Anime Popularity Overseas and in Japan: What Makes an Anime Popular?

There are hundreds, if not thousands of anime series out there. With so many titles, it’s really easy for some to be overshadowed in different areas. Let’s take a look at popularity differences in Japan and overseas!

doraemon

Anime is a very successful source of entertainment. It has tons of fans in both Japan and overseas. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that quite a few anime fans live on the other side of the ocean. We may think we’ve seen it all, but there are plenty of anime series that are virtually unheard of overseas, and at the same time, are almost all anyone is talking about in Japan! I know, I know, it’s a big shocker isn’t it? Let’s take a look at some of the series that are almost non-existent overseas, and why that might be.


Popular in Japan


Sazae-San

Sazae san

Ever heard of Sazae-San? Maybe? No? Sazae-San, what the heck are you talking about? Well, Sazae-San is a show exploring the daily life of Sazae, a young woman living with her husband, children, siblings, and parents. It has been airing since 1969. You could classify it as a member of the ‘slice of life’ genre. But wait! There are tons of slice of life anime out there that are amazingly popular overseas, like Clannad. What makes this Sazae-San show so different? Well, Sazae-San is one of those shows that explores ‘daily misadventures’ like getting lost at the mall, shopping, your car breaking down, whatever. It doesn’t have as deep a plot, or characters development and back story as Clannad. People in Japan love this series, because it is a perfect, family friendly, show. It does not contain violence, swearing, or sexual content. However, this doesn’t seem to attract audiences who live in other countries. Why? Because all countries across the ocean already have their own examples of family friendly, slice of life shows. Unfortunately, this makes Sazae-San seem boring to most overseas viewers. At the same time, it is a nostalgia classic for viewers in Japan.


Doraemon

doraemon

Doraemon is another show that ran into the same fate as Sazae-San. Including comedy, adventure, and time travel, Doraemon is another show aimed at children and families. It didn’t have a fighting chance overseas. It was weighted down compared to all the similar shows that children and families overseas already had access to. Just take a look at SpongeBob SquarePants. However, fate also had a role in the unpopularity of Doraemon. The show has not been preserved well, and after an accidental fire, very little footage of the original series still remains. Now, even in Japan, it is almost impossible for viewers to access full episodes with uninterrupted audio and visuals. Although, newer more recent versions have been made, they have still not been deemed popular overseas for previous reasons.


Detective Conan and Urusei Yatsura

detective conan

Case Closed (Detective Conan) and Urusei Yatsura are two anime series that are a bit of a step up in popularity from Sazae-San and Doraemon. In fact, I am positive that some of you have watched, or at least heard of, these titles. Unlike the last two shows, these anime series contain deeper themes, more ‘intense’ moments, consistent plots, developing characters and even some sexual content. Yet, these shows are not all that popular overseas. Why? Well, part of it is the era when they first premiered. Both shows were stuck in the shadow of other series. Urusei Yatsura came out in the 80’s, a time when everyone was distracted by Dragonball, and Dragonball Z (especially in the West.) Not to mention, everyone was super excited about the rising director, Hayao Miyazaki. Detective Conan came out around the same time as Neon Genesis Evangelion. It just didn’t stand a chance. Not to mention, by this point, the anime industry had not yet become steadfast in other locations other than Japan. The people who were watching anime were too busy with shows like Evangelion. If Detective Conan and Urusei Yatsura had come out in different times, and gotten a little more exposure, there is a small chance that they would’ve had a larger fan base overseas.

urusei yatsura


Popular Overseas


cowboy bebop

With all that being said, there are some scenarios where certain anime are more popular overseas than in Japan. You should all know about Cowboy Bebop. Cowboy Bebop is one of the most popular and influential anime series ever. Some people even consider it to be a crime to have not seen it! It is one of those shows that is worth watching, even for non anime fans. You’d think it would be just as popular, if not even more popular, in Japan. Well, think again. Don’t get me wrong, it definitely has lots of hype in Japan. People do love it. It is an extremely successful series, throughout the entire world. It sold immensely in Japan, but now people just kind of have this ‘been there, done that’ sort of attitude towards it. Although it is still a huge inspiration behind most anime series to this date, people in Japan are just ‘moving on’ from it.

one piece

The long running shounen series, One Piece, is the exact opposite. Let’s be honest, all members of the anime community have at least heard the name One Piece. People love it, and it is considered one of the best, if not the best, long running series out there. People overseas love it, but the hype is nothing compared to praise it is given in Japan. In America casual greetings include sayings like: “Hi, how are you today? The weather sure is nice, wouldn’t you agree?”. In Japan, this also applies, but it’s also like: “Hey, have you seen the new episode of One Piece, or read the latest manga chapter? What episode of One Piece are you on?” Okay, okay, that was an exaggeration. But honestly, Japan loves One Piece much, much more then places overseas in comparison. So if you’re a One Piece fan, I highly recommend you spend some time in Japan.


Competition


shingeki no kyojin

Businesses are always competing with each other, and the anime industry is no different. Different series are always competing with each other for the attention of the target audience. Countries overseas (especially the West,) already have their classics, like ‘The Simpsons’ or ‘Modern Family’ so when it comes to target audiences, the anime industry is trying to sell shows like Clannad, Elfen Lied, Your Lie in April and Attack on Titan. Or, the shows that people overseas don’t already have. Those are the anime series most people across the ocean want to watch. That means shows like Sazae-San aren’t able to hold their own overseas They become beloved in Japan, but unheard of anywhere else. Anime has been able to weave itself into pop culture, as with Cowboy Bebop, or Attack on Titan. Countries overseas doesn’t need shows like Sazae-San when they already have shows like ‘The Partridge Family.’


Exposure


Naruto

Anime is still growing overseas and not many people have had a very rich exposure to it. The ‘hard core’ fans watch shows like Evangelion. But, some people who live somewhere other then Japan are not as lucky to be exposed to the same kind of series. Everyone overseas (especially in North America) knows what Pokémon is, and from there, they are introduced to different mainstream shows like, Dragonball Z, One Piece, Naruto, Fairy Tail, or even just Death Note. Therefore, they aren’t able to have a deep and rich experience as an anime fan. This is not a bad thing. These shows are great. It is just a shame because other shows, like Detective Conan, are not receiving all of the credit and recognition they deserve. This is another reason why some anime series are so unnoticed overseas.

Dragonball


There are so many incredible anime series out there, making it impossible to watch them all. This means that different respective shows are going to be more popular than others. This is simply a fact. However, that doesn’t stop us from getting introduced to more and more anime series! Do research, listen to others opinions, make recommendations. Help the anime community grow. It will only further your knowledge and experience as an anime fan. Who knows, maybe you’ll discover an amazing, unheard of series, show it to your friends, and have bragging rights for being the first to find it… one of the best feelings in the world!

Sazae san rock paper scissors

FUNimation in 2015 and How They Can Improve in 2016

FUNimation stood out in 2015 thanks to their anime streams and theater releases, and unfortunate and questionable business decisions. Let’s find out how they can improve by documenting what’s happened this year, and what they can do in 2016.

FUNimationThe word that might describe the 2015 edition of the Texas based FUNimation is “in-between”.

On one hand, FUNimation revamped their site and streamed more titles this year than ever before. On the other, they still get complaints that their streaming player is hard to use and never works. FUNimation released Dragonball Z: Fukkatsu no F which broke records despite its limited theater release. They also released the Attack on Titan Live Action movies, which stand out negatively both review-wise and for its infamous “I’ve been waiting for this day” moniker. Initiatives such as Broadcast Dubs and partnerships with Viewster for back-catalog titles have expanded where and how anime can be watched, but Dragon Ball Super is somehow still not being streamed.

So where does FUNimation’s future lie? Well, unless they make major mistakes on par or somehow worse than what happened with Prison School, they will still be relevant in the industry.

“FUNimation is like the Microsoft of anime right now.” This was one of the things former About.com anime writer and Ganriki founder Serdar Yegulalp said when asked about FUNimation’s track record in the past few months, with the Attack on Titan issue and former FUNimation Marketing Director Lance Heiskell tweeting about the company selling the Dragon Ball Z Dragon Boxes with marked up prices at Dallas Comic Con. “We all have to deal with them, few of us truly enjoy it, and the things they get right hardly seem like things worth praising them for.” As they’ve established their base since bringing over titles like Dragonball Z, Yu Yu Hakusho, and One Piece, it’s hard to see them taking much of a step back. And in 2016, they won’t be resting on their laurels when they finally roll out a streaming plan outside of North America, release Speed Racer, and bring the Psycho Pass movie & Bakemono no Ko to theaters.

When that outside streaming plan surfaces, will their streaming service improve? This has been an issue for a while with the company, dating back to their partnership with Nico Nico. Ink, writer for Ani-Gamers and Otaku USA, does note its improvement from those days, saying he has zero issues streaming anime. “It took a long time to stabilize, and there’s more they could do to make it more reviewer friendly, but overall the site has improved ten-fold from its old issues.” You do have to wonder what they can do to make it easier for everyone else.

“On a front-facing level,” said Mike Ferriera, the founder of Anime Herald, “they maintain a very friendly public face – both for consumers and folks in the press.” He touched on how they’ve quickly expanded their digital presence and their interactions on social media. And as someone in the media industry, Mike appreciates FUNimation’s help. “Their team is motivated and friendly, and they’re a great group to work with overall.” This was said before Gia Manry announced her departure. She would be the third FUNimation employee long-time anime fans will know at the company to leave, as Lance Heiskell, who wanted to devote his time to his BBQ dry rub project, and Adam Sheehan, who moved to Crunchyroll, both left earlier in the year.

So what is FUNimation’s direction without them in 2016? Lauren Moore, FUNimation’s Social Media Coordinator, answered that question at AX:

“We’re doing a lot going forward. We’re bringing a huge amount of new shows, we’re doing a lot of new initiatives…there’s a lot to be excited about, and, we love those guys, they’re our friends, we’re always excited about for they’re doing next, and we’re excited about what we’re doing next too.”

So what can FUNimation improve upon for the upcoming year? Here’s a few:


Streaming outside North America


office

One of FUNimation’s big issues has been streaming their works only in North America. That actively prevents those who might want to watch a show from actually watching it. As mentioned this year and in their ANNcast spot, next year more details will emerge on streaming anime elsewhere. Let’s count on a viable streaming plan that will work for fans and for the company.


Finally releasing those Bandai Titles


Cowboy Bebop
A reminder that since announcing the re-release of Bandai titles at Otakon 2013, the only title released was Cowboy Bebop. They haven’t been mentioned since…until that ANNcast. Code Geass, Crest of The Stars, and Escaflowne still sit around, waiting to be released. Maybe 2016 will be the year they come out.


Nothing like what happened at Dallas Comic Con


OkLance
Not a lot of people were happy about that, from fans to writers, and with good reason. For FUNimation to do that shows poor judgement — let’s hope they learned from that sales tactic.


There’s still stuff FUNimation can improve on, but there’s stuff to look forward to next year. We’ll have to see whether they’ve learned some new tricks because of their mistakes, or find a way to lose the audience that they’ve built up for a long time due to not learning from them.

Top 25 Best Anime Opening Songs of All Time

Everyone has their own favorite anime opening, but is the one you cherish featured on this best of list? Let’s take a look at 25 of the best and most famous anime openings in anime history!

We’re all guilty of skipping through the opening songs of animes every now and again. Some of us may be serial offenders. But even those who have no patience to sit through roughly a minute and a half of jpop/jrock tunes have to admit that some anime legacies are defined by their choice of opening song. Here are our list of 25 of the best anime opening songs of all time.

