Some storylines and characters are just so wonderful that you start dreading the idea that your favourite anime is coming to an end every time you watch the credits roll down. Most anime series suffer this fate after their first season, and as a fan, the battle is real when you’re left with a sour feeling and strive hard to find a new series to replace it. Other programmes, on the other hand, continue to provide season after season. There’s a reason why the first thing that springs to mind when someone mentions “anime” is probably “Sailor Moon” or “Dragon Ball Z.” There are certainly some more excellent programmes that are even better than these. However, the impact of these long-running anime has been much greater than that of any other.
While many anime series endure just one or two seasons, some continue indefinitely (almost). And now that we live in a world where anime is readily available via platforms like Crunchyroll, Netflix, and a few others, gone are the days when we had to wait for a new season to air the following day or even a week. Binging has become a way of life, and if you consider yourself a “serial anime binger,” I challenge you to watch these almost endless anime programmes. The anime programmes on this list are among the finest long-running anime series available, and they have been sorted chronologically by episode count. Many of these longest anime series are available on Netflix, Crunchyroll, or Hulu.
#24. Haikyuu!! (60 Episodes)
‘Haikyuu!!’ is a sports anime based on a tale published in the well-known Shounen Jump magazine. It has classic Shounen clichés and sports anime themes like as the emergence of an underdog, persistence, and, of course, team spirit.
But it’s the way ‘Haikyuu!!’ implements these ideas via its pace that truly stands out. The characters are relatively novice volleyball players in the start, and they are far from the best. These characters do not have any abrupt skill level-ups over the whole series. The programme takes you on a very subtle trip through the inspirational journey of a few young guys who create a name for themselves in the high-school volleyball scene.
#23. Beelzebub (60 Episodes)
To grasp the context of most jokes in most comedy anime, you either have to speak Japanese or force yourself to laugh at their absurdity. However, the quirkiness of its wonderful characters in ‘Beelzebub‘can easily make you laugh out loud. Almost every scenario or character that might have been funny in another anime turns out to be outright hilarious in this one. Among the funniest anime programmes of all time, ‘Beelzebub’ is right up there with ‘Gintama.’
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is the 22nd instalment in the Fullmetal Alchemist series (64 Episodes)
#22. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (64 Episodes)
If you want a long-running anime with no fillers, ‘Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood’ is your best bet. Adaptations often fail to live up to the standards of their source material, owing to the fact that many anime producers treat the original work as an afterthought. ‘Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood‘demonstrates how remaining true to the original material can yield fantastic outcomes. Without a question, it earns the distinction of one of the greatest anime ever made by succeeding in almost every area and seldom allowing for anything that might be called a fault.
#21. Monster (74 Episodes)
‘Monster’ is a fantastic thriller anime that deals with some very unpleasant topics including a sociopath’s psychological behaviour, societal indoctrination, and the worth of human life. It depicts them in the most frightening, but fascinating, and realistic manner imaginable. It has a slow-burning pace that gradually develops on you and captivates you with precisely placed moments of suspense, wonder, and horror. Watching a fantastic anime like this one is a wonderful pleasure, and the fact that it spans 74 episodes just adds to the challenge.
#20. Hajime no Ippo (75 Episodes)
Even if you are not a fan of individuals having their brains bashed in every day, I would suggest ‘Hajime no Ippo‘ to you. Apart from the incredible boxing action, this anime includes a little bit of everything, from humour to romance to a lot of inspirational moments. Now, as predictable as the plot may seem, ‘Hajime no Ippo’ features the most lovable and unique characters, all of them are so well-developed that by the conclusion of the programme, you’ll be cheering for at least one of them. Crunchyroll has an English dubbed version of ‘Hajime no Ippo’ available.
#19. Slam Dunk (101 Episodes)
‘Slam Dunk‘ is among the oldest anime on our list, and it was created with the goal of popularising basketball in Japan, which was almost unknown at the time. If you’re a real basketball enthusiast hoping to learn some new insane moves from this programme that you can brag about on the court, you’ll be somewhat disappointed. There’s a lot of basketball action in this game, and it may even encourage you to start shooting baskets yourself. But, above all, it emphasises the importance of cooperation and the devotion of the connections that develop on the court.
18. Yu Yu Hakusho (112 Episodes)
If you don’t like combat anime, even if it has a good storey, then “Yuu Yuu Hakusho” is not for you. However, if you like well-made action programmes with original creative concepts, a decent narrative, and a nice sense of humour, this is your best option.
The characters in ‘Yuu Yuu Hakusho‘ seem one-dimensional at first sight, with clichéd Shounen characters. However, as the programme progresses, all of these characters grow in strength and ultimately become the main reason for watching the anime. It has almost 100 episodes, yet unlike many other long-running anime, it manages to maintain its freshness till the very end.
