Anime and fantasy go together exceptionally well. As a medium, animation allows fantastical environments and creatures to be brought to life in new and innovative ways, and the serialized nature of anime storytelling lets viewers become immersed in fictional worlds and characters’ various trials and tribulations.
Because of this, anime history is full of great fantasy stories spanning a wide range of topics, from dark tales of suffering and pain to slice-of-life comedy about magic and adventure. There is a fantasy anime to suit every viewer, so if you’re looking for a fresh one to dive into, here are 10 of the best choices, covering all corners of the fantasy genre, from the usual to the unique.
10. Aura Battler Dunbine
Created by Gundam creator Yoshiyuki Tomino, Aura Battler Dunbine is a unique fantasy series that paved the way for the modern isekai genre. The series follows Shō Zama, a young man pulled from Earth to the mystical, semi-fantasy world of Byston Well. While in Byston Well, he is recruited by Drake Luft, who tells Zama that he needs people from Earth, as they are the only ones capable of piloting powerful robots called Aura Battlers. Luft needs pilots for these robots as Byston Well is in the middle of a massive civil war. A story that mixes fantasy, mecha shows, and political intrigue, Aura Battler Dunbine is a frequently overlooked show, but those who dive into it will be treated to some fantastic visuals and a gripping plot.
9. That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime
Based on the light novel series written by Fuse and illustrated by Mitz Vah, this anime tells the story of Satoru Mikami, an average office worker with a monotonous life. However, one day an unknown assailant stabs Satoru, killing him. When Satoru comes to, he finds that he is not in his old world nor his own body. In fact, he is now a lowly slime. But, Satoru quickly discovers that this isn’t as bad as it first seems, as his new abilities allow him to swallow anything and take on its appearance and copy its skills. That said, Satoru soon finds this new world might not be as easy to navigate as he first believed, and the world’s other inhabitants might not be friendly.
8. Demon Slayer
Based on Koyoharu Gotouge’s smash-hit manga, Demon Slayer quickly became a pop-culture icon. It’s easy to see why, as it pairs an exciting plot with excellent characters and some sublime animation. The story follows Tanjiro Kamado, a young boy who lives with his family in the mountains until one day, he returns home to find all of his family has been slaughtered by demons. The only survivor is his little sister Nezuko. However, Nezuko is slowly turning into one of the demons. Somehow, Nezuko has retained some of her human characteristics. Tanjiro becomes a Demon Slayer and heads out to kill demons and work out how to turn his sister back to normal.
7. Black Clover
Created by Yūki Tabata, Black Clover is one of the most popular fantasy anime ever released. The series follows Asta, an orphan who was left in the care of an orphanage with another orphan called Yuno. While Asta has no magical abilities, Yuno was an extremely talented magician from a young age. Both decide that they want to become the Wizard King and thus begin a long and storied rivalry that sees them join competing Magic Knight squads to try and catch the attention of those above them. Due to this, the pair embarks on various adventures and deals with several sinister groups who aim to topple the kingdom and destroy the Magic Knight squads.
Black Clover is full of adventure, action, and intrigue. It will keep you coming back for more, with each episode offering something fun and absorbing, making it one of the best fantasy anime series on the market.
6. Fullmetal Alchemist
Created by Hiromu Arakawa, Fullmetal Alchemist was many peoples’ first introduction to anime as a medium. The series follows Edward and Alphonse Elric, two young alchemists who try to bring their deceased mother back via alchemy. This predictably goes horribly wrong, as Edward loses his leg and Alphonse loses his entire body. In a panic, Edward sacrifices one of his arms to retrieve Alphonse’s soul, which he puts into a suit of armor, allowing Alphonse to still exist in our world. This catches the attention of Roy Mustang, who invites Edward to become a State Alchemist. Edward accepts, and the pair sets out on a quest to find the legendary Philosopher’s Stone hoping it can restore their bodies. While on this quest, they find themselves thrown into several conflicts, forcing them to use all their wits and cunning to survive.
5. Attack on Titan
Based on the manga written and illustrated by Hajime Isayama, Attack on Titan quickly cemented itself as a media juggernaut and only grew more popular when the anime was released in 2013. The series is set in a world where the remnants of humanity live in a walled city after a group of massive monsters called Titans nearly wiped them out many years previously. The series follows Eren Yeager, a man who lost his mother in a Titan attack and is now trying to get revenge on them by joining the military. However, when Eren learns he can turn into a Titan, things change, and he finds that the past might not be as cut and dry as he was led to believe.
4. Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle
One of 2020’s breakout hits, Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle, is based on a manga written and illustrated by Kagiji Kumanomata. The series follows Princess Syalis, a young woman kidnapped by a demonic king. The princess is very indifferent to her situation, having become accustomed to the high-stress royal life and inter-kingdom drama. In fact, the only thing the princess wants to do is have a nice nap, and she’ll go to any lengths to make sure that she sleeps comfortably and undisturbed. A charming twist on the usual tropes, Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle is a must-watch for anime fans who like their fantasy with a touch of whimsy and plenty of laughs.
Based on the manga created by the legendary Kentaro Miura, Berserk is set in a pseudo-Medieval world full of monsters, mercenaries, and people trying to survive. It follows Guts, a young man raised as a mercenary by his adoptive father, who he was later forced to kill. After losing a battle to their leader, Griffith, Guts is made to join a mercenary group called Band of the Hawk. Guts soon finds that this band doesn’t make his life easier, as he is thrown into a large-scale conflict that puts his life and those around him at risk.
A dark fantasy tale of struggle, hardship, and hope, it’s easy to see why Berserk resonated with readers and viewers alike and quickly became known as one of the preeminent fantasy series. If you’re looking for fantasy that’s a shade darker than the norm, then Berserk is an excellent choice that will keep you gripped.
2. One Piece
One Piece needs no introduction. It’s one of the most famous anime and manga series to ever be released. Created by Eiichiro Oda, it’s set in a world of pirates and piracy and follows Monkey D. Luffy, a young man who can stretch his limbs as if they were rubber. Luffy aims to become King of the Pirates by finding the legendary treasure called the One Piece.
Along the way, Luffy makes friends with other sailors with equally strange skills and learns more about the world he lives in, including a mystery that spans generations. He isn’t the only one looking for the treasure, either, and several powerful forces are keen to either rule the seas or stop piracy for good. Packed with fun characters, exciting plots, and fascinating world-building, One Piece has rightfully earned its fame and popularity.
1. Little Witch Academia
Regarded as one of the most charming anime ever to hit screens, Little Witch Academia was made by Yoh Yoshinari and produced by legendary anime studio Trigger. The series follows Atsuko Kagari, a young girl who wants to be like the famous magician Shiny Chariot. To do this, she heads to Luna Nova Magical Academy so she can learn to become a witch. However, while Atsuko has a lot of heart, she isn’t very good at being a witch, and chaos seems to follow her wherever she goes. The series follows her as she explores this magical world, makes friends, and tries to learn more about both the school and Shiny Chariot. An utterly fun watch that will resonate with all viewers, Little Witch Academia really is a one-of-a-kind anime.