We’re giving you the lowdown on the best anime of the last decade. Grab your popcorn – it’s time to get bingeing!
As huge fans of all things (slightly) nerdy and geeky like graphic novels and cult cartoons, anime is of course one of the things that we love in our lives. Whether it’s superhero fantasy, dystopian or comedy anime, there is always something comforting and inspiring in each series that will bring you into a whole new world, or shatter your heart in a million shreds. And here are some of the best anime of the 2010s that guarantee to do so for you as well.
The best anime shows of recent years
1. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba (鬼滅の刃)
If you haven’t heard of the Demon Slayer, you really ought to learn about it now, because its immense popularity has swept across the world (yep, not just in Asia) over the past several years. Originally a Japanese manga created by Koyoharu Gotouge, Demon Slayer was adapted into an anime television series in 2019. With an exciting plot involving superpowers, revenge, and intense battles (plus a touch of humour and cuteness to balance), it’s no surprise that Demon Slayer managed to gain a huge global fan base in a matter of months. In fact, its sequel film, Mugen Train (2020), became the highest grossing anime film of all time in Japan, even beating the legendary Spirited Away (2001) and Your Name (2016). Want to give Demon Slayer a go? Its second season is premiering in late 2021 – just in time for you to watch the first season right now.
2. My Hero Academia (僕のヒーローアカデミア)
Even for those of you who usually don’t get excited by superhero stuff, My Hero Academia is a game changer. In the world of My Hero Academia, there are a number of people born with quirks, aka superpowers, making them either on the side of Villain or Hero (which is a legit occupation) in the future. The story follows Midoriya who used to be a quirk-less person but changes things up after inheriting a quirk from the world’s greatest Hero and entering a top Hero high school. It sounds cliche but the characters are all so true and flawed that you can’t help but feel for them.
3. Tokyo Ghoul (東京喰種)
Kaneki, who was bitten by a ghoul, turns into a cannibalistic being struggling to find his place in society while discovering that a large number of people who possess the face of a normal person are also secretly ghouls. It’s one of the best anime for those who enjoy action and dark fantasy.
4. One-Punch Man
Brace yourself for (arguably) the most powerful anime superhero ever created – Saitama, also known as One-Punch Man. His superpower? Well, it’s literally in the name, because this man can defeat any opponent with just a single punch. Although the second season has often been criticised for having fallen short of expectations, its first season is definitely worth watching. Prepare to be amused and flabbergasted by Saitama’s superhuman strength as he attempts to seek a worthy opponent in the universe. Will he succeed in his quest? Tune in to find out for yourself!
5. Parasyte (寄生獣)
As one of the most influential science fiction horror manga series, Parasyte soon got adapted into an anime television series. Attacked by an extraterrestrial worm-like creature unsuccessfully, Shinichi’s right hand turns into a parasite who has its own intellect and personality. While the government is trying everything to expel the parasites from planet earth, the series is mostly a mockery of how humanity is lost in this selfish modern society.
6. The Disastrous Life of Saiki K (斉木楠雄のΨ難)
Born with psychic abilities like telepathy and teleportation, all Saiki wants is to live a normal high school life and avoid attention. However, his classmates and family members are much less usual (and special in a cute way). It’s a funny series written and illustrated by Shūichi Asō that will make you laugh from beginning to end!
7. Attack on Titan (進撃の巨人)
If you’re a fan of action, fantasy, and dystopian fiction, Attack on Titan is not to be missed. Set in a post-apocalyptic world, Attack on Titan illustrates the ongoing conflict between humans and man-eating giants (Titans). Although gigantic walls help separate the two communities, a group of elite soldiers, known as Survey Corps, often venture outside the walls to fight Titans and find out more about what’s beyond their village. The battles in Attack on Titan can be cruel and intense, but they’re nonetheless beautifully animated. Also, the protagonist, Eren Yeager, will grow on you.
Psycho-Pass is undoubtedly one of the best anime for fans of dystopian novels like Orwell’s 1984. While citizens are being measured by their Crime Coefficient Index through an omnipotent system, police officers are told to eliminate the ones that have committed thoughtcrime. It depicts a world where people have to relinquish the rights to be real humans in order to survive in a peaceful society, and it gets hard-hitting pretty quickly.
9. Haikyu!! (ハイキュー!!)
He may be smol, but he is powerful! This is a story that follows a boy whose dream is to become the top volleyball player despite his small stature. Journey with him as he overcomes his obstacles, such as building a volleyball team for his school from scratch, and competing against other strong teams. Often praised for its character development and its focus on friendship and sportsmanship, Haikyu!! will leave you feeling inspired, motivated, and maybe even wanting to learn volleyball yourself!
10. Violet Evergarden
With its well-written and beautifully made episodes, Violet Evergarden is an anime that guarantees tears. It’s about former soldier/stone cold killer Violet Evergarden learning to contemplate human emotions after being employed as an “Auto Memory Doll” who helps draft letters for local citizens. What’s so fascinating about it is that we’re taking baby steps to re-recognise human feelings as we’re experiencing what Evergarden is going through.
11. Back Street Girls
Looking for a great laugh? Back Street Girls has got the most ridiculous plot ever. Three Yakuza men get sent to Thailand to receive sex reassignment surgery after making a mistake doing work for the Japanese mafia. When they come back to Japan, they are told to go through constant insufferable trainings to become the most popular idols to make money for the gang. Despite its horrible-sounding plot, it’s actually a light-hearted and hilarious comedy that throws shades on Japanese idol culture.
12. Bungo Stray Dogs
Bungo Stray Dogs revolves around the lives of the Armed Detective Agency and the Port Mafia, in which all of them are gifted with superpowers. The reason why the show gets everyone hooked is because most characters are named after famous Japanese authors and/or characters in their most prominent works – it’s eerily captivating to reimagine literary figures on screen in the form of anime.