Naruto, Son Goku, and Pikachu – if you are familiar with them, then you probably have watched Japanese anime. There is a popular opinion worldwide, “Everyone loves Japanese Anime!” and we are sure you are one of them. A wide variety of genres such as romance, comedy, action, fantasy, family, and friendship hypes an anime lover like you.
Do you love Japanese anime? Maybe you are hoping to watch another anime season but you can’t decide which one. No worries, we covered it up for you!
How did Japanese anime start? Discover the history of anime within this post. Besides, this post embodies various reasons to watch anime. Also, you have to realize what anime series and movies you should watch.
Acquire all of this information in just one reading! 始めましょう!
Brief History of Japanese Anime
Anime (アニメ) is a computer and hand-drawn animation from Japan. The word anime is a borrowed term from an English word, animation. This refers to all animated works of style and origin.
Outside Japan, anime is known as animation from Japan. Because of anime’s popularity, several countries have adopted the style of anime for one’s entertainment. The cool protagonists, colorful animation and amazing story makes the anime perfect to watch.
Did you know? Anime are adaptations of Japanese manga, light novels, video games and some are original works. To learn more about Japanese Manga, please read our article about this topic.
Iconic Years of Japanese Anime:
- 1907 – Katsudo Shashin, a claimed earliest Japanese animation
- 1917 – Namakura Gatana, an anime film was produced by one of the fathers of anime, Junichi Kouchi
- 1923 – Great Kanto Earthquake, early anime works were lost
- 1933 – Chikara to Onna no Yo no Naka, a short-film anime by Kenzo Masaoka was released
- 1945 – Momotaro: Sacred Sailors, the first feature-length anime film by Mitsuyo Seo
- In the 1950s – anime was used in advertisements for television programs in Japan
- The 1960s – Osamu Tezuka adapted and simplified Disney animation techniques, Three Tales was released, which is the first anime film to be broadcasted on television
- 1961-1964 – Instant History, the first television series to be released
- 1963-1966 – Astro Boy, the first successful anime by Osamu Tezuka and is based on his manga
- In the 1980s – robot anime series were introduced such as Gundam and Super Dimension Fortress Macross
- 1988 – Akira was released
- 1995– Ghost in the Shell which is a very famous anime was released
- 1998 – Cowboy Bebop, an anime known even today
- In the 1990s – popular Japanese anime such as Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball Z reached Western countries
- 2003 – the highest-grossing film by Studio Ghibli, Spirited Away was released and won an award
- Since the 2000s, assorted anime is released and were proven successful. Anime is released on Japan’s national television programs, internet, other countries, home media, and theater films. Most anime is subtitled and dubbed for those who want to understand the language and the anime’s plot.
Why You Should Watch Anime?
- Distinctive art styles and vivid colors can positively impact your mood.
- Learn Japanese culture
- Learn Japanese phrases from the anime
- Learn about Japanese foods
- You will be more creative and open-minded than others
- Anime teaches us life lessons because most of them focus on one aspect of life
- Japanese anime emphasizes friendship
- Anime is an entertainment
- Encourages you to be positive and nothing is impossible
- You will find new friends which is also an anime lover like you
- Don’t be shy and try cosplaying
- Learn many things in different genres such as medical and law
- You learn about teamwork, hard work, and patience
- You will also learn about human nature and reality
- Communication is the answer
- Nothing is wrong with having fun in life
- Learn about history
Did you know? There are over 430 production companies and studios in Japan. That includes the well-known Studio Ghibli, Gainax, and Toei Animation.
Best Japanese Anime Series
There is a lot of Japanese anime to choose from. It is very overwhelming to list which are the best. With factors such as popularity, internet research, and most-viewed in different media, we come up with the results below.
1. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba (鬼滅の刃)
This anime series is based on the manga series with the same name and title. The manga is written by Koyoharu Gotoge and the series is adapted by studio Ufotable. The first season aired from April 6 to September 28, 2019.
The story sets in the Taisho era of Japan. The protagonist, Tanjiro Kamado, and his sister Nezuko Kamado set on an adventure to seek the cure of Nezuko’s demon curse. The siblings encountered the Demon Slaying Corps, battling several demons using the technique, Total Concentration Breathing. This technique grants them superhuman strength.
2. Naruto (NARUTO -ナルト-) and Naruto: Shippuden (NARUTO -ナルト- 疾風伝)
Naruto is an anime series based on the manga written by Masashi Kishimoto. The anime adaptation was produced by Studio Pierrot and TV Tokyo. Part 1 aired from October 3, 2001, to February 8, 2007, with 220 episodes. On the other hand, Part 2 aired from February 15, 2007, to March 23, 2017, with 500 episodes.
The anime is centered on a young ninja called Naruto. Naruto wants to become the Hokage(leader of the village). The anime series tells the story of Naruto and his allies, from his younger years to teenage years, battling strong ninjas who threaten the peace of the ninja world.
