- Sazae-San (1969- Present): This anime originally started as a comic strip format consisting of 4 four panels in the year 1946, later moved to a prominent newspaper in Tokyo from 1949 to 1974 at which point the series ended when the author Machiko Hasegawa retired.
Because of its rising popularity it received an anime TV adaptation in the year 1969 and won the Guinness World Record for the longest-running animated television series in September 2013 and to top it off, it is still airing in the year 2021 with a whopping 7000+ episodes while new episodes are still being made.
The story of this anime revolves around the lady Sazae who was shown to be caring for her horse than finding a husband and making efforts to attract one. Keep in mind that this was written in 1946. Many of the earlier plots of the manga show Sazae being bossy towards her husband which was shown to cause dismay for her neighbours and their beliefs of the man being the head of the household.
Later on, Sazae was shown to be a feminist finding herself in comical situations because of her affiliation with her local women’s liberation group. Even though the show handled the heavy stuff back then, the core of the series revolved around her family dynamic which was a comic relief factor shown in easy fashion. During the end of the original manga run the show promoted the message of being happy with the little things in life.
As of now the anime is considered to be nostalgic as it shows the traditional Japan with no modern technology, sometimes the ending credits of the anime show the original art comic strips from 1946, the anime was put into hiatus for the first time since 1975 due to COVID in 2020, but it resumed with the schedule in 2 months.
The anime has spawned off many radio shows, theatrical plays and songs over the years since its debut. It is still considered to be the most loved comic strip in Japan and one of the very few anime accepted by the older adults of Japan.
Genre: Comedy, Slice of life.
2. Dragon Ball (1989- Present): The series, created by Akira Toriyama, follows the adventures of the Saiyan hero Son Goku. The anime shows his life from childhood to adulthood and the adversities he faces along the way. His story begins when a teenager named Bulma approaches him and asks him to join her mission of gathering the Dragon Balls, the seven orbs which when collected summon a wish granting Dragon named Shenron.
As the anime goes on, Goku and the friends that he makes along the way face antagonists stronger than before, raising the stakes higher every single time. Along the journey, Goku finds out the truth about his alien heritage, marries and starts a family, while that seems the end game, it happens far earlier in the show and protecting his family from outside threats becomes a necessity.
The anime has several seasons it depicts as ‘Sagas’ devoted to the main antagonist of the same. From being a kid with tail that fights evil organizations to making gods acknowledge him, the series has extreme action-packed scenes, powerful villains, stunning transformations (Super Saiyan being the most famous among them all) and many more dragons.
The show started in 1986 with our protagonist as a kid and ended in 1996 with being renewed as Dragon Ball Z in 1989, while it did seem to have ended back in the day, much to the surprise and delight of the fans Akira Toriyama renewed it and the anime was back on air in 2015 as Dragon Ball Super, which ended in 2018 and is on a hiatus as of now. The anime is so popular that Goku was chosen as the cultural ambassador for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics!
Genre: Shounen, Fantasy, Martial Arts.
3. Detective Conan/Case Closed (1996- Present): Created in 1994, Detective Conan is an anime that follows the story of Shinchi Kudo, a high school detective who occasionally helps out the police on cases, during his investigation of a crime syndicate, later known as “The Black Organization” he is injected with an experimental poison which instead of killing him, transforms him into a child, he later gives himself the name “Conan Edogawa” and goes to live with his childhood best friend Ran Mori, helping her father Kogoro Mori, a private detective solve cases without him knowing. The story of the anime follows Conan as he tries to unfurl the crime syndicate’s true plans while trying to find a way to get back to normal.
Due to legal reasons, the show was renamed as ‘Case Closed’ to be allowed to air in the western area, in the dubbed version, all the characters were Americanised, making Shinchi Kudo as Jimmy Kudo, Ran Mori as Rachel Moore, Kogoro Mori as Richard and so on.
The anime has over 1000 episodes and is still airing weekly, the anime is well written when it comes to mysteries and thrills, every episode has a mystery that keeps us on edge, recurring characters that are extremely likable and keep the show fresh.
