in Ultra Jump magazine. The series has been published in 118 anthologies so far.
Several light novels have been published for the manga. The first one, written by Mayori Sekijima and Hiroshi Yamaguchi, was released by Shueisha on November 4, 1993. As with the manga and all later light novels, the drawings were done by Hirohiko Araki. On May 28, 2001, a second volume, written by Gichi Ōtsuka and Miya Shōtarō, was released. This was followed by a volume by Otsuichi in 2007, a volume by Kōhei Kadono, and a volume by Nisio Isin in 2011. In 2012 the last Light Novel Band was released, written by Ōtarō Maijō.
The studio A.P.P.P. produced an anime adaptation of the manga, which was released as an original video animation from 1993 to 2002. Junichi Hayama was responsible for the character design and Satoru Kuwabara for the artistic direction. The music was composed by Marco D’Ambrosio. The 13 episodes are a film adaptation of volumes 12 to 28 of the manga. Super Techno Arts released an English version, Déclic Images released a French and Yamato Video an Italian version.
The studio David Production announced a film adaptation of the anime in the form of a television series.
The first season began on October 6, 2012, shortly after midnight on Tokyo MX. The first nine episodes adapted Part 1 and episodes 10 to 26 Part 2.
Part 3, Stardust Crusaders, ran from April 5, 2014, to June 19, 2015, on Tokyo MX and consisted of two halves of 24 episodes each, for a total of 48 episodes. The first half called Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders, was aired after midnight from April 5 to September 12, 2014, and the second half, called Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Battle in Egypt, started on January 10, 2015.
Part 4: Diamond Is Unbreakable ran from April 1 to December 24, 2016, with 39 episodes.
Part 5: Vento Aureo (in English Golden Wind) ran from October 5, 2018, to July 28, 2019, with 39 episodes.
The episodes are offered with German, English, Portuguese, Spanish and French subtitles under the title JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure on Crunchyroll. Since March 2020, the first three parts are also available on Netflix.
© OLM, Inc.
Pokemon are fantasy creatures in the eponymous series of video games. The video games were created by Satoshi Tajiri and the Japanese software development company GAME FREAK Inc. and is one of the most valuable franchises of the publisher Nintendo. You can catch, collect, and train the pocket monsters.
After the success of the first published Pokemon game back in 1996, they released an anime, a trading card game, many merchandising products, and since 1998 twentyone movies. The Pokemon video games were sold over 200 million times worldwide. Therefore, you can consider it as one of the most successful products of the games industry.
The player can collect different types of Pokemon by catching or trading them to complete the so-called Pokedex. The Pokedex is a lexicon that you get at the beginning of the game where all your Pokemon and their details are automatically listed after getting them.
You try to become a Pokemon master by battling other trainers and their Pokemon, and are traveling most of the time from city to city to defeat the gym leaders of each one. When you have beaten all gym leaders, you can access the Pokemon league to defeat the top 4 and become a Pokemon master.
24. Hunter x Hunter
© Nippon TV
Hunter × Hunter is a manga by the Japanese illustrator Yoshihiro Togashi. An anime TV series, several anime OVAs, and radio plays are based on the manga.
The young Gon Freecss is looking for his father, Ging Freecss, who left home a long time ago to pursue his profession as a hunter. Gon also decides to get a Hunter license and makes many new friends. However, the Hunter exam is not easy to master, and many exciting adventures await Gon and his friends.
In 1999 Studio Nippon Animation produced an anime television series with 62 episodes of manga with Kazuhiro Furuhashi as director. The series was broadcasted from October 16, 1999, to March 31, 2001, on Fuji TV and later on Animax.
Hunter x Hunter was aired in French on the Mangas channel, in Spanish on Animax Latin America, and in Chile on Chilevision and ETC…TV. The channel Italia 1 broadcast the anime in Italy, and Spacetoon broadcast the series in Arabic. Hunter × Hunter was also shown on Animax Brazil, RedeTV! (also Brazil) and the Philippine channel GMA Network.
The anime was continued by three OVA series: Hunter × Hunter was released on four DVDs from January 17 to April 17, 2002, and included episodes 63 to 70, Hunter × Hunter: Greed Island from February 5 to April 16, 2003, on 4 DVDs and included episodes 71 to 78 and Hunter × Hunter: G.I Final from March 3 to August 18, 2004, on 7 DVDs and contained episodes 79 to 92.
