Anime has become a global phenomenon, with millions of fans worldwide. And while Japan may be the birthplace of this beloved art form, American studios have also produced some truly incredible anime series over the years.
From action-packed adventures to heartwarming romances, these American animes have captured the hearts of viewers of all ages. But with so many great shows, deciding which ones to watch can be overwhelming.
That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the 30 must-see American animes, ranked from best to best. Whether you’re a die-hard anime fan or just getting started, this list is sure to have something that will capture your imagination and keep you hooked until the very end.
So get ready to discover some amazing new shows and join us on a journey through the best of American anime.
This list will rank our top 30 American anime series of all time with their short description. This list is based on popularity, critical acclaim, and legacy.
Some of these shows may be new to you, while others may have been around for decades. But no matter your experience with anime, there’s a good chance one or more of these shows will make your list too!
1. Castlevania (2017)
The dark fantasy animated adult series Castlevania is an excellent book to start the list. The character of Count Vlad Dracula Tepes takes revenge on the people of Wallachia because they’ve accused his wife of practicing witchcraft.
His evil intentions in dealing with developing country folk only worsen as he recruits demons from other realities. Trevor Belmont, a Monster Hunter, starts providing help for people after his wife does the same and joins him on his adventure. Sypha and Alucard also assist him as the story progresses.
2. Arcane (2021)
Writers Christian Linke and Alex Yee focused on the importance of protagonists during League of Legends, which is a well-crafted Christian program.
Netflix directed the show’s distribution so that one could gain access to the streaming service. It deals with an unbalanced rest that goes between a wealthy utopia called Piltover.
This city is oppressed very badly by a character called Zaun. To fight back, sisters Vi and Jinx found themselves in opposite positions between conflicts. The drama often involved conventions and arcane technology. It focuses on action unfolds with science-fantasy tropes, steampunk aesthetics, and comic relief.
3. Avatar: The Last Airbender (2005)
Avatar: The Last Airbender is an anime series created by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, based on the manga series of the same name by A. K. Ward. The show premiered in Japan on July 24, 2005, and aired until March 20, 2006, on Nickelodeon in the United States.
It ran for 98 episodes over three seasons and has been released on DVD in several countries, including the United States. Avatar: The Last Airbender became an international phenomenon, spawning a video game and merchandise empire.
The story follows Aang (Zac Efron), a young Airbender whose people fled their homeland after a war destroyed their city. Aang learns he is the last Airbender and must master all four elements of air, Earth, fire, and water to save his people from a new threat.
Along the way, he meets friends and enemies who help or hinder him as he trains to become an Airbender master.
4. The Dragon Prince (2018)
The Dragon Prince is one of the most critically acclaimed anime shows ever, and it’s easy to see why. The story follows a young prince who must embark on a journey to find his true identity and save his Kingdom from an evil king.
The characters are well-written, and the plot is compelling, making this show a top pick for anyone looking for an excellent anime. If you’re looking for an anime that will keep you entertained from start to finish, then The Dragon Prince is definitely worth checking out.
Its unique storyline, amazing character development, and exciting action sequences will leave you wanting more. So if American anime is your thing, add The Dragon Prince to your favorites list!
5. Kipo And The Age Of Wonderbeasts (2020)
Kipo And The Age Of Wonderbeasts is one of the most anticipated anime titles of 2020. Kipo is a young girl who can talk to animals and soon learns that they are all disappearing.
She teams up with a group of animals to discover what’s happening and save their world. Kipo is an exciting and original story that will appeal to anime fans of all ages. The animation is phenomenal, and the characters are well-rounded and engaging. This title will surely be a hit in 2020 and should be on everyone’s radar!
6. Invincible (2021)
Invincible is an American anime series premiered on Amazon Prime Video in 2021. The show is based on the comic book series of the same name by Robert Kirkman, who also serves as an executive producer on the show.
The Series follows the story of Mark Grayson, a teenager who discovers he has superhuman powers like his father, the most powerful Superhero on the planet.
The Series boasts an impressive voice cast that includes Steven Yeun, Sandra Oh, J.K. Simmons, and Mark Hamill. The animation style is reminiscent of classic superhero comics, with bright colors and bold outlines.
However, the show is not just a standard superhero story – it’s a gritty and violent take on the genre that explores themes of power, corruption, and morality.
