Best Zen Anime

Paul Gonzalez
• Friday, 30 October, 2020
• 10 min read

That's because so much of the lore surrounding anime is related to the action-shonen series' that many of its most profitable programs belong to. What the novice might not understand is that there is a lot of anime out there that delve into the psychology of the human mind, as well as some deep scientific themes that are far above the average Saturday morning cartoon's pay grade.

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Vast is a master at manipulating his character, generally projecting an energy that couldn't possibly belong to such a notorious criminal. That may not showcase intelligence in the way most of us think of it, but it takes a powerful brain to effectively manipulate everyone around you, so Vast no doubt belongs on this list.

Winery Rockwell of Full metal Alchemist fame is a next level crafts person who deserves more respect, specifically on lists ranking intelligent anime characters much like this one. Where somebody like Vast the Stampede is great at improvising when things go wrong, Aida is a master at planning, so he'll never have to.

With more confidence, his brains and might could easily allow him to exceed his brother Tense as an Engine hero. Until then, his training at UA High will shape him into a better man, hopefully preparing him for such a responsibility one day.

Madeira is easily the greatest tactician in Naruto lore, plain and simple. Beyond that, he had the freedom of living life on his own terms, ultimately dying only when he willed it: not being killed like many other villains in anime history.

Where somebody like Burma Brief focuses mainly on tech, Sent can do just about anything under the Sun if that thing is taught by stuffy old White guys in community colleges across the land. He's even not too bad as a strategist, leading the charge against Tsubasa and other threats in Stone World.

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It takes a special kind of genius to see the way that humans are failing students who don't fit the mold, then strong-arm them into letting you take over by posing as a hostile force who will destroy the world if you aren't allowed to help these damn kids. His plan was as beautiful as it was layered, hitting Assassination Classroom fans hard as they watched it unfold through subtle comments and actions that became more overt throughout the series' two seasons.

The opposition in this series is incredibly creative and equally malicious, much to the credit of the property's creator. Easily the most tactful of any Tojo villain, Did's incredible creativity is what allowed him to be such an enduring threat to the Joe star family.

In anybody else's hands, the user of a Death Note would have been identified and caught pretty damn quickly. It was only by a combination of his hubris and going up against several others that were similarly talented that he was able to be tricked into writing his own name in a Death Note.

We compiled some of the best anime series and movies across 24 categories and included a handful of honorable mentions for each. If you can stomach the grotesque, inside-out appearance of the titular titans, and the brutal finality of the way they devour their victims, you find an action anime that's also heavy on plot, character development, and atmosphere.

While there are probably more great action anime than any other genre, Attack on Titan is the best because the virtual lack of plot armor means nobody is ever truly safe, and the stakes are always very real. The various Dragon Ball series, which follow the adventures of Son Roku and his friends, has been the subject of parodies, jokes, and anime memes.

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Dragon Ball started as a mostly lighthearted take on the ancient Journey to the West. Still, by the time Dragon Ball Z came out, the franchise fully transformed into the archetype of the genre that's influenced much of what came after.

It's fine to joke about Roku and his foes spending entire episodes charging up their ultimate attacks. Shows like Full metal Alchemist, Dragon Ball, and One Piece are full of adventure but are pigeonholed into specific categories.

It's one of the longest-running, most-beloved manga of all time, and it finally received an anime adaptation that does justice to the source material. Each season of Tojo constantly reinvents itself, as it follows the lineage of the Joe star family.

Each scion of the family has a name that can be conveniently reduced to the eponymous Tojo moniker. The first season starts slow, and the source material is almost old enough to run for president if it wasn't Japanese.

You'll find an unlikely hero studying at an elite school for the differently-gifted alongside a tremendously colorful cast of characters. Every hero has a quirk or power that may be familiar, like super strength, or completely bonkers, like tape-dispensing elbows.

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The reason Full metal Alchemist is the best fantasy anime of all time is that it paints a fully realized, unique world with internally consistent rules that have real consequences. Building on that foundation, it delivers a story about two brothers that's as grounded as the setting is fantastic.

There's no question about whether the story of the Eric brothers belongs on any list of the best anime of all time. Brotherhood is a good choice if you prefer a faster pace, more action, and more humor.

Rated : TV-PG Honorable mentions : The Time I Got Reincarnated As a Slime, Kenosha, Escalope, Re:Zero, NGN, The Devil is a Part-Timer Sakai, which means “another world” in Japanese, is a massively popular genre that typically plucks an unassuming person out of their daily life and inserts them into a fantasy or science-fiction setting.

