Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood Roy Mustang

Action anime come in various shapes and sizes. Here, we guide you through what it means to be a true action hero

What is an Action Anime?

Action anime is a genre of anime usually focused around tense fight scenes, huge explosions, and, everything in between. Whether it be fist-fights, swordfights, or magical fights, action anime comes in all different sub-genres and you’re sure to find one to match your tastes!

What is the Best Action Anime?

The best action anime is Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. It has the highest score on MAL and is widely considered to be one of, if not the greatest anime of all time. Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood blends a perfect cocktail of interesting characters, great action scenes, and touching moments. 

While Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood is the best action anime of all time, there is a plethora of other action anime that both newcomers and veterans alike can enjoy. Let’s take a look!


1. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

MAL: 9.18

Widely regarded as THE greatest anime of all time, Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood blends a unique mixture of breathtaking action, excellent character development, and a plethora of short jokes!

Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood tows the lines between a deeply saddening melodrama, a witty and comical sitcom, and an action-heavy blockbuster so effortlessly, it can be very easy to forget what anime you are watching. None of these elements overshadow the other and this perfect cocktail is what makes Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood so popular. Essentially, this is a story about fighting for your family. The brothers desire so desperately to revive their mother, that they are willing to commit grievous sins in order to do so (of which they pay heavily). From then onwards, the story is about returning to their original bodies – Ed wanting nothing more than to atone for his sins and free his brother from his chainmail.

Surely, what resonated so much with fans was the reliability in family love. Nothing is more powerful than this bond and those with siblings will attest as such.

2. Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan)

MAL: 8.50

Rejoice people for we finally made it to the finish line. After several years of gathering around the campfire once a week to indulge in the Game of Thrones of anime, the saga will soon draw to a close. But what a ride it has been. Attack on Titan released to critical acclaim and has only skyrocketed in popularity since its initial debut.  There is just something so magical about this anime. It could be the eclectic opening theme songs that pump anyone up to go and murder some titans. Could be the chilling mix of suspense and action that keeps views incredibly engaged. The expansive lore behind the titans and the many plot twists that crop up surrounding this mystery, perhaps. Or, it could be all of these things combined that make Attack on Titan an absolute masterpiece. 

Now, more than ever, we are experiencing life-threatening turmoil. While our enemy is not in the form of a physical monster, the result is still the same. We must band together, united in order to fend off the attack and save as many lives as possible. Whether this is wearing a mask or working from home, everyone must do their part similarly to how Eren and Mikasa work together to combat their foes. While we, unfortunately, do not get to swing around as much as Eren does during this quarantining period, hopefully, by coming together as one, we can emerge safely through the other side. 

3. Boku no Hero Academia (My Hero Academia)

MAL: 8.06

As an anime fan, it’s likely that you may have experienced some form of strife in your life, whether this is bullies, social outcasting, or any number of things. If you are a hulking adonis who just happens to like Naruto then forgive this presumption, but being an outsider is not uncommon for an otaku. Do you know who else was an outsider? That’s right, everyone’s favorite green boy Deku. 

Deku was diagnosed to be quirk-less and this took a heavy toll on his mental health. Perhaps you go through life being jealous of those who won the genetics lottery. Those with rippling biceps, excellent social skills, and a very large and throbbing ego. It’s easy to give up, throw in the towel and hide away under your dakimakura until judgment day.  However, for people like Deku, this is not an option. Even before attaining superpowers, he marched valiantly into a world that had ultimately shunned him. Although the world saw him as a nobody, he never gave up on himself and aspired to be the hero he had always dreamt of becoming. My Hero Academia has a great message about never giving up. Surely, to someone in your life, you are a hero.


