Top 10 Anime With the Best Story

Anime possesses many qualities that most other forms of media do not have. One of these is the unique stories each anime presents. Here are the ten with the best ones.
The Top Ten
1 One Piece One Piece is a manga franchise created by Eiichiro Oda. The manga has been adapted into an original video animation (OVA) produced by Production I.G in 1998, and an anime series produced by Toei Animation, which began broadcasting in Japan in 1999 and has aired 851 episodes to date.

One Piece is simply the gold standard for how to write a long-running anime. Each saga is its own confined epic, and the variety from saga to saga is just brilliant. The characters are simply phenomenal, with interactions that make them seem real. The emotional beats are hit every single time, and no form of art has ever made me cry as much as One Piece has.

While a lot of people who haven't seen or read One Piece like to say that it's just a classic "I wanna be the best" story, with Luffy's goal being to become the Pirate King, the concept of the Pirate King and what it takes to become one plays beautifully into the lore of the world, global politics, power dynamics, and what it means to truly be free. Above all else, One Piece is an adventure, and it takes you with it.

2 Death Note Death Note is a Japanese television drama anime series based on the manga series of the same name by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata. The show is centered around Light Yagami - a promising highschooler and aspiring detective with a strong sense of "justice".

If the quality was consistent throughout the entire show, I'd say it'd be gunning for the #1 slot. Unfortunately, things kind of take a nosedive halfway through the show after a major character is killed off.

Death Note is such an anime where you can almost never predict what is going to happen. It is serious, super-cool, and includes loads of other stuff such as crazy detective plots and scary Shinigamis!

The cat-and-mouse situation between L and Light is so intense and fun to watch. The story is grand, and I can never think of any anime better than Death Note.

3 Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is an anime series adapted from the Fullmetal Alchemist manga by Hiromu Arakawa.

Watching anime since the '90s, but there's no anime as memorable, unique, and compelling in storyline as FMA. This is the gold standard of anime storytelling.

Unlike Naruto, Bleach, One Piece, etc. (that add in so many episodes of useless story arcs just so the producers can milk every penny from the viewers for each episode aired), the FMA: Brotherhood episodes have a limited 64 interconnected episodes. Absolutely no fillers, absolutely no useless arcs.

FMAB has a brilliant, flawless storyline that is told through characters that are perfectly imperfect and you can easily relate to. Not a single filler episode to distract from the main plot, and it's the only anime that will make you laugh, cry, and throw something at the screen all in one episode.

4 Naruto Naruto is an anime and manga franchise Naruto, created by Masashi Kishimoto. The manga was later adapted into a television anime, which was produced by Studio Pierrot and Aniplex. It premiered across Japan on the terrestrial TV Tokyo and other TX Network stations on October 3, 2002. The first series... read more

I, a grown man, cried watching this anime. The story is beautifully written, and though there are many fillers, they also have a lot of importance within the story, and some are amazing (like the crystal user arc). There are many characters who all get their time, unlike a few animes where one character hogs the story.

The main character is an idiot who never gave up. Naruto made me look at life differently, and I believe we can all learn something from this anime. 10/10. Outstanding job, Kishimoto.

Extremely rich story, great portrayal, and emotion-rich. Very inspiring as well, and very addictive. It's not meant to be eye-candy like some anime which focus a lot on the beauty of characters and scenic views. The character evolution is awesome as well, showing all the struggles and hard work they go through. It did feel a little too focused on the main character, but even then, it's much better than most anime series. The abilities are not like everyone can do everything without any base. Funny moments are great. Friendships are great. Detailed stories of all main characters are shown very well. I can watch it forever and repeatedly. This is what actually got me interested in Anime series. Otherwise, I had lost interest in series, just watching random funny cartoons.

5 Monster Monster (Japanese: モンスター Hepburn: Monsutā, sometimes referred to as "Naoki Urasawa's Monster") is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Naoki Urasawa. Monster has been critically acclaimed, with the manga having won several awards and its anime adaptation being called one of... read more

Really? Lower than overhyped kid shows like Fullmetal Alchemist and Attack on Titan? This is one of the best-written anime, with a wonderful dark theme running all throughout the show.

Watch this for something way different from the clichéd fightings of huge robots and ninjas with magic swords. Watch this to experience the horror in the seemingly mundane lives around us.

