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10 Top Japanese Anime Series of All Time

You can never be too old to watch Japanese anime. Once you get hooked, you’re hooked for life. The best anime series have concepts  as intricate, as detailed and brilliant as those presented in the greatest of classic novels and Hollywood movies.

If you’re looking to enhance you’re imagination, here’s your guide  to some the most popular Japanese anime series of all time. I know you must be addicted to at least one of the mentioned below.

Death Note

Death Note

Death Note is known and revered for its unique and intelligently woven plot. The story revolves around a brilliant high-school student, Light Yagami, who stumbles onto the book of a Shinigami and with its power, begins to pass judgment on evil.

Rurouni Kenshin (Samurai X)

Samurai X

Rurouni Kenshin is among the most popular Japanese anime to date. Its OVA and the series itself are consistently ranked among the top 5 anime of all time. The plot follows Himura Kenshin, an assassin who sets out on a virtuous path to compensate for the blood on his hands.

Dragon Ball Z

Dragon Ball Z

The Dragon Ball Z series probably tops this list in terms of popularity. The Dragon Ball series as a whole is recognized and appreciated all around the world. The chief protagonist of the series, Son Goku, has become somewhat of a worldwide anime icon.

Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood

Full Metal Alchemist - Brotherhood

Both the original FMA series and its retelling, FMA: Brotherhood, are widely appreciated owing to a unique concept coupled with loveable characters and a great plot that makes room for occasional antics. Both stories revolve around Edward Elric, the Full Metal Alchemist, and his brother Alphonse, who set out on a journey to hunt down the Philosopher’s Stone.

Code Geass

Code Geass

Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion is a popular anime series set in an alternate world where Japan has been conquered by the Holy Britannian Empire – one of the two superpowers that govern said fictional world. Britannian Prince, Lelouch, aggrieved by his mother’s death at the hands of his father, the Emperor, sets off on a quest for retribution, acquiring the power of Geass (to shape and destroy) from an immortal and leading the rebellion.

Cowboy Bebop

Cowboy Bebop

This short and sweet anime classic is set in a future where the colonies of man have spread far and wide throughout the universe and revolves around a group of bounty hunters living aboard the spaceship Bebop, constantly striving to earn through the business. The series is widely revered for its character sketches and art.



Bleach is listed among the most-viewed anime series of all time. And for good reason. With a great concept complemented by a highly engaging plot and fantastic action sequences, this on-going anime is a complete treat for action series fans. Bleach revolves around Ichigo Kurosaki, a bold orange-haired teenager who becomes a Shinigami (Death God) to protect his loved ones.



Set in a world governed by Ninja, Naruto is the tale of a stubborn, clumsy boy from the hidden village of Konoha and how he, amidst much plight, grows to become a gutsy ninja, winning countless hearts along the way. Naruto and its on-going sequel series, Naruto: Shippuden have one of the largest fan-bases in the anime world.

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex


The Ghost in the Shell series is science fiction anime at its best. The concepts presented in the anime are brilliant and detailed. The same holds true for the art and animation. The plot is set in a future Japan and follows the Japanese spec ops team called Public Security Section 9, as they investigate the mysterious “Laughing Man” incident.

Neon Genesis Evangelion

Neon Genesis Evangelion

Neon Genesis Evangelion is not your run-of-the-mill mecha anime. The mecha art is unique, the character sketches are detailed and the plot is very deep. The story revolves around a teenager, Shinji Ikari, who pilots the giant biomechanical mech, EVA01 to protect his post-apocalyptic world from the alien threat called “Angels”.

Author Sameed Khan

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48 Comments on this Post

  • Fff says:

    U forgot one piece.

  • shaman says:

    what happened to one piece?

  • Jackthecheeselovinglad says:


  • Bobbarker says:

    I’ve seen some One Piece and all the anime mentioned in this list are much better.

  • Pokejen says:

    this is more like “10 top anime…that have been on cartoon network”

  • wow, yes only post the most mainstream one’s..
    i lived in japan for 2 years before and i can name over 20 anime cartoons that WEREN’T on adult swim or toonami, i don’t even consider dragon ball z a anime even so dragon ball was way better then dragon ball z.

