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 the best long-running anime series. From One Piece to Doraemon, 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!
One Piece is a staple franchise for Shonen Jump. Unlike Bleach’s Ichigo and Naruto’s Naruto, One Piece’s Monkey D. Luffy has yet to complete his mission of becoming his world’s Pirate King. Despite being a lengthy work with an overwhelming amount of episodes, One Piece contains enough plot twists, world-building, and epic fights to keep viewers interested.
Each kingdom and island Luffy visits with his crew holds something valuable and refreshing. The series’s creator Eichiro Oda knows how to make direct callbacks to the earlier parts of Luffy’s journey in exciting ways. Every detail and breadcrumb he puts into the show’s world is integral to the story’s overarching plot or multiple mysteries.
On the other hand, One Piece wouldn’t be complete without its charming cast. Every hero and villain receives great development. If you’re looking for an action-packed pirate-themed anime with great depth, check out One Piece.
Detective Conan is a semi-episodic series and one that’s worth checking out for its engaging mysteries. It follows a young detective prodigy named Shinichi Kudo. He’s known for solving every crime that’s thrown in front of him. One day, he gets ambushed and drugged by strange hooligans. He wakes up and learns he’s turned into a child.
Shinichi takes the name Edogawa Conan to hide his identity from his childhood friend and her father. As Conan, he plans to discover a solution to his predicament and bring his perpetrators to justice. Although the show feels entirely episodic, the anime tends to shift its attention toward its overarching plot. Considering the series’s still ongoing, fans shouldn’t expect Conan to return to normal soon.
The episodic mysteries are entertaining enough to hold your attention though. Conan dabbles into many conspiracies involving sexual assault, drug addiction, gun violence, murder, etc. You’ll be bewildered by Conan’s genius and methods for solving each crime. If you’re looking for a fun detective series to watch with entertaining characters, check out Detective Conan.
Imagine taking Sherlock Holmes and transforming him into an anime character who solves many cases before trained professionals can. You’ll end up with Shinichi Kudo, the main protagonist of the long-running anime, Cased Closed.
Doraemon may not be discussed a lot online, however, he’s a huge childhood icon to some. He has a nice following and has turned out several adaptations for himself. This is a goofy and scientific slice-of-life series at its core and one that’s sure to impress younger anime fans. This anime follows an episodic formula through and through.
You’ll be following its protagonists Nobita and Doraemon as they travel to multiple universes using Doraemon’s multiple gadgets. This is all to turn Nobita into a happier and more fun-loving fellow. You’ll love seeing how Nobita’s character changes over time as Doraemon plays a significant part in his mental transformation.
At the same time, fans will realize how much of a nuisance Doraemon can be. However, it’s all out of love and to help Nobita become a better person. If you require an anime that’s great for kids, this one’s a perfect choice.
Naruto/Naruto Shippuden + Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
Naruto left a major impact on many anime fans’ childhood. He taught people why it’s significant to never stop pursuing their dreams, even when life treats them poorly. He was always determined in everything he pursued whether it was becoming Hokage or bringing his former friend Sasuke back to their home village.
Although Naruto’s quest to become the Hokage has concluded, his story is far from over. Enter Boruto, the son of Naruto and Hinata Uzumaki. Boruto grew up with parents and has fewer hardships than his father. Unfortunately, the shinobi world hasn’t attained world peace, which is evident in Boruto’s journey.
Like Naruto, the Boruto series, Boruto: Naruto Next Generations features multiple villains who threaten to wreak havoc in the shinobi world. Boruto will team up with new companions in hopes of preventing his life from turning out like his father’s. The series contains similar themes like friendship and courage and has our characters endure deadly situations. If you completed Naruto but wanted to see what happens after he achieved his dream, check out Boruto: Naruto Next Generations.
Mobile Suit Gundam (Series)
Mobile Suit Gundman is another series that doesn’t look like it’ll be concluding anytime soon. This series contains epic robot fights, fun characters, distinct storylines, and beautiful visuals. It paved the way for other mecha works like Gurren Lagann, Brave, and the critically acclaimed, Neon Genesis Evangelion.
This anime series doesn’t feature complex characters, though. It’s not until the series’s later entries that the characters wind up becoming more developed and intricate to the story’s plot. Its earlier entries mainly focus on the giant robots and how stylish they look when they’re combatting other large mechanizations.
