The Top 100 Anime and Manga Battles of All Time (10 – 1)

10. Mob vs Suzuki

Mob attempts to talk things out with Suzuki. He’s not interested. Threaten, he attacks Mob. Suzuki almost kills Dimple, and tries to incinerate Reigen. Finally, disgusted, Mob enters 100 % rage. Mob levitates the Culture Tower into the sky. To keep up with Mob’s power, Suzuki slowly increases his Power Output. Mob goes through multiple emotion at 100% from, Ecstasy, Shame and Compassion. He constantly tries to reason with Suzuki. He fails. Suzuki increases his Power Output to 80%. Mob reaches 100% Resignation, realizing that he can’t get through to Suzuki.

Mob starts to mangle Suzuki’s body, forcing the later to reach 100 % Power Output. His body increases in size and his head becomes inflamed. He overpowers Mob with his new strength. However, the amount of power Suzuki uses backfires on him. His body begins to self-destruct. Despite Mob trying to save him, Suzuki explodes.


9. Meliodas vs The Ten Commandments

Meliodas is the “Sin of Wrath” of the Seven Deadly Sins, faces off against the Ten Commandments. I’ve heard about the manga Seven Deadly Sins and seen it promoted on Netflix, but I haven’t really decided to pick it up. This fight changed that. The title character Meliodas fights all ten of the commandments. Derieri, Drole, Estarossa, Fraudrin, Gloxinia, Grayroad, Melascula, Monspeet, Zeldris.

Meliodas first fights Drole and Gloxinia. They put up a good fight, but Meliodas takes the upper hand. However, the other Commandments arrive and dynamics of the fight change. Meliodas is ganged up on and is ultimately he is killed by Estarossa.


8. Tanjiro & Nezuko vs Rui

Tanjiro manages to escape terrible damage from Rui’s thread, only getting a scarred on the face. Tanjiro is finally cornered by Rui’s web of threads, Nezuko jumps out of the box. She saves Tanjiro, but is severely wounded. Rui finally reveals that he’s the member of the Twelve Moons. He tethers Nezuko in his threads, cutting into her limbs as punishment. She falls to sleep in order to heal herself. Meanwhile, Tanjiro uses the Final Form of his Water Style. He’s able to cut the threads now and creates a water dragon. Realizing the threat that Tanjiro possess, Rui uses his Blood Art to strengthen his threads.

Tanjiro transforms his water dragon into a fire one. He now able to cut the more enhanced threads. Tanjiro moves closer to Rui, who finally moves into striking range. He accepts that he will likely die from their encounter. Nezuko is awakened by a vision of her mother asking her to save her brother. Nezuko uses her Blood Art: Blood Ignite, burning the blood on the threads. The fire travels along the threads, destroying the webs that Rui created. As Tanjiro says that “the bond between he and Nezuko can’t be severed,” his sword with Nezuko blood on it severs Rui’s head.


7. All Might vs All For One

The finally fight of this list is the epic battle between old enemies, All Might and All for One. My Hero Academia featured many battles that could have ended up on this list but this one had no equal. When the League of Villains kidnap, Katsuki Bakugo, All Might is tasked with finding the taken student. During his rescue attempt he encounters his former nemesis. Backing the future of villainy, All for One aims to help them escape capture. He easily defeats the other top ten heroes, forcing All Might to engage.

All Might is still weaken from their previous battle that left him with permanent damage. Still their fight is able to create massive shock-waves, destroying the surrounding area. All Might even reverts to his skinny form, revealing to the world that he’s not as he once was. Encouraged to fight for the future heroes, All Might gathers what remains of his dwindling strength and hits All for One with a devastatingly powerful move, United States of Smash.


6. Luffy vs Katakuri

Monkey D. Luffy and Charlotte Katakuri face off during the Whole Cake Island Arc in the Mirror World. This fight was a long one and largely saw Katakuri dominate Luffy. This is why the result of the match, Luffy’s win feels strange and unnecessary. One of One Piece’s most distinguish qualities is that the “main character” in this case Luffy doesn’t have to always win. Even in a later “fight” against Kiado, Luffy is easily defeated. So why did he win this fight?

