In the past few decades, the anime industry has seen exponential growth on a global scale. Nowadays, hundreds of new anime series and movies are released each year, not only broadcasted on TV, but also streamed on massive online platforms like Netflix and Amazon. It could be said that the 2010s laid the foundation for this golden age of anime.
Many popular anime series that continue to air today began in the 2010s. Of course, there were also anime series that started and concluded within this decade. In the film industry, renowned directors like Hayao Miyazaki of Studio Ghibli, Makoto Shinkai, and Mamoru Hosoda produced masterpieces. A wide range of genres matured, from classic action-adventures to the increasingly popular slice-of-life.
These 20 best anime of the 2010s that will be introduced below are recommended not only for anime beginners, but also for anime fans who might have missed some of them. The 2010s truly gave us an abundance of excellent anime, and it was challenging to narrow it down, but I’ve managed to select the top 20 from various perspectives.
Please enjoy the best anime experience along with these masterpieces from the 2010s!
Psycho-Pass (PSYCHO-PASS サイコパス) is a dystopian cyberpunk anime series that debuted in 2012. It’s produced by Production I.G and directed by Naoyoshi Shiotani and Katsuyuki Motohiro, featuring a screenplay by Gen Urobuchi. After 22 episodes in the first season in 2012-2013, the second season Psycho-Pass 2, made by Tatsunoko Production, was broadcast with 11 episodes in 2014. The third season was made by the same anime studio as the first season. This is an anime that truly colored the entire 2010’s.
Set in the future, the world of Psycho-Pass is governed by a system known as the Sibyl System, which scans citizens’ mental states to predict their likelihood of committing crimes. Akane Tsunemori, a young woman, joins the police force and faces the moral dilemma of upholding a system that might be fundamentally flawed.
Aired: 2012-2013 (Season 1)/ 2014 (Season 2)/2019 (Season 3)
Episodes: 22 (Season 1)/11 (Season 2)/8 (Season 3)
Studio: Production I.G (Season 1 and 3)/Tatsunoko Production (Season 2)
19. From Up on Poppy Hill
From Up on Poppy Hill (コクリコ坂から) is a 2011 Studio Ghibli animoe film directed by Goro Miyazaki and scripted by Hayao Miyazaki. Not many people know this, but this is based on Coquelicot-zaka kara, a 1980 manga by Tetsuro Sayama and Chizuru Takahashi. Known for its beautiful hand-drawn animation, the film provides a nostalgic depiction of Yokohama in the 1960s.
Set in 1963 Yokohama, From Up on Poppy Hill follows high-school students Umi and Shun as they fight to save their school’s clubhouse from demolition. Amidst the backdrop of a rapidly modernizing Japan, they navigate friendship, love, and the weight of past secrets, illustrating a poignant and heartfelt story of young love and community spirit.
Runtime: 91 min
Director: Goro Miyazaki
18. The Boy and the Beast
As a critically acclaimed 2015 anime movie, The Boy and the Beast (バケモノの子) artfully melds elements of fantasy and coming-of-age storylines under the skilled direction of Mamoru Hosoda and production by Studio Chizu. Following Summer Wars (2009) and Wolf Children (2012), it is Mamoru Hosoda’s third original work, again proving his mastery in handling both original story creation and scriptwriting.
The Boy and the Beast follows Ren, a young orphaned human who stumbles upon the beast realm of Shibuten. He is taken in by the gruff yet kind beast warrior Kumatetsu, who decides to mentor the boy. A heartwarming and emotionally resonant tale unfolds as Ren and Kumatetsu grow together, facing personal challenges and learning valuable life lessons in the process.
Runtime: 119 min
Director: Mamoru Hosoda
17. One-Punch Man
One-Punch Man (ワンパンマン), which started airing in the 2010s, is one of the most popular anime series around the globe. It is a comedy and action-packed anime series, based on the webcomic turned manga by ONE. First aired in 2015, the series gained immense popularity with its unique take on the superhero genre, producing a second season in 2019. Madhouse (Season 1) and J.C.Staff (Season 2) are the studios behind its stunning animation and style. The production of the third season has been already confirmed.
One-Punch Man is centered around Saitama, a man who’s become the ultimate superhero, able to defeat any enemy with a single punch, a feat that leads him to an unexpected crisis. Saitama’s unbeatable strength leaves him bored and seeking greater challenges in his fight against evil. His ennui is interrupted when he meets Genos, a cyborg seeking revenge against another cyborg that destroyed his hometown. They join the Hero Association together and encounter a variety of superheroes, villains, and other entities, while Saitama searches for a worthy opponent.
