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 superheroes. From action-centric heroes to magical heroines, 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 Punch Man
One Punch Man is full of non-stop action and immaculate visuals. The fights its main character Saitama endures may be swift, but pack enough tension and adrenaline to keep fans engaged. This anime’s humor is also worth praising as you’ll find yourself giggling at the sight of various facial and bodily expressions given off by the series’ cast.
While One Punch Man captures the raw energy of superheroes, it isn’t afraid to poke fun at it. There are some fights that will leave you speechless and others that will have you scratching your head. It’s something One Punch Man fans come to expect from this series. But when things get serious, you’ll know you’re in for an exhilarating time.
Besides its jaw-dropping animation and quirky characters, One Punch Man offers a wonderful and memorable soundtrack. The sounds of Saitama’s punches are satisfying. They will sell you on his formidable strength through the effects alone. The music also fits with the series’ tone.
If you’ve been looking for action and comedy-driven superhero anime, One Punch Man’s sure to delight.
My Hero Academia
My Hero Academia is one of the latest battle shōnen anime to capture what it means to feel and be a heroic figure. While there are anime like One Punch Man that poke fun at heroism, My Hero Academia chooses to embrace its heroic inspiration in a more admirable light.
My Hero Academia features an incredible ensemble cast of lovable characters. Each character feels different enough from the rest regarding their personalities, dreams, and powers. Furthermore, the powers they have in the series reflect their personas well, which is a nice touch.
As you can tell, My Hero Academia features a plethora of well-choreographed fight scenes. Despite being high-schoolers, the characters in My Hero Academia endure treacherous and dangerous obstacles. These obstacles help establish the dangers of being a hero in this world. It also gives the characters reasons to improve upon their craft and challenge themselves through physical and mental means.
The animation in this series is top-notch. Whether it’s a scene focusing on the protagonists fighting evil or frolicking about the school’s corridors, everything looks and feels right. If you’re looking for a superhero anime that pays tribute to the comics of your youth, My Hero Academia should satisfy you.
R.O.D the TV
R.O.D the TV may have an intellectual feel to it at the start, but it’s jam-packed with enough action-oriented content to keep superhero fanatics entertained. This anime features a wonderful cast of well-rounded characters. Each has a unique ability, personality, and motive.
The abilities in this show do stem from paper-based attacks, though. Therefore, a fan shouldn’t expect the ability to look different in context. However, the methods these characters utilize paper in their attacks are vastly different from each other. Some may use paper offensively while others choose to use it defensively. Either way, the presentation, and use of paper vary from character to character.
Our tale follows the Paper Sisters Anita King, Maggie Mui, and Michelle Cheung. They have their own detective agency in Hong Kong and solve cases regarding books. A Japanese novelist named Nenene Sumiregawa hires them to be her bodyguards after they save her life from a terrorist group during a book signing.
The three girls are Paper Masters, individuals who can control paper through supernatural means. While Maggie and Michelle are thrilled about their mission, their younger sister Anita isn’t a fan. This is because she doesn’t like bikes at all. On top of guarding Nenene, the girls must continue solving cases for a mysterious organization called Dokusensha.
Therefore, the anime follows the misadventures of these three paper heroines as they uncover the truth regarding Nenene’s missing friend and the suspicious books Dokusensha sends them to investigate. If you’re looking for a super-heroine series that features intelligent and brawny battles, check out R.O.D the TV.
While Goku serves as anime fans’ equivalent to Superman, it can be argued that Sailor Moon serves as anime fans’ Wonder Woman. Sailor Moon changed fans’ interpretation of females in anime by portraying its dominant female cast as heroic crime fighters. It’s a classic to many anime fans for what it achieved and a staple show for anyone new to the anime medium.
This anime follows the quirky and delinquent-like girl named Usagi Tsukino. She’s not the brightest student at her school and can be a little clumsy outside the classroom. One day, she encounters a mysterious talking feline named Luna, who’ll send Usagi on a quest full of sorcery, magical crystals, and evildoers.
