Fantasy in anime has become a regular thing recently, with many anime incorporating the genre into whatever story they want to tell. Thus, it has become a particularly popular genre. But what actually makes a fantasy anime? Fantasy as a genre brings in unfamiliar worlds with magical/supernatural elements that regularly tie these worlds together. These elements can be as simple as adding in magic wielders and mysterious races to our own real world setting, or as complicated as an entire new system of rules to the universe.
Though there have been many anime using fantasy elements in 2017, for our list of the best, we decided to narrow the field a bit. We at Honey’s Anime searched for fantasy anime that truly represented the genre, bringing the audience into an entirely new world complete with magical entities and elements. The anime that follow bring forth some of the best fantasy storytelling we have ever seen, often teaching us valuable lessons in the end.
10. Demi-chan wa Kataritai (Interviews with Monster Girls)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jan. 2017 – Mar. 2017
Demi-chan wa Kataritai follows the life of high school teacher Tetsuo Takahashi, a rather ordinary man who has an unusual interest; the “Ajin” of society, also known as “Demi.” Although the half-human beings have already integrated into society, Takahashi is fascinated to learn more about them. He certainly gets his chance, as three Demi students come to join his class! In order to get to know more about his Demi students, Takahashi decides to interview them, learning more about who they are as individuals as well as how they fit into society. This teacher will soon learn that maybe his unusual students aren’t as different as he had first thought. This heartwarming, funny anime teaches us what it’s like to try fitting in with another culture, and that all people are the same inside.
Although Demi-chan wa Kataritai doesn’t have as much of a fantasy element to it as other anime on our list, it still deserves to be included. The seamless addition of Demi beings in with the rest of common society is almost believable in its execution! In addition to the interesting and funny moments presented by the various unusual characters, we also get to learn some things from the struggles these characters go through. As Takahashi learns that each Demi girl is just like any other person, so we learn that people are all the same on some level.
9. Granblue Fantasy The Animation
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Apr. 2017 – June 2017
Based on the popular mobile RPG, Granblue Fantasy The Animation is the epitome of fantasy anime, including many of its most cliché moments. In a world where land masses are divided into several different islands in the sky, a boy named Gran and his companion Vyrn live relatively peacefully on an island called Zinkenstill. But when they come across a mysterious girl named Lyria, their lives are changed forever! After a series of circumstances, Gran and Lyria begin a journey to find the mystical Estalucia, hoping to find Gran’s father and outrun the Erste Empire that is hunting down Lyria.
The journey of Gran and his friends is one that takes the viewer on a vast exploration of the world across the skies. There are plenty of unusual people to meet, many of whom have some sort of magical ability. Lyria herself is gifted with an immense amount of magical power, which seems to be why the Erste Empire wants to use her. Yet, this mysterious world has its own sense of order, following along with the setting established in the mobile game. For those who enjoy fantasy in its truest forms, Granblue Fantasy The Animation provides a new world to revel in, with plenty of characters to love!
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Jul. 2017 – Dec. 2017
Long after the third Holy Grail War ended uncertainly, another war for the Grail has taken shape. This time, the Holy Grail is already in possession of one group – the mage clan of Yggdmillenia, who intend to leave the Mage’s Association and take the Grail for their own power. Thus begins another war, one where 14 masters will summon their servants to do battle on their behalf.
Fate/Apocrypha is not the best in the Fate series in terms of story. However, the animation is just as beautiful as any other Fate anime, and the cast of sometimes twisted historical characters is still as interesting to watch! This series combines magical battles with historical characters as servants, to bring forth a fantasy series in a possible distant future.
7. Black Clover
- Episodes: 51
- Aired: Oct. 2017 – 2018 (currently airing)
Black Clover debuted late this past year, and will be continuing into the 2018 anime season, but it deserves a spot on this list nonetheless! Considered to be the ultimate shounen anime, Black Clover follows the story of two orphans named Asta and Yuno, who hope to become wizard king one day. There’s only one problem – while Yuno is incredibly gifted with magic and receives a legendary four-leaf clover Grimoire, Asta has no magical powers at all!
Black Clover is arguably more of a typical shounen anime than anything else. However, its setting is also a great example of the more traditional style of fantasy, set around the element of magic that ordains over the everyday life of the characters. Magic is more important to these people than anything else, as it can not only raise status and rank in the Clover Kingdom, but also provide for the daily lives of the lower class. Yet, it can also bring about great despair for those who use it for evil purposes… Black Clover addresses the same ideas that anime like Naruto did – if you work hard enough, you can achieve anything! Even someone like Asta, who has no magic in his entire being, can find his way in the world. And watching him achieve his dreams is truly inspiring for the rest of us!
6. Houseki no Kuni (Land of the Lustrous)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Oct. 2017 – Dec. 2017
In a far-off future, a new immortal life form, known as Gems, live among the population. There are only 28 Gems in total, and they must regularly fight for their existence against the Lunarians, who want to keep the Gems to turn them into decorations. Each Gem has a role they must fulfill in battle – all, that is, except the youngest Gem, Phosphophyllite. Phosphophyllite wants to fight, but is instead assigned to create a natural history encyclopedia…
If you’re into fantasy, Houseki no Kuni provides an action-packed, futuristic take on the genre! There are plenty of interesting characters in the numerous Gems, with each one having their own unique personality and strengths. On top of this, the setting is a beautifully engrossing battlefield that will pull you in with each episode. Despite its underwhelming popularity and a rather short amount of episodes, Houseki no Kuni is an excellent fantasy anime.
