Best anime: The 20 series you should be watching in 2024

Attack on Titan, Haikyu, and Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood
(Image credit: MAPPA/Production I.G/Bones)

Ask 20 different people what the best anime is and there's a fair chance you could get 20 different answers. There's such a diverse and extensive range of series, that it can be hard to pin down the best of the best floating in a sea of content.

Despite its burgeoning popularity, one thing is abundantly clear: anime can be overwhelming. So, where do you start? And what really is the best anime? In truth, that all depends on you. It's not all giant swords and demon-slaying, you know. To help get you going, we've given you a starter pack of essentials so you can try new things and dip your toes into different genres.

Our guide to the best anime to watch in 2024, then, not only provides a stellar example of what makes the medium so great, but also a chance to broaden your horizons.

Below, we've got 20 of the best anime shows we'd recommend watching today, ranging from modern-day masterpieces to '90s classics that have been influential on some of Hollywood's biggest names. Shonen, slice of life, sports, and sci-fi (to name but a few) are all represented here, while we've also given a shout-out to some of our old favorites as well as namechecking some more recent 2024 series. Ready? It's time to dive into the best anime you should be watching right now.

For more, check out the latest on Jujutsu Kaisen season 3 and One Punch-Man season 3, plus our complete guides to new anime in 2024 and the 25 best anime shows on Netflix.

The 20 best anime shows to watch in 2024

Attack on Titan

Attack on Titan

(Image credit: MAPPA)

Based on a manga series started in 2009 by Hajime Isayama, Attack on Titan’s initial premise revolves around humanity’s perpetual war against the monstrous Titans that lurk just outside the walls of civilization. 

Following the death of his mother at a Titan’s hands (and jaws), a boy named Eren decides to fight back. What follows is an anime series that is filled with heart-pounding action, nerve-jangling moments of horror, and a body count that would make Game of Thrones blush. 

It stands taller than most anime for its continued ability to metamorphosize amid some truly shocking twists. What began as a seemingly standard ‘man vs. monster’ anime has transformed into a deeper exploration of morality, revenge, and whether someone should be defined by their history’s sins. Essential viewing for all anime fans, especially now the show has come to a close.

Read more: Our guides to Attack on Titan The Final Chapters and how to watch Attack on Titan in order.

Cowboy Bebop

Cowboy Bebop

(Image credit: Sunrise)

The short-lived Netflix live-action series may have soured some on the property, but there’s a reason why Cowboy Bebop is almost always seen as shorthand for ‘classic anime.’

The show’s legendary 26-episode run fuses creator Hajime Yatate’s effortless eye for action with composer Yoko Kanno’s kinetic jazz soundtrack. The end result? As the show puts it, in tongue-in-cheek fashion: "The work, which becomes a new genre itself, will be called… Cowboy Bebop."

It has every right to be that confident. The story follows Spike Spiegel and his motley crew of bounty hunters as they attempt to snare some of the galaxy’s most wanted criminals in the hope of some woolongs and a warm meal. 

Each episode explodes in a burst of color and chaos as Spike, the stoic Jet, hair-trigger Faye, energetic Ed, and uber-smart dog Ein move towards their next target in frenetic fashion. Beneath it all, it’s tinged with a sense of melancholy, each member of the Bebop crew trapped by their tragic pasts. There’s never been a show quite like this. Many have tried to replicate its sense of coolness and charm. All have failed.

Death Note

Light Yagami in Death Note

(Image credit: Madhouse)

If you’re a newcomer to anime and don’t know where to begin, start with Death Note. Not only is the English dub just as good as the subtitled version (a real rarity), it’s got one of the most recognizable and 'Western' of arcs: good-guy-turned-bad, in the vein of Breaking Bad or Ozark.

Light Yagami is a teenager who happens across the titular ‘Death Note’, a notebook that allows its user to kill anyone anonymously just by writing down their name. Light uses this power to bump off some of Japan’s most hardened criminals and, inevitably, starts to dream a little bigger. 

As the net closes in on Light, a compelling cat-and-mouse game between himself and master detective L ensues. A breathless drama that will have you hooked until its very last scene, Death Note deserves to be spoken of in the same breath as some of television’s most talked-about prestige dramas.