This is an incredible magical girl anime that anyone can enjoy. It features enough action and slice-of-life elements to satisfy everyone. If you’re looking for an action-packed anime with a more lighthearted tone and dominant female cast, check out Sailor Moon.
Astro Boy (2003)
Before Deku, Naruto, Goku, and others were the robotic heroic child Astro Boy. While Astro Boy isn’t as popular amongst modern anime fans, anime enthusiasts appreciate this child for what he and his creator the late Osamu Tezuka contributed to the anime industry. Although the classic 1963 anime series is watchable, many fans prefer the 2003 remake directed by Konaka Kazuya.
Astro Boy (2003) features a similar premise to the 1963 classic. This takes place in a futuristic environment called Metro City where robots act like humanity’s servants. One day, a man named Professor Ochanomizu and his coworkers stumble upon Atom, who had been created by another man named Umatarou Tenma. Tenma had built Atom to replace his deceased son Tobio.
For some reason, Tenma had abandoned Astro and fled Metro City years ago. Not wanting his friend’s technological breakthrough to go to waste, Ochanomizu and his allies reactivate Atom. Atom awakens and possesses incredible strength, intelligence, morals, and compassion. Unfortunately, Atom realizes that mankind has a distaste for robots, deeming them as a threat or mere tools.
Therefore, Astro Boy (2006) follows Atom’s journey of non-stop heroism in hopes that the people in his world will undergo a change of heart toward robotic organisms. This remake features Tezuka’s iconic characters in a more modern light. The visuals and soundtrack are improved upon and appear more fluid in motion. The story still features the simple premise as before but feels better to sit through thanks to this adaptation’s superior visual fidelity.
If you want to take a trip down anime history, but done in a more modern way, check out the 2003 adaptation of Astro Boy.
Samurai Flamenco follows a man named Masayoshi Hazama who has been a superhero enthusiast since he was a child. While he works a day job as a famous model, at night he dawns the alias Samurai Flamenco. With his trademark costume, Hazama plans to bring justice to his city by combatting anyone who dares break the law.
Although stopping crime is a heroic gesture, Hazama takes his heroic passion a bit too far. You’ll see him interrogating trouble-making teenagers and folks who happen to drop a morsel of litter on the ground. These scenes are full of hilarious dialogue and goofy slapstick humor.
Although Hazama will undergo a quest that’s more hero-like than what he initially involves himself in, its the minor shenanigans he ends up in that make this show a joy to watch. Like One Punch Man to a degree, Samurai Flamenco feels like a parody of Power Rangers and Kamen Rider to an extent. If you’re looking for a superhero anime that offers some joyous action but nonstop humor, check out Samurai Flamenco.
Gatchaman Crowds is an original sci-fi and supernatural anime full of life and charm. This anime feels like a deconstruction and homage to classic stories involving heroes defending earth from an alien-like threat. While the series doesn’t feature many action-oriented scenes, its world and characters are fun to watch on screen.
Gatchaman Crows follows Hajime Ichinose, a young girl whose life changes when she encounters a mystical being named J.J. Robinson. He hands her a small book called NOTE, which transforms her into a Gatchaman, a name given to her city’s sworn protectors. Hajime is introduced to the Gatchaman squad and learns that an alien threat plans to invade her planet and wreak havoc.
As a Gatchaman, it’s up to Hajime and her teammates to stop the alien threat before their world is engulfed in chaos. Gatchaman Crowds implements a different outlook on heroism. It showcases our heroes and villains in a more humanistic manner. It shows fans that not all heroes need special powers to achieve justice. The aliens in this series come across as self-reflective beings that make you question the terrible aspects of humanity.
On that note, Hajime and the other Gatchaman have endearing personalities that may take some time to adjust to. For example, Hajime comes across as a hyperactive individual who goes on long tangents about things. In time, she does develop more likable traits. The same can be said for the other Gatchaman and characters in this anime, too.
