11 Best Kyoto Animation Anime and Anime Movies of All Time

Best Kyoto Animation Anime

If you like anime, do you know some Japanese anime studio that create the finest works? There are lots of long-established and up-and-coming animation studios in Japan, and Kyoto Animation is one of the most successful creators groups.

Many anime fans have captivated by the beautiful drawings of the scenery and characters with touching drama stories since Kyoto Animation started making anime series in the 2000s.

To experience quality of the authentic modern anime, I’d like to provide an introduction to Kyoto Animation itself and 11 best Kyoto Animation anime of all time including the live legendary series and the recent popular movies.

(Photo on top: ©暁佳奈・京都アニメーション/ヴァイオレット・エヴァーガーデン製作委員会/©VisualArt’s/Key/光坂高校演劇部/©2006 谷川 流・いとうのいぢ/SOS団 ©2007,2008,2009 谷川 流・いとうのいぢ/SOS団)

Kyoto Animation

Kyoto Animation
Kyoto Animation

Kyoto Animation (京都アニメーション), which is also abbreviated to Kyoani, is one of the most famous and popular Japanese anime studios, founded in Kyoto in 1985. The animation company organizes and creates anime series and anime movies as well as publishing light novels and selling merchandises.

The creators in Kyoto Animation cooperate with other anime studios including the famous Studio Ghibli in the early period, and they started making anime series by themselves from the early 2000s.

Kyoto Animation’s early work titled Air aired in 2005, and its symbolic anime The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya made it even more famous in the country. In addition to the following finest works such as Clannad in 2007 and K-On! in 2009, Kyoto Animation has become well-known around the world for the recent series Violet Evergarden (2018) and tens of anime films.

It’s also known that Kyoto Animation was fatally damaged by an arson attack to the first studio, which killed 36 people, injured 33 others and destroyed the building. However, Kyoto Animation is reconstructing with the efforts of the staff and a lot of donations from fans all over the globe.

11. Sound! Euphonium

Sound! Euphonium (響け!ユーフォニアム) is a modern coming-of-age drama anime series created by Kyoto Animation, based on the original novel series written by Ayano Takeda from 2013. The first season of the anime series was broadcasted in 2015 and the second one in the coming year. A spin-off anime movie Liz and the Blue Bird was released in 2018, followed by Sound! Euphonium the Movie: Oath’s Finale in 2019.

Sound! Euphonium is the anime with the theme of a Japanese high school music club, set in Uji in Kyoto. It centers on a first-grade high school girl named Kumiko Oumae, who plays euphonium, and other Kitauji High School Music Club members.

Recommendation: ★★★☆☆

Aired: 2015 (Season 1)/2016 (Season 2)

Episodes: 13 (Season 1)/13 (Season 2)

▽Check Sound! Euphonium on Amazon.com below!▽

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10. Tamako Market

Tamako Market (たまこまーけっと), categorized as slice-of-life and comedy, is a high-quality original Kyoto Animation anime series directed by Naoko Yamada. There are 12 episodes in the anime series airing in 2013 and its sequel anime film Tamako Love Story (たまこラブストーリー) released in 2014.

Tamako Market presents the romance and comedy drama set in Kyoto. One day, a high schooler Tamako Kitashirakawa, whose family runs a mochi (Japanese rice cake) shop in the Usagiyama Shopping District, encounters a bizarre talking bird named Dera Mochimazzi. In addition to the story of them, Tamako Market also focuses on the relationship between Tamako and her childhood friend Mochizo Oji.

Recommendation: ★★★☆☆

Aired: 2013

Episodes: 12

▽Check Tamako Market [Blu-ray] on Amazon.com below!▽

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9. Nichijou

Nichijou (日常), which is also known as My Ordinary Life, is a famous slice-of-life and comedy Kyoto Animation anime series. Adapted from the manga series written by Keiichi Arawi and published between 2006 and 2015, the anime series aired with 26 episodes in 2011. The prequel as the episode 0 was released as an original video animation in the same year.

The setting is Tokisadame High School, which is inspired by a real-life school in Gunma that the author Keiichi Arawi graduated from. Nichijou depicts the daily life of several main characters: a bright 16-year-old girl Yuko Aioi, her best friend Mio Naganohara, a smart student Mai Minakami, a female humanoid robot Nano Shinonome and a 8-year-old genius girl called Professor.