The sequel series, Boruto(ボルト), tells the story of Naruto’s son. The series premiered on April 5, 2017.
3. Clannad (クラナド)
Based on a novel with the same name by Key, Clannad is produced by Kyoto Animation. The series with 24 episodes were broadcasted between October 2007 and March 2008.
The anime series tells the story of Tomoya Okazaki, a high school student whose life changed when he met Nagisa Furukawa. The continuation anime series called Clannad After Story was released in October 2008 with 25 episodes.
4. Monogatari Series (物語シリーズ)
Written by Nisio Isin and produced by Shaft. There are three season arcs for the first anime season. The original anime runs from July 3, 2009, to December 31, 2012.
The story revolves around Koyomi Araragi, a third-year high school student who survived a vampire attack and meets a lot of girls with different apparitions. Apparitions are such as deities, ghosts, beasts, spirits, and other supernatural phenomena.
5. One Piece (ワンピース)
This is a Japanese anime series adapted from the manga series with the same name by Eiichiro Oda. The anime is produced by Toei Animation. The anime started on October 20, 1999, and is still airing.
The story tells about Monkey D. Luffy and Strawhat Pirates, who search for the ultimate treasure, One Piece. Luffy ate the devil fruit which makes his body gain the properties of rubber. He is with his crew to become the Pirate King.
6. Neon Genesis EVANGELION (新世紀エヴァンゲリオン)
This is a Japanese mecha anime series produced by Gainax and Tatsunoko Production. It aired from October 1995 to March 1996 with 26 episodes.
The anime is set fifteen years after a worldwide cataclysm, particularly in the futuristic fortified city of Tokyo-3. Shinji is a teenage boy who was recruited by his father Gendo to the shadowy organization Nerv to pilot a giant bio-machine mecha called an “Evangelion” into combat with beings called “Angels”.
7. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (ジョジョの奇妙な冒険)
A four-season Japanese Anime, this is based on the manga series of the same name by Hirohiko Araki. This anime is produced by David Production. The anime series started on October 5, 2012.
The anime series focuses on the mysterious adventures of the Joestar family across generations, from the end of the 19th century to modern times. Each family member has a supernatural power called “Stand” which appears when they want.
8. Re: Zero -Starting Life in Another World- (Re：ゼロから始める異世界生活)
This is an anime adaptation from the light novel series by Tappei Nagatsuki and produced by studio White Fox. The series premiered on April 4 2016 and is still running. The story of the anime centers on Subaru Natsuki, a hikikomori who suddenly finds himself transported to another world on his way home from the convenience store.
9. Pokémon (ポケモン)
One of the longest anime series in Japan, Pokemon has been managed by four studios so far. The series started on April 1, 1997. It is part of The Pokémon’s Company’s Pokemon Media franchise.
Each of the series which is based on the video game follows Ash Ketchum, a young trainer of fictional creatures called Pokémon. Ash is joined by his partner Pokémon Pikachu and a rotating cast of human characters. Currently, with Goh in Pocket Monsters series, Ash goes on a journey to become a “Pokémon Master” and competes in various Pokémon-battling tournaments known as the Pokémon League.
10. Death Note (デスノート)
This is animated by studio Madhouse and aired from October 3, 2006, to June 26, 2007, with 37 episodes. The anime is based on the manga series written by Tsugumi Ohba.
The story of the anime revolves around Light Yagami who is a teen genius. Light stumbles across a mysterious otherworldly notebook, the “Death Note”, which belonged to the Shinigami Ryuk and grants the user the supernatural ability to kill anyone whose name is written in its pages. He is then rivaled by the genius, L.
Other Worth-Watching Japanese Anime Series:
11. Dragon Ball (ドラゴンボール)
This anime follows Son Goku and his friends, searching for the wish-granting dragon balls.
12. Ghost in the Shell (攻殻機動隊)
The story of the anime series is about the fictional counter-cyberterrorist organization Public Security Section 9, led by protagonist Major Motoko Kusanagi, and is set in mid-21st century Japan.
13. Love Live! (ラブライブ!)
The anime series revolves around a group of nine schoolgirl friends who become idols to save their school from shutting down.
14. Fullmetal Alchemist (鋼の錬金術師)
The anime follows the adventures of brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric, who are searching for the Philosopher’s Stone so they can regain the bodies they lost in a failed attempt to bring their dead mother back to life.
15. Attack on Titan (進撃の巨人)
Adapted from the manga with the same name, this is an anime series that follows Eren Yeager and his friends, who search for the truth about the Titan, beings who threaten humanity.
16. Detective Conan (名探偵コナン)
Case Closed is the manga series of this Japanese anime. The story follows Shinichi Kudo or Conan Edogawa, a high school detective.
17. Tokyo Ghoul (東京喰種トーキョーグール)
The anime series follows Ken Kaneki, a student who barely survives a deadly encounter with Rize Kamishiro, his date who reveals herself as a ghoul.