Aired: 2015 (Season 1)/2019 (Season 2)/TBA (Season 3)
Episodes: 12 (Season 1)/12 (Season 2)/TBA (Season 3)
Studio: Madhouse (Season 1)/J.C.Staff (Season 2)/TBA (Season 3)
16. In This Corner of the World
In This Corner of the World (この世界の片隅に) is a beautifully illustrated and deeply moving anime movie directed by Sunao Katabuchi. Adapted from Fumiyo Kono’s manga, this 2016 anime film realistically portrays the life of an ordinary woman and her family living in Hiroshima during World War II. The film has been widely praised for its authentic depiction of the era and its heartfelt storytelling, winning numerous awards including the Japan Academy Prize for Animation of the Year. For the success of the film, an extended version titled In This Corner (and Other Corners) of the World (この世界の(さらにいくつもの)片隅に) was released in 2019, adding about 40 minutes of new scenes.
The film follows the life of Suzu Urano, a young woman from Hiroshima, who gets married and moves to the small town of Kure in the 1940s. Living with her new family in this corner of the world, Suzu navigates daily life against the backdrop of the escalating war. The story focuses on how she copes with personal and national tragedies, maintaining her cheerful and creative spirit amidst the hardships of war.
Runtime: 129 min
Director: Sunao Katabuchi
15. My Hero Academia
A riveting Shonen series, My Hero Academia (僕のヒーローアカデミア) is adapted from the manga created by Kohei Horikoshi. Since its premiere in 2016, the series, animated by Studio Bones, has garnered immense popularity worldwide. Celebrated for its spectacular action scenes, captivating plotlines, and diverse character roster, it offers a fresh perspective on the superhero genre. It began in the middle of the 2010s, it is still a major influence in the 2020’s.
In a society where most people possess “Quirks” or superpowers, My Hero Academia follows Izuku Midoriya, a seemingly powerless boy with hero aspirations. After unexpectedly receiving the “One For All” Quirk from his idol, the revered hero All Might, Izuku enters U.A. High School, an elite institution training the next generation of heroes. Here, he encounters rigorous training and fierce rivals.
Aired: 2016 (Season 1)/2017 (Season 2)/2018 (Season 3)/2019-2020 (Season 4)/2021 (Season 5)/2022-2023 (Season 6)/TBA (Season 7)
Episodes: 13 (Season 1)/25 (Season 2)/25 (Season 3)/25 (Season 4)/25 (Season 5)/25 (Season 6)/TBA (Season 7)
14. Violet Evergarden
A visually stunning and emotionally captivating anime, Violet Evergarden (ヴァイオレット・エヴァーガーデン) is produced by Kyoto Animation and was initially aired in 2018. The series, based on a light novel by Kana Akatsuki, has gained a global following and was further popularized by its Netflix release. The 13-episode series was followed by the two anime movies Violet Evergarden: Eternity and the Auto Memory Doll in 2019 and Violet Evergarden: The Movie in 2020.
In terms of the storyline, Violet Evergarden follows the life of Violet, a former child soldier, who is now trying to reintegrate into society after the war. Struggling with her violent past and devoid of emotions, she becomes an “Auto Memory Doll”, transcribing people’s thoughts and feelings into letters. This new journey enables her to explore human emotions and, most importantly, understand the meaning of love, as was told to her during her last combat by the one she held most dear.
Studio: Kyoto Animation
Steins;Gate is a critically acclaimed science fiction anime series produced by White Fox, originally aired from April to September 2011. Based on a visual novel first released in 2009 by 5pb and Nitroplus, the suspenseful series has garnered a significant international fanbase for its gripping narrative, complex characters, and exploration of time travel themes. The first season consisting 24 episodes was followed by the second season titled Steins;Gate 0 in 2018.
The eccentric mad scientist Rintaro Okabe, his childhood friend Mayuri, and the otaku hacker Daru form the Future Gadget Research Laboratory. One day, they accidentally discover that one of their inventions, a “phone microwave,” can send emails to the past, drastically altering the flow of history. As they explore more, they realize the potential dangers of their creation, getting tangled in a conspiracy surrounding SERN, the organization behind the Large Hadron Collider, and a man named John Titor who claims to be from a dystopian future.
Aired: 2011 (Season 1)/2018 (Season 2)
Episodes: 24 (Season 1)/23 (Season 2)
Studio: White Fox
12. Wolf Children
Directed by Mamoru Hosoda, Wolf Children (おおかみこどもの雨と雪) is an enchanting feature-length anime movie released in 2012. It is known as his second original anime movie following Summer Wars in 2009. The movie was crafted by Studio Chizu, known for its beautiful animations and compelling narratives. The film received several awards for its poignant storytelling and masterful animation, establishing it as a modern classic of Japanese anime.