All ranking information was taken on the date of publication


Cowboy Bebop”Tank!” by Seatbelts

MAL Rated 8.83, Ranked #22 | Aired Spring 1998 | Produced by Sunrise


Cowboy Bebop OP Best Anime Opening Songs

The famous jazz/bebop tune which is iconic and always associated with this anime. It has been used in international commercials as well.

Cowboy Bebop Opening Tank! Seatbelts OP Best Anime Opening Songs


Samurai Champloo”Battlecry” by Nujabes feat. SHINGO2

MAL Rated 8.50, Ranked #101 | Aired Spring 2004 | Produced by Manglobe


Samurai Champloo
This rap opening has become more famous than the anime itself and it has brought worldwide recognition to the late artist Nujabes.

Samurai Champloo opening Battlecry Nujabes


Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex“Inner Universe” by Origa

MAL Rated 8.46, Ranked #119 | Aired Fall 2002 | Produced by Production I.G


(Episodes 1-26)

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex OP Best Anime Opening Songs
The late vocalist Origa lent her amazing voice for this outstanding song that has brought her recognition worldwide.

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Inner Universe Origa OP Best Anime Opening Songs


Mirai Nikki (The Future Diary)“Kuusou Mesorogiwi” by Yousei Teikoku

MAL Rated 8.18, Ranked #322 | Aired Fall 2011 | Produced by Asread


(Episodes 2-14)

Mirai Nikki  OP Best Anime Opening Songs

In this case, the opening song reflects the dynamics of the anime perfectly – it is fast, crazy and catchy. The transition from a choral beginning to a powerful, fast melody is just as surprising as the many mysteries in the anime itself!

Mirai Nikki Kuusou Mesorogiwi Yousei Teikoku OP Best Anime Opening Songs


Angel Beats!“My Soul, Your Beats!” by Lia

MAL Rated 8.47, Ranked #114 | Aired Spring 2010 | Produced by Aniplex


(Episodes 1-3, 5-12)

Angel Beats! OP Best Anime Opening Songs
Enjoy this catchy pop tune of amazing refrain to help you remember all the hilarious and sad moments of this beautiful anime.

Angel Beats! OP “My Soul, Your Beats!” by Lia Best Anime Opening Songs


Tokyo Ghoul“unravel” by TK from Ling Tosite Sigure

MAL Rated 8.11, Ranked #402 | Aired Summer 2014 | Produced by Studio Pierrot


(Episodes 2-11)

Tokyo Ghoul OP Best Anime Opening Songs

This song hits you hard. Its slow beginning picks up beat throughout the opening, similar to the sound of a heart, beating faster and faster!

Tokyo Ghoul unravel Ling Tosite Sigure OP Best Anime Opening Songs

If you enjoyed the beautiful blue skies in this opening, please be sure to check out the Way Too Many Anime Openings Use This Motif article as well!


Elfen Lied“Lilium” by Kumiko Noma

MAL Rated 7.93, Ranked #611 | Aired Summer 2004 | Produced by Arms


Elfen Lied OP Best Anime Opening Songs

The opera singer Kumiko Noma will give you an eargasm with her breathtaking voice! This opening is a perfect portrayal of the sci-fi/action feeling of the series.

Elfen Lied Lilium Kumiko Noma


Neon Genesis Evangelion“Zankoku na Tenshi no Thesis (A Cruel Angel’s Thesis)” by Yoko Takahashi

MAL Rated 8.32, Ranked #199 | Aired Fall 1995 | Produced by Gainax


Neon Genesis Evangelion OP Best Anime Opening Songs

You can hear the upbeat ’90s sound in this opening pop theme. It is one of the most popular songs in anime history and still lives on in the hearts of fans worldwide!

Neon Genesis Evangelion Zankoku na Tenshi no Thesis OP Best Anime Opening Songs


Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan)”Guren no Yumiya (Crimson Bow and Arrow)” by Linked Horizon

MAL Rated 8.65, Ranked #52 | Aired Sring 2013 | Produced by Production I.G & Wit Studio


(Episodes 1-13)

attack on titan shingeki no kyojin OP Best Anime Opening Songs

Probably one of the most recognizable anime series out there, it begins with a choral opening (which is omitted in the TV version) and then swiftly switches to a bombastic and fast tempo.

Shingeki no Kyojin OP Best Anime Opening Songs Guren no Yumiya


Dragon Ball Z“Cha-La Head-Cha-La” by Hironobu Kageyama

MAL Rated 8.32, Ranked #198 | Aired Spring 1989 | Produced by Toei Animation


(Episodes 1-199)

Dragon Ball Z OP Best Anime Opening Songs

The song is the epitome of the sound of the ’80s and you won’t be able to kick the line “Cha-La Head-Cha-La” out of your head once you hear it.

Dragon Bal Z OP Best Anime Opening Songs Cha-La Head Cha-La


Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (When They Cry)“Higurashi no Naku Koro ni” by Eiko Shimamiya

MAL Rated 8.24, Ranked #258 | Aired Spring 2006 | Produced by Studio Deen


Higurashi no Naku Koro ni OP Best Anime Opening Songs
This opening song gives off mysterious and eerie vibes, the same that you get while watching the anime. It will give you goosebumps in more way than one!

Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni OP Best Anime Opening Songs Eiko Shimamiya


Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood“again” by YUI

MAL Rated 9.25, Ranked #1 | Aired Spring 2009 | Produced by Bones


(Episodes 1-14)
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood OP Best Anime Opening Songs

YUI is a talented singer who writes her own music and this tune is one of her best! It flows well with FMA‘s action style.

Fullmetal Alchemist OP Best Anime Opening Songs again YUI


Code Geass: Hangyaku no Lelouch (Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion)“COLORS” by FLOW

MAL Rated 8.86, Ranked #19 | Aired Fall 2006 | Produced by Sunrise


(Episodes 1-12)

Code Geass OP Best Anime Opening Songs

This catchy tune, performed by FLOW, perfectly portrays all the complex emotions of this popular mecha anime.

Code Geass: Hangyaku no Lelouch OP Best Anime Opening Songs COLORS FLOW


Death Note“the WORLD” by Nightmare

MAL Rated 8.75, Ranked #32 | Aired Fall 2006 | Produced by Madhouse


(Episodes 1-19)

Death Note OP Best Anime Opening Songs

The Japanese band Nightmare performs this super popular rock tune that is just as exciting as the anime itself.

Death Note OP Best Anime Opening Songs Nightmare the WORLD


Nichijou (My Ordinary Life)“Hyadain no Kakakata☆Kataomoi – C” by Hyadain (Kenichi Maeyamada)

MAL Rated 8.53, Ranked #91 | Aired Spring 2011 | Produced by Kyoto Animation


(Episodes 1-6, 8-13)

Nichijou OP Best Anime Opening Songs

If you’re a fan of cheerful and upbeat melodies, you are sure to fall in love with this fun opening!

Nichijou OP Best Anime Opening Songs Hyadain no Kakakata Kataomoi


One Piece“Share the World” by Tohoshinki

MAL Rated 8.62, Ranked #58 | Aired Fall 1999 | Produced by Toei Animation


(Episodes 395-425)

One Piece
The super famous Korean boy band Tohoshinki performed this upbeat opening for the mega popular One Piece.

One Piece OP Best Anime Opening Songs


Death Parade“Flyers” by BRADIO

MAL Rated 8.40, Ranked #153 | Aired Winter 2015 | Produced by Madhouse


Death Parade
Probably one of the catchiest openings ever, it is a tune that you can’t help but dance to. Its contrast to the anime’s dark theme is also very memorable.

Death Parade Flyers BRADIO


Noragami“Goya no Machiawase” by Hello Sleepwalkers

MAL Rated 8.17, Ranked #332 | Aired Winter 2014 | Produced by Bones


Noragami
Check out this rock opening song that fits nicely with the recently released anime Noragami. It is full of action and fantasy elements.

Noragami Goya no Machiawase Hello Sleepwalkers


InuYasha“I Am” by Hitomi

MAL Rated 7.87, Ranked #712 | Aired Fall 2000 | Produced by Kyoto Animation & Sunrise


(Episodes 35-64)
InuYasha
The soundtracks for InuYasha have always been packed with beautiful songs from influential artists. But this outstanding opening is one of the most well known and is praised amongst fans as one of the most iconic.

Inuyasha I Am Hitomi


Digimon Adventure“Butter-Fly” by Kouji Wada

MAL Rated 7.87, Ranked #710 | Aired Spring 1999 | Produced by Toei Animation


Digimon Adventure
If you haven’t heard of “Butter-Fly” then you’re either too young or you have lived under a rock your whole life. Just like the insert song Brave Heart, this opening theme is one of the most famous anime openings ever.

Digimon Adventure Butter-fly Kouji Wada


Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon S (Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon S)“Moonlight Densetsu” by Moon Lips

MAL Rated 7.88, Ranked #693 | Aired Spring 1994 | Produced by Toei Animation


Sailor Moon S
Moonlight Densetsu (Moonlight Legend) is the opening song for the first four seasons of this anime and it is also the theme song which is most commonly associated with the Sailor Moon franchise.

Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon Moonlight Densetsu Moon Lips


Naruto: Shippuuden“Aoi no Sora (Blue Bird)” by Ikimonogakari

MAL Rated 7.96, Ranked #577 | Aired Winter 2007 | Produced by Studio Pierrot


(Episodes 54-77)

Naruto: Shippuuden
Ikimonogakari is one of the most well known bands in Japan and this is their most successful song, loved by fans of the series as well as tons of non-anime fans worldwide.

Naruto: Shippuuden Aoi no Sora (Bluebird) Ikimono Gakari


Bleach“Asterisk” by Orange Range

MAL Rated 7.97, Ranked #553 | Aired Fall 2004 | Produced by Studio Pierrot


(Episodes 1-25)

Bleach
This amazing intro is provided by the famous boy band Orange Range. It is a catchy pop tune with powerful rock elements.

Bleach Asterisk Orange Range


Serial Experiments Lain“Duvet” by Bôa

MAL Rated 7.98, Ranked #549 | Aired Summer 1998 | Produced by TV Tokyo


Serial Experiments Lain
Unbelievably catchy and charming, this song is sung in English and performed by a British indie band. It fits the psychedelic atmosphere of the anime.

Serial Experiments Lain Duvet Boa


Deadman Wonderland“One Reason” by DWB feat.fade

MAL Rated 7.56, Ranked #1329 | Aired Spring 2011 | Produced by Manglobe


Deadman Wonderland OP anime opening
Sung in English, the lyrics are as dark as the anime and the rock tune fits it perfectly.

Deadman Wonderland OP anime opening


Want more anime music? Check out the below articles as well!
Top 15 Anime OSTs: Music of the Heart
25 Best Anime Endings of All Time
Top 9 Anime Series with Piano Music That Will Tug At Your Heart

Top 20 Best Cool Anime of All Time

What makes an anime ‘cool’? Though the answer is different for everyone, most would agree that a ‘cool’ anime is one that won’t leave the viewer’s thoughts, even long after the series or film has ended. With that in mind, and in no particular order, here are the 20 best cool anime.


What makes a cool anime?


Cool Anime
Even anime fans have anime shows they determine to be “cool” and and “uncool”! But what makes a cool anime? We think that anime need to be memorable enough to watch even after the season has passed. Cool anime should be at the forefront of their genre, either exemplifying everything that genre does well, or push new boundaries. Cool anime should also have a dark side, or explore deeper themes. They should be fun to watch, but not afraid to make viewers think or feel.


Here are 20 of the best cool anime that you should check out!


Shinseiki Evangelion (Neon Genesis Evangelion)

MAL Rated 8.32, Ranked #199 | Aired Fall 1995 | Produced by Gainax


Neon Genesis Evangelion Cool anime Shinji Asuka Rei
Over twenty years since its initial release, Shinseiki Evangelion remains one of the most highly influential anime of all time. In addition to a gripping plot and excellent fight scenes between the Evangelion and the mysterious ‘Angels,’ Evangelion was one of the first anime series to incorporate complex religious and psychological themes into its plot. Featuring cool robots, cool characters, cool fights, and cool stories, this classic gets all the cool points.