5. Little Witch Academia
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Jan. 2017 – June 2017
Despite its quiet appearance in the 2017 year, Little Witch Academia has easily impressed with its engrossing story and entertaining characters! Though magic is not as popular in society, young Atsuko Kagari is determined to be a successful witch like her idol, Shiny Chariot. Atsuko finds her dream to be more challenging than she expected, as she does not come from a magical family like many of the others at Luna Nova Academy. Along with friends Lotte Yanson and Sucy Manbavaran, Atsuko must discover how to hone her own magical power and find out what happened to the missing Shiny Chariot.
Little Witch Academia has earned its place on our list, with a fantasy focus on magic that is reminiscent of the Harry Potter series for some. When you watch Atsuko and her friends’ antics, you will laugh, cry and wish you could join them on their adventures!
4. Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon (Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Jan. 2017 – Apr. 2017
Next on our list is the extremely popular anime that captivated the anime community this year, Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon. Kobayashi is a rather composed programmer who lives an average life, until a chance drunken meeting with a dragon causes her to accidentally invite the creature to live with her! With new friend Tooru’s magical abilities working for Kobayashi as her personal maid, it is clear that our protagonist’s life will be anything but average from this point on.
Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon takes place in a setting very similar to our own everyday world, yet its inclusion of the mystical and magical certainly brings in a fantasy element. This anime is one of those that seamlessly blend the idea of our own world and a fantastic one, giving it more reality for the audience. Tooru and her dragon friends made themselves known this year, striking a chord in the hearts of many people across the world.
3. Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! 2 (KonoSuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World! 2)
- Episodes: 10
- Aired: Jan. 2017 – Mar. 2017
Kazuma Satou has died, and he has been given a choice – but not your typical life-after-death decision! Kazuma must decide whether to ascend to heaven or be reborn in a fantasy world! After choosing the latter, the hapless youth is tasked with defeating the Demon King, although he is allowed to choose one weapon to help him complete his task. But when Kazuma brings the goddess Aqua with him, he is unaware that Aqua is, in fact, utterly useless. KonoSuba follows the ensuing mishaps of Kazuma and his haphazard companions as they struggle through a number of hilarious adventures, with complications often caused by the party members themselves!
Through Kazuma, we are allowed to see the archetype of a typical fantasy world setup, following along with the older style of a tabletop RPG like Dungeons and Dragons. While many other fantasy anime in this vein will attempt to be serious and dramatic, KonoSuba is unabashedly hilarious with the ridiculous antics of the main party members. This is a new side of fantasy anime that we have come to appreciate!
2. Made in Abyss
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Jul. 2017 – Sep. 2017
Another anime that caused quite a stir among anime fans this year is Made in Abyss, set in an unknown world where the gaping chasm known as the Abyss draws in explorers from all walks of life. These explorers are called Divers, and they are respected by all who live on the surface, especially the legendary White Whistles. Riko is a descendant of one such legendary White Whistle, though her mother has since gone missing. When she meets the robotic boy who looks human, Riko decides this could be her chance to become great like her mother. Naming the boy Reg, the two set off on a journey into the darkest parts of the Abyss, to discover more about Reg’s past. But the Abyss is not at all what they expected, and there are some truly dark corners yet to be seen…
While Made in Abyss was underestimated by many, it ended up being one of the best anime aired this year! It has the appearance of a lighthearted show, with a chibi art style that betrays the true depth of content. Riko and Reg are on a dark journey, one that grows increasingly dangerous with each step. Made in Abyss is a beautiful example of a more mature fantasy anime, giving us a unique world to step into while still exploring life’s bigger questions. The only reason it isn’t higher on our list is because this anime does have several sci-fi elements added to it as well – that is, it’s not necessarily a straight fantasy anime.
1. Mahoutsukai no Yome (The Ancient Magus’ Bride)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Oct. 2017 – 2018 (currently airing)
Mahoutsukai no Yome is our top fantasy anime of 2017 for several reasons, even though it hasn’t finished airing yet! The story of 15-year-old Chise Hatori, who was sold to a mysterious mage named Elias Ainsworth, is the epitome of fantasy, and certainly something we look forward to watching every week. Chise was abandoned at a young age, and has never really had anyone who cared about her, until she meets Elias. She soon discovers that Elias intends to not only train her in magic as his apprentice, but to make her his bride one day. Along her journey, Chise will meet many strange creatures, and learn more about who she truly is.
In many ways, Elias and Chise are the same – creatures whose life forces are bound up in magic, tragically uncertain of where to turn to. Mahoutsukai no Yome is the most beautiful fantasy anime, in terms of both storytelling and animation style. The series does a great job of introducing us to new creatures and various new worlds, all while keeping its audience grounded in the main plot. Even though this tale has not yet quite ended, we are excited to see what fantastic adventures Chise and Elias will go on next!
Though there have been many brilliant fantasy anime released in 2017, we strongly believe that the ones on our list are the best of the best! Of course, we’re always open to debate here at Honey’s Anime! So if you have another anime to offer, or you disagree with something on this list, please let us know. As always, we love to hear your thoughts in our comments!