Religious imagery has been in anime for a long time. With titles like Neon Genesis Evangelion and High School DxD making use of myth and religion in their stories, it comes as no surprise that there are a host of other shows that do the same thing. More specifically, angels in anime are a common concept and their depiction is varied – they can be beautiful and graceful as most myths have them, or they can be dark and twisted. Anime does as anime does best in reimagining these tropes, so we’ve put together a list of anime featuring angels, about angels, concerning angels, by angels… okay, maybe not that last point! Note that this is an updated list and the older one can be found below!
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: April 2002 – September 2002
Kotaro was a regular boy living a regular life, at least until the overly-cheerful Misha appeared at his doorstep, asking to be his friend! It turns out that Misha is an apprentice angel, but unfortunately, she tends to do more harm than good. Alongside Kotaro are his friends Takashi and Koboshi, as well as the demon known as Shia (who does more good than harm), all of whom spend their days getting into wacky adventures.
Angels, demons and their interactions with humans are the topic of the day where this anime is concerned. With its light-hearted comedic feel reflected in both the premise and the art, Pita-Ten is the kind of angel anime you watch after a hectic day, or with your kid siblings. Another attractive concept explored by Pita-Ten is the reversal of the roles of the angel character and the demon character, who are performing each other’s perceived and assumed roles.
9. Shingeki no Bahamut: Genesis (Rage of Bahamut: Genesis)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: October 2014 – December 2014
Thousands of years ago, an ancient dragon called Bahamut wrought havoc upon Mistarcia, a land where gods and demons live amongst humankind. Teaming up to prevent the world’s destruction, gods and demons sealed away the ancient threat and split the key between them in order to prevent Bahamut’s resurrection. Living in a relatively peaceful world is expert thief Favaro Leone, who lives a carefree life occasionally running away from bounty hunter Kaiser Lidfard, who seeks revenge against Favaro. Favaro’s life; however, spirals out of control when he meets a woman named Amira, who bears one half of the key needed to break Bahamut’s seal. The three of them, Favaro, Kaiser and Amira find themselves in the middle of an intense clash between gods and demons alike, all underpinned by the readily approaching return of Bahamut.
Shingeki no Bahamut is a story of collaboration between warring factions of a Manichean nature – gods, often depicted as just while demons are often shown as depraved, have had to put aside their differences for the greater good. Angels in this series are every bit as beautiful and glistening as one would imagine. Relating to religious lore, archangels such as Gabriel and Michael are characters who are prominent angels in the series and also look really, really cool. To that end, Shingeki no Bahamut’s artistic direction is quite the marvel – angelic, if you will.
8. High School DxD
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: January 2012 – March 2012
Hyoudou Issei is a perverted high school student who spends all his time peeping on women and daydreaming about having his own harem one day. When a girl from another school asks him out on a date, Issei feels like he’s finally having his big break; however, she turns out to be a fallen angel who kills him. Luckily, Issei is given a second chance at life when his upperclassman, Rias Gremory, a high-class demon, revives him as her servant. He then joins the ranks of the school’s Occult Research Club, learning to fight and survive the violent new world into which he has been thrust, all while keeping it a secret from family and friends.
High School DxD is rich in occult material, particularly the demonic aspect due to the fact that much of the show’s perspective is that of the demons. In this world, God has died and the Archangel Michael has taken over his duties, including the answering of prayers and the like. The series also presents the interesting dichotomy within angels – those who fell vs those who didn’t. Fallen angels are aesthetically different from their regular counterparts, with black wings clearly marking their fall from grace.
7. Angel Sanctuary
- Episodes: 3 (OVA)
- Aired: May 2000 – August 2000
Mudo Setsuna is a 16-year-old who is just trying to get through life without getting too much trouble from his high school seniors who bully him. His life is fairly complicated given that he is in love with his younger sister who he only sees once a month and to top it off, he is suddenly approached by all manner of supernatural beings who claim to know his destiny. The angels claim he is the reincarnation of their leader, Alexei, while the demons claim he once led their rebellion against God himself. Struggling with his identity, will Setsuna be prepared when the ever-bubbling conflict between Heaven and Hell pops off yet again?