Some of the most popular examples include Sword Art Online and Spirited Away. Our top pick for the best Sakai anime is Rising of the Shield Hero, which follows the titular shield hero as he's drawn into a strange world, treated terribly, and forced to learn harsh lessons.

If getting mad at anime isn't your cup of tea, check out some of our honorable mentions for somewhat lighter fare. Fans of the genre are more likely to get the anachronistic gags and appreciate the alternate history version of the Do period portrayed in the show.

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Rated : TV-14 Honorable mentions : Bleach, Tojo's Bizarre Adventure, Hashish A lot of fantasy and supernatural anime incorporates fantastic elements into real-world settings, like shinigami descending on Karakul Town in Bleach.

That's mainly because the first several episodes focus on establishing the characters and the fascinating supernatural world they live in. That attention to detail, and the complex themes explored throughout the series, make it the best supernatural anime around and a legitimately great work of speculative fiction.

Rated : TV-14 Honorable mentions : Yuzuki Young, Little Witch Academia, Mai Him, Magical Girl Lyrical Nagoya While a lot of series in this genre are aimed exclusively at kids, and specifically at girls, the best ones have broad appeal and feature a range of themes.

No medium does sci-fi technobabble quite like anime, but there are also a ton of real gems that explore interesting themes and concepts. Ghost in the Shell: Stand-Alone Complex is a worthy companion to the movie, Psycho-Pass is a disturbing crime thriller inspired by Blade Runner, and Loan is a fascinating look at quantum physics.

If you want to dip into the world of visual novels, check out the Steins;Gate source material on the Steam platform. In a genre known for excess, Current Again takes things to a different level with a wink, a nod, and a shouted admonishment to believe in yourself.

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Viewers who aren't into the giant robot anime genre might be turned off by a Mecca wearing sunglasses. Current Again is fun, plus it packs an emotional punch that's strong enough to pierce the heavens.

Rated : TV-14 Honorable mentions : Amanda Died, Beck, Kawasaki Iron, K-On! While Harsh is a slice of life anime on a superficial level, there's a lot more weirdness going on there.

Rated : TV-14 Honorable mentions : Planned, Nana, Angel Beats!, Grave of the Fireflies If you have any feelings left to feel, there's a good chance this show will tease them out, along with plenty of tears that can't be easily explained away by the chopping of onions or a nasty case of hay fever.

High School Did is a harem anime with heavy fantasy elements, some romantic beats, and a tremendous amount of fan service. This show earns its TV-MA rating with an endless stream of violence and nudity, so it absolutely isn't for children.

Ghost Story is another example where the humor was introduced almost entirely in the dub. The original played the material straight, while the dub is one of the most hilarious anime series of all time.

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Gautama straddles a fine line where some jokes may be lost on Western audiences. Still, the show manages to be legitimately funny, which is why it takes the title of the best comedy anime.

Major is unique because the series spans several seasons and iterations, which allows the story to have a larger impact than a typical sports anime. It starts as the story of a young boy who, having just lost his father, resolves to follow in his footsteps as a baseball player.

Rated : TV-MA Honorable mentions : Full metal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Berserk, Backing! Some purists only watch anime in Japanese based on the logic that Japanese voice acting is superior to the English voice acting featured in anime dubs.

Death Note tops the list for many people because of its dark themes, interesting premise, and a complicated protagonist that's more of a villain than a hero, depending on your point of view. It's a beautiful film to watch, with tremendous attention to detail, a cool story, and fantastic, action-packed animation sequences.

Rated : G Honorable mentions : Pony, Spirited Away, Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva, Pokémon: The First Movie If you're looking for a great anime kids movie, the best place to start is Studio Ghibli.

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Pony, Spirited Away, and others are fantastic, beautiful, and entertaining movies that teens, teens, and adults can enjoy together. My Neighbor Motor, which is also a Studio Ghibli film, is the best kids anime because anyone can watch it.

Rated : TV-14 Honorable mentions : Shin Sakai Yuri, Full metal Alchemist, the Fate franchise One Piece is a shnen anime, which is a genre aimed at kids, so it might seem like a strange choice for this category.

One Piece has been on the air for almost 20 years, and creator Ericeira Odd hasn't taken his foot off the gas. Every island in the world of One Piece has a history, culture, and other tidbits to make it feel fully realized.

Rated : TV-14 Honorable mentions : Cowboy Bebop, Tojo's Bizarre Adventure, Space Dandy LCL gets the nod because it's short, sweet, visually beautiful, and somehow extremely relatable.

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