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Madhouse; love them or hate them, almost anyone who watches anime knows about them. They were first formed in 1972 by animators from the then bankrupt Mushi Production. These animators came with high credentials, being part of the production of classics like Astro Boy and Princess Knight.
Ever since then, Madhouse has created many works that have become some of the most iconic in the industry. Some of these works include the first Beyblade anime to the more recent One Punch Man. With so many great anime under their belt, where should we start with exploring the madness of Madhouse? Today we endeavour to discover the Top 10 Anime Made by Madhouse in an updated list, which the original can be found towards the end of this article. They range from the oldies to the newbies, but each one of them is solid gold in quality.
Join us as we count down the Top 10 Anime Made by Madhouse!
10. No Game No Life
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: April 2014 – June 2014
The two shut in siblings Sora and Shiro have only known the world of gaming for their entire life. Using their super intellect, they dominate the online gaming community under the pseudonym of Blank. The god of another world wishes for a challenge, thus bringing them over to his realm where all conflicts are decided not through violence but games. And suddenly, Sora and Shiro have found the best game to ever exist.
No Game No Life is the anime that caused the saying “No Anime No Life”. It has inspired a large following because of the relatively fresh take on the genre of Game Anime. Perhaps viewers enjoy the way our main characters lay the smack down on their opponents with intellect rather than violence? It is, after all, a breath of fresh air from the usual Jesus-kun Game Anime where a single male protagonist beats up everything in their way.
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: July 2015 – September 2015
Momonga is a powerful wizard who resides in the world of Yggdrasil. The only problem? It’s actually an MMORPG that has reached its final hour. With a sense of melancholy, Momonga stays online with his character until the stroke of midnight when servers close. But when the clock struck the deadline, he found himself in his character’s body, trapped in the world of Yggdrasil by himself.
Overlord is another recent work of Madhouse that sojourned into the world of Game Anime, except this time there’s only one person who’s a real life human. It presents a rather interesting scenario of what a person would do if they were suddenly given control over an almighty wizard with an army at his command. Again, it’s a welcome change from the usual song and dance with a group of friends who were trapped in a game, because for once, he actually enjoys it.
8. One Punch Man
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: October 2015 – December 2015
Saitama has trained for the past three years to become a hero after getting the snot kicked out of him by a monster. He wishes to enjoy the thrill that he felt in the heat of battle against the forces of evil. Finally, he has become ready to face down that which would threaten mankind. However, he has become so strong that he defeats everything in one punch, causing him to spiral into depression. This all changes when he runs into a cyborg, Genos.
Who doesn’t know One Punch Man? It’s the action anime that was spring boarded into the halls of fame within anime recently for its crisp animation, hilarious punchlines, and exciting action sequences. Despite its premise, the anime still manages to enthrall viewers with fun fight scenes. There’s not much more that needs to be said about it because seeing is believing. And if you don’t believe yet, you will.
7. Cardcaptor Sakura
- Episodes: 70
- Aired: April 1998 – March 2000
An average fourth grader by the name of Sakura Kinomoto comes across a book that has mysterious origins. She unknowingly unseals the book, releasing a flurry of cards all over the world. The Beast of the Seal Keroberos appears from the book and informs her that she has unleashed the Clow Cards upon the world, bringing danger to mankind. Appointing her as the Cardcaptor, they join forces to recapture the Clow Cards and protect mankind from its dangers.
Did the above description sound really cliché and generic to you? That’s not surprising because this is one of the magical girls anime that came out when the genre was still going through its growing pains, alongside classics like Sailor Moon. Cardcaptor is definitely not the best magical girl anime to ever exist, but it is enjoyable none the less. Like many of the classics from back then, we remember them fondly for not just what they were, but what they represented.
6. Death Parade
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: January 2015 – March 2015
When one dies, neither Heaven nor Hell awaits. Instead, souls enter a bar in which they play a game to fight for their very existence. Contestants must play against each other to fight for reincarnation, or have their existence released to the void. These games can be completely random, ranging from darts to bowling. One thing is for sure, the only thing that is absolute Quindecim, the bar of the afterlife.
