Step into the fascinating realm of time travel with my comprehensive list of the 10 best time travel anime! As one of the most enduring and captivating science fiction themes, time travel has inspired numerous unforgettable anime series and movies over the years. From well-established classics to cutting-edge new releases, my selection is guaranteed to enthrall both newcomers and seasoned fans of the genre.
In my carefully curated collection, you’ll find an array of exciting stories that showcase captivating time leaps, alternate realities, and mind-bending paradoxes. These anime series and movies not only offer thrilling adventures through different time periods but also provide a unique lens through which we can explore themes such as love, loss, friendship, and the consequences of our actions.
This list includes a diverse range of time travel anime, from adrenaline-pumping action-packed series to heartwarming romantic tales, and even thought-provoking dramas that delve into the complexities of human relationships. Whether you’re looking for a nostalgic trip down memory lane or eager to discover the latest groundbreaking anime in the time travel subgenre, my compilation has something for everyone.
So buckle up and prepare to embark on an unforgettable journey through time! Immerse yourself in these captivating worlds, get to know their intriguing characters, and experience the thrill of time travel like never before. With my list of the 10 Best Time Travel Anime, you’re just one click away from an amazing anime adventure that transcends the boundaries of time and space.
1. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (時をかける少女) is one of the best anime movies in all genres since the 2000, directed by Mamoru Hosoda, who is also famous for Summer Wars (2009) and Wolf Children (2012). Categorized as slice of life and science fiction, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is regarded as one of the finest works by Mamoru Hosoda. It popularized the term “time leap” and at the same time broadened the range of anime fans.
Based on the novel of the same name by Yasutaka Tsutsui, published in 1967, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time depicts a world set approximately 20 years after the events of the original story. It is a coming-of-age tale centered around Makoto Konno, the niece of the original protagonist, Kazuko Yoshiyama. Makoto, a second-year student at Kuranose High School in downtown Tokyo, is close friends with classmates Kousuke Tsuda and Chiaki Mamiya. Living an ordinary high school life, Makoto one day acquires the ability to travel back in time. How will her fate change as a result? And why did she gain the ability for the “time leap” in the first place?
Runtime: 98 min
Director: Mamoru Hosoda
Steins;Gate is a sci-fi and psychological thriller anime based on a game of the same title, which was released in 2009. It has been loved by lots of anime fans all over the world since the first season of the anime series, consisting of 24 episodes, was broadcast in 2011. In 2013, the movie Steins;Gate: The Movie − Load Region of Déjà Vu was released. The second season, Steins;Gate 0, was broadcast in 2018 and featured 23 episodes. Both the anime series and the movie were produced by White Fox.
Rintaro Okabe, a college student who serves as the leader of a small invention circle called “Future Gadget Laboratory” based in Akihabara, spends his days creating quirky inventions with his fellow members, such as Itaru Hashida and his childhood friend Mayuri Shiina. One day, the members of the Future Gadget Laboratory develop a device capable of sending mobile messages to the past, functioning as a time machine. Along with the young genius neuroscientist Kurisu Makise, they become entangled in a major conspiracy surrounding the time machine.
Aired: 2011 (Season 1)/2018 (Season 2)
Episodes: 24 (Season 1)/23 (Season 2)
Studio: White Fox
3. Re:Zero − Starting Life in Another World
Re:Zero − Starting Life in Another World (Re:ゼロから始める異世界生活) is one of the most popular time-travel anime series and stands as a pinnacle in the trending Isekai genre. Based on a light novel series by Tappei Nagatsuki, which has been serialized since 2012, the anime has garnered widespread acclaim. The first season, produced by White Fox, aired in 2016 with 25 episodes. The second season followed, broadcasting 25 episodes split into two parts in 2020 and 2021. Additionally, spin-off OVAs were released: Memory Snow in 2018 and The Frozen Bond in 2019. The grand story is far from over, as the production of a third season has also been confirmed.
One day, a reclusive high school student Subaru Natsuki is suddenly summoned to an Isekai world. Though his appearance and physical abilities remain unchanged from the real world, he soon realizes he possesses a unique ability when faced with life-threatening situations. This ability, called Return by Death, allows him to rewind time while retaining his memories through time leaps triggered by his own death. Determined to help the heroine, silver-haired half-elf Emilia, Subaru pledges to devote his life to assisting her, but numerous challenges pull him into a cycle of death and rebirth. Along the way, he encounters various distinctive characters, such as the demon maid twin sisters Rem and Ram, as well as Emilia, who is one of the candidates for the next ruler.
