We love action anime. This anime genre is full of epic fights, charismatic main characters, and memorable villains. I decided to make a list summarizing some of the best action anime of all time, even though it was an arduous task to do: there are too many of them! Action with comedy, action with drama, and even action with suspense. Some other anime producers went a notch above, and their anime has a little bit of everything you could think about.
Several of the anime that I will present below have a long past, carrying decades of history and a lot of fans around the world. But don’t worry, ’cause if you’re not ready for the +300 episodes mark, I will also mention other anime with fewer episodes that are faster to watch.
Either way, all these anime have managed to captivate the audience. Some consider them to be the best anime ever made, and some other people not so much.
Here’s a spoilerless list of some of the best action anime of all time.
It is impossible to make this list without including one of the best shōnen ever made.
Shōnen refers to a manga or anime specifically destined for young boys. Most of the time, the main character has an unusual ability, and he or she has to save the world. Usually, these kinds of anime also include a lot of fight scenes.
When Naruto starts, we get to know a blonde-haired little boy whose energy is probably too much for the world he lives in. As we go through the first episodes, we see that most people in his village hate him. Soon we discover why: Naruto has the nine-tailed fox sealed inside of him. This is by far Naruto’s fault, and in fact, if it hasn’t been for this, the fox would have destroyed Konoha. Either way, Naruto doesn’t let any of this discourage him. He is determined to be Hokage of his village, namely, the best ninja of Konoha.
In this first part, Naruto is twelve years old. Naruto Shippūden is the name of the second part, and he is sixteen.
An infinite number of people started in the anime world by watching Naruto when they were little kids, so you’ve probably heard of it by now. If you haven’t, Naruto is a good (and long!) series to watch.
One Punch-Man (2015)
This series is about Saitama. He is a guy who, as the name hints, can take down any enemy with one hit. Literally, and that’s all you need to know.
You would think that such a series would be boring and predictable. However, I’m gonna have to fight you about that. One Punch-Man is actually considered one of the best anime of the decade so far.
At first, Saitama’s ability is helpful since the city he lives in, Z-City gets invaded by random monsters from time to time. But, being invincible all the time gets boring, so Saitama is always on the search for new rivals who can match him on force and strength.
From this premise, One Punch-Man is an unconventional anime. As the series progresses, it ends up focusing on Saitama’s character development.
This anime was a tremendous hit due to its ironic storyline, intriguing characters, and impressive animation from MadHouse studio.
Hunter x Hunter (2011)
Hunter x Hunter takes place in a world where there are magical beasts, hidden treasures, and cursed places. A Hunter is someone who seeks to unravel the power, the secrets, and everything that lies within the world.
Living in Whale Island with his aunt, Gon Frecks is a twelve-year-old who believes his two parents are dead. However, one day Kite, Gon’s father’s apprentice, talks with him about the possibility of his father being alive. Kite also tells Gon that his father is actually one of the best Hunters in the country.
Gon sets himself a new purpose: become the best Hunter ever to find his dad.
The road to becoming a Hunter it’s not easy, and Gon has to pass a rigorous exam. While doing this test, Gon befriends three of the other participants: Killua, Leorio, and Kurapika.
Killua Zoldyck is a teenager who abandoned his old life as a member of the most famous family of murderers. Leorio just wants to be a hunter to pay for his medical studies. As with Kurapika, he wishes to be a hunter to avenge his family.
This is Hunter x Hunter second anime adaptation. The first one was in 1999, and it takes some liberties from the original source, so most people prefer the 2011 version. Either way, it is one of the best action anime series of all time.
One Piece (1999)
Some anime fans hate it; some anime fans love it. Regardless, we all agree on something: it’s probably one of the most long running anime series.
One Piece is the story of the adventures of Monkey D. Luffy. Luffy is a young man who, inspired by Shanks, a pirate who saved his life, wishes to become the King of the Pirates and find the treasure known as One Piece, which belonged to Gol D. Roger. Before being executed, this legendary pirate told the world about the existence of his treasure. This began what is known as “the Great Age of Pirates”: countless pirates set out to search for that treasure, causing problems among the government.