Planetes

MAL Rated 8.40, Ranked #157 | Aired Fall 2003 | Produced by Bandai Visual


Planetes Cool anime Hachimaki
For the main characters of Planetes, collecting space trash is far from glorious. Their coworkers look down on them. The pay stinks, too. Yet for the crew of the ‘Toy Box,’ the work is a stepping stone to greater dreams and aspirations. After only a few episodes of this beautiful anime, science and space exploration otaku will put Planetes on their personal 20 best cool anime list.


Death Note

MAL Rated 8.75, Ranked #32 | Aired Fall 2006 | Produced by VAP


Death Note Cool anime Light Yagami
Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. This is exactly what happens when brilliant high school student Light Yagami is given the ability to take life at will by using the Death Note, a notebook imbibed with the power of a shinigami, a god of death. A brilliant use of both dark humor and dramatic irony, Death Note keeps viewers enthralled in the battle between Light and those who wish to stop him. This anime is so cool it’s chilling.


Ghost in the Shell

MAL Rated 8.34, Ranked #185 | Aired Fall 1995 | Produced by Production I.G


Ghost in the Shell Cool anime Motoko Kusanagi
It’s difficult for a full-body cyborg to believe in a soul. Rather, those in Ghost in the Shell whose only original parts are a just bit of brain tissue listen to their ‘ghost,’ a whisper that hints that they are more than circuitry and polymer. If the viewer has ever wondered what it actually means to be alive, Ghost in the Shell will definitely influence one’s thinking. Action shows that make you think are always cool.


FLCL

MAL Rated 8.05, Ranked #458 | Aired Spring 2000 | Produced by Gainax


FLCL Cool anime Naota Nandaba Haruko Haruhara
You might not even be able to understand this anime. It’s fun. It’s wild. It’s Fooly Cooly. Evil robots are appearing from the strangest places. The only thing that can defeat them is a Vespa riding, guitar wielding young woman. In short, the sure weirdness of FLCL’s six episodes is nothing less than a surreal, but awesome, dream. It’s name literally has “cool” in it. That’s how cool it is.


Mousou Dairinin (Paranoia Agent)

MAL Rated 7.77, Ranked #890 | Aired Winter 2004 | Produced by Madhouse


Paranoia Agent Cool anime
An attacker is on the loose-a young boy with yellow skates and a dented baseball bat. Yet all is not what it seems in Mousou Dairinin, a psychological and supernatural thriller that effortlessly ties together the stories of characters of multiple backgrounds. With the setting modern Tokyo, the twists and turns are all the more joyfully unsettling.


Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya)

MAL Rated 8.11, Ranked #401 | Aired Spring 2006 | Produced by Lantis


the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Cool anime Haruhi Suzumiya Kyon
The title character of cult favorite Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu is not the first high school girl to obtain god-like powers. But there’s a twist: she doesn’t realize she has them. With the continued existence of reality on the line, Haruhi’s friends have to go to extreme, and always hilarious lengths to keep her happy. This cool anime is not nearly as dark as some of the others on this list, but it’s no simple light-hearted romp.


Otaku no Video

MAL Rated 7.26, Ranked #2336 | Aired Summer 1991 | Produced by Gainax


Otaku No Video Cool anime Ken Kubo Tanaka
A love letter to anime if there ever was one, Otaku No Video puts the viewer in the shoes of two old friends who hope to convert the world to otakudom. Spliced with live action segments exploring the various subcultures in the otaku world, the film will remind any viewer why he or she started to love anime. Newcomers to anime will enjoy the cool cinematography and animation direction.


One Piece

MAL Rated 8.62, Ranked #58 | Aired Fall 1999 | Produced by Toei Animation


One Piece Cool anime
All aboard! It’s a pirate’s life at sea for Monkey D. Luffy, a young man who will stop at nothing until he acquires the ‘One Piece’ and becomes the King of the Pirates. Even after 700+ episodes, One Piece’s humor and copious but memorable characters earn it its rightful spot as one of the 20 best cool anime.


Paprika

MAL Rated 8.16, Ranked #332 | Aired Fall 2006 | Produced by Madhouse


Paprika Cool anime Torataro Shima
This film about the power of dreams may cause the viewer to have a few weird ones. Filled with fantastic visuals and a compelling plot, Paprika invites the viewer on a wild ride through the Japanese subconscious. The screenwriter for Inception clearly thought Paprika was cool, as much of the hit Hollywood film was inspired by concepts presented in Satoshi Kon’s Paprika.


Fullmetal Alchemist

MAL Rated 8.36, Ranked #174 | Aired Fall 2003 | Produced by Aniplex


Fullmetal Alchemist Cool anime Alphone Elric Edward Elric
Science, even fake science, is cool! In a familiar looking world where where alchemy is a highly-regarded science, the Elric brothers have played with forces they do not fully understand, and paid the price. Gripping to lovers of fantasy and/or stories about the power of family, Fullmetal Alchemist will make the viewer wonder how far he or she would be willing to go to make up for past mistakes.


Cowboy Bebop

MAL Rated 8.83, Ranked #22 | Aired Spring 1998 | Produced by Bandai Visual


Cowboy Bebop Cool anime Faye Valentine, Spike Spiegel, Edward Wong
No list of the 20 coolest anime would be complete without Cowboy Bebop. Its place on this list is guaranteed due to the series’ groundbreaking (and just plain awesome) soundtrack and intricate world building. Yet the spacecraft and off-world colonies are only a backdrop to a moving and surprisingly traditional story about lost love, redemption, and revenge.


Mind Game

MAL Rated 7.91, Ranked #649 | Aired Summer 2004 | Produced by Studio 4 C


Mind Game Cool anime Nishi
Simply put, Mind Game is all over the place. Though its central plot is a love story between childhood friends, the journey involves everything from being eaten by a whale, coming back from the dead, and a psychedelic dance routine. At the very least, the film is a feast for the senses that the viewer will not soon forget.


Mirai Nikki (The Future Diary)

MAL Rated 8.18, Ranked #322 | Aired Fall 2011 | Produced by Lantis


Mirai Nikki Yuno Gasai
Everyone always seems to be on their cell phones, but for the characters in Mirai Nikki, it’s a matter of life and death. There’s an opening for the position of God of Time and Space, and getting the job means a fight to the death with the other candidates. Part slasher, part mystery, Mirai Nikki does an excellent job of keeping the viewer guessing each character’s motivations, fate, and sanity. Horror and gore fans will find this anime super cool.


Black Lagoon

MAL Rated 8.21, Ranked #283 | Aired Spring 2006 | Produced by Madhouse


Black Lagoon Cool anime Revy
A pirate’s life isn’t easy for the characters of Black Lagoon. Trying to etch out a living as mercenaries in Southeast Asia, the crew of the title ship butt heads with just about every criminal organization known to man. Though sometimes portraying gleefully impossible action sequences, the characters’ detailed and realistic backgrounds give emotional weight to what would otherwise be a classic shoot-em-up series. This anime is cool because it is one of the few to be set outside of Japan (or an alternate world), and is inspired by the very real Southeast Asian pirates.


Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan)

MAL Rated 8.64, Ranked #55 | Aired Spring 2013 | Produced by Mainichi Broadcasting


Attach on Titan Cool anime Eren Yeager
Shingeki no Kyojin is brutal in the best possible way. Though the main characters are fighting ‘titans’, giant humanoids bent of the destruction (or in this case the gobbling up) of humanity, the feel of the show is more like a realistic, gritty war movie. The battle against the titans is messy, and not everyone survives the ordeal. Though ‘dread’ can best describe some of its most chilling scenes, they make the characters’ ordeal all the most real and poignant. Not everyone thinks it’s cool, but the author of the original story is really not afraid to harm his characters. Sadist.


Sidonia no Kishi (Knights of Sidonia)

MAL Rated 7.93, Ranked #624 | Aired Spring 2014 | Produced by Starchild Records


Knights of Sidonia Cool anime Nagate Tanikaze
It is a battle for survival for the Sidonia, the last human colony in existence since beings known as the Gauna destroyed Earth 1,000 year prior. In addition to the excellent production quality, Sidonia no Kishi’s place on the 20 best cool anime list derives from its wide-ranging appeal. Knights of Sidonia also makes a mark as one of the few fully CGI anime that actually manages to make it look pretty cool. Admirers of action, romance, high drama, and, yes, fan service will all find reasons to keep watching.


Bleach

MAL Rated 7.97, Ranked #554 | Aired Fall 2004 | Produced by Studio Pierrot


Bleach Cool anime
For the characters of Bleach, a complicated and violent supernatural world is just behind reality’s thin veil. Though the action is more than enough to keep viewers enthralled, one of Bleach’s unique strengths is how it incorporates various Japanese religious beliefs into its story lines. Fair warning: most people consider the first few arcs to be vastly superior to the later ones.


Golgo 13

MAL Rated 7.61, Ranked #1211 | Aired Spring 2008 | Produced by TV Tokyo


Golgo 13 Cool anime
Once you see him, it’s too late. But you probably won’t see him before he kills you. A professional assassin whose past is unknown, the title character of Golgo 13 doesn’t care who he kills, as long as the price is right. A serialized manga since 1969, the cool 2008 series hooks another generation to Golgo 13’s mastery of weapons, espionage, and seduction.


Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann

MAL Rated 8.81, Ranked #25 | Aired Spring 2007 | Produced by Gainax


Gurren Lagann Cool anime Simon, Nia Teppelin
The characters of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann need a bigger giant robot. How big? 100 feet? A mile? Try light years. With stakes and battles ratcheting up in intensity every episode, this series is one of the most addictive to come out of Gainax in the studio’s thirty years of producing anime. Out of the 20 best cool anime, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is unique in that the artists and writers’ passion bleeds from nearly every scene. When it comes to cool, the more the better.

Top 25 Best Action Anime of All Time

Anime with heart-pumping action, nail-biting suspense, busty and trigger-happy female characters, not to mention wonderfully psychotic villains? Yes, please! You can find all that and more in the action genre. Let’s take a look at 25 of the best action anime that you are sure to love.

black lagoon revy and dutch

Who doesn’t love a good action anime? With their violence, heart-pumping battle scenes, bad-ass weaponry, trigger happy psychopaths, and unique storylines, action anime series set us up for hours of entertainment. Here, in no particular order, are twenty-five action series known for being the best that anime has to offer.

All ranking information was taken on the date of publication.


Fairy Tail

MAL Rated 8.32, Ranked #193 | Aired Fall 2009 | Produced by A-1 Pictures and Satelight


Fairy Tail, Natsu vs Laxus

Fairy Tail is a 175 action/fantasy series that packs one hell of a powerful punch. With a plethora of fun characters and epic duels featuring all sorts of magic, Fairy Tail is a great series if you are looking for some good popcorn material! This long-form shounen anime has pleased fans for years.

Fairy Tail is the name of the anime as well as the mage guild that Natsu Dragneel and Lucy Heartfilia among others belong to. Watch as they accomplish missions in order to help others as well as raise the rank of their former top guild! Friendship and honor are central themes to this funny and heart-warming action series.


One Piece

MAL Rated 8.61, Ranked #61 | Aired Fall 1999 | Produced by Toei Animation


One Piece, Battle

A swashbuckling adventure featuring duels with supernatural powers, fun characters, voyages and tons of pirates, One Piece is one of the most popular anime series out there. It will certainly fulfill any action craving you have.

In a world covered by ocean water, Luffy is on a quest to find the One Piece, the lost treasure of the former King of Pirates. He’s not alone, of course. Every pirate in the world is searching for it! On Luffy’s search, he’ll gather a crew of ragtag teammates, each of which have their own dreams and goals!