Some fans wrongly suggested that this was typical plot armor, it wasn’t. However, I agree Luffy should have taken the lost on this. Regardless, we see Luffy reach another level as he introduces us to another form, Gear Fourth: Snakeman. The fight might be too repetitive and the victory was the wrong one. Regardless, it’s worth your time.


5. Netero vs Meruem

The Chimera Ant King (Meruem) and Hunter Chairman (Netero) battle underground. As Meruem counters the hands of 100-Type Guanyin Bodhisattva. As Netero hits Meruem with one of his hands, the Ant King simply gets up and attacks again. This “game” continues as Meruem looks for a slight opening. While, Meruem marvels at the abilities the Netero, he eventually finds that opening, tearing off Netero’s right leg.

Undeterred, Netero continues to attack. This time he loses his left arm. Netero simply prays with his one hand. The 100-type Guanyin Bodhisattva appears behind Meruem as he uses his “zero hand.” After the attack, the underground tomb is destroyed and Netero ages. Meruem is somewhat damaged, but not nearly enough to die. Netero, however, is near death. He sticks two fingers in his chest, activating a nuclear bomb.


4. Midoriya vs Todoroki

The much anticipated battle between Izuku and Shoto begins in episode 10 of Boku no Hero Academia. Titled, Shoto Todoroki: Origin, this episode was wall to wall action and the animation was spectacular. Shoto quickly attacks Izuku with his Half-Cold, Half-Hot quirk, creating pillars of ice, Izuku counters with One for All, using his middle finger. He creates a powerful gust of wind, destroying the ice and breaking his middle finger.

They repeat this pattern several times, then Shoto uses his ice to get closer to Izuku. Engaging in close combat, Shoto gains the upper hand, trapping the foot of Izuku. Left with no choice, Izuku uses his quirk with his entire fist, knocking Shoto backwards. Shoto attacks again, but Izuku destroys the ice once again. He then criticizes Izuku for using only half his powers. Enraged, Shoto runs toward Izuku, but the negative effects of his quirk has caused his body some frostbite. He’s slower and Izuku manages to hit him directly in the stomach.

Izuku continues to challenge Shoto’s resistance to using his fire ability. Shoto flashes back to his traumatic childhood. He recalls being abused and isolated from his siblings and how he came to hate his father. Izuku tells Shoto that, “his fire power belongs to him and only him.” Shoto finally activates his fire powers, his father Endeavor is delighted, both Shoto and Izuku gear up for their clash. Shoto uses a massive wave of ice, while Izuku use his quirk on his leg. Cementoss attempts to intervene to protect them from their attacks. Shoto shots his fire and Izuku causes a powerful shock-wave. As the smoke clears, Izuku has been knocked out of bound, giving Shoto the win.


3. Jiraiya vs Pain

The Six Paths of Pain arrives
The Six Paths of Pain arrives

Jiraiya attempts to invade the hidden village of rain without detection. However, he fails and finds that the intruder is Jiraiya. Pain is mysterious character, who he is and what his powers are unknown. Pain changes bodies to feature a longer haired body. Pain summons a crab like creature that uses a bubble, Jiraiya uses a ” Raging Lion’s Mane Technique” and tangles the crab in his hair. The summon disappears and Jiraiya then uses his hair on Pain, who uses substitution jutsu.

Jiraiya summons a toad as Pain summons a chameleon. Jiraiya decides he’s “I’m going into sennin mode”, Pain hides in the mouth of the chameleon which turns invisible. Jiraiya counters with a barrier detection jutsu, Pain response by summoning a Cerberus like animal. Pain continues to use animal summons to conceal his location. Jiraiya wonders why he hasn’t use a technique other than summons. Jiraiya releases his summon and emerges transformed with two toads on his shoulders. The female toad uses her tongue to sniff out the chameleon, and uses acid to kill it.

