There are so many Japanese cartoons to choose from that it can be hard to know where to start. Here is a carefully chosen list of 22 great Japanese cartoons you should watch.
These choices include both famous works of literature and newer, more interesting works. Each has its own style and way of telling a story.
This list has a lot of different types of books, from grand journeys and magical worlds to character studies that make you think and humor that will warm your heart.
So, whether you’ve watched a lot of anime before or this is your first time, prepare for an amazing journey through these amazing Japanese movies.
The Japanese cartoon hit “Spirited Away” was made by Studio Ghibli, directed by Hayao Miyazaki.
In the story, a little girl named Chihiro gets lost in a world full of ghosts. The world is both hard and wonderful. Because of that, she learns how strong and tough she really is.
A lot of people like “Spirited Away” because it has great animation, a deep look at courage, and how important it is to find your place in the world. Many people like it, and some writers have said nice things about it. Everyone of any age will enjoy this wonderful and deep story.
The well-known Japanese cartoon “Tokyo Ghoul” was created by Sui Ishida.
Tokyo is a dirty and dark place in this story, where people live with fairy creatures called ghouls. The main character, Kaneki Ken, has a bad experience that turns him into a half-ghoul. He has their skills and a hunger for human flesh.
He gets involved with the difficult world of ghouls while he is trying to figure out who he is now. He thinks about who he is, what is right and wrong, and how it’s not always easy to tell the difference between people and monsters. The movie “Tokyo Ghoul” is great for people who like dark fantasy and horror because it has a lot of action, psychological depth, and looks at how people live.
Akutami Gege made the Japanese cartoon and manga series “Jujutsu Kaisen.”
The story is about Yuji Itadori, a high school student who gets involved with witches and spells after eating something powerful that is cursed.
He starts going to Tokyo Metropolitan Jujutsu Technical High School to learn how to break people’s bad spells and become a master of jujutsu.
It is fun and interesting to read “Jujutsu Kaisen.” It has happy, sad, and exciting parts. The world is full of different people, and things are not easy. The anime version is very popular with many fans because it has fun graphics and an interesting plot. You should see this if you like shonen books and magical action movies.
The Japanese cartoon series “Fate/Zero” is based on Gen Urobuchi’s light novel of the same name.
It comes before the “Fate/Stay Night” series. In the world where the story takes place, witches call on past heroes called “Servants” to fight in a terrible war called the “Holy Grail War.”
A lot of “Fate/Zero” is about the Fourth Holy Grail War, in which seven masters and their Servants fight for the biggest prize. The show explores themes of bravery, right and wrong, and the complicated nature of people’s wants and needs.
“Fate/Zero” is known for its intense writing and interesting characters. Its plot is complicated, it has philosophical themes, and it has epic fights. Fans of magic, drama, and complicated stories should watch it.
The famous Japanese cartoon and comic series “Death Note” was created by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata. It’s about Light Yagami, a high school student who finds the Death Note, a strange notebook. He can kill someone just by writing their name in it. Light will become a fighter and do dangerous jobs because he wants to get rid of all the bad guys in the world.
But what he does catches the eye of a smart detective named L. This begins a fun game of cat and mouse with morals and smarts at stake. A lot of people love “Death Note” because it has a great story, lots of deep psychological battles, and interesting ideas about what is right and wrong, power, and justice.
The story was very exciting, and the characters were very complicated. People will remember it for a long time. Watch it if you like psychological stories with a lot of tension.
“Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood” is adapted from the same-named book by Hiromu Arakawa.
Edward and Alphonse Elric use alchemy to try to find the Philosopher’s Stone and fix their bodies when an experiment goes wrong.
This story is about what happens when you don’t follow nature’s rules. People in the world where the show takes place know a lot about magic.
A lot of anime fans say that “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” is a great show with a great setting and great characters. You should watch it if you like scary stories, magic, and stories that make you think. It’s just the right amount of thrilling, action-packed, and thought-provoking.
In this story, Titans are killing people one by one. Titans are huge animals that look like people.
The story goes on as Eren Yeager and his friends fight the Titans and try to figure out why they make things. “Attack on Titan” gets deep into themes like life, identity, and what it means to be human through its intense action scenes, complicated characters, and story turns.
People like how dark the show is, how interesting the stories are, and how it makes you think about society. It’s popular because it has a lot of excitement and emotional depth that keeps them interested. Watch it if you like big fight scenes, dark settings, and deep stories.
This story is about a young pirate named Monkey D. Luffy who can stretch. He wants to find the famous “One Piece” and become the Pirate King. Luffy meets a lot of interesting people along the way and forms a great crew with them.