Recommendation: ★★★☆☆

Aired: 2011

Episodes: 26

▽Check Nichijou on Amazon.com below!▽

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Nichijou Anime

8. Hyouka

Hyouka (氷菓), which means “frozen dessert” in Japanese, is one of the most popular Kyoto Animation anime series, categorized as slice-of-life and mystery. It was made as a novel series written by Honobu Yonezawa in 2001 at first, made into the anime series consisting of 22 episodes with an additional OVA episode.

Set in Kyoto, Hyouka centers on a cynical, pragmatic and passive high school boy Hotaro Oreki, who joins the Classic Literature Club in Kamiyama High School. With other club members Eru Chitanda, Satoshi Fukube and Mayaka Ibara, he solves a variety of mysteries around the school and them.

Recommendation: ★★★★☆

Aired: 2012

Episodes: 22

▽Check Hyouka on Amazon.com below!▽

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7. Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid

As one of the best Kyoto Animation anime series recently, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid (小林さんちのメイドラゴン) should be picked out by lots of fans. The unique comedy anime, also categorized as slice of life and fantasy, was broadcast in 2017, which was followed by the second season titled Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid S in 2021.

Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid presents a life of a 26-year-old woman named Kobayashi, who suddenly starts adjusting to a new way of life with a dragon Tohru that can transform itself into a human being. The dragon girl serves her as a maid, and several more dragons also interact with people. There are not only their peaceful days but also romantic relationships and intense battle scenes between the dragons.

Recommendation: ★★★★★

Aired: 2017 (Season 1)/2021 (Season 2)

Episodes: 13 (Season 1)/12 (Season 2)

▽Check Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid on Amazon.com below!▽

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6. Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions

Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions (中二病でも恋がしたい!) is a modern romantic comedy and slice-of-life anime series produced by Kyoto Animation. It is adapted from the original light novel written by Torako and illustrated by Nozomi Osaka in 2011-2017. The first season of the anime adaptation was released in 2012 and the second season titled Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions -Heart Throb- (中二病でも恋がしたい!戀) in 2014, which contain 24 episodes and 2 OVA episodes totally.

Then, an anime movie Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions: Rikka Version (小鳥遊六花・改 〜劇場版 中二病でも恋がしたい!〜) came to the big screen in 2013, followed by the latest film Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions! Take on Me (映画 中二病でも恋がしたい! -Take On Me-) in 2018.

Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions! Take on Me revolves around a first-year high schooler Yuta Togashi, who experienced Chunibyo in the middle school, and a currently Chunibyo girl Rikka Takanashi.

Learn Japanese anime words like Chunibyo here!


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Recommendation: ★★★★☆

Aired: 2012 (Season 1)/2014 (Season 2)

Episodes: 12 (Season 1)/12 (Season 2)

▽Check Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions on Amazon.com below!▽

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5. A Silent Voice

A Silent Voice (聲の形) is one of the top-rated anime movies created by Kyoto Animation, released in 2016. The heartwarming drama film is directed by Naoko Yamada, adapted from the 7-volume manga series written by Yoshitoki Oima.

Set in a fictional city inspired by Ogaki, Gifu, A Silent Voice follows some high schoolers who hold their personal problems and their past. A high school boy Shoya gets diverted from killing himself and recalls his own days at the elementary school. A deaf girl named Shoko transfers to his elementary school and suffers from bullying there. The complicated relationship between the victim and victimizers is presented throughout the story.

Recommendation: ★★★★☆

Aired: 2016

Episodes: 1

▽Check A Silent Voice on Amazon.com below!▽

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4. Violet Evergarden

Violet Evergarden (ヴァイオレット・エヴァーガーデン) is one of the most popular anime series in these days, which has been highly appraised worldwide since it started in 2018. Adapted from the light novel series written by Kana Akatsuki and illustrated by Akiko Takase, which won the fifth Kyoto Animation Award in 2014, it was made with 13 episodes. A spin-off film Violet Evergarden: Eternity and the Auto Memory Doll (ヴァイオレット・エヴァーガーデン 外伝 -永遠と自動手記人形-) was released in 2019, followed by Violet Evergarden: The Movie (劇場版 ヴァイオレット・エヴァーガーデン) in 2020.

