Top 10 Anime Made by Kyoto Animation [Updated Best Recommendations]

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Kyoto Animation, also referred to as KyoAni, was established in 1981 and has been the lead production house on more than 21 anime series and films. KyoAni was involved in several memorable early productions such as InuYasha, Tenchi Universe, and Nurse Witch Komugi. The studio has been very busy in its 37 years producing anime that have become staples of any otaku’s collection. In recent years, KyoAni has tackled some topics not typical of most anime, like PTSD, bullying, and same-sex relationships. Yet, the studio has also found time for fun, adventure, and beauty in its titles. We now count down the Top 10 Anime made by Kyoto Animation.

10. Clannad

  • Episodes: 23
  • Aired: Oct. 2007- Mar. 2008

Tomoya has never been motivated to try his hardest in school, finding the whole process a waste. A chance meeting with Nagisa, a quiet girl with a few quirks, on his way to school one day creates a subtle bond between the delinquent and the wallflower. He finds himself searching for her in the hallways at school as he notices her more and more. Tomoya eventually warms up to the strange girl and becomes her friend. Nagisa, on the other hand, had considered Tomoya her friend since the first day they met. Nagisa, who was held back a year in school because of missing most of the previous year due to illness, desperately wants to revive the drama club. Tomoya decides to join Nagisa and four other girls in their quest. He finds himself involved in the girls’ lives, helping each of them overcome their problems as his romance with Nagisa blooms.

KyoAni does an excellent job at creating a character-driven anime. You won’t find any supernatural battles or sinister plans by the student council. You’ll simply find a story filled with subtlety. The episodes at times feel like a slice-of-life but they’re all connected in a narrative of young people overcoming real-world obstacles in the latter days of their youth. The love story between Nagisa and Tomoya is also rated one of the best in anime.

9. Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon (Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid)

  • Episodes: 13
  • Aired: Jan. 2017- Apr. 2017

What would you do if you opened your door and the large green face of a dragon was filling up your home’s entranceway? The first instinct might be to close the door and hide in your bathtub. You, however, might just freeze and stand there long enough to see that dragon go poof and transform into a cute girl dressed as a maid. Miss Kobayashi had that exact encounter, chose the second option and that dragon maid introduced herself as Tooru. The previous night Miss Kobayashi got drunk after work and wandered into the woods where she came across a wounded dragon. She, in her drunken state, pulled a sword out of the large dragon Tooru and offered her a place to stay. Tooru decided the best way to repay the kindness was to become her personal maid. We get a bit of slice of comedic life as Tooru attempts to adapt to the human way of doing things, like washing the laundry in the washer and not in her mouth. Tooru’s presence attracts several other human-shaped dragons and one child dragon named Kanna. Miss Kobayashi takes in the younger dragon and becomes her foster parent. She and Tooru do their best to raise the small dragon including registering her for school as Kobayashi’s child. The story continues from there as a slice-of-life with mystical and truly comedic twists as they navigate their daily lives.

Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid is a story of love, acceptance, and the meaning of family in a truly modern sense. KyoAni manages to take this quirky slice-of-life comedy and make it a lesson about love. We get that Tooru is a dragon. She has horns on her head and a tail sticking out from under her maid’s skirt as a constant reminder of her otherworldliness. Tooru is also accepted by the community around her as just a girl that likes to dress oddly. Miss Kobayashi’s life before Tooru and Kanna revolved around work and not much more. Tooru, who on several occasions expresses her feelings for the human, is completely in love with her savior. Miss Kobayashi quickly realizes that her life without Tooru and Kanna would be incomplete. We find one of the best episodes is when they take Kanna school shopping and it feels like two moms shopping with their daughter. The greatest statement KyoAni makes is at the end of the season when Miss Kobayashi takes Tooru and Kanna to visit her parents and we are led to believe she introduces them as her family.

8. Kyoukai no Kanata (Beyond the Boundary)

  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: Oct. 2013- Dec. 2013

Akihito Kanbara is a high school student, a rare half human half youmu, and immortal. Yet aside from that he tends to live a relatively normal life. He spends his days in class and hanging out with friends enjoying life until he is stabbed through the chest by a classmate. He didn’t die, he’s immortal remember. His classmate Mirai Kuriyama is the last surviving member of a clan of Spirit World Warriors that can manifest their blood into weapons. Mirai’s people believe that Youmu are the manifestation of people’s negative emotions and need to be cleansed. The two gradually for a relationship though she keeps attempting to kill him in an attempt to become a stronger warrior. Akihito convinces Mirai to join the literature club which is already home to his friends, two-spirit warriors from a separate clan different than hers. The literature club does spend more time confronting the paranormal than reading, but the bonds they build battling boogiemen prepare them for an uncertain and dangerous future.

