Top 10 Best Anime Series on Funimation 2021

We recommended the top 10 best anime series and movies in each category, with each anime series inspiring radical changes within its genre, or shining out due to the wonderful storyline or characters, beautiful animation, voice work, and other elements. You must check out these must-see series if you are a crazy anime fan!

1. Best Action Anime: Attack on Titan

Rated: TV-MA
Honorable mentions: Trigun, Black Lagoon, Berserk

attack on titan

Attack on Titan is indeed horrifying, however, it isn't really a horror anime. If you can stomach the grotesque, inside-out appearance of the titular titans, and the brutal finality of the way they devour their victims, you'll find an action anime that's also heavy on plot, character development, and atmosphere.

While there are probably more great action anime shows than any other genre, Attack on Titan is the best because the virtual lack of plot armor means nobody is ever truly safe, and the stakes are always very real.

What We Like

  • Horrifying visuals.
  • Heavy on plot and character development.
  • Real stakes for the characters.

What We Don't Like

  • The protagonist is arguably the least interesting character.
  • Not everyone will enjoy its overly bleak tone.

2. Best Fighting Anime: Dragon Ball (Z, GT, Super)

Rated: TV-14 (Dragon Ball), TV-PG (Dragon Ball Z, GT, and Super)
Honorable mentions: One Punch Man, Bleach, Naruto

Watch on Funimation

Best Fighting Anime: Dragon Ball

The various Dragon Ball series, which follow the adventures of Son Goku and his friends, has been the subject of parodies, jokes, and anime memes. Without Dragon Ball, the fighting anime genre as we know it today probably wouldn't exist.

Dragon Ball started as a mostly lighthearted take on the ancient Journey to the West. By the time Dragon Ball Z came out, the franchise fully transformed into the archetype of the genre that's influenced much of what came after.

It's fine to joke about Goku and his foes spending entire episodes charging up their ultimate attacks. Maybe that isn't for everyone, which is why there's an official abridged version called Dragon Ball Kai on Funimation.

What We Like

  • A mix of charm and action.
  • Wonderful Akira Toriyama artwork.

3. Best Samurai Anime: Samurai Champloo

Rated: TV-MA
Honorable mentions: Rurouni Kenshin, Basilisk

Watch on Funimation

Best Samurai Anime: Samurai Champloo

Samurai Champloo isn't your typical samurai anime, which is what makes it the best, most stand-out title in the genre. You don't have to like samurai for Samurai Champloo to hook you with its sense of style, slick visuals, fantastic dub, and hip-hop aesthetic.

Fans of the genre are more likely to get the anachronistic gags and appreciate the alternate history version of the Edo period portrayed in the show, but a deep knowledge of the history isn't a prerequisite to enjoying it.

What We Like

  • Slick visuals.
  • Fantastic dub.
  • Anachronistic hip-hop aesthetic.

What We Don't Like

  • The plot isn't terribly exciting.
  • The profanity and violence aren't for younger viewers.

4. Best Horror Anime: When They Cry (Higurashi)

Rated: TV-MA
Honorable mentions: Another, Boogiepop Phantom, Elfin Lied, High School of the Dead

Watch on Funimation

Best Horror Anime: why they cry

Most anime horror series are referred to as horror because of the monsters, like High School of the Dead. These series tend to be light on what western audiences think of as horror. Still, When They Cry straddles the line. It has a tremendously creepy atmosphere, which should satisfy fans of Japanese horror. It also has more than a little touch of mystery, psychological horror, and the type of gore that most Western horror fans expect.

What We Like

  • Tremendously creepy atmosphere.
  • A touch of mystery.

What We Don't Like

  • Its gore isn't for kids or the faint of heart.

 

5. Best Science Fiction Anime: Steins; Gate

Watch on Funimation

Rated: TV-14
Honorable mentions: Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Psycho-Pass, Sword Art Online, Noein

Best Science Fiction Anime: Steins; Gate

No medium does sci-fi technobabble quite like anime, but there are also a ton of real gems that explore interesting themes and concepts. For example, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex is a worthy companion to the movie, Psycho-Pass is a disturbing crime thriller inspired by Blade Runner, and Noein is a fascinating look at quantum physics.

Steins;Gate revolves around time travel, but it doesn't use it as a plot device. It explores the concept in a fascinating way, establishing internally consistent rules as to how time travel works and features a tight time loop plot that's a cut above the rest.

