We think there’s an anime for everyone at Paste. When making lists like this, it’s easy to forget about different kinds of people, like women and LGBT people. Hobbyists and fans have had their own unique communities for a long time.
These are active groups that don’t often meet, except maybe at anime conventions, where more than half of the attendees are women. So why do these kinds of lists not include anime made by women for women? And why can’t men like these shows as well?
Working on this list gave me a chance to think about what I like and how I like things to look. I’ve always liked shoujo for its flowery style and high level of melodrama, but when I thought of anime that should be on a list of the best of all time, I could only think of shows with male protagonists.
A lot of prestige anime is about a man and his problems, which can turn off some viewers and create an echo chamber of incomprehensible, unarguable taste for fans to talk about. These anime are great, and you’ll find many of the usual choices on this list.
However, when I put this together, I tried to think about the best of each genre. There are shows for both young and old people, and everyone, no matter their age, gender, or sexuality, can find at least one show they like. Almost everyone can be seen in some way in these anime, whether it’s in a slice-of-life show or an action show with a lot of noise.
10. Michiko and Hatchin
Michiko & Hatchin (, Michiko to Hatchin in Japanese) is a Japanese anime television show. The series was made by Manglobe, and Sayo Yamamoto directed it. It was her first job as a director. The two main roles are played by Yko Maki (The Grudge) and Suzuka Ohgo, who are both well-known Japanese actresses (Memoirs of a Geisha).
Hiroshi Shimizu made the designs for the characters. Shigeto Koyama made Michiko’s bike, and Mariko Yamagami and Shogo Yamazaki made the clothes for the characters. The story takes place in the made-up country of Diamanda, which has cultural influences from Brazil and other South American countries.
In the first episode, Michiko is introduced as a free-spirited “sexy diva” who escapes from a prison fortress that was supposed to be impossible to escape. Hatchin, on the other hand, is a girl who runs away from her abusive foster family. The two work together to make a crazy plan to get away.
The Brazilian musician Alexandre Kassin wrote the music, and Shinichiro Watanabe was in charge of making it. The English dub pilot of the anime was made by Vitello Productions and GONG. It was called “Finding Paradiso,” which was also the name of the French dub. After that, Funimation in North America bought the rights to the anime and made its own English dub.
The series was shown on Funimation Channel in North America in November 2013, and from June to December 2015, it was shown on Adult Swim’s Toonami block. After Sony bought Crunchyroll, the show was moved to that website.
9. Hunter X Hunter
Hunter Hunter is a manga series written and drawn by Yoshihiro Togashi. It is pronounced, “hunter.” Since March 1998, it has been published in Shueisha’s shonen manga magazine Weekly Shonen Jump, though the manga has taken many long breaks since 2006. As of October 2018, the chapters of this book have been put together in 36 tankbon volumes.
The main character of the story is a young boy named Gon Freecss. He finds out that his father, who left him when he was young, is a world-famous Hunter, a licensed professional who specializes in finding rare or unidentified animal species, treasure hunting, surveying unexplored enclaves, and hunting down lawbreakers.
Gon goes on a journey to find his father and become a Hunter. Gon meets a lot of other Hunters and strange things along the way.
8. Mob Psycho 100
The Japanese manga series Mob Psycho 100 (100, Hepburn: Mobu Saiko Hyaku) is written and drawn by ONE. From April 2012 to December 2017, it was posted in installments on Shogakukan’s Ura Sunday website. Since December 2014, you can also read it on Shogakukan’s mobile app MangaONE. The chapters were put together by Shogakukan into sixteen tankbon volumes.
Bones has made a version of the book that is an anime TV show. The first season was shown from July to September 2016, and the second from January to April 2019. In October 2022, a third season will start. From January to April 2018, a live-action version of the show was shown on TV. In 2018, the Shogakukan MangaONE app ran a spin-off manga series called Reigen.
In 2018, Dark Horse Comics bought the English rights to the manga in North America. In the meantime, the anime series was licensed to Crunchyroll for streaming. In December 2016, Bang Zoom! Entertainment made an English dub, which aired on Adult Swim’s Toonami block in October 2018.
As of July 2016, more than 1.2 million copies of Mob Psycho 100 had been sold. In 2017, the manga won the shnen category of the 62nd Shogakukan Manga Award.
7. Dragon Ball Z
Dragon Ball Z (Japanese: Z, Hepburn: Doragon Bru Zetto, often shortened to DBZ) is an anime TV show made in Japan by Toei Animation. It is the sequel to the Dragon Ball anime series from 1986 and is based on the last 325 chapters of Akira Toriyama’s original Dragon Ball manga series, which ran in Weekly Shonen Jump from 1988 to 1995.
From April 1989 to January 1996, the show ran on Fuji TV in Japan. After that, it was dubbed and shown in at least 81 countries around the world. Dragon Ball Z continues Son Goku’s adventures as an adult. He and his friends protect the Earth from aliens (like Vegeta and Frieza), robots (like Cell), and magical creatures (Majin Buu).
At the same time, the story shows how his son, Gohan, and his rivals, Piccolo and Vegeta, grew up at the same time. Due to the popularity of the anime in the US, the manga chapters that told the story were first published by Viz Media under the title Dragon Ball Z.
The popularity of the anime has also led to a lot of media and merchandise, which now make up most of the content in the Dragon Ball franchise. Dragon Ball Z has been remade and re-released many times, including a remastered version of the show called Dragon Ball Z Kai. Since then, there have been two sequels to Dragon Ball Z: Dragon Ball GT (1996–1997) and Dragon Ball Super (2015–2018).
6. Aku No Hana
You probably won’t like Aku No Hana. At least not the first time you see it. The show is proudly weird, and it always makes references to Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal (from which it gets its name) and Rimbaud, who lived at the same time. Among his Romantic peers, Baudelaire had the most problems.