Aired: 2016 (Season 1)/2020-2021 (Season 2)
Episodes: 25 (Season 1)/25 (Season 2)
Studio: White Fox
4. Summer Time Rendering
Summer Time Rendering (サマータイムレンダ) is an anime adaptation of the manga made by Yasuki Tanaka. The original manga series began serialization on Shonen Jump+ in 2017 and concluded in 2021. The sci-fi mystery anime was brought to life by OLM Team Kojima and aired in 2022, consisting of 25 episodes. Upon its release, it was initially an exclusive streaming content on Disney+.
Set on a real island in Japan, Summer Time Rendering is a suspenseful science fiction anime where time travel plays a significant role. In the summer of 2018, a 17-year-old boy Shinpei Ajiro returns to his hometown of Hitogashima Island after hearing the news of his childhood friend Ushio Kobuna’s death and attending her funeral. Although Ushio was supposed to have died in a sea accident, the possibility arises that she was killed by someone. Using the power of time travel, Shinpei sets out to unravel a mystery that goes far beyond a single accident in the countryside.
Studio: OLM Team Kojima
5. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
Although sometimes classified as part of the Sekai-kei genre, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (涼宮ハルヒの憂鬱) is a unique blend of slice of life, comedy, and science fiction. While time travel is not the main theme, the famous Endless Eight arc, which consists of nearly identical content across all eight episodes, continues to be a talking point among fans. The anime is based on Nagaru Tanigawa’s light novel Haruhi Suzumiya Series, which began publication in 2003. The release of a new volume in 2020 after a nine-year hiatus generated significant buzz.
The anime initially aired in 2006 with 14 episodes, followed by an additional 14 episodes in 2009, totaling 28 episodes. In 2010, the anime movie The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya was released. Kyoto Animation is responsible for the production of the entire series.
An ordinary high school student Kyon enters North High School and meets the beautiful girl Haruhi Suzumiya, who sits behind him. Disliking her mundane daily life, Haruhi establishes a club called the SOS Brigade (Spreading excitement all Over the world with Haruhi Suzumiya Brigade) to search for unrealistic beings like aliens, time travelers, and espers. She forcibly involves Kyon and recruits Yuki Nagato, a member of the literature club, a senior Mikuru Asahina, and a transfer student Itsuki Koizumi into the club. Unbeknownst to her, they are actually aliens, time travelers, and espers, respectively.
Studio: Kyoto Animation
Haruhi Suzumiya Series is well known in various respects: As a representative Sekai-kei (a kind of genre in anime and li[…]
6. Your Name
Your Name (君の名は。) is the biggest hit by Makoto Shinkai, currently the world’s most renowned anime director. Shinkai, who had already released critically acclaimed works such as 5 Centimeters per Second (2007) and The Garden of Words (2013), gained worldwide fame with this film. With a box office revenue of 25.1 billion yen, it ranks third in Japanese movie history, following Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie – Mugen Train (2020) and Spirited Away (2001). Your Name masterfully combines everyday scenery from Tokyo and the Hida region with elements of fantasy, and transcending time and space plays a key role in the story.
The story focuses on two 17-year-olds, Taki Tachibana, a high school student living in Tokyo, and Mitsuha Miyamizu, a young girl living in a remote rural town in Hida-Takayama. One day, their minds and bodies switch, and both of them spend a day in the life of someone they don’t know, thinking it was a strange dream. The body-swapping occurs intermittently and begins to happen more frequently. They enjoy each other’s new lives, but one day the swapping suddenly stops. At the same time, the Tiamat Comet, which approaches Earth every 1,200 years, is drawing near.
Director: Makoto Shinkai
Runtime: 107 min
7. Tokyo Revengers
Tokyo Revengers (東京リベンジャーズ) is a hit anime that combines elements of Yanki-themed stories with time-traveling science fiction. The original manga by Ken Wakui began serialization on Weekly Shonen Magazine in 2017 and concluded in 2022. The anime adaptation by Liden Films kicked off in 2021. Season 2, titled Christmas Showdown Arc, was broadcasted in 2023, with Season 3, the Tenjiku Arc, planned to follow.
Set in 2017, a 26-year-old part-timer Takemichi Hanagaki leads a bottom-of-the-barrel life when he learns that his middle school girlfriend, Hinata Tachibana, has been killed in a conflict involving the criminal gang Tokyo Manji Gang. The next day, Takemichi is pushed onto train tracks by an unknown assailant, and at the moment he braces for death, he time-leaps 12 years back to 2005. Determined to change the future and save Hinata, Takemichi returns to the past and makes contact with the Tokyo Manji Gang. Tokyo Revengers is highlighted by the warm friendships and cool fight scenes, featuring a cast of captivating characters, such as the leader Mikey and vice-leader Draken.