Wolf Children depicts the life of Hana, a young university student who falls in love with a man who turns out to be a werewolf. After his untimely death, Hana is left to raise their two unique children alone. This is an exploration of love, responsibility, and the challenges of parenthood, set against a backdrop of both urban and rural beauty. The children, Yuki and Ame, being half-human, half-wolf, must grapple with their dual nature, creating an emotional and symbolic narrative that has left audiences worldwide deeply moved.
Runtime: 117 min
Director: Mamoru Hosoda
11. Laid-Back Camp
Laid-Back Camp (ゆるキャン△), also known as Yuru Camp, is a popular slice-of-life anime produced by C-Station and directed by Yoshiaki Kyogoku. It began airing in 2018, and has since garnered significant acclaim for its relaxed storytelling and beautiful artwork. Based on Afro’s manga, it’s been further expanded with multiple seasons and even a live-action adaptation. The first anime movie Laid-Back Camp Movie showed in 2022, and the third season of the TV series has been already confirmed.
Laid-Back Camp revolves around a group of high school girls who discover the joy of camping. Each episode is filled with beautiful depictions of Japanese landscapes and camping tips. Through the series, we see Rin Shima, an introverted camper, who prefers to camp alone, gradually opening up to others and sharing experiences with Nadeshiko Kagamihara and other friends. Its relaxing pace and serene atmosphere provide a warm, calming viewing experience, showcasing the charm of friendship and outdoor activities.
Aired: 2018 (Season 1)/2021 (Season 2)/TBA (Season 3)
Episodes: 12 (Season 1)/13 (Season 2)/TBA (Season 3)
The recent surge in anime popularity can be attributed to the presence of slice-of-life anime. These series rarely featu[…]
10. Love Live! School Idol Project
Love Live! School Idol Project (ラブライブ!) is a highly influential multi-media project that started in 2010, consisting of anime, music, video games, and manga. produced by an anime studio Sunrise, the project’s anime series aired with two seasons from 2013 to 2014, with its popularity leading to multiple spin-offs and sequels. The first series was followed by the second series Love Live! Sunshine!! (ラブライブ! サンシャイン!!) in 2016-2017, the third Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club (ラブライブ!虹ヶ咲学園スクールアイドル同好会) in 2020-2022 and Love Live! Superstar!! (ラブライブ!スーパースター!!) from 2021.
Love Live! School Idol Project follows a group of schoolgirls led by Honoka Kosaka at Otonokizaka Academy as they form an idol group named “μ’s” to prevent their school from closing due to a lack of applicants. The girls face various challenges as they balance their schoolwork, friendships, and their pursuit of becoming successful idols. The series is notable for its catchy music and the deep friendships formed among the characters. Each member of μ’s is carefully depicted, allowing for the natural birth of beloved characters, which is the highlight of this anime.
Aired: 2013 (Season 1)/2014 (Season 2)
Episodes: 13 (Season 1)/13 (Season 2)
9. Sword Art Online
Sword Art Online (ソードアート・オンライン) is a prominent franchise that originated from a Japanese light novel series written by Reki Kawahara and illustrated by abec. Its anime adaptation by A-1 Pictures aired in 2012, igniting its global popularity. The franchise spans multiple seasons, movies, manga adaptations, and video games, further solidifying its status as a cross-media sensation. In 2014, the second season Sword Art Online II (ソードアート・オンラインII) was broadcast and the third season, which is divided into two parts Sword Art Online: Alicization (ソードアート・オンライン アリシゼーション) and Sword Art Online: Alicization – War of Underworld (ソードアート・オンライン
アリシゼーション War of Underworld) from 2018 to 2020. A new series Sword Art Online Progressive started with the movie Sword Art Online Progressive: Aria of a Starless Night (劇場版 ソードアート・オンライン プログレッシブ 星なき夜のアリア) in 2021.
Sword Art Online revolves around the protagonist Kirito, who, along with thousands of others, is trapped in the virtual reality MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game), Sword Art Online. The creator announces that players can’t log out, and death in the game means death in real life. Kirito, an experienced gamer, strives to beat the game to free everyone with a heroine Asuna. Throughout the series, he embarks on various adventures in different virtual worlds, battling formidable foes, forming alliances, and dealing with the philosophical and ethical implications of artificial intelligence and virtual reality.