Why? This anime must be in the top 3 without a doubt. I haven't seen an anime with such an intricate, mature, and complex plot as this. All the characters are completely relatable, and the world feels so close to reality, which is really scary to think of. Vote this to the top.

6 Naruto Shippuden Naruto: Shippuden is the ongoing sequel to the original Naruto anime and covers the Naruto manga from volume twenty-eight on. The TV adaptation of Naruto: Shippuden debuted in Japan on February 15, 2007 on TV Tokyo. It is developed by Studio Pierrot and directed by Hayato Date.

Naruto Shippuden's potential in the story relies a lot on whether or not you've watched Naruto. But if you have, it gives many nostalgic feels during flashbacks and conflicts between characters who share a relation towards each other in the original series. I don't agree that the original series is that far away in position than this one. It's just as good, and maybe even better.

Seeing how much the characters have progressed makes it feel so rewarding to have gone this far in the series. Also, the 4th Great Ninja War was such a climax. It got me so excited that I could not stop watching. It's a masterpiece, showing both great action and emotion in such a way that how they pulled off the story seems so unbelievable. I hope it ranks much higher than this...

7 Dragon Ball Z Dragon Ball Z is a Japanese anime television series produced by Toei Animation. Dragon Ball Z follows the adventures of Goku who, along with the Z Warriors, defends the Earth against evil. The action adventures are entertaining and reinforce the concept of good versus evil. Dragon Ball Z teaches valuable... read more

It definitely has a good storyline in some parts, like the whole time travel/Cell/Future Trunks thing, but that isn't why anyone watches DBZ.

Animes like Attack on Titan, Death Note, and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood obviously have a better story, but this anime is overall so great that I can't stop myself from voting for it.

It will always be the best anime for me. I also like One Piece, Naruto, Death Note, FMAB, and Attack on Titan, but I prefer none above Dragon Ball Z. It is far above those for me.

8 Attack on Titan Attack on Titan, also known as Shingeki no Kyojin in Japanese, created by Hajime Isayama, is one of the most popular Japanese anime series to be released. It was first watched in Japan during 2013 and was dubbed in English to be watched in America in 2014. It is best known for its emotional moments,... read more

My #1 pick. Thoroughly thought-out plot. Follows the laws of physics of the world it has been set in. Very few to no gaps in occurring events. The only con I would say the story has is that our main protagonists always stall when going to kill the antagonists and, in turn, let them escape. A ton of avoidable mishaps.

I know, I know, it is all for the good cause of character development in our protagonists. But it just doesn't sit well with me that they watch someone slay hundreds of their comrades and yet they still have some kind of sympathy towards them, solely based on the fact that they were their friends once before. Overall, an amazing story and I would argue to say this is still better than any other anime on this list.

9 Sword Art Online Sword Art Online is a series of Japanese light novels written by Reki Kawahara and illustrated by abec. In 2012, it received an anime adaptation produced by A-1 Pictures and the SAO Project, and is directed by Tomohiko Ito . The first season is divided into two arcs known as "Aincrad" and "Fairy Dance"... read more

An anime that could have been the very best if they had made 50-100 episodes and developed the world they were in and the characters a lot more. But instead, they rushed a lot of what was happening and kept changing things up.

I could make more sense of my opinion, but I don't want to ruin the show for new viewers. Still worth watching.

Overall, it's very intriguing. The storyline has many details filled with action, mystery, and romance. You get so attached to the characters. Their personalities are amazing, the animation is beautiful, and it is relatable to gamers and anyone really. I loved it, but it does kind of lose its fire by the second season.

10 Code Geass Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion, often referred to as simply Code Geass, is a Japanese anime series created by Sunrise, directed by Gorō Taniguchi, and written by Ichirō Ōkouchi, with original character designs by manga authors Clamp.

Right away, it reminds you of Death Note, but it's so much better. Light in Death Note always had me anxious because he was always doing some crazy stuff. It was so cool, but it wasn't my favorite for that reason.

So, I'm watching this, and since it's so much longer and there is so much more going on, I'm literally going through so much because Lulu is basically insane compared to Light. I had to stop the show all the time so I could gather my thoughts about the stuff he did. So, if you don't understand what I'm trying to say through all of that, you should just watch it. You won't regret it.