4. Fairy Tail

MAL: 7.64

Fairy Tail is nice. That’s about all I have to say about that Joking aside, there is just something so relaxing about watching Fairy Tail and that is not an easy thing to accomplish in an action anime centered around fighting. With much less blood used than other action anime, you never really feel as though the characters are in any real danger. “Oh no, he’s getting hurt pretty bad. At least he won’t die though, this is Fairy Tail, after all”. Combine these much more whimsical fights with a great sense of humor and Fairy Tail should keep you occupied for months to come. 

While the action does become more serious the later into the series you dive, nothing will top those initial action scenes that had viewers once again discovering the majesty that is the fantasy genre. We all dreamt of escaping into a world of magic and wonder, whether it was your first fantasy novel your mother read to you at night or your first viewing of Harry Potter. Fairy Tail whisks you away to the land you had always dreamed of visiting and ensures you will have a comfortable and relaxed stay, whilst laughing all the while!

5. One Piece

MAL: 8.53

One Piece is an anime that perfectly encapsulates the wild and bombastic action that goes hand in hand with the shounen action anime genre. With so many unique powers and a near 1000 episodes with which to showcase them, it truly is a testament to the One Piece staff that they have managed to create such engaging and interestingly unique stories for such a long period of time.  One Piece is a story about adventure, conquering the world that we have been placed in. Not content with the small island he was born on, Luffy sets out to discover the many mysteries of the world.

This bears such a striking resemblance to our own ideas of life. So many people find their hometowns drab and boring; more than likely because you have been there your whole life. While some people are incredibly patriotic towards their home turf, a large majority want to expand their horizons and venture off into the deep unknown. For those people, One Piece should satiate your itch for adventure at least until the pandemic dies down!

6. Naruto

MAL: 7.92

Naruto is perhaps the entry-level action anime that got so many young teens into the artform. Another member of the big three, it seems only fitting to discuss what Naruto does, that Bleach and One Piece don’t. Out of the big three, Naruto has probably the best character development.

One Piece is a phenomenal action anime and even now, with the recent Doflamingo and Wano arcs, One Piece proves time and again its ability to make me care even about a man in a diaper. The main crew, however, that’s a different story. What was that? What about Bleach? You’re joking, right? Naruto’s cast all undergo interesting developments whether it be Sasuke’s returning to the light, Shikamaru and Naruto’s loss of their teacher, or Sakura learning…to…punch harder? Ok, so it’s not great, but it’s passable.

Naruto is a great narrative about how a shunned outsider comes to be respected by his fellow man. Naruto did nothing wrong and it would have been easy for him to turn to the dark side similar to Sasuke. Yet, his heart is pure and he wants nothing more than the recognition of his peers. Whatever the world may throw at you, be sure to face it with a smile and you’ll come out the other side better for it.

7. Hunter X Hunter 2011

MAL: 9.08

Hunter X Hunter is a great example of how action can directly correlate to a character’s evolution. Let’s take the fight vs. Hisoka for example. Gon is forced to resort to “underhanded” tactics when attempting to take his tag during the Hunter Exam. Not wanting to fight him head-on, he uses his fishing pole to wrangle in the objective. However, as time goes on, Gon grows and grows not only physically but mentally as well. He comes to realize that Hisoka is not someone to be feared, but someone whom he can actively challenge. This all comes to head during their first real fight where, after Gon lands his first blow, he solemnly returns the tag he stole to Hisoka, having earned his respect enough to accept it.

Action doesn’t always have to be a giant gap in your script. The ending of Star Wars III, while very impressive to look at, does nothing for the character development of either Obi-Wan or Anakin. In the script, it more than likely just read, “they fight”. While this is fine for some action scenes, the truly powerful moments always have some level of weight behind them. We all enjoy coming-of-age stories as they reflect our personal experiences. We grow and learn things over time, toppling hindrances that would have left us at an impasse only months or years prior. Hunter X Hunter teaches us to never stop growing and striving to attain a better future for both ourselves and those we care about.