Kyoto Animation combines fantasy, action, slice-of-life and romance in Kyoukai no Kanata. You get to watch people that should be mortal enemies, Mirai and Akihito, find a friendship and love. The story’s pace is pretty well-regulated, too, by starting out slow and exponentially ramping up to the conclusion. You know from the first couple of episodes despite the slice-of-life feel that the story is building to something big. The character design of the heroine is different than the ordinary in the fact that Mirai is ordinary. She is a bit of a wallflower that doesn’t stand out at all. Mirai is a bespectacled heroine and she doesn’t even look like she’d be good in combat wearing a pink sweater, but she’s quite effective. We find it refreshing that the heroine isn’t the prettiest girl in school or some super-cute loli. Mirai and her truly ordinary character design along with her inventive blood-based power is the reason Beyond the Boundary belongs on this list.

7. Nichijou (Nichijou- My Ordinary Life)

  • Episodes: 26
  • Aired: Apr. 2011- Sep. 2011

We all, even the loneliest among us, have a couple of good friends from childhood. Nichijou is a slice-of-life story about a group of childhood friends lucky enough to stick together all the way through high school. The story follows high school girls Mio, Yuuko, Mai and a genius named Hakase. A collection of the normal and the absurd mark the daily occurrences in this group of friends.

The slice-of-life adventure comedy has classic appeal. The artwork isn’t nearly what you anticipate from KyoAni with its simplistic style. The whimsical appearance seems appropriate for the light-hearted genre. A series of themes appear throughout the school-based series that appeal to the adults in us, too. The first episode is titled “Motivation” and is all about Yuuko and Mio being unmotivated and how to motivate yourself when you’re struggling. We see many of the episodes are simply about finding the interesting and entertaining things in our boring everyday lives.

6. Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! (Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions!)

  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: Oct. 2012- Dec. 2012

The first time most of us in the west heard the term “Chuunibyou” was in the title of this particular anime. We were shocked to find that what we simply call an overactive imagination is called a disease. Yet chuunibyou, or second year syndrome, is viewed as one of the most embarrassing afflictions you can have. A teenager, especially one that has moved on to high school, that still believes that he or she has special powers or believes they’re originally from a fantasy realm are looked at as simply crazy. Yuuta Togashi was able to leave his chuunibyou behind as he started his first day at a new high school -- or so he thought. In a moment of stress, he exorcises himself and refers to himself as “Dark Flame Master” and is overheard by a 1st-year girl by the name of Rikka Yakanashi. The eccentric Rikka, still living in her own chuunibyou world, attaches herself to Yuuta. A collection of delusional and not-so-delusional characters quickly enter Yuuta’s life and bring down the normal high school life in a fire of dark flames.

The appeal of Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions! is the characters. Rikka is adorable and her eccentricity only makes her more so. She lives in her own world and is harmless but has trouble fitting in with traditional society. The truly endearing part of the story is Yuuta. He is determined to leave his nonconforming ways behind him and wants to help Rikka adjust to the real world. We find out that Rikka’s chuunibyou is trauma-related and that only makes Yuuta want to help her more. The story progresses and Yuuta realizes that he doesn’t have to leave the world of make-believe completely behind; having an imagination isn’t a bad thing. He, Rikka, and their assortment of friends simply should focus that imagination into something productive. Fantasy and science fiction writers have overactive imaginations and have harnessed their chuunibyou to entertain us. We love this story because it reminds us that this story and most of the anime we watch wouldn’t exist if its creators didn’t have a little chuunibyou left in each of them.

5. Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu

  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: Aug. 2003- Oct. 2003

The Whispered are individuals that possess amazing skill and ability to create powerful machinery and technology. Because of that ability, once they’re identified they are considered highly valuable and many government and non-governmental organizations will do anything to secure their talents. Sgt. Souske Sagara, a former child soldier working for Mithril, a paramilitary organization that combats terrorism, has been placed undercover to protect Kaname Chidori, a high school student that may be a Whispered. The adjustments he’ll have to make from the battlefield to high school are nearly as challenging as protecting the high-strung, independent-minded Chidori from being abducted by sinister forces. The Full Metal Panic? Fummoffu season becomes even more challenging as his superior officer Teletha Testarossa decides to take some time off and go undercover herself as Chidori’s classmate.

