Top 15 Greatest Anime Series Ever Made

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Anime could be a complicated medium, one riddled with landmines if you don’t educate yourself.

There are anime series out there carelessly crafted with one-dimensional characters and bogged down by shallow writing.

It doesn’t help convert any naysayers and it’s no fun for the experienced viewer to watch.

So, if you’re new to the anime world and you want to start off on the right foot, these 15 best anime series are the ones that you can't miss.

15. Sword Art Online (2012)

As far as premises go, it’s tough to beat Sword Art Online.

The story follows Kirito, a beta tester for an anticipated virtual reality MMORPG, who must escape the perils of the virtual reality as the players are captured in its world.

The only way out is to defeat the final boss. Oh yeah, and death in the video game equates to death in the real world.

Awesome. Running 25 episodes, Sword Art Online doesn’t require a lifelong commitment like its anime brethren Naruto and One Piece.

14. Dragon Ball (1986)

 Dragon Ball (1986)

If you’re a 1980s or 90s kid, chances are you grew up watching Dragon Ball every weekend.

While it may not hold up as well for fans who are now adults, it still carries a wonderful sense of nostalgia and child-like glee.

It’s fun, packed with adventure, and witnessing Goku’s transformation into what he eventually becomes in Dragon Ball Z is worth the watch alone.

If you’re a fan of DBZ and Dragon Ball GT, there’s really no reason why you shouldn’t give Dragon Ball a fair shake.

13. Death Note (2006)

 Death Note (2006)

Death Note was inconsistent during its 37-episode run, but overall the story was gripping and unpredictable.

And while we would have enjoyed stronger characters to match the quality of the subject matter, the storyline is ultimately the most important aspect.

Possessing a notebook that has the ability to kill anyone whose name is written inside is an interesting premise, one that is explored to the fullest degree.

12. One Piece (1999)

One Piece is loaded with adventure, action, touching moments and everything in-between.

It’s also loaded with, well, episodes.

The series is approaching 700 episodes and is ongoing, so a fair portion of its catalogue is reserved for filler—which has no effect on the main storyline and serves no purpose other than to buy time for the manga to produce additional volumes.

That being said, One Piece gets away with this by showcasing developed characters.

Luffy and Zoro lead the cast and as long as they’re on screen it’s bound to be a good time—and really, that’s what quality anime is all about.

11. Naruto (2002)

 Naruto (2002)

Naruto is similar to Dragon Ball in that it started with a lighter tone before shifting to more action and darker subject matter in its follow-up series, Shippuden.

Naruto was long-running, too, airing 220 episodes—also with its fair share of filler, unfortunately.

Still, like One Piece, Naruto’s strength lies in its characters, and one advantage to stretching out the story is allowing your characters to develop more organically.

What made this anime so successful and still a classic are the characters inhabiting its world.

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