8. Dragon Ball

MAL: 7.98

The granddaddy of all action anime, here comes DBZ. What can be said about this anime that hasn’t been said already? This anime acted as a source of inspiration for so many anime that came after and it is only right that, regardless of whether it has aged poorly or not, we pay respect to it. Yes, the action scenes do drag on for countless episodes as two rivals compete in a screaming match. Yes, the powers and abilities reach cataclysmic levels of absurdity as they always try to top the previous. Yet, there is something just so nostalgic about this action anime that it almost slides under the radar. 

Surely, you have a childhood TV show, game, or book slated by critics and friends alike. A source of media that, were you to pick it up for the first time during your adult life, you would perhaps brush it off with little to no regard. Yet, due to it being linked so heavily with your childhood, all the flaws and problems with it seem to just vanish. So go out there and enjoy that terrible terrible anime you so desperately cling to! And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise that you shouldn’t be allowed to enjoy it. 

9. Samurai Champloo

MAL: 8.50

This one goes out to all the music lovers. While Samurai Champloo has a great number of action scenes, where it truly shines is its illustrious music score. What would an action scene be without the perfect BGM to accompany it, right?

Rest assured, Samurai Champloo has the perfect mix of smooth and eclectic music to ensure each particular scene is catered to.  Should you be in the market for an action anime that does not skimp out on unique music choices, Samurai Champloo delivers in spades. Not only this, but Samurai Champloo features some of the most smooth and fluid swordfights yet to be choreographed in anime. Fans of slick animation will not be disappointed with this one. 

10. Soul Eater

MAL: 7.87

Similar to how Samurai Champloo focuses its attention on its music, Soul Eater does the same with its aesthetic and animation. Soul Eater has an incredibly unique art style and this blends so effortlessly with the dark yet jovial tone of the series. 

One of the selling points of action anime is not necessarily the stakes of the fight or the motivations behind a great villain – it’s the spectacle. Soul Eater delivers jaw-dropping action accompanied by a great score to really draw you into every minute moment. Not only this but the main cast of Soul, Maka, Black Star, Tsubaki, and Death the Kid were tailor-made for combo-fight scenes and hilarious downtime scenes. A great bunch of characters with unique personalities that allow them to stand out from the crowd make for much more hard-hitting sight scenes. 

11. Rurouni Kenshin

MAL: 8.31

Action anime has evolved so much over the years. With each new release being forced to evolve their storylines, powers, and characters to stay relevant, it can sometimes be required to have a pen and paper handy just to remember everyone’s unique abilities!

Rurouni Kenshin is a much more understated action anime centered around samurai.  This anime is for the sword lovers out there, not entranced by fire magic or rocket boots. After Himura Kenshin returns from a blood-stained war, he attempts to atone for his many murders by traveling the countryside in hopes of offering protection to those who need it. The action anime fan who just wants to see two evenly matched combatants fight it out in a game of skill should definitely give Rurouni Kenshin a watch.

12. Deadman Wonderland

MAL: 7.21

Deadman Wonderland is an anime seldom discussed when surrounded by other anime featured on this list. Yet, it is one of the most interesting and powerful action anime of its day. Forced to compete using blood powers to entertain a gaggle of wealthy onlookers, prisoners fight to the death in caged arenas for the prize of another day of life. 

Deadman Wonderland Fight
Deadman Wonderland Fight
Deadman Wonderland Fight
Deadman Wonderland Fight
Deadman Wonderland Fight
Deadman Wonderland Fight
previous arrow
next arrow

Deadman Wonderland is a great anime about power and abuse of that power. We have seen so much in recent years the inability of restraint when it comes to those in positions of power and, while the treatment of prisoners is a topic for debate, those who are innocent deserve no such hatred. 

13. Bleach

MAL: 7.80

The final of the big three, Bleach will always be a rollercoaster of an action anime. With every other arc being filler, never before has an audience had such a dying thirst for blonde-haired sword wielders to get off the beach and get back to fighting Ulquiorra goddamit!!