  • Fail says:

    Hate to break it to you, but Naruto and Bleach don’t deserve to be anywhere near a list of this type

  • Anonymous says:

    It’s pretty silly to proclaim an ongoing series as one of the best ever.

  • Deevra says:

    Eh, nothing really new. I’m somewhat dissapointed. Popular does not equal best. While some series are very deserving, Bleach, Naruto and Dragon Ball Z are merely overlong and drawn out. I do give kudos for mentioning Ruroni Kenshin.

  • Rhon says:

    Top 10 “Most popular anime series” Not the best. Code Geass? Naruto? Bleach? But props for including Cowboy Bebop, NGE, GITS, Rurouni Kenshin and mentioning both FMAs.

  • Masteradept says:

    4 out of the 10 I can sign off on. Where is Samurai Champloo, or Berserk?

  • Chel says:

    Where is Sailormoon? That was around for A LONG time, and people are /still/ into it.

  • Sigfreud says:

    The fact that you’re missing One Piece on this list makes the list seem very slipshod. Or the fact that you’re missing any anime that isn’t an action one, because like it or not, some of Japan’s best animes fall under comedy or romance.

  • Cam says:

    Apparently “of all time” now means “from the recent past”?

  • theBlackSect says:

    Title should be renamed to “Sameed Khan’s Top 10 Favorite Japanese Anime Series” as I disagree with so many of the Top 10. Like Naruto and Bleach, I have just gotten bored of within 2 seasons as they have too much filler episodes, the characters just side-quest more than Link does in all of the Zelda games combined.

    Maybe I’m the guy who likes short series, but at least those get to the point instead of telling every second of every (main, side, whatever) character’s life. I don’t care or want to see if they use the bathroom, or flirt with other men/women. I would like to only see events that are very important to the main story, or the protagonist’s goal.

    I can see why the creators of Bleach and Naruto are just extending the shows, because they are milking the series for money, no matter how bad the show goes. I doubt that they personally care about the story, but if they do they are out of their mind or desperate to get funds to fill their pools’ with cash as the extra unnecessary rooms filled to the brim with gold bars isn’t enough.

  • Gyunyu says:

    one piece sucks…

  • Tax_e_vasion says:

    You should rename this “What I think are the most popular anime in the US when your are about 17 years old.”

  • Cleavykj2 says:

    u forgot Tekkaman

  • Sbrown2328 says:

    Yeesssss!!!! Thank you!!!! I was thinking to myself, “Am I the ONLY one that feels like they FORGOT Sailor Moon?!?! That was one of the ABSOLUTE BEST anime series ever!!!!!

  • shinjuru says:

    what about eden of the east or Xenosaga? i think they should be in any top ten

  • randomdudewithshades says:

    I’m with him one piece sucks, the concept and story are good(i.e. rare fruits that give you powers, main character striving to become the best pirate) but it’s characters and lines make it a goofy kid’s show

  • Ryan Hall says:

    See, the main criticism comes from the fact that you titled this article as “Top 10… of All Time”

    If you had said something like “Top 10… in My Opinion” It would have been more accurate, a bit smarter, and avoided most criticism.

    Personally, the fact that Gintama isn’t on there tells me that my taste doesn’t match yours.

  • Brandonkanala says:

    Code Geass was amazing. It is depressing that they are missing Black Cat which I would place much higher than Naruto or Bleach. I agree there.

  • Ayesha says:

    These aren’t the best animes of all time. Well some of them are but you can’t really say naruto or bleach are the best animes ever coz they haven’t finished yet but my absolute favourite anime ever is code geass.

  • Flyboy says:

    I liked the list myself. But this might sound a bit stupid to ppl, but i loved Prince of Tennis series.  For all of you thinking its gunan be a dorky show about tennis THINK AGAIN! Watch the entire series and you will love it
    P.S. RYOMA ECHIZEN FTW!!(Name of a character in P.O.T.)