Delicious in Dungeon

Delicious In Dungeon

(Image credit: Netflix)

Anime food always looks so good, but nothing quite whets the appetite like Delicious in Dungeon, the fantasy anime with a twist.

Based on Ryōko Kui's manga, Delicious in Dungeon follows the journey of a party of D&D-style adventurers as they aim to save one of their own. Along the way, perma-curious swordsman Laois and a motley crew of mages, warriors, and locksmiths cook up a storm by making meals out of the dungeon's creepiest, crawliest denizens.

Always endearing and frequently funny, Delicious in Dungeon stands out as one of the best new anime we've seen in years.

Demon Slayer

Demon Slayer

(Image credit: Ufotable)

Demon Slayer is the most popular anime on the planet right now – and for good reason: it boasts some of the most exciting and hard-hitting fight scenes ever committed to screen. Animation studio Ufotable has always been renowned for its mastery of action, but it soars past its own lofty standards here. 

In the hit anime, Tanjiro seeks revenge for his family’s death at the hands of demons, leading him down a path to become a member of the Demon Slayer Corps. Throughout Tanjiro’s journey, he butts heads with fearsome demons from the Demon Moon clan. 

Like most of the best anime, Demon Slayer juggles its intensity with a sprinkling of genuine laugh-out-loud moments. Tanjiro’s companions Zenitsu (a cowardly warrior who can only fight when he’s asleep) and Inosuke (a hot-headed boy who wears the head of a boar) are always on hand to keep things from ever getting too maudlin. The real highlight here is the show's brutal and balletic demon-versus-demon-slayer showdowns. They’re worth the price of admission alone.

Read more: Our guide to Demon Slayer season 4 and how to watch Demon Slayer in order.


Fate Zero

(Image credit: Ufotable)

The Fate/stay night series is a sprawling universe that centers around the Holy Grail, a mythical object that allows whoever obtains it to have their wishes fulfilled. But it’s not that easy. Every few generations, magic users – known as Masters – clash in a battle royale-style conflict to get their hands on the Grail. They’re aided in that crusade by Servants, legendary warriors pulled from the pages of real-world history and legends, such as Gilgamesh and King Arthur.

Fate/Zero is the perfect starting point for the series. Acting as a prequel to the Fate/stay night anime, the Fourth Holy Grail War features mage assassin Kiritsigu waging war against his fellow Masters. It all culminates in a breakneck rush of entertaining action and plot twists that almost demand the show be binged in one sitting. The best thing? If you like it, there are several movies and series in the Fate universe for you to dive into next.

Frieren: Beyond Journey's End

Frieren: Beyond Journey's End

(Image credit: Madhouse)

There's a reason why Frieren: Beyond Journey's End is currently the highest-rated anime of all time

Based on the manga by Kanehito Yamada and Tsukasa Abe, Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End follows the saga of elven mage Frieren who, long after defeating a great evil, returns to see her fellow heroes ravaged by an unstoppable enemy: time itself.

As she mourns the loss of one hero, Himmel, she embarks on an epic odyssey of connection, friendship, and belonging in a life-affirming 28-episode a run. A true must-see.

Fruits Basket

Fruits Basket

(Image credit: TMS Entertainment)

After the passing of her mother, teenager Tohru is given a second chance at life by the Sohma family. Tohru soon discovers the Sohma curse, an affliction that sees members of the family turn into animals from the Chinese Zodiac.

As a premise, it’s pretty goofy – but belies the heart of Fruits Basket. Tohru is a compassionate soul, dedicated to helping fix the broken Sohma family. The slow, measured pace of this slice-of-life anime often takes some sharp turns, too, and will have you reaching for the tissues as it reaches its conclusion.

We’d also recommend picking the 2019 remake over the original as it’s a more definitive take on the source material.

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood

(Image credit: Bones/Aniplex)

Possibly the greatest anime of all time? It’s not hard to see why Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is so revered thanks to its pitch-perfect blend of world-building, fantasy, action, and drama.

After a ritual to bring back their dead mother goes wrong, Edward’s younger brother, Alphonse, loses his body and his soul is trapped inside a suit of armor. As they search for the Philosopher’s Stone, they are dragged into a mystic war waged across nations – and a conspiracy that leads to the very heart of their nation’s government.