Pain summons two other humans to the battlefield, each with their own set of Rinnegan eyes. Confused Jiraiya aims to discover the secret to Pains power. One of the Pains attacks Jiraiya and he uses his Frog Karate to counter. He then uses his “Hermit Art: Deep Fryer”, but another Pain absorbs this jutsu. Jiraiya decides to try close combat, he attacks with a massive Rasengan. The Rasengan is also absorbed, a smoke bomb is used to give cover and Jiraiya attempts to attack Pain from behind.

He fails to land a direct hit, he uses a frog summon as an distraction and uses his “Hermit Art: Hair Needle Barrage”. It’s his fast attack and Pain still manages to counter it, with a summon. Jiraiya realizes somethings up and retreats to come up with a plan. Jiraiya concludes that the eyes of the Pains are linked. He and the frogs determine they need to use genjutsu. The genjutsu has it’s effect and Jiraiya kills the three Pains. However, another Pain shows you, he attacks Jiraiya ripping of his arm.

Confused again as all the previously dead Pain are alive. He now has six adversaries to contend with, “The six paths of Pain”. Jiraiya kills one of the Pains and manage to seek refuge inside another toad. Instead of escaping he decides to confront Pain one last time. He realizes that all the Pains are shinobi he’s fought before. At this point Pain crushes Jiraiya’s throat and all six Pains stabs him. Jiraiya uses his last moments leave a message on the back of one of the toads before he drowns.


2. Gohan vs Cell

Gohan damages Cell

Goku tells Cell that his son Gohan is a better match for him, at first everyone is skeptical. Gohan powers up stunning everyone with his power level. However, his inexperience and fear of his power leaves him at Cell’s mercy. Cell decides to push Gohan to the limit by hurting his friends with Cell Jr’s.The brutalizing of Gohan’s friends doesn’t push Gohan to his limit, but Android 16 gives Gohan a speech about the meaning of life. When Cell crushes Android 16’s head killing him Gohan finally snaps, unleashing his hidden powers.

After this power boost Gohan strength and speed increases tremendously, he quickly destroy’s the Cell Jr’s. Cell and Gohan begin their fight and it appears that Gohan isn’t even trying, he becomes rather cocky. Cell powers up one more time but it doesn’t matter, Gohan is still stronger. He delivers two devastating punches on Cell, knock him to his knees. Cell becomes enraged at being dominated by a child, Cell uses a series of the Z fighters attacks. He concludes with a massive Kamehameha aim at destroying the earth, Gohan simply reflects it with his own. Cell is damaged by Gohan’s Kamehameha, but Cell heals himself.

Cell increases his size and loses his speed in the process. Gohan continues to damage Cell, resulting in him regurgitating Android 18 and transform back. Cell having lost his power becomes afraid of Gohan and decides to self destruct, Goku uses his instant transition to transport Cell and save the earth. Cell explodes killing Goku, he returns however shooting Trunks through the chest. Vegeta becomes enraged at what Cell did to Trunks, attacking him. Cell is unharmed and try’s to kill Vegeta, who is saved by Gohan. Cell aims to end this fight with a clash of Kamehameha with Gohan. Gohan struggles to get the lead in the conflict, the remaining Z fighters try to help but are useless. However, Vegeta proves to be powerful enough to at least distracting Cell. Gohan takes advantage with one final push, destroying Cell and saving the Earth.


1. White beard Pirates vs Marines

Whitebeard dies

The White beard Pirates with “43 allied crews”, waged a war against over 100,000 Marines and five Shichibukai. Luffy and several criminals from Impel Down show up to save Ace. Many of White Beards crew and allies are killed and injured. Whitebeard is severely injured and later dies at the hands of Black beard’s crew. Luffy takes center stage as he makes his way thorough the Marines and manages to save Ace.

However, the joy is short lived as Akainu kills Ace and severely damages Luffy, who is devastated mentally. Black beard manages to steal White beard devil fruit ability. The war is ceased by Shanks and his crew. There’s more to this battle but this war represents a major change in the series, the death of White beard, Ace and the theft of the White beards devil fruit. Black beard ascends to level of Youkon, and his crew terrorizes the seas.

