Most Watched Anime Series of all time

Is your favorite of all time here?

by Bianca Versoza
Image: Toei Animation

A ton of new anime is released every season and an increasing number of them are being made available globally. As a result, there are now more anime fans than ever. If ever you’re for something new to watch, you can never go wrong with what’s the most popular. To this end, below, we’ve listed some of the most-watched anime of all time.


Image: Studio Pierrot

You’ll rarely find someone — anime fan or not — who hasn’t at least heard of Naruto, so of course, it’s going to make our cut. Naruto is a story of a young ninja’s journey to becoming the strongest in the village. The story’s alright, but Naruto’s greatest strength lies in its memorable cast and their relationships. Fans can testify to the number of tears, drama, and tests of friendships they had to see to get their happy ending.

Dragon Ball

Image by: Toei Animation

There’s not much to talk about in terms of story, but Dragon Ball sets the standard of what shounen anime fights should look like. It’s like watching a sandbox game if violence was more dramatic and choreographed. The entire world is their fighting ring; there are no limits to abilities. And once you think they’ve defeated the strongest in the world, rest assured there will be a “stronger in the universe” enemy coming.

Dragon Ball is probably one of few anime that has perfected its over-the-top format and has become extremely popular because of it.

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

Image: Studio Bones

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood tells the story of two brothers who lost everything and the pain-laced journey to gain some of them back. This type of setting may certainly seem hopeless, but the charm of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is the fact that it’s a story of nothing but hope. It thoughtfully touches on a lot of sensitive themes too, such as war and race, and has arguably one of the best stories ever. The worldbuilding is also very good and seeing the “science” behind alchemy is interesting to watch.

Neon Genesis Evangelion

Image: Gainax

Hideaki Anno knew what he was doing when he created Neon Genesis Evangelion. Back in the 90s, mecha anime was at its peak, and Anno rode the wave with Neon Genesis Evangelion. However, the anime subverted everyone’s expectations of what a mecha anime should be and instead gives realistic views on loss, love, and depression. Neon Genesis Evangelion is an anime that encourages people to think about themselves and their personal relationships just a little more.

Death Note

Image: Madhouse

Death Note follows the story of a genius who has the power to deliver his own sense of justice by killing criminals without getting caught and an equally intelligent detective after his tail. It’s a purposefully ambiguous anime that encourages watchers to form their own opinions and support the side they think is just. There are a lot of plot twists and every episode is a thrilling mind game.

Sailor Moon

Image: Toei Animation

In the name of the moon, we attest that no magical girl transformation would exist today if Sailor Moon wasn’t there to discover the category. Sailor Moon is an anime about an ordinary girl with a not-so-ordinary destiny that she must fulfill. Yes, it’s very formulaic — there’s a monster, a fight, and Tuxedo Mask who disappears into the night — but Sailor’s true charm lies in its fleshed-out characters and classic magical girl charm.

One Piece

Image: Toei Animation

It’s difficult to keep your audience and attract new fans into the community when your series has been running for over 1,000 episodes, but creator Eiichiro Oda manages to do it with One Piece. After all, can you believe that One Piece is an anime that is little to no filler given its many running seasons? It’s intimidating to start, for sure, but if you’re a fan of worldbuilding, exciting battles, and creative plotlines. 


Image: OLM Incorporated

Pokémon games are opportunities for people to catch ‘em all and get competitive, and the anime is great for people who want to know more about the world’s regions and characters. Pokémon is an anime for people who want to discover and witness awesome Pokémon battles while they’re at it. 

The best part about Pokémon is that you don’t have to watch all 1,000 or so episodes to love it. Each series is a new region, story, tournament, and set of companions. Everyone finds a favorite and sticks to it.

Attack on Titan

Image: Wit Studio

In terms of story, setting, and characters, Attack on Titan does everything so well that it’s a masterpiece. The plot twists are so good, its characters are so well-written, and it revolutionized the post-apocalyptic genre into something that is unique to the anime. Attack on Titan perfectly captures how gray humanity can be—showcasing how things like death, racism, and a sense of duty can shape one’s philosophy and turn the tides of war.

Spy x Family

Image: Wit Studio

After years of high-intensity shounen action anime, the making of Spy x Family was a breath of fresh air for the community. Spy x Family tells the story of a spy, assassin, and mind reader — a makeshift family composed of people with their own agendas. As the episodes go by, however, they eventually learn that this “family unit” is more than a mission or a means to an end. The anime has attracted a ton of watchers, solidifying its place as one of the most-watched series of all time.

My Hero Academia

Image: Studio Bones

While we’re sure that people got into the anime because of its exciting “superhero versus supervillain” (in high school!) premise, that’s not why people stayed. People stay for the battles, the creative use of Quirks, the drama, the friendships, and that one character they root for to the bitter end. My Hero Academia filled the zero-to-hero shounen hole Naruto left when it was ending, and people latched onto something similar but exciting all the same.

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure

Image: Studio A.P.P.P.

Aside from its stylistic art and amazing dialogue, a lot of people stuck with Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure just because of how bizarre yet cohesive the entire series is. It’s a different genre and protagonist in every part, yet legacies are carried over by descendants. The use of abilities can also be very creative at times. There’s no need to overanalyze anything when it comes to Jojo—it’s just a fun watch.

Whether you’re new to anime or are just looking for something new to watch, it’s okay to stream whatever’s popular, even if it’s a genre you normally wouldn’t try. 

Trending on AOTF