The coming-of-age drama anime is set in the world, where a large war just ends. A young lady with blonde hair and blue eyes named Violet Evergarden, who loses her arms during the war and wears prosthetic limbs, works as a Auto Memory Doll. She writes letters on behalf of people who are not able to write or represent emotions as a ghost-writer to understand the meaning of “I love you”, the last words her beloved Major Gilbert told her.

Recommendation: ★★★★★

Aired: 2018

Episodes: 13

▽Check Violet Evergarden on Amazon.com below!▽

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3. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (涼宮ハルヒの憂鬱), the title of the first part of Haruhi Suzumiya Series, is one of the masterpieces of Kyoto Animation, which had made the anime studio much more famous all over the world. The original light novel series written by Nagaru Tanigawa and illustrated by Noizi Ito was made into the anime adaptation from 2006. In the first season, 14 episodes aired not in chronological order, which surprised the fans of the light novel series. The previous 14 episodes and new 14 episodes were broadcasted in proper time sequence in the second season in 2009.

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is set in Nishinomiya, Hyogo, which is the hometown of the author Nagaru Tanigawa. The story begins when an eccentric high school girl Haruhi Suzumiya forms a weird school club called SOS Brigade with a protagonist and narrator Kyon, an alien Yuki Nagato, a time traveler Mikuru Asahina and an esper Itsuki Koizumi.

Recommendation: ★★★★★

Aired: 2006 (Season 1)/2009 (Season 2)

Episodes: 14 (Season 1)/14 (Season 2)

▽Check The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya on Amazon.com below!▽

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2. K-On!

K-On! (けいおん!) is the most famous and popular anime series produced by Kyoto Animation, categorized as slice-of-life and comedy. The manga series written by Kakifly was published between 2007 and 2012, adapted into the two seasons of the anime series directed by Naoko Yamada, who is also famous for other greatest Kyoto Animation anime Tamako Market and A Silent Voice. The first season contains 12 episodes with 2 spin-offs in 2009 and the second one consists of 24 episodes with 3 spin-offs in 2010. In 2011, the only anime film K-On! The Movie (映画けいおん!) was released with a brand new story.

K-On! is set in a Japanese high school focusing on five main characters in the Sakuragaoka High School band club, which includes a guitar and vocal beginner Yui Hirasawa, a bassist and vocalist Mio Akiyama, a drum and the club leader Ritsu Tainaka, a wealthy keyboard player Tsumugi Kotobuki and a talented guitarist Azusa Nakano. In addition to their cool and cute musics, their dairy life and peaceful conversations are presented throughout the story.

Recommendation: ★★★★★

Aired: 2009 (Season 1)/2010 (Season 2)

Episodes: 12+2 (Season 1)/24+3 (Season 2)

▽Check K-On! on Amazon.com below!▽

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1. Clannad

Clannad is the best Kyoto Animation anime, especially loved by Japanese fans. It was originally produced as a computer game by a visual novel studio Key and a publishing company Visual Arts in 2004. The visual novel is adapted into the anime series by Kyoto Animation. The drama anime series, also categorized as slice of life and romance, consists of the first season with 22 episodes and 2 spin-offs in 2007-2008 and the second season titled After Story with 22 episodes and 2 spin-offs in 2008-2009.

Clannad is set in a Japanese rural town presenting the life of a protagonist Tomoya Okazaki and a main heroine Nagisa Furukawa. The delinquent boy meets the physically-fragile girl and helps her to revive an abolished drama club in the school. In the process of the re-establishment of the club, Clannad depicts the relationships between him and her and other heroines including the purple-haired twin sisters Kyou and Ryou Fujibayashi, the mysterious 15-year-old girl Fuko Ibuki, the young scholar athlete Tomoyo Sakagami and the quiet genius Kotomi Ichinose.

Recommendation: ★★★★★

Aired: 2007-2008 (Season 1)/2008-2009 (Season 2)

Episodes: 22+2 (Season 1)/22+2 (Season 2)

▽Check Clannad on Amazon.com below!▽

Shop Now on Amazon

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