While Saitama is overpowered in an entirely different stratosphere, Ichigo is just your everyday powerhouse. By the end of the series he is; a human, a Shinigami, part Hollow, a Visored, part Arrancar, a Fullbring, AND part Quincy.  There’s such a thing as writing oneself into a corner but this doesn’t even compare. Regardless, sometimes it’s nice to explore such fantasies like this. Yeah, whatever, so he’s overpowered beyond all belief, just hurry up and kick Grimmjow’s ass already, he’s been talking smack for like seventy episodes by now!

Sometimes, the best companion to dire straits is the knowledge that everything will be OK in the end. Everything is much less stressful that way, as I can relax during each fight scene and Bleach, has gotten this down to a science. 

14. Guilty Crown

MAL: 7.49

Ever wanted to watch Death Note but with mechs? Well, here you go! What do you mean Code Geass exists..? Guilty Crown, albeit incredibly similar to Code Geass both in design and character usage, is a very enjoyable ride from start to finish. When you have been blessed with a power that can save people’s lives, how should you go about managing that responsibility? Where do you draw the line as to whether the death of one person is worth the lives of thousands in the grand scheme of things?

Despite such philosophical ponderings, Guilty Crown is much less of a head-scratcher than Code Geass. What Guilty Crown favors instead, is astounding action sequences and some of the most beautiful animation ever put to screen. Guilty Crown is not one to deny you your satisfying conclusion in the hopes of becoming more artistic in the process. No, it wants to dive headfirst into exactly what you expect will happen, and deliver it in a way that leaves you starstruck. For that reason alone, it deserves to be watched. 

15. Fate

Unlimited Blade Works – MAL: 8.21

If you are in the market for an action anime that has the budget to back it up, look no further. Fate has built its franchise on luring unsuspecting otaku into blowing their life savings for a chance to unlock a PNG on their phone. It’s honestly quite mind-boggling just how effective this market strategy has been, with FGO being the highest-grossing mobile game of all time. All that means then is that when it comes time to splash that cash on an anime adaptation, you will be left reeling at the animation quality of this series. 

While perhaps not with the early iterations of the series but as you progress (stumble?) down the perplexing timeline, the animation will leave you utterly flawed. Moreover, this anime is one for the History buffs, as nearly every character is loosely based on some famous person or a folk tale of years gone by. If you have ever wanted to evoke some very erotically confusing feelings about sleeping with King Arthur, be sure to give Fate a watch!

16. Black Lagoon

MAL: 8.04

Black Lagoon is an action anime for the realists out there. Not wanting to see a bunch of magical girls fly around on broomsticks shooting fireballs at each other, Black Lagoon should be watched by those wanting to fire a pistol at some gangsters while smoking a cigarette. Vegas baby. Black Lagoon is one of the most gritty anime of recent years. Done away with the bombastic and exaggerated battles of pirates and wizards, Black Lagoon favors brutally honest fistfights and villains who go down after one precise bullet.

What’s that? It is about pirates? 

Yes, this show is in fact about a group of mercenaries traveling around East Asia, but this time, we’re not talking about people made of rubber, we’re talking about the real-life pirating that happens in our own reality. Set in Thailand as well as several neighboring areas, we are taken on a tour of the underbelly of illegal trading. While we hole away in our comfortable homes watching anime while sipping hot cocoa, it can be sometimes intriguing to see how the other half lives. How do these people who brush with danger every day hold it together? The answer is, they don’t and we see this as Revy and Rock struggle to keep themselves composed. Those who want to see how a life of crime can lead to a life of heartache should check out Black Lagoon.

17. One Punch Man

MAL: 8.55

In a world of ever-expanding action anime, how can you set yourself apart from the herd? You can do what most action anime opt to do – this being introducing entirely unique powers and concepts. By introducing ludicrously complicated abilities, fights become more a game of chess than of brawn. One-Punch Man, however, decided to take a different approach. Those who love satire will fall in love with One-Punch Man, as it holds a mirror up to the action anime genre of today. As villains monologue and monologue, Saitama decides in fact that he does not want to listen to this person’s life story, and would rather end their life as soon as possible.