There are also big battles, interesting people he meets, and a huge, made-up world full of islands, sea creatures, and tough enemies for him to explore. People from all over the world love “One Piece” because it has a lot of depth, funny moments, action, and touching scenes.
You should watch it if you like action, fiction, and deep writing. It’s about friendship, dreams, and the search for freedom.
The Japanese cartoon “Your Lie in April” is based on a comic by Naoshi Arakawa.
Some bad things happen to Kōsei Arima, who used to be a great piano player but now can’t hear himself play. When he meets the great violinist Kaori Miyazono, his life changes.
He gets back into singing and tries to figure out his place in the world with her help. “Your Lie in April” shows love, loss, and how art can make things better in a beautiful way. There is music, romance, and stories about growing up in it. The story is moving and from the heart.
People love the show because it has great animation, personalities that stick with them, and makes them feel a lot of different things. People who like stories with music and stories that make you feel things should watch it.
“Neon Genesis Evangelion” was made by Hideaki Anno.
Shinji Ikari is a boy who is told to keep people safe by taking care of big robots made of metal and living things.
The show doesn’t just show how the characters deal with their feelings, relationships, and spiritual issues; it also shows what these people think and feel.
A lot of people like “Neon Genesis Evangelion” because it has a story that makes you think, characters that change and grow, and themes like being alone, not fitting in, and who we are.
A lot of anime fans will remember this movie because it made them think of old ways of telling stories. This is good for readers who like robots, psychological stories, and stories that try to write strange things.
Naruto Uzumaki is a brave young ninja who wants to be the best ninja in his village. Naruto is training to be the Hokage, which means village boss. He is making friends with his teachers and getting to know them.
You can follow his journey as he tries to keep his town safe and faces tough problems on the show. “Naruto” is a popular movie because it has exciting action scenes, interesting characters, and deep themes about friendship, loyalty, and staying with something even when it’s tough.
People have been watching this show for a long time because the fight scenes are funny, sad, and exciting. There are lots of places to see in “Naruto,” whether you like stories about growing up, action, or both.
The young Viking Thorfinn wants to get back at the person who killed his father.
It takes place in Europe in the Middle Ages. There is a lot going on in the world of politics, war, and personal healing while Thorfinn is on his trip of violence and self-discovery.
“Vinland Saga” is a story about morals, kindness, and the harm caused by violence. There are also thoughts about people and their search for peace.
A lot of people love this show because it has beautiful animation, exciting fight scenes, and real-life scenes that show how hard war is. This is a serious story that will make you think. Fans of historical fiction, drama, and great stories will enjoy it.
Made by Studio Ghibli and directed by Hayao Miyazaki.
The movie is based on the same-named book by Diana Wynne Jones. It’s about Sophie, a young woman who gets old quickly because she was cursed by a witch.
While Sophie is trying to break the curse, she meets the strange master Howl and his house that moves by magic. In a world full of funny people and beautiful places, Sophie finds strength in herself, in friendship, and in love.
A lot of people enjoy “Howl’s Moving Castle” because it has beautiful animation, a smart story, and deep looks at things like being content with who you are, the effects of war, and the magic of relationships. It’s been a well-known animation film for a long time because everyone loves the story and the setting.
Made by Sunrise.
Lelouch Lamperouge is a young prince who has been sent into exile and gets the power of Geass, which lets him tell other people what to do. The story takes place at a different time.
To make the world a better place for his sister and get even for what happened in the past, Lelouch changes his name to “Zero” and leads a rebellion against the cruel British Empire.
A lot of people love “Code Geass” because it has a difficult plot, characters, and political drama. Some of the things that this story explores are power, morals, and the effects of one’s deeds. It keeps people on the edge of their seats.
People say the show is great because it has intellectual ideas, dramatic changes, and battles that are planned out. It’s good for people who like robots, scary stories, and stories that make you think.
Made by Kohei Horikoshi.
In a world where some people have superpowers called “Quirks,” the story is about Izuku Midoriya, a young boy who wants to be a hero but wasn’t born with one. Izuku’s leader, All Might, gives him his own Quirk, which changes the course of his life in a big way.
Izuku wants to be a strong hero, but at the best U.A. High School, he has to deal with a lot of harm and trouble. “My Hero Academia” is a story about bonding, becoming a hero, and discovering who you are. It’s funny, sad, and exciting at times. Every character is very different and has their own quirks.
The story is about being strong and not giving up when things get tough. Some of the fights are pretty rough. A lot of people like the show because it has fun animation, interesting stories, and characters that viewers can relate to. It’s worth watching for anyone who likes superhero stories and good stories in general.
