Gyomei crying with hands folded in prayer in 'Demon Slayer'

These Are the 10 Most Popular Anime Out There

Anime has an allure that goes beyond that of mere cartoons; these series are like a narrative bento box, jam-packed with tasty morsels of story for every viewer. We viewers are voyeurs in a world where school festivals hold the weight of a presidential election and a single ‘power-up’ can solve existential dread. 

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Watching anime isn’t just a pastime; it’s an emotional investment in a world where even the pet cat might be planning a coup d’etat. With that said, here is a rundown of the top anime series for people wanting to get on the anime bandwagon or find out if their current favorite really is that good.

Hunter x Hunter

The cast of Hunter x Hunter
(Viz Media)

Hunter x Hunter, the brainchild of Yoshihiro Togashi, follows the cheerful Gon Freecss, who, in a twist of father-son bonding, aims to become an elite Hunter, just like the dad who left him quicker than you can say “daddy issues.” The series twists and turns through an intricate web of Nen-powered battles and ethical dilemmas thanks to its cast, including vengeance-driven Kurapika, doctor-to-be Leorio, and Killua, an ex-assassin with enough baggage to fill a Blue Whale.

From the deceptively vibrant Hunter Exam to the dark corners of the Chimera Ant arc, Hunter x Hunter oscillates between the innocence of a Saturday morning cartoon and the depth of a late-night philosophy binge. In the universe where Hunter x Hunter frolics, the line between heroes and villains blurs like a poorly erased sketch, and the thrill of the hunt is always just a dangerous step away.

Tokyo Ghoul

Rize Kamishiro from Tokyo Ghoul ready for seconds

In Tokyo Ghoul, our reluctant protagonist, Ken Kaneki, finds himself unwittingly cast in the lead role of a tragedy when a date goes horrifically awry—trading roses for fangs and literary café musings for a crash course in Ghoul Etiquette 101. The show nibbles on the grittier corners of horror and psychological drama, providing a rare blend of existential steak marinated in identity issues and drizzled with moral ambiguity sauce.

Kaneki, donning a mask that’s as much a fashion statement as a metaphor for his fractured identity, grapples with his newfound half-ghoul status in a world that’s less black and white and more red in tooth and claw. And while the Ghouls’ dietary habits might make a vegan shudder, Tokyo Ghoul carves into the meaty question: What does it mean to be human when humanity is a matter of taste?


A close-up of Naruto Uzumaki's face in 'Naruto.' He looks determined.

The story of Naruto centers on Naruto Uzumaki, a boisterous young, orphaned, and ostracized ninja. He’s the underdog with a fox-sized chip on his shoulder—nine tails, to be exact. In the bustling Hidden Leaf Village, where the trees are as abundant as the hairdos are spiky, our orange-clad hero dreams of becoming Hokage, the big cheese, the ninja-in-chief. 

With a supporting cast that could fill a scroll the length of the Great Naruto Bridge, the series leaps from heartfelt friendship bracelets to knuckle-headed ninja showdowns. Naruto’s journey is a veritable obstacle course of rogue mentors, emo Avengers, and copycat ninjas, all set to a soundtrack of shouted jutsu names. And let’s not forget the fillers—enough to make a bento box of subplots. 

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba

Tanjiro entering the highly secluded Swordsmith Village Arc, Demon Slayer

Storywise, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba is just as sharp as its animation quality, etching the journey of Tanjiro Kamado, a kind-hearted boy turned demon slayer. Armed with a forehead harder than the lives of the demons he’s vowed to decapitate, Tanjiro scours the scenic countryside of Taisho-era Japan, sporting the kind of checkered outfit that somehow never goes out of demon-slaying fashion. 

His sister Nezuko, a demon with a heart of gold and a muzzle of bamboo, defies the typical bloodthirsty stereotype and instead opts to kick and bite her way into viewers’ hearts. The series, a flavor of sibling bonds and sword clinks, is studded with foes so stylish you’d be tempted to forgive them for being so nightmarish. 

My Hero Academia

Gentle Criminal gives the camera bombastic side eye while sweating in "My Hero Academia"

My Hero Academia is set in a world where ‘Quirk’ is not a personality trait but a superpower, and 80% of the population has one. In this universe, ‘Thank you for your service’ is less about military attire and more about capes and spandex. Here, we meet Izuku Midoriya, a fervent notebook-toting boy whose dreams of heroism are as inflated as a Thanksgiving Day parade balloon.