Aired: 2012 (Season 1)/2014 (Season 2)/2018-2020 (Season 3)
Episodes: 25 (Season 1)/24 (Season 2)/47 (Season 3)
Studio: A-1 Pictures
8. Weathering with You
Weathering with You (天気の子) is a renowned anime movie from the director Makoto Shinkai, who also made the global hit Your Name in 2016. Released in 2019, Weathering with You continues Shinkai’s themes of youthful romance, the fusion of the everyday and fantasy and the beauty of daily life and nature. It is visually stunning, blending traditional and digital animation techniques, and features a score from the band Radwimps.
Weathering with You focuses on a runaway high school boy, Hodaka Morishima, who moves to Tokyo. In the city, he struggles with life on the streets until he finds employment as a writer for a mysterious occult magazine. Soon after, he encounters Hina Amano, a vibrant and strong-willed girl who possesses the unique ability to stop the incessant rain and clear the sky. As the rain continues to pour, they must confront the supernatural reality behind Hina’s abilities and make difficult decisions to protect each other.
Runtime: 114 min
Director: Makoto Shinkai
7. Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Puella Magi Madoka Magica (魔法少女まどか☆マギカ) is a ground-breaking magical girl series from 2011. Directed by Akiyuki Shinbo, written by Gen Urobuchi, with animation by studio Shaft and music by Yuki Kajiura, it’s regarded as one of the best anime made by the anime studio. The series, along with its movie adaptations, continues to hold a high reputation within the anime community. The Puella Magi Madoka Magica movie trilogy consists of two parts [Part 1] Beginnings ([前編] 始まりの物語) and [Part 2] Eternal ([後編] 永遠の物語) which are a recompilation of the TV series, and a completely new story [New Chapter] Rebellion ([新編] 叛逆の物語 2013). In addition, a new sequel film Walpurgisnacht: Rising (〈ワルプルギスの廻天〉) has also been announced for production.
The story places an emphasis on Madoka Kaname, a typical middle-school girl, whose life changes dramatically when she encounters Kyubey, a mysterious being that offers to grant her a single wish in exchange for becoming a magical girl. However, the battles against Witches, the adversaries of magical girls, are ruthless, and the world of magical girls is filled with much more despair than Madoka and her friend Sayaka Miki could have ever imagined.
6. Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day
One of the most touching anime series of the 2010s, Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day (あの日見た花の名前を僕達はまだ知らない。), offers a beautiful, emotional narrative in just 11 episodes. The slice-of-life drama anime was made by the director Tatsuyuki Nagai, the screenwriter Mari Okada and the character designer Masayoshi Tanaka, who are also known as Super Peace Busters and for other finest works such as The Anthem of the Heart in 2015 and Her Blue Sky in 2019. The series excels in exploring themes of friendship, loss, and coming-of-age with stunning visuals from A-1 Pictures.
Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day centers around a group of childhood friends who drifted apart following the untimely death of their companion, Menma. Years later, an apparition of Menma begins to visit the group’s erstwhile leader, Jinta, with a forgotten wish she wants to fulfill. This unexpected event forces the estranged friends to confront their shared past and unresolved emotions. As they embark on a journey of reconciliation and acceptance, they come to appreciate the power of friendship in a poignant and heartfelt narrative that leaves few viewers untouched.
Studio: A-1 Pictures
5. Attack on Titan
Attack on Titan (進撃の巨人) is an anime that made a significant impact on the global scale, arguably becoming one of the most popular anime series ever produced. Directed by Tetsuro Araki, the dark-fantasy adventure was based on Hajime Isayama’s manga of the same name. The first season was started with 25 episodes by Wit Studio in 2013, and the same anime studio made two more seasons between 2017 and 2019. Since the fourth and final season, the production studio has changed and Mappa is in charge.
Attack on Titan revolves around Eren Yeager, who enlists in the military after the terrifying Titans, gigantic humanoid creatures, destroy his hometown and lead to the death of his mother. He is joined by his friends Mikasa Ackerman and Armin Arlert as they dedicate their lives to eradicating the Titans. As the narrative unfolds, they discover that the world beyond their walled city is much more complicated and darker than they ever imagined, filled with political machinations, hidden truths, and moral ambiguity.
Aired: 2013 (Season 1)/2017 (Season 2)/2018-2019 (Season 3)/2020-2021 (Season 4 Part 1)/2022 (Season 4 Part 2)/2023 (Season 4 Part 3)
Episodes: 25 (Season 1)/12 (Season 2)/22 (Season 3)/16 (Season 4 Part 1)/12 (Season 4 Part 2)/2 (Season 4 Part 3)
Studio: Wit Studio (Season 1-3)/Mappa (Season 4)
4. The Wind Rises
A masterpiece from the renowned Studio Ghibli, directed by the illustrious Hayao Miyazaki. Released in 2013, The Wind Rises (風立ちぬ) is inspired by the semi-biographical accounts of Jiro Horikoshi, a pioneer in aviation technology, intertwined with elements from the autobiographical novel written by Tatsuo Hori. The historical drama movie delivers a profound exploration of dreams, love, and the complexities of life. The movie serves as a demonstration of Miyazaki’s exceptional storytelling skills and is a must-watch for any anime enthusiast.