Naruto / Naruto: Shippuuden

MAL Rated 7.79, Ranked #847 | Aired Fall 2002 | Produced by Studio Pierrot


naruto naruto uzumaki andSasuke Uchiha

The long-running shounen series Naruto definitely deserves a spot on this list. Following the many adventures and misadventures of Naruto, a knuckle-headed ninja, and his ninja pals, viewers of this series are in for a fun viewing experience.

Problem student Naruto was never popular or talented as a ninja. That is, until he discovers the hidden power of the Nine-Tailed Fox sealed within him. Even though Naruto’s physical strength is due to the Fox, his true strong point is his bright personality and determination to be friends with everyone. Will he achieve his dream of becoming the leader of the Fire Village of ninjas? And can he protect his friends from the countless evils that threaten to destroy all he has? Find out in what is arguably the most famous anime internationally (besides Pokemon, of course).


Dragon Ball Z

MAL Rated 8.32, Ranked #192 | Aired Spring 1989 | Produced by Toei Animation


dragon ball z

Want to watch a show with an ’80s vibe? Look no further! Dragonball Z is all the right kinds of cheese, featuring amazing fights, power ups, and… SUPER SAIYANS!

Son Gokuu is a character inspired by the Monkey King of classic Chinese literature. The similarities between Dragon Ball Z and Journey to the West end there, however. Son Gokuu is an alien, the last of the Saiyans. Now he lives on Earth, and must protect his new home planet from the various dangers that befall it, ranging from other aliens to even gods!


Hunter x Hunter 2011

MAL Rated 9.15, Ranked #5 | Aired Fall 2011 | Produced by Madhouse


Hunter × Hunter, Gon Battle

Hunter x Hunter has action, great characters and even scenes that will pull at your heartstrings. Each episode will have you laughing, crying, or biting your nails during great action scenes!

Gon was raised by his aunt, and believed he was an orphan for so long. One day, he comes across a Hunter, a sort of freelance adventurer, who tells Gon that not only was Ging, his father, alive, but he was a world-famous Hunter. Determined to find his dad, Gon decides to take the Hunter examination and travel the world.


Samurai Champloo

MAL Rated 8.50, Ranked #101 | Aired Spring 2004 | Produced by Manglobe


Samurai Champloo, Mugen

Time for some good, old fashioned samurai swordsmanship with Samurai Champloo! When two very skilled, yet diametrically opposed samurais cross paths, circumstances force them to embark on a quest together. Let’s just say that if you are looking for a series about the power of love and friendship… then this series is probably not for you.

Mugen, Jin, and Fuu are a bit of an unexpected team. Mugen and Jin cross swords the first time they meet. Fuu is the young waitress of a teashop with a mysterious request for the two violent vagabonds: find the samurai who smells of sunflowers. They’ll travel Japan in search of this mysterious person, leaving a lot of bodies in their wake.


Soul Eater

MAL Rated 8.12, Ranked #389 | Aired Spring 2008 | Produced by Bones


soul eater maka albarn and soul 'eater' evans

No other series has been able to incorporate awesome characters, music, story, battles and a Halloween-like, yet cheery premise as well as Soul Eater. Admit it, after watching this series everyone was stuck sitting in front of their couch wishing they could wield a scythe with the same precision and accuracy as Maka Albarn. Soul Eater helped define a genre of action anime; it is a classic all anime fans should take the time to watch.

Death City, Nevada is home to a school of weapon wielders and weapons, Death Academy. The human weapon and wielder partners learn here how to synchronize, and accomplish various missions for the Death God. In order to transform the weapon partners into Death Scythes worthy of being wielded by the Death God himself, the teams must hunt down 99 bad humans and one witch in that exact order for their souls. Will Maka and Soul succeed, or will they be bested by their teammates or enemies?


Fullmetal Alchemist

MAL Rated 8.36, Ranked #174 | Aired Fall 2003 | Produced by Bones


fullmetal alchemist, battle

Fullmetal Alchemist not only has tons of amazing action scenes, but also contains fun, memorable characters, tear-jerking scenes and beautiful music. This is a must watch anime series for anime fans alike.

Set in a land where alchemy is considered a highly skilled profession, Fullmetal tells the story of two brothers who live every day repaying for their childhood mistake. They forgot the greatest rule in alchemy: equivalent exchange. In the aftermath of their botched attempt at reviving their dead mother, Ed lost an arm and a leg, and Al lost his entire body. They hear that a mysterious stone named the Philospher’s Stone can solve all their problems, and so begins their adventure in an attempt to restore what was lost.


Code Geass: Hangyaku no Lelouch (Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion)

MAL Rated 8.85, Ranked #21 | Aired Fall 2006 | Produced by Sunrise


Code Geass, battle, fight

Code Geass is an amazing series that incorporates supernatural ability, action, and moral messages. It is a mecha/action anime series done right.

In this alternate future, the world is ruled by three factions: the Holy Britannian Empire, the Chinese Federation, and the European Union. Lelouch, prince of the Brittannian Empire, made a vow to his childhood friend Suzaku to bring down the Empire, only to find that as adolescents they end up on opposite sides.


Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann (Gurren Lagann)

MAL Rated 8.81, Ranked #25 | Aired Spring 2007 | Produced by Gainax


tengen toppa gurren lagann simon

Gurren Lagann is an anime featuring epic battles, controversial characters, humor, and… busty female leads? Yes, please! Gurren Lagann is probably one of the more entertaining on this list, and is not something you should miss.

Digging is the only way of life Simon knows-humans have been forced underground by the tyrant King Lordgenome, who guns down any who dare poke their heads to the surface. Simon spends the first 14 years of his life going further and further underground until a red-haired girl named Yoko crashes down, fighting several enemy Gunmen. Seeing the sky for the first time, Simon is determined to never again hide away, and fights for the right to live under the sun.


Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Kenkaku Romantan

MAL Rated 8.44, Ranked #128 | Aired Winter 1996 | Produced by Studio Deen and Studio Gallop


Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Kenkaku Romantan

It shouldn’t be much of a surprise by now that there are plenty of anime series featuring assassins, samurais, and martial artists. Some of these series are hit and miss, but not Rurouni Kenshin. This is an extremely entertaining series that every action anime fan should watch.

Kenshin Himura is determined never to kill again, despite being a wandering samurai. He wields an unsharpened blade so that he may fight without death. Discover his dark past and watch his path to atonement in this hit period action series!


Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan)

MAL Rated 8.64, Ranked #55 | Aired Spring 2013 | Produced by Production I.G and Wit Studio


Attack on Titan, Shingeki no Koyjin

Attack on Titan took the anime community by storm. It definitely deserves credit for being one of the best anime series within the past five years. Amazing battle equipment, badass soldiers, cliff-hangers, and some pretty epic sparring matches, this is a truly superb action series.

In a world terrorized by giant man-eating humanoids known as titans, mankind hides behind gargantuan walls in constant fear. The only way they have to fight back against the Titans is the military. Eren Yeager, who witnessed the death of his family and friends as a child, is determined to fight back in the only way he can: by joining the service! Little did he know: the story behind the Titans are much more convoluted than they appear.


Noir

MAL Rated 7.44, Ranked #1722 | Aired Spring 2001 | Produced by Bee Train and Victor Entertainment


noir mireille bouquet

This anime series centers around a young woman who just happens to be a professional assassin. Noir seems like a pretty straight forward series doesn’t it? That is where you are wrong. The series actually has a deeper, more complicated plot. When given the time, Noir proves to be a show that is both interesting and action-packed. What more could you possibly ask for?

The assassin duo of Mireille Bouquet and amnesiac Yuumura Kirika are known to the public as Noir. Together, they try to uncover Kirika’s past, and discover why it has so many connections with Mireille’s. This is all complicated, however, by the shady organization named Les Soldats…


Cowboy Bebop

MAL Rated 8.83, Ranked #22 | Aired Spring 1998 | Produced by Sunrise


cowboy bebop spike spiegel

Cowboy Bebop is known as one of the greatest anime series of all time. It excels in absolutely every area imaginable, and the action is no exception. The fight scenes can range from badass to comical to stomach-dropping. If you have not watched Cowboy Bebop, then you are depriving yourself of one of the best experiences out there.

In 2071, humans have moved off the now unfit-for-life planet Earth and onto the other non-gaseous planets of the Solar System. The ragtag crew of the spaceship Bebop travel the stars on various missions!


Baccano!

MAL Rated 8.58, Ranked #67 | Aired Summer 2007 | Produced by Brains Base


Baccano!

Baccano! is a grossly underrated action anime that fits right in with all of the other great series on this list! Fully equipped with an outstanding set of characters, storyline, action theme and overall jazzy style, Baccano! is a great choice if you are looking for a good, old-style action anime series.

This is a tale of eternal life gone awry: a group of alchemists is given the elixir of eternal life by a demon, and most of them agree to let the secret die with them so that no one becomes immortal. All but one member, that is. This alchemist goes on to recreate this elixir, which subsequently falls into the wrong hands. The path of wreckage left by this immortality elixir is international.


Claymore

MAL Rated 7.95, Ranked #584 | Aired Spring 2007 | Produced by Madhouse


claymore

Claymore is another fantasy/action anime, but unlike Fairy Tail, it is filled with intensity, demons, sword fighting, and, well… lots of death!

In a land infested by man-eating yoma, only half-yoma half-human hybrid warriors can defend the humans. Feared by all due to their half-yoma nature and distinctive appearance, the all-woman army known as the Organization, but more often called Claymores, or Silver-eyed Witches, travel across the land to sniff out the yoma who often pose as regular humans.
Clare is the weakest of all the Claymores, possessing only 1/4th yoma blood, as opposed to the usual 1/2. She rescues a young human male, and takes him on her travels.


Deadman Wonderland

MAL Rated 7.56, Ranked #1329 | Aired Spring 2011 | Produced by Manglobe


deadman wonderland ganta igarashi

If you’re looking for an action anime with over-the-top graphics, a beyond entertaining plot, and psychotic, messed up characters, Deadman Wonderland is the series for you. Trust me when I tell you, it will leave you wanting more.

Ganta is on death row in Japan’s private half-prison half-theme park, Deadman Wonderland. In order to receive the antidote to the poison injected into him via his collar, he must perform various tasks to entertain the park-goers. The problem is, he isn’t even guilty!


Guilty Crown

MAL Rated 7.88, Ranked #697 | Aired Fall 2011 | Produced by Production I.G


guilty crown

In Guilty Crown, after a tragic outbreak of a disease known as the “Apocalypse Virus”, one boy has obtained special powers and hopes to help restore Japan to the way it once was before it was taken over by an organization known as GHQ. This action anime is filled with thrilling scenes that will literally take your breath away!


Fate/stay night

MAL Rated 7.62, Ranked #1182 | Aired Winter 2006 | Produced by Studio Deen


fate/stay night saber

Another fantasy/action anime, you say? Alright then! Fate/stay night is one of those highly addictive, highly entertaining anime series that you just can’t get enough of. Probably one of the best aspects of the entire show is the action! The battle scenes are some of the most epic in the history of anime; the execution of them, as well as the outstanding animation, is unmatched.


Berserk

MAL Rated 8.35, Ranked #178 | Aired Fall 1997 | Produced by Oriental Light and Magic


berserk

Berserk is an anime classic that you can’t really avoid seeing, action anime fan or not. With epic sword fights, compelling characters, and glorious ’90s gore, Berserk is one of the best action anime ever.