Studio Madhouse produced a remake of the series directed by Hiroshi Kōjina. The 148-episode series ran from October 2, 2011, to September 24, 2014, on NTV, and 30 other stations in the network. This adaptation went beyond the plot of the first TV series and OVA series.
25. Gin Tama
© Sunrise Inc.
Gintama is a manga by the mangaka Hideaki Sorachi, which has been published in Japan since 2003. The work was adapted as an anime, video game, and light novel.
At the end of the Edo period in the 19th century, aliens, the Amanto, seized power in Japan and prohibited the carrying of swords. That was the demise of the samurai. But Gintoki Sakata still feels obliged to the ideals of the samurai and carries a (wooden) sword. Because he cannot or does not want to continue his old life, he starts a new life as “jack of all trades”, whereby he accepts almost all orders for money.
The manga has been published in Japan since December 2003 in single chapters in the manga magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump by the publisher Shueisha. The chapters are regularly published in 74 anthologies so far. The work is published in English by Viz Media.
In December 2005, a 33-minute original video animation of Gintama was released in Japan, produced by Sunrise and directed by Akatsuki Yamatoya. In 2006, Sunrise produced an anime TV series based on the manga, initially directed by Shinji Takamatsu. As of episode 100, Yōichi Fujita replaced him. The series was broadcast in Japan by TV Aichi and TV Tokyo from April 4, 2006, to March 25, 2010, and comprises a total of 201 episodes, which were divided into four seasons of about 50 episodes.
From April 4, 2011, to March 26, 2012, a new season of 51 episodes of the series, produced by the same team, with an apostrophe in the logo Gintama’, was broadcast by the channels of the TV-Tokyo broadcasting group. An extension of the season followed on October 4, 2012, with the name Gintama’ Enchōsen, with episodes five and up not being shown until January 10, 2013. The last episode of this season was broadcast on March 28, 2013.
The third season called Gintama° was animated by Bandai Namco Pictures under the direction of Chizuru Miyawaki. The 51 episodes ran from April 8, 2015, to March 30, 2016, which together correspond to episodes 266 to 316. Episodes 300 to 307 are called “Chapter: Shōgun Ansatsu-hen and episodes 308 to 316 are called “Chapter: Saraba Shinsengumi-hen.
The first episode of a two-part OVA called Aizome Kaori-hen was published on August 4, 2016.
The fourth season of Gintama. is divided into three chapters of 12 episodes each: Rakuyō Kessen-hen ran from January 9 to March 27, 2017, with episodes 317 to 328, Porori-hen from October 2 to December 25, 2017, with episodes 329 to 341, and Shirogane no Tamashii-hen from January 8 to March 26, 2018, with episodes 342 to 353.
26. My Hero Academia
© Bones Inc.
My Hero Academia is a manga series from Kōhei Horikoshi. It has been published in Japan since 2014 and has received several spin-off mangas and anime T.V. series.
Most people in the world are born with superpowers. Each person is given a different power, and the powers are used for good or evil, so there are constant battles between superheroes and villains. The heroes, whose abilities are called “quirks”, are trained in special schools. Izuku Midoriya, a high school student, would also like to become a superhero, but he is among the 20% of people without such abilities.
When he protects another child from a villain, he meets the most famous of all superheroes: All Might – who gives him his power. It gives Izuku high physical strength. However, he can hardly control it at first. But now he can follow his dream and go to the hero high school U.A. High School.
The manga has been published since July 7, 2014 (edition 32/2014) in the Weekly magazine Shōnen Jump by the Shueisha publishing house. The chapters have also been published in 24 anthologies so far. The tenth volume sold over 450,000 copies in Japan in the first four weeks after publication.
Besides, a spin-off series called Boku no Academia Smash!! by Hirofumi Neda and Kohei Horikoshi was published between November 2015 and November 2017 on the digital platform Shōnen Jump+. Since August 2016, Vigilante – My Hero Academia Illegals by Hiyuki Furuhashi and Betten Court has been published on Shōnen Jump Giga and since December 2016 on Shōnen Jump+.
Under the direction of Kenji Nagasaki, Studio Bones created an anime adaptation of the manga for television in 2016. The primary author was Yōsuke Kuroda. The first broadcast of the 13 episodes long first season took place from April 3 to June 26, 2016, on MBS in Japan.