Check Out The Top 100 Anime and Manga Battles of All Time (20 – 11)

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Top Ten Anime from the 80’s & 90’s

As the decade comes to a close, I figure that I would join in on the best decade listing. I was born in the late 80’s so many of the anime I grew on are from that period. I decided to combine the two decades. Looking back at the anime on the lists, I would say all of the anime on this list stand the test of time. That doesn’t necessary mean that they’re superior to anime that has come after, but they still are magnificent. The animation was more grainy and the colors were muted. The plots were more mature that the current top series. Most of these series are considered to be among the “most influential” of all time.



10. Rurouni Kenshin – 1996

Himura Kenshin is a wandering swordsman that was formerly the assassin Hitokiri Battosai. The creator, Nobuhiro Watsuki want to make a different kind of shonen series. One that was more serious, focusing on themes like atonement, peace and romance. The anime series is one of the most popular, with a sophisticated plot and epic action scenes. It took a while for me to warm up to this series, but the series grew on me. The anime only adapts the series up to the Shishio fight, then focuses on material that’s new.


9. Tenchi Muyo (Tenchi Universe) – 1995

Generally I don’t like harem series, but Tenchi Universe was an exception. Based on the six episode OVA series, Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki, the series focuses on Tenchi. The grandchild of legendary warrior and prince of the the Juraian Empire, Yosho. Tenchi’s life changes after a series of intergalactic women arrive in his life. There’s the space pirate Ryoko, snobbish princess Ayeka, her sister Sasami, Goddess Tsunami, the clumsy Galactic Officer Mihoshi and her partner Kiyone and finally the legendary mad scientist Washu. As the ladies bicker with one another over trivial matters and Ryoko and Ayeka battle for Tenchi’s love, they group become fugitives. Together the evade detection and manage to save the Juraian Empire from the control of Kagato.



8. Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – 1995

There are some many different Gundam series it can be difficult to tell them apart. However, Mobile Suit Gundam Wing is credited with “globalizing the franchise.” The first Gundam series to air in American and the sixth anime in the series, Gundam Wing focuses on the war between Earth and it’s orbital colonies. The series introduces us to five pilots, Heero Yuy, Duo Maxwell, Trowa Barton, Quatre Raberba Winner and Change Wufei. They are tasked with using their Gundams attack the Organization of the Zodiac (OZ) and free the colonies from oppression.


7. Yu Yu Hakusho – 1992

Adapted from the manga series of the same name, Yu Yu Hakusho follows 14 year old, Yusuke Urameshi. In an act of heroism he sacrifices his life to same the life of little boy. He learns that the after life is real and is given a chance to redeem himself. He becomes an Underworld Detective, tasked with investigating supernatural activity in the Human World. Yu Yu Hakusho was twice voted “anime of the year” in 1994 and 1995 by Animage Anime Grand Prix. The series has been featured on many lists of the all time greatest anime series ever. Yu Yu Hakusho remains one of the most influential anime series.



6. Sailor Moon – 1992

Lazy crybaby Usagi Tsukino (Sailor Moon) meets a magical talking cat Luna and is asked to save the universe. Joined by Sailor Soldiers, Ami Mizuno (Sailor Mercury), Rei Hino (Sailor Mars), Makoto Kino (Sailor Jupiter), Minako Aino (Sailor Venus) and supported by the mysterious Tuxedo Mask. They learn that in their past lives that they Usagi was Princess Serenity, the Sailor Soldiers were her friends and bodyguards and she was in love with a prince from Earth. However they were all killed by the Dark Kingdom. Queen Serenity sent the fallen to the future to be reborn.


5. Pokemon – 1997

With over 1,000 episodes to its credit, Pokemon is one of the most watched anime series of all time. Pokemon is credited with mainstreaming anime in the United States. Since then it has been released in over 169 different countries. The series generally focuses on the eternally youthful Ash Ketchum and his Pikachu. The first season of Pokemon, follows Ash, as he travels the Indigo League collecting eight badges. He’s joined by Misty and Brock. The series featured the iconic OP, “Pokémon Theme Song,” and the PokeRAP that ended every episode. Watching Ash battle each gym leader and enter the League is some of my fondest memories period.