Black Lagoon

MAL Rated 8.20, Ranked #293 | Aired Spring 2006 | Produced by Madhouse


black laggon revy

Ah, Black Lagoon. A show featuring modern day pirates, Black Lagoon is another one of the best action anime series available. With outrageous, yet amazing action scenes, foul, yet entertaining language, and kick-ass characters, Black Lagoon is one heck of a thrill ride! Of course, I have to mention Revy, the trigger-happy femme fatale, who truly ties the entire series together.


Stranger: Mukou Hadan (Sword of the Stranger)

MAL Rated 8.44, Ranked #129 | Aired Fall 2007 | Produced by Bones


Stranger: Mukou Hadan

As the only movie on this list, Sword of the Stranger is certainly able to hold its own! With all of the positive feedback it’s received, this 1 hour and 40 minute film is sure to satisfy your action cravings. Young Kotaro is on the run from Ming Dynasty Chinese warriors who are hell-bent on taking his life. But why?


Psycho-Pass

MAL Rated 8.55, Ranked #82 | Aired Fall 2012 | Produced by Production I.G


Psycho-Pass action battle akane dominator

Psycho-Pass takes place in a future where the government is literally inside your head! You had better not even think about committing a crime. With an interesting setting, characters and weaponry, this action anime is not to be missed.

New Inspector Akane Tsunemori works with Enforcers, those who have been determined through psychologic evaluation to be latent criminals. They are mistrusted and feared in this world, where “mental stability” determines everything. But just how effective is this method of determining sanity, and does sanity equal morality?


Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom

MAL Rated 8.19, Ranked #311 | Aired Spring 2009 | Produced by Bee Train and Genco


phantom: requiem for the phantom

Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom is a great anime series for anyone seeking out a total thrill ride. Filled with gunshots, assassinations, and violence, Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom is the perfect action series.


One Punch Man

MAL Rated 9.07, Ranked #10 | Aired Fall 2015 | Produced by Madhouse


One Punch Man battle action

This list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning One Punch Man! This very recent comedy/action anime series is one of the highlights of the past anime season. Fans of the action genre should definitely give One Punch Man a shot… or at least one punch!

Saitama became determined to be a superhero after experiencing the thrill of fighting an evil baddy. He puts himself on a training regimen, only to lost all of his hair and accidentally become the strongest human who ever walked the Earth. It’s actually a problem-he doesn’t get to experience any heart-pounding fights, as any conflict with Saitama ends with a very standard punch.

Top 25 Best Anime Ending Songs of All Time

Anime endings can be quite the nice finish to a series – the icing on the anime cake. Here are 25 of the best anime endings (ED) of all time. You may even fall in love with some songs that you were not familiar with before!

All ranking information was taken on the date of publication.


Cowboy Bebop“The Real Folk Blues” by Seatbelts feat. Mai Yamane

MAL Rated 8.83, Ranked #22 | Aired Spring 1998 | Produced by Sunrise


(Episodes 1-12, 14-25)

cowboy bebop Anime Endings (ED)

Since most of the songs from the soundtrack are instrumental, this amazing anime ED is one of few in the series that is sung in Japanese. Performed by a band called Seatbelts, the ending features powerful vocals by Mai Yamane. The ending is a slow to medium blues track with lyrics that perfectly fit the sentimental atmosphere and ending of the anime.

Cowboy Bebop ED The Real Folk Blues Anime Endings (ED)


Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood“Uso (Lie)” by SID

MAL Rated 9.25, Ranked #1 | Aired Spring 2009 | Produced by Bones


(Episodes 1-14)

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Anime Endings (ED)

SID is a visual kei rock band and their song “Uso” debuted at #2 on the Oricon charts in Japan, boosted by the popularity of the anime. The catchy tune is a perfect ending for an action packed anime such as Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood ED Uso Anime Endings (ED)


Steins;Gate“Toki Tsukasadoru Juuni no Meiyaku (The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants)” by Yui Sakakibara

MAL Rated 9.17, Ranked #2 | Aired Spring 2011 | Produced by White Fox


(Episodes 1-21)

steins gate Anime Endings (ED)

Another great ED sung by the multi-talented Yui Sakakibara. This ending song is as epic as the anime itself; the eerie lyrics fit the anime’s theme perfectly.

Steins;Gate ED Toki Tsukasadoru Juuni no Meiyaku Anime Endings (ED)


Digimon Adventure“I Wish” by AiM

MAL Rated 7.87, Ranked #715 | Aired Spring 1999 | Produced by Toei Animation


(Episodes 1-26)

Digimon Adventure

As a singer under the name AiM, Ai Maeda is best known for her works for the Digimon series. This upbeat pop song will hit you right in the feels if you used to watch this anime as a kid.

Digimon Adventure ED I Wish Anime Endings (ED)


Vampire Knight“still doll” by Wakeshima Kanon

MAL Rated 7.49, Ranked #1572 | Aired Spring 2008 | Produced by Studio Deen


Vampire Knight Anime Endings (ED)

This amazing dark cello song is performed by Kanon Wakeshima, who is a cellist and a singer, notable for her lolita image. The chilly ending matches the supernatural and creepy atmosphere of the series.

Vampire Knight ED still doll Anime Endings (ED)


Death Note“Alumina” by Nightmare

MAL Rated 8.75, Ranked #32 | Aired Fall 2006 | Produced by Madhouse


(Episodes 1-19)

Death Note Anime Endings (ED)

The popular anime ED is as powerful as the opening, both performed by the same band Nightmare. The ending is a bit more slow paced than the OP, but not any less amazing, thanks to Yomi’s great vocals.

Death Note ED Alumina Anime Endings (ED)


InuYasha“Dearest” by Ayumi Hamasaki

MAL Rated 7.88, Ranked #704 | Aired Fall 2000 | Produced by Kyoto Animation & Sunrise


(Episodes 42-60)

InuYasha Anime Endings (ED)

This beautiful ballad by J-Pop queen Ayumi Hamasaki easily pulls at the heartstrings of Inuyasha fans. There is also an official acoustic piano version which you can check out here.

Inuyasha ED Dearest Anime Endings (ED)


Samurai Champloo“Shiki no Uta (Song of Four Seasons)” by MINMI

MAL Rated 8.50, Ranked #102 | Aired Spring 2004 | Produced by Manglobe


(Episodes 1-11, 13-16, 18-22, 24-25)

Samurai Champloo Anime Endings (ED)

Minmi is a famous reggae singer in Japan who sings this fast paced song, produced by the late hip hop artist Nujabes. The ED is a really catchy tune, as is the rest of the soundtrack.

Samurai Champloo ED Shiki no Uta Anime Endings (ED)


Toriko“Sabrina” by Leo Ieiri

MAL Rated 7.73, Ranked #973 | Aired Spring 2011 | Produced by Toei Animation


(Episodes 39-50)

Toriko Anime Endings (ED)

This catchy pop tune is sung by Leo Ieiri, a rising J-Pop star. It is a nice ending for an adventure-filled anime such as Toriko and you will probably catch yourself singing along to this ED every single time you watch the show!

Toriko ED Sabrina Anime Endings (ED)


K-ON!“Don’t say ‘lazy'” by Sakurakou K-ON Bu

MAL Rated 7.89, Ranked #679 | Aired Spring 2009 | Produced by Kyoto Animation


K-ON! ED anime ending Anime Endings (ED)

Sakurakou K-ON Bu is a fictional pop group formed by four seiyuu to sing theme songs for the anime K-ON!. Members include: Toyosaki Aki, Hikasa Yoko, Sato Satomi and Kotobuki Minako. Their debut song “Don’t say lazy” was so popular that it debuted at #2 on the Oricon weekly charts and sold almost 200 thousand copies.

K-ON ED Don’t say lazy


Ao no Exorcist (Blue Exorcist) Anime Endings (ED) “Take off” by 2PM

MAL Rated 7.97, Ranked #551 | Aired Spring 2011 | Produced by A-1 Pictures


(Episodes 1-12)

Ao no Exorcist Anime Endings (ED)

2PM is a popular Korean boy band. Ao no Exorcist fans mostly know them for their song “Take off” which is an upbeat pop song used as an ED for the anime. This catchy song will make you wanna dance along with it.

Ao no Exorcist ED Take off Anime Endings (ED)


Nana“A Little Pain” by Olivia inspi’ Reira ~Trapnest~

MAL Rated 8.58, Ranked #67 | Aired Spring 2006 | Produced by Madhouse


(Episodes 01-08, 10-18, 41)

Nana Anime Endings (ED)

Nana has always been praised as one of the anime shows with the best soundtracks ever. Olivia is a Jpop singer who serves as the song vocal-cast of the character Reira of Trapnest from the anime. This song is sung in one of the anime scenes as well and it is a very emotional ballad that reflects the characters’ relationships.

Nana ED a little pain Anime Endings (ED)


Kara no Kyoukai 1: Fukan Fuukei (The Garden of Sinners 1: Overlooking View)“oblivious” by Kalafina

MAL Rated 7.86, Ranked #731 | Premiered Dec 1, 2007 | Produced by ufotable


Kara no Kyoukai 1: Fukan Fuukei Anime Endings (ED)

Kalafina is a folk and new age pop group from Japan and one of their more notable songs is definitely “oblivious”. This song serves as a theme and ending track for the movie Kara no Kyoukai 1: Fukan Fuukei. It is a really fast and catchy tune that fits the supernatural atmosphere of the anime perfectly.

Kara no Kyoukai 1: Fukan Fuukei ED oblivious Anime Endings (ED)


Mushishi“Unasaka Yori” (From Beyond the Sea) by Masuda Toshio

MAL Rated 8.79, Ranked #27 | Aired Fall 2005 | Produced by Artland


(Episode 8)

Mushishi Anime Endings (ED)

Mushishi has one of the most beautiful instrumental anime soundtracks ever. All songs but one are instrumental, melancholic and played by traditional instruments. The composer, Masuda Toshio, is famous for using the classic instruments shamisen and shakuhachi in his ambient works, together with chanting.

Mushishi ED Unasaka Yori Anime Endings (ED)


Bakemonogatari (Ghostory)“Kimi no Shiranai Monogatari (The Story You Don’t Know)” by Supercell feat. Nagi Yanagi

MAL Rated 8.41, Ranked #142 | Aired Summer 2009 | Produced by Shaft


Bakemonogatari Anime Endings (ED)

Check out this super catchy song by a band supercell. It features the amazing vocals by Nagi Yanagi who used to often serve as a guest vocalist for this band. This anime ED is perfectly suitable for a supernatural anime such as Bakemonogatari.

Bakemonogatari Kimi no Shiranai Monogatari supercell Anime Endings (ED)


Free!“SPLASH FREE” by STYLE FIVE

MAL Rated 7.74, Ranked #935 | Aired Summer 2013 | Produced by Kyoto Animation


Free! Anime Endings (ED)

The members of the Iwatobi High School Swimming Club prove that they can be great singers too, as the fictional group Style Five consists of the main five seiyuu: Daisuke Hirakawa, Nobunaga Shimazaki, Mamoru Miyano, Tsubasa Yonaga and Suzuki Tatsuhisa. The ED is really catchy!

Free ED Splash Free Anime Endings (ED)


Ghost Hunt“Ending Theme” by Masuda Toshio

MAL Rated 8.00, Ranked #504 | Aired Fall 2006 | Produced by J.C.Staff


Ghost Hunt Anime Endings (ED)

Another masterpiece by Masuda Toshio is this chilling and haunting anime ED which is a simple, yet great ending. It is a pure perfection for the horror anime Ghost Hunt. You won’t be able to stop listening to this captivating tune once you start!

Ghost Hunt Anime Endings (ED)


Wolf’s Rain“Gravity” by Maaya Sakamoto

MAL Rated 7.95, Ranked #598 | Aired Winter 2003 | Produced by Bones


(Episodes 1-25)

Wolf's Rain Anime Endings (ED)

This anime ending is a sad ballad sung completely in English by the amazing singer Maaya Sakamoto. If you are familiar with the anime, then you might even shed a tear or two. It is very emotional and nostalgic.