18. My Hero Academia (僕のヒーローアカデミア)
The anime series follows Izuku Midoriya, a boy born without superpowers (called Quirks) in a world where they have become commonplace, but who still dreams of becoming a superhero himself.
19. Code Geass ( コードギアス)
This Japanese anime follows the exiled prince Lelouch vi Britannia, who obtains the “power of absolute obedience” from a mysterious woman named C.C.
20. Yu-Gi-Oh! (遊☆戯☆王)
This anime follows a different protagonist in each season using duel cards in a game.
21. Cowboy Bebop (カウボーイビバップ)
Registered bounty hunters (also referred to as “Cowboys”) chase criminals and bring them in alive in return for a reward.
22. Fate/stay night
This Japanese anime focuses on a young mage named Shirou Emiya who becomes a warrior in a battle between “Servants” known as the Holy Grail War.
23. Inuyasha (犬夜叉)
The anime series follows the story of a dog half-demon who is constantly after a jewel of immense power, the Shikon jewel.
24. Steins; Gate (シュタインズ・ゲート)
An anime series that follows Rintaro Okabe, a self-proclaimed “mad scientist”, who runs the “Future Gadget Laboratory” in an apartment together with his friends Mayuri Shiina and Itaru “Daru” Hashida.
25. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (涼宮ハルヒの憂鬱)
The anime series follows the high school life of Haruhi Suzumiya, a young and very active high school girl, and those who are caught up in her unusual antics.
Did you know? Most anime television series is accompanied by Japanese pop and rock songs. They are inserted on anime openings, endings and some are called “insert songs”, to highlight important scenes.
26. Unusual hero-themed anime with the strongest Hero, Saitama One Punch Man
27. Adventure anime with Gon Freecs, Hunter x Hunter
28. Magical Kingdom Anime with Asta and Yuno, Black Clover
29. Magic Guilds anime with Natsu Dragneel and friends, Fairy Tail
30. Shinigami-casted anime with Ichigo Kurosaki, Bleach
Best Japanese Anime Movies
Below are the high-grossing anime films of all time. Also, the anime movies below vary from genres. To sum up, the most popular and best anime movies are produced by Studio Ghibli.
1. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba: Mugen Train
The sequel anime film of Kimetsu no Yaiba series ,was released in October 2020. The anime film was a success beating Titanic at the Japanese box office.
2. Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day (あの日見た花の名前を僕達はまだ知らない。)
The anime movie tells about a group of six sixth-grade-age childhood friends who drifted apart after one of them, Meiko “Menma” Honma, dies in an accident. Five years after that incident, the leader of the group, Jinta Yadomi, has withdrawn from society, does not attend high school, and lives as a recluse.
3. Your Name (Kimi No Na Wa, 君の名は )
A romantic anime film that tells the story of a high school boy in Tokyo and a high school girl in a rural town, who suddenly and inexplicably begins to swap bodies.
4. Akira (アキラ)
The anime film tells about Biker Kaneda who is confronted by many anti-social elements while trying to help his friend Tetsuo who is involved in a secret government project.
5. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (風の谷のナウシカ)
The anime tells the story of Young Nausicaä who lives in the arid Valley of the Wind and can communicate with the massive insects that populate the dangerous jungle.
6. Spirited Away (千と千尋の神隠し)
This anime movie tells the story of 10-year-old Chihiro and her parents who turned into pigs when they stumbled upon a seemingly abandoned amusement park.
7. My Neighbor Totoro (となりのトトロ)
This fantasy anime film tells the story of a professor’s two young daughters (Satsuki and Mei) and their interactions with friendly wood spirits in post-war rural Japan.
8. Grave of the Fireflies (火垂るの墓)
The tragedy anime film tells the story of two siblings, Seita and Setsuko, and their desperate struggle to survive during the final months of the Second World War.
9. Kiki’s Delivery Service (魔女の宅急便)
The anime film features the 13-year-old Kiki who moves to a seaside town with her talking cat, Jiji, to spend a year alone, following her village’s tradition for witches in training.
10. Princess Mononoke (もののけ姫)
The anime movie tells about Ashitaka – infected by an animal attack, who seeks a cure from the deer-like god Shishigami and accompanied by Princess Mononoke of the wolves.
11. Castle in the Sky (天空の城ラピュタ)
The anime film follows the adventures of a young boy and girl in the late 20th century attempting to keep a magic crystal from a group of military agents while searching for a legendary floating castle.
12. Howl’s Moving Castle (ハウルの動く城)
This anime film tells the story of a young, content milliner named Sophie who is turned into an old woman by a witch who enters her shop and curses her.
Did you know? Japanese anime is 60% of the world’s animated television shows. This certifies that anime is well-known!
Do you want to see humans outfitted as the characters in the Japanese anime? Tour Harajuku and perceive the anime vibes through anime cosplaying. To learn more, read our article, Top 10 Things To Do in Tokyo for First-timers.
Did you appreciate reading about Japanese anime? Discover more about Japan by visiting our articles. FAIR Japan provides useful information about Japan.