30 Animes That Are Perfect For Binge-Watching And Definitely Not For Kids Don't make any plans because these shows might consume your life. Good animes tend to do that.
Attack on Titan
Recommended if you like: Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, very sad things constantly happening The elevator pitch:
People live in walled cities hiding from giants that eat humans. Legions of knights who fly around like Spiderman with grappling hooks, hoping to stop the giants from eating people. A lot of people get eaten.
Recommended if you like: Game of Thrones, 300, just totally outrageous violence The elevator pitch:
Berzerk is one giant bloody mess of a medeval slash-em-up knight story. It's known as one of the rawer animes out there and for good reason. You've been warned.
Recommended if you like: Batman: The Animated Series, Dark City, big robots The elevator pitch:
Take a millionaire like Bruce Wayne, put him in a giant robot, and then have him fight other huge robots. Also, bonus, the whole show is one big quest to solve the mystery of how every single person in the city lost their memories all at the same time. It's trippy and cool and definitely a weird, good time.
Recommended if you like: Game of Thrones, 300, medieval slash-em-ups The elevator pitch:
Female knights hunt down shapeshifters and kill them in a very loosely medieval kind of world.
Recommended if you like: Firefly, Blade Runner, The Fifth Element The elevator pitch:
Take the coolest crime noir you've ever seen and put it in space. It's known for its gorgeous art and beautiful jazz-inspired soundtrack. There's a reason it's a modern classic.
Darker Than Black
Recommended if you like:
Intense sci-fi mysteries like
The X-Files or Lost The elevator pitch:
A story full of assassinations and espionage set in a world where the gates to heaven and hell have opened up, giving certain people special powers.
Recommended if you like: Hannibal, The Following, Orphan Black The elevator pitch:
An overachieving high school student gets a notebook that will kill anyone whose name is written in it. When he starts killing bad guys with it, let's just say things get out-of-hand real quick.
Recommended if you like: Alias, Merlin, magic and fantasy, coming-of-age stories The elevator pitch:
Every 60 years a bunch of mages summon a great hero from the past, like Gilgamesh, or Alexander The Great, and make them fight each other. To tell you anymore would probably ruin it. Has some of the best fight choreography you're bound to come across. Plus, it has a slew of insanely cool female characters!
Recommended if you like: Wonderfalls, Pushing Daisies, Venture Bros, giant robots The elevator pitch:
Oh boy, so
FLCL is only six episodes long and let's be glad it's that short. An angsty teenager discovers that when he, uh, becomes aroused, giant monsters crawl out of his head and start to destroy the city. Luckily, he has a robot friend that helps him beat them. It's also not really about any of that. But it is. But not really. You know what I mean?
Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood
Recommended if you like: Inglorious Basterds, Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark, Harry Potter (especially the later books), steampunk The elevator pitch:
Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood is technically a reimagining/sequel of the more kid-friendly Fullmetal Alchemist. It follows the Eldric brothers, two teenagers who have the ability to use a magic known as alchemy. Brotherhood is much darker than the first installment. It's also much longer and has an epic feel to it that makes it an absolute must-see.
Recommended if you like: Chronicles of Narnia, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, world-spanning adventures The elevator pitch:
A super-cute romance starring high schoolers who can jump between dimensions using a magical book they found in their school's library.
Recommended if you like: The Hunger Games, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Pretty Little Liars The elevator pitch:
Twelve people get cell phones that can predict the immediate future. Then they're forced to try to kill each other. The winner of the battle royale becomes God. It's sad and funny and has an outrageous love story that ends up hooking you in a really odd way.
Recommended if you like: The X-Files, Twin Peaks, True Detective The elevator pitch:
Oof, OK, this is a complicated one: Imagine if when you died, instead of dying, you were teleported into a room where a black ball named Gantz would force you and other dead people to hunt aliens. That's pretty much how this one starts. Although, a fair warning, it's a known fact this anime will really piss you off when you finish it.
Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
Recommended if you like: Independence Day, Big Fish, The Wonder Years, huge robots, mind-bending sci-fi The elevator pitch:
Starts as a goofy show about big robots and then becomes a heartbreaking coming-of-age story. It also set the record for largest robot ever shown on screen in an anime only to go on and break its own record in the movie adaptation of the series by showing an even bigger one.
Recommended if you like: Hellsing, Blade, World War II-era politics The elevator pitch:
Vampires, Nazis, and the apocalypse, oh my! But seriously,
Hellsing is known as a top-tier anime. It is not your typical by-the-books vampire story, at all.