Animax Asia showed an English dubbed version, and Funimation Entertainment made the series available via streaming with English subtitles. The second season was first broadcast on ytv from April 1 to September 30, 2017, and contains a total of 25 episodes. The third season was first aired from April 7 to September 29, 2018, and contains another 25 episodes.
On August 3, 2018, an anime movie was released in Japanese cinemas, which already had its world premiere on July 5, 2018, at the Anime Expo 2018 in Los Angeles, California. A second feature film was announced for winter 2019/2020. This came into Japanese cinemas on December 20, 2019, with the subtitle HEROES:RISING.
Before the end of the third season, it was announced in the Weekly Shonen Jump that a fourth season would be produced. The announcement also followed the last episode of the season, but without a start date. Broadcasting began on October 12, 2019 in Japan. The season ended on April 4, 2020 with a reference to another season.
27. Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic
© A-1 Pictures Inc.
Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic is a manga series by Shinobu Ōtaka, which has been released in Japan since 2009. The Shōnen and fantasy manga was realized in the form of an anime TV series. Since 2013 the offshoot Magi: Sinbad no Bōken has been published.
The young trader Alibaba Saluja lives in a desert city and works for a wealthy merchant. He dreams of entering the tower standing in the middle of the town, a so-called “dungeon”, to pass its tests to get rich himself. The dungeons appeared all over the world some time ago and promised wealth and power to those who pass their tests.
When Aladdin appears, a sorcerer in the shape of a child, he causes Alibaba only trouble at first. But his djinn Ugo, who lives in a flute and is called with it, and Aladdin’s magic helps Alibaba as well as the slave Morgiana. Aladdin doesn’t accept that humans should be the slaves of others and tries to free them. Finally, Aladdin and Alibaba make friends and enter the dungeon together.
The manga created by Shinobu Ōtaka has been published since June 3, 2009 (edition 27/2009) in single chapters in the magazine Weekly Shōnen Sunday by the publisher Shogakukan. This publisher also published Magi in 37 anthologies so far.
In 2012 an anime adaptation of the manga was created by the studio A-1 Pictures. It was directed by Kōji Masunari.
The first season with 25 episodes of 25 minutes each was shown by MBS and TBS in the afternoon program from October 7, 2012, to March 31, 2013. The second season, with the same number of episodes and titled The Kingdom of Magic, was first broadcast from October 6, 2013, to March 30, 2014, with an English subtitled simulcast streamed on Crunchyroll and Hulu.
© White Fox Co., Ltd.
Steins;Gate is a visual novel game, which was created in cooperation of the two Japanese game developers 5pb. and Nitroplus. After Chaos;Head, it was the second collaboration of the companies and was released in October 2009 for the Xbox 360. Adaptations followed it for Windows PCs, Sony’s PlayStation Portable in 2010 and 2011, Android 2013 as well as adaptations in the form of manga series, an anime TV series, and an anime movie.
The plot is based on the assumption that time travel is possible to a limited extent. Accordingly, both specific points in time and the principles of causality play an essential role. Scientists can send information and later even the mind of a person back into the past. With every time travel, the present and the future change according to the principles.
This discovery has a high potential for misuse, which is a hook for the further development of the story. The protagonists are threatened by the state organization SERN, which does not hesitate to murder.
Akihabara, a district of Tokyo, was chosen as the main venue. Various real existing buildings repeatedly appear in the game. One of them is the Radio Kaikan building, on whose roof the action begins. According to Chiyomaru Shikura, who was in charge of the development of the game, Akihabara was chosen as the location for the work, because it is historically a place where it is easy to get fancy hardware. This makes it the ideal place for people like the game’s protagonist, who plays around with things and looks for innovations.
The SERN organization is an allusion to the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN). In addition to the experiments using particle accelerators, the plot considers it as an antagonist. The fictitious organization SERN is said to have experimented with time travel and black holes, which has cost many peoples’ lives.
The computer game was animated in 2011 by the studio White Fox, which had previously produced the computer game Tears to Tiara as an anime. The series was broadcast from April 6, 2011, after midnight on TV Saitama and Sun TV. An English subtitled version was streamed on Crunchyroll on the day of release and Anime on Demand in the UK.
