Action anime, there’s nothing more thrilling than watching your favorite characters fight for their lives or for the lives of those they care about in goosebumps instilling fight scenes that are so beautifully animated and produced, right? Right!
So than, as I’m sure all of you are aware not every anime is on the same level of quality as some of the more main stream series most people see talked about, that doesn’t mean they aren’t necessarily good. We often like to forget anime from a time since forgotten, ones that filled our younger selves with a thrilling action-packed journey, filled with action, comedy, drama and maybe even romance! Now, much like my previous Top Romance Anime’s list I will not only list my personal favorite later on but I will be pulling action anime from what is generally considered the best of the genre so I can be less biased and more informative as each one of us may have a different opinion as to what is considered the best of the genre “action anime”. Thus majority vote is the more accurate answer!
I’m sure there’s no surprise to see Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z here, but let’s focus on Z as this is typically the starting point for many of us action anime fans. Sometimes it being their first introduction to action genre (like me). Or it was their first ever watched anime series! Either way, Dragon Ball Z is a series all about striving to becoming the strongest one could become through hard work, determination, training and eating way to much food. You follow the adventure of Goku, (main character) as he saves the world from the threats that seek to destroy it be it from earth or.. somewhere else. He is accompanied on this journey by his family and close friends. Now, had it not been for Dragon Ball Z, main characters from some of your favorite anime series wouldn’t get power-ups in epic, dramatic, scream filled scenes as, Dragon Ball Z was one of the founders of this trope, being one of the original anime series to Incorporated super power-ups by getting mad. Many series have used Dragon Ball or Dragon Ball Z’s formula long after the end of the anime series, one of the more notable series is Naruto. The creator himself admitted he was a huge fan of the series and it inspired him. Since the ending of the original series “Dragon Ball” and “Dragon Ball Z”, many fans thought they’d never see another series released however that was not the case as Akira Toriyama continued the story with the release of Dragon Ball Super. To give an idea on how long that took, here’s the airing dates for the Dragon Ball series: Dragon Ball Z first aired April, 1989 ending in January, 1996 (for the English release 1998–2003) only for super to continue the story in 2015. That’s a long wait for DBZ fans.
For this next section I’ll be talking about two very specific series, Fairy Tail and Naruto / Naruto: Shippuuden. To start, Naruto and Naruto: Shippuuden much like Dragon Ball Z shaped its generation be it the action genre or anime itself. Naruto begins the story of Uzumaki Naruto as he tries to find his place within the ninja world, dreaming of becoming the hokage. Something that’s revered, loved and appreciated by all within the village. Striving for this goal leads him and his friends down an unforgettable journey as he tries to save his friend Uchiha Sasuke from a dark path. This journey doesn’t end with the initial series however as it continues with Naruto: Shippuuden which features a time skip, allowing the youngster characters to mature a little off screen and allowing the story to progress into some more mature areas. These character progressively become older even ending the whole of the Naruto franchise with the main characters Naruto and Sasuke as adults with children of their own. Naruto’s path ends at this point and is continued by his young son Boruto. This is currently another successful series that we all hope will be just as good his fathers story. So, no matter what series you decide to watch be it, Naruto, Naruto: Shippuuden and now even Boruto the action found within are what action series should strive for, high quality action scenes with fluid movements, memorable moments, lots of screaming and epic music scores. All things Naruto does right. For any fan of Shounen or action anime, Naruto is definitely something you should invest time into, despite the number of episodes.
Then Fairy Tail, whilst not as popular as Naruto you can’t go far without people knowing this iconic series and their catchy phrases like “I’ve got a fire in my belly!” or the amazing voice-over work from Todd Haberkorn, if you watch the English release. Either way, Fairy Tail is yet another must watch action anime, whilst not as fluid with its animation as some of the other anime series on this list as it is a Magic, action anime this aspect makes it no less enjoyable. To explain some of the story, you watch Natsu, Lucy and Happy (later Gray and Erza) as the story unfold slowly while they take on missions for the guild Fairy Tail a world renowned magic guild. What initially and seemingly seems like a light-hearted series can become quite dramatic when it comes to the fights scenes and that which predates them, this makes for some very memorable scenes with the anime series. Fairy Tail does have a substantial number of episodes by the end of its season. While Fairy Tail has ended thus far, the story is far from over as production for the last series is in creation. Its run time was from 2011 to December 18, 2016.
These of some of the more known and popular action anime series, especially those that had the longest run-times and that were most publicised. Interestingly enough, most mainstream anime are in fact action anime, take some more recent series like Sword Art Online, Or Attack On Titan, they too are action anime, then going back a few years when Gurren Lagann was aired, being one of the season’s top anime series released. It seems as though action anime have been quite prevalent in the anime society since its conception. However the trend really took off in the 90’s with series like Rurouni Kenshin, Cowboy Bebop, Neon Genesis Evangelion or Gundam. These series along with DBZ set the standerd for the genre, be it Neon Genesis Evangelion and Gundam further bolstering Mecha anime into stardom, with robots being piloted to fight epic battles or Rurouni Kenshin with iconic sword play fights, even Cowboy Bebop having, to this day one of the most memorable fights one could watch. Whilst there are many other genres popular in Anime, action is by far the most diverse in all of the genre’s as it can envelop a series whilst not necessarily defining it. Some series like Sailor Moon; whilst it may not necessarily be consider an “action anime” it spawned many of the mahou shoujo (Magical Girl) series we have today, some of which have a heavy emphasis on the action like Puella Magi Madoka Magica (or Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magika).
Now I mentioned I would say my personal preference early, and to me there’s nothing more enjoyable than a good action anime that make’s you sit at the edge of your seat, getting your blood-pumping and there’s only one anime that meets that criteria perfectly and that is, of course Attack On Titan. The easiest way to describe it if you’ve yet to see it is, anime Game of Thrones. At any moment your favorite character could end up within the mouth of a giant titan ready to be eaten, or crushed like a bug under their hands. This anime is action filled, with animation that’s crisp, clean and always high quality. It has characters who’s lung capacity could rival the gods themselves as they constantly screaming, for their lives. Attack On Titan has a plot of desperation as we follow humanity at the brink of extinction. It’s an all round good anime series thus the reason I personally like it and why it’s so highly rated in general.
Keep in mind these are just some of the many Action anime that’re exceptional, there’s a lot more out there that should be watched.
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