Feb 19, 2020

Best Anime of the 2010s

What may have once been perceived as a source of entertainment for children or nerds, anime is now embraced as a genre of animation and storytelling that pretty much anyone can enjoy. While anime has been around for decades, the 2010s were pivotal in reaching a global audience. This global reach is thanks to the surge of streaming services, such as Crunchyroll and FunimationNow, that offer anime as soon as it premieres in Japan. Streaming has made it much easier to gain access to anime, thus exposing it to newer audiences. With that said, there were many incredible anime shows and movies released in the 2010s. This selection of anime helped to turn heads and increase its popularity on a mainstream scale.


  • Released in April 2018 on Netflix, Aggretsuko centers around Retsuko, a 25-year-old anthropomorphic red panda. Retsuko is an office worker that simply wants to find someone to fall in love with and marry. While mild-mannered, the ups and down of the corporate world tend to bring out a certain rage in Retsuko. This comes out when she sings death metal at the local karaoke bar.

    Despite primarily satirizing Japan’s workplace culture, Retsuko’s struggles are universal. Everybody has dealt with a horrible boss or weird co-workers at one point in their lives.

    Add in some adorable characters and biting humor, it’s easy to see why Aggretsuko’s two seasons were well-received by viewers and critics alike. Its been so well-received that Netflix has renewed the show for a third season and Oni Press just released a comic book series based on the show.

  • When it debuted in 2013, Attack on Titan instantly became a phenomenon due to its unadulterated violence and overdramatic situations.

    While the first season pulled viewers in with high-octane action, the proceeding two seasons showed that Attack on Titan was much more than over-hyped action. Compelling mysteries, gripping character development, unforgettable plot twists, crisp animation, and epic music came together to create an all-time classic.

    With the final season set for a Fall 2020 release, Attack on Titan looks to become one of the best anime of the coming decade.

  • No matter if you read the manga or watch the anime, words can’t properly describe the insanity of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. You need to see the rightfully bizarre adventures of the Joestar family to believe them.

    The story of JoJo’s spans decades. Each part of the story focuses on a new member of the Joestar family fighting off supernatural forces. These adventures usually lead to eccentric characters, unbelievable powers, legendary poses, and reality-breaking battles.

    While JoJo’s has been around since 1987, the series only rocketed to global super-stardom thanks to the 2012 adaptation by David Production. An adaptation that perfectly translates the manga panels into animation, includes incredible music from the past, and inspired tons of memes.

    Currently, the four seasons of David Productions’ adaptation covers the first five parts of JoJo’s story. Considering the popularity and success of the series, fans eagerly anticipate the announcement of Stone Ocean, the sixth part of the long-running manga.

  • March Comes in Like A Lion follows the everyday life of Rei, a 17-year-old professional shogi player. Due to some tragic events, Rei lives a very solitary life. However, as the show advances, Rei evolves as a person and shogi player.

    Praised for its visual, direction, and story, March Comes in Like Lion lasted two seasons from 2016 to 2018.

  • As a timid 13-year-old, Shigeo “Mob” Kageyama is trying his best to navigate through adolescence. However, his God-like psychic talents have him suppressing how he truly feels, for the safety of others, as well as himself.

    Stylish animation, a strong comedic flare, and wholesome character interactions all make Mob Psycho 100 such a fun show to watch. While comedy is at the core of Mob, it isn’t afraid to blindside you with some heart-breaking moments.

  • Ever since Dragon Ball Z popularized the shonen battle genre, many have tried to emulate its success. While some fall into obscurity, a few bring the genre to new heights. While Bleach, Naruto, and One Piece did just that during the 2000s, My Hero Academia took a new direction with the genre in the 2010s.

    Clearly inspired by the immense popularity of superheroes, My Hero is a refreshing take on the shonen battle anime. While the tropes are still there, they’re recontextualized for a heartfelt story about perseverance.

    The emotional core of the show is Izuku “Deku” Midoriya. He desires to be a hero, even though he’s among the 20 percent of humanity without a superpower. Although some extenuating circumstances lead to Deku acquiring superpowers, he’s always humble and willing to help.

    While Deku brings heart to the show, the lovable cast, interesting high school setting, and high-paced action round out My Hero Academia’s excellent package.

  • First airing in 2011, Puella Magi Madoka Magica received tons of praise for its artistic direction and complex narrative. However, it created a lasting impression because of its unconventional take on the “magical girl” sub-genre.

    Madoka Magica centers around contracts made with a cat-like creature known as Kyubey. Kyubey grants middle school girls one wish in exchange for fighting witches as magical girls. However, being a magical girl isn’t as delightful as the girls imagine.

  • Based on the 2009 visual novel of the same name, Steins;Gate may be the best use of time travel in fiction.

    Set in the summer of 2010, Steins;Gate follows Rintaro Okabe and members of the Future Gadget Laboratory. Okabe accidentally finds a way to alter the present by sending text messages to the past. However, the consequences of altering time are deadly.

    Steins;Gate is a slow burn. Although known to turn off some, the first half provides enough breadcrumbs to keep viewers interested. However, the second half is well worth it. Plus, repeat viewings will show how beneficial the first half is in building the world of Steins;Gate.

  • Come for the infectious opening theme, stay for the heart-wrenching story and beautiful animation. That pretty much sums up 2014’s Your Lie in April.

    Although it focuses on piano prodigy Kosei Arima, Your Lie in April’s greatest strength is Kosei’s relationships with the cast. Namely, Kaori Miyazono. Due to the sudden passing of his mother, Kosei loses the will to play the piano. Through Kaori, Kosei overcomes his mental trauma and learns to love playing music again.

    In addition to expert storytelling and character development, Your Lie in April showcases beautiful piano performances.

  • Mixing romance, drama, and science-fiction, 2016’s Your Name tells the story of a Tokyo high school boy, Taki. He inexplicably swaps bodies with Mitsuha, a high school female living in a rural town.

    Your Name touched many. As such, it was critically acclaimed for its complex narrative, music, emotional story, and animation. It went on to become the highest-grossing Japanese anime film of all time.

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