An identity crisis wrapped up in the sudden appearance of entities long thought to be the subject of human folklore is presented in Angel Sanctuary. While it would seem straightforward to move with the angels when presented with a situation like this, Angel Sanctuary creates a stunning dilemma by mirroring the request of both angels and demons – both factions are simply looking to be led and Setsuna seems the likeliest candidate.
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: October 2009 – March 2010
Hanato Kobato came to Earth with a mission: she must collect a substance known as “konpeito”, the residue that comes from healing the heart of someone who is suffering. She collects konpeito in a bottle because she wishes to go to a certain place. Despite her eccentricity, her openness and kindness make her the right candidate for this kind of task and she sincerely helps everyone she meets. There is but one condition: Kobato is not allowed to fall in love with anyone whose heart she has healed.
While it does not outright claim that Kobato is an angel, her extra-terrestrial origins and incredibly wholesome kindness make her out to be the archetypical angel – the kind of person we’d metaphorically call an angel. An incident happened in the space between Heaven and Earth which very nearly cost Kobato her life. The solution was to have an angel inhabit her body and collect konpeito in order to grant Kobato’s wish and have her truly saved from danger.
5. Otogi Story Tenshi no Shippo (Angel Tales)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: October 2001 – December 2001
Goro has really bad luck. He keeps losing jobs and he has very little money. He meets a fortune-teller outside of a pet store one day who tells him that his luck is bound to change. Later that night, three girls appear in his apartment, claiming to be his guardian angels. Before long, that number increases to a total of twelve girls all show up to help him; each one being a reincarnation of one of Goro’s dead pets.
In truly heartwarming fashion, Angel Tales comes to us presenting a concept many pet-owners can only dream of: being reunited with a deceased pet. Goro finds himself lucky in this sense as pets (especially dogs) are some of the purest souls we humans have the pleasure of interacting with and for him, they come to help him in life yet again as angels. The story also comes across as slightly pun-tastic with the Japanese title directly translating to “Angel Tails”, an allusion to how the angels in this story came about.
4. Ore no Nounai Sentakushi ga, Gakuen Love Comedy wo Zenryoku de Jama Shiteiru (NouCome)
- Episodes: 10
- Aired: October 2013 – December 2013
Amakusa Kanade is a high schooler living an incredibly abnormal life as a result of a curse he calls “Absolute Choice.” Forced upon him by a certain god, Amakusa is randomly presented with a mental dilemma which he must resolve by choosing one of two equally ridiculous choices that he must then act out based on that choice. These random choices often happen at the most awkward times and as a result, he is forced to do consistent damage control on his ruined reputation while waiting in despair for the next unfortunate flaring of Absolute Choice. Things get even wackier when he is unwittingly “choiced” into the lives of several girls at school. The ultimate cracker? God sending a beautiful girl who comes crashing down from the sky who Amakusa must now live with while continuing to suffer even wackier choices.
Hilariously unfortunate is the story of Amakusa Kanade, whose life continues to get wackier with every passing day. After a phone call with God himself, Kanade is forced to look after Chocolat, a beautiful girl dropped down from Heaven who suffers from amnesia. Whenever she is drunk or bumps her head; however, her carefree nature dissipates and is replaced by her real nature – a very knowledgeable and articulate person who knows about Kanade’s curse. She is actually one of God’s servants and can hence be considered an angel.
- Episodes: 1 (movie)
- Aired: August 2010
When a certain individual dies, they are kicked out of the cycle of reincarnation due to the grave sin that they committed. After winning a certain lottery, an angel tells them that they have the chance to remember the sin and so their spirit possesses the body of 14-year-old Makoto, a boy who committed suicide. They quickly become distressed with the state of Makoto’s life and come to grips with the painful reality of living in a colourful world where no one can distinguish themselves from other people.