On April 20, 2013, the feature film Steins;Gate: Fuka Ryōiki no Déjà vu was released in Japanese cinemas.
29. No Game No Life
© Madhouse Inc.
No Game No Life is a Japanese light novel series written and illustrated by the Brazilian Yū Kamiya (Thiago Furukawa Lucas). The light novel was also realized as a manga and anime.
The Hikikomori siblings Sora and Shiro live secluded in their apartment and avoid leaving it as much as possible. Although they seem isolated, they are a well-known figure on the Internet among players, ranking first in every game they play under the name Kūhaku.
One day, they are challenged to a chess game by a mysterious stranger, but Shiro can beat him. He then offers both of them the chance to be reborn in another world – a world called Disboard, where everything is decided through games.
When they unbelievingly accept the offer, they are unexpectedly taken to another world, where they meet the god Tet, who was also their previous opponent, and who roughly explains the world, its connections, and rules to them.
Studio Madhouse adapted the first three volumes of the novel series as an anime television series under the direction of Atsuko Ishizuka. The 12 episodes were first broadcast on AT-X from April 9 to June 25, 2014.
An English subtitled version is streamed on Crunchyroll as a simulcast for North and South America, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. A release on DVD/Blu-ray for North America licensed Sentai Filmworks.
On July 15, 2017, the film No Game No Life Zero, based on the 6th volume of the light novel, was released in Japan.
30. Angel Beats!
© P.A.Works, Inc.
Angel Beats! is a Japanese media franchise from 2009 and 2010, whose concept was developed by Jun Maeda from the game developer Key. The series includes a light novel series, an anime by director Seiji Kishi, created in the animation studio P.A. Works in cooperation with Aniplex, as well as two manga.
The story of Angel Beats! takes place in a fictional in-between world derived from Buddhism, which is comparable to purgatory. In this world, which is portrayed as a large school complex, young people are “reborn” who died under particularly tragic circumstances.
The real meaning behind this world is that young people stay there until they have found their inner peace or worthy compensation for their previous life. However, this world also has some special features and shares many similarities to a virtual world. For example, the characters are not able to die, weapons can be created out of nothing, and many of the classmates behave like NPCs.
In the center of the events is the student Otonashi, who tells us about his past in flashbacks. At the same time, his life and the events arising from it are used as a subplot, which, as the viewer will only realize afterward, has had a decisive influence on the entire plot. Thus, many relationships ultimately turn out to be quite different from what Otonashi experiences and the viewer is presented with. This leads to numerous misunderstandings, which contribute to the actual outcome of the plot.
In an interview published within Dengeki G’s Magazine in July 2009, shortly after the completion of Key’s sixth game Little Busters!, it was revealed that Hironori Toba from Aniplex approached the developers in October 2007 to produce an independent anime T.V. series. Producer Toba decided to create the anime in the animation studio P.A. Works, although so far most of Key’s work has been animated by Kyōto Animation.
Toba explained his decision by pointing out that he had already noticed P.A. Works in the run-up to the animation by working on Fullmetal Alchemist and Darker than Black, where Aniplex was also the producer. But what really convinced him was the studio’s work on the anime realization of true tears, whose high quality he was impressed by.
On March 22, 2010, the first episode of the thirteen episodes of the series was presented to a limited audience. The audience was able to qualify for it through a lottery held earlier that month. The series officially began on April 3 and ran until June 26, 2010, at midnight on CBC, TBS, MBS, Tulip-TV, RKB Mainichi Hōsō, and BS11 Digital. In Japan, the series was then released between June 23, 2010, and December 22, 2011, on seven DVDs and Blu-rays with two episodes each.
On the last one, there was an extra episode called Stairway to Heaven, as well as a 2-minute alternative ending called Another Epilogue, where Otonashi decides to stay behind to help the following newcomers in the intermediate world. In 2015 a new Blu-ray edition was released, which also includes the OVA Hell’s Kitchen. As bonus material, a 240-page guidebook with interviews, background articles, illustrations, designs from the production, and fanart was published.
31. Akame Ga Kill!
© P.A.Works, Inc.
Akame ga Kill! is a manga series by Takahiro and Tetsuya Tashiro that has been released in Japan since 2010. The Shōnen series was realized in the form of an anime television series.