Wolf’s Rain ED Gravity Anime Endings (ED)


Byousoku 5 Centimeter (5 Centimeters per Second)“One more time, one more chance” by Masayoshi Yamazaki

MAL Rated 8.17, Ranked #325 | Premiered Feb 16, 2007 | Produced by CoMix Wave Films


Byousoku 5 Centimeter Anime Endings (ED)

Another really sad and beautiful song, this time it is an ending for an anime film. How many times have you wished to go back to the past or simply get a second chance? If you live in Japan, check out this video because it is unrestricted. There is also an official cover in English which is really worth mentioning, check it out here.

Byousoku 5 Centimeter ED One more time, one more chance Anime Endings (ED)


Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai. (Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day)“secret base ~Kimi ga Kureta Mono~ (10 years after ver.)” by Ai Kayano, Haruka Tomatsu, and Saori Hayami

MAL Rated 8.66, Ranked #45 | Aired Spring 2011 | Produced by A-1 Pictures


Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai Anime Endings (ED)

The anime ending for Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai. (Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day) is an upbeat ballad with lyrics that closely follow the anime’s story, which is all about childhood memories and the end of summer. Prepare some tissues for this ED because you’ll need them!

Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai Anime Endings (ED)


Chihayafuru“Soshite Ima (And Now)” by Asami Seto

MAL Rated 8.36, Ranked #173 | Aired Fall 2011 | Produced by Madhouse


(Episodes 1-24)

Chihayafuru Anime Endings (ED)

This beautiful and melodic anime ED has a captivating refrain. Asami Seto’s voice hits all the right notes and the nostalgic lyrics fit the characters’ interactions and feelings.

Chihayafuru ED Soshite Ima Anime Endings (ED)


Psycho-Pass“Namae no nai Kaibutsu (Nameless Monster)” by EGOIST

MAL Rated 8.55, Ranked #81 | Aired Fall 2012 | Produced by Production I.G


(Episodes 1-11)

Psycho-Pass Anime Endings (ED)

EGOIST is a Jpop music duo, consisting of a songwriter Ryo from Supercell and a vocalist Chelly. The fast paced and upbeat song serves as the first ED of Psycho-Pass.

Psycho-Pass ED Namae no nai Kaibutsu Anime Endings (ED)


Rainbow“A FAR-OFF DISTANCE” by Galneryus

MAL Rated 8.66, Ranked #48 | Aired Spring 2010 | Produced by Madhouse


Rainbow

Galneryus is a powerful heavy metal band from Japan that hits all the right feels with this rockish ballad. This flow of emotions is understandable since Rainbow is one of the saddest anime series out there. Check out the refrain and Sho’s strong voice.

Rainbow ED a far off distance


Durarara!!“Trust Me” by Yuya Matsushita

MAL Rated 8.44, Ranked #123 | Aired Winter 2010 | Produced by Brains Base


(Episodes 1-12)

Durarara

This really catchy ED is performed by Yuya Matsushita, a rising J-Pop star, whose single of the same name peaked at #10 on the Oricon weekly charts.

https://youtu.be/GKc9ZyL8XyU


Hunter x Hunter“Kaze no Uta (Song of the Wind)” by Minako Honda

MAL Rated 8.49, Ranked #104 | Aired Fall 1999 | Produced by Nippon Animation


(Episodes 1-31)

Hunter x Hunter Anime Endings (ED)

This beautiful ballad is sung by the late Jpop star Minako Honda. Her fascinating voice in the refrain will give you the chills and you won’t be able to get enough of it.

Hunter x Hunter ED Kaze no Uta Anime Endings (ED)


Want more anime music? Check out the below articles as well!
25 Best Anime Opening Songs of All Time
Top 15 Anime OSTs: Music of the Heart
Top 9 Anime Series with Piano Music That Will Tug At Your Heart

5 Reasons Why People Love Anime: Interview with Industry Professionals

Anime is one of the most popular forms of animation in the world. But why do the tons of anime fans worldwide like anime so much? Here are 5 reasons – from the perspectives of several people from the anime industry – that could explain this neverending conundrum.


Why do people love anime? What makes it so special?


Chihaya, Saitama, Kiba, why we love anime

Astro Boy aired in Japan in 1963. Since then, anime has exploded in popularity around the world, and evolved in every area — story, visuals, sound — since. But why do people like anime? Well, with information from industry professionals and writers alike, here are 5 good reasons.


1) Identity


fullmetal alchemist: brotherhood 5 Reasons Why People Love Anime

On the surface, it may have been a cartoon, but it had deeper themes that I could relate to. It was like none of the media that had been offered to me before. And at that time in my life where I didn’t know where I belonged, I found my belonging there.” – Lauren Orsini

From films to sports, once we like something, we really like it. While anime has grown in popularity, there was a time where it wasn’t, and for Lauren Orsini, whose writings you’ll find at Forbes, ANN, and Otaku Journalist, she had trouble connecting to the TV shows and cartoons shown while she grew up in California, which meant it was hard connecting with kids her age. But once she discovered anime, things changed — she found something she could connect with, whether it was the characters, the story, or the visuals.

FUNimation’s Senior Manager of Social Strategy and Development, Justin Rojas, believes that’s what anime does. “I believe anime is a medium that brings people together. While the content can be extremely diverse, the emotional connection people feel with anime allows them to bond with others through these shared sentiments and experiences.

Though,” as he adds, “anime also creates a sense of uniqueness and individuality at the same time.


2) Escapism


Koizumi and Kumeno, Tabi Machi Late Show 5 Reasons Why People Love Anime

“Personally, I watch anime as a way to relax after a stressful day and a way to peep into an adventure/story that our world wouldn’t be able to make possible.” – Katy Castillo

Anime is entertainment, as Yatta-Tachi founder Katy Castillo reminds us. If we happen to work long hours at an intense marketing firm or just work as a cashier, there’s gotta be something that’ll let us escape for a while. Whether it’s a show like Death Parade, Tamayura, or even Tabi Machi Late Show, we have something to take our mind off of the real world.


3) Visuals


Oreki and Chitanda, Hyouka

“Anime draws you in aesthetically – it’s visually stunning and much more pleasing to the eye than American animation, so for me personally, that was the initial hook.” – Michele Sontag

For FUNimation Graphic Designer Michele Sontag, who’s done BD/DVD designs for Danganronpa and Free! Eternal Summer, the visuals immediately caught her attention. When technical feasts such as Hyouka or Kyosou Giga appear, it looks fresh and vibrant. While we may notice a model that’s off or something unfinished, we can also find ourselves catching our breath when watching JP get in his TransAM20000 car in Redline and go as fast as he can in it, and, compared to regular cartoons, it’s, as voice actress Erica Mendez (Ryuuko in Kill la Kill, Nico in Love Live!) said, “a breath of fresh air for animation enthusiasts.


4) Characters


Nico Yazawa, Love Live!

We connect ourselves to the characters and become incredibly invested. For example, I can’t think of one person that calls Marge Simpson their waifu…” – Michele Sontag

Michele’s point is simple: what other medium, aside from video games, is as intense with its fan-fiction, cosplays, fanart, and connection to characters? Not too many, especially if we love that character enough to spend months creating a dress or pants while going to work or school.

There are many characters that, for one reason or another, grab our hearts to the point where we care about them. Whether it’s some goofy, spiky haired kid from Dragon Ball with only a pole and a 4 star ball left by his dead grandpa, or a young girl from Sora Naegino with enough passion to fly to the United States from Japan to fulfill her childhood dream, sometimes we get attached to them — and they influence us in ways most mediums can’t do.


5) Story


boku dake ga inai machi 5 Reasons Why People Love Anime

I think really it’s about story. Anime tackles stories with deeper emotional and psychological themes that you don’t typically see in other types of animation. There’s so much variety that it’s easy to find something that tickles your fancy.” – Finni Chang

Ok, sure, there’s High School of the Dead and Demon King Daimao, which aren’t always in it for its story, but they find an audience out there. Then there’s something like Hunter x Hunter, where we think we’re following a kid named Gon as he searches for his dad, but his journey leads us to new stories about other characters, good and evil. Or there’s something like Attack on Titan. Or even this season’s current hit, Boku dake ga Inai Machi (ERASED).

As Finni Chang, who created art for Gaia Online and works for places like Fanime and Glu Mobile, mentioned above, there are so many anime with different stories, that you’ll likely find another anime set in high school — but, maybe it stars some girl who’s extremely anti-social, or a kid who’s not really a delinquent but is put in a class full of them, or you have a former delinquent that happened to be one of the leaders of a gang who’s now teaching high school kids… The list is endless.

But, as PR manager of JRPG publisher Ghostlight Games, Ross Brierley, points out, there are stories for everyone. “I first got introduced to anime through my interest in science fiction & fantasy. At the time while there were quite a few high quality western live action science fiction series, the options for fantasy were somewhat more limited. So when a friend at university introduced me to series such as Macross, Fullmetal Alchemist and Cowboy Bebop, this was what I’d been looking for: good science fiction & fantasy series.

From there, his anime taste broadened to new things.

So, no, we won’t like everything, but we’ll find something worth watching, because anime gives us countless reasons to watch each and every year.

The History of 3D Computer Graphics in Anime

3D computer animation is less common in anime than it is in the West; they don’t have a Pixar or a Dreamworks. So where is 3D animation used in anime, how has it developed, and how is it best applied?

Look at the major American animated films being released this year and you’ll find almost all of them are 3D computer animation (Laika’s Kubo and the Two Strings being a rare stop-motion exception). In contrast, 2D hand-drawn animation still makes up the majority of Japanese anime. Computers are still part of the production process. Almost every anime since 2000 has used computer coloring (Sazae-San was the last hold-out to switch from traditional cels to digital paint in 2013). The use of full 3D CGI, however, is much more limited due to a mix of budgetary issues and aesthetic tastes. Backgrounds and machines are frequently modeled and animated digitally, but anime with 3D CGI character animation are much rarer, and with a mixed success rate.


The ’80s: The Birth of 3D Animation


The first usage of 3D computer animation in an animated film was in the 1983 movie Golgo 13: The Professional.

Golgo 13 The Professional

…the technology wasn’t quite there to pull off the effect they wanted. To be fair, this was VERY early in the development of computer animation. Tron, the first movie to utilize CGI for longer than a few seconds, had just come out the year before. But Tron‘s visuals have aged better than Golgo’s helicopter because it worked with the limitations of early CGI, setting the action inside a video game and going for a relatively abstract style.

Lensman

The stylistic influence of Tron can be seen in 1984’s Lensman movie, which featured computer-animated spaceships.


The ’90s: Major Advances


Ghost in the Shell

CGI remained a rare novelty in anime throughout the ’80s and into the early ’90s. In 1995, however, the same year that Toy Story, the first fully-CG animated film, was released, Japan had its own technical ground-breaker in Ghost in the Shell. Considered one of the most impressive mixes of traditional and computer animation at the time, the 3D effects haven’t aged as well as the hand-drawn work (in 2008 Production IG released a reanimated version to raise the 3D animation quality to that of the 2004 sequel), but Ghost in the Shell made 3D CGI viable for anime production. Soon TV anime such as Escaflowne and Cowboy Bebop would include 3D CG background effects.

Blue Submarine No. 6

Gonzo made a name for itself spending big budgets on anime with CG backgrounds and mechanical effects, starting with the OAV series Blue Submarine No. 6 in 1998. They even called themselves “Gonzo Digimation” up until July 2004, after the premiere of Samurai 7, at the time the most expensive TV anime ever made due to its extensive 3D mecha animation. Budgets fell at Gonzo since, and they’re no longer considered the cutting edge of animation technology.

