There are a lot of TV shows out there and in this golden age of TV streaming, the choices have never been greater. So how do you cut through the noise and find the “Best of” for any chosen topic? Well, we’re here to help celebrate and shine a spotlight on some of the latest, greatest and unforgettable shows through the years.
For our ongoing series of articles depicting the best anime, our attention this time turns to assassins. From action-packed battle royales to wholesome slice-of-life settings, there’s a good choice to whet your appetite.
Of course, if we’ve missed any of your favorites, feel free to comment below and we’ll get them added on!
Coppelion is an action-packed sci-fi anime with beautiful animation and a tight emphasis on friendship and hope. The main characters start off as other-worldly individuals but become more humanized as the series progresses.
Coppelion is also an emotional roller coaster that delivers excruciating emotional scenes involving its characters and the people they come across during their missions. Fans of powered-up main protagonists will enjoy the assassin-like shenanigans Coppelion’s cast finds themselves in.
This anime takes place in post-apocalyptic Tokyo. The reason for its destruction stems from a meltdown of a nuclear power planet. This led to Tokyo becoming a mere ghost town. However, when the Tokyo Self Defense Force receives a distress signal, they dispatch an all-female unit called Coppelion to scout the area for survivors. Unfortunately for the girls, they’ll be in for a dreadful time.
City Hunter is a classic action and comedy anime with a stellar protagonist, grand action scenes, and humorous dialogue. While the action and comedy lean toward realism, there are some nods to superpowers concerning its protagonist’s phenomenal skills.
Fans shouldn’t go into City Hunter expecting an overarching plot, though. While it does feature a few one-to-three episode mini-arcs, City Hunter feels more episodic in nature. That’s not to say the content present in its episodic content isn’t worth watching. The content itself will impress and please those who enjoy self-contained narratives.
Furthermore, its protagonist Ryo Saeba has a colorful personality. He’ll find himself in many dangerous circumstances and deliver a worthwhile beat down to criminals and adversaries. He also has a humorous persona whenever he’s near a woman. The other characters in the series are complex and well-developed too.
If you’re looking for an assassin anime with an episodic structure and memorable characters, check out City Hunter.
Kill Me Baby
If you’re looking for an assassin anime with more emphasis on comedy and slight action, Kill Me Baby has you covered. This thirteen-episode anime series is full of gag humor and school-like activity. While its storyline isn’t too memorable, the amusing dialogue and slapstick shenanigans make it a worthwhile experience.
The animation isn’t groundbreaking either. The art style works with the comforting and wholesome nature of the jokes present in the anime. The soundtrack and its characters are Kill Me Baby’s best achievements. The sound design works to capture the raw energy present in each scene.
The characters may appear annoying at the start, but they gradually transform into enjoyable protagonists. On one hand, you have an active assassin while on the other you have an air-headed and aloof personality. It’s twisted but somehow works within the context of the anime’s premise.
If you have the patience, I’d recommend giving Kill Me Baby a chance.
Assassination Classroom is an action comedy assassin anime about a group of delinquent school students needing to assassinate their homeroom teacher within a set time limit. Unfortunately, their homeroom teacher is an Octopus-like alien that can travel at fast speeds.
While this is a massive hurdle for them to hop over, their homeroom teacher isn’t a fan of unfair fights. During their time with him, the students will notice that this aquatic alien is more human-like than they realize. You can expect the anime to feature some incredible emotional beats that’ll tug at your heartstrings.
Furthermore, there are a bunch of characters in this anime. While it may be overwhelming for those who prefer smaller cast shows, Assassination Classroom does a fine job at exploring each of the student’s goals, personalities, and hardships within the span of two seasons.
Be warned that you won’t grow attached to all the characters present in the series. However, it’s guaranteed that you’ll end up developing attachments for a majority of its cast. If you enjoy anime with a good mix of action and comedy, check out Assassination Classroom.
Canaan is a 13-episode anime series with a straightforward storyline that surprisingly works. You’ll find yourself invested in what this anime world offers. From its entertaining plot to its well-developed character cast, Canaan is a short anime that leaves its viewers satisfied.
Our tale follows a Japanese photographer named Oosawa Maria and her partner Mino who are looking for the next big newsworthy story in their city. Suddenly strange events occur at a nearby festival, provoking our two protagonists to investigate. They stumble across a fight between masked men and a white-haired woman.
Before Maria gets caught in the crossfire, she’s saved by one of her former friends named Canaan. Unfortunately, Maria’s not away from the danger yet. She learns that an evildoer is plotting something sinister with the aid of a deadly virus. With the help of her friends, Maria plans to thwart this individual’s dastardly scheme before it’s too late.
This anime’s character cast is full of life and personality. The friendship between Canaan and Maria develops gradually throughout the series. Despite coming from different walks of life, their chemistry in this series is fun to watch. The side characters also have their share of standout moments. This anime’s art style and animation are gorgeous, too.
While Canaan uses some CGI elements, none of the effects look awful or off-putting. This is a fantastic action-packed and supernatural anime, assassin enthusiasts will adore.
This is an anime that tackles multiple different genres. It contains wonderful action scenes but features a storyline seeping into drama, sci-fi, and comedy. Despite tackling multiple themes, Gunslinger Girl manages to craft a compelling tale.
Gunslinger Girl takes place in Italy, where its Social Welfare Agency rescues badly-wounded and handicapped women from hospitals. Their mission is to give these women another shot at life by granting them artificially enhanced bodies. Afterward, they brainwash and train them as assassins who must complete heinous work for the Italian Government.