The young swordsman Tatsumi travels to the imperial city together with two comrades. They want to earn money in the imperial city to help their village. But arbitrariness and violence rules in the city since Minister Honest manipulated the young emperor in his interest. The powerful exploit the poor, torture, and kill them for their own pleasures. So Tatsumi and his comrades are also separated at first during a robbery. He is tricked and loses his money and falls into the clutches of one of the wealthy families.
The manga series, written by Takahiro and illustrated by Tetsuya Tashiro, has been published by Square Enix in the Gangan Joker magazine since March 2010. The chapters have also been published in 14 anthologies so far. They sold about 150,000 copies in the first weeks after their publication.
With the publication of the 14th volume in August 2016, it was announced that the 15th volume, announced for winter 2016, will be the last. With the 15th volume, the series was then completed on December 22, 2016.
From October 2013 to January 2019, the Monthly Big Gangan, also at Square Enix, published the prequel to the series with the title Akame ga Kill! Zero. The anthology edition consisted of 10 volumes and was translated into English and French. In Japan, the volumes sold about 50,000 copies each.
In 2014 an anime adaptation of the manga was created at Studio White Fox under the direction of Tomoki Kobayashi. The series was first shown at Tokyo MX from July 7 to December 15, 2014. An English dubbed version was shown by Cartoon Network and released on Crunchyroll and The Anime Network platforms.
32. Blue Exorcist
© A-1 Pictures Inc.
Blue Exorcist is the title of a manga series written and drawn by Kazue Katō, which has been published by Shūeisha since April 2009 in the magazine Jump Comics SQ.
The world of Blue Exorcist contains two dimensions. In the dimension called Assiah, people live and have no idea that a second dimension could exist. This second dimension, called Gehenna and is the home of the demons led by Satan.
The series is about the boy Rin Okumura, who was born as the son of a human woman and Satan, the ruler of the demon world. Despite his destiny to serve Satan as a host on Earth, he decides to become an exorcist and turn against his father.
An adaptation of the manga as an anime TV series of the same name Ao no Exorcist was announced on the website of Jump SQ on November 27, 2010. Studio A-1 Pictures did the animation under the direction of producer Hiro Maruyama and director Tensai Okamura.
The first broadcast of the 25 episodes series began on April 17 and ran on MBS and TBS until October 2, 2011. Release on DVD and Bluray began in Japan on June 22, 2011. The individual editions appeared approximately every month, and the last, tenth edition was released on March 21, 2012.
The DVDs each contained two to three episodes, with the fifth edition containing an additional episode, Special Kuro no Iede, also known as episode 11.5. The episode had not been shown on television before, bringing the total number of episodes in the series to 26.
Aniplex broadcast the series as Blue Exorcist starting on April 20, also as a simulcast with English subtitles on the North American websites Hulu, Crunchyroll, and Anime News Network.
The 2nd season with another 12 episodes and the title Ao no Exorcist: Kyōto Fujōō-hen ran from January 7 to March 25, 2017, after midnight in Japan.
33. Your Name
© CoMix Wave Films, Inc.
Your Name. is a Japanese animated coming-of-age film by Japanese director Makoto Shinkai, animated by Studio CoMix Wave Films and distributed by Toho, which premiered on July 3, 2016, at Anime Expo 2016 in Los Angeles and was released in Japanese cinemas on August 26, 2016.
High school student Mitsuha from the small town of Itomori in Hida province wishes, out of frustration with her boring life in the country, that she would be reborn as a good-looking boy in Tokyo in her next life. Later on, Taki, a high school student from Tokyo, awakes and has to find out that he is Mitsuha, who has changed into Taki’s body.
Taki and Mitsuha realize that they both have changed into each other’s bodies. The change occurs two or three times a week for one day each. They then leave each other notes on paper or digital records on the other’s mobile phone to communicate with each other. After initial difficulties, the two get used to the body change and intervene more and more in the life of the other. Mitsuha helps Taki to get closer to one of his adored co-workers, Miki Okudera, and eventually invites her on a date, while Taki helps Mitsuha to become more popular in her school.
Your Name. received very positive reviews overall, with particular praise for the animations and the emotional impact on the audience. According to the box office results, Your Name. is the world’s most successful anime film to date, with more than 358 million US dollars. At the same time, Your Name. is the second most successful domestically produced film in Japan; the fourth most successful if international titles are added.