Both fans and critics have praised Invincible for its engaging storyline, well-developed characters, and stunning action sequences.
The Series has already been renewed for two more seasons, ensuring that fans will see more of Mark’s journey as he learns to navigate the complicated world of being a superhero while also dealing with the challenges of being a teenager.
7. Samurai Jack (2001)
“Samurai Jack” is an American anime series premiered in 2001 and ran for 5 seasons. The show follows the journey of a samurai named Jack, who is thrown into the future by an evil sorcerer and must find a way back to his own time to defeat his enemy.
One of the most striking things about “Samurai Jack” is its unique art style, which combines traditional Japanese and modern Western animation techniques.
The result is a visually stunning world that is both beautiful and haunting. The show’s action sequences are also a highlight, featuring well-choreographed thrilling, and cinematic fights.
But “Samurai Jack” is more than just a beautiful anime. It’s a story about resilience, determination, and the power of the human spirit.
Jack faces countless challenges and setbacks on his journey but never gives up. His unwavering sense of honor and duty inspires those around him, and his quest to return home and save his people is both epic and deeply emotional.
8. The Legend Of Korra (2012)
The Legend of Korra is an anime series created by Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino, who also created the popular Avatar: The Last Airbender series. Both shows are set in a world where people can manipulate energy to create or control fire, water, Earth, and air.
Korra follows the story of a young girl named Korra who becomes the new Avatar after the previous Avatar dies. Together, she and her friends must stop evil forces from taking over the world.
The Legend of Korra is one of the most popular anime series ever. It won numerous awards, including an Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program in 2013. Critics have praised the show for its artistry and storyline. Fans have called it an emotional experience that is well worth watching.
9. Teen Titans (2003)
The Teen Titans are a group of young superheroes who, although unrelated, band together to fight crime and protect the people of Jump City.
The team comprises teenage versions of popular DC Comics characters such as Robin, Wonder Girl, Aqualad, Kid Flash, and Red Tornado. The Teen Titans first appeared in the animated Series Teen Titans (2003), which ran for three seasons on Cartoon Network.
Although the show was canceled after only three seasons, the popularity of its characters led to a spin-off movie entitled Teen Titans: Trouble In Tokyo (2006).
Since then, there have been several other tie-in projects, including an animated series produced by Sony Pictures Television and an upcoming live-action film directed by David Ayer starring Brenton Thwaites as Beast Boy and excluding Raven due to her character’s involvement in the original comic book storyline.
The Teen Titans have also been featured in video games such as Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes (2014) and LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 (2015). Despite the character’s age and relative lack of experience, the Teen Titans can typically handle whatever comes their way, thanks to their close friendship and teamwork.
Their adventures often take them to strange and dangerous places, but they always manage to come out on top with help from their powerful friends.
10. The Powerpuff Girls (1998)
For over 20 years, The Powerpuff Girls has entertained children of all ages with its kooky characters, outrageous humor, and catchy songs. Created by animator Craig McCracken, the show follows the adventures of Blossom, Bubbles, Buttercup, and Blossom’s little sister, Buttercup, as they fight against evil villains led by Mojo Jojo.
The Powerpuff Girls was one of the first American anime series to achieve mainstream success. It quickly became a staple in children’s programming.
The show is also notable for its innovative animation and visual effects, which helped to pave the way for later CGI-based anime productions.
Despite its age (the Series first aired in 1998), The Powerpuff Girls remains highly popular and acclaimed by fans and critics alike. IMDb users have voted it one of the best American anime series ever. It has even been featured on MTV’s “100 Greatest Anime Characters” list.
If you’re looking for a fun, action-packed adventure that will keep your kids laughing until the cows come home, try The Powerpuff Girls!
11. RWBY (2013)
RWBY is an American animated television series created by Monty Oum and produced by Rooster Teeth. The Series follows the adventures of four young women in the fictional world of Remnant, each with their unique fighting style and power.
Since its initial release in 2013, RWBY has become one of the most popular animated Series in the United States, ranking as the fifth most-watched show on TV during its final season.
Critics have praised RWBY for its well-developed characters, action sequences, and artistic design while regularly placing it in lists of the best American anime ever made.
12. Storm Hawks (2007)
Released on May 25, 2007, anime gave us comedy-drama and science fantasy with action and adventure. It’s impressive to see the plot development and characters narrated in Japanese through the series’ opening sequence.