Death Parade is one of those shows that manage to create an entire series around a single location. That’s not an easy thing to do, because if you’re going to make 12 episodes about a single place then it better be damn interesting. Death Parade is also one of those shows that succeeded. Praised for its mind blowing twists and high tension mind games, it’s clear that Madhouse has learned much from their days of Death Note.
5. Hajime No Ippo (Fighting Spirit)
- Episodes: 75
- Aired: October 2000 – March 2002
Makunouchi Ippo is a rather unassuming boy who has received the brunt of bullies his whole life. One day, he comes across a boxer named Takamura Mamoru who saves him from his bullies. To help him relieve his stress, Takamura asks Ippo to punch a punching bag. That very action compels a fire to burn within him, and he begs to be trained as a boxer. It is that decision that starts to send him down a path that he can never turn back from.
On the story side of things, Hajime no Ippo is the standard feel good anime where the main character overcomes his adversities with grit and guts and eventually becomes a better person for it. The magic stems from how possible this scenario is in real life. It’s entirely possible for anyone to find something that they are passionate about and spring into a new life. Perhaps it is because viewers can relate to it, that they find it so compelling.
4. Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu (Parasyte –the maxim-)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: October 2014 – March 2015
Parasitic Aliens have invaded earth and are taking over the minds of human beings. They use their hosts to morph into various forms in order to prey on the unsuspecting humans. Shinichi Izumi gets infected by one such parasite, but it only manages to control his right hand. Left with no options, Migi cooperates with Izumi in order to protect themselves from hostile parasites.
Continuing with the theme of grim reality, Madhouse creates another entry fit to stand amongst the horrors like Death Note and Death Parade. Each and every one of the parasites are vicious and show no mercy to their prey. Even the parasite of the main character behaves in this manner, only changing his attitude because he has no choice. It’s one of those animes that shows us life sucks, but it does so in an entertaining way.
3. Hunter x Hunter (2011)
- Episodes: 148
- Aired: October 2011 – September 2014
Gon Freecss is an aspiring Hunter in training who has the ambitious goal of finding his father who abandoned him when he was younger. Hunters the powerhouses of the realm, often exploring uncharted territories or dealing with dangerous individuals. As he strives to achieve his dream, he starts to find that everything isn’t as peachy as it seems.
Hunter x Hunter (2011) is the most recent version done by Madhouse. The animation quality follows along with the usual standard that Madhouse is known for, but its greatest strength is its writing. Initially, Hunter x Hunter gives off the feel-good vibe, but in a good way. However, it uses this vibe to its advantage, eventually taking a dark turn out of nowhere, ambushing its viewers with feelings that only a good anime can provoke; something Madhouse is famous for.
2. Death Note
- Episodes: 37
- Aired: October 2006 – June 2007
Light Yagami is a bored high school student. But he’s not bored because school is boring, but because he’s too smart for everyone else. Everyone simply isn’t on his level, isn’t his equal. Fate struck when he comes across a Death Note, a book that grants the wielder the ability to kill anyone simply by writing down their name. With the power of a god in hand, Light sets out to change the order of the world, reshaping it into his justice.
Death Note is one of the most iconic anime of all time not just because it’s such a good series, but because even those who don’t watch anime know what is it. It has inspired many movies, spin-offs and even a drama series. Its draw point lies in how the show is presented. Each plot can be complex and convoluted, but they are explained in an organic manner to the viewers, letting them come to the conclusion by themselves. Everyone feels smart when watching this anime, and that’s the beauty of it.
1. Ookami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki (Wolf Children)
- Episodes: 1
- Aired: July 2012
Wolf Children paints the story of Hana, a young college student who falls for a man who turns out to be a werewolf. She accepts him regardless and soon the two are married. Two children are born from this union, Ame who was birthed during rainfall, and Yuki, who was birthed during snowfall. They both inherited the ability to turn into wolves from their father. All is well until he dies suddenly, leaving her to take care of the two kids. Wolf Children follows her struggles to keep their identities a secret, all while juggling the life of a single parent.
Everything about this anime screams perfection. The animation is one of the most beautiful works of Madhouse to date. The slow and concise development of the family of three over the years feels organic, yet it doesn’t drag out. There are ups and downs, and nothing ever goes perfectly for the family, but they pull through.
Such is the joy of family, and our hats definitely go off to Madhouse for one of their finest works to date.