Princess Mononoke

Even the traditionalist Studio Ghibli experimented with 3D effects. 1997’s Princess Mononoke used computer animation to deal with the complicated tentacles of the cursed boar gods. They’d continue to integrate 3D CG elements into their films, most notably the castle in 2004’s Howl’s Moving Castle before Miyazaki decided to shutter the studio’s CG department during the production of Ponyo.


The 21st Century: Common Uses of 3D CGI


Steamboy
So how is 3D CGI best used in anime? As this making-of video for the 2004 film Steamboy shows, it create extremely convincing backgrounds and vehicles that blend in with hand-drawn characters while allowing greater freedom of camera movement.

Gundam Unicorn
As CGI becomes cheaper, effects animation can achieve more complexity, allowing for 3D mecha battles like those in 2010’s Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn. “Cell shading” rendering provides cartoony outlines and sharp colors that allow the 3D visuals to match with the 2D animation.

Love Live
Increasingly, cell-shaded doubles of traditionally-animated characters are used in anime for more complex action or dance sequences, such as this number from 2013’s Love Live.


Fully Computer-Animated Anime


Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
Fully computer-animated anime remain fairly rare. Japan’s 3D animation talent is primarily focused on video games, so it makes sense many 3D computer-animated anime have been connected to video games (in the case of 1999’s cheap and fascinatingly bizarre Gregory Horror Show, the anime came before a video-game, but it felt like watching a first-person video game cutscene minus the interactivity). Square attempted to get into the filmmaking business with the 2001 American co-production Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, which attempted photorealistic rendering of human characters but fell short, falling into the Uncanny Valley for many viewers, and ended up a bomb.

Final Fantasy Advent Children
2005’s Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, in contrast, went for a similarly detailed more stylized look with designs closer to traditional anime, and was better received. Films such as 2009’s Oblivion Island and 2014’s Stand by Me Doraemon have also translated traditional anime designs into full 3D to acclaim.

Knights of Sidonia
Some 3D CG anime go further in attempting to replicate the look of traditional anime with full cell-shading. The various movies of Appleseed have been done in this style, while the 2014 Netflix series Knights of Sidonia is probably the current most prominent example of a fully cell-shaded anime. But does Sidonia and other cell-shaded anime sometimes go too far in attempting to imitate traditional animation? The most controversial issue is frame rate. Traditionally-animated anime tends towards a lower frame rate, but various drawing techniques and modulation of frame rate make the more limited animation flow naturally. Shows like Sidonia and this season’s Ajin also use a lower frame-rate, but due to the nature of 3D modelling aren’t able to utilize the same techniques that lessen the choppiness of traditional anime and thus appear unnaturally choppy. If 3D computer animation is to grow in Japan as it has in America, its best bet is to embrace the individual strengths and work around the weaknesses of its own medium rather than merely to slavishly imitate 2D animation and pale in comparison.

50 Anime References You May Have Missed

Were you ever caught off guard by an anime reference – big or small – in another series? There are actually more anime easter eggs to uncover than you may have imagined. Here are 50 anime references your may have missed.


1. Osomatsu-san Lampoons Shingeki no Kyojin


Osomatsu-san Shingeki no Kyojin

Episode one of the 2015 Osomatsu-san revival featured an onslaught of anime references – and was removed from the Japanese home media release because of it – but the most stand out parody was easily the sextuplets’ take on Shingeki no Kyojin.


2. Holo Cutout in Durarara!!


Durarara!! Ookami to Koushinryou

Light novel readers will get a kick out of the cardboard cutout of Holo from Ookami to Koushinryou in Durarara!! (and maybe wish they had one of their own).


3. Neo Genesis Evangelion-Themed Twister in GJ-bu


GJ-bu Evangelion

In the second episode of the school club comedy GJ-bu, the likeness of Asuka, Rei, and Mari from
Neon Genesis Evangelion is seen on the cover for Twister.


4. Mako Swimming in Inou-Battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de


Inou-Battle Kill la Kill

With Kill la Kill studio Trigger animating the anime adaptation of Inou-Battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de, it was only natural to expect a cameo or two, such as the above picture of Mako Mankanshoku swimming.


5. Kirino, Kyosuke, Ruri, and Saori in Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai


Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai

In the 11th episode of Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai, we see the main cast of Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai present at Comiket.


6. Angel Beats! References Studio Ghibli


Angel Beats Studio Ghibli

These blurred out anime references to some of Studio Ghibli’s most famous films – Tenkuu no Shiro Laputa and Howl no Ugoku Shiro – can be seen in the anime series Angel Beats!


7. Kyubey Sign in Nisemonogatari


Nisemonogatari Kyubey

Similar to Trigger’s anime references, Shaft producing Nisemonogatari and Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica allows them to sneak in a Kyubey cameo in the former.


8. Yuyushiki Magazine in Kiniro Mosaic


Kiniro Mosaic Yuyushiki

Both series original featured in Manga Time Kirara and its sister publication Manga Time Kirara Max, the three oddball stars of Yuyushiki grace a magazine cover in Kiniro Mosaic.


9. Gundam Models in Keroro Gunsou


Keroro Gunsou Gundam

The space frog Keroro from Keroro Gunsou spends his time watching anime, reading manga, and building various Gundam figurines from the plastic model kit.


10. Goku Visits the World of Dr. Slump


Dragon Ball Dr Slump

Sharing the same author and illustrator – Akira Toriyama – the Dragon Ball anime takes a brief detour to the gag manga Dr. Slump during the Red Ribbon Army Saga.


11. Lupin III Homage in FLCL


Lupin III FLCL

The fifth episode in the sureal comedy FLCL features a playful tripute to the opening montage of Lupin III: Part II; boxing glove and all.


12. Excel Becomes Sailor Moon


Excel Saga Sailor Moon

Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon is far from the only series parodied in Heppoko Jikken Animation Excel Saga, but this anime reference stands out because the female leads from both series are voiced by Japanese voice actress Kotono Mitsuishi.


13. Naruto Headband in Ansatsu Kyoushitsu


Assassination Classroom Naruto

During the first season of Ansatsu Kyoushitsu, the strange tentacle mosnter known as Koro-sensei sports a familar looking headband from the Naruto series.


14. The Fridge from Cowboy Bebop Lands in Space Dandy


Cowboy Bebop Space Dandy

There’s numerous evidence that suggest Cowboy Bebop and Space Dandy take place in the same universe – and both series were directed by Shinichirō Watanabe – but the strongest one was the infamous alien-infested fridge from the former winding up in the latter.


15. Urusei Yatsura Ending Reference in Kill la Kill


Urusei Yatsura Kill la Kill

The second ending theme for Kill la Kill called “Shinsekai Koukyougaku” is a direct reference to the first opening theme of Urusei Yatsura named “Lum no Love Song.”


16. Titan Sandcastle in Nisekoi


Nisekoi Shingeki no Kyoji

Viewers of the harem comedy Nisekoi were treated to a sly Shingeki no Kyojin reference of the monstrous Titan peeping its head out of this sand castle.


17. Kino no Tabi: The Beautiful World Light Novel in Toaru Kagaku no Railgun


Kino no Tabi Toaru Kagaku no Railgun

Ruiko Saten from Toaru Kagaku no Railgun is found briefly reading Kino no Tabi: The Beautiful World in its light novel form.


18. Gaming References in No Game No Life


No Game No Life, Persona

Akiba’s Trip, Steins;Gate, and Persona 4 are among the gaming references made in the No Game No Life; the last two receiving anime adaptations.


19. K-ON Castanet Dance in Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui!


K-On Watamote

The socially inept Kuroki Tomoko from Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui! is seen here doing Yui Hirasawa’s castanet dance in K-ON!


20. Light Stops By Death Parade


Death Note Death Parade

The Unmade Death Man in Death Parade bears a strong resembles to Death Note protagonist Light Yagami, and considering both series are animated by Madhouse, it’s likely not a coincidence.



21. Sword Art Online Figurines in Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata


SAO Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata

For a series about a high school otaku trying to support his BD buying habits, Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata having anime references like these figurines from Sword Art Online, Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai., and more are expected.


22. Dirty Pair Cameo in City Hunter


City Hunter Dirty Pair

The 1987 anime City Hunter featured cameos of the leading ladies from Dirty Pair in its 39th episode, although it’s just their colorful hairs in the background.


23. Haru and Shizuka in Hoozuki no Reitetsu


Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun Hoozuki no Reitetsu

Haru Yoshida and Shizuku Mizutani from Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun make an appearance as demons in the supernatural comedy Hoozuki no Reitetsu.


24. Kamehameha in Blood Lad


Blood Lad

One of the many inside jokes in Blood Lad involved the vampiric otaku Staz Charlie Blood performing a Kamehameha from Dragon Ball Z.


25. Anime Posters in Outbreak Company


Outbreak Company Anime Posters

There’s a ton of anime references in the 2013 series Outbreak Company, such as the second episode featuring altered anime posters of Hataraku Maou-sama!, Toaru Kagaku no Railgun, Yondemasu yo, Azazel-san..


26. Shingeki no Kyojin Uniform in Servant X Service


Shingeki no Kyojin Servant X Service

Outfit maker Megumi Chihaya from Servant X Service is seen in the 12th episode with a few of her cosplay creations from series like Shingeki no Kyojin, Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai., Bakemonogatari, and Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya.


27. Death Note Reference in Binbougami ga!


Binbougami ga! Death Note

The likeness of L, Misa Amane, Light and more from the Shonen Jump thriller Death Note can bee seen in the 2012 comedy Binbougami ga!.


28. Miku Hatsune in Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei


Miku Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei

Miku Hatsune and the other Crypton Vocaloids are seen auditioning for the role of Meru Meru in the anime Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei.


29. Eva Reference in Paniponi Dash!


Eva Paniponi Dash!

The gag anime Paniponi Dash! pays tribute to the iconic Neon Genesis Evangelion scene of Evangelion Unit-01 holding Kaworu Nagisa.


30. D-Frag! Cameo in Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai: Megami-hen


The World God Only Knows D-Frag

During the second season of (Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai: Megami-hen, Takao from D-Frag! shows up in a PS Vita-ish game.


31. Shin-chan Toy in Sailor Moon


Sailor Moon Shin Chan

In Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon a toy based on Shinnosuke Nohara from Crayon Shin-chan is seen; owned by a boy named Shinnosuke who shares the same troubling characteristics to the character.


32. JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken in Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru. Zoku


JoJo's Bizzare Adventure Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru. Zoku

Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru. Zoku has Hayama Hayato mimicing Giorno Giovanna’s “I have a dream!” pose in JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken.


33. Grand Line Reference in Ore no Kanojo to Osananajimi ga Shuraba Sugiru


One Piece Ore no Kanojo to Osananajimi ga Shuraba Sugiru

Himeka Akishino from Ore no Kanojo to Osananajimi ga Shuraba Sugiru shows off her chuunibyo skills by referencing the Grand Line from One Piece.


34. Gundams in Shirobako


Gundam Shirobako.

While these blurred out images might be hard to make out, these are indeed Gundams appearing in Shirobako: an anime about the Japanese animation industry .


35. Yuru Yuri References in Sabagebu!


Yuru Yuri Sabagebu

Former Yuru Yuri anime director Masahiko Oota managed to sneak in some subtle and not-so-subtle references to the series in Sabagebu, including the scene where Akari Akaza rolls off a cliff in a drum barell.


36. Light Novels in Haiyore! Nyaruko-san


Haiyore! Nyaruko-san Ore no Kanojo to Osananajimi ga Shuraba Sugiru

Haiyore! Nyaruko-san, the romantic comedy based on the H. P. Lovecraft Cthulhu mythos, teased the light novel release of Ore no Kanojo to Osananajimi ga Shuraba Sugiru.


