Every anime is great… except a few that are not, but most of them are great because each anime aims to do something different.
So, let’s dive deep into why all these anime are here.
This list will throw curveballs if you haven’t watched a lot of this anime and might be a little puzzling, but even if they aren’t the best in your opinion, they are worth at least one watch if not more.
So, let’s get right to it!
- 18. Mushishi
- 17. Made in Abyss
- 16. Psycho-Pass
- 15. Natsume Yuujinchou (Natsume’s Book of Friends)
- 14. Mob Psycho 100
- 13. Jujutsu Kaisen
- 12. Haikyuu!!
- 11. Cowboy Bebop
- 10. 3-Gatsu no Lion (March Comes in Like A Lion)
- 9. Code Geass
- 8. Attack on Titan
- 7. Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu ( Legend of the Galactic Heroes)
- 6. Gintama
- 5. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
- 4. One Piece
- 3. Fruits Basket
- 2. Hunter x Hunter
- 1. Steins; Gate
Even though there are a lot of anime out there, it is hard to find a series that is quite like Mushishi.
Mushishi is mostly a collection of short stories that are written in the style of East Asian myths and folktales.
But instead of gods, demons, and spirits, we talk about “Mushi,” which are the most basic forms of life on Earth.
They have no goals or purposes, and the words “good” and “evil” can’t hold them down. Ginko’s job as a “Mushishi” is to deal with these kinds of life.
He goes from town to town looking for interesting cases and helping people who have been hurt by mushi.
Mushishi is made up of separate stories that don’t have to fit together. The stories are all about different things, but they are all well-written and have Ginko at their center.
Even though each story is short, they are all original, powerful, and very interesting.
Every story in the series gives the writers a chance to try out new ideas and ways of relating to people.
Also, besides Ginko, the supporting characters who don’t get a lot of screen time don’t fall into the typical stereotypes that plague most anime.
17. Made in Abyss
Made in Abyss is a great anime that will be remembered as one of the best classics of the last few years.
As the name suggests, the series is about The Abyss, a huge hole that goes all the way down into the earth.
Divers, who are brave adventurers, love to go there because it is full of strange creatures and old things. But there are still a lot of questions about the Abyss. Nobody knows how it got there or what’s at the bottom.
Riko comes along. She is the daughter of a legendary White Whistle member who has gone missing, and she wants to explore the deepest parts of the Abyss.
Even though she is just starting as a Red Whistle, a chance to meet with a strange robot gives her the courage to go beyond the top layer and deep into the chasm. But that one step sends her into a harsh world full of monsters and even scarier truths.
Even though the art style is cutesy, Made in Abyss isn’t cute at first. Made in Abyss doesn’t have any of the signs of immaturity that other anime do, like gore that isn’t necessary, cruel villains, or themes that are only there for the sake of the story.
Instead, it is a story about adventure and staying alive, which are two of the most basic things that drive people. Violence and disturbing content are always there, but they never feel like they aren’t needed and only add to the audience’s experience.
The series takes place in Japan in the 22nd century, where a high-tech system called Sibyl is used to figure out who might be a threat to the country.
It does this by checking each citizen’s mind for signs of criminal intent and giving inspectors the power to control anyone who is a threat.
When Akane Tsunemori, a young and honest woman, goes to work with Shinya Kougami, an experienced Enforcer, the Sibyl System’s decisions are finally called into question.
In two seasons, Psycho-Pass does things that have never been done before, or at least not in such a unique way.
Akane’s struggle to figure out what justice is and her doubts about how it can be done through a system that may already be corrupt are very similar to real life.
Not only does Psycho-Pass have a great story, but it also has great animation and music. The anime is set in the future and has a dark tone, so the music is varied and tries out different kinds of sounds.
Some of the pieces on the OST stand out, like a beautiful and sad piano piece that is played when things are quiet.
Psycho-Pass is the right anime for you if you often wonder, “Who decides what is morally right?”
15. Natsume Yuujinchou (Natsume’s Book of Friends)
Natsume Yuujinchou is an expert at very subtly giving you “the feels”. It has an episodic nature despite having an overarching series that progresses slowly.
The story, the moral dilemma, and how Natsume experiences it are all focal points of the series.
This is one series that is somehow able to deliver all the viewpoints of every single character without villainizing any of them.
A single episode of this series takes you on an adventure from wholesome to tragic to coming to peace with it.
Natsume’s friendships, which are central to the series, are captivating and always a delight to watch over and over and over again.