Nonetheless, Mobile Suit Gundam deserves praise for this. Without it, we’d probably have shows depicting robots as goofy machines like in Tetsujin 28. Even though the mecha genre isn’t as well-loved as others, I’d recommend giving any of the Mobile Suit Gundam entries a shot if you love technology or anime with futuristic themes.
Like its famed gaming series, the Pokémon anime continues to be a smash hit for many fans. Although Ash’s journey may be coming o a close, the anime itself won’t be stopping anytime soon. Regardless, many viewers loved following this gullible and determined ten-year-old boy on his various adventures through the game’s various regions.
If you’re not familiar with the anime, it stars Ash Ketchum, a boy from pallet town. With his Pokémon companion, Pikachu, Ash travels to multiple regions defeating numerous gyms, entering countless Pokémon Leagues, and battling various trainers. He vows to become a Pokémon Master by the end of his journey.
This anime has great comedy and action. As the seasons continue, the animation, visuals, and storytelling evolve alongside our hero. Pokémon’s child-friendly and doesn’t contain much adult content. There are some instances where the anime tackles dark themes like death, but those instances are rare.
Crayon Shin-chan is a hilarious anime that may not be suitable for children. It’s a slice-of-life series with great slapstick, one-liners, jokes, and gags, but its protagonist can dabble into some adult-oriented shenanigans. From imitating people inside a bar to hitting on adult women with perverted remarks, Shin-chan’s a little menace you’ll grow to love or despise.
On the other hand, everyone in his world finds his actions cutesy. The anime’s plot can be as insane as Shin-chan’s crude actions. It’s fully episodic, but you’ll always be entertained. Although this series is best known for its adult and potty humor, this anime can dabble in serious subject matter. This is emphasized heavily in Crayon Shin-chan’s ninth film titled, “The Adult Empire Strikes Back.”
In any case, those looking for a show that’ll tickle their funny bone should check this out.
Little Miss Maruko
Little Miss Maruko is a silly slice-of-life comedy that’s been around since the mid-90s. This anime follows an elementary student named Momoko who likes idols and manga. When she’s not hanging out with her friends, she spends her time enjoying the little things in life with her wacky family. This anime doesn’t offer any complexity.
It’s a simple show that wishes to entertain its audience with its comical hijinks and joyful moments. Those who grew up in the ’70s and ’80s will be surprised by Little Miss Maruko’s accuracy. From field trips to candy locales to our characters saying goodbye to their teachers, the situations our characters get roped into will flash you back to your childhood lives.
The anime’s art style is fine for what it wants to achieve and some storylines aren’t entirely forgettable. If you’re looking for an unknown anime that’s still producing episodes today, check out Little Miss Maruko.
Sore Ike! Anpanman
Another child-friendly anime that’s still producing episodes today is Sore Ike! Anapanman. In it, we follow Anpanman, a superhero made of a sweet roll with beam jam filling. With his friends, Anpanman fights his rival Baikinman and helps those in need of food. This is an under-the-radar anime that began its run in the 80s.
Over time it’s received better animation but maintains the cutesy aesthetic found in its early days. The characters in this anime have diverse personalities, habits, and goals. Viewers can relate to the issues most of the cast deals with. The music will poke at some viewers’ nostalgia bones as they’re well-crafted and fit the anime’s wholesome tone.
The storyline is episodic and simplistic too. If you’re looking for an anime to watch with your children, this is one of the best.
If you’re looking for a more goofier and child-friendly Naruto alternative, Nintama Rantarou should satisfy them. This anime features some charming humor, likable characters, and a decent premise. It takes place in the Sengoku Period and follows three Ninjutsu Academy students named Rantarou, Kirimaru, and Shinbei.
These three, alongside other ninja students, must learn diverse skills to achieve their goals. One of their goals is to become phenomenal ninjas, but it won’t be a cakewalk. Our protagonists aren’t the brightest children and always get into trouble with many colorful folks in their universe. From battling pirates to avoiding their strict ninja teachers’ punishments, they must do whatever they can to succeed.
This anime isn’t anything complex, but many people will admire it for its cultural aspects. The duration for each episode is about 10 minutes, so it’s easy to binge. If you’re looking for a safer alternative to Naruto for your kids, Nintama Rantarou delivers a pleasant experience.
So, there we have it, our picks for the best long-running anime through the years!
What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!