37. Joshiraku Addresses the Anime Industry


Joshiraku Anime

The hilarious comedy Joshiraku got very real when it addressed the anime industry’s unhealthy fixation on the latest craze, citing the copycats of Neon Genesis Evangelion, K-ON!, Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica, and Sword Art Online.


38. Yui and Kyon in Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!


Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! Yui Kyon

The likeness of Yui Hirasawa from K-ON! and Kyon from Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu can be seen in Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!: Kirameki no… Slapstick Noel; all three shows produced by Kyoto Animation.


39. Akira Motorcycle Scene in Michiko to Hatchin


Michiko to Hatchin Akira

The 22-episode series Michiko to Hatchin referenced the iconic motorcycle animation scene from the 1988 theatrical film Akira.


40. Fullmetal Alchemist Reference in Seitokai no Ichizon


Seitokai no Ichizon Fullmetal Alchemist

The student council anime Seitokai no Ichizon includes several anime references; one of which is the famous equivalent exchange dialogue from Fullmetal Alchemist.


41. Lil’ Slugger in Psycho-Pass


Mousou Dairinin Psycho-Pass

Lil’ Slugger’s infamous Golden Bat from the Satoshi Kon-directed series Mousou Dairinin is seen in the equally psychological anime series Psycho-Pass.


42. Nice Boat Shout Out in Kimi ga Aruji de Shitsuji ga Ore de


School Days Kimi ga Aruji de Shitsuji ga Ore de

The harem comedy Kimi ga Aruji de Shitsuji ga Ore de referenced the meme-favorite “Nice Boat” scene from School Days, where a gruesome scene in the final episode was edited out with a live action clip of a boat.


43. Mashiro in Danna ga Nani wo Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken


Danna ga Nani wo Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken Mikakunin de Shinkoukei

Danna ga Nani wo Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken, the slice-of-life anime about marriage and otaku life, depicts Mashiro Mitsumine from Mikakunin de Shinkoukei as the husband character’s “waifu.”


44. DBZ Parody in Gintama


DBZ Gintama

Anime references are abundant in the action/comedy Gintama, but the series pays special tribute to the popular Shonen Jump series Dragon Ball Z.


45. Rei and Asuka in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann


Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann Eva

Two girls dressed as Playboy bunnies in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann look awfully like Asuka Langley Soryu and Rei Ayanami from Neon Genesis Evangelion.


46. Soul Eater and Fullmetal Alchemist in Barakamon

FMA Soul Eater Barakamon

Manga volumes of Soul Eater and Fullmetal Alchemist – two series made by Bones – appear in the 2014 summer anime Barakamon.


47. Haruhi Cosplay in Lucky Star


Lucky Star Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu

Kyoto Animation made plenty of references to its previous Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu in Lucky Star, but the most notable was the Haruhi Suzumiya cosplay worn by Konata Izumi.


48. Vegeta and Trunks in Seto no Hanayome


Seto no Hanayome DBZ

Two students who share a strong resemblance to Vegeta and Trunks from Dragon Ball Z appear in mermaid-inspired romantic series Seto no Hanayome.


49. Akira, Gundam, and more in Abenobashi Mahou Shoutengai


Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi Anime

The surreal fantasy parody Abenobashi Mahou Shoutengai made numerous anime references during its 13 episode run, including Gundam, Neon Genesis Evangelion, and Akira.


50. Saint Seiya Transformation in Arakawa Under the Bridge


Arakawa Under the Bridge Saint Seiya

Last but not least, the charming romantic series Arakawa Under the Bridge featured a hilarious parody of the over-the-top transformation sequences in Saint Seiya.

Top 16 Best Anime OSTs: Music of the Heart

Let’s explore what makes a soundtrack truly great by looking at 16 of the best OSTs that anime has to offer.

Best Anime OSTs


anime ost anime girl headphones
A great soundtrack can make an average anime good and a good anime great. Music gives life to each and every character, while guiding you through the emotional roller coaster of each scene!

Everyone is sure to have their personal favorite, but here are 16 of the best we’ve ever heard in anime.


Anime OST Playlist Below!


Cowboy Bebop

MAL Rated 8.83, Ranked #22 | Aired Spring 1998 | Produced by Sunrise


Cowboy Bebop complete soundtrack anime ost
Let’s just get the obvious one out of the way right at the start. Unless you are literally physically allergic to jazz or blues, Cowboy Bebop has the best soundtrack of any anime ever made. Now you don’t have to scroll down through the rest of this article to make sure I haven’t forgotten it. The brilliant Yoko Kanno formed a band, Seatbelts, just to make the OST for this series! Kanno is also famous for Ghost in Shell: Stand Alone Complex‘s OST, another classic.


Naruto

MAL Rated 7.81, Ranked #842 | Aired Fall 2002 | Produced by Studio Pierrot


Naruto main theme OST
Let’s be clear on thing: Naruto has OG status in the anime world. There’s no use hating. This main theme is absolutely iconic and often played whenever Naruto was doing something really brave or cool! It’s extremely nostalgic with fans to this day, having been superseded by Shipuuden’s own original OST and not being featured in any recent Naruto production (with the exception of a legendary appearance in The Last movie).


Wolf’s Rain

MAL Rated 7.95, Ranked #596 | Aired Winter 2003 | Produced by Bones


Wolf’s Rain soundtrack anime ost
The best OSTs are those that best compliment the tone and mood of the anime. Wolf’s Rain is a dark, grey, very mid-00’s emo style anime and this is a soulful, lonely soundtrack that goes perfectly with it. Beautiful, moody piano pieces such as “Rakuen”, and soulful English vocal pieces such as “Strangers” grace this OST.


Code Geass

MAL Rated 8.86, Ranked #18 | Aired Fall 2006 | Produced by Sunrise


Code Geass soundtrack anime ost
I picked this particular song because it was the one used for next episode previews in both seasons of Code Geass. It’s the one they inevitably played after dropping some giant plot twist. In terms of ramping up your excitement with quick, dramatic music, it’s pretty darn great. Kotaro Nakagawa, and Hitomi Kuroishi are responsible for this famous anime’s equally good OST.


Mushishi

MAL Rated 8.79, Ranked #27 | Aired Fall 2005 | Produced by Artland


Mushishi soundtrack anime ost
It’s how understated the soundtrack for Mushishi is that makes it stand out, ironically. Again this is all to bring out the mood of the anime in question, and the soft music of Mushishi produced by Toshio Masuda has that perfect way of lulling you to sleep…in a good way! Masuda is no stranger to using classical Japanese instruments and melodies, as his OST for the original Naruto anime was also heavily influenced by traditional Japanese music.


Beck

MAL Rated 8.43, Ranked #132 | Aired Fall 2004 | Produced by Madhouse


Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad soundtrack anime ost
Look man, I know you might be a big fat dub-hater. I can respect that. But if you’re going to watch Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad, watch the English dub and don’t let Engrish ruin these fantastic songs on the OST.


Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica (Puella Magi Madoka Magica)

MAL Rated 8.56, Ranked #76 | Aired Winter 2011 | Produced by Shaft


Puella Magi Madoka Magica Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica soundtrack anime ost
Wouldn’t be a proper ‘Best Anime OSTs’ list without some Yuki Kajiura on there, and why not go for her most famous work. She’d made something of a name for herself with the soundtrack of *.Hack//Sign but it was the Celtic tunes of Madoka that propelled her name into common anime fan knowledge.


Ghost in the Shell

MAL Rated 8.34, Ranked #186 | Aired Fall 1995 | Produced by Production IG


Ghost in the Shell soundtrack anime ost
If you want the single most iconic pieces of anime OST, it would be…well, actually it would probably be Blue from the final episode of Cowboy Bebop, BUT after that it would be Making of a Cyborg from the opening sequence of the Ghost in the Shell movie composed by Kenji Kawai. That whole opening scene has inspired many creators since. Also notable on the Ghost in the Shell movie OST is “See You Everyday”, which is sung in Cantonese Chinese by pop artist Fang Ka Wing.


FLCL

MAL Rated 8.05, Ranked #458 | Aired Spring 2000 | Produced by Gainax


FLCL soundtrack anime ost
The FLCL OST turned The Pillows from an obscure Japanese indie rock band to a temporary household name with anime fans across the globe. There were rumours ages ago that they were trying to get The Pillows together with Gainax again for a Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer anime adaptation, but unfortunately the whole project fell through. Now that would have been something.


Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu (Legend of the Galactic Heroes)

MAL Rated 9.10, Ranked #8 | Aired Winter 1988 | Produced by Artland


Legend of the Galactic Heroes Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu soundtrack anime ost
Some may argue that it’s cheating to include an anime where the soundtrack is just classical music, but it comes down to how you actually use it that matters. The genre is called space opera after all. It wouldn’t feel right to have these giant space battles without Beethoven blaring the in background.


Majo no Takkyuubin (Kiki’s Delivery Service)

MAL Rated 8.26, Ranked #244 | Aired Summer 1989 | Produced by Studio Ghibli


Kiki’s Delivery Service Majo no takkyuubin soundtrack anime ost
Honestly you could include the soundtrack of any Ghibli movie here. Joe Hisaishi composes the OSTs for most of Ghibli’s works, and there’s nobody better at making the childish fantasy epics comes to life than him.


Guilty Crown

MAL Rated 7.88, Ranked #699 | Aired Fall 2011 | Produced by Production IG


Guilty Crown soundtrack anime ost
Look, Guilty Crown may have failed in a few areas such as the story, the characters, the writing… OK maybe it failed in a lot of areas, but there were two areas in which it definitely succeeded. It looked great, and it sounded fantastic. Supercell provided the opening and ending, and Hiroyuki Sawano of Kill la Kill and Attack on Titan fame composed and produced all of the tracks in the OST.


Samurai Champloo

MAL Rated 8.50, Ranked #100 | Aired Spring 2004 | Produced by Manglobe


Samurai Champloo soundtrack anime ost
Can’t have Bebop without giving a mention to its excellent sister series. You can just imagine director Shinichiro Watanabe suddenly waking up and yelling “BREAK-DANCING SAMURAI” and designing an entire anime and soundtrack around that concept. The combination of the two make for a truly unique and excellent OST.


Shigatsu wa kimi no uso (Your Lie in April)

MAL Rated 8.93, Ranked #14 | Aired Fall 2014 | Produced by A-1 Pictures


Your Lie in April soundtrack anime ost
One of the most popular OSTs from the past year or so. If you’re going to make an anime about music, then you better make sure you have your soundtrack up to scratch. Aside from the classical performances by the musician characters in the anime, the original soundtrack also features beautiful poppy and ballad pieces.


Clannad

MAL Rated 8.38, Ranked #163 | Aired Fall 2007 | Produced by Kyoto Animation


Clannad soundtrack anime ost
I may personally have some serious issues with the Key writing style, but they are experts on the musical side of things. They have a habit of making music that gets under your skin and stirs up your emotions. Jun Maeda not only writes the scenarios for the visual novels, but also produces the music as well! Singers Riya and Lia (unrelated, though they have similar names) provide the vocals for many Clannad (and other Key) songs.


Redline

MAL Rated 8.35, Ranked #181 | Aired Fall 2009 | Produced by Madhouse


Redline soundtrack anime ost
You want to break some speed limits and get your first speeding ticket? Put the Redline soundtrack on in your car and find yourself swerving around corners. What’s particularly impressive about the way Redline uses the OST is its clever use of “fade in” and “fade out” for when cars are airborne, giving you that same sense of weightlessness the drivers themselves are feeling. Redline’s OST’s producer James Shimoji makes heavy use of bass heavy electronic music sounds in the soundtrack.


Want more anime music? Check out the below articles as well!

25 Best Anime Opening Songs of All Time
25 Best Anime Ending Songs of All Time
Top 9 Anime Series with Piano Music That Will Tug At Your Heart