In a delightful twist of fate, he inherits a power so potent it literally breaks his bones. The show juggles a kaleidoscope of characters, each with quirks running the gamut from tape-dispensing elbows to gravity-defying hairdos, as they learn to harness their powers in a high school that makes Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters look like a community college.

Sword Art Online

Sword Art Online Cast

In Sword Art Online, where the line between pixels and reality is as blurred as the screen on a 90s arcade game, players find themselves trapped by a whimsical game master with a flair for the dramatic and an aversion to logout buttons. Kirito, our solo-leveling hero with a penchant for long coats and brooding glances, slashes through this digital realm like a knife through virtual butter. 

Alongside Asuna, who wields a sword and culinary skills with equal finesse, they form a duo that cooks up a storm in battle and the kitchen. From levitating castles to existential crises on a scale only a gamer could empathize with, Sword Art Online is a cautionary tale wrapped in a cybernetic love letter to those who know the pain of server lag and the joy of an epic loot drop.

One Punch Man

Saitama with his cape billowing on "One Punch Man"

One Punch Man follows Saitama, a hero whose fist is the answer to every conflict, like a universal remote with only one button: “win.” In a world teeming with monsters that make a career out of city-smashing, Saitama’s disregard for the perpetual chaos is as bald as his head. 

The series satirizes the very genre it dominates, taking the concept of ‘fighting to become the strongest’ and tossing it out of the ring with a single tap. Every episode is a buildup to a climax flatter than Saitama’s effect. Yet, there’s something deeply philosophical about his quest for a worthy opponent—a nod to the Sisyphean struggle for fulfillment in the face of ultimate power. 

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

Edward Elrich and Roy Mustang in a promotional image for Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

Artfully transforming the raw elements of its predecessor into narrative gold, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood follows Edward and Alphonse Elric as they dabble in alchemy’s greatest taboo with the enthusiasm of children ignoring “do not touch” signs. 

Their quest for the Philosopher’s Stone, the mystical equivalent of a get-out-of-jail-free card for their alchemical mishaps, is a genuine periodic table of emotional elements. In a world where science and sorcery intertwine like DNA helixes, the series teaches us that everything has a cost, and the brothers’ relentless bartering with fate is as much a part of their charm as Edward’s vertically challenged rants. 

Death Note

L with Ryuk lurking in the background in 'Death Note'

Death Note is the gripping tale of Light Yagami, a high school savant who stumbles upon the Death Note, a notebook with a fatal twist—write a name within its pages, and the person’s heartbeat skips to a permanent stop. Light, burdened with an ego as large as his intellect, dons the cap of judge, jury, and executioner, scribbling his way to a utopia punctuated by heart attacks. 

Enter L, the sugar-fueled, barefoot sleuth with the social skills of a hermit crab, whose cat-and-mouse game with Light turns into an Olympic sport of wits. This show isn’t just a story; it’s a mental minefield where moral compasses spin wildly, and viewers find themselves cheering for a tennis match as if the world’s fate depends on the final serve. 

Attack on Titan

Eren and Mikasa hugging one last time in The Paths from Attack on Titan, Season 4 Part 3

Attack on Titan gives us a world where the average wall height is a matter for national security, and your neighbor might be a 15-meter-tall carnivorous nudist with questionable dental hygiene. Eren Jaeger, our vengeance-fueled protagonist, swings into action with the ferocity of a cat chasing the world’s most terrifying laser pointer. 

It’s a narrative where humanity’s underdog status is taken a bit too literally, and the line between predator and prey is as thin as the plot armor. Between its plots and high-octane action sequences, Attack on Titan proves that sometimes, to deal with your demons, you must strap on some gear and take a leap of faith—or several, preferably away from the gaping maws of said demons.

(featured image: Ufotable)

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Image of Faith Katunga
Faith Katunga
Faith is a freelance journalist with an insatiable curiosity for all aspects of current events, from the global economy and fashion to pop culture and travel. She watches an absurd number of cat videos on Instagram when not reading or writing about what is going on in the world. Faith has written for several publications, including We Got This Covered, Italy Magazine, TheTravel, etc., and holds a master's degree in Fashion Culture and Management.