The most influential anime in history

Although it comes from the other side of the world, Japanese anime or animation has managed to make a huge impact at the international level, which is getting stronger and stronger over the years. Conventions dedicated to the genre spread all over the world every year, and fans of many of these series show great devotion to them, creating strong communities.

Animators, artists, otakus, fans… Whether you’re already an expert at drawing animators or you’re just starting out in the genre, here is a list of the best anime series in history, either for their importance in the world of animation or for the great reception they have received by audiences.

1. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (2009)

After the 2003 anime adaptation, which ended up being a complete break from the original manga, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood was created as a more faithful reinterpretation of the story than its predecessor.

In this anime, two brothers search for the Philosopher’s Stone after trying to bring their mother back to life and missing a lot in trying. In this early twentieth century European inspired universe, there is alchemy, the key to the development of the story.

The story is distinguished by its strong characters, which are designed to look like real, independent people. From the main characters to the minor characters, the series makes sure to get to know them all and their motivations (and then break your heart on more than one occasion). From the dynamic battles based on alchemy, to the dark atmosphere that keeps us glued to the screen, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood honors the manga it is based on and earns the position. Her mix of comedy and tragedy will leave an imprint in your memory if you decide to delve into her world.

2. Attack on Titan (2013)

When we think of the most famous anime series, Attack on Titan comes to mind. Inspired by Europe at the beginning of the last century, the setting is a fantasy world where humanity is threatened by gigantic beings called Titans. Humans must take shelter within great walls and learn to fight these giant beasts to survive.

With its excellently designed characters, this anime deals with social issues such as racism/classism, war refugees, human nature, and the power behind conviction. As icing on the cake, Attack on Titan’s animation style brings us battle scenes that’ll have us clinging to our chairs, and a thicker outline that gives it a stunning aesthetic to go with the ruthlessness of the plot. The third installment of last season will be released in 2023, so you have time to catch up.

The most influential anime in history

3. Hunter x Hunter (2011)

Hunter x Hunter (2011) is everything he wanted the 1999 anime to be. It’s more faithful to the original story, and the overall quality is much higher.

This amazing example of Shonen (action and touches of humor, usually about a group of heroes who fight against enemies who get stronger and stronger) gives us a lot of well-built characters. This anime is characterized by taking clichés from Japanese animation and giving it a distinctive twist, creating unique and distinctive results.

On top of that, Hunter x Hunter’s soundtrack amazes us, and the dynamic animations beautifully complement each fight. If Shonen is your thing, you can’t miss it.

The most influential anime in history

4. Deathnote (2006)

Deathnote is a manga modification that started in 2003 and is one of the most popular anime for those less familiar with the anime genre.

Like the original product, the series became so popular after its premiere that today it has four feature-length movie adaptations (some better than others), two novels, and multiple video games released for the Nintendo DS. This anime is the choice of many (including me) to introduce to the anime world. It is not particularly long, and the exciting plot, accompanied by gloomy and dark aesthetics, attracts you from the first moment.

In this series, we will accompany Light Yagami, an outstanding student who one day finds a blank notebook with the word DEATHNOTE written on the cover. He soon discovers that every name he writes in this notebook will lead to that person’s death.

The most influential anime in history

5. Code Geass (2006)

Code Geass – Hangyaku no Lelouch is a 2006 anime created by Sunrise, an animation studio responsible for critically acclaimed works of the InuYasha volume. This series is famous for having one of the most amazing and surprising stories of the genre, full of amazing plot plot.

The plot is set in the conquered Japan of the Empire of Britain, where the Japanese have lost their freedom and rights. Exiled Prince Lelouch contacts Geass, a supernatural force that will help him liberate his nation and build a new world.

As in Deathnote, the protagonist is a tactician who must act through complex plans. Although it is one of the anime in which mechas (giant robots) play an important role, the plot is mainly political and is based on the relationship between the characters. We recommend you take a look if you want to see a story that has inspired many others.

The most influential anime in history

6. Stein. The Gate (2011)

Based on the Xbox 360 visual novel, this anime is the greatest exponent of science fiction in the animation genre. It delves into the complex world of time travel and, more precisely, parallel timelines.

Stein. Gate tells the story of a scientist who, after several failed attempts, manages to send a banana back in time using the microwave. He soon discovers, along with his inquisitive lab partners, that he can use the device and cell phone to send messages to the past.

In the craziest and most confusing moments, the quality of the characters’ characterization makes us addicted to the narrative. The time this story jumps out in a coherent and successful fashion will blow your mind.