If you want to dip into the world of visual novels, check out the Steins;Gate source material on the Steam platform.

What We Like

  • A fascinating exploration of time travel.
  • Intriguing plot.
  • Interesting characters.

What We Don't Like

  • Slow to start.

 

6. Best Slice of Life Anime: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

Watch on Funimation

Rated: TV-14
Honorable mentions: Azumanga Daioh, Beck, Hanasaku Iroha, K-On!

Best Slice of Life Anime: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

Slice of life is a genre devoted to the mundane. If you want a quintessential anime that's about nothing in particular, Azumanga Daioh may be your jam.

Anime is known for mixing genres, which is how you get shows like The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. While Haruhi is a slice-of-life anime on a superficial level, there's a lot more weirdness going on there. The show elevates itself beyond genre limitations, with elements of mystery and science fiction.

What We Like

  • Combines a slice of life story with mystery and sci-fi.
  • It's funny, if a bit bizarre.

What We Don't Like

  • It's only available on one platform.

7. Best Harem Anime: High School DxD

Watch on Funimation

Rated: TV-MA
Honorable mentions: Date a Live, Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches, Trinity Seven, Love Hina, Tenchi Muyo!

Best Harem Anime: High School DxD

High School DxD is a harem anime with heavy fantasy elements, some romantic beats, and a tremendous amount of fan service. This show earns its TV-MA rating with an endless stream of violence and nudity, so it absolutely isn't for children. Because of the rating on this series, if you access it through Crunchyroll, you must register for the site and verify your age.

It takes the title of best harem anime because it doesn't shy away from what fans of the genre want. It doesn't get too deep into the harem aspect until after the first season. However, it carries you through with a legitimately interesting plot and story.

What We Like

  • Tremendous amounts of fan service.
  • Legitimately interesting plot.

What We Don't Like

  • Not appropriate for younger viewers.

8. Best Comedy Anime: Gintama

Rated: TV-14
Honorable mentions: The Devil is a Part Timer, Space Brothers, Ghost Stories (Dub), Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, Hinamatsuri, Excel Saga

Watch on Funimation

Best Comedy Anime: Gintama

Comedy is a hard nut to crack when it comes to anime. The funniest series out there rely on Japanese puns that don't translate. A prime example is Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo, which Western audiences know for its surrealist, nonsensical humor. In the original Japanese, the humor was primarily based on puns and double-talk.

Ghost Story is another example where the humor was introduced almost entirely in the dub. The original played the material straight, while the dub is one of the most hilarious anime series of all time.

Gintama straddles a fine line where some jokes may be lost on Western audiences. Still, the show manages to be legitimately funny, which is why it takes the title of best comedy anime. Some of that comes from jokes that land despite the language barrier. The show also has absurdist humor and sight gags that work regardless of your frame of reference.

What We Like

  • The dub is legitimately funny.
  • Absurdist humor and sight gags.

What We Don't Like

  • Some jokes may be lost on Western audiences.

9. Best Dubbed Anime: Cowboy Bebop

Watch on Funimation

Rated: TV-MA
Honorable mentions: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Berserk, Baccano!

Best Dubbed Anime: Cowboy Bebop

Some purists only watch anime in Japanese based on the logic that Japanese voice acting is superior to the English voice acting featured in anime dubs. There is some truth to that, as there are many awful dubs out there. Still, other shows feature fantastic English voice work.

The best anime dub of all time is Cowboy Bebop. Although the Japanese voice acting is top-notch, the English cast knocks it out of the park. This is one of the first great anime dubs, coming in a time where most were mediocre. While the main voice actors do great work, Steve Blum's Spike, in particular, fits the character perfectly. See you, space cowboy.

What We Like

  • Fantastic English voice work.
  • It's one of the classics.
  • Likable characters.

What We Don't Like

  • Dated visuals.

10. Best Anime Movie: Akira

Rated: R
Honorable mentions: Ghost in the Shell, Paprika, Jin-Roh

Watch on Funimation

Best Anime Movie: Akira

Akira isn't only a great anime movie, and it isn't only great animation, even though it's both of those. It's a great movie, full stop.

There are a ton of great anime movies, and more come out every year. Akira still stands as a high watermark. It's a beautiful film to watch, with tremendous attention to detail, a cool story, and fantastic, action-packed animation sequences.

What We Like

  • Beautiful visuals.
  • A cool story.
  • Fantastic action-packed sequences.

What We Don't Like

  • A convoluted plot.
  • It earns its R rating.

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