Although their bodies no longer feel human, these girls retain their child-like innocence and struggle to attain recognition from peers. Therefore, the anime follows the tragic lives of these cybernetic assassins who must follow the orders of a government that views them as menacing murderers. While the anime’s premise sounds heartbreaking, it features small tidbits of lighthearted comedy.
You’ll adore seeing the girls fighting, but get a bigger kick out of seeing them smiling. Considering the cruel circumstances they’re placed in, it’s great that the anime decides to pull away from the drama and depict its characters in joyous scenarios. The action in this anime is well-animated and the design for our protagonists’ weapons looks semi-realistic in detail.
This anime’s music and sound design are praise-worthy. The sound effects match the realistic design of the girls’ weapons flawlessly. This anime really puts you in the mindset of a soldier with its sounds and visuals. Fans looking for an assassin anime with an emotional storyline should give Gunslinger Girl a shot.,
Madlax is a mysterious supernatural anime with strong militaristic and psychological themes. It contains a gradually developing storyline with interesting twists and turns. The characters in this show have likable and relatable personalities. Many of the cast, including its protagonist, develop over time and leave a lasting impression.
The story’s pacing is a bit slow, though. Some may find its plot confusing, requiring them to rewatch the series’ final episodes to get a grasp of the information being presented. However, if you’re willing to stick with the anime’s slow pacing and peculiar plot, you’re in for a decent time. With its visually appealing gun fights, well-developed characters, and empowering soundtrack, Madlax will please you.
Madlax takes place amidst a civil war occurring in the country of Gazth-Sonika. Our tale follows two women whose lives intertwine thanks to a shadow organization. One of the females is a mercenary with supernatural skills named Madlax and a peaceful woman named Margaret Burton. These two women embark on a quest to discover the truth behind this terrifying warfare.
Future Diary is thrilling action-packed supernatural anime. This anime blends its psychological, battle royale, and romance aspects well and features an ensemble cast of colorful characters. With its stunning visuals and engrossing storyline, there’s a lot to explore with this futuristic journal of events.
Future Diary follows the shy boy Yukiteru Amano who spends his life journaling in his digital diary and speaking with his imaginary friends Deus Ex Machina and his servant Mur Mur. One day, Yukiteru finds something strange happening with his diary. For some reason, the diary documents events that are about to occur in the future. Yukiteru decides to take advantage of this phenomenon.
As he’s enjoying himself, he comes across his classmate Yuno Gasai who possesses a similar diary. After spending his time with Yuno, Yukiteru heads home. Upon entering, he’s whisked away to a supernatural realm and is greeted by Deus Ex Machina and Mur Mur. Deus informs Yukiteru that he has been selected to take part in a survival game where the winner will become a deity.
Using the power of their Future Diaries, Yukiteru and Yuno must survive this unforgivable battle royale. This is a story with many twists and turns. All the enemies Yukiteru and Yuno come across are intriguing and have wonderful backstories that echo the harsh reality of their situation. The relationship between Yukiteru and Yuno starts off rough but becomes more wholesome by the series’s end.
Fans looking for a hardcore anime with a hint of romance should be satisfied with what Future Diary offers.
Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom
Deceit, madness, and bloodshed are several aspects that best describe Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom. This anime features action-packed scenarios that will make your heart pump and follows a protagonist who was forced into this world to fight and survive.
Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom takes place in a fictional American setting where assassinations are a daily routine. These assassinations are being handled by an infamous human weapon named Phantom, who is following the orders of a mysterious company called Inferno. However, Phantom and Inferno’s deadly activities almost come to a halt after a Japanese tourist catches Phantom murdering someone.
Although the tourist tries to escape, Phantom and Inferno’s leader Scythe Master catch and brainwash him. They give the tourist the name Zwei and he becomes another puppet for Inferno to control. With no recollection of his past memories, Zwei must forcefully fight to survive in this godforsaken world. Despite being captured by Phantom, Zwei and Phantom’s relationship serves as one of the series’ focuses.
The relationship between Phantom and Zwei is visually appealing and intriguing. The anime spends some time fleshing out these two crime lords, allowing viewers to grow attached to them. Unfortunately, the series doesn’t spend too much time highlighting their growing bond as it also focuses on Inferno’s evil plans. Nonetheless, fans looking for wonderful assassin-like action and a love story will find Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom appealing.
Darker than Black
Darker than Black is a thought-provoking sci-fi and action anime. It features a world that’s not too different from our own. It contains an intriguing plot that starts off vague but unravels into something far greater. With its suspenseful atmosphere, well-written characters, and music variety, Darker than Black promises a pleasurable time.
Darker than Black takes place in a distant future where two gates called Heaven’s Gate and Hell’s Gate appeared. Upon their arrival came supernatural humanoids called Contractors. These individuals had made a pact with an unknown entity, who granted them all a unique power. This is where our main protagonist Hei comes into the fray.
Hei is an infamous Contractor who often runs into trouble with Japan’s Section 4 Chief, Misaki Kirihara. Furthermore, these missions will lead Hei down a path of discovery as he gradually uncovers the dark layers of a nefarious plot that threatens the livelihoods of many contractors. As stated above, Darker than Black is an intriguing anime that features a great mix of thought-provoking elements and adrenaline-pumping action.
Every character has a unique design that’s accompanied by a meaningful personality. While the fights don’t last as long as those found in shonen anime, the action incorporated in this show looks fluid and visually stunning. The anime’s varied music is well-executed as there are many tracks that will give you goosebumps, especially the music that’s played before an upcoming fight.
Fans looking for a more complex written narrative should steer their attention toward Darker than Black.
So, there we have it, our picks for the best anime through the years about assassins!
What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!