The most influential anime in history

7- Berserk (1997)

The first anime adaptation of the manga in 1989 outperformed the subsequent ones for various reasons. It is the most faithful to the original, both in plot and thanks to the old-school animation style, which does not fail to capture the harsh and unsettling atmosphere of the story.

Berserk’s story is set in a fantasy world with the aesthetics of medieval Europe, where Guts, an orphaned mercenary, is dedicated to hunting demonic beings along with the Elf Goblin.

It is very important to mention that without the manga we would not have a video game saga like Dark Souls or Bloodborne as we know it. Although they all have medieval fantasy books as a base, Hidetaka Miyazaki himself, creator of the Souls franchise, commented in an interview that he asked his artists to create designs specifically inspired by Berserk.

The most influential anime in history

8. Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995)

Neon Genesis Evangelion takes us to a futuristic world where humanity must defend itself against supernatural beings called angels. The military organization NERV sends young men (“kids”) to fight them using EVAs, giant robots with which they create a neural bond.

The unique allure of this anime lies in the way it develops, seeing the characters ripen with the traumas associated with the apocalypse. The plot, which is becoming increasingly psychological, is based on the personal experiences of director and screenwriter Hideaki Ano.

This anime has one of the best graphics ever watched and is equally impressive in terms of its photography direction. Being a post-apocalyptic future, the world creates the possibility to host an architecture of gigantic proportions that hits this series of stunning visuals.

The most influential anime in history

9. Cowboy Bebop (1998)

Another Sunrise studio production, Cowboy Bebop, takes us to the year 2071, into a future where a group of bounty hunters travel across the solar system to experience adventure and tragedies.

Cowboy Bebop is a special mix of genres, from space western to drama, action, adventure, and many more. It deals with deep themes such as isolation, the emptiness of existentialism, and the influence of the past. If you are looking for anime that reminds you that Japanese animation is an art, feel free to delve into it.

This anime also shines due to its soundtrack. The opening is a good example of this, featuring the song “Tank!” by seat belts, which is considered one of the most unique in the world of this type. The animation that accompanies it is not short, it is a stunning composition of pop-style color shots that reflects the many influences of 1950s film noir.

The most influential anime in history

10- Mushishi (2005)

Although less well known than others on this list, this anime is one of Japan’s most grossing anime and has even spawned a video game for the Nintendo DS (Mushishi: Amefuru Sato).

At Mushishi, we accompany Ginko, a Moshi expert who travels the world helping people negatively affected by these creatures. Inbred beings are creatures little sees, who live through humans in a parasitic way, and in return grant mutual abilities to those who infect them.

Moshishi is an episodic series, each chapter dedicated to a different case. Therefore, it does not have an ongoing narrative to follow and develop. It belongs to the genre of slice of life, which, together with the wonderful atmosphere that the animation style creates, creates a wonderful, relaxing and very beautiful end product. No wonder it won the Tokyo Anime Award for Best Art Direction in 2006.

The most influential anime in history

11. One Piece

Of course, One Piece, one of the greatest animations in history and certainly one of the most popular franchises of the past decades, could not be absent. This animated series narrates the adventures of a crew of pirates in search of a treasure called One Piece. She has one of the most character-driven styles ever in anime (and that says a lot).

1997 manga by Eiichiro Oda with over 1,000 chapters, 14 movies, special episodes, and short films. But, in what order should we watch the main One Piece films and in what time should we do it in relation to the animated series? At Meristation, we’ve got you covered.

The most influential anime in history

Bonus path | little honor

For the most nostalgic, we have dedicated this small space to those classic anime that, in one way or another, constituted a turning point in the history of anime.

Dragon Ball

Returning to the subject of shounen, this demographic would not be what we know it today without its presence. Toei Animation, one of the best animation studios in the world, brought us Dragon Ball, which is perhaps the most important anime series in history that made the anime famous and known all over the world.

The most influential anime in history


How not to mention one of the longest-running cartoons of all time. Over 20 movies, mini-series, novels, manga, collectibles, events, merchandising, costume shows, and of course the origin of this franchise: video games.

The never-ending Pokémon saga is really much more than an animated series, created by Satoshi Tajiri, Junichi Masuda, and Ken Sugimori.

The most influential anime in history

Kimetsu No Yaiba

The second season of Kimetsu No Yaiba left us just as surprised as the first, and the animations of hunters vs demons battle scenes will make you wish you were watching them on a big screen.

The most influential anime in history

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