To clear things up, anime is, in theory, nothing more than the Japanese word for “animation.” A Japanese person will refer to any animated television as “anime,” whether it’s from Disney or South Park. An anime is a type of cartoon. In reality, this isn’t the case at all.
Using the term “anime” to describe a cartoon that originated outside of Japan bears a special significance. In Japan, cartoons are on par with regular TV episodes and movies in terms of popularity, with a slew of major production companies and a seemingly endless supply of shows. Cartoons in the West don’t have the same clout, and they’re mostly aimed at youngsters instead.
Anime has a distinct art style, dark themes are frequently included into typically cheerful stories, and so much attention and love is poured into not only the animation, but the voice acting, direction, and soundtrack as well.. Despite the fact that children still account for the bulk of viewers, the show is designed in such a way that it may be appreciated by adults as well.
15. Steven Universe
The Table of Contents is a visual representation of the contents of a book
Avatar: The Last Airbender
This may not seem like anime, but Steven Universe’s attention to detail in terms of plot, characters, music, and voice acting elevates it far above the usual fare of children’s cartoons.
Steven, a young half-human, half-Gem kid who is at the center of Crystal Gems, a group of magical guardians who defend Earth, is at the focus of the story. A coming-of-age story, Steven Universe follows Steven as he discovers his newfound abilities and seeks to establish himself as a defender of the universe.
When it comes to outstanding storytelling and an abundance of anime-inspired references, you can expect nothing but the best from this show’s creator, who is a tremendous anime lover herself.
14. Ben 10
We’ve all seen the likes of Fate and Gundam, two of the most popular anime series ever. That’s a fair criterion by which to judge Ben 10 if you’re in the West. Cartoon Network’s longest-running franchise, Ben 10, premiered in 2005 and has been on the network ever since. If you were a youngster in the last 15 years or a parent, you’ve probably seen Ben 10 on television or in the movies.
Ben Tennyson, a little kid who discovers a watch-like device in the middle of nowhere that allows him to morph into numerous creatures, is the protagonist of this series. To his surprise, he discovers that the world is more larger and more deadly than he ever imagined. Ben, together with his cousin Gwen and grandfather Max, a ferocious “Plumber” in an RV, must defend Earth from aliens and interplanetary conflicts that threaten to wipe off humanity.
In light of Ben 10 (2016)’s conclusion earlier this year, we’re left wondering if there will be another Ben 10 movie. It wouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that it’s been so popular thus far.
13. Dota: Dragon’s Blood
Dota: Dragon’s Blood, a game based on the popular MOBA game Dota 2, aims to explain and present the dark fantasy universe in which the game takes place. This game’s visual aesthetic is clearly inspired by anime, and there’s good reason for that. Mir, a South Korean studio, created the animation, which was presented in an amalgamation of Western and Japanese styles.
Davion, a Dragon Knight, is the narrator of the first chapter of the story. When Davion is forced to merge his soul with a large male dragon, he gains immense strength, but also faces the possibility of becoming everything he despises.
Don’t worry if you haven’t played Dota 2, as the tale unfolds you’ll see characters from the game show up. It helps if you’re familiar with the cast, but even if you aren’t, the program is presented in such a way that everyone can enjoy it. I’ve never played Dota 2, but I was immediately sucked in by the intriguing characters, fantastic voice acting, and devastating fight sequences.
12. Batman: The Animated Series
When it comes to comic book heroes, Batman is the undisputed king of the hill in the DC Universe. Numerous cartoons and television productions and movies have been based on his work. But Batman: The Animated Series stands out among them all because it incorporates a wide range of anime conventions.
The graphical style of this Batman cartoon is what sets it apart from the rest. Batman: The Brave and the Bold, for example, has a more serious tone than regular cartoons, but it is still softened and does not portray the Dark Knight nearly as accurately as this show does.
Because of the dark colors and stressful setting, the show has a raw, gritty quality that you would normally associate with anime rather than cartoons. With Ninja Batman, you don’t have to watch Batman: The Animated Series because it’s considered anime (if you have any respect for Batman).