What makes One Piece kind of funny is the main character’s ability: he ate a mysterious fruit called Devil Fruit, so now he is made of rubber. This also granted him exceptional speed, stamina, and strength, so maybe it wasn’t that bad after all.
So with this ability, Luffy will begin his adventures, recruiting friends and nakamas to help him fulfill his dream.
Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu (2014)
A boy gets infected with an alien in his body, so now he’s kind of half-alien. Sounds familiar? From movies like Alien (1979) to Venom (2018), you can see this as a recurring plot theme, even in anime, but we can’t blame them. It works, and what’s more important, we love it.
In Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu world, suddenly the world is full of aliens everywhere, and the trick in this is kind of obvious. DON’T get infected, you’ll probably die in the best of circumstances, and at the worst, you’ll become a zombie version of yourself. It’s not worth it.
Of course, not every human is the same, and not every alien parasite is the same.
In this anime, the parasites crawl inside a human’s nose or ears. Not knowing how positive this would be for him, Shinichi wraps his earphones around his arm when an alien tried to invade him. So, instead of taking up his brain as it was supposed to be, this new visitor settles for his right arm.
While Shinichi is sleeping, Migi, as the parasite decides to call itself, (Migi is the word for “right arm” in Japanese), learns how to speak, read, and think. Now Shinichi has to live with Migi inside of his body, whether he wants it or not.
This is a pretty entertaining anime I’m sure you won’t want to miss, partly because of how few episodes have when you compare it to the other anime in this list.
Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995)
On the 13th of September of 2000, a catastrophe happened. It was the first time the Earth had contact with the Angels, mysterious creatures whose only motive seem to be to destroy humanity. This event is called The Second Impact. In the Neon Genesis Evangelion universe, The First One happened 4.000 million years ago, and humans don’t give it much importance to the actual plot.
One of the consequences of The Second Impact on planet Earth is that after years of continuous war, the human population was reduced to half. Due to this, the NERV organization created gigantic robots called Evangelion to protect humanity against angels. They actually sound pretty fashionable until you get to know that only teenagers can pilot them.
Who would want their children to be exposed to constant stress, considering that the burden of saving the world falls on their shoulders? Someone who’s a psychopath, probably, or someone who puts his job above everything else, including his only son.
Gendō Ikari is the NERVE commander. When the Third Angel threatens to destroy Earth, he calls his fourteen-year-old son, Shinji Ikari, and asks him to pilot Unit 01. At first, Shinji refuses, but he ends up accepting it.
Neon Genesis Evangelion is an anime that if you decide to give it a chance, the less you know about the plot, the better.
It has 26 episodes, but if you crave more of this astounding story, they have five released movies and another upcoming one.
Cowboy Bepop (1998)
Cowboys in space. What could go wrong?
The protagonists are bounty hunters who make a living capturing outlaws and collecting their reward money by delivering them as they soar through the skies with the Bebop, their ship. Among the crew: Spike Spiegel, the main hero on which the story is most framed; Jet Black, a serious big man with a metal arm and owner of the Bebop; Faye Valentine, the “hot girl” of the group; Ed, a smart hacker girl who is also a bit crazy and serves as the comedy relief, and Ein, a dog with superior intelligence.
Cowboy Bepop has 26 episodes and one movie, which is considered one of the best anime action movies of all time.
Good animation, outstanding soundtrack, and an excellent plot are a few of the things that have made Cowboy Bepop an action classic.
Mob Psycho 100 (2016)
This anime starts with Shigeo Kageyama, an average high school student known as Mob. Despite appearing to be a low-key person, Mob is actually a powerful psychic. To make things funnier, Mob literally means “background character” in Japanese.