Madhouse has done a variety of works over the years, from feel-good shows to psychological thriller. Despite being somewhat a jack of all trades, they have made many classics in each of those genres that they dabbled in, showing that they have what it takes to be an industry powerhouse. They have made great shows for years, and will continue to do so for years to come.
Have an anime that you feel belongs on this list? Tell us in the comments below!
Madhouse was formed in 1972 by animators from the bankrupt Mushi Pro (the studio responsible for classics like, Astro Boy). Since then it’s been one of the big guns in anime production, with releases that were popular at home and also many that were wildly successful abroad, like the original Beyblades series.
This list isn’t a typical top 10; some of these anime might not be so wildly popular nowadays, but back in the day they were real crackers which helped establish the company. As usual, included are only anime produced by Madhouse (or as prime contractors). So, let’s kick off with number 10!
10. No Game No Life
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Apr 2014 - Jun 2014
Super gamer siblings Shiro and Sora are so good they’ve inspired urban legends! The duo are summoned to an alternate reality where humanity is on the brink of extinction, at the hands of the 15 other races which inhabit their newfound reality. Luckily, everything in this world is decided by gaming, and the two quickly find their feet in the battle for humanity!
Despite being a series aimed (at least in part) at gamers, No Game No Life developed a pretty steadfast following, and was a bit of a dark horse among 2014’s anime releases. Known for its flashy, fresh animation, NGNL is a welcome addition to the gaming anime genre, and is one of Madhouse’s most popular recent series.
9. Aim for the Ace! (Ace wo Nerae)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Oct 1973 - Mar 1974
High school freshman Hiromi Oka is fascinated by the beautiful Reika Ryuzaki, star player of Nishi High. Joining the tennis team, her talent starts to bloom with the help of her coach Jin Munakata. Through hard work and determination Hiromi is set on her way to becoming a tennis pro! Tennis! Romance! Action! Aim for the Ace has it all!
Aim for the Ace was Madhouse’s first work, and was initially cancelled because it was so unpopular! However reruns of the series got such high ratings that a sequel was commissioned, and the original series went on to be a cult favourite. It’s a zero to hero story, and inspired a host of other anime, including Gainax’s Gunbuster.
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Apr 1998 - Sep 1998
Vash the Stampede is wanted for no less than sixty million double dollars, and has an appropriate horde of bounty hunters tracking him day and night! Also hunting him, but for different reasons, are Bernadelli Co. employees Milly Thompson and Meryl Stryfe, and the priest Nicholas D. Wolfwood. The series follows the four adventurers as they discover the secrets of the planet Gunsmoke and Vash’s mysterious past.
Based on a wildly popular manga (the English version sold out within days of its release), Trigun is a space Western which mixes light-hearted comedy and dark, gritty sci-fi. The anime has a cult following, definitely helped by the unbelievable coolness of the characters. In fact, the series was so popular that Madhouse released a movie, Trigun: Badlands Rumble 12 years later, making it a top earner for the company.
7. Dennou Coil
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: May 2007 - Dec 2007
Taking place eleven years in the future, Dennou Coil begins when sixth-grader Yuko Okonogi moves with her family to Daikoku City. In this future world, virtual reality is part of everyday life, and Daikoku City is the exciting hub of this new technology. However all is not what it seems in Yuko’s new hometown; pets and children alike are disappearing into cyberspace, and with the help of her grandmother’s investigative agency, Yuko becomes determined to find out why.
Dennou Coil is a story of friendship and growing up, set in an exciting sci-fi world. It’s often overlooked, despite being considered one of Madhouse’s best works, love for its focus on character growth and lack of stereotypes. This anime was important for Madhouse as it won a number of best anime awards at the same time as GAINAX’s popular Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, keeping the studio on the map.
6. Ninja Scroll (Juubee Ninpuuchou)
- Episodes: 1:Movie
- Aired: Jun 1993
Set in feudal Japan, Ninja Scroll tells the tale of Jubei Kibagami, an ex-ninja who is now a sword for hire. After saving the beautiful ninja Kagero from the hands of a demon, Jubei finds himself in the midst of a conspiracy involving more of these terrifying demons! Joined by Kagero and the wandering monk Dakuan, the fate of all Japan hangs in the balance!