This is such a unique concept and is executed flawlessly. You would think ending the life of every villain in one punch would grow stale over time. Yet, the writers continue to think of new and interesting developments to keep the story engaging. One-Punch man has a great message about skill and talent. No matter what it is you do, there will always be someone better than you and that’s ok! If you can accept your own abilities and be proud of them, then that should be enough. Or you could challenge the top dog and wind up like Genos here.

18. Vinland Saga

MAL: 8.71

Vinland Saga is a much more recent anime detailing the lives of Vikings as they sail across the seas. While a lot of the story is fictional, several elements are in fact based on the Vikings of our world and this is used to fuel a revenge narrative. 

Vinland Saga poses interesting points about the dangers of revenge and how it can blind you beyond reason. After Thorfinn’s father is murdered he joins the killer’s crew to one day take his life. Over the series, we see great development as Thorfinn is transformed from a bright-eyed boy scout into a ruthless killing machine with zero emotions. Every scene that features Thorfinn letting loose is some of the greatest action in anime history. Sometimes, it’s better to just let your grudge go.

19. Code Geass

MAL: 8.71

Have you ever been disappointed in just how few robots appeared in Death Note? Well then look no further than Code Geass, the answer to the question: “What would happen if Light Yagami was just as crazy but you put him in a mech suit?” Code Geass is a great anime for those interested in checking out a show that offers a perfect mix of action combat scenes as well as an interesting and clever narrative. 

Lelouch is almost Joker-like in his treatment of C.C and Karen. Many people see the Joker and Harley Quinn as #RelationshiopGoals, but in reality, the Joker is an incredibly manipulative person. Similar to Lelouch, after using his one irrefutable command, he still has incredible manipulative powers, convincing the Elevens to do his bidding in hopes of a brighter tomorrow. It’s very important to know when your partner is taking advantage of you or manipulating you. Staying in an abusive relationship is never OK and there are countless outreaches to help those in need. There is always a better solution and the one thing you should never do is grin and bear it. 

20. Sword Art Online

MAL: 7.23

Depending on what you have to say about SAO, will result in whether you are praised across message boards for years to come, or you are berated into a painful submission after your account has been permanently banned from Reddit. People either love this action anime or loathe everything about it. However, seeing as the new adaptation SAO Progressive will soon hit our screens, now seems as good a time as any to talk about what makes SAO worth watching.

Regardless of how overpowered Kirito is, regardless of how one-dimensional Kirito and Asuna’s relationship looks juxtaposed next to Kirito’s harem, and regardless of the dreaded Alfheim Online season, SAO does one thing right – sword fights. While anime like Rurouni Kenshin encapsulate the skill needed to wield a real-life katana, SAO allows you to live out every fantasy you have ever had about being transported into the gaming world. With VR more prevalent than ever, surely, we are but a few decades away from being trapped against our will in a life or death video game. I can’t wait!!

SAO is also a story of reliance. When stuck in such a situation, relying on people you care about is never unjustified. Friends, family, and partners are always there to help you. Surely, neither Kirito nor Asuna would have survived without the other. 

21. Kimetsu no Yaiba (Demon Slayer)

MAL: 8.60

Kimetsu no Yaiba has ascended into the heavens of popularity since its initial release. While other anime have seen glimpses of Olympus from their telescopes, no anime in recent memory has come close to reaching such highs as Kimetsu no Yaiba. With the movie alone surpassing Spirited Away at the box office, and for a select month beating out One Piece in sales, needless to say, you should probably watch it if you haven’t yet.

Kimetsu no Yaiba does not break any boundaries with regards to storytelling. Honestly, it’s a fairly by-the-books action anime under the shounen genre tag. But the execution of these tropes is what makes Kimetsu a masterpiece. Kimetsu learns from its predecessors, removing many unwanted characteristics that plague other action anime. It’s not afraid to flashback to develop a scene but ensures that each flashback does not overstay its welcome. Each scene is animated beautifully.