FMA: Brotherhood’s greatest strength lies in its impeccable pacing. It starts off pretty low-key – including that infamous Nina episode – and soon spirals out into epic battles as the seven Homunculus and the mysterious Father stand in Edward’s way. It’s all wrapped up in final act that is so inherently bombastic and entertaining that it could only be brought to life in anime.



(Image credit: Production I.G.)

Haikyu follows the trials and tribulations of Hinata, a pint-sized volleyball player at Karasuno High harboring lofty ambitions to be the world’s best. The magic of Haikyu, though, is that you don’t need to be a fan of volleyball – or sport at all, really – to enjoy it. The show slowly builds up your understanding of the game alongside Hinata, and each season usually climaxes in epic matches that stand alongside any shonen anime in terms of raw emotion.

As Haikyu wears on, you’ll laugh, cheer, and gasp as Karasuno’s eclectic squad – including the miserly perfectionist setter Kageyama and nervous wallflower Sugawara – suffer through the highs and lows of high school volleyball. This is the perfect entry point for those who want to try out sports anime for the first time. The series is set to draw to a close later this year with two movies.

Hajime no Ippo

Hajime no Ippo

(Image credit: Madhouse)

Alongside Haikyu above, this a sports anime one-two that hits as hard as any in-ring jab-hook combo.

Haijime no Ippo is a boxing anime that follows shy student Ippo from tentative trainee to contender, Rocky-style. With fights that have even influenced director Michael B. Jordan on Creed 3, this hard-hitting series is a cathartic and adrenaline-fuelled rush through the blood, sweat, and tears of the sweet science.

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure

(Image credit: Netflix)

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is a phenomenon. The anime has already spanned a decade – and continues to this day with Stone Ocean on Netflix. The show is an anthology-of-sorts, with each new series telling the tale of another member of the Joestar family, a group imbued with supernatural powers that protect them in their seemingly eternal war against series villain Dio and his many, many disciples.

The driving appeal behind JoJo’s is its constant ability to reinvent itself. From its first series, through to Stardust Crusaders, and beyond – each season feels like a fresh new anime waiting to be devoured.

It’s also loud and garish, harkening back to a time where anime was perhaps a little less subdued. As a celebration of the weird and wonderful, with some outright absurd fights thrown in for good measure, you could do a lot worse than JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure.

Jujutsu Kaisen

Jujutsu Kaisen season 2

(Image credit: Toho/MAPPA)

Jujutsu Kaisen went from new kid on the block to one of the hottest series in anime in record time. The show revolves around Yuji, a student who becomes embroiled in a world of sorcery and supernatural beings after he, in effect, merges with a 'Curse' being named Sukuna. 

Featuring thrilling fights, gorgeous visuals, and a story that never loses momentum after a killer first episode, Jujutsu Kaisen is a razor-sharp reinvention of the shonen genre. Last year's second season fired on all cylinders, wowing fans with a further layer of depth – and tragedy. It's (probably) the best recent anime around, so well worth checking out. Jujutsu Kaisen season 3 has also been announced.

Mob Psycho 100

Mob Psycho 100

(Image credit: Bones)

Anime is so often filled with strong leads, defined by their sense of destiny. Not so with Mob Psycho 100, a shonen anime that throws out the medium’s most overused trope.

The show features Mob, a shy, timid boy who is one of the world’s most powerful psychics. But there’s a catch. He doesn’t want to use his powers, instead repressing his abilities and emotions.

Mob’s dynamic with Reigen, a conman who uses Mob to trick the world’s ‘espers’ into believing he’s a powerful psychic, is a joy to see develop across the initial episodes. The crux of the show’s appeal comes with Mob then slowly discovering himself as his emotions spill out – all while battling increasingly nefarious groups and organizations in stunning battles directed by accomplished studio Bones.



(Image credit: Madhouse)

Thanks to anime’s proclivity for licensing issues, Monster hasn't had as much acclaim as it so richly deserves. But it's now on Netflix and you’re in for a treat. This is a psychological thriller that burrows its way into your brain and won’t leave until long after you’ve finished the 70-plus episode run.