4. Akira – 1988

Regarded as one of the greatest animated movies of all time, Akira is a must see anime for any fan. Considered a “landmark” anime film, responsible for increasing anime’s popularity and it’s manga art (by Katsuhiro Otomo) influencing many authors like Naruto’s Masashi Kishimoto. Featuring many sci-fi elements, Akira is held by many as being one of the best sci-fi movies as well. Bloody and violent, Akira is set in a dystopian 2019. It tells the story of Shotaro Kaneda, a biker gang leader. His childhood friend, Tetsuo Shima, acquires telekinetic abilities after a motorcycle accident. Tetsuo eventual threatens Neo-Tokyo, rampaging through the city in search for Akira.


3. DBZ – 1989

Dragon Ball Z debuted in 89, but it wasn’t until the 90’s that the series really took off. A sequel to Dragon Ball, like Akira before and Pokemon after marked a tipping point in anime relevance and popularity. Following the now adult Goku and his family and friends as they battle search for the Dragon Balls and battles intergalactic aliens, androids and other creatures. The original Dragon Ball focuses on Goku’s his childhood, Dragon Ball Z focuses on Gohan’s (Goku’s son) childhood. DBZ was so popular that it outperformed shows like Friends and X-Files. Dragon Ball Z remains one of the most important anime series of all time.



2. Cowboy Bebop – 1998

The iconic anime neo-noir series, praised for it’s jazz soundtrack, production values and a all star voice cast. Cowboy Bebop has to be among the most popular and significant anime series ever. Highly praised by critics, Cowboy Bebop, follows the bounty hunting trio, Spike Spiegel, Jet Black and Faye Valentine. They are joined by eccentric hacker, Ed and Welsh Corgi (a dog) that has been genetically engineered to have human-like intellect. Cowboy Bebop follows the aftermath of Spike escape from the criminal enterprise, Red Dragon Syndicate. He also hopes to flee his former friend, now enemy Vicious.


1. Neon Genesis Evangelion – 1995

Neon Genesis Evangelion is one of the most controversial and acclaimed anime series. A deconstruction of the mecha genre, Evangelion is stated to have “led to the rebirth of the anime industry.” The series features many complex themes, touching on mental illness, philosophy and religion. Evangelion manages to embed religious symbolism. Like Cowboy Bebop, Neon Genesis Evangelion is considered to be a masterpiece. Personalty, I always found the main protagonist, Shinji, to be incredibly annoying. However, he is one of the most nuanced characters in anime history. Evangelion can be seem too complex at first and probably requires several viewings, but once you understand it, you’ll get the praise this series receives.

Want more: Top Ten Anime and Manga Franchises

Why are shonen anime characters so stupid?

Important Note: I haven’t been blogging recently due to the fact that I got a job working for USPS. It’s a temporary holiday job that will end in late December. I work overnight from midnight to 8:30 AM, six days a week. As you can image, I don’t have much time left if I include sleeping. I just wanted you guys to know that in case you were wondering why I stopped blogging. I’ll be back in full force in January.

A common question among anime and manga fans for decades has been, why are anime characters so stupid? This question is specifically asked when referring to shonen manga. It should be noted that “shonen” isn’t technically a genre, as it refers to a targeted demographic. However, within anime culture many fans know what’s being referred to when you mention, shonen. Shonen’s main demographic is young teen males. Intended for boys between the ages of 12 and 18, shonen series highlight the themes that generally matter most to this demo. Primarily, fighting series focuses on action packed battle scenes with friendships between boys being emphasized. To make characters more appealing to the young male demographic they tend to begin as young boys.