As he grows up, Mob realizes that his powers are becoming more and more powerful, and therefore also more dangerous. To prevent his abilities from spiraling out of control, he constantly lives an unemotional life; Mob is determined to don’t let his emotions dominate his behavior. Mob wants to live his life like the others, but a great deal of trouble is coming his way. With his suppressed emotions slowly growing inside him, his power threatens to go beyond his limits.
Do you remember One-Punch Man? Well, this is from the same creator, nicknamed One. The anime aired in 2016 and has become a fan favorite, despite being recent compared with other action anime classics.
The story is set in Edo, Japan, currently Tokyo. Years ago, some aliens known as Amanto came to Earth to invade it, and the samurais fought with them. Samurais lost, and the Amantos ended up conquering the Earth. Humanity was stripped of his authority, and the samurai were forbidden to use their swords in return. The only good thing out of all of this: thanks to the Amanto, humans now own exceptional technology.
The main focus of this anime is Gintoki Sakata, a samurai known as the “White Devil” during the Edo Separatist wars due to his bravery as a warrior and the silver-white shade of his hair. Since samurais can’t work anymore, now Gintoki has to find new ways to earn his money. Along with Kagura and Shinpachi, Gintoki will work in his Yorozuya business, a store dedicated to performing different jobs.
Gintama is famous for the use of comedy, humor, and parodies in their plot. In addition to the comedy, there are full of drama episodes. Due to this, it has maintained popularity. Gintama has hundreds of followers, both in its country of origin Japan and other countries in the world.
In 2116, now people can instantly measure the mental state of a person, the personality, and the probability that said person will commit crimes. This is thanks to an artifact that scans brain functions and the other chemical and biological functions of the body, determining the Psycho-Pass, a number associated with a color in each person.
The “Crime Coefficient” reflects the probability of a person committing a crime, and it’s part of a person’ Psycho-Pass. When this possibility is too high (it has a very high number and a very dark color), individuals are pursued and detained with lethal force. For this task, there’s a team of potential criminals. They are the Executors, and at the same time, they are supervised by police officers known as Inspectors. Inspectors must ensure that practicing executors carry out their duties within the limits of the law.
Enforcers and Inspectors use specific weapons called “Dominators” designed to shoot only those with a higher crime rate than average.
The story follows a Unit of the Public Safety Bureau, the equivalent of the police of the present time, directly responsible and administrator of the work of Inspectors and Executors.
Psycho-Pass is an extraordinary series, quite friendly to the western anime viewer. It has an exciting setting, an engaging plot, and an excellent soundtrack. Really good if you’re starting to the anime world and don’t know what to watch.
BONUS MOVIE: Akira (1988)
This anime is set in an alternate universe where Third World War already happened.
In 1988, Akira (from where the movie takes its title name) was a young child with psychic powers manipulated by the government in a secret project. When his powers get out of control, he destroys all of Tokyo, causing WWIII. The government keeps experimenting with children, but this time in secret.
Neo-Tokyo, 2019. Shōtarō Kaneda is going out with his motorcyclists’ gang like every other night. It’s all normal until his best friend, Tetsuo Shima, crashes with a child. Apparently, the child is free because an underground revolutionary organization helped him to escape. Soon, the police arrive, and they take the child and Tetsuo with him to the military installations. Due to this incident, Tetsuo now has new psychic powers, and he doesn’t want to become the government captive.
Akira is considered by some the world best action anime movie. It has inspired infinity of TV shows, movies, and books. This movie also gained fame because it was the most expensive animated feature ever made in Japan to date.
What do you think about this list? It includes some of the best action anime of all time, whether they have 24 episodes or more than 500.
It is impossible to summarize a large number of transcendent action anime in just a Top 10. There are great titles and great movies that come out every year, and thanks to the impact they deliver at the time, they are great contenders for a position.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Bleach, Fairy Tale, Hellsing Ultimate, Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood, and even Dragon Ball Z are also anime classics worthful watching.
Did you watch them all yet? Are there any of these titles on your to-watch list? Either way, I hope you liked it!
if you have any questions, leave them in the comment box below. The Anime store will reach you back.