Set in pre-World War II Japan, The Wind Rises follows Jiro Horikoshi, a bright and ambitious young man who dreams of designing beautiful aeroplanes. He is driven by a love for engineering and flight, but his vision is challenged by physical limitation and the harsh realities of the world. The narrative carefully interweaves his personal journey with a delicate romance with Nahoko, a woman suffering from tuberculosis.
Runtime: 126 min
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
3. Re:Zero − Starting Life in Another World
The 2010s can be seen as the era in which the genre of Isekai became recognized and popular in not only light novels but anime. Re:Zero – Starting Life in Another World (Re:ゼロから始める異世界生活) is a wildly popular Isekai anime series that’s loved globally and is considered as one of the best anime series of the 2010s. The Isekai masterpiece is mixed with romance, comedy and adventure. The main character, Subaru, isn’t a typical hero, which adds a refreshing touch to the plot.
Re:Zero concentrates Subaru Natsuki, a regular high-schooler who suddenly finds himself transported to a strange, magical Isekai world. Without any notable skills or a clear direction, he soon encounters a silver-haired half-elf girl, Emilia. Little did he know, his life would take a drastic turn from here, with his unique ability to “Return by Death”, resetting time upon his demise, forcing him to face dangerous situations and challenging choices.
Aired: 2016 (Season 1)/2020-2021 (Season 2)/TBA (Season 3)
Episodes: 25 (Season 1)/25 (Season 2)/TBA (Season 3)
Studio: White Fox
2. Your Name
Your Name (君の名は。) is one of the most famous and popular anime movies of the 2010s, directed by Makoto Shinkai and produced by CoMix Wave Films. It marks Makoto Shinkai’s sixth theatrical anime film, following his previous work The Garden of Words, which was released three years prior. Released in 2016, the fantasy movie has achieved immense global popularity and commercial success, grossing over $350 million worldwide. With its striking animation quality, emotionally resonant storyline, and captivating music composed by the rock band Radwimps, the film has left a profound impact on the international anime community and mainstream audiences alike, and has contributed significantly to a new wave of interest in anime.
The plot centers around two high school students, Mitsuha Miyamizu, a girl from a rural town, and Taki Tachibana, a boy from bustling Tokyo, who inexplicably start swapping bodies in their dreams. As they navigate the complexities of each other’s lives, they begin to form a deep connection despite never having met in person. This mysterious and seemingly magical phenomenon triggers a series of events that intertwine their fates in ways they could never have anticipated.
Runtime: 107 min
Director: Makoto Shinkai
1. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba (鬼滅の刃) is the best anime from the 2010s, based on the manga written by Koyoharu Gotouge. The dark-fantasy action adventure series, animated by Ufotable, earned global acclaim for its stunning animation quality, fluid battle sequences, and emotional storylines. The popularity of the series skyrocketed following its first season in 2019, extending beyond traditional anime communities. In particular, the film Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Movie: Mugen Train (劇場版「鬼滅の刃」 無限列車編) became Japan’s highest-grossing movie of all time, surpassing Spirited Away, which had held the top spot at the box office since 2001. They were followed by the second season in 2021-2022 and the third season in 2023.
In Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, the kind-hearted Tanjiro Kamado becomes a demon slayer after his family is slaughtered by demons, and his sister Nezuko is turned into one. With his fellow slayers, Zenitsu and Inosuke, he embarks on a perilous journey to find a cure for Nezuko and defeat Muzan Kibutsuji, the first and most powerful demon. Tanjiro’s unwavering dedication to his sister, his relentless perseverance, and the strength of his bonds with his friends form the emotional core of this series.
Aired: 2019 (Season 1)/2020 (Anime Movie)/2021-2022 (Season 2)/2023 (Season 3)
Episodes: 26 (Season 1)/7 (Anime Movie)/11 (Season 2)/TBA (Season 3)
The 2010s were a remarkable era for anime, marked by storytelling diversity and visual innovation. The selected 20 anime embody this excellence, offering a spectrum of narratives and styles that have shaped the industry. These anime aren’t just the highlights of the decade, they’re testament to the ever-evolving artistry of the medium.
▽Check the lists of the best anime in other decades!▽
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