  • Flyboy says:

    I liked the list myself. But this might sound a bit stupid to ppl, but i loved Prince of Tennis series.  For all of you thinking its gunan be a dorky show about tennis THINK AGAIN! Watch the entire series and you will love it
    P.S. RYOMA ECHIZEN FTW!!(Name of a character in P.O.T.)

  • Flyboy says:

    I liked the list myself. But this might sound a bit stupid to ppl, but i loved Prince of Tennis series.  For all of you thinking its gunan be a dorky show about tennis THINK AGAIN! Watch the entire series and you will love it
    P.S. RYOMA ECHIZEN FTW!!(Name of a character in P.O.T.)

  • pat says:

    You kidding me? No One Piece? It’s a fucking legend in Japan by this point, comparable to Dragon Ball Z. Obviously, this is from an American standpoint. -.-‘

  • Johnreacher says:

    nice ranking, i agree with the above listings

  • DeathNote4Ever says:

    I love how you included Death Note, Code Geass, and Cowboy Bebop. They are some of my favorite anime of all time. You did a fairly good job all around, though there are a few I would exchange 😀

  • Flinthawk333 says:

    Wow…this ranking actually makes sense. PROPS

  • John Davis says:

     I can agree with you, with Death Note, Code Geass, Ghost in the Shell, Ruoronu Kenshin, Evangelion, Cowboy Bebop and Full Metal Alchemist, however the rest I disagree with an acception of Dragon Ball Z knowing how popular it is even though i hate it.
     You could put down something like Clannad, Elfen Lied, Boogiepop Phantom, Hell Girl or Ef – A tale of memories.

  • DTB says:

    at the beginning you’re absolutely correct, but not as the show progresses.


  • luis says:

    hate to break it to you but naruto and bleach became so famous cause of their anime, which are amazing until the fillers start to kick in anyway. so quit ur hating. I loved bleach serete arc and naruto is story is very enjoyable

  • Stungbybee1 says:

    there is a reason one piece has over 500 episodes and you cant just be down on one piece because if you only watch the first few episodes you are no where near the serious story line. and try to watch a recent episode you will be lost as hell but you will see how great and mature the story can be. and where the hell is fairytale on this list. and  Rurouni Kenshin way overrated in my opinion. and many others that stuck to the one piece story to the later episodes will agree with me when i say one piece is definitely a candidate for the top 5 at least when it comes to the best anime of all so give it 1 more chance stick it through and im sure you will be changing your tune : ]

  • Thisgirl says:

    Where’s inuyasha?!!! That was one of the greatest anime series of all time!! Just saying

  • Amanda says:

    FINALLY I was waiting for somebody to say this!
    InuYasha is my favourite anime of all time!

  • flamedestroyer1410 says:

    come on all minds do not think the same if you like it you like it if you hate it you hate it

  • ScRaPpzZ says:

    you must be smoking crack because One Piece is not here…

  • Nimassain11 says:

    This a good list, but no list is complete without ONE PIECE! It is one of the best anime series out there and in my opinion has more action, drama, thriller, etc. than naruto and even dbz. For all you haters out there who despise this great anime can suck it! One piece deserves respect!

  • anime4ever says:

    bleach and naruto are definately among the best although bleach should have ended after the arrancar arc. and as for naruto im really only referring to shippuden because in truth the original naruto is somewhat boring after sasuke leaves. as for Dragon ball z that show was amazing regardless of every hater ive seen post. I can talk with damn near anyone about the show because the have seen the series themselves so no matter what anyone else says it is one of the most popular. I also believe Death note and Rurouni kenshin deserve their titles here as well. as for the others i can’t judge because i haven’t seen them.

  • anime4ever says:

    One other thing where is yuyu hakusho? i loved that show

  • evanescence says:

    death note is absolutely the best anime seri
    es ever came to existance.

  • sup says:

    i cant argue with this list at all, good on ya, and THANK YOU for not putting one piece on there, hate that show

  • Kyle Oropesa says:

    remove bleach and neon genesis evangelion, they’re not worthy to this list

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