The tankōbon volumes of the manga had over 230 million copies in circulation worldwide as of 2018, making it the fifth-best-selling manga series. (Source: Wikipedia)
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
4. Pokémon (1997- Present): Pokémon (known as Pocket Monsters in Japan) is an anime which follows the journey of Ash Ketchum (Named Satoshi in the original Japan dub) a young trainer from Pallet Town and his beloved partner Pikachu, as he tries to accomplish his dream of becoming a “Pokémon Master” and the challenges faced by him and his friends. Though the anime has been adapted from the games, it has managed to give itself a very unique spin which games cannot capture.
This show is nostalgic for many of us, as it was a prominent TV show during the early 2000s. Watching the impatient and reckless kid grow into an excellent trainer, catch many amazing Pokémon (that people still make tier lists about) with the help of his friends is something we thoroughly enjoyed.
This anime has had over 18 seasons in which they introduced new and exciting concepts like ‘Mega Evolutions’ and ‘Z- Moves’ is still airing in 2021 with new episodes every Saturday. An anime that started in 1997 with over 1,100 episodes till date continues to grow as it provides us with a new encyclopedia of Pokémon with every new season. Pokémon has been going on for over 20 years and the protagonist (who is still 10 years old for some reason) with our beloved Pikachu, is still chasing his dream of becoming a Pokémon Master.
Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Drama.
5. ONE PIECE (1997- Present): With a whopping of 1000 episodes and still counting, One Piece encompasses a huge world filled with a vast range of characters which makes it stand apart from the rest of the anime TV series. The anime follows a trail of young Monkey D Luffy, motivated by his childhood idol and supreme pirate ‘Red Head’ Shanks, on a journey from the East Blue Sea across the Great Line to find the most desired treasure, named as One Piece, and proclaim himself as the King of the Pirates. Luffy and his uncanny crewmates encounter infamous pirates of the Blue Sea, bounty hunters, criminal organizations, revolutionaries, secret agents, soldiers of the corrupt World Government, and various other friends and enemies, as they sail the seas to make their dreams come true on the ship named ‘Going Merry’ acquired by them and then, later on ‘Thousand Sunny’ when Going merry gets damaged beyond repair.
To describe One Piece differently, writer Eiichiro Oda has made it about a samurai who is skilled with three swords (one in his mouth), with his friend, the king of snipers, handcuffed to him. The samurai fights a giraffe man who can kick beams with his feet fight to the death over a key. Said key is to free a woman who can duplicate all of her body parts, who is held captive by a masked man with an elephant for a sword. When you watch it, it’s really not absurd.
With their visuals containing action scenes like no other, One Piece is a must watch!
Genre: Adventure Fiction, Fantasy, Action.
6. CRAYON SHIN-CHAN (1992- Present): It follows the life of the five-year-old Shinnosuke “Shin” Nohara and his family, including his parents, dog, baby sister, neighbors and friends. The manga was created in 1990 by Yoshito Usui, soon in 1992 it was adapted for the televised animated version, the original art form of the anime ended in 2009 due to the death of the author. Later in the next year the manga was started anew by the late author’s team naming it New Crayon Shin-chan.
Since the beginning of the animation back in 1992, the anime has had over 1000 episodes and is still on-going all over the world. The show has had 26 full-length movies and has been dubbed in over 30 languages.
The anime also got a spin-off named Super Shiro in 2019 which followed the adventures of the Nohara family’s dog Shiro.
The show was asked to be discontinued in the early 2010s because of the way Shin-chan talked back to his parents in India, but it was later re-instated and still airs to this day.
Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life
7. Naruto (2002- Present): Created by Masashi Kishimoto, this manga-turned-anime tells the story of Naruto Uzumaki, a kid, with a demon fox sealed inside him, trying to become a ninja and gain recognition and respect from his peers, with a dream of becoming the leader of his village, titled “Hokage”.
The show goes on from showing everyone hating and being scared of the protagonist to accepting him as their hero. The anime shows Naruto making life-long friends, overcoming his depression and loneliness, working hard to prove his worth and becoming the best ninja ever. From nail biting action scenes to thrill and suspense that blows your mind, this anime has one of the best written plots in all of anime.
The story is told in two parts, Naruto and Naruto: Shippuden, part 1 shows Naruto still learning the ropes of being a beginner ninja in his pre-teen years and part 2 after a two-and-a-half-year gap in the story shows Naruto becoming a strong and reliable ninja, learning the truth about him and the village he swears to protect.
