Top 10 Japanese Anime Series

Updated on August 1, 2017
Michael Kismet profile image

Michael has a passion for animation and has extensive knowledge and experience with Japanese anime.

Why Do People Like Anime So Much?

There's no age limit on who can appreciate the creativity and imagination of a good anime series. They feature some of the most intricate stories and best action sequences. They have gotten an emotional response from me at times. Some are truly masterpieces in design and storytelling.

There are hardcore anime fans out there that might not completely agree with my selections. I invite you to voice your suggestions and opinions so that I may improve this article. Here are my top 10 Japanese anime series!

Top 10 Anime Series

  1. Dragon Ball Z
  2. Death Note
  3. Rurouni Kenshin
  4. Cowboy Bebop
  5. Bleach
  6. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
  7. Naruto
  8. Neon Genesis Evangelion
  9. Trigun
  10. One Piece

#1 'Dragon Ball Z'

Quite possibly the greatest anime series of all time, Dragon Ball Z debuted in 1984. It was adapted from the manga created by Akira Toriyama. The main protagonist, Goku, is popular around the globe and is an icon in the realm of Japanese anime.

If you're younger anime fan and/or have never actually watched this show, you need to put it on your viewing list. It features amazing action-packed fight sequences that will dazzle your eyes and keep you on the edge of your seat. I've met hundreds of people that became anime fans after watching this series.

The characters are fully developed and created with care and depth. While it does have some adult humor and minimal nudity, Dragon Ball Z is relatively family-friendly.

#2 'Death Note'

Death Note is a truly thrilling and wildly suspenseful anime. Its narrative questions ideas like justice and morality. It challenges the notions of what makes someone good and evil. The story unfolds with amazing plot twists that will keep you constantly guessing.

The story revolves around Yagami LIght, who discovers a powerful notebook that allows its owner to kill whoever has their name written in it. He proceeds to use the book as he sees fit, bringing about justice by killing criminals. However, as the police get involved, a deadly game of cat and mouse begins.

This is a very unpredictable thriller that should be watched with your undivided attention. Death Note is an experience that should not be missed. It is an intricate tale that is woven with precision and thought. I have spent hours just watching the same episode over and over again.

Kenshin samurai x anime
Kenshin samurai x anime | Source

#3 'Rurouni Kenshin'

This is one of the most popular anime ever created. I still watch it from time to time, it is that good.

The story is about Himura Kenshin, a reformed assassin that travels through the Meiji era of Japan. He attempts to help people in need to amend for his past deeds.

There is a dark and somber tone to this anime. It works since the world presented here is not sugar-coated. The themes of atonement and redemption make this series very thought-provoking.

I knew this would be one of my all-time favorites after watching for just 10 minutes. While the content is not quite objectionable, the show may be catered to the older teen audience. There are many dimensions to Rurouni Kenshin and younger children may not be able to appreciate it all.

#4 'Cowboy Bebop'

Many regard Cowboy Bebop as one of the best anime ever created, myself included. The story takes place in deep space in the year 2071. It follows the two main protagonists, Spike and Jet, as they freelance as experienced and skilled bounty hunters.

Cowboy Bebop is a stellar sci-fi action anime that is loaded with humorous dialogue and situations. If there was one word to define this series, it would be cool. The music deserves a mention as it has one of the best soundtracks in any series. This is a must-own anime that is full of stylish action and genuine laughs.

#5 'Bleach'

Bleach is about a 15-year-old boy named Ichigo Kurosaki who is empowered with the abilities of a soul reaper.

Rukia, a soul reaper herself, transfers her powers to Ichigo to battle a creature known as a Hollow. His life is changed forever as he goes on to protect Rukia from the Soul Society. He must control and wield his new powers to save humanity from evil spirits and guide them to the afterlife.

Bleach has quickly become one of the most popular anime around and is commonly compared to the Naruto series. It is a great action series that is worth your time. I am a huge fan of the art and storytelling that this series features. I'm sure you'll enjoy it too!

Edward Elric
Edward Elric | Source

#6 'Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood'

This story follows two brothers, Edward Elric and his younger brother Alphonse Elric, as they go on a quest to make themselves whole after an alchemy experiment yielded disastrous results.