11. Ultimate Spider-Man
Iron Man may be the MCU’s savior, but Spider-Man is the face of the comic book universe. In general, Marvel’s style to storytelling is more comic and lighthearted, making it more appropriate for younger readers.
Spider-man Because he is still a teen, he is better able to relate to children and adolescents than an older audience. Ultimate Spider-Man, on the other hand, is not to be sniffed at.
While watching Ultimate Spider-Man, I was initially impressed with the show’s humor and action sequences, as well as its well-developed characters. My sophomore year of high school was the year I took this picture. After watching it for the first time recently, I couldn’t help but notice how smooth its animation was for a 2012 cartoon.
It was evident that the story was based on a comic book, but the art style and animation reminded me a lot of anime, particularly the more robust edges and finer line work. I don’t care what critics think of the program; it’s a must-see if you like Marvel and anime.
10. The Boondocks
In the West, adult cartoons are frequently satirical comedies with a heavy dose of adult humor in the scripts. Comedy shows like South Park, Family Guy, Rick and Morty, and many others have elevated the art of satire. Despite the fact that everyone enjoys these shows, they frequently have a mixed reception because they don’t care about being kid-friendly.
Cartoons like The Boondocks are a staple of our culture. This is the story of “Grandad” Freeman and his two grandkids, Huey and Riley, who live in a predominantly white suburban neighborhood.
A more sensitive audience may find the show’s frequent usage of contentious topics and social and political issues to be upsetting, even though it is amusing and thought-provoking.
As with many of the series on this list, the animation was created in Korea. Animators Dong Woo and JM worked on the first season, while Moi Animation handled seasons two and three. Because of this, The Boondocks is sometimes misunderstood by its admirers as an anime.
9. She-Ra and the Princesses of Power
Sailor Moon and the Mahou Shoujo (Magical Girl) genre of anime might be a good fit for you if you enjoy She-Ra and the Princesses of Power.
The story revolves around Adora, a young woman who escapes “The Horde,” an oppressive interstellar empire, and discovers a mystical sword that grants her superhuman abilities. When searching for a home, Adora comes upon “The Rebellion,” a coalition of nations united in the fight against the Horde of Evil. A group of princesses from the magical realm support her in her battle against the evil forces.
As a result, the show has been widely recognized for both its broad and inclusive array of characters, as well as its interpersonal interactions. With the popularity of magical girls in Japan, this cartoon is sure to be a hit with anime enthusiasts.
8. Voltron: Legendary Defender
Voltron: Legendary Defender is a must-see if you’re a fan of mecha anime. Studio Mir creates one of the genre’s best robot battle scenes by combining anime-influenced animation with CGI (real CGI, not that Berserk monstrosity).
DreamWorks Animation’s initial summary for the film goes as follows:
As part of a cosmic conflict, five youngsters from Earth are thrust into the role of robotic lion pilots, tasked with saving the cosmos from the forces of evil. To become Voltron, the powerful warrior, they will need to operate as a team.
It’s possible that RWBY is the only widely known American anime. Other series have anime-like elements, but even critics agree that RWBY is an anime in all but one respect: its setting.
A group of mercenaries known as “Team RWBY” are tasked with defending the realm of Remnant, which includes Ruby, Weiss, Blake, and Yang, the four protagonists. Beacon Academy was established to aid in the training of Huntsmen and Huntresses to combat the numerous monsters and villains that plagued Remnant.
It’s worth noting that there is a lot of 3D animation in the series, and it may not be for everyone.
6. Teen Titans
When I think about it, superheroes are a common topic in American cartoons. Even though the basic plot idea of having a group of likeable yet powerful characters fight against villains who want to destroy the world is used so many in movies, it never ceases to be entertaining.
Teen Titans has their share of dark and serious moments, as you might expect from a show set in the DC universe. In 2003, when it initially aired on Cartoon Network, it was no surprise that so many kids were captivated by the show’s excellent character development and witty comedy.
As an adult, I’ve rewatched several episodes, and the show still stands head and shoulders above the competition in the same superhero genre.