While it isn’t all about the angels, Colourful is an emotional ride where a condemned soul seeks redemption after an angel helps them out. Angels in this movie carry out the role ascribed to them by myth and common conception, which works well given the fact that this movie isn’t about them. Colourful explores themes of individuality, sin and suicide.
2. Gabriel Dropout
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: January 2017 – March 2017
For centuries, it has been the requirement of Heaven to have its young angels live and study among humans in order to become fully-fledged angels. Top-of-the-class angel Gabriel White Tenma believes it is her mission to become a great angel who will bring happiness to humankind; however, she gets addicted to videogames while on Earth and eventually becomes a shut-in! Calling herself a “Faillen Angel”, Gabriel grows apathetic to everything else, to the chagrin of Vignette April Tsukinose, a demon Gabriel befriended in her early days on Earth. Vignette’s attempts to return Gabriel to her days of angelic greatness prove to be useless as Gabriel shoots down any attempt to change her lifestyle. The two soon meet the angel Raphiel Ainsworth Shiraha, one of Gabriel’s classmates and the demon Satanichia McDowell Kurumizawa. The four of them live hilariously wacky lives as they fail at coming to grips with what it means to be a demon or an angel.
Placing angels in a school environment is something we can come to expect of anime – the high school environment is one of the most common placements in anime. Gabriel’s fall from grace is also an aspect rarely explored since angels are always expected to be the pinnacle of perfection before God, the ultimate standard before the ultimate abstraction. The show comically explores these concepts of angels and demons while also giving personality to each individual.
1. Mnemosyne no Musume-tachi (Daughters of Mnemosyne)
- Episodes: 6
- Aired: February 2008 – July 2008
For most people, death is the final frontier. For Asogi Rin; however, death is just an inconvenience. Rin is immortal and as a detective, she consistently finds herself in life-threatening situations. After eating a “time-fruit” from the tree Yggdrassil which makes women unable to die after their consumption, Rin has died countless times in various ways. But in 1990, a series of events sends Rin spiralling towards her fate – someone out there is hunting immortal women and for the first time since eating the fruit, Rin is in actual danger. It all begins when a search for a lost cat ends up in the finding of amnesiac Maeno Koki instead…
Daughters of Mnemosyne is top of our list here for this batch of angel anime due to the way it presents it all: women eating from the guardian tree Yggdrassil makes them immortal but when men partake of the fruit, they become “angels”, the only ones capable of killing the immortal women. In that regard, aside from the violent deaths that Rin experiences, the show presents a dark aspect to angels as the only foil to immortality, which contrasts what we are often told about angels. They are usually the protectors, but in this scenario, they’re anything but.
Anime’s widespread use of diverse sources of inspiration makes it a medium that thrives off of the creative brilliance and culturing of its makers. Angels in anime are a diverse cast of various characters with varied motivations and personalities, and a medium like anime allows for the possibility of the continuous re-imagination of age-old concepts, folklore and religion. What is your favourite angel anime? Drop a comment below and tell us all about it!
Top 10 Angel Anime
Who doesn’t love a good fantasy anime?
Their stories are filled with great adventures, fantastic worlds and mythical beings. Some of them are set in far-away places while others just combine a little bit of magic with everyday life. Today we want to highlight one special branch of fantasy anime: stories featuring angels.
Whether you are looking for celestial encounters or angels falling from the sky, this list has it all. So lean back and enjoy our top recommendations!
10. Pita Ten (Clinging Angel)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: April 2002 - September 2002
Let’s start this list with a small trip back in time, to the year 2002 when Pita Ten was airing on Japanese TVs.
As it is often the case, we have an average student who leads a normal life only troubled by exam stress and adolescent life. Everything changes for Kotaro when a strange girl knocks on his door and asks to be his friend. He agrees, but it soon turns out that Misha, as she is called, is in fact an angel in training and is doing her best to become an expert in her field.