Started in 2002, with over 900 episodes Naruto aired for a total of 15 years and in 2017 the show aired its final episode and spawned a spin-off show ‘Boruto’. It is an ongoing anime with over 200 episodes showing the generation after Naruto.
You can read about our in depth Naruto review here.
Genre: Shounen, Fantasy comedy, Martial arts, Adventure.
8. FAIRY TAIL (2010- Present): Written and illustrated by Hiro Mashima, the manga-turned-anime follows the adventures of Natsu Dragneel, a strong wizard of the popular guild Fairy Tail, as he searches for the salamander dragon known as Igneel.
The anime also follows the story of the wizards from the guild who have larger than life personalities. It is packed with action in every episode along with a healthy dose of comedy. While the first few episodes seem scattered with the introduction of many characters the story of the anime itself is exciting and thrilling. It is one of the few anime to have more than one main antagonist. Starting off with their main job as wizards, taking on quests for money, Natsu and team go from doing small jobs that require magic to fighting of dark guilds to thwart their plans, turning enemies into friends to grow stronger as a guild.
Started in 2006 the anime went through seasonal changes and getting a spin off prequel “Fairy Tail Zero”.
The show ended in 2019, wrapping up the main storyline and motivation of the protagonist, but to the delight of fans around the world it is set to come back with a sequel in 2022, titled Fairy Tail: 100 Years Quest.
Genre: Shounen, Adventure fiction
9. JOJO’S BIZARRE ADVENTURES (2012- PRESENT): A seine anime written and illustrated by Hirohiko Araki was originally started as a manga in weekly magazine in the year 1987 to 2004, later transferring to a monthly manga magazine from 2005. The universe of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is a mirroring of the real world but with mystical beings of limitless power. It is an episodic anime with each episode consisting of its own independent story and different characters. The lead of each series is a member of Joestar Family whose mainline descendants possess a star-shaped birthmark above their left shoulder blade and a name that can be abbreviated to the “JoJo”.
The art style of this anime is particularly peculiar with a lot of references to Western culture. Being an episodic anime, it gives the audience an opportunity to start the series from anywhere from its wide collection of 113 and counting episodes. To summarize, it’s a perfect anime to watch while you have your meals.
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Supernatural
10. BLEACH (2012- PRESENT): The latest season of another longest running anime, Bleach is said to be returning in the winter of 2021 where its season 17 will adapt the Thousand-Year Blood War arc. In addition, 4 anime-original arcs were broadcasted in-between and during the adaptations of original arcs of the manga written by Tite Kubo. The anime follows the tragic story of an ordinary high school boy named Ichigo Kurosaki who loses his family to a villainous spirit that consumes human souls named Hollow. He later accepts Rukia’s offer, a Soup Reaper who gets harmed while protecting Ichigo’s family, of taking her powers to become a Soul Reaper himself.
Since Rukia is unable to regain her powers, the intimidating task of hunting down Hollows falls upon, now a Soul Reaper, Ichigo who is joined by his high school friends, each possessing different and extraordinary abilities. Bleach with its 366 episodes encompasses the journey of these misfits on the battlefield, realizing their duties and supporting each other in their journey.
Genre: Supernatural fiction, Fantasy, Thriller, Action, Adventure.
11. ATTACK ON TITANS (2013- PRESENT): Adapted from the manga written and illustrated by Hajime Isayama, AoT is about how Titans, humanoid monsters, forced humanity to go into hiding in fear behind enormous walls. Trouble strikes breaking tranquility among humanity when one of the Titans is able to breach the impenetrable walls reigniting the struggle for survival against the monstrous humanoid Titans.
Eren Yeager having experienced horrific loss at the hands of these abominations dedicates his life to bring about their elimination by enlisting himself into the Survey Crops which looks after the safety of humanity and fight the Titans. Eren, along with his adopted sister Mikasa Ackerman and his childhood friend Armin Arlert, join the brutal war against the titans. They eventually race to discover a way of defeating them before the last walls are breached in the anime’s 76 and counting episodes. The excitement and suspense AoT come with makes it one of the must-watch anime ever!
Genre: Apocalyptic Fiction, Action, Fantasy, Thriller.