The Contenders
11 Gurren Lagann Gurren Lagann, known in Japan as Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, is an anime series animated by Gainax and co-produced by Aniplex and Konami. It was also directed by Hiroyuki Imaishi and written by veteran playwright Kazuki Nakashima.

I picked this over Attack on Titan (even though I like it more) because the storyline was just plain out amazing! This anime deserves so much more credit. The plot took such a twist when (won't use names because spoilers) one of the main characters dies not even 10 episodes in.

My favorite anime of all time. A crazy, over-the-top story and animation with some of the best characters I've ever seen.

I will sum this up with just one simple question: Who the hell do you think I am?

12 Fairy Tail Fairy Tail is a manga franchise created by Hiro Mashima. The manga has been adapted into an anime series produced by A-1 Pictures and Satelight, which began broadcasting in Japan on October 12, 2009. Additionally, A-1 Pictures and Satelight have developed seven original video animations and an animated... read more

Many critics regard Fairy Tail harshly due to the lack of originality in the arcs and the 'treatment' of women. But aren't One Piece, Naruto, and many other anime the same? The difference between the classic overly sexualized female characters and the Fairy Tail girls is that these girls are pretty and kick-ass. They're independent, strong, and mega-strong actually. They know this, and they own it.

The arcs criticized for having little originality are, in my opinion, a bit unfairly judged. Natsu is flamboyant and often steals the show in fights. The 'nakama power' is not a super skill but rather his loyalty to and love for his friends, which drives him to stand back up and fight. All Fairy Tail members are the same in their own ways. Each arc is an adventure. The character development is delivered in spades, albeit subtly.

I guess what I want to say is: This series never bores.

13 Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters

All eight parts are good, but I liked Season 5, Part 3, Dawn of the Duel the best. It takes us through Atem's past, and we follow him through the past as he recovers his memory. Then there's the duel between Atem and Yugi at the end.

Even though we all had to say goodbye to Atem at the end, it's a great close to the show because it means that now Yugi is alone, and he has to overcome the challenges ahead by himself.

Yes, yes, yes, YES! Unlike many other shows about card games (read: Pokémon), this one has a plot. Every villain, every hero, every anti-hero, fits in so well with the story. Each season, the duels just get bigger and better, and you can relate to all the characters (even the villains!) and some of the events.

All in all, it's the best anime I have watched with a great, thought-out plot. I LOVE THIS SO MUCH!

14 Cowboy Bebop Cowboy Bebop is a 1998 anime television series animated by Sunrise featuring a production team led by director Shinichirō Watanabe, screenwriter Keiko Nobumoto, character designer Toshihiro Kawamoto, mechanical designer Kimitoshi Yamane, and composer Yoko Kanno.

My absolute favorite. Just make sure you watch the movie at the right place in the series because you absolutely must make sure that the final episode is the final thing that you watch from this amazing anime.

This should be number 1. This is hands-down the most fascinating anime ever created. It's the perfect gateway for anyone who's interested in watching anime.

I think it's time we blow this stand. Get everybody and their stuff together. Okay, 3, 2, 1, let's jam!

15 Akame ga Kill Akame ga Kill! (アカメが斬る!, Akame ga Kiru! is a manga published in Gangan Joker authored by Takahiro and Tashiro Tetsuya. It received an anime adaptation that premiered on July 6, 2014 and ended on December 14, 2014.

The story in the anime is better than in the manga. The manga is totally crap. And everybody who bought it should know that the manga ending is crappier than ever. The anime story will be better.

Great anime with a great ending!

It's a good, depressing anime with some great action scenes and amazing background music.

16 Hunter x Hunter Hunter × Hunter is a manga franchise created by Yoshihiro Togashi. In 1999, Hunter × Hunter was adapted into a 62-episode anime television series produced by Nippon Animation and directed by Kazuhiro Furuhashi. The show premiered on Japan's Fuji TV and ran until 2001. Three separate original video... read more

Everything is so unique in this story. The characters, the personalities, and the power system "Nen" are the best I have seen in all of anime. What makes Hunter X Hunter different from any other anime is that, unlike Luffy, Midoriya, or Asta, Gon Freecss, the protagonist, started off pretty well with his power. Most other characters start from the bottom and become zero-to-heroes. Instead of overcoming obstacles to become the greatest, he just wants to find his dad, who abandoned him when he was young. Even with his great power, he is forced to sacrifice it all for the good of someone else.

