Over the years there have been a lot of animated shows produced that have garnered worldwide fame and attention. However, when many shows end, they leave us feeling quite empty inside.
Goo, Japan’s biggest ranking site, recently surveyed over 5,000 people about the anime series they would like to continue watching for their entire lifetime. They then turned the answers into a top 20 ranking. Some of the results are not surprising, but I will admit there is definitely one piece missing to this puzzle.
As we go through the results, bear in mind that this isn’t a “best anime” list, but rather a ranking of anime that fans want to see continued forever!
Also, the opinions expressed in the article are my own, and not necessarily that of the whole of HobbyLink Japan. HLJ has a great, diverse staff with different tastes and favorite anime, so opinions may be divided on this ranking — both in the company, and among readers!
Ranking in at 20 is Chihayafuru. The series follows Chihaya Ayase, a girl who discovers a passion for playing Karuta, a Japanese card game. She meets a boy named Arata Wataya who sees her potential for becoming a great player. I have never read or watched this series, so I do not know much about it, but the people have spoken and this is where the list shall begin.
Number 19 is Ojamajo Doremi, also known as Magical DoReMi. This is a show that covers a group of elementary school girls who become witch apprentices. Immediately after looking at the opening theme song, I could see why this show would be adored by many, with such a cute style and adorable characters.
Number 17 (x2)
Tying at 17th place are Cardcaptor Sakura and Sword Art Online! Cardcaptor Sakura is a story that follows Sakura Kinomoto who is tasked with finding the missing cards to her deck. This is not a series I have seen, but it is one that has been recommended to me! A popular series from the all-female artist team CLAMP, and a series that deserves to be ranked as high as it is.
Sword Art Online is a series that takes us on a journey with Kazuto (Kirito) as he plays through an MMORPG originally set in a world known as Aincard. I have watched this series and absolutely loved it, so I am not so surprised that it is ranked 17th, as it is quite a popular series that is still ongoing.
Ranked at 16 is GeGeGe no Kitaro, also known as Kitaro, which is a series about a yokai boy born in a cemetery and is the last survivor of the Ghost Tribe. It follows his adventure facing other strange creatures in his world. The concept is definitely intriguing, so I did watch the trailer and the art style reminds me of Mob Psycho!
Though the show is mostly intended for kids, it tackles many social and moral issues that are relevant to this day. (Kitaro has been around for a long time!)
At 15 is Hozuki’s Coolheadedness, which is a series about a Hozuki, a demon what works for the King and head judge of hell, who determines what kind of hell the dead will be sent to. At first glance, I could easily see why this is popular. It has a very fun and quirky feel and seems like a great series to pass time with.
Ranked at number 14 is PreCure, which is also known as Pretty Cure. A magical girl anime that focuses on a group of teenage girls who are granted magical items that allow them to transform into legendary warriors known as Pretty Cure.
This one is a little surprising, but it’s not the first kid-centric anime on the list with a lot of adoring adult fans, too!
At 13, is one of the most important pieces of animation to me, and is what truly propelled me deeper into the anime universe: Boruto’s Dad. This is a series that follows Naruto, a young boy who has dreams of becoming the Hokage. I could yam on about this show forever, but in short, I personally feel like this should be in the top 5, but can understand why it did not even break into the top 10.
There are just so many good titles to choose from…
Coming in at 12 is Attack on Titan. In this world, humanity lives in cities protected by giant walls that protect them from Titans, that are man-eating humanoid giants. From all the hype this has had over the years and considering that the most recent season is the final season of the anime, I did expect this to be ranked higher, as it is still fresh on everyone’s mind.
It’s a gruesome, emotional, and political show with strong writing and a fantastic cast of characters.
Sailor Moon comes in at number 11, which is not much of a surprise to me, and I think it is a well-deserved ranking. Sailor Moon is a series that follows Usagi Tsukino, a teenage girl who can transform into the Sailor Moon, a soldier destined to save earth from all the evil forces that threaten it. But you probably knew that.
Though the series ended many years ago, the fans’ love of this one has never grown old.
Now, the top 10, I‘m sure you have all been waiting for this. Now we’re getting to the really good stuff.
