With hundreds and thousands of animes available to watch, you might get confused about where to start, but don’t worry! We have compiled a list of the top ten mainstream animes based on their iconic status and ones with the biggest fan bases!
Anime got a sudden boom in popularity when the Covid-19 pandemic hit. With shows and movies stopping production, people needed something to binge on, and what better way than to binge over 500 episodes of Naruto or start the never-ending shonen One Piece that has over 9000 episodes?
Here is a list of mainstream animes we recommend you watch!
Dragon Ball/ Dragon Ball Z/ Dragon Ball Super
Dragon Ball is one of the world’s most popular anime written by Akira Toriyama and published by Toei Animation. It first aired on 26 February 1986, and follows the journey of a young boy named Goku, who is gifted with extraordinary powers. He sets out on a quest with his new friend Bulma to find seven Dragon Balls that grant its holder three wishes.
The story of Goku is split into three different animes:
Dragon Ball: (1984 to 1995)
Image via amazon.com
The shonen follows young Goku on a journey to collect all seven Dragon Balls to summon the Mighty Shenron to grant three perfect wishes. He meets many new people that stick with him throughout the entire story, such as Bulma, Master Roshi, Yamcha, Krillin, and many more!
We won’t say too much, because as the Dragon Ball universe progresses, things obviously get serious. However, in Dragon Ball, it all comes down to one particular martial arts tournament – where young Goku finds himself tediously overpowered, and has to come back stronger, to face higher-powered opponents.
Dragon Ball Z
Dragon Ball Z continues with the adventures of adult Goku and friends, who defend the Earth against evil villains, aliens, androids and magical creatures. During this time, we see character development for Piccolo and Vegeta, and Goku’s own son, young Gohan.
Dragon Ball Super
Well, this is where fights in dragon ball go ballistic! The world of Dragon Ball gets introduced to gods and angels while Goku and Vegeta seek to get stronger. Under training from an angel, Goku and Vegeta fight new opponents from various universes.
In search of a horror sci-fi anime with a hell-lot of mystery? Look nowhere else! Tokyo Ghoul will give you the chills, the need for more, and will uncover a big mystery over time. The anime was produced by Pierrot and was written illustrated by Sui Ishida for her manga. The anime aired from 4 July 2014 to 19 September 2014, and is currently available to stream on Netflix.
The story follows a teenage boy called Kaneki Ken, who, early on in the series, faces a brutal superhuman attack. It is revealed that Kaneki was, in fact, faced by a ghoul – a supernatural being that consumes humans to stay alive. Kaneki survives the attack, but at a grim cost – he is now half-ghoul and half-human. Kaneki must now find a life in a world that is increasingly foreign to him.
Tokyo Ghoul has one season, consisting of 12 episodes. Watch Tokyo Ghoul on Netflix here.
Adapted into an anime by Studio Pierrot on 5 October, 2004, Bleach is an adventure shonen with an incredible story and very memorable characters! The anime has 366 episodes and tells the story of a boy named Ichigo Kurosaki who gains the powers of a soul reaper.
It is revealed that ever since he was a little boy, Ichigo Kurosaki had the ability to see ghosts and spirits. His powers that were simply untapped. One night, Ichigo’s family falls prey to an attack by a hallow, otherwise known to be a lost soul. His mother dies during the attack, and Ichigo bares witness. To prevent souls from taking any more innocent lives, Ichigo becomes a Grim Reaper, dedicating his own life to save people from spirits and relieve spirits into their world.
Hunter x Hunter
Hunter x Hunter is a manga series written and illustrated by Yoshihiro Togashi. In 1999 Hunter x Hunter, was adapted into a 62 episode anime produced by Nippon Animation and directed by Kazuhiro Furuhashi that ran on Fuji Television from October 1999 to March 2001. Later in 2011, the series was issued for a re-run along with new animation and many more episodes for us Hunter x Hunter fans.