Even side characters can put you through oceans of tears. No anime can come close to what Hunter X Hunter has shown me. I wish I could forget everything I watched in this anime so I could rewatch it again and get the same feeling I did when I first watched it. That is how amazing Hunter X Hunter is.

17 Steins;Gate Steins;Gate is a 2011 anime television series created by the animation studio White Fox based on 5pb. and Nitroplus's 2009 video game of the same name, and is part of the Science Adventure franchise.

Best anime plot ever, even better than Death Note. This is an amazing work of a genius mind with a deep relation to actual science and the timeline theory, making it complex and engrossing. Truly deserves to be in the top 5.

How is this not in the top ten? It blew my mind with its many plot twists and amazing character development. It had a great story, and it really drew me into the world it created.

Absolutely the best plot I've had the pleasure to experience, with tons of plot twists done right. The level of sympathy you develop for the main character is immeasurable.

18 Neon Genesis Evangelion Neon Genesis Evangelion, commonly referred to as Evangelion or Eva, is a Japanese animated television series produced by Gainax and Tatsunoko Production, and directed by Hideaki Anno.

I didn't watch anime for many years. This anime gave me the feeling again that you just want to watch it and don't care about anything else. Great show!

Best psychological anime ever.

Good story overall. Great characters. Religious diversity. I recommend this anime.

19 Dragon Ball Super Dragon Ball Super is a Japanese anime television series produced by Toei Animation that began airing on July 5, 2015. It is a sequel show to the Dragon Ball manga and the first Dragon Ball television series featuring a new storyline in 18 years.
20 Elfen Lied Elfen Lied is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Lynn Okamoto. It was originally serialized in Shueisha's Weekly Young Jump from June 2002 to August 2005, with the 107 chapters collected into twelve tankōbon volumes.

Heartbreaking story but beautiful at the same time!

21 Baccano! Baccano! (バッカーノ!), which Narita translates as 'stupid commotion', is Italian for 'ruckus'. An ongoing light novel series with over twenty volumes published, it takes place across three eras – the early 1700s, 1930s, and 2000s – and presents its story arcs in anachronistic fashion. Though... read more

I think, in terms of plot, Baccano's is one of the best. It's solid and consistent... Especially if we keep in mind all the different characters, each with his/her own story. The beauty of it is that we don't fully understand everything until the very end.

It's been years since I watched this (never read the LN), but I still remember everything in it...

Best ending in an anime ever. Yes, even better than my favorite anime, Cowboy Bebop.

How can something so silly be so entertaining?

22 Kill la Kill Kill la Kill is an anime television series produced by Trigger. In Kill la Kill, Ryuko Matoi transfers to a new high school in order to find her father's murderer.
23 Rurouni Kenshin 'Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Swordsman Romantic Story' (るろうに剣心 明治剣客浪漫譚, Rurōni Kenshin Meiji Kenkaku Rōmantan), also known as 'Rurouni Kenshin' and 'Samurai X,' is a Japanese anime based on a manga series written and illustrated by Nobuhiro Watsuki.

One of my favorite shows. It follows history perfectly, the sword fights are just perfect, as well as a love story that isn't rushed.

Great show. One of the best period drama/action anime. There are a lot of great sword fights, and the story progresses at a really good pace. Well-written and well-made, this is one anime that will be particularly enjoyed by young adults.

It's been three months since I completed the show, and I still get goosebumps every time I hear anything related. It starts off as an almost comedy-like show, but the further you go, the deeper the characters develop. Also, maybe the best OVAs ever.

24 Pokemon Pokémon, abbreviated from the Japanese title of Pocket Monsters and currently advertised in English as Pokémon: The Series, is a Japanese anime television series, which has been adapted for the international television markets. It was first broadcast in Japan on April 1, 1997, in the United States... read more

You will enjoy watching this anime if you have played the Pokémon video games. For me personally, this is the best anime I have enjoyed.

This should be on top! I just started watching season 1, but so far, it is amazing!

It is, and always will be, the best if only the first season was out. Go and catch 'em all!

25 Bakuman

Great storyline! Just as expected from the creators of Death Note! I think the creators made this anime/manga just like what happened in their real life from the start of their relationship to the ending of their work. Tsugumi Ohba as Takashi and Takeshi Obata as Moritaka. Reversi as their masterpiece, Death Note.

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