#17. Hunter x Hunter (148 Episodes)
With its excellent characterisation, rich and fascinating narrative, and beautiful world-building, ‘Hunter x Hunter‘is an example of the best writing in the world of Shounen. All of this is woven into an engaging storey that holds the audience’s attention for long periods of time. ‘Hunter x Hunter’ spans 148 episodes and explores a variety of topics including war, crime, politics, survival, and traditional Shounen combat competitions.
What’s most perplexing about it is how smoothly it shifts from bright to darker tones throughout the narrative. With no filler episodes, ‘Hunter x Hunter’ keeps things intriguing with its sense of surprise and maintains its pace with its excellent pacing. Simply stated, ‘Hunter x Hunter‘is one of the most intellectual Shounen anime series out now, and there is something that sets it apart from the others.
#16. Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure (152 Episodes)
When you watch anime, you want to have a good time and be entertained. You will not be disappointed if you watch ‘JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure‘ for nothing except pure, unadulterated pleasure, and you may even be able to stick with it for the whole 152-episode duration. It features a straightforward narrative that is mostly developed via its character interactions.
One thing that strikes out about the programme is that, unlike other Shounen anime, it does not feature lengthy and annoying character training arcs, and even the combat sequences are never drawn out. The anime, for the most part, does not take itself too seriously, and those short times when it does, you will undoubtedly be on the edge of your seat. Its vintage soundtrack and 1980s artwork are a breath of fresh air, and this anime is well worth your time with no fanservice, odd narrative twists, or cheap comedy.
#15. Dragon Ball (153 Episodes)
‘Dragon Ball’ is one of the oldest anime on our list, and it is probably the most popular anime in both the West and East. It’s one of the first few programmes to establish what we now refer to as standard Shounen tropes. Traditional stereotypes were non-existent at the time, thus the primary character Goku was seen as much more than one-dimensional.
It begins with a lighthearted tone and a series of funny events centred on Goku the child. Much later, it starts to take on a more serious tone, laying the groundwork for the sequel, ‘Dragon Ball Z.’ Its animation is a little antiquated, but after a time you’ll grow accustomed to it. Finally, although ‘Dragon Ball’ is a masterpiece in its own right, it is often eclipsed by its much more popular and enjoyable sequel. If you’re interested in learning more about the Dragon Ball series, here is the best place to start.
#14. The Prince of Tennis (178 Episodes)
‘Prince of Tennis,’ which debuted in 2001, is one of the smaller anime on our list. The majority of sports anime follows an underdog who fights his way to the top. But ‘Prince of Tennis’ does something quite different, focusing from the start on a guy who is already a fantastic tennis player. He matures from an arrogant immature adolescent to a great athlete who begins to appreciate all of his opponents.
For its time, the anime’s visuals is very excellent, and the lively soundtrack truly sets the tone for the fierce tennis matches. The greatest thing about this programme is that the results of its tennis matches are generally unexpected, since even the heroes lose sometimes. Overall, ‘Prince of Tennis’ is unlike other realistic sports anime in that it constantly violates the rules of physics. Nonetheless, it’s a thrilling journey with its own ups and downs.
#13. Astro Boy (193 Episodes)
The only reason ‘Astro Boy’ is on our list is because when it originally aired in 1963, it changed the whole world of American cartoons. It’s essentially a charming series with a lot of satirical humour that appealed to both adolescents and children at the time. ‘Astro Boy’ is an anime that will be a favourite of many generations of children in the future, and if you were a child who watched it, this one may bring back some happy childhood memories.
#12. Inuyasha (193 Episodes)
The anime series ‘Inuyasha’ is a complicated one that has sparked a lot of debate in the anime world. It’s considered by some to be the greatest long-running romantic anime ever made, and it’s nothing short of a masterpiece. While for some, it was wonderful once upon a time, its worth has diminished now that the world is aware of so many other “better” anime programmes. There’s love, sex, horror, action, and a lot of drama in this series. It is often chastised for its lack of a cohesive narrative. However, the action, romance, and amazing animation prevent it from being a mediocre programme in the end. This is a highly recommended programme for any fantasy anime fans, and it is available in English on Viz.
#11. Sailor Moon (200 Episodes)
Another classic that may bring back fond childhood memories for today’s adult anime fans is ‘Sailor Moon.’ The anime’s animation and soundtrack now seem to be much too basic, but it is the narrative of the anime that makes it remarkable even today.
It depicts love relationships that are so genuine and serious that they put virtually all contemporary Shoujo anime to shame. I cannot recommend this show enough to anybody who wants a taste of what a traditional Shoujo looks like, thanks to its great characters and a well-developed storyline that centres on the emotional conflicts between good and evil.
#10. Katekyo Hitman Reborn (203 Episodes)
For the first 25 episodes, ‘Katekyo Hitman Reborn! ‘Is just a joke anime that is entertaining to watch despite its lack of plot? However, following these initial episodes, the narrative picks up and the anime takes on a serious tone, making every minute of it worthwhile to watch. The greatest part of the anime is seeing nearly all of the one-dimensional characters mature into something far greater than they were at the start. Despite its mediocre animation quality, ‘Katekyo Hitman Reborn!’ stands out because of its incredible concept, which keeps you engrossed throughout the whole film.