Aired: 2021 (Season 1)/2023 (Season 2)/TBA (Season 3)
Episodes: 24 (Season 1)/13 (Season 2)/TBA (Season 3)
Studio: Liden Films
Tokyo Revengers is undoubtedly one of the hit franchises in recent years. It uniquely fuses the science fiction genre of[…]
8. Higurashi When They Cry
Higurashi When They Cry (ひぐらしのなく頃に) is a horror mystery anime that features a story transcending time and space. There are both original and newer anime series in existence. The first series began in 2006, and along with OVA, it was produced up to Season 4, all by Studio Deen. A new anime project was started by a different studio, Passione, which produced two seasons (Higurashi: When They Cry – Gou and Higurashi: When They Cry – Sotsu). The original source material is a visual novel released between 2002 and 2006, developed by 07th Expansion, with direction and script by Ryukishi07.
Set in the isolated, fictional village of Hinamizawa, which has a population of less than 2,000 people, this series focuses on a collection of enigmatic deaths and disappearances connected to an ancient village tradition known as “Watanagashi.” The main character, Keiichi Maebara, is a junior high school student who recently relocated to Hinamizawa from Tokyo. Upon hearing whispers about a perplexing disappearance case referred to as “Onikakushi,” his curiosity is piqued, leading him to delve into the mystery. As he investigates, he starts to doubt his friends, who are adamant in denying the existence of any such events.
Aired: 2006 (When They Cry)/2007 (When They Cry: Kai)/2009 (When They Cry: Rei)/2011-2012 (Higurashi no Naku Koro ni: Kira)/2020-2021 (Higurashi: When They Cry – Gou)/2021 (Higurashi: When They Cry – Sotsu)
Episodes: 26 (When They Cry)/24 (When They Cry: Kai)/5 (When They Cry: Rei)/4 (Higurashi no Naku Koro ni: Kira)/24 (Higurashi: When They Cry – Gou)/15 (Higurashi: When They Cry – Sotsu)
Studio: Studio Deen (First Series)/Passione (Second Series)
Centered around a protagonist who possesses the power to travel back in time, Erased (僕だけがいない街) is a suspenseful mystery sci-fi anime. Produced by A-1 Pictures, the anime aired 12 episodes in 2016. The original manga, written by Kei Sanbe, was serialized on Young Ace from 2012 to 2016. The series’ popularity increased when it was adapted into a live-action movie in 2016. Not only has Erased gained popularity in Japan, but it has also captivated audiences worldwide.
Erased follows the story of Satoru Fujinuma, a 29-year-old struggling manga artist with a unique ability called “Revival.” This power allows him to go back in time to prevent life-threatening incidents from occurring. When a tragic event takes place in Satoru’s life, his ability sends him back 18 years to his childhood. Now a young boy again, Satoru sets out to save his childhood friend, Kayo Hinazuki, and other victims from a serial kidnapper and murderer. Along the way, Satoru uncovers the truth about the killer and the connection between the past and present events.
Studio: A-1 Pictures
10. Kabukimonogatari (Monogatari Series)
As the second episode of the famous Monogatari series’ second season, Kabukimonogatari (傾物語) is based on a light novel by Nisio Isin, published in 2010. The Monogatari series began its anime adaptation in 2009 and, by 2019, had aired three main seasons. In Kabukimonogatari, the focus is on the protagonist, Koyomi Araragi, and two main heroines, Shinobu Oshino and Mayoi Hachikuji. For fans of the Monogatari series, hearing the words “time travel” is sure to remind them of this unforgettable episode.
Despite studying for university entrance exams during his summer break as a third-year high school student at Naoetsu Private High School, Koyomi Araragi has not touched his homework at all. He mentions that he wants to go back in time to yesterday using a time machine to do his homework. Although he intended it as a joke, Shinobu Oshino, the king of the apparitions sealed in Araragi’s shadow, agrees with his statement and heads to the North Shirohebi Shrine to prepare for time travel. There, an irreversible situation awaits them.
So Which is the Best Time Travel Anime in the End?
Time travel is a central theme in series such as Summer Time Rendering, Steins;Gate, Re:Zero – Starting Life in Another World, Erased, as well as in movies like The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and Your Name. All of the anime mentioned in this Best Time Travel Anime list are high-quality works that can be highly recommended to watch. Among them, Re:Zero – Starting Life in Another World is a must-see time travel piece for all anime fans. The protagonist repeatedly goes back in time with pain and struggles in every direction for his purpose. The unpredictable developments and attractive characters will instantly captivate you. Personally, I find it so enjoyable that I’ve watched it multiple times.
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