Remember how I stated there were already “too many” superhero animated series? Yet another superhero program is on the way, but this one is different from the rest because… “Heroes” in Invincible have powers that allow them to murder people, making it clear they are not normal. This is a breath of fresh air to watch.
For some reason, despite being the offspring of the most powerful person on Earth, a 17-year-old kid can’t manage to activate his talents. A superhero’s life isn’t as simple or exciting as it seems when you first start out.
In the first episode, we see a taste of what the show would truly look like, despite that brief explanation (Spoiler Alert). Heroic warriors are mercilessly slaughtered by their own father in this story. Why? Well, you’ll have to wait and see.
4. Samurai Jack
Samurai’s world-building It’s safe to say that 80% of anime may be put to shame by Jack. It’s incredible that a cartoon from 2001 can still be considered one of the greatest ever produced.
A mysterious, shape-shifting monster known as Aku comes one day in feudal Japan and unleashes a reign of terror and death. A “foolish, samurai warrior, brandishing a magic sword” sets out to beat Aku in order to revenge the murder of his father, but just as he is ready to finish him off, Aku sends him into the future. To “reverse the future, that is Aku,” Jack must discover a way back in time to the past.
Previously, I’ve stated that this show is all about creating a new world. With hopelessness hovering over Jack at every turn, you wonder, “When will the anguish cease, if it ever will?”
His allies and foes join together in this final season, which wonderfully sums up the entire saga. Samurai Jack fans have been waiting for a fitting conclusion for the past 12 years, and as of 2017, we can finally declare that Jack’s odyssey has come to a close.
In the beginning, I don’t think Castlevania was widely anticipated. Historically, big-budget movies based on popular video game series have had a mixed bag when it comes to critical and commercial success. Fans preferred to stick with the old medium because they were just average at best. Castlevania, on the other hand, proved its usefulness.
Characters, gory action sequences, music, and voice acting all contribute to the eerie atmosphere created by this twisted tale. The fact that it can be compared to the classic series Berserk (the manga, of course) shows you just how impressive it is.
Dracula, who has pledged to wipe out all human life because of the murder of his wife, threatens to wipe out the world unless a group of heroes can save it from his wrath. Castlevania is a popular series and it’s hard not to believe that it’s worth your time if you’ve ever heard of the series or seen a new season come out.
2. Avatar: The Last Airbender
In 2021, Avatar: The Last Airbender is still considered one of the greatest cartoons ever made. Avatar, like Fullmetal Alchemist in the world of anime, is a timeless cartoon that everyone may watch at any time.
Each of the four elements (Water Tribes, Earth Kingdom, Air Nomads, and Fire Nation) is represented in the series’ setting. People that have the ability to manipulate one of the four elements live in these countries.
The Avatar is the only individual who can control all of the elements. There is a story that follows the current avatar of the Fire Nation, Aang, in his quest to master all of the elements and restore harmony to a world ruled by tyranny.
Since I’ve been playing League of Legends for a long time, I admit that my opinion of Arcane is skewed, but I still think it’s a modern masterpiece. Riot fans around the world have been eagerly anticipating the release of an anime adaptation of one of their favorite video games’ cinematics or music videos. Arcane, the last but not least.
Taking place in Piltover, the city of innovations, the novel depicts a community that takes great pleasure in its residents’ innovative spirits and relentless pursuit of growth and advancement in technology. Repressed and run-down undercity residents are led by disease and poverty by Piltover’s criminal overlords.
The undercity residents Vi and Jinx are the primary focus of Arcane, but there are many other stories to explore as well. It demonstrates that virtue and evil don’t have to be mutually exclusive. In Arcane, every character has a backstory, and the world it has built is explored in depth.
Also of note is the animation’s use of sound to heighten the drama of the fight sequences. That Arcane isn’t aimed towards League of Legends players is by far the game’s most appealing feature. Sure, if you already know the characters, it gives the show a new perspective (and it’s really satisfying when a character goes pow-pow and boom-boom as they do in the game), but it is far from necessary.
To those that haven’t already, I strongly recommend that you give Arcane a try. Non-anime anime hasn’t been this good in a long time, and this is it.