Fantasy is a pretty common genre for anime. In fact, there might be more than you could ever watch in a lifetime. So that’s why I’m going to save you all the trouble and give you my choices for the top 5 fantasy anime to watch before you kick the bucket.
5. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba
To start this list off: at 5th place, we’ve got Demon Slayer! Or as it’s known in Japan: Kimetsu no Yaiba (“Blade of Demon Destruction”)!
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba is the anime adaptation of the manga series by Koyoharu Gotouge. The manga itself ran for a respectable 23 volumes beginning in February 2016 before ending in May 2020. The anime though ran for a single 26-episode season in 2019, and is getting a feature-length anime film in October 2020. This is one of the rare cases in which an anime completely outdoes the manga it was based on, and it shows.
The story of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba centers around Tanjiro Kamado and his little sister Nezuko Kamado, and boy is it a dark one. To start with, Tanjiro’s entire family save for Nezuko is slaughtered by demons, and poor Nezuko is herself turned into one vampire-style. Fortunately, Nezuko manages to keep her head and not kill Tanjiro for that delicious human blood, and prove that she can stay human even if it’s just in her own mind. Thus begins their journey to restore Nezuko’s humanity, while also keeping the local demon hunters from just offing Nezuko on sight.
And of course, no anime would complete without music. Demon Slayer completely outdoes itself in that regard. The ending in particular is spine-tingling. Listen for yourself:
So yeah, if you want a dark and tragic tale about slaying vampiric demons interspersed with light-hearted comedy, look no further than Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, now free on Crunchyroll.
4. Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic
At 4th place, we have Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic!
Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic is based on the manga of the same name by Shinobu Ohtaka. The manga series itself ran up to a whopping 37 volumes from June 2009 to October 2017, which should give you an idea of just how popular it is. And yet, the anime somehow managed to outdo even the manga. The anime ran for 2 full-length 25-episode seasons from October 2012-March 2014 for a total of 