Sometimes, you don’t want to have to enter a University in order to understand an anime’s plot. You just want to watch a show about a boy who loves his sister more than anything. Surely, those with siblings can understand Tanjiro’s plight. And if you’re willing to go through what he does in order to save your own sister, then much respect to you. The brother-sister dynamic works so well as neither one is dead weight. They both work together based on nothing more than love.

22. Jujutsu Kaisen

MAL: 8.79

Jujutsu Kaisen had a rough gig. Coming out with such a similar concept to Kimetsu no Yaiba and being forced to prove yourself against such a titan of the industry, is not an easy thing to do. Regardless of whether or not you believe Jujutsu is better than Kimetsu, you cannot fault Jujutsu for being an astounding piece of action anime. Fans of Kimetsu no Yaiba but perhaps wanting something a little more adult and less cute will find themselves enthralled by Jujutsu’s much darker narrative.

While Itadori Yuuji is your typical action anime knucklehead protagonist, there is something very inspiring about his unmotivated desire to protect people, especially his friends. Unlike Tanjiro with clear motives behind his training, Yuuji charges headfirst into battle during the first episode to save nothing more than a pair of acquaintances. While he is forced to become a sorcerer to save his life later down the road, I think we could all stand to learn a lesson from Yuuji’s outstanding sense of morality. 

23. Gintama

MAL: 8.96

When action becomes too overbearing, it’s easy to burn out on shows that offer little else aside from fiery explosions. Gintama is perhaps one of the funniest action anime out there with a hilarious trio of main characters.

Acting as mercenaries for anyone willing to pay them, Gintoki and his crew saunter through life trying their best to make ends meet.  Action anime can always be enjoyed when hyped up on Mountain Dew and Doritos but the crash will be just as hard when the show tries to delve into more serious topics. Gintama strikes a chord with a nonchalant approach to its action that will never outshine the comedy or overall narrative. Fairly episodic in nature, feel free to pick up almost any episode and you will be able to enjoy a grand ol’ time. 

24. Mirai Nikki (Future Diary)

MAL: 7.52

Mirai Nikki popularized the yandere trope with fan-favorite character, Yuno. A few sandwiches short of a picnic, Yuno is responsible for some of the most painfully cute action scenes we’ve seen to date. While her high-pitched voice and cute pink hair may lead some to attest to her innocence, Yuno is far from a novice with a knife in her hand. 

It’s nice to see a female character taking the lead for once in an action anime. While female characters are present in One Piece, Naruto, and Bleach, for example, they always play second fiddle to the series protagonist. Yuno, while not being the true main character, is not at all overshadowed by Yukiteru. Yukiteru…is kind of an unlikeable wuss, to be honest. He grows over the series but Yuno is where it’s at. Those who want to see a badass psychopathic schoolgirl waste some professional assassins should give Mirai Nikki a watch!

25. Bakemonogatari

MAL: 8.35

Monogatari is a very strange yet incredibly unique anime. While there is certainly action present, this anime is more akin to a Tarantino film above anything else. 2 hours of long and sprawling dialogue scenes, clever and intricate wordplay jokes, climaxing with five minutes of absolute chaos at the end, is what you’re in for with this masterpiece. 

Action anime are oftentimes referenced as anime to watch when you want to turn your brain off. Watch the fighty-fight men punch each other for a few hours then get back to work. Those with absolute monolithic-sized brains should keep an eye out for Monogatari. After all, you need a very high IQ to understand its very… detail-oriented humor… Some of the jokes may just go over your head.