Kyoto Animation took over the Full Metal Panic Universe and breathed some new life into the show. The Fummoffu season was action-packed. Chidori, Souske, and Teletha find all sorts of trouble inside and outside of school. KyoAni seems to do a good job clinging to the chaotic school life setting while filling the story with adventure. The animation of the action scenes is great and when mechanical devices are involved, good attention to detail grounds even the large robots in plausible reality. The ability for Kyoto Animation to take over a franchise and successfully carry it on is one of the reasons this Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu is one of their best.

4. Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya)

  • Episodes: 14
  • Aired: Apr. 2006- Jul. 2006

Haruhi Suzumiya is on the hunt for time travelers, aliens, and espers (people with ESP). She creates a club at school and declares herself its president with the sole purpose of uncovering those interesting people. She enlists Kyon, a boy at her school, to join the club and gains other members like Nagato, an alien; Koizumi, an esper; and Asahina, a time traveler. The most important thing is that she doesn’t have a freaking clue about their actual identities. The more fascinating part is that she herself is a god, she just doesn’t know that, either. The story follows a multitude of crazy adventures as their club, the S.O.S. Brigade, indulges the whims of their leader.

You never know what to expect with this series. Haruhi is easily bored and has no idea that she can remake the universe with an errant thought, leaving the people residing in the universe to be weary of constant unexplained change. The creativeness of the story is one of the key elements that draws in viewers. An expressiveness in characters’ faces, even Nagato who is nearly expressionless, is a credit to the artists. You are guaranteed to have a fun trip and feel like dancing along with the opening and ending music when you watch this modern classic.

3. Violet Evergarden

  • Episodes: 13
  • Aired: Jan. 2018- Apr. 2018

Violet Evergarden is a soldier. She had been trained since childhood to be a tool of battle. Her life revolved simply around receiving orders and carrying them out during a four-year war. She was placed under the command of a young officer near the end of the war and for the first time in her life she wasn’t treated like a tool. She is nearly killed in a decisive battle near the end of the war and awakes in a hospital maimed, her arms gone and replaced with mechanical prosthetics. The war ended and with it her purpose. The only guidepost she had was the final order from her commander: to live, and some words she didn’t understand: “because I love you.” Violet is taken in and given a job by a former military officer and a friend of her CO who had started a postal company. In an effort to understand her dear commander’s last words, the confused girl becomes an Auto Memory Doll, a typist and transcriber, a popular service in a world with a high rate of illiteracy. Violet begins her journey of human understanding as she puts the feelings of others into words even as she tries to understand her own emotions.

We can’t say enough about Violet Evergarden and Kyoto Animation’s brilliant work at bringing a work so complex to the screen. The artwork is worthy of hanging in the finest galleries in the world. You find such attention to detail it seems that each individual strand of Violet’s blonde hair was animated individually. The director’s ability to make each episode about a character Violet meets rather than about Violet’s self-discovery without losing the heroines arc is masterful. You easily put yourself in Violet’s place meeting, caring, and in many cases grieving for the people she encounters. We also get some amazing character development as Violet is wracked with PTSD and survivor’s guilt. She asks several times if after all the families she destroyed by the killing she’s done as a soldier is it okay for her to be happy, to live a quiet, and good life. You don’t often find a show, drama or anime, that truly creates a cathartic response in the viewer but this one does and that is the reason for it landing near the top of this list.

2. Hibike! Euphonium (Sound! Euphonium)

  • Episodes: 13
  • Aired: Apr. 2015- Jul. 2015

Kumiko Oumae, a euphonist, is a member of her high school brass band. She had once considered leaving music behind in middle school but was drawn into the club by the new friends she made in high school. Kumiko and the band set their eyes on winning the prefectural competition with the hope of being invited to nationals. The quiet and serious Kumiko is the window through which we watch the members of the band, like Hazuki Katou, tubist; Sapphire Kawashima, contrabassist; and Reina Kousaka, trumpeter deal with their lives, romance, and dreams. We witness their dedication to practice, practice, practice to achieve their goal.