At number 10 is My Hero Academia. This story follows Izuku Midoriya, also known as Deku, on a journey to become the number one hero. It’s set in a world where almost everyone has a superpower — except Deku.
This is currently my favorite series and probably one of the most unique shows I have come to watch. It is a show aimed at young and teen boys, but there is a lot that this series just does differently from your typical anime. For example, I would say it has one of the best villain developments I have seen in a long time.
It’s a highly-recommended series by many members of the HLJ team if you haven’t seen it already!
At 9 we have JoJo’s Bizzare Adventure. This is a series that has been divided into 8 story arcs with each arc following a different protagonist that bears the nickname “JoJo” in each one. I do not know much about this series, but I am not surprised it is in the top 10. In fact, I would have expected it to be in the top 5 from what I have heard from those that do love it.
Editor’s (Anna) note: You were expecting an anime series, but it was me, Dio! …In all seriousness, JJBA is an incredible, rightfully bizarre series spanning decades of manga releases that is absolutely worth trying out.
Coming in at 8 is City Hunter, a series that follows Ryo Saeba, a detective and ladies’ man. I am not familiar with this series, but I have heard a lot of great things about it. It is a very popular series both within Japan and internationally, so this does not surprise me at all.
Ranking at 7 is Haikyuu!! “A sports anime?” you may ask. But, don’t judge it before you have seen it. Haikyuu!! follows Hinata, an aspiring volleyball player with aspirations of being the number 1 player also known as “ace”. This series caught me off guard and I have thoroughly enjoyed it so far, so I am quite happy it has made it in the top 10.
At number 6 is none other than Gundam! Most people that shop with HLJ are here for the Gunpla and with all the new releases it is still quite fresh in people’s minds. So, seeing this at six is no surprise at all!
I do not know much about the series, but if I were to alter the rankings, I would have it at 5, just because I feel it is well-received globally, and the Gundam kits do make up such a huge amount of toy sales in Japan. Out of respect to all the Gundam fans, I will not mention any one particular series as there are so many and I don’t want to leave any out!
We thought it’d be a little higher on our list, as this is a series that’s already been going strong for 40 years, but what can you do.
We enter the top 5 with Natsume’s Book of Friends, which is a series that follows Takahashi Natsume a teenager who has the ability to see spirits, which he inherited from his grandmother. In all honesty, I have never heard of this series, but that may be because I have an affinity towards shonen anime and manga, such as One Piece.
That Natsume’s Book of Friends beat out titles like My Hero Academia and Gundam is a testament to how beloved it is, both here in Japan and abroad!
At 4th place is Gintama, which is a comedy adventure series that follows Gintoki Sakata who works as an odd-jobs freelancer to pay the bills. I have not seen this series yet, but it is high on my list because, during my time as an ALT, a lot of the students requested me to draw Gintoki and would tell me to watch it.
Gintama is huge in Japan. You see it and hear about it almost everywhere, so this rank is no surprise!
In the 3rd spot is Hidamari Sketch, which is a comedy and slice of life series that follows Yuno a young girl who has a passion for art and gets accepted at Yamabuki Arts High School. This series follows her daily life and encounters in a simple and comedic style.
I was really hoping to see One Piece in third place at least, so I am a little sad, but the list has been compiled, and it is what it is.
In 2nd place is none other than Dragon Ball. I am sure this does not surprise anyone in the slightest. A series that is recognized globally, and has been at the top of sales charts in Japan for years (until the future king of the pirates claimed that spot).
And we are finally here If you have made it this far I thank you for reading all the way through. Let’s be honest, you just skipped to the bottom of the page, didn’t you?
The series that has garnered the most votes is Lupin the Third. Although I assumed Dragon Ball would be at the top spot, I am not at all surprised by this. I have seen a few episodes and thoroughly enjoyed what I had watched. I did not finish them because I have so many series to watch and no time to do it.
Overall, I am baffled that One Piece did not make it in the top 20. Being the top-selling manga of all time and one of the most recognized series globally, you’d expect it to be here! I am sure there are many other shows that people think are deserving of a spot in the top 20, too, but alas the majority has spoken.
I leave you all with this question, what anime would YOU want to watch new episodes of for the rest of your life?
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Visit Goo for a full look at the list past the top 20, too.