As inspiration for Your Name. the gender-swapping manga Boku wa Mari no Naka and Ranma ½, the novel Torikaebaya Monogatari from the Heian period, as well as Greg Egan’s short story The Safe-Deposit Box are mentioned.
© Bones Inc.
Noragami is a fantasy manga series by the mangaka Adachitoka, which has been published in Kodanshas Shōnen Magazine since December 2010.
Hiyori Iki was an average middle school student until she was hit by a bus when she tried to save someone from being run over. The stranger wears a sports suit and a scarf and later turns out to be god Yato. This incident causes her to become half Ayakashi, a demon. When she meets Yato again and finds out that he is a god, she asks him to help her and become normal again.
However, Yato has recently lost his holy weapon (Shinki) – another supernatural being, which serves a god and strengthens his power. He is also only a little-known and, therefore, a weak god. When both are attacked by an Ayakashi, Yato chooses the spirit of a boy as his new shinki and calls him Yukine. Yukine turns out to be a good weapon, but because of his early death, he is very insecure and impetuous.
The anime Noragami was created by the animation studio Bones, directed by Kōtarō Tamura. Even before the first TV broadcast, the first episode was shown at the Anime Festival Asia on November 10, 2013. The first broadcast on Japanese television was on January 5, 2014, on Tokyo MX.
The final 12th episode was broadcast on March 23, 2014. In addition to the television series, an additional episode was released as an original video animation on DVD, along with a limited edition of the 10th manga tape on February 17 and the 11th manga tape on July 17, 2014.
The second season of the anime with 13 more episodes, Noragami Aragoto, ran from October 3 to December 30, 2015, after midnight on TV Tokyo. The limited version of the 15th and 16th manga volumes also got each a further episode.
35. Future Diary
Mirai Nikki is a manga series by the Japanese illustrator Sakae Esuno, which was published in Japan from 2006 to 2010.
At the beginning of the plot, the student Yukiteru Amano introduces his life in a monologue. It becomes clear that he has significant problems to make real friends. Instead, he invests most of his time to keep a diary on his cell phone in which he records the daily events in detail. When he arrives home, he covers himself under his blanket.
He enters a parallel world in his fantasy, where he talks to his imaginary friend, the divine Deus Ex Machina, and his very young-looking companion Murmur. In the conversation, this god tells Yukiteru that he wants to organize a game so that he and his companion would not be so bored. However, Yukiteru has no idea that this would have far-reaching consequences. Deus Ex Machina gives Yukiteru’s diary the ability to predict the future.
The manga series was adapted in 2011 under the direction of Naoto Hosoda in the animation studio Asread as an anime TV series of the same name. In early 2010, Kadokawa Shoten had already released an adventure game for the PlayStation Portable, Mirai Nikki: 13-nin-me no Nikki Shoyūsha, which adds a thirteenth diary to the story. A Real television series was also released in 2012.
The anime TV series was then broadcast between October 10, 2011, and April 16, 2012, at midnight on Chiba TV. The true ending “Mirai Nikki Redial” was streamed on June 19, 2013, on the video platform Nico Nico Douga and was released on DVD on July 26, 2013.
36. Black Clover
© Pierrot Co., Ltd.
Black Clover is a manga series by the mangaka Yūki Tabata. It has been published in Japan since 2015 and was realized as an anime in 2017.
The plot revolves around Asta and Yuno, who were abandoned together at a church and have been inseparable ever since. As children, they swore that they would compete with each other to see who would be the next Magic Emperor. But as the two grew up, significant differences between them became apparent.
Yuno was a genius of magic with superior strength and control, while Asta could not use magic at all, which he tried to compensate with physical training. When they received their magic books, called grimoires, at the age of 15, Yuno received a spectacular book with a four-leaf clover – most people only receive one with a three-leaf clover. Asta, however, received nothing. The truth about Asta’s ability is revealed when Yuno is in danger.
A pilot chapter was published on April 28, 2014, in the edition 2/2014 of the magazine Shōnen Jump Next!! from Shūeisha. The actual series then started on February 16, 2015 ( edition 12/2015) in the magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump. The publisher also published the chapters in 21 anthologies so far. They sold about 180.000 copies. Until May 2018, more than 5.8 million copies of the series were sold.