Pita Ten is an adorable show that is aimed towards kids, but also entertains older viewers. It has a nostalgic feel to it and will give you a mix of Shounen, comedy, romance and fantasy. Don’t expect too much of a plot here: Pita Ten relies on independent episodes that feature the everyday adventures of the main cast. Our first recommendation!
9. Otogi Story Tenshi no Shippo (Angel Tales)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: October 2001 - December 2001
Next up is another pre-2010 show that will bring you back in time.
Goro is a kind-hearted and hardworking man, but luck just isn’t on his side. His workplace goes bankrupt and he finds himself without money or any plans for the future. At his wit’s end he visits a fortune teller who tells him that luck will soon come his way. That is when three mysterious girls appear in front of him and tell him they are his new guardian angels.
Angel Tales is an underrated show, even though it was popular enough to get a second season. Right now, I would recommend it to all fans of old-school Shoujo and Magical Girl anime. The interaction between the girls - all in all 12 girls will enter Goro’s life - and our hero is the main focus of the show and the producers did a great job at keeping these encounters entertaining. Check it out when you get the chance!
8. Koisuru Tenshi Angelique: Kokoro no Mezameru Toki (Loving Angel Angelique: When Hearts Awaken)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: July 2006 - September 2006
You like angels, but you enjoy romance even more? Our next recommendation can give you both!
The galaxy is in danger and the only hope is an old prophecy: a young girl will become the legendary "Etoile" and save everyone. After looking for this girl far and wide, country girl Angelique seems to be the chosen one. With nine male guardians by her side she has to embark on a journey to fulfill the prophecy and safe her country.
Koisuru Tenshi Angelique’s interpretation of angels is more unique and maybe doesn’t have a great influence on the overall storyline. This recommendation goes out to everyone who enjoys angels, but does not want them to be the main focus. Especially fans of Reverse Harem and romance shows will have a good time. Angelique even has a second season so there are more than enough episodes out there to keep you entertained.
7. Sousei no Aquarion (Aquarion)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: April 2005 - September 2005
Angels are not only part of fantasy universes. Sometimes they appear in mecha shows featuring modern technologies and deadly weapons.
The story of Sousei no Aquarion begins with an eternal fight between angels and humans. The humans were able to win in the past, but the angels have never forgotten their defeat. Now they are coming back and this time they kidnap humans to drain their life energy. Only if the ultimate weapon of mankind “Aquarion” comes back and fights the angel race once more will humans be able to survive.
Sousei no Aquarion has its own unique interpretation of angels. As you can see, in this show they aren’t kind beings sent to help you when you are in danger. Rather, they are the ultimate enemy of mankind and must be destroyed. This anime will certainly be appreciated by all fans of Mecha and Action since it does a good job at creating a Sci-Fi universe. If you like any of these genres definitely give it a try.
6. Kamisama Kazoku (God Family)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: May 2006 - August 2006
Angels are often seen as lonely beings, but this show adds a nice spin to it by introducing a whole family of gods.
Samatarou might look like an average high school boy, but he is in fact the son of gods and he and his siblings are training to become gods themselves. Their job on earth is to familiarize themselves with the needs and customs of humans so that they will excel at their future duties. But Samatarou is not alone on his mission: by his side is angel girl Tenko who was sent to keep an eye on him. Their lives become even crazier when Samatarou falls in love with a transfer student and is determined to make her feel the same.
Kamisama Kazoku is a great feel-good show that deserves more recognition. Especially its storyline is well thought out, moves along at a good pace and does not leave any questions unanswered at the end. Of course, the whole setup of the show, with the children of gods and angels sent from above, is already interesting enough. Kamisama Kazoku should be on your must-watch list if you are a fan of fantasy, comedy and romance.
5. Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-chan (Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-chan)
- Episodes: 4
- Aired: March 2005 - September 2005
Completely hilarious and exceptionally weird anime are almost always a success. So why not throw an angel into the mix?