It was about a world of 10 Kingdoms, and Sky Knights protected every Kingdom against the forces of black and beasts. The greatest of all these is Storm Hawks. The main characters are Aerrow, Finn, Junko, Pipper, and Stork.
13. The Boondocks (2005)
The Boondocks, created by Aaron McGruder, is an animated series originally aired on Cartoon Network from 2003 to 2005. The show follows the daily life of two aunts – Huey and Louise – and their young son, Riley.
The Boondocks deals with issues such as racism, poverty, and gang violence in inner-city Atlanta through the eyes of its main characters. Although the show was canceled after only three seasons on Cartoon Network, it has gained a large cult following.
The Boondocks has been listed as one of the best American anime series by several publications, including Complex, IGN, Paste Magazine, and Spinner. It has also been praised for its dynamic plotlines and witty writing.
The Boondocks is an animated series originally aired on Cartoon Network from 2003 to 2005. The show follows the daily life of two aunts – Huey and Louise – and their young son Riley in inner-city Atlanta.
The Boondocks deals with issues such as racism, poverty, and gang violence in an entertaining way that has won its numerous fans over the years.
14. Eyeshield 21 (2005)
Eyeshield 21 is one of the most popular anime in America. The story follows a delinquent named Tanukichi Okuma, who enrolls in an elite martial arts school to improve his life.
He quickly becomes friends with Ichimaru, the school’s top student and captain of the rugby team. The two become determined to take down their old rival, the soccer team.
Along the way, they meet other students and adversaries, including a group of assassins led by the ruthless Arima. Eyeshield 21 is full of action and humor, making it an enjoyable watch for any fan of animation.
15. Dota: Dragon’s Blood (2021)
Dota: Dragon’s Blood is an anime that follows the story of a young woman named Aletta who has to fight to protect her homeland from an invading force.
The Series was created by Studio Pierrot and premiered in Japan in 2011. It was subsequently licensed for English-language distribution by Funimation. It began airing on Adult Swim’s Toonami block in July 2021.
While it is not without its controversies, Dota: Dragon’s Blood has mainly received positive reviews from critics and fans alike.
Fans have praised the anime for its action-packed combat scenes and well-designed characters. In contrast, critics have lauded the Series for its complex plot and well-developed world. Either way, it is clear that Dota: Dragon’s Blood has Appeal far beyond the typical anime fan base.
16. X-Men (1992)
X-Men (1992) is an American anime series based on the popular Marvel Comics superhero team. The show aired for five seasons and is widely regarded as one of the best superhero adaptations in animated form.
It premiered in the United States in 1992 and quickly gained a following massive thanks to its engaging storylines, memorable characters, and stunning animation.
One of the show’s standout features is its faithfulness to the source material. The series creators deeply appreciated the X-Men comics and worked hard to ensure that the show captured the essence of the beloved characters.
Comics fans will appreciate the many nods and references to the source material. At the same time, newcomers to the X-Men universe will find themselves quickly drawn in by the show’s compelling storylines.
X-Men (1992) also boasts a talented voice cast featuring veteran voice actors like Cal Dodd (Wolverine), Cathal J. Dodd (Colossus), and Lenore Zann (Rogue). Their performances help bring the characters to life and give the show an added layer of depth and authenticity.
Overall, X-Men (1992) remains a beloved classic among superhero fans and a must-watch for anyone interested in the intersection of American and Japanese animation.
17. Steven Universe (2013)
Steven Universe is among the most beloved and critically acclaimed American anime ever. The show tells the story of a young boy named Steven who learns he is a Crystal Gem – a member of an alien race that has been protecting humanity for generations.
Along with his friends Connie and Greg, Steven must learn to harness his powers and use them for good to save the world from disaster. Steven Universe is not only highly entertaining, but it also tackles important issues such as diversity and inclusion.
The characters are richly drawn and convincingly voiced, making the show an incredibly immersive experience. Steven Universe is definitely worth checking out whether you’re a longtime fan or just getting started with anime.
18. Batman: The Animated Series (1992)
The definitive Batman series, ‘Batman: The Animated Series’ was released in 1992 and ran for a total of 110 episodes.
It is based on the DC comic book series of the same name. It features the voice talents of Kevin Conroy as Batman, Mark Hamill as The Joker, Yoko Shimomura as Wonder Woman, and George Newbern as Alfred.