Viz Media has published an English translation since June 2016.
Between November 27 and December 18, 2016, an original video animation summarizing the plot of the first manga chapter was shown at the Jump Festa. This episode was also released together with the eleventh manga volume on May 2, 2017, and was produced by the Xebec animation studio.
Also, at Jump Festa 2016, an anime TV series was announced. This was created by Pierrot under the direction of Tatsuya Yoshihara and with the main author Kazuyuki Fudeyasu.
The series has been broadcast by TV Tokyo in Japan since October 3, 2017. The platform Crunchyroll publishes the anime internationally via streaming, including English subtitles. FUNimation Entertainment released an English dubbed version.
37. Assassination Classroom
Assassination Classroom is a manga series from Yūsei Matsui, which was released in Japan between July 2012 and March 2016. It was adapted as an anime short film in 2013 and as an anime television series from 2015 to 2016.
The series revolves around a tentacle-like monster called Korosensei, which can move at Mach 20. After Korosensei destroyed about 70% of the moon, he wants to do the same with the Earth. Before he realizes this plan, he wants to teach the 3-E of the Kunugigaoka middle school as a class teacher for one year.
This is the worst class in the school, and the other students look down on it. The class is also used by school management as a deterrent. As a reward for the killing of the monster, 10 billion yen are being offered. From now on, the students try to kill Korosensei during and also outside of the lessons.
Assassination Classroom was published from July 2, 2012, to March 25, 2016, in the magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump of the publishing house Shūeisha in 180 individual chapters as well as five additional chapters. These were published in a total of 21 anthologies, each of which sold over 500,000 copies.
Studio Lerche adapts the manga as an anime television series directed by Seiji Kishi. The first season with 22 episodes was broadcast on Fuji TV after midnight from January 10 to June 20, 2015. The second season was shown between January 8 and July 1, 2016. The series has been completed with 47 episodes.
In the USA, the series is streamed with English subtitles as a simulcast by Funimation.
© Production I.G, Inc.
Haikyuu!! is a manga series by Haruichi Furudate and has been adapted as an anime T.V. series since 2014, as well as in four anime films and as a play since November 2015.
The high school student Shōyō Hinata has been enthusiastic about volleyball since he saw the broadcast of the national championship. There was also a small sportsmanlike himself in the game, who was nevertheless superior to the others. With him, as a role model, Hinata joins the club of his school, but he is the only boy in it and has to train together with the girls.
Nevertheless, he shows a lot of talent and commitment. At the district’s youth championship, he can finally find fellow players, but they lose the first game. He swears to the captain of the opposing team, the well-known Tobio Kageyama, that he will defeat him one day.
A first chapter of the manga was published in Shonen Jump Next! magazine on January 8, 2011. Another chapter was published in the Weekly Shonen Jump on April 24, 2011. In the same magazine, the regular publication started on February 20, 2012, and is still ongoing. The publisher Shueisha has also published the chapters in 42 anthologies so far.
Studio Production I.G. has been creating an anime adaptation of the manga since 2014. Susumu Mitsunaka directed the first three seasons, and Taku Kishimoto wrote the script.
MBS showed the 24-minute episodes of the first season in Japan from April 6, 2014, to September 21, 2014, as well as 28 other stations of the TBS network. A second season, Haikyū!!!: Second Season, ran from October 7, 2015, to March 2016 with another 25 episodes. The third season Haikyū!! Karasuno Kōkō vs. Shiratorizawa Gakuen Kōkō with another ten episodes ran from October 8 to December 10, 2016.
The fourth season Haikyū!! To the Top has been broadcast in two parts in Japan since January 10, 2020. Broadcasting of the 13-episode first part ended on April 3, 2020, and was to be continued with the 12-episode second part from July 2020. However, the transmission of the second part was postponed indefinitely due to the COVID 19 pandemic.
The anime is available as a simulcast with English subtitles in North America, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa on the platform Crunchyroll.
39. Demon Slayer
© Ufotable, Inc.
Demon Slayer (Kimetsu no Yaiba) is a manga series from Koyoharu Gotōge. It has been published in Japan since 2016 and was adapted as an anime TV series. Until May 2020, 60 million copies of the manga were in circulation.