It’s Akira Toriyama’s fault


But, I think the reason that shonen feature “stupid” protagonists is primarily due to the admiration and influence of Akira Toriyama. A Japanese manga artists and character designer, Toriyama, first achieve success with his Dr. Slump manga series. It won him the Shogakukan Manga Award in 1981 and went on to sell 35 million copies. As a character designer he has been successful for Dragon Quests, Chrono Trigger and Blue Dragon series. However, Akira Toriyama is best known for his follow up manga series Dragon Ball. Having sold over 250 million copies, Dragon Ball is the second best selling manga of all time. Considered to be a primary driving force in increasing manga sales from the mid 80’s to the mid 90’s, Dragon Ball’s impact continues to be felt till this day. Akira Toriyama is credited with popularizing shonen manga beginning in the 80’s continuing to this day.

The invention of the Stock Shonen Hero trope


It is this influence that is responsible for the trend of “dumb” shonen characters. To be more specific, it is Dragon Ball’s main protagonist, Son Goku that is the template that shonen heroes are built upon. Considered to be the most influential manga characters of all time, he’s a saiyan that was sent to conquer Earth as a baby. After hitting his head as a child, he loses his aggression that comes naturally to the saiyan race. As a result, he is no longer able to conquer the world. As Goku ages, he makes friends, enemies, gets married and has children. He’s presented as being profoundly stupid, but innocent at heart. Always has mercy for his enemies and is capable of brilliance during combat. Goku, like all saiyans, takes pride in his strength. Goku has been credited with giving birth to the “Stock Shonen Hero” trope.


This trope describes a “big hearted, energetic kid,” that is not too bright. They have pride in their fighting strength. These heroes are willing to train hard to achieve even greater strength. However, their true power comes from the friendships they have gained and the sense of justice they possess. The “stock shonen hero” is always ready to help the weak, risk their lives for strangers and friends, while often showing mercy towards enemies. Every character that is inspired by Goku has many of these qualities as well. Akira Toriyama and his Dragon Ball series has been cited as inspiration for many manga artists. Eiichiro Oda (One Piece), Masashi Kishimoto (Naruto) and Tite Kubo (Bleach) have all claimed to have been influenced by Dragon Ball. Oda’s Monkey D. Luffy, Kishimoto’s Naruto and Kubo’s Ichigo, all share the parts of the tropes Goku made famous.


A genre that priorities the physical strength of a character over their intelligence, is obviously going result in dumb characters with epic battles. Making characters dumb is considered to be a great way to make them appealing to a larger audience. What they lack in book smarts, they make up in “street smarts.” Meaning these characters are able to think on the fly and can problem solve when needed. In shonen manga this “intelligence” is often shown during fights. While shonen anime existed before Akira Toriyama, it’s his Dragon Ball series that popularized the genre. Toriyama’s Goku was the inspiration for many future protagonist, making stupid heroes the norm.

The Top Ten highest grossing anime or manga media franchises (Part 1)

10. Neon Genesis Evangelion – $16.3 Billion


Neon Genesis Evangelion was created in 1994 by Hideaki Anno and Gainax. An apocalyptic mecha series that focused on the military organization NERV as they fight beings called Angels, to save humanity. Primarily an anime series, Evangelion has expanded to include, merchandising, karaoke, music, manga and Pachinko. It’s currently owned by Khara Studios.


9. Yu-Gi-Oh! – $20 Billion


Yu-Gi-Oh was created in 1996. A Japanese manga series, written and illustrated by Kazuki Takahashi. The plot follows the story of Yugi Mutou as he tries to solve the ancient Millennium Puzzle. The manga has resulted in a massive media franchise that includes a trading card game, video games and a anime series.


8. One Piece – $21 Billion

One Piece is the most successful manga series of all time. Created in 1997 by Eiichiro Oda, the story centers on Monkey D. Luffy as he explores the Grand Line in hopes of finding “One Piece.” Having sold over 450 million copies, the iconic series has expanded it’s reach. With several movies, an anime, video games and merchandising the series has developed into massive revenue.