14. Mob Psycho 100
Mob Psycho 100 is a very heavily underrated show. It has everything needed to make a great series including great fights, friendships, and the seemingly limitless kindness of our protagonist Mob or Kageyama Shigeo.
Mobu is a great protagonist with an aversion to fighting. He is super forgiving and doesn’t hold any grudges against people even those who have wronged him.
The way the story progresses and the characters along with it just goes on to show what great writing this show has.
13. Jujutsu Kaisen
Jujutsu Kaisen came and took the anime world by storm.
Jujutsu Kaisen is a gripping combination of varied and contrasting characters fighting each other to death.
This show doesn’t shy away from any darkness in the world and instead gives it a form via the antagonists.
It has great action, thought-provoking questions laid out, fun abilities, great bonds between characters who aren’t always friendly, eccentric comedy, and a great premise and set-up.
The sound and animation are just a bonus for this series!
All the characters have their presence complementing the protagonists, and the matches have so much build-up and suspense and culminate in a great ending.
The story takes the ordinary aspects of volleyball and takes them to new heights. The character development, their progressions, animation, sound, and
11. Cowboy Bebop
With the classic space bounty hunter trope set in the far future, great jazz and blues music and bittersweet action adventures with eccentric characters make this show very entertaining!
The comedy is also so well written and timed with the emotional moments that it will have you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions from laughing your heart out one moment to ripping it out the other.
All of this in combination with a beautiful art style and a cool and suave protagonist? Cowboy Bebop is definitely worth watching!
10. 3-Gatsu no Lion (March Comes in Like A Lion)
3-Gatsu no Lion is a must-watch for a couple of different reasons.
A beautifully flawed protagonist that most people will be able to relate to, wholesome moments and friendships, realities of life while still romanticizing the little things, emotions, and characters that tug at your heartstrings, creative visualizations that are just leveled up by the animation, simple yet captivating story, ambient sound that will bless your ears.
3-Gatsu no Lion has a beauty that can’t be expressed or understood. It has to be experienced.
9. Code Geass
Take a genius prodigy. Give him a purpose, some allies, a tragic backstory, an overpowered ability, and motivation.
Lelouch is your character and Code Geass is your story. It is one of the greatest anime out there with the way Lelouch manages things, starts a rebellion, and takes down the government.
All to avenge his mother’s death. Code Geass takes all the real aspects of life, puts them in a situation without constraints to exaggerate the questions, and then really takes an objective turn by giving the protagonists what they deserve in the face.
It is a series that asks a lot of questions and begs a lot of thought and attention from the audience.
8. Attack on Titan
It not only has great characters but a story-telling that livens them up even more. In addition to all the intellectual and simple value that this show has, it also has great animation!
Staying true to the source material elevates the show to a much higher level!
7. Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu ( Legend of the Galactic Heroes)
This series is a golden one if you are willing to stick around with it.
It is a very her-centric series. It doesn’t demand too much brainpower from you.
Just pure heroic legends like the ones that are told to kids when they’re growing up.
You will only be able to understand this once you have watched enough anime and have a general grasp of the culture.
But once you do understand, Gintama is one the greatest comedies and action-packed series there is!
5. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
The story of two brothers with a purpose. There’s nothing more endearing in the story than our protagonist duo and their adventures.
While having a very basic structure to alchemy, it takes it into all possible dimensions and expands on the story and relationships.
This is not something a lot of stories can do.
4. One Piece
One Piece is an experience of its own, and it will reward you with some high-quality content if you are willing to cut some slack for this 1000+ episode series.
3. Fruits Basket
This show should come with a warning label!
Fruits Basket has somehow managed to have great love stories, lovely wholesome moments, and relationships between characters and still make the viewer cry.
Great character development and progression with a simple and strong premise.
Keep a box of tissues ready by your side when you start.
2. Hunter x Hunter
If you’re okay with a lot of death, bloodshed, and attractive mass murderers, then Hunter X Hunter is the series for you.
Under a seemingly simple plot, Hunter X Hunter manages to touch and explore a lot of morally grey areas and manages to throw curveballs at you in the most unexpected ways.
1. Steins; Gate
Time travel is quite a used-up concept now, wouldn’t you think?
Steins; Gate manages to make a complex and wide storyline out of this simple trope!
Although it has fairly straightforward components to follow like a mad scientist and an evil organization, the wild characters make the best out of it!
One moment it is creepy, the other it is funny, another it is intense and another it is vivid!
Steins; Gate is truly an underrated anime masterpiece.