The Story of HunterXHunter follows a young boy called Gon Freecss who is on a mission to become a hunter and follow in his father’s footsteps. He finds new friends that accompany him on his journey, learns new techniques, and battling against the top hunters. The show is filled with exciting fights and entertaining characters. THIS IS A MUST WATCH!
Attack on Titan
Only if you’ve been living under a rock, you wouldn’t know about Attack on Titan! This is a manga written and illustrated by Hajime Isayama that was made into an anime in 2013 by MAPPA and for the 4th season Wit Studios. The mystery of what lies behind those walls and the constant attack of the titans will leave views in awe.
The story of Attack on Titan follows a boy called Eren Yager, who dwells peacefully in a village surrounded by forty-foot walls. That is, until hundred years of peace ends when the Colossal titan breaches the main gates and lets hundreds of titans rampage and kill all humans.
The story takes a turn when Eren learns he has the power to turn into one of those creatures and save his friends and family from the titans outside the gates!
Released on 29 March 2006, Fullmetal Alchemist was produced by Studio Bones and aired on MBS Japan. The story follows two young boys on a mission to bring back their deceased mother. A spell goes sour and the boys lose their bodies.
The Fullmetal Alchemist series is filled with great animation, intense action sequences and deep lore behind every fundamental within the universe. It is set in a dark fantasy world where people use magic for selfish reasons and pay the price. Let your imagination run wild on that thought. Or better yet, get watching!
Pokemon has been a cultural reset, multiple times, to say the least. There’s no way you haven’t seen, heard of, or participated in any one Pokemon event, activity or franchise. So if you haven’t already gone deep-diving into this unique world of cute, superpowered creatures, there’s no better time than now.
Before you start watching, we recommend getting your viewing order noted down. The series is VAST, and has many spin-offs. Make a list, check it twice, and take the week to binge a fraction of the Pokemon series. You won’t regret it!
Death Note is a dark fantasy sci-fi thriller written by Tsugumi Ohba and debuted on 1 December 2003. The story follows a high-school kid called Light Yagami who stumbles upon a book called the Death Note. Rules written on the first page of this book reveal sinister secrets – writing a name in the Death Note is essentially a kill order.
The story has many twists and turns, but mainly follows two central characters, and one supernatural integrator. We see our main character Light use Ryuk, a reaper, to do his bidding via the Death Note, while L, the detective, takes on the duo multiple times in hopes of putting an end to their activities. Death Note boasts amazing storytelling that will leave people on the edge of their seats, bewildered and questioning just about everything!
Written and illustrated by Eiichiro Oda, the action-adventure pirate shonen has been airing on Televisions since 20 October 1999. The anime has almost completed one thousand episodes with none of them being fillers.
The story of One Piece follows a young boy called Luffy, who wants to become the greatest pirate in the world. Luffy works hard to find a crew and starts off in a small boat, fighting other pirates and claiming gold. There are supernatural elements to the series that you need to get your fill of, but that is all we will say!
Written and Illustrated by Masashi Kishimoto, Naruto tells the story of a naughty young boy of the same name, aspiring to be the Hokage (the village Leader) of Hidden Leaf village. The anime first aired on 21 September 1999 and by the end, gathered 220 episodes in total, with some being fillers.
The story of Naruto is spilt into two parts. Naruto tells the story his youth, while Naruto Shippuden takes place when Naruto is 15-18 years of age. In Naruto, Naruto goes through many tests to pass his chunin exam to become a ninja, but loses important comrades along the way.
We get a time-skip in which Naruto has trained with his god-father Jariya. During this period, Naruto learns how to use the Rasengan, and how to control a hidden power within him. The story unravels a plot bigger than expected that will blow your mind away, with rich lore and deep character sketches!
We hope you like our Top 10 list of mainstream anime and have already chosen what you’re watching next. With magical Death Notes falling from the sky, to giants destroying villages, anime has it all!