Monster sees brain surgeon Kenzo Tenma ostracized after performing a hospital procedure on a young boy instead of the city’s mayor. Soon, bodies start piling up and Tenma is the prime suspect. Years later, Tenma discovers that the boy he operated on is, in fact, a serial killer. The series deals with Tenma attempting to overcome the fact he has (inadvertently) created a monster – and what he must do to stop him.

Neon Genesis Evangelion

Neon Genesis Evangelion

(Image credit: Netflix/Gainax)

On the surface, Neon Genesis Evangelion is an anime about a 14-year-old boy named Shinji piloting a ‘Eva’ mech to save the world from alien threats. Yet, it’s far, far deeper than that.

What starts as a mecha show soon unravels into an exploration of teenage loneliness, parental abandonment, and mental health issues. Fellow pilots Rei and Asuka also act as in-points for Neon Genesis Evangelion’s more mature and introspective themes, with director Hideaki Anno never shying away from the unflinching truths of growing up. That even overruns into the very material itself – its final few episodes, famously, transcend the very boundaries of what you should expect from an anime or any TV show, period.

If you thought anime was all about big battles with very little substance, the 1990s classic is here to prove you very wrong. It’s a daring, experimental series at a time when the medium was perhaps slightly unwilling to take risks.

Read more: How to watch Neon Genesis Evangelion in order

Run with the Wind

Run with the Wind

(Image credit: Production I.G.)

Run with the Wind is an anime about running. No, wait, come back! It’s really, really good. The adaptation of a 2006 novel by Shion Miura tells the story of Kakeru, a down-on-his-luck ex-runner who attempts to conquer the Hakone Ekiden relay marathon with his roommates, almost all of whom are beginners.

As the show wears on, the hopeless group of runners soon find their rhythm, overcoming personal hurdles in the process. The final stretch of the 23-episode run is among the most tense and gripping on this list, with some genuinely touching moments to boot. An anime about friendship, chasing your dreams, and never giving up, Run with the Wind is a true hidden gem that should appeal to sports and non-sports fans alike.



(Image credit: White Fox)

From its very first moments, Steins;Gate grabs hold of you and doesn’t let go. After finding the body of a dead researcher at a time travel conference, ‘mad scientist’ Rintaro Okabe soon discovers he can send text messages back in time. Unfortunately for Rintaro, this draws the attention of shadowy organizations – who would kill to get their hands on Rintato’s ‘D-Mail’ device.

What starts as a goofy time travel adventure soon evolves into a fraught, nail-biting drama that’s filled with gut punch after gut punch. As the net closes in on Rintaro, he must make an impossible choice to save those close to him.

If you enjoy Steins;Gate, there’s also the sequel series – Steins;Gate 0 – which is just as brilliant.

Violet Evergarden

Violet Evergarden

(Image credit: Netflix)

Following a teenage girl as she recovers from injuries suffered while serving in her nation's army, this Netflix anime is a powerful, affecting journey that will have you sobbing like a baby by the time its brief 13-episode run is over.

During the series, the stoic, robot-like Violet Evergarden sheds off the trauma and grief of the war (and her presumed-dead major) to take up letter writing as an 'Auto Memory Doll.' As a scribe, she helps uncover her own emotions while helping others express theirs. Throughout the 'letter of the week' format, mothers become closer to daughters, lovers find the right words to say, and fathers mourn the loss of their children. It's the sort of story that only anime can pull off: a deeply emotional character study on love, loss and longing as Violet slowly becomes more and more human. 

Vinland Saga

Vinland Saga season 2

(Image credit: MAPPA)

The likes of the God of War reboot and the recent Vikings: Valhalla series on Netflix proves there's plenty of life left in Norse mythology and mythmaking. Vinland Saga takes it a step further, first charting the story of legendary warrior Thors, before his son Thorfinn takes up the mantle. Running parallel to Thorfinn's brutal, personal tale is a Danish quest for supremacy as nations jostle for control of 11th-Century Europe. The second season, which aired in 2023, proved Vinland Saga wasn't just a spectacular one-off, taking the show in a brave new direction and reframing its saga as one of pacifism. 

Anime also has an exciting future waiting for you to discover. We've also got the best anime for beginners if you're trying to get a friend into the weird and wonderful world of anime.

Bradley Russell

I'm the Senior Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.