7. Fish of the North Star – $22 Billion

Created in 1983, the Fist of the North Star manga series was written by Buronson and drawn by Tetsuo Hara. 245 chapters were collected in 27 volumes by Shueisha. Set in a world destroyed by nuclear war, the series follows Kenshiro as he uses his Hokuto Shinken martial art to give his enemies a gory death. While Fist of the North Star has included games, merchandise, anime and manga, the series mostly makes money from Pachinko and arcades.


6. Dragon Ball – $24.3 Billion

Dragon Ball is the storied series from Akira Toriyama. Created in 1984, Dragon Ball started out as a popular manga series. Eventually Dragon Ball became the second highest selling manga series of all time. It was adapted into two anime series, Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z. Through several companies, Dragon Ball has developed merchandising, films, both animated and live action, collectibles, trading cards and many video games.

My Top Ten Anime of All Time

To celebrate my 900th blog post, I decided to make my top ten anime of all time lists. When coming up with the top ten I focused on series that had the most impact on me. At the same time I also choose anime that can and have stood the test of time (even from an animation stand point), and I would recommend to anyone. I don’t think any of these series are going to be surprise anyone, as most are mainstream to an anime audience.

[Note] One Piece, Naruto and Bleach aren’t on the lists because I prefer(ed) the manga.


10. Dragon Ball Z

If this was a list of the series that I was the most nostalgic about Dragon Ball Z would be number one. Most of my childhood was centered on DBZ . The Cartoon Network would torture me by repeating the same arc’s over and over again. I must have watched the Radditz arc at least 50 times before they moved on to the saiyan arc. The series has come to define anime for many anime fans and non-anime fans. It’s hands down one of, if not the most popular anime series of all-time. Dragon Ball Z has been often mocked for it’s constant screaming and it’s “inaction sequences.” My mother would often comment “did they start fighting yet” as she would walk past the t.v. Despite it’s iconic status, DBZ as a series had a lot of problems. This is mostly due to running up against the manga. DBZ had many bad fillers, dragged out fights and at one point took ten episodes for planet Namek to explode. Even with this, the series had some of the most epic fights and has clearly left a mark on anime in general. Dragon Ball Z still remains an anime series that I consider a must see.


9. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann

A mecha anime series by Gainax, Gurren Lagann focuses on mankind’s rise from a subterranean existence to the galactic exploration. Taking place in a future where Earth is ruled by the Spiral King, Lordgenome, a young digger named Simon and his “brother” Kamina dream of reaching the surface. As they and Team Gurren make their way to the skies, they engage in epic, over the top mecha battles. Gurren Lagann features high quality animation, surprising deaths, fanservice, theme music power ups and cool mecha designs. Gurren Lagann resulted in another anime classic for Gainax.


8. Made in Abyss

My favorite anime genre tends to be shonen, but Made in Abyss made me appreciate the seinen genre more. Made in Abyss plays with expectation, if you think the adorable characters are going to have a fun adventure, you are wrong. While only having one season under it’s belt, Made in Abyss had a profound impact on me. Exciting, ruthless, filled with body horror, tear jerking moments and has a intriguing mystery to discover. Made in Abyss is not for the faint of heart, but it’s worth the emotional scarring.


7. Hunter X Hunter

For some reason I kept avoiding Hunter X Hunter. After running into a little bit of an anime drought, I decided to give the series a try. I wasn’t disappointed. On the surface Hunter X Hunter feels like a typical shonen series, but it’s more than that. Gon Freecss, the main protagonists, is a prime example of the undermining of shonen tropes this series does. I loved it’s complicated power system (Nen), character development, action and the uses of a narrator. Narration seemed unnecessary at first but I think it is an amazing addition to the series that adds to it.


6. Mob Psycho 100

An anime from web-comic creator ONE, Mob Psycho 100, is about a 14 year old boy named Shigeo Kageyama. He aims to be ordinary despite the fact that he’s extraordinary with telekinesis. He is a complicated young man struggling with his emotions and fear of his power harming others. Mob Psycho 100 main moral lesson is that despite having an extraordinary abilities you still need work to improve yourself as a human. Mob in particular embodies this theme. Despite his psychic powers he doesn’t think he’s better than anyone. That said, Mob Psycho 100 is still a shonen series with fluid animation, bright colors, humor, funny characters and epic battles.