Music is the star of this story. You can ignore the plot, you can try and forget Kumiko’s irresistible poufy curls, or any of the drama that goes on between the girls and guy in the band, and just listen to the music and you’ll be taken to a place of awe. Kyoto Animation makes the music a character. You hear the conversations between the instruments as the members play in different areas across the schools; the sounds blend together as the notes echo off the walls and create something special. If you want to narrow the reasons to watch Sound! Euphonium just watch episode 13 “Goodbye Competition” watch the performance 14min 20sec into the episode. The animation is filled with incredible detail. We see each breath, key strike, and slide of the trombone match the notes of the music. The brass of the instruments reflects the light and offers a clear yet realistically distorted view of the people around them. You get six full minutes of music in that scene, which stands as a testament to the talent of the artists and directors of Kyoto Animation.

1. Koe no Katachi (A Silent Voice)

  • Episodes: 1 (Movie)
  • Aired: Sep. 2016

Shouya was an active child, getting into all sorts of mischief with his friends. He felt like a king getting away with all sorts of trouble in his small neighborhood. His world is changed when girl named Shouko Nishimiya transfers to his elementary school class. Shouko is deaf. The school and the class resist changing anything that would help integrate Shouko into the school. The class as a whole makes her life difficult and Shouya becomes the ringleader of her bullying. The whole conflict comes to a head when Shouko and Shouya get into a punches-thrown, hair-pulling, rolling around on the classroom floor fight. Shouko transfers out of the school and Shouya takes all the blame. He is the one suspended and stigmatized as a bully and then takes the brunt of open hostility as he is ostracized by the other students. Shouya’s life turns into one of loneliness and depression. He grows up and comes to identify who he was and how he acted and understand the ill-mannered nature of his behavior; he begins a quest to redeem himself. Shouya, now in his third year of high school, works part-time to save money. He plans to give the money to his mother to repay her for all the trouble he caused in the past. He learns sign language in the hopes that he can finally speak to Shouko and ask for and receive forgiveness in her silent voice.

The source material is a seven-volume-long manga. We were surprised when it was announced that it was becoming an anime, it was only to be a feature film and not a series. The idea of taking such powerful source material and boiling it down to a single feature worried us. We were wrong to worry. Kyoto Animation treated the source material respectfully and carefully, not changing the truly meaningful message of the manga and not changing it into some shonen or shojo mass-market tale. The story covers topics like depression, death, bullying, redemption, and suicide and makes them accessible, especially to younger audiences, without feeling stripped of its seriousness or emotional weight. You need an exceptional team of directors and writers as well as a studio that will back them up to make such important film. And in this case Kyoto Animation created a film worthy of the highest praise we can offer; thank you Kyoto Animation for making this film.

Final Thoughts

Kyoto Animation excels at taking the simple and ordinary stories of life and elevating them to a higher level. KyoAni is still an animation studio and, as represented by Full Metal Panic and Beyond the Boundary, delves into the fantasy worlds with mecha and sorcery. But the best stories that seem to stand out the most are about real people. We will continue to argue that Violet Evergarden, despite its alternate universe, is a story as relevant as any set in our own. The detailed attention to the backgrounds, the fluidity of the animation, the scores worthy of music halls and the characters that have as much depth as any flesh-and-blood human being are what make a Kyoto Animation special.

Kyoukai-no-Kanata-capture-10-700x394 Top 10 Anime Made by Kyoto Animation [Updated Best Recommendations]


Author: Zeke Changuris

I’m a journalist, writer, photographer, video producer, social media manager and above all a storyteller. I’m located on the east coast of the United States but travel the world with the love of my life. I’ve been a nerd since birth with a love of history and science. I fell in love with anime, watching ROBOTECH and Venus Wars in the 80s when our only source was secondhand VHS dubs. A crazy new thing called the internet changed that, giving me access to new and amazing anime every day. I love to write for work and pleasure. I’m living the dream of every kid, getting paid to watch anime and loving every subtitled line.

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Top 5 Anime by Zeke Changuris

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Kyoukai-no-Kanata-capture-10-700x394 Top 10 Anime Made by Kyoto Animation [Updated Best Recommendations]

We have already introduced you to a couple of different animation studios on this site. Today, we want to highlight Kyoto Animation and their best anime.

Kyoto Animation, sometimes also called KyoAni, was established in 1981 and is now located in - you might have guessed it - Kyoto, Japan. What started out as a small company founded by a married couple soon became a well-established production studio. Some of their earliest production involvements include shows like InuYasha or Tenchi Universe. Today, Kyoto Animation has produced more than twenty different anime series as well as several films.

