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 mafias. From crime-driven narratives to classic battle shōnen, 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!
Katekyo Hitman Reborn
Katekyo Hitman Reborn is a comedic battle shōnen with an underdog protagonist. Like most battle shōnen it has everything you can expect from call-out attacks to themes involving friendship.
This anime suffers from pacing issues at the beginning, though. This is because Katekyo Hitman Reborn opts for a slice-of-life atmosphere showcasing its characters enduring mundane obstacles. Thankfully, the anime picks up when it introduces its first big villain.
Our tale is about a nervous boy named Tsunayoshi Sawada (Tsuna) encountering a small hitman named Reborn. Reborn informs Tsuna that was tasked in crowning him as the next mafia boss for the esteemed Vongola family. Although he’s hesitant at first, Tsuna accepts Reborn’s offer.
The anime focuses on Tsuna’s quest for maturity afterward. He’s a lot like Midoriya Izuku from My Hero Academia but isn’t as intelligent. He displays a wimpy persona that he often breaks free from whenever he fights a supervillain. The other characters in this series have charming personalities and attributes that contribute well to the overarching story.
If you can sit through its slow beginning, then you’re in for a wonderful treat.
Gungrave is a gritty drama and action anime with a vengeance-seeking plot line. The story itself feels like a play despite the anime being based on a game that predates it. The arcs feel authentic and seem to outdo the standards set for each. This is a bizarre anime that manages to tie everything together under a well-kept bow.
Gungrave is about two comrades named Brandon Heat and Harry MacDowell. Both are profound criminals who end up joining a giant mafia syndicate with differing interests in mind. Brandon wishes to support and appeal to the syndicate’s leader, Big Daddy, while Harry aims to overthrow him.
Brandon and Harry are remarkable characters with distinct personalities. Brandon likes to handle situations through action while Harry is inclined to think things through. This dynamic allows the anime to remain fresh and engaging. The animation and art style are gorgeous to look at and fit the series well.
Durarara is an action-oriented supernatural anime with a fascinating premise. The premise in question spans multiple story arcs, each adding a layer of complexity to the overarching narrative. Durarara’s characters follows in its footsteps as they are given wonderful depth.
This anime centers around Mikado Ryugamine, who happens to be a new resident in Tokyo’s Ikebukuro district. The city’s rumor concerning a headless Black Rider makes it a noteworthy place to reside, according to Mikado. Although he disagrees with the rumors, Mikado ends up encountering the Black Rider. This fateful meeting leads to multiple strange occurrences that will make Mikado regret ever moving in.
Suspense is felt throughout the entirety of this anime. You’ll always get these tense feelings while watching this show. These moments are enhanced by Durarara’s remarkable soundtrack and sound design. The characters you encounter in this show are highly intellectual and utilize manipulative tactics to get their way.
Heat Guy J
Heat Guy J is a satisfying action-adventure sci-fi anime. Its character designs aren’t impressive, and its premise sounds a bit uninspiring, though. However, when viewing everything in motion, you’ll come to realize that your initial impression was far-fetched.
Heat Guy J follows the newly established leader of the Vampire Mafia group, Claire Leonelli. He inherits this role after his father passes away. To combat his group’s heinous actions, his city’s Bureau of Urban Safety hires the profound operative Daisuke Aurora and his super android companion named J.
The anime follows the back-and-forth battle between Vampire and these two operatives. The world they inhabit is full of life and wonder. For example, there are different groups and races sprinkled throughout the world that contribute different yet important elements to keep things from spiraling out of control.
Friendship and seeking goodwill in others are two recurring themes felt throughout the anime. J’s character is more energetic than Daisuke. Daisuke is more of a laid-back and caring individual. The side characters offer stellar performances and are featured in memorable scenes.
Fans of fast-paced action scenes with heart-pumping music and war-like themes and imagery will get a kick out of what Jormungand offers. With its psychotic protagonist and gruesome violent visuals, Jormungand is a series that will grasp your attention.
The story is simple but manages to pull you in from the beginning. This is because the first episode starts off with bullets flying across the screen and characters screaming battle cries in a war-like setting. As one can tell, this series throws you headfirst into the brutality.
At the same time, it knows when to shift its tone well, as there is a slew of lighthearted and comedic scenes sprinkled within the show. On that note, don’t go into this anime expecting any mind-blowing scenarios or historical themes. It’s an anime that focuses more on its characters individually and in a team-like setting.
While it can be predictable at times, the story has smooth pacing and touches upon adult-centric subjects. The characters all have wonderful personalities and tragic backstories. The animation studio does a fantastic job at bringing the world to life during its serious and cruel moments. Whether through priceless expressions or gun violence, this series knows how to set a mood.
Are you a fan of games that feature a large cast with stories that intertwine by the end? If so, then Baccano might be worth placing on your watch list. This series oozes crime, mystery, and suspense. While the cases brought up in each episode are resolved by each’s end, fans will appreciate Baccano for showcasing the characters’ journey to reaching a said resolution.
Split up into multiple tales, Baccano follows multiple protagonists. Each protagonist has a set of unique characteristics and personalities. It’s a series that you may need to re-watch a few times to gather clues to formulate the answer to its larger mystery. In essence, each story arc feels like a small puzzle piece of information.
While viewers may find its large cast overwhelming, Baccano takes time showing off each character and developing them throughout the anime. None of the characters overstay their welcome and hog the spotlight. Everyone is given a fair amount of time to strut their stuff. The same bodes well for the series implementation of action and comedy.