Full Metal Alchemist is more or less my definition of what a great anime should be. It's loaded with creative action sequences and is comical at times. It's very original and has a compelling story. We can all relate to searching for something meaningful that we have lost. The voice acting is particularly strong. It helps drive the more emotional scenes.

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#7 'Naruto'

Naruto is one of the most entertaining anime out there. It takes place in a world ruled by ninjas. Naruto, our main protagonist, is a wide-eyed and over-zealous boy striving to become the greatest shinobi of all time.

The action is very entertaining. We usually see ninjas with different backgrounds and skill sets fight one another. A wealth of different and colorful characters keep this anime engrossing with its depth and seemingly endless diversity. The series is relatively family-friendly and is suitable for younger audiences. There are serious dramatic scenes and there are moments where you'll find yourself laughing out loud.

Naruto was one of my favorite shows as a kid. I still remember swiftly rushing home from school to watch it on TV. If there is one fatal flaw, it's the ton of filler. But that is not enough to prevent it from being one of my favorite anime series of all time!

#8 'Neon Genesis Evangelion'

There have been quite a few mech anime, but not much like Neon Genesis Evangelion. The grim story revolves around Shinji Ikari. He's a timid teenage boy that pilots a huge biomechanical mecha. He is tasked with defending the planet from the extraterrestrial forces known as Angels.

If you're a fan of mech action, this is the perfect title for any sci-fi fanatic. It's an oldie, but a goodie!

Vash The Stampede from 'Trigun.'
Vash The Stampede from 'Trigun.'

#9 'Trigun'

This anime is about a wanted man with a huge reward on his head. Vash The Stampede blazes a destructive trail across a wasteland. However, an interesting fact is that there is no valid proof that he has ever killed anyone. He isn't your average outlaw, aside from his ability to flawlessly defend himself. He is more of a goofy pacifist than a vicious warrior.

Trigun has many comedic elements, but the series gradually gets darker as the story progresses. A fantastic mix of sci-fi and wild west, Trigun is a notable and unique anime title that delivers truly artistic battle scenes.

#10 'One Piece'

I took me a bit to get into One Piece, but I eventually saw it as a unique and different kind of anime. The story follows Monkey D. Luffy and his grand quest to find the One Piece treasure.

It's interesting to see how he recruits his new crew to join his voyage. With the aid of his comrades, he faces off against the most famous and feared pirates of all time. I believe that if you give it a chance, it will quickly grow on you.

It does have some flaws that are hard to ignore, such as the slow pace that most fans find painful. It also has a great deal of filler. But it is still a great series that has a very loyal fan base.

What Is Your Favorite Anime Series?

Thank you for making it through my top 10 Japanese anime series list. If there's a better title that you think should be included, please do not hesitate to voice your opinion!

© 2014 Michael Kismet


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    • profile image


      20 months ago

      how about Futue Diary

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      I think prison school should be among

    • profile image

      Pushpal Mukherjee 

      2 years ago

      Pokemon should be included in this list

    • profile image

      Monkey d luffy 

      2 years ago

      One piece is the best anime

    • Michael Kismet profile imageAUTHOR

      Michael Kismet 

      2 years ago from Northern California

      In the dvd rack of adolescent girls? No, I’m just being humorous of course!

      Thank you for your input, but on a popularity scale, it just doesn’t get any traction.

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      Um...where's Sailor Moon?

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      i believe sao, blue exorcist, tokyo ghoul, and others are watched more

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      Prolly FMAB

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      Death note best ever

    • JusticeAditya profile image


      3 years ago from NOIDA


    • profile image


      3 years ago

      code geass

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Naruto is d best

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      i think SAO great.... and i'm 16...

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      SAO is garbage only 12 year olds think it is good lel

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      I totally agree with Anonymous. SAO, blue exorcist and FT (especially FT)

      should be on that list.

      But FMAB is absolutely amazing!

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      There are lots of amazing animes but I think it's missing Sao, blue exorcist, and my fav anime of all time - Fairy Tail

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      naruto is the best anime ever i will be happy i u know any anime to be the same as naruto am look for that kind of anime


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