“Anime is just cartoon. I’m too old for it!”
Are you also tired of hearing this? I can feel your pain. But the brighter days are here- anime has risen in popularity and even entered mainstream culture in some places. Finally, people all across the world are acknowledging and showing appreciation for the varied, amazing world of anime that can reel anyone in. We have compiled a list of the most popular anime of all time as well as some contemporary hits that you can binge-watch during the weekends.
1. My Hero Academia
This one is by far the best I’ve ever seen. When Ariana Grande said in her song, 7 rings, “I want it, I’ll get it,” she could just as well have been singing about this anime- name a genre and you’ll get it. The very first episode will make you stick to your seat and binge-watch the whole season. I remember my experience while watching the first episode and folks, I’m not going to lie, I cried!!
Snippet – The story is centred around a teenage boy, Midoria, who is quirkless (without any special power) at the starting of the anime, his untimely encounter with the no. 1 hero, Almight, and finally becoming his successor in the most unexpected way.
Genre: Supernatural, Fantasy, Comedy, Life, Romance, Adventure
Seasons: 4 (season 5 is expected to release soon)
Episodes: 26 per season
2. Attack on Titan (AOT)
Indubitably one of the most popular anime, this is a masterpiece created by Isayama, the writer of the anime. It holds the power to shake you to the core and will have you jumping in your seat and biting your nails. This anime is not for fragile hearts, it involves bloodshed, and most probably, the death of your favorite character (I warned you not for the weak hearted), serious discussions, darkness, and a mind-blowing story. It is a black hole that will suck in all your attention.
Snippet: Naked titans running around killing humans. A revenge journey of Eren who pledged to kill all the titans, Mikasa who pledged to kill anyone who harms Eren, and Armin pledged to protect Eren and Mikasa (such a sweet boy) along with Erwin (Mr. Eyebrows), Hanji (glasses), and Levi (literally everyone’s crush), the most powerful members of Survey Corps.
Genre: Fantasy, Post-apocalyptic
Seasons: 3 ( season 4 is going to release soon)
Episodes: Season 1 – 25 ep; Season 2 – 12 ep; Season 3 – Part I, 12 ep; Part II, 10 ep
It might fool you with its opening song into expecting light-hearted drama but then slaps you right in the face with its seriousness, amazing storyline, graphics, visuals, and wonderful OSTs as the story progresses. Written by Adachi Toka, this will leave you rolling on the floor with its humour. All the characters radiate their own unique charm. I have to say, this is one of those animes in which you cannot dislike anyone, not even the antagonist.
Snippet: The story revolves around three main leads, Hiyori who is made half human and half ayakashi by Yato, who is a stray god, a.k.a the God of Calamity or simply just a spoiled old geezer wearing track-suit, and finally Yukine (Yuki), who is a shinki (divine instrument) of Yato. The story is about their friendship, love, bond and ultimately facing the ‘evil’.
Genre: Supernatural, Fantasy, Comedy, Romance
Episodes: 13 per season
It’s time for some spooky vibes. This anime will really play tango with your brain and force your eyes on the tiniest of details. Released in 2012, it can be watched in a single sitting if you’re an avid fan of anime or, should I say, an otaku. It makes you hold your breath and think, “what is going to happen next?” at every turn. It turns you into Sherlock Holmes to try to deduce the storyline only to hit a wall ( trust me, I tried and failed miserably).
Snippet: The main protagonist is a middle school boy named Sakakibara who got transferred into a new school located in the countryside and notices unusual activity taking place around the school, its students, teachers and around the people of the town. The school is known to be ‘cursed’ and here Sakakibara meets a mysterious girl named Misaki. Chaos ensues.
Genre: Horror and Mystery
5. Demon Slayer (Kimetsu no Yaiba)
This is a heart-touching story of a brother and sister. Well, a demon sister. Released only last year, it instantly caught the eye of the viewers and went viral. The popularity of this anime alone can vouch for its amazing story.
Snippet: The main lead Tanjirou’s family was killed by demons, only her little sister survived but at the cost of her humanity. Tanjirou has taken a vow to change her sister back into a human and end the demon named Muzan Kibutsuji who killed his family. He sets out to become a demon slayer and there he meets Zenitsu who is a scaredy cat and eventually passes out when he is stressed, Inosuke who wears a wild boar mask and is actually one with nature, he has no idea of this world. This trio is absolutely hilarious.
Genre: Supernatural, Comedy, Adventure, Martial Art
Seasons: 1 ( movie released recently)
6. The Promised Neverland (Yakusoku no Nebarando)
This anime is perfect for those who want to feel the thrill of the unknown. Written by Kaiu Shirai, it was released in January 2019. The anime currently has only one season but the manga is much ahead, consisting of nearly 20 volumes. If you want to feel your heart thumping with every scene, then this is not going to disappoint you.
Snippet: Our three protagonists Emma and her two best friends Ray and Norman discovered a dark truth about the orphanage where they were living with other kids. The story revolves around their potential escape plan from the orphanage along with others.
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
7. Your Lie in April (Shigatsu wa Kimi no uso)
Grab those tissues because you are going to need them while watching this one. The story is heart-rending and inspiring. It makes you think from a different perspective and look at distinct aspects of life. Released in 2016, this anime is written by Naoshi Arakawa. A plot focused on music, life, terminal illness, battling with childhood trauma, and overcoming these challenges.
Snippet: A journey of discovering oneself again in the midst of the harsh reality of the real world. The protagonist, Kosei Arima, a piano prodigy, loses his ability to play after a traumatic event which took place during his childhood. Kaori Miyazono, a girl who sees the world through a different lens, helps Kosei in overcoming his fears, but there’s a catch. She has secrets of her own.
Genre: Music, Drama, Romance, Slice of Life
8. Death Note
As one of the most popular animes that has made itself known far beyond the otaku-world, Death Note is considered a classic. If you are ready for a blood-curdling, thrilling ride, tighten your seat belts, grab that packet of chips and start watching. It keeps you hooked till the very end. Every captured scene is a masterpiece. It’s like two Sherlocks competing with each other and it’s the audience left feeling like they just ran a marathon.
Snippet: Light Yagami discovers a notebook which is capable of killing anyone whose name is written in it. After discovering this, he sets out on a rampage to eliminate anyone who comes between him and his goal- becoming the ‘god’ of this world. A first, you’ll find him in the right place but then you’ll see his real delusional self.
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Crime, Fiction
9. One Punch Man
As the name suggests, this anime is about a superhero who has an unbelievable strength and needs only one punch to finish off his opponent. A mixture of comedy, serious discussions about trivial things, unique expressions, amazing fight scenes and a shining bald head ( you’ll know what I’m talking about when you watch it).
Snippet: Saitama who finishes off his opponents with just a single punch, is looking for someone who can stand before him and not actually die. Genos, a disciple of Saitama as he calls himself, and also a cyborg, wants to become as strong as his master. This duo will leave you rolling on the floor laughing- the perfect recipe for the most popular anime.
Genre: Supernatural, Fiction, Comedy
Episodes: 12 per season
10. Death Parade
This anime is based on the concept of afterlife. It is absolutely brutal and mysterious. If you are also curious about what happens after the death of a person, then absolutely go for this. It also showcases the harsh reality of the people of this world, their selfishness, their kindness, their twisted nature and more.
Snippet: The recently deceased arrive at Quindecim, a bar where a trial is held to decide the destiny of their souls. It centers around two main leads, Chiyuki who is recently deceased and doesn’t have any memories of her life before and Decim, the bartender of Quindecim. Together they uncover the truth about Chiyuki’s condition.
Genre: Psychological Thriller