26. Tokyo Ghoul

MAL: 7.80

Ken embodies the medium ground of the human condition. While a lackadaisical life with no confidence will lead to you being taken advantage of, a life of uncapped depravity will result in a similar outcome. Inheriting traits from his mother who continuously supplied his deadbeat sister with money, Ken also finds it difficult to put his foot down one way or the other. Alternatively, he meets with Rize, a ghoul with an insatiable hunger who tries to kill Ken. Both Rize and Ken’s mother died due to their ideals of the world. 

Similar to real life, finding the perfect balance of work and social life can be taxing. Missing your date to make that work deadline or indulging in more drink despite it making you late for work the following morning. Learning to find the right balance between these things is what adulthood is all about and once you master it, you will surely live a satisfying life without being eaten by a monster. Tokyo Ghoul’s action mimics these ideals with every fight being a constant balance of Ken’s human and ghoulish emotions pulling him from either side. Action anime can never evoke resonating feelings without a true understanding of the pain the protagonist is going through. When Kaneki fights, however, you will be sure to feel every last second of it. 

27. Seven Deadly Sins (Nanatsu no Taizai)

MAL: 7.97

It would be pretty boring to watch an action anime featuring only one or two characters. Luckily, 7DS has some of the greatest and more developed companions you could hope to see throw down. 

The Seven Deadly Sins were an order of knights who disbanded many years ago due to supposed mutiny. Princess Elizabeth, after years of hiding, comes back and joins forces with Seven Deadly Sins leader Meliodas, to recruit the former sins, clear their names, and reclaim their land from the tyrannical Holy Knights.

Developing its secondary and tertiary characters a lot more than other Shounen action anime, it’s nice to see several motives behind the action. Each of the sins has great lore behind them and their own personal vendettas against the series villain Fraudrin. As they fight, we learn new information about each character – especially Meliodas who is revealed to be the demon King’s cursed son.

Spending time with people you care about be it friends or family, makes things that much more interesting. Anime should be no different and action anime is always more enjoyable with a great ensemble cast you can come to love. 

28. Cowboy Bebop

MAL: 8.77

While anime like Black Lagoon dive headfirst into realism, and anime like the big three delve much more into fantasy elements, Cowboy Bebop does a great job of combining the two tropes to create a truly timeless story that will go down in history as an icon of the anime industry. 

Following the lives of a group of bounty hunters, we learn about their past turmoil and their future desires. All of this however is over the backdrop of a gritty space-western, as we see our cast journeying across the galaxy in hopes of finding the next gig. 

There is a reason people have been watching and re-watching this show for more than twenty years at this point and it is the clever writing and unadulterated action that keeps us hooked!

29. Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu (Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World-)

MAL: 8.28

Re:Zero is a very special anime. In a world where action anime choose to do away with romance, Re:Zero scoffs in the face of such ideas. The relationship between Emilia and Subaru is not only indulged by progressed thoroughly throughout both seasons. If you thought love had no place on the battlefield of action anime, think again.

Re:Zero plays a great game with its characters. Rem’s actions, though seemingly disingenuous with her character, are done so out of love. She ultimately gives her life in several timelines in order to save the man she loves. With the second season recently concluding, we’ve also seen Roswaal’s destructive tendencies due to his love for Echidna, Ram’s destructive tendencies due to her love for Roswaal, and my destructive tendencies when Subaru kissed Emilia instead of Rem!!

In such a unique anime that is Re:Zero, an anime filled with chaos where we never know who may be lurking around the corner to end Subaru’s life, having such an illogical emotion as love play a key role in the plot is nothing short of genius. As if we weren’t on the edge of our seats enough already, now we have to speculate who may be in love with who and how this will influence their decision-making!! Surely, we’ve all done some crazy things out of love. If you want to feel better about some of the mistakes or cringe-worthy regrets you’ve made in the past, check out Re:Zero and be thankful your actions never ended anyone’s life.


30. Ao no Exorcist (Blue Exorcist)

MAL: 7.57

After being born with the literal embodiment of Satan living inside him, Okumura Rin struggles to find his place in the world. Similar to Naruto’s situation, he is shunned and looked down on because of what is expected of him. However, Rin proves time and again that you should never listen to the haters.