Guyver: The Bioboosted Armor (2005)
Guyver: The Bioboosted Armor is the Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood of the Guyver franchise. Unlike the 1989 adaptation, this 2005 remake is a closer adaptation to Guyver creator Yoshiki Takaya’s manga. This is a series known for its overabundance of brutal violence and slightly heroic atmosphere.
Guyver: The Bioboosted Armor follows a teenager named Sho Fukamachi, who stumbles across an alien object called Unit. Unit physically bonds with Sho, resulting in the birth of a remarkably powerful warrior called Guyver. With this newfound power, Sho must fight the infamous Chrono organization and its alien-like underlings called Zoanoids to protect his world and loved ones.
Although this series is action-centric its storyline offers some emotional weight. There are many moments in this show that will tug at your heartstrings. You will see the Chronos organization perform heinous and discouraging tactics to mentally and physically break Sho’s mind and heart. It’s this great psychological warfare that helps Guyver stand out from other superhero-like anime.
Tiger & Bunny
Tiger & Bunny is an energetic thrill ride that will keep you entertained from start to finish. This is an action-packed superhero anime with a lot of charm and style. While it may appear like a super-powered buddy show that lacks depth, Tiger & Bunny features a slew of neat fights, visuals, and characters that are sure to keep you engaged.
Tiger & Bunny takes place in an eventful city called Stern Bild which houses people with special abilities called NEXT. Some NEXT commit crimes while others choose to use their powers for kind-hearted purposes. The heroic NEXT individuals often capture the evil ones to earn Hero Points that will allow them to become this city’s next “King of Heroes.”
Amongst these heroes is a veteran named Kotetsu T. Kaburagi (Wild Tiger) whose been on a decline because of his inability to communicate well with other heroes. He finds himself paired up with a brand new hero named Barnaby Brooks Jr (Bunny). Unfortunately, Wild Tiger and Bunny don’t see eye to eye. However, evil-doers start committing violent acts more frequently than usual.
It’s up to these two to set aside their differences if they hope to win over the public eye. It’s Tiger & Bunny’s relationship that truly sells this as one of the best superhero anime out there. With each villain they defeat in battle, the more their partnership spirals into something more wholesome. The side characters and villains are also phenomenal and there’s a great deal of time spent on them.
The animation feels fluid during fights, but there are times when the CGI utilized in the show doesn’t look visually appealing. If you can look past its hiccups, then you’re in for a great time with Tiger & Bunny.
Yuki Yuna Is A Hero
Yuki Yuna is a Hero feels like a magical girl version of My Hero Academia in ways. Both anime follows a young protagonist with the dream of becoming a wonderful hero. The character ends up gaining supernatural abilities and embarks on numerous quests to protect the world from evil beings.
Despite looking more child-friendly, this anime places its characters under harsh and emotional circumstances. These harsh instances push these girls to their breaking point. You can expect many of its characters to undergo deep psychological breakdowns as a result. While the Vertexes (the supernatural threat in this show) serve as the girl’s antagonists, the anime conjures up scenarios where the girls are their own worst enemies.
Doom and gloom aside, Yuki Yuna is a Hero features a slew of lighthearted and comedic scenes involving our girls. While they’ll succumb to emotional trauma from their heroic duties, you’ll get to see them interact and participate in wholesome activities. These scenarios help viewers get to know this anime’s cast outside of their heroic personas.
The action and soundtrack in Yuki Yuna is a Hero are a delight, too. From its supernatural transformation sequences to the girls’ superhuman powers, everything looks visually appealing and engaging. The music that accompanies these action-centric scenes will get your heart pumping. If you’re looking for a magical girl anime with deep storytelling and wonderful characters, Yuki Yuna is a Hero has you covered.
So, there we have it, our picks for the best anime through the years about superheroes!
What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!