As an Asian kid, one of my earliest memories is watching Dragonball with my parents. Today, I still love anime! But whether it’s set in modern-day Tokyo or an imaginative original setting, there is nothing I like more than fantasy! It’s a versatile genre that can tell unique stories featuring magic, mythological creatures, and other things that can’t exist on Earth. Watching fantasy is the perfect method to escape from a hard moment in life, and it often comforted me as a little kid. I enjoy all sorts of fantasy anime, from scary and thrilling ones to heartwarming and cutesy ones. If you also like fantasy anime, read on for my personal Top 5 Anime!
5. Boku no Hero Academia (My Hero Academia)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: April 2016 to June 2016
If you consume shounen anime, you’re likely familiar with My Hero Academia, one of the most popular anime today. My Hero Academia is set in a Tokyo in which eighty percent of children are born with a quirk, a special ability such as super strength or invisibility. Izuku Midoriya is a boy without a quirk, but he gains one through inheriting it from All Might, his personal idol and the Number 1 hero of Japan. Izuku then enrolls in UA High, a prestigious high school that trains students in the use of their quirks to become heroes that protect society from villains.
My Hero Academia is an action-packed anime that is exceedingly well-animated and the quirks are all unique and well-utilized. There are classic abilities, like super strength, but also more unique ones, like the ability to create inorganic objects inside one’s body. Each fight puts you at the edge of your seat, but My Hero Academia is also more than just a flashy anime. It’s a funny one, with humorous dialog and jokes that seem natural instead of squeezed in, and it’s also emotional. Going into My Hero Academia, I initially felt a bit hesitant as I usually don’t like superhero stuff, mostly because I find the characters unrelatable, but My Hero Academia shocked me with how human the characters feel. Each character has personal reasons for training to be a hero, ranging from heroic reasons like wanting to make Japan a better place to relatable ones like needing to earn money to support one’s family.
Finally, another strong point of this anime is its depiction of the characters’ relationships with one another. While they may be heroes in training, the characters are also high school students. They form friendships and rivalries among their classmates, and their relationships with their families also come into play. If you are looking for a fun action anime that will surpass all of your expectations, there is no reason to not give My Hero Academia a try.
4. Gakkougurashi! (School-Live!)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: July 2015 to September 2015
Occasionally, I am in the mood for something a little scarier, and School-Live! is the perfect horror anime for those times. School-Live! presents itself as a cute slice of life anime featuring girls in the School Living Club. On top of attending classes, they engage in activities like gardening for food and sleeping on school grounds rather than going home. By the end of the first episode, though, you realize that there is more than meets the eye. In reality, the four high school protagonists of School-Live! are living through a zombie apocalypse! Creating the School Living Club is simply their method of coping, especially for Yuki Takeya, a childish girl who is unwilling to believe that most of their classmates are actually dead.
School-Live! is many things. It’s terrifying because, at any moment, a character could be bitten by a zombie. It’s a mystery: With the element of the characters pretending to go about their daily life despite the zombie apocalypse, can you guess what else might be a lie? It’s also hopeful. Though the characters are young, and you might expect them to panic, they instead rise to the occasion and look after one another. They garden, cook, keep their living spaces clean, and barricade their base to prevent zombies from getting in. They’re selfless and prioritize protecting their friends rather than surviving alone, and watching them just makes you think that if the zombie apocalypse happened in real life, people just might act a lot more heroic than you expect.
3. Fruits Basket (2019)
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: April 2019 to September 2019
A remake of a classic shoujo series, Fruits Basket (2019) is a fantasy slice of life romance about a high school girl named Tohru Honda. After her mother passes in a car accident, Tohru is left living in a tent alone because she is too selfless to ask a friend to adopt her. After the Soumas find her living on their land, they decide to let her live with them. She becomes the housemate of three boys, Shigure, Yuki, and Kyou Souma, but the premise doesn’t just end there because the Soumas are cursed to transform into their zodiac animals if they touch a member of the opposite sex!
This may sound like the beginning of some sort of harem anime, but Fruits Basket is actually one of the most heartfelt anime out there! Residing at the Soma house, Tohru helps the Soumas through their struggles, encouraging Yuki to be less shy and raising Kyou’s self-esteem. She also tries to help them fight a little less, but that isn’t an easy task! They fight so much that they’re constantly breaking things around the house, and it’s hilarious! Tohru herself also grows as a result of living with the Soumas, and overall the relationships in this anime are just so positive. Finally, there is an element of mystery as you get familiar with additional family members and more and more information about the cursed Souma clan is revealed throughout the series. If you like fantasy shoujo anime, you should definitely check out Fruits Basket.
2. Yakusoku no Neverland (The Promised Neverland)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: January 2019 – March 2019
The Promised Neverland leans dark fantasy or horror. The anime is about a group of orphans living under the care of Isabella, their “Mama,” but the protagonists Emma, Ray, and Norman, the oldest among the children, discover that in reality, their orphanage is not as it seems, and rather than being adopted out, the children meet a dark fate. To protect themselves and their friends, they hatch a scheme to escape the orphanage.
To avoid spoiling this amazing anime, I won’t reveal more, but The Promised Neverland is genuinely one of the most thrilling anime I’ve seen. Most of the scenes are from the perspective of the protagonists, so as they begin to understand the reality of their orphanage, you do too at the same time. Both the protagonists and the villains are intelligent and act rationally, and things often develop unexpectedly. You just can’t guess what’s going to happen! Finally, the production quality is really high, with the characters as expressive as real human beings. If you like dark fantasy or horror, I highly recommend you check out The Promised Neverland.
1. Made in Abyss
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: July 2017 – September 2017
Finally, my Number 1 anime is Made in Abyss, a fantasy anime set on an island. In the middle of the island is the Abyss, a deep cavern in which monsters and relics exist. Courageous Divers dive deep into the Abyss to fetch relics to sell while avoiding monsters and the Abyss itself, which causes sickness as you ascend, making going too deep highly dangerous. The mother of the protagonist Riko went missing deep in the Abyss years prior. After meeting a robot named Reg, Riko decides to find her mother and uncover the mysteries of the Abyss, but she isn’t prepared for the horror that meets her.
Like The Promised Neverland, Made in Abyss can be dark. The environment is scary because there are so many things trying to kill the characters in the Abyss, but there are also magnificent scenes of unique landscapes. There is cool technology featured that had to be invented to help Divers survive, but what really makes Made in Abyss shine are the characters. Each has an intriguing past and a compelling motivation for risking their lives adventuring. Finally, it’s fun learning more and more about the Abyss as the series goes on. Made in Abyss is my Number 1 anime for a reason, and I highly recommend you check it out as long as you aren’t too easily scared!
I hope you enjoyed my list of Top 5 anime by me! Do you agree with my picks? Do you disagree? Feel free to give me a comment or suggest more anime you think I’ll like!