The show is positively iconic and has greatly impacted modern animation. It’s a dark take on Gotham City, complete with an array of villains, including The Riddler, Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy, Bane, and Catwoman, which made it an instant hit with comics fans.
The character development is also sublime; each episode builds upon the characters’ relationships while introducing new ones (such as Batgirl). This Series is undoubtedly one of the best American anime ever created and deserves to be at the very top of any list-ranking anime.
19. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987)
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” is an American anime series that first aired in 1987 and quickly became a cultural phenomenon.
The show follows the adventures of four anthropomorphic turtles named Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael, who are trained in the art of ninjutsu by their sensei, a rat named Splinter. Together, they fight against their archenemy, the evil Shredder, and his army of foot soldiers.
One of the most distinctive aspects of the show is its blend of humor, action, and character development. Each of the turtles has its own unique personality and fighting style, and their interactions with each other are a major highlight of the Series.
The show also features many memorable villains, from the robotic Krang to the mutant Bebop and Rocksteady. “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” has had a lasting impact on popular culture, inspiring countless spin-off series, movies, and merchandise.
The show has been praised for its engaging characters, inventive storytelling, and dynamic animation, which helped to redefine the possibilities of animation for a new generation. With its catchy theme song and iconic catchphrases, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” remains a beloved classic of American anime.
20. Ben 10 (2005)
Ben 10 is an American animated television series produced by Ben 10 Studios, based on the animated science-fiction action-adventure film of the same name.
The Series revolves around the adventures of a ten-year-old boy named BEN Ten, who acquires superpowers after exposure to a mysterious energy field while on holiday in Europe.
With these powers, he fights against evil aliens known as aliens who want to take over the world. The show has been praised for its creative and innovative animation and humorous and entertaining storylines.
It has been nominated for and won several awards, including a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program in 2009. The show has also spawned various video games, merchandise, and other spin-offs.
21. Spider-Man (1984)
“Spider-Man” is an American anime series that aired in 1984. The Series is known for its unique animation style that combines American superhero aesthetics with Japanese anime visuals.
The show’s 26 episodes follow the adventures of Peter Parker, also known as Spider-Man, as he battles various villains in New York City.
One of the standout features of the Series is its use of complex storylines and character development. Unlike many superhero cartoons of the time, “Spider-Man” tackled serious issues such as drug abuse, organized crime, and political corruption.
The show also introduced several new characters to the Spider-Man mythos, such as the villainous Doctor Doom and the heroic Firestar.
Despite its popularity, “Spider-Man” only lasted one season due to production issues and low ratings. However, the Series has become a cult classic and is fondly remembered by many American and Japanese animation fans.
Its unique blend of animation styles and serious storytelling set it apart from other superhero cartoons of the era. It helped pave the way for more mature and nuanced adaptations of comic book characters in the years to come.
22. He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe (1983)
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe is one of the most famous American anime titles ever created. The Series follows He-Man, a heroic figure who battles evil alongside his comrades in the heroic order known as the Masters of the Universe.
This action-packed Series contains adventure, humor, and thrilling combat scenes that entertain fans for hours. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe is an excellent example of classic anime storytelling. The characters are colorful and likable, and their interactions are entertaining.
The battles between He-Man and his enemies are intense and suspenseful, making this title a must-watch for any anime fan.
23. Gargoyles (1994)
Gargoyles is one of the most iconic and enduring anime series ever. The show follows the adventures of Goliath, a giant stone creature who lives on an island near Scotland.
Goliath is joined by his best friend, David, and they fight against evil creatures known as monsters. The show has been praised for its unique storyline and stunning visual effects.
Gargoyles were created by Greg Weisman and produced by Sunrise Entertainment Company. The Series aired on American television from 1994 to 1997, concluding with a total of 52 episodes.
Gargoyles have since been released on DVD in several countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. The show has been praised by both anime fans and critics alike. IGN called Gargoyles one of the greatest anime shows ever made, while ANN declared it one of the best-animated shows ever made.
The storyline has been compared to Tolkien’s works and has drawn comparisons to Disney’s classic movies. The visuals have also been highly praised, with many describing them as some of the most beautiful animations ever created.
Gargoyles fans are eager to see a revival or continuation of the Series. There have been numerous fan campaigns to bring Gargoyles back into production over the years, but so far, these efforts have not borne fruit.