Our selection consists of anime where Kyoto Animation acts as the prime contractor without receiving help from any sub-contractors. This being said, lean back and enjoy our small trip into the dream factory of Kyoto Animation.

10. Lucky☆Star

Kyoukai-no-Kanata-capture-10-700x394 Top 10 Anime Made by Kyoto Animation [Updated Best Recommendations]
  • Episodes: 24
  • Aired: April 2007 - September 2007

Let’s start this list with a feel-good Slice of Life show to lighten up the mood. Lucky Star is an anime with lots of girl power and comedy.

Lucky Star is all about having fun at school as well as all the small events happening on school grounds. The viewers follow Izumi Konata and her friends on their adventures between homework, club activities and examinations. Since Lucky Star is a Slice of Life anime you should not expect lots of action, but rather a relaxed storyline that focuses on the interaction between the different characters and their personal development.

Lucky Star succeeds in getting laughs out of everyday situations that everyone can relate to. Kyoto Animation created a great show out of the original manga which was entertaining enough to create a big franchise. Several video games and OVAs followed and Lucky Star also gained a fanbase abroad. It is a show with lots of jokes, charming characters and an unusual view on current pop culture and that’s why it is the first pick for our Top 10 list.

Kyoukai-no-Kanata-capture-10-700x394 Top 10 Anime Made by Kyoto Animation [Updated Best Recommendations]

9. Kyoukai no Kanata (Beyond the Boundary)

Kyoukai-no-Kanata-capture-10-700x394 Top 10 Anime Made by Kyoto Animation [Updated Best Recommendations]
  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: October 2013 - December 2013

We are continuing with another show set in a school environment, but one that is much darker and more action-filled than Lucky Star.

Kyoukai no Kanata shows the fateful meeting of Kuriyama Mirai and Kanbara Akihito. Even though both of them look like normal students, they hide a dark secret. Akihito is half youmu, half human, whereas Mirai hunts monster-like youmu with her blood-manipulating abilities. In this fantasy universe the two of them have to work together in order to save their loved ones from the danger that comes from the other side.

The original light novel series won an honorable mention in the Kyoto Animation Award competition of 2011 and was adapted into an anime two years later. After a great response from fans and the release of an OVA episode in spring 2015, a two-part anime movie premiered in Tokyo which recaptured the events of Akihito’s and Mirai’s story.

Kyoto Animation not only realized the potential of the original light novel, but also managed to create a great adaptation. What really drew the fans in, however, was the outstanding top-of-the-art animation that really brought each action scene to life. Great job, Kyoto Animation!

Kyoukai-no-Kanata-capture-10-700x394 Top 10 Anime Made by Kyoto Animation [Updated Best Recommendations]

8. Air

Kyoukai-no-Kanata-capture-10-700x394 Top 10 Anime Made by Kyoto Animation [Updated Best Recommendations]
  • Episodes: 13
  • Aired: January 2005 - April 2005

Let’s move back in time to the beginnings of Kyoto Animation and highlight one of their earliest successes: Air.

Hero Yukito Kunisaki is on a mission to find the Winged Maiden, a woman that according to the old tales of his childhood is bound to the sky. He has to change his plans when he stumbles across a small town as well as an usual girl named Misuzu. Yukito decides to stay and get closer to the towns people, always having the Winged Maiden at the back of his mind. Will he be able to fulfill his mission?

Similar to Kyoukai no Kanata, the story was adapted from a light novel series. It came a long way, starting out as a book, moving on to the production of a manga, several art books and audio dramas, an anime series and finally an anime film in 2005. What Kyoto Animation proved with this anime is their ability to understand the material that they are adapting.

The original story consists of multiple story arcs that the producers interpreted by splitting the series into three parts. The fans just couldn’t get enough of this masterpiece and several additional episodes in the form of mini-series followed.

Kyoukai-no-Kanata-capture-10-700x394 Top 10 Anime Made by Kyoto Animation [Updated Best Recommendations]

7. K-On!

Kyoukai-no-Kanata-capture-10-700x394 Top 10 Anime Made by Kyoto Animation [Updated Best Recommendations]
  • Episodes: 13
  • Aired: April 2009 - June 2009

I think it’s time to move on to a more musical show with K-On!