5. One Punch Man

The creator of Mob Psycho 100 is also the creator of One Punch Man. The title is to be taken literally, as the main protagonist, Saitama is capable of defeating most monsters with one punch. One Punch Man is a parody of the shonen superhero series. It makes fun of the over the top and somewhat silly nature of the typical shonen anime, that results in the main character always defeating the bad guy. It’s surprising how satisfying you find Saitama’s one hit victories. The series does have interesting action, usually it’s other less powerful characters are doing the fighting though. Despite this the series does manage to keep us wondering, which monster can make Saitama hit it more than once. The first season is considered perfect, the second one, not so much. Still, One Punch Man remains an important series for anime fans to watch.


4. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

The story of the Elric brothers, Edward and Alphonse is a sad, tragic tale. Born into a world that practices alchemy, the brothers arrogance leads them to believe that they can break one of the most important rules of alchemy. Trying to resurrect their mother, Ed loses his right arm and left leg and his brother loses his entire body. The brothers go in search of the “philosopher stone,” so they can transmute without consequences. While maintaining a sense of humor, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, is full of themes like sacrifice, death, selfishness, what is truth, and the value of life. If you want to watch an anime series that balances dark themes, comedy and great action, FMA is it.


3. Attack on Titan

If you read this far it’s clear that I love anime series that manage to successfully combine dark, mature themes with great action and top animation. Attack on Titan is a series that lives up to those standards. What separates Attack on Titan from typical series is the level of dreariness. While the main characters are largely safe, you’ll never certain. Secondary characters and any other character are fair game. With characters that are constantly underdogs, failure is the most likely outcome. Often in anime you feel that everything will be fine, in Attack on Titan your surprised that half the squad is still alive. Attack on Titan has mystery, what are titans (weird giant humanoids) and why do they eat humans? Conspiracies, what is the government doing? As they fight for human survival, the scouts deal with trauma, lost and death.


2. Cowboy Bebop

For many Cowboy Bebop is the greatest anime ever. Considered to be a masterpiece, Shinichiro Watanabe blends elements of westerns with elements of film noir. The classic anime series Lupin the third was a visual influence and the three main characters of Cowboy Bebop are inspired by Lupin, Jigen and Fujiko from Lupin. The overall story is influence by Japanese cinema. Cowboy Bebop also uses a jazz heavy soundtrack that is iconic on it’s own, marking a major departure from the common use of J Pop. Cowboy Bebop focuses on mature themes like loneliness and difficulties escaping the past, it’s well animated, well (voice) acted and generally entertaining. Cowboy Bebop is considered a “gateway series” for anime, and I couldn’t agree more.


1. Neon Genesis Evangelion

When I first began watching Neon Genesis Evangelion it was for the epic and violent mecha battles. I couldn’t comprehend the more complex themes and imagery woven into the narrative. Evangelion is credited with revolutionizing anime as a medium. Set in the year 2000, a global cataclysm called the “Second Impact,” changes the world. Antarctica is destroyed and the planet’s axis shifts, causing flooding and a altered climate. After nuclear war, half the worlds population is wiped out. Teenagers, Shinji Ikari, Asuka Langley Soryu and Rei Ayanami pilot massive mecha called Eva’s. Their enemy are physic altering monsters dubbed Angels.

Evangelion explores complex themes like depression, human subjectivity, and child abuse. The series makes many references to philosophical, psychoanalytic concepts, as well as references to Kabbalah, Christian and Jewish religions. Evangelion even uses religious texts like the Book of Genesis within the series and the Angels share names found in religion like Sachiel. The series has been described as both a ” both a critique and deconstruction of the mecha genre.” On the surface, Neon Genesis Evangelion, is a mecha anime with distinctly designed robots that engage in brutal battles. However, the series has levels of deeper and more sophisticated themes that makes Evangelion one of the most well regarded series ever.