One possible reason for this may be that Weisman is no longer involved in producing new content for the Series; he currently works on Superhero.
24. ThunderCats (1985)
After over two decades of continuous production, “ThunderCats” has finally been crowned the best American anime series ever!
Released in 1985 and created by Genndy Tartakovsky (creator of “Samurai Jack”), this action-packed Series follows the adventures of the ThunderCats, supercharged cats fighting for justice against all odds.
The show is full of memorable characters and thrilling action, making it a must-watch for any fan of animation. Whether you’re a longtime fan or just discovering the Series for the first time, check out “ThunderCats” on Netflix!
25. The New Batman Adventures (1997)
The New Batman Adventures is an animated television series released in 1997 and produced by Warner Bros. Animation. It is the sequel to The Animated Series, created by Tim Burton and directed by Jack Donner.
The show follows Batman as he battles crime in Gotham City and stars Kevin Conroy (Batman: The Animated Series) as the voice of the Dark Knight. The show received positive reviews from critics, who praised its darker tone and animation quality.
It has been nominated for several awards, including a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance for Conroy. In 2010, The New Batman Adventures was ranked number six on IGN’s list of the Top 10 Best Animated TV Shows of All Time.
26. The Transformers (1984)
The Transformers (1984) is a Michael Bay-produced animated film based on the toy line of the same name. The film tells the story of two Autobots, Optimus Prime and Bumblebee, who must stop the Decepticons from destroying Earth.
The voice cast features Peter Cullen, Ray Walston, Frank Welker, and John Goodman. The film was released in theaters on July 3, 1984, and grossed over $8 million at the box office.
The Transformers received mixed reviews from critics but became a cult classic. It has been listed as one of the best American anime films ever by IGN and Complex magazine.
27. Superman: The Animated Series (1996)
Superman: The Animated Series was an action-packed animated series that followed the life of Superman as he thwarted villains and fought for peace on Earth. Released in 1996, it was one of the most popular American anime series ever.
The show was created by Glen Murakami and produced by Bruce Timm, who both worked on Batman: The Animated Series. The show featured many characters, including Clark Kent/Superman, Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, Perry White, Lex Luthor, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman.
The show ran for seasons on Fox and ended with a feature film in 2003. It has since been released on DVD and is available to watch online. Superman’s popularity has led to many spin-off shows and movies being produced over the years.
28. The Mask: Animated Series (1985)
The Mask: Animated Series produced by the studio Mirisch-Geoffroson in 1985, is one of the best American anime series ever. The show follows the exploits of a costumed vigilante, Mask, who fights crime using his extreme gymnastic abilities and martial arts skills.
The Mask: Animated Series is a well-made action-packed series filled with humor and excitement. The storyline is easy to follow, and the characters are likable and engaging.
The animation is top-notch, and the action sequences are thrilling. The Mask: Animated Series is an excellent choice for a good entertainment experience.
29. Voltron (1985)
Some may question the introduction to Voltron, asking: “From days of long ago, from uncharted regions of the universe, comes a legend, the legend of Voltron, Defender of the Universe.”
Some might wonder where this story begins. The story continues: “A mighty robot, loved by good, feared by evil. As Voltron’s legend grew, peace settled across the galaxy. On planet Earth, a galaxy alliance was formed.
Together with the good planets of the solar system, they maintained peace throughout the universe. Until a new horrible menace threatened the galaxy. Voltron was needed once more.”
30. Fantastic Four (1994)
Fantastic Four (1994) is a superhero film based on Marvel’s Fantastic Four comics. The film was directed by Tim Story and released on July 14, 1994.
The film follows the team of scientists Reed Richards (Michael Douglas), Susan Storm (Jessica Alba), Johnny Storm (Reed Richards’ son), Ben Grimm (Dennis Haysbert), and Victor Von Doom (Julian McMahon) as they try to stop Doctor Doom from conquering the world. Moviegoers and critics praised it for its visual effects, acting, and humor.
In conclusion, American anime has come a long way since its inception and has become a beloved genre in the anime community. With so many great shows to choose from, it can be difficult to decide which ones to watch.
This 30 Must-See American Anime list, ranked from best to best, is a great place to start for anyone looking to explore the best of the genre.
From classics like Avatar: The Last Airbender to newer hits like Castlevania, there’s something for everyone on this list. Be sure to share your favorite American anime in the comments below!