The Japanese cartoon show “Steins;Gate” is based on the popular visual novel by 5PB and Nitroplus.
The story is about Rintarou Okabe, who calls himself a “mad scientist,” and his friends, who find a way to send text messages to the past by chance. This changes the present and has a lot of unexpected effects.
While they figure out how to move through time and uncover a plot, they are in a race against time to stop a terrible future. “Steins;Gate” is a great story with lots of twists and turns because it blends science fiction, mystery, and psychological elements so well.
The play looks at cause and effect, how fragile time is, and the things people have to give up to change the course of events. People love the show because it has a complicated story, interesting characters, and keeps viewers on the edge of their seats.
Made by Shinichiro Watanabe.
There is a different Japan in this story. It is set during the Edo era. The show has hip-hop culture, action with fighters, and good times. It looks great, has lots of music, and the sword fights are really fun.
“Samurai Champloo” is a movie about loyalty, respect, and finding your own identity. It shows how old and new ideas can fight. People love it because it has fun fight scenes, characters that look different from each other, and a nice mix of old and new styles.
Like action, thrills, and unique writing? This show is great for you. Reviewers liked how it had a unique art style, characters that stood out, and a mix of different types of tales.
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki and made by Studio Ghibli.
The story takes place in a world full of nature, magic, and beauty. A young fighter named Ashitaka gets caught in a fight between people who rely too much on technology and Princess Mononoke and her tough forest guards. The movie shows the battle between growth and defense.
“Princess Mononoke” is loved by many because it has lovely animation, interesting characters, and tough moral choices. Yes, this story is about the world, magic, and action all at the same time. It looks good and makes you think.
A lot of people from all over the world have said nice things about the movie’s writing, visuals, and ability to please a lot of different age groups. You should watch this video if you like fun and interesting videos with deep thoughts.
Made by Kaiu Shirai and Posuka Demizu
The story is about a group of children who live in Grace Field House and seem to have a perfect life. But they quickly learn a dark secret: the shelter is really a front for a bad business where kids are raised to feed demons.
Emma, Norman, and Ray, the main characters, are determined to escape and save their lives. They come up with complicated plans while they figure out what is going on in their world. People like “The Promised Neverland” because it has a scary story with lots of smart turns and psychological elements.
The story is about life, friendship, and how far people will go to protect each other. People are hooked on the show because it has exciting plots, well-rounded characters, and keeps them on the edge of their seats. Fans of exciting stories, mysteries, and dark magic should watch it.
Based on a light book by Kinoko Nasu with art by Takashi Takeuchi.
In this story, there is a girl named Shiki Ryougi who is very strange. “Mystic Eyes of Death Perception” is her power, and it lets her see and kill strange things. Shiki gets caught in a web of weird events, theories, and the supernatural as she tries to figure out what’s going on and deal with her own problems.
The story of “Kara no Kyoukai” is hard to follow, but many people enjoy it because it makes them think about things like who they are, what is right and wrong, and how reality works.
Some parts of this movie series are magical, some are about the mind, and some are just plain exciting. It’s a dark story that makes you think. It’s fun for people who like mysteries, strange stories, and pretty animation.
Written by Hirohiko Araki
For a long time, the Joestar family has lived with and fought many scary threats. The main character in each part of the story is a different “JoJo.” They find out new things and visit new places. “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure” has a special mix of scary, funny, and bloody things people love.
People love the show because of the unique characters, stories, catchphrases, and poses that no one else can do. It’s about family, respect, and how strong people are everywhere.
Based on the book by Jun Mayuzuki, “After the Rain” is a touching Japanese cartoon show.
The story is about a high school girl named Akira Tachibana who hurts her foot and can’t run until it heals. She also starts to like Masami Kondo, the kitchen boss, who is a lot older than her. Things are going wrong for Kondo.
“After the Rain” is a love story about figuring out who you are and how hard it can be to be in a relationship. It’s careful to show how its characters feel on the inside and to talk about social norms in a gentle way.
Lots of people love it because the art is beautiful, the characters change, and they fall in love in weird ways. “After the Rain” has a story that moves and makes you think. Read it if you like love stories, stories about coming of age, and stories about growing up.
These 22 Japanese cartoons tell some of the best stories ever made in this style. The world of Japanese animation is always growing and changing. It’s the mix of art, story, and social significance that makes each show special and leaves an impact that lasts.
Everyone on this list, from anime fans with a lot of experience to people who are just starting to learn about Japanese cartoon, will find a great show on this list.
Relax in your favorite chair with a bowl of ramen and watch these 21 Japanese cartoons. They will make you think, make you feel, and show you how beautiful anime can be.