Like solving a puzzle in an action-adventure game, Baccano promises to entertain you every step of the way.
Noir is one of those anime that benefits from its episodic story format and slow pacing. While its premise isn’t revolutionary, Noir knows how to gradually build up its story and characters well. With its beautiful visuals and music, Noir promises to deliver a mafia-themed storyline of wonderful proportions.
Noir follows an assassin named Mireille Bouquet, who receives a message from a Japanese student named Kirika Yuumura to “make a pilgrimage to the past” with them. Although she denies the offer, she hears a tune from the message that reminds her of her childhood. This piques Mireille’s interest, and she accepts Kirika’s request.
When they meet, dangerous men ambush them. Mireille is surprised that Kirika handles herself in a fight. Although she’s a formidable killer, Kirika doesn’t like murdering people and feels sad she doesn’t have remorse for her victims. Kirika also doesn’t know how she acquired her skills and identity either.
Mireille agrees to team up with Kirika to help her uncover the mystery surrounding their past lives. They form the team “Noir” and accept jobs that will bring them closer to the truth. Mireille and Kirika’s chemistry is top-notch. It feels incredible watching these two fight and converse on screen and the voice actresses bring these characters to life.
K is an intriguing anime. This is an anime featuring our characters uncovering the mysteries surrounding murderers and wars. It contains a stellar blend of fantasy, sci-fi, and mystery elements that fans find entertaining and appealing.
K takes place in a world run by supernaturally-powered entities called Kings, who adore recruiting and protecting those that join their side. In it lies our main protagonist Yashiro Isana, accused of murdering a Red Clansman in a viral video. As he tries to flee, he meets an infamous swordsman named Kurou Yatogami. More mishaps involving the death of other kings occur, leading Yashiro’s reputation deeper down the drain.
As he struggles to prove his innocence, a larger conspiracy arises that will have Yashiro witnessing strange flashbacks and close friends questioning his existence. As a result of a simple murder, the world is now at risk of a full-blown war between kings. While K’s start will leave fans with many questions, they present them with enough material that’s enticing enough to warrant continuous viewing.
As one can expect, the plot centers around Yashiro’s character. The anime spends enough time developing his character and showcasing his struggles to prove his innocence well. There’s also a tight focus given to each of the warring nations. While they appear as enemies, the anime expands upon their relationship in unique manners.
K offers captivating visuals and music. From its detailed environments to its excellent use of lighting and reflection techniques, fans will find it challenging not to be immersed in its highly-detailed landscapes and camera motion. The music utilized in scenes does a phenomenal job at enhancing the feelings of its emotional sequences great, too.
91 Days is an incredible historical anime full of mafioso themes. From its technical characters to its phenomenal visuals, this anime will please many viewers. This anime revolves around the depressing life of a man named Angelo Lagusa, who flees his hometown and creates the alias Avilio Bruno to start a new life.
This is because Avilio experienced the deaths of his parents and younger brother by the heartless Vanetti mafia family. Although he’s full of regret and anger, Avilio receives an opportunity to enact his revenge on the Vanetti family after he receives a strange letter alerting him to travel to his hometown.
During his journey, he’ll meet the Vanetti don’s son, Nero, and secretly befriend him. A tale of bloodlust and revenge awaits viewers in this dramatic action show. Considering how long it’s been, fans will appreciate the unique techniques and skills Avilio uses to enact his vengeance upon this cruel mafia family. The plot never gets dull and adds a slew of twists that will keep you invested.
The anime does a wonderful job at building each episode’s tense atmosphere. 91 Days’ mix of brutal and pleasant imagery will have your eyes glued to the screen. The music and sound effects inserted during its chilling moments will make your heart pump. This is an excellent tale that fans should watch if they’re fans of mafia-oriented narratives with phenomenal leads.
Bungou Stray Dogs
Remember how great it was seeing Thor, The Hulk, Captain America, and the others on the big screen for the first time? It was nice seeing our heroes unite to fight off Loki and his band of murderous creatures. Imagine taking that concept but removing our heroes with famous literacy authors and giving them supernatural powers. You’d end up with a show like Bungou Stray Dogs.
Bungou Stray Dogs is an excellent mafia, crime, and mystery-themed show with enough dark phenomena and action to take your breath away. Our story follows an orphan named Atsushi Nakajima, who is being followed by a mystical tiger that is causing problems at his orphanage. This ruckus causes his caretakers to suspect him of the crude acts, leading to his removal and homelessness.
During his mild search for food, Atsushi stumbles upon a man named Osamu Dazai and saves him from drowning. Atsushi finds out that Osamu is a supernatural detective who has been investigating the strange phenomena caused by his mystical tiger companion. Although they resolve, Atsushi joins Osamu and his companions on various supernatural-themed cases involving fights and humorous shenanigans.
Atsushi is a likable and relatable protagonist. Fans will adore his passion for wanting to protect his friends and laugh at the fact that he’s the one needing the most of it. The fights Atsushi and his allies endure are visually engaging. Each feels like a spectacle on the eyes, making it difficult for viewers to avoid paying attention. The soundtrack does a phenomenal job at building each fight’s tense and exhilarating atmosphere.
If you’re looking for a fun and action-packed mafioso anime featuring homages to classic literary authors, check out Bungou Stray Dogs.
So, there we have it, our picks for the best anime through the years about mafias!
What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!