He was an alcoholic, got deeper and deeper into debt, and went crazy because of syphilis. In modern Japan, a young middle schooler named Kasuga found him to be interesting. A fellow outcast named Nakamura sees Kasuga giving in to his sleazy desires and knows he is an outsider.
He blackmails Kasuga into a strange friendship. The story doesn’t use this for comedy, though. In fact, Aku No Hana is a sickeningly disgusting bildungsroman about teens who can’t fit in and how our personal desires and social currency aren’t always the same thing.
Aku No Hana is animated in a way that some people don’t like, called rotoscope. It uses dull images to show how sad the characters are, and its flashes of uninhibited beauty and restrained repugnance are sickening. Aku No Hana will make you feel uneasy, but it will also make you feel like you’ve been seen. Its secret is in what we try to hide about ourselves, in the dark side of our minds that creeps up on us.
5. Tatami Galaxy
The Tatami Galaxy (, Yojhan Shinwa Taikei, lit. “412 Tatami Mythological Chronicles”) is a 2004 Japanese collegiate novel written by Tomihiko Morimi and published by Ohta Publishing. It is told from the first-person point of view by an unnamed upperclassman at Kyoto University who looks back on his misadventures from his college years.
Each of the four chapters takes place in a parallel universe where he is a member of a different student society. The book was turned into an 11-episode anime TV series made by Madhouse and directed by Masaaki Yuasa. It aired from April to July 2010 on Fuji TV’s late-night Noitamina block.
Tatami Time Machine Blues, which came out in July 2020, is a sequel to the book. It combines the characters from The Tatami Galaxy with the plot of Makoto Ueda’s play and the movie Summer Time Machine Blues. Tatami Time Machine Blues will be turned into an original web animation by Science Saru. It will be shown for the first time on Disney+ in 2022.
HarperCollins plans to put out English versions of both books in the fall of 2022 and the summer of 2023, respectively. The Tatami Galaxy anime series won the Grand Prize at the 2010 Japan Media Arts Festival in the Animation Division and the Television Category at the 2011 Tokyo Anime Award.
4. Revolutionary Girl Utena
Revolutionary Girl Utena (, Shjo Kakumei Utena, lit. Girls’ Revolution Utena) is a series made by the artist group Be-Papas, which was started by Kunihiko Ikuhara. The main parts of the series are a manga written by Chiho Saito in 1996, an anime TV series directed by Ikuhara in 1997, and a feature film called Adolescence of Utena that came out in 1999.
The series is about Utena Tenjou, a teenage girl who grew up wanting to be a prince. She dresses and acts like a tomboy to show that she still wants to be a prince. She is drawn into a series of sword fights to win the hand of Anthy Himemiya, a mysterious girl known as the “Rose Bride” who has the “power to change the world.”
Revolutionary Girl Utena has been praised by many critics. There have been many spin-offs and adaptations of the series, such as a series of light novels, a video game, and several stage musicals.
3. Neon Genesis Evangelion
Neon Genesis Evangelion (Japanese: Hepburn: Shinseiki Evangelion, lit. “New Century Gospel”) is a Japanese mecha anime TV series produced by Gainax and animated by Tatsunoko. It was directed by Hideaki Anno and aired on TV Tokyo from October 1995 to March 1996.
The story of Evangelion takes place 15 years after a global disaster, mostly in the futuristic, fortified city of Tokyo-3. Shinji Ikari, a teenage boy, is the main character. His father, Gendo, got him a job with a mysterious group called Nerv to pilot a giant bio-machine mecha called “Evangelion” into battle against beings called “Angels.”
2. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood ( FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST, Hepburn: Hagane no Renkinjutsushi) is a Japanese anime TV show based on the Fullmetal Alchemist manga series by Hiromu Arakawa. The series is made by Bones, is directed by Yasuhiro Irie, written by Hiroshi nogi, and has music by Akira Senju.
The idea for the series came from wanting to make a faithful adaptation that follows the entire storyline of the original manga. This is because the 2003 anime series Fullmetal Alchemist broke away from the manga to tell its own story.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood has been in the works since 2008. From April 2009 to July 2010, MBS and TBS showed sixty-four episodes of the show. Funimation was the first company to licence the show in North America.
From February 2010 to September 2011, Adult Swim showed it with an English dub. Funimation lost the rights to the series in 2016, and Aniplex of America took over.
1. Cowboy Bebop
Cowboy Bebop (Japanese: Hepburn: Kaubi Bibappu) is a Japanese neo-noir science fiction anime television series made by Sunrise. It was created by director Shinichiro Watanabe, screenwriter Keiko Nobumoto, character designer Toshihiro Kawamoto, mechanical designer Kimitoshi Yamane, and composer Yoko Kanno, who are all credited as Hajime Yatate.
The series had twenty-six episodes, which were shown in six “sessions” of four to five episodes each. It was set in the year 2071 and told the story of a crew of bounty hunters who travelled on a spaceship called the Bebop. Even though it has a lot of different kinds of stories, the series is mostly based on science fiction, western, and noir movies.
Its main ideas are existential boredom, being alone, and not being able to leave the past behind.
The series was dubbed into English by Animaze and ZRO Limit Productions. It was originally licenced by Bandai Entertainment in North America (which is now Crunchyroll) and by Beez Entertainment in Britain (which is now Anime Limited).
In Australia and New Zealand, the licence is owned by Madman Entertainment. In 2001, it was the first anime show that Adult Swim showed.
The animation world is always changing, and we want to change along with it. Our list is made up of titles that are both easy to understand and hard to understand. It’s a great starting point for people who are new to anime and want to jump right into shows that are important, strange, or relaxing.