#9. Naruto (220 Episodes)
The manga from which ‘Naruto‘was based contains almost 10,000 pages. As a result, it’s no wonder that it’s one of the most popular anime series of all time. Now, this isn’t the kind of programme that will immediately appeal to you. But if you stay around for a long, its three distinct personalities will begin to grow on you. It retains its slapstick comedic aspects while still portraying a profoundly compelling narrative with the most ideal pace. Most fans who watched it when it originally came out will remember how wonderful it was to grow up alongside Sasuke, Sakura, and Naruto over the course of five years.
#8. Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters (224 Episodes)
Some critics may argue that ‘Yu Gi Oh‘ is just another anime about card games, but they overlook how well the show develops its characters over the course of its 224 episodes. It’s also fascinating to observe how it depicts the intricacies of the individuals’ relationships and incorporates a whole Egyptian setting into the narrative. Just remember that if you want to have a better grasp of what it’s about, you should watch it with the original Japanese soundtrack.
#7. Pokemon (276 Episodes)
‘Pokemon’ is a fantastic anime that has taken the animation industry by storm. It was not only recognised as an anime a few years after its debut, but also for its complete franchise, which encompassed everything from toys to games to trading cards. The narrative of ‘Pokemon’ is as basic as it gets, yet it is precisely this simplicity that appeals to a younger audience. With a total of 276 episodes, the original series came to an end, but ‘Pokemon‘is still going strong with many new variations.
#6. Dragon Ball Z (291 Episodes)
In a word, ‘Dragon Ball Z‘is about carrying the weight of a whole world on your shoulders, and failing would mean losing everything you’ve ever stood for. If you’re a lover of fighting anime and haven’t watched “Dragon Ball Z,” you’re missing out on a wonderful experience that everyone should enjoy at least once.
It’s easy to dismiss the film’s whole plot as cliched, and the combat sequences are tedious. However, the experience that anime is able to provide to the majority of its younger male viewers is just unrivalled. Finally, ‘Dragon Ball Z’ is just an epic Shounen anime that will almost certainly never die. You should watch it on Funimation if you’re one of the few people who hasn’t watched it yet.
#5. Fairy Tale (317 Episodes)
All of the concepts shown in typical Shounen anime are thrown out the window in ‘Fairy Tail.’ It features quick and snappy combat sequences, narrative arcs that contain a little bit of everything, and characters that do not reveal their fight techniques during fights, unlike others of its type. It is essentially the polar antithesis of everything that defines an anime Shounen, which is presumably why people either adore it or find it dull. Even so, any Shounen fan who enjoys long-running anime should give this one a chance.
#4. Bleach (366 Episodes)
‘Bleach,’ ‘Naruto,’ and ‘One Piece’ are three anime series that have generated unending arguments among fans who attempt to argue that their favourite is the greatest anime ever produced. With all three series, there is genuine fandom, but what sets ‘Bleach‘apart is its huge and enthralling world. Because of the fantastic world it depicts, the narrative is much unexpected, and you can never be sure what will happen next. So, disregard all of the bad reviews of the so-called “Narutards” and give this one a chance at least once.
#3. Gintama (367 Episodes)
In a medium where humour has never been particularly strong due to cultural differences between the West and Japan, ‘Gintama‘ stands out by demonstrating that comedy in anime is far from dead. It defies all expectations and, over time, has established itself as one of the best comedy programmes on television. ‘Gintama’ is a samurai anime with a wide range of appeal in terms of humour, and it remains the greatest of its type to this day. If you haven’t already watched it, you should certainly do it on Funimation.
#2. Naruto Shippuden (500 Episodes)
The long-running anime ‘Naruto’ returned with ‘Naruto Shippuden‘ after an infinite amount of fillers in its initial run, and this time, with even longer duration! The greatest thing about this rebooted version of the old series is that it retains almost all of the elements that made the first season so memorable. Apart from that, ‘Shippuden’ has the same cast of characters, but with somewhat more mature characteristics. ‘Naruto’ was a fantastic anime, but it’s the darkness and depth of tone in ‘Shippuden’ that made it so enjoyable in its own right.
#1. One Piece (893 Episodes)
‘One Piece’ has been operating for almost two decades and shows no signs of slowing down. It has a sizable cult following and has outperformed the four major Shounen series in terms of ratings. Because the programme contains almost 900 episodes, anybody considering binge-watching it should think carefully.
Those who have been following it from the beginning say that it has been an incredible journey. ‘One Piece‘isn’t a masterpiece, and it doesn’t do anything new, but it is Shounen at its finest, with its varied fights, well-rounded characters, and intriguing storyline. You may start watching it on Crunchyroll if you believe you’ll be able to keep up with it.