This show follows Hirasawa Yui’s daily life as a first year student in high school. She soon decides to join a music club, despite having one big problem - she has yet to make any musical experiences. The viewers join her on her journey as she struggles to give her best and to find her place in high school.

When it comes to popular music-related anime, K-On! is almost certainly named. With this show Kyoto Animation has created a staple show in the genres of Slice of Life, School as well as Music of course. The fans seem to appreciate the quirky characters with their outstanding character design, since an OVA episode, a second season and even a movie followed soon after.

Kyoukai-no-Kanata-capture-10-700x394 Top 10 Anime Made by Kyoto Animation [Updated Best Recommendations]

6. Hyouka

Kyoukai-no-Kanata-capture-10-700x394 Top 10 Anime Made by Kyoto Animation [Updated Best Recommendations]
  • Episodes: 22
  • Aired: April 2012 - September 2012

Are you ready for an anime that combines school and Slice of Life with mystery elements?

High school boy Oreki Houtarou just recently joined the Classical Literature Club of his school and would actually rather do something else. Soon enough, however, he gets to know the weird and unique members of the club that couldn’t be any more different from each other. Together, they investigate a case from over 40 years ago in order to uncover the truth.

You might have noticed that there are quite a lot school-related anime on this list so far. Yet, Kyoto Animation is able to constantly combine the common school genre with other genres and create completely new masterpieces. Hyouka is based on a mystery novel written by Honobu Yonezawa and Kyoto Animation truly did a great job at adapting the first volume of his Classic Literature Club series. Kyoto Animation outdid themselves when it comes to creating a dense storyline with a great atmosphere from beginning until the very end.

Kyoukai-no-Kanata-capture-10-700x394 Top 10 Anime Made by Kyoto Animation [Updated Best Recommendations]

5. Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! (Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions!)

Kyoukai-no-Kanata-capture-10-700x394 Top 10 Anime Made by Kyoto Animation [Updated Best Recommendations]
  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: October 2012 - December 2012

Next up on our list is Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!, or Chuu-2 for short, a comedic drama with a more than unique girl.

It’s the story of high school freshman Yuuta Togashi who wants to move on with his life and leave his past self behind. In middle school, he thought of himself as the Dark Flame Master and lived a delusional dream. He thinks he can forget about his former identity, but soon enough he meets Rikka Takanashi - a former classmate who is still trapped in her own delusional world.

Similar to Kyoukai no Kanata, the original light novel series of Chuu-2 won an honorable mention in the Kyoto Animation Award competition of 2010. Again, Kyoto Animation did a great job at seeing the potential in an original story and creating a show that earned a great response from its viewers. This lead to the production of additional episodes, an animated film as well as a second season.

Kyoto Animation’s biggest success, however, is the creation of Rikka Takanashi - a character so lovable and unique that even people who didn’t watch the anime know her face; one of the biggest achievements possible for an animation house.

Kyoukai-no-Kanata-capture-10-700x394 Top 10 Anime Made by Kyoto Animation [Updated Best Recommendations]

4. Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu

Kyoukai-no-Kanata-capture-10-700x394 Top 10 Anime Made by Kyoto Animation [Updated Best Recommendations]
  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: August 2003 - October 2003

It’s time to bring some action back onto this list and what anime would be more suited for that than Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu?

Fumoffu is a companion series to the Full Metal Panic! series and set between the first and second season. In this show it’s back-to-school season and Kaname Chidori and Sousuke Sagara have to deal with a fairly normal high school life on top of emotional struggles. With eccentric mascot Bonta-kun by their side their new high school life begins.

Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu is in fact the very first anime that Kyoto Animation was ever listed for as the main producer. Since then, their style and level of experience have changed of course, but what makes Kyoto Animation so unique is already noticeable in this anime. Even though it was their first production, the producer weren’t afraid to take the original material and change it completely.

In Fumoffu, they focus more on the high school rom-com aspects of the story while parodying anime stereotypes. It was a brave and successful way to put their name out there and to start their production career.

Kyoukai-no-Kanata-capture-10-700x394 Top 10 Anime Made by Kyoto Animation [Updated Best Recommendations]

3. Free!

Kyoukai-no-Kanata-capture-10-700x394 Top 10 Anime Made by Kyoto Animation [Updated Best Recommendations]
  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: July 2013 - September 2013

Free! is a show that grants you an eternal summer filled with fun, action and lots of laughter.