Hunter X Hunter
Recommended if you like: Indiana Jones, National Treasure, goofy paranormal action The elevator pitch:
A standard search-for-lost-father fighter anime turns into an urban mafia detective story, an auction house drama, a reality-bending video game, and probably the scariest ecological disaster you'll see in anime. This isn't about the triumph of the plucky. At every moment, you're worried that the people you're rooting for are going to die.
Kill La Kill
Recommended if you like: Sailor Moon, Power Rangers, gross-out humor, coming-of-age stories The elevator pitch:
It starts as your typical gross, kind of sexist magical girls anime set at a high school where students physically fight to be popular. But it gets turned on its head and transformed into something darker, more interesting, and incredibly tough to pin down.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Recommended if you like: Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Teen Wolf, The Vampire Diaries The elevator pitch:
Take the girliest, goofiest magical girl cartoon you can imagine, and then every episode it gets pushed darker and darker until it becomes something actually really groundbreaking.
Neon Genesis Evangelion
Recommended if you like: Pacific Rim, serious teenage angst, having your brain melted out of your ears The elevator pitch:
You've never seen a big robot story like this before. Actually, to be completely honest, you've probably never seen anything like this before. There's really no point in trying to pitch this to you quickly, but basically a teenage boy has to get in a big robot and kill angels that come down from maybe heaven to bring about what is maybe the rapture.
Ouran High School Host Club
Recommended if you like: Secret Life of the American Teenager, Awkward, The Carrie Diaries The elevator pitch:
Super-cute, very goofy teen comedy, but pulls off the rom-com tropes well enough that even adults will find themselves hooked on the goings on of
Ouran High School's student body.
Recommended if you like: American Horror Story, Twin Peaks, True Detective, psychological thrillers The elevator pitch:
You think you're watching a story-of-the-week anthology series, then toward the end of it, characters and storylines start tying together to reveal a larger plot you literally couldn't have seen coming. It's also seriously creepy in the best way.
Recommended if you like: Gravity, Star Trek, workplace comedies, workplace rom-coms The elevator pitch:
Basically, it's a workplace comedy set in the very near future. It follows a ragtag group of space garbagemen who make sure spaceships can get around without getting hit by debris. It's funny, but also, in the future they live in, their job means the difference between life and death.
Recommended if you like: When Harry Met Sally, sprawling samurai stories, lots of action The elevator pitch:
There are samurai dramas about wandering ronin and then there is
Ruroni Kenshin, which operates at such a high level, it's in a league all its own. It's also a pretty darn cute romance story.
Recommended if you like: The Boondocks, alt-history, contemporary hip-hop culture, samurais The elevator pitch:
It's another wandering ronin series, but it's sort of an alt-history thing with this weird/great mash-up of Edo period japan and American contemporary hip-hop culture. In the episodes themselves, there'll be graffiti artists and beatbox battles, and there's even an entire episode about defeating the Americans at their own game: baseball.
Serial Experiments Lain
Recommended if you like: The X-files, The Matrix, crime noirs The elevator pitch:
Hackers and shadowy agencies fill up this dark — unfortunately short — cyberpunk drama. It's definitely one of those you have to just watch it to get it kind of shows.
Recommended if you like: Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, dark science fiction and fantasy, coming-of-age dramas The elevator pitch:
Basically, a bunch of students go to an academy whose headmaster is actually the grim reaper. Then they fight other schools for the chance to kill everyone else. Imagine an insanely out-there version of
Harry Potter (sort of). Like a really, really out-there version.
Recommended if you like: Firefly, The Fifth Element, Army of Darkness The elevator pitch:
A goofy interstellar adventure series following an alien hunter with lots of silly action and a lot of heart.
Recommended if you like: Groundhog Day, Butterfly Effect, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind The elevator pitch:
A bunch of nerds accidentally turn their microwave into a time machine and then they have to stop it from causing World War III. Oh, and they have to do that all that without ending up in a timeline where they don't exist anymore.
The Eccentric Family
Recommended if you like: Veronica Mars, big ensemble comedies, murder mysteries The elevator pitch:
One part dysfunctional family comedy, one part teen drama, one part murder mystery, full of huge characters and a super-intricate plot.
Recommended if you like: Deadwood, Breaking Bad, adventure stories The elevator pitch:
If you're into Westerns, you'll love
Trigun. If you're not into Westerns, you'll still love Trigun. It starts out goofy and then it gets real, and boy does it stay real.
Due to the constantly changing lineups of streaming sites, this post no longer features a section about where you can stream these. Crunchyroll is a good resource for streaming anime, and Netflix and Hulu are constantly updating their anime selections. BuzzFeed Daily
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