Junior high student Kusakabe Sakura is fed up with the state of the world and invents immortality so that girls stop aging after the age of 12. Of course, God isn’t happy with this turn of events so he sends an angel from the future to kill Sakura before he can make this invention. But the good-hearted angel has a different plan; she simply keeps Sakura too occupied with her crazy personality to create anything. Get ready for their story!
This OVA series split in two parts is obviously not meant to be taken serious and that is exactly the charm of this show. It is a parody of Magical Girl anime and uses a lot of blood, Ecchi scenes and similar obscenities to get their desired effect. It is true that it is a mindless story with questionable humor, but it is one of the most creative uses of angels in anime, so if that’s what you are looking for you have found the perfect show.
4. Sora no Otoshimono (Heaven's Lost Property)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: October 2009 - December 2009
Who says angels cannot be combined with Ecchi? Sora no Otoshimono is here to show you how.
Sakurai Tomoki is your average high school boy, with the exception that he has a recurring dream of an angel falling to earth. He doesn’t attach much meaning to it since his life motto is “peace and quiet are the best”. This might change, however, when an actual angel falls from the sky and becomes part of his life. How will their story continue?
Sora no Otoshimono is highly appreciated because of its humor which slowly but surely turns more random and hilarious as the story goes along. It might start out as a somewhat serious attempt at a show revolving around angels, but soon it becomes a great comedy Ecchi show. If you are looking for a more light-hearted story that will make you laugh, this is the one to go for.
3. Aa! Megami-sama! (TV) (Ah! My Goddess TV)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: January 2005 - July 2005
Imagine a phone call service that will send you magical assistance whenever you are in need. What sounds like a dream becomes reality in Ah! My Goddess.
College life turns out to be much different from what Keiichi Morisato had in mind. He isn’t successful in his classes, in love or life in general. But help isn’t too far away! When he picks up the receiver to make a phone call a strange voice answers with "Goddess Help Line". This is the beginning of a completely new College experience.
Ah! My Goddess is a great comedy, fantasy and romance show that brings together an awkward College student and a beautiful winged angel. There aren’t any Ecchi scenes, so don’t expect that form of entertainment, but what you will get instead is a solid storyline with more than just a few twists and turns. This show is recommended by a lot of people, so if the summary has caught your interest you should definitely check it out.
2. D.N. Angel
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: April 2003 - September 2003
As we are getting closer to our top choice, we have one more highly recommended show that has more than just a few fans.
Niwa Daisuke’s worst nightmare becomes reality: he finally confesses his love to his crush, but gets turned down immediately. To make matters worse, strange things start happening to his body whenever he thinks about her. Slowly he turns into a legendary phantom thief known as Dark Mousy and thus must continue the legacy that is written in his blood.
D.N. Angel seems weird and too over-the-top at first. But you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover! As the story progresses, more mysteries are uncovered and more questions arise and soon enough you will sit at the edge of your seat, wondering what will happen next. It is a story with innocent romance and fantasy elements and certainly deserves you giving it a try.
1. Haibane Renmei
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: October 2002 - December 2002
Last but not least we have Haibane Renmei as our top recommendation for anime featuring angels.
Rakka dreams of falling from the sky and then being born. Wings start growing on her back, a halo is placed on her head and she is told to live in the nearby town of Grie. Haibane Renmei tells her story of Rakka who tries to learn more about the town’s people as well as herself and her unknown past.
Many people call Haibane Renmei a piece of art, created by Yoshitoshi Abe who has a more than unique style. It is a slow and mysterious story that features a little bit of Slice of Life and a little bit of drama. The appeal of this show is hard to define since it comes from the overall atmosphere created through the drawings, the characters and the pace of the story. Check out Haibane Renmei even if you are not a fan of angels - you will not be disappointed.
Angels have their own appeal. They are mythical beings that come from another world and are usually there to help and guide you. As messengers from above they make people believe that there is something more out there. Japan puts their own spin to the Western idea of angels and the outcome of this process can be observed in the recommendations on our list.
What do you think of angels in anime and what is your favorite angel story? Feel free to start a discussion in the comment section down below!