It follows the journey of five boys who are connected through their passion for swimming. Protagonist Haruka Nanase has always enjoyed being in water and never stopped trying to push himself past his limits. After being challenged by his former classmate Rin, Haruka forms the Iwatobi High School Swimming Club. Will the members be able to defeat Rin?

Kyoto Animations is exploring new grounds with a sports-related show. It seems to work out for them since Free! became a huge success. Even if you are not interested in sports anime, chances are pretty high that you have at least stumbled across this anime or have one or two friends that cannot stop talking about it. The successful first season was followed by a second season and an animated film is already in production.

With Free!, Kyoto Animation shows that they clearly know what the viewers want and that they can produce high-quality anime even in genres they are not completely familiar with.

Kyoukai-no-Kanata-capture-10-700x394 Top 10 Anime Made by Kyoto Animation [Updated Best Recommendations]

2. Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya)

Kyoukai-no-Kanata-capture-10-700x394 Top 10 Anime Made by Kyoto Animation [Updated Best Recommendations]
  • Episodes: 14
  • Aired: April 2006 - July 2006

We already talked about one infamous anime girl - Rikka from Chuu-2 -, but now it’s time to talk about Haruhi Suzumiya.

High school student Kyon has completely lost his interest in everything supernatural - until he meets Suzumiya Haruhi, a girl that is more than just interested in unnatural occurrences of all kinds. Together they form the SOS Brigade, a club dedicated to the supernatural. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya tells the story of the adventures of the club members.

Kyoto Animation clearly understands what they need to focus on. Here we have another great Slice of Life/School/Comedy combination. What could have ended as a boring and unspectacular anime gained great recognition by a big fanbase. The second season was hyped enough to get a full-page advertisement in the Asahi Shimbun - one of Japan’s most popular newspapers - in 2007. The producers outdid themselves when creating the unique characters of this show and combining them with great animation and fun jokes.

Kyoukai-no-Kanata-capture-10-700x394 Top 10 Anime Made by Kyoto Animation [Updated Best Recommendations]

1. Clannad

Kyoukai-no-Kanata-capture-10-700x394 Top 10 Anime Made by Kyoto Animation [Updated Best Recommendations]
  • Episodes: 23
  • Aired: October 2007 - March 2008

Last but definitely not least we have a show that even several years after its production still belongs to one of the most famous anime shows in existence. Of course, we are talking about Clannad.

Tomoya Okazaki couldn’t be less interested in school life. He doesn’t really care about showing up to class nor socializing with his classmates. This changes when he meets five unique girls, all with their own stories and backgrounds. Soon enough he gets closer to them, helps them overcome their personal obstacles and realizes that school life isn’t as dull as he previously thought.

Do I even need to explain why Clannad definitely belongs on this list? It is an anime legend showing one of the greatest love stories in anime history. It is one of those shows that have the whole package: you will see lots of drama, romance, school life and comedy. Only a couple of years after their first production, Kyoto Animation really established themselves with this gem.

The franchise of Clannad reaches from an original game and light novel to OVAs, a second season and even an animated movie. If you had to watch just one of Kyoto Animation’s creations, I dare to say that Clannad is the one you should be going for.

Kyoukai-no-Kanata-capture-10-700x394 Top 10 Anime Made by Kyoto Animation [Updated Best Recommendations]

Kyoukai-no-Kanata-capture-10-700x394 Top 10 Anime Made by Kyoto Animation [Updated Best Recommendations]

Hibike! Euphonium

Kyoukai-no-Kanata-capture-10-700x394 Top 10 Anime Made by Kyoto Animation [Updated Best Recommendations]

Amagi Brilliant Park

This concludes our list for today. As always, it’s really hard to narrow down all the creations of a production studio to just ten choices. We tried to cover Kyoto Animation’s most popular creations as well as the shows that either made an impact on the company itself or shaped the anime industry as a whole.

Your personal Top 10 list might look different from the one we presented today, so feel free to share your own recommendations down below. Which shows did we miss out on and why do they belong to your favorites? Your opinions and thoughts are more than welcome.

Kyoukai-no-Kanata-capture-10-700x394 Top 10 Anime Made by Kyoto Animation [Updated Best Recommendations]


Author: Cornelia Wagner

Coffee enthusiast, world traveler and writer at heart. Left Europe to live and study in the insanity called Tokyo.

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