The anime industry is steadily making a breakthrough in modern culture, and in 2021 it’s more popular than ever before. Here, we gathered some of the most famous titles that you definitely wouldn’t want to miss out on. Here’s our list of 20 anime you should watch before you die:
1. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
Fullmetal Alchemist is the flagship of the anime world. It follows the story of two brothers, older Edward, and younger Alphonse Elric. They live in the world in which alchemy exists. It’s the power to decompose and reconstruct matter. As young kids, they break one of the fundamental laws of alchemy and pay the price with parts of their bodies. This story follows their quest to find a way to return to normal.
Maybe the most famous title on this list, Attack On Titan, quickly took the world by storm. It follows the story of three friends Eren, Mikasa and Armin. They live in a country that is surrounded by really high walls that protect them for the titans – tall humanoid beings that eat humans. On one peaceful day, the wall in Eren’s district is broken and the terror of titans is released on his town. This series has intense drama and action scenes that are thrilling to watch.
3. Steins; Gate
Steins; Gate is a science-fiction thriller series about time travel. Okabe Rintarou, an eccentric college student, accidentally creates a time machine with his friends in their little lab. They try to tamper with the machine and learn the consequences when the terrible butterfly effect begins to take form. Witty and funny, with a huge dose of drama, this anime is an amazing experience.
See also: 10 Best Korean Movies in 2021
4. Death Note
This is the one that you probably heard of, even if you aren’t familiar with the anime community. Death Note is a modern thriller about a high school student named Light Yagami. The titular notebook can be used to kill people by writing their name in it. One shinigami (a race of death gods) called Ryuk drops it for someone to find, out of boredom. Light is the one that picks it up and he decides to change the world by exterminating all criminals. That’s just the 1st episode.
5. Code Geass: Lelouch Of The Rebellion
Code Geass is a mecha anime that completely breaks the mold of its genre. The story’s protagonist is Lelouch, an exiled prince of Britannia, who lives in hiding in occupied Japan. One day a mysterious girl gives him a glass – the power to bend people’s minds to his will. Then he decides to take his revenge on the empire that exiled him. This series has one of the best endings in the history of the medium.
6. One-Punch Man
If we had to describe One Punch Man in 3 words, they would be comedy and awesomeness. This anime is about Saitama, your average guy who lives in the world of superheroes and monsters. One day he decided to become a hero for fun and went to train. He turned into the mightiest guy in the universe that can pulverize any opponent with just one of his punches. Oh, he also went bald in the process. The story follows Saitama’s quests and it contains a genuine message about what it means to be a hero.
7. Violet Evergarden
In our opinion, this anime has by far the most beautiful animation on this list. The protagonist is Violet, a girl that was used in the Great War as a doll – one of the ultimate killing weapons. She is unemotional and acts almost like a robot. After the war, Violet starts to work as an ”Auto Memory Doll”. It’s a job in which she writes letters for people and transcribes their thoughts and emotions onto paper. Through her different encounters, her emotions start to rise to the surface.
8. Demon Slayer
Demon Slayer quickly rose to the top in popularity and is currently one of the biggest franchises in the industry. The main character is Tanjiro, a young boy whose family was attacked by a human-eating demon. His sister Nezuko is the only survivor of the attack, but the demon gave her his blood so she turns into one herself. Then, Tanjiro and his sister set on a journey to turn her into a human again. The animation is stellar and fluid and this anime will keep you hooked.
9. A Silent Voice
The first anime movie we put in this list, this one is a real emotional rollercoaster. The film follows Shouya Ishida, a boy who regrets his actions from the past. When he was in elementary school, he bullied his classmate Shoko who is deff. After many years, now in high school, he approaches Shoko again in the try to make his wrongs right. This anime is character-heavy and its ending won’t leave you unsatisfied.