Despite being the main target of the exorcists, he decides to become one himself and prove to the world that he is a source of good. Regardless of what anyone expects of you in this world: whether your parents have a desired path for you to follow or disapprove of your dating choices, they are not in charge of your own life. You control your own destiny and nobody proves this more than the Blue Exorcist himself!

31. Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure

MAL: 8.02

One of the joys of watching anime is talking about it afterward with your friends. Sometimes, however, it can be difficult to find that anime you are both interested in. Perhaps you like romance but your friend is more into slice-of-life. Well, regardless of any preferences you may have, nearly everyone can attest to having watched and enjoyed Jojo. If you like meming it up in the real world, Jojo has got you covered. 

Jojo has risen to infamy over the years as motherf***ing Jojo references began popping up all over the internet. Sometimes, embracing your inner memelord is just par for the otaku degenerate course. Why not indulge in some fun by watching Jojo and making new friends over the internet with similar interests!

32. Mob Psycho 100

MAL: 8.48

Mob Psycho is the hilariously well-written, incredibly well animated, and very unique action anime that sees Shigeo Kageyama attempting to maintain control over his psychic powers. Together with a group of con artists attempting to use his powers to make pocket change, the two set off on an adventure to exorcise spirits. 

Mob Psycho is a great example of the dangers of allowing one’s emotions to run riot. While powerful emotions such as anger or sadness can sometimes be hard to control, when we let these feelings run rampant, we run the risk of it negatively impacting those around us. The action in Mob is a great allegory for how much your negative emotions could hurt someone. 

33. Koutetsujou no Kabaneri (Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress)

MAL: 7.26

If you have ever sat through Attack on Titan and wished for more zombies, then your prayers have been answered! Kabaneri, for lack of a better description, is Attack on Titan but with zombies. While you may think this is a lazy rehashing of the Attack on Titan formula, it is actually so much more involved.

While Attack on Titan includes so much depth with regards to its plot and themes, Kabaneri may seem lackluster at first glance. However, just because Attack on Titan is arguably better than Kabaneri, does not mean you cannot enjoy this show just as much. Surely, with this logic, after watching Citizen Kane you would have no need to watch another movie ever again, as you would have already viewed the greatest movie ever made. Kabaneri is a fun ride with a lot more style and spectacle than Attack on Titan’s more subdued and suspenseful approach. Much more explosions, many more guns, lots more pew pew pew. Kabaneri is just a fun time for all those who watch.

34. Akame ga Kill!

MAL: 7.50

Have you ever watched an anime and thought – “there’s no way he’s going to survive that attack.” Then in the net scene, after some ointment, bandages, and a kiss on the forehead from their childhood friend, the main character is raring to go once again. While its clear why main characters do not die so easily, writers with the balls to kill off main characters always earn the respect of their viewers for having confidence in their ability to write new characters who will be just as engaging. Game of Thrones shook the world when it first aired due to its willingness to kill its main cast. Should you be in the market for a little more realism in your anime, let’s look at Akame ga Kill.

Akame ga Kill follows the lives of a group of assassins. Needless to say, working in such a dangerous line of work, casualties will most definitely ensue. What’s great about Akame ga Kill is that these casualties apply on both sides and you can never grow too attached to a character, lest they be decapitated in the following scene. With great fight scenes, a great ensemble cast, and a great sense of tension, Akame ga Kill is an anime that has earned its spot on this list. P.S: Be sure to check out the manga as well for a great diverging plot!

Conclusion – Action Anime Have More to Offer than Simple Fights

Action anime pride themselves on stellar fight choreography. Whether it be through the use of mystical powers or fluid swordfights, action anime have cemented their role as a leading contender in the anime genre war. However, most action anime also include very elegant scenes that tug on heartstrings or provide us with a hearty laugh. Truly, these action anime have more to offer than meets the eye.