The boy Tanjirō Kamado grows up as the oldest son of a charcoal burner. To take care of his younger siblings and his parents, he puts in a lot of work, and even in the deep winter, he still goes out of the forest into the city to sell coal. Tanjirō is well-liked by many people in the city. But when he one day returns to his family’s hut, they all became victims of a robbery.
According to the tracks, it was the devils, about whom the legends tell and who eat people at night. Only Tanjirōs Sister Nezuko is still breathing, so he takes her with him on his way to the city. On the way, however, it turns out that she has also become a devil and, thus, a danger. They meet Giyū Tomioka, who hunts the demons.
He wants to kill Nezuko, but Tanjirō wants to protect his little sister. It comes to a fight in which Nezuko also protects her brother. So Tomioka finally lets them both live and sends them to his master Sakonji Urokodaki.
The series has been published since February 2016 in the magazine Shūkan Shōnen Jump by the publisher Shueisha. They have also published the chapters in 20 anthologies so far. The manga was finished with its 205th chapter on May 18, 2020.
Demon Slayer was not a hit before the anime implementation when manga was not a hit, as Hiroyuki Nakano, chief editor of Shūkan Shōnen Jump, admitted in an interview. In terms of sales per band, the series was well behind other recent hits of Shūkan Shōnen Jump, such as One Piece, My Hero Academia, Haikyu!!, The Promised Neverland and Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma. After three years, the manga had sold only 3.5 million copies by February 2019.
According to Nakano, manga sales would usually increase gradually during the airing of an anime adaptation, but with Demon Slayer, sales went up suddenly after the end of the first season instead. In September 2019, the series had 10 million copies in circulation, in December 2019, with the release of the 18th anthology, 25 million copies, and finally 60 million copies in May 2020. More than 45 million anthologies were sold between November 2019 and May 2020 alone, according to the chart company Oricon.
Viz Media publishes an English translation of the series.
At Studio Ufotable, both an anime television series and a feature film were created for 2019. The film Kimetsu no Yaiba: Kyōdai no Kizuna, which was released on March 29, 2019, was directed by Haruo Sotozaki and consisted of the first five episodes of the series. On April 6, 2019, the TV series started, which was produced under the same director who also wrote the scripts together with Takashi Suhara and Toshiyuki Shirai.
Demon Slayer was broadcast in Japan on BS11, Gunma TV, Tokyo MX, and Tochigi TV. At the same time, the anime was published internationally via various online platforms with subtitles in several languages.
40. Detective Conan
© TMS Entertainment Co., Ltd.
Detective Conan is an internationally successful manga series by the Japanese illustrator Gosho Aoyama, which has been running since 1994. The plot revolves around the 16-year-old (17 years old in the anime) high school student and amateur detective Shin’ichi Kudō, whose body takes on the shape of a primary school pupil through a poison.
After that, he meets the private detective Kogorō Mōri and secretly solves his cases. The Shōnen series, which belongs to the crime and comedy genres, has been realized as an anime series, film series, and in video games.
Detective Conan has been published in Japan since the beginning of 1994 in single weekly chapters in the manga magazine Shōnen Sunday of the Shōgakukan publishing house. Up to now, 1000 single chapters have been published. These are regularly published as of now, 96 anthologies.
Also, there are 43 volumes in Japan with Detective Conan Short Stories (Meitantei Konan: Tokubetsuhen), which draw Aoyama’s assistants according to his specifications. In these, the cases dealt with are presented very briefly, so that more different and completed cases can be found in one paperback.
The manga series has also been published in Taiwan (Pinyin Míngzhēntàn Kēnán) since 1995, in Hong Kong (名偵探柯南, Jyutping Mingzingtaam Onaam) and in South Korea (Myŏngt’amjŏng K’onan) since 1996, in France (Détective Conan) and Spain (Detective Conan) since 1997, in Italy (Detective Conan) since 1998, since 2001 in German-speaking countries (Detective Conan), since 2002 in the People’s Republic of China (Míngzhēntàn Kēnán), since 2004 in the USA (Case Closed), in Thailand (Yəd-Nagksüüb-Djiu Khoonan), Sweden (Mästerdetektiven Conan), in Vietnam (Thám tử lừng danh Conan) and in Finland (Salapoliisi Conan).
The US edition is also distributed in Canada and Australia. Furthermore, in this version, not only the title but also the names of the main characters have been changed except for Conan and Professor Agasa.