See also: 50 Films to See Before You Die
10. My Hero Academia
This anime is another modern powerhouse, but that doesn’t mean it can’t back up its popularity with quality. The plot takes place in modern-day Japan, with people developing strange mutations called quirks. Quirks are unique for every individual and some of them are useful and used by heroes to fight crime. The anime’s protagonist is Izuku Midoriya. He is born without a quirk but wishes to become a hero and the story shows us his long journey.
11. Vinland Saga
Vinland Saga is the newest anime on this list, beating Demon Slayer by one season. It came out in the summer of 2019. The story takes place in medieval Europe in the Viking era. Thorfinn, our main character, is on a quest to slay the infamous Askeladd who killed his father. The themes that are covered are very complex and question the meaning of a true warrior. In our opinion, maybe the best anime of last year.
12. Parasyte -the maxim-
If you like thinking about what humanity means, this is an anime for you. Parasyte’s story starts when an alien species that resembles parasites lands on Earth and starts taking over humans. Here’s the catch – you don’t know who is who as they adapt human actions almost perfectly. Our protagonist Shinichi survives his encounter with an alien and the creature settles in his right hand. They form a truce and begin to adjust to each other while the danger lurks around.
13. Mob Psycho 100
When asked why he wrote Mob Psycho 100, the author of this story said that he wanted to make something kind. If you ask us, it was a complete success. This anime is a life lesson disguised in action-packed psychic battles. Our main character Mob is the most powerful esper ever seen, but he just wants to live a normal life and impress his crush. Mob’s stress also has a counter and when it reaches 100% you better grab your popcorn.
14. Ergo Proxy
This anime is possibly the weirdest one on the list. The story is set in the dystopian future in one of the last remaining human cities. The technology is very advanced though, and the robots that serve humans started to contract a strange disease that grants them self-awareness. Our main characters set out to find out the truth behind the beings called Proxies. Ergo Proxy doesn’t take its viewers lightly and you will probably have to watch it 2 times to catch every little detail.
See also: 10 Best Korean Movies in 2021
Fate/Zero is actually a prequel to another Fate series installment, but it’s a totally independent story. Every 10 years, a war between 7 magician houses takes place. They summon their historical servants and fight each other for the Holy Grail that can grant any wish. It’s a battle royale and we couldn’t even pick a protagonist to write about because everyone is important.
16. Hellsing Ultimate
This anime is a gritty fantasy with the elements of horror that takes place in today’s England. Hellsing is the name of the organization which is proficient in destroying supernatural foes of humanity. Their most dangerous weapon is the vampire Alucard. He’s an ancient being that is completely loyal to the organization, but also very bloodthirsty with his enemies. Be warned though, this one has a solid amount of violence.
17. Black Lagoon
If you like profanity, guns and crazy amounts of action, don’t look any further. Our main character is Rokurou Okajima, also known as Rock. He’s an average Japanese businessman, but by some ill-luck, he gets captured by a mercenary group for ransom. He takes a liking to their lifestyle and after his release stays with the group. Be sure to check out the dubbed version on this one, it’s glorious.
18. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
If you are somewhat into anime you knew this one was coming. Strange, eccentric and hilarious are the best words to describe this madness of a show. The plot follows the generations of the Joestar family members in their various trials and tribulations. This anime has many seasons and many different plot formats. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but once you are sucked into this series it’s truly hard to get out.
Baccano is most famous for its fragmented storytelling. In the first episode, you see what happens at the very end of the journey. Then, they turn back to the starting point and you keep wondering how certain characters got into that mess in the end. Style is very smooth with a lot of jazz music filling up the scenes. Definitely a one time experience.
20. I Want To Eat Your Pancreas
For the very end, we have another anime movie. This one isn’t as famous as A Silent Voice, but its quality is in the same tier. The film follows our nameless protagonist who doesn’t want to befriend anyone. Then one day he finds a diary of a girl that has got just a few years to live. She starts following him around and friendship blooms. It might sound like a classic sad story, but there is one very important message inside that gives it a huge value in our book.
So, this was our list of some of the best anime to watch before you die. There are, of course, many more that weren’t mentioned, but if you are having any trouble finding some quality anime we hope that we gave you some nice suggestions.