Widely considered a classic, Ninja scroll was well received in Japan and abroad, rivaling the popularity of Akira and Ghost in the Shell in America. Full of action, Ninja Scroll is one of Madhouse’s most famous works, and is still relevant today with its authentic historical setting and gory, graphic fight scenes.
5. Death Parade
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jan 2015 - Mar 2015
When humans die, they are either reincarnated or sent to the void. However, in rare cases, people end up in a mysterious bar with no memories of their death. Enter Decim, the bartender of one of these otherworldly bars, who challenges these souls to play the Death Game. It is this game which will decide who gets to live again and who is sent to the void.
Despite bearing similarities to Madhouse’s seminal work, Death Note, Death Parade is an original series with a fresh feel. The series has helped cement Madhouse as a versatile and relevant studio, having released two really popular anime within the last few months. Fans of Madhouse will notice the ability to adapt classic manga (Parasyte) and release exciting original series too.
4. Parasyte (Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Oct 2014 - Mar 2015
When worm-like aliens start taking over human bodies, high-school student Shinichi Izumi is one of their victims. Fortunately for Shinichi, instead of invading his brain and rendering him an alien slave, the Parasyte takes over his right hand. What ensues is an unlikely partnership between human and alien, set to the backdrop of gory transformations and bloody battles with other Parasytes.
Parasyte is a sci-fi horror, which depicts Shinichi’s journey into not-so-humanity. Parasyte places high on the list as the series garnered a lot of hype, being based on a popular manga which was unexpectedly revived (it was released over 20 years after the manga). It was also strategically released around the same time as both live-action Parasyte movies!
3. Hunter x Hunter
- Episodes: 148
- Aired: Oct 2011 - Sep 2014
Hunters are an elite, leading a life of danger and adventure that others could only dream of. However they are an elite for a reason; they must first pass the infamous Hunter exam, which comes with a high chance of death, and a low chance of death. Gon Freecs is 12 years old when he decides to take the exam, in the hope that one day he will be reunited with his father, a hunter who disappeared years before.
Madhouse’s adaptation of the manga is a reboot, following the less successful 1999 version. Though not as popular as the manga, Madhouse’s Hunter x Hunter pleased fans by following it closely. This was important for the studio, as it earned the studio the respect of fans of the manga, and has lead to calls from fans for Madhouse to reboot other franchises.
2. Hajime no Ippo
- Episodes: 75
- Aired: Oct 2000 - Mar 2002
Constantly running errands for his family’s business, and getting bullied in between, Makunouchi Ippo is really in the pits. One day he’s saved from the bullies by boxing coach Mamoru Takamura, and life starts to look up for Ippo. After showing that he has an aptitude for boxing, he starts a journey that could lead him to the very top.
Hajime no Ippo weighs in at number 2 as it’s one of Madhouse’s most famous and best loved anime, with an OVA and two follow up series too! It’s a true shounen story, focusing heavily on character development, taking us through Ippo’s transformation from zero to hero.
1. Death Note
- Episodes: 37
- Aired: Oct 2006 - Jun 2007
Light Yagami is handsome, intelligent, and bored. This seemingly innocuous combination quickly becomes dangerous when he discovers the Death Note; a notebook which claims to give the owner the power to kill those which it deems fit, in whichever manner they like! Unbelieving at first, he succumbs to his curiosity (and boredom), writing the name of a local criminal. Soon, when the criminal dies mysteriously of a heart attack, Light begins a journey that will pit him against minds as sharp as his own, and forces beyond his reckoning!
At number one, this anime is a big deal! Madhouse is true to form with Death Note, and sticks to the approach of adapting a popular anime, and sticking to it faithfully. Death Note is one of the most popular anime in the world, with many fans in the West. It stands out as having a really high quality English dub, and the visuals are also stunning. This anime is a must-see!
So there we have it! For me, it was so hard to put Trigun so low on the list, because it’s one of my favourite anime, but Death Note clinched the number one spot for me. Being closer to Hollywood-style thrillers, it was my gateway anime, and in my opinion is more convincing than a lot of live-action series out there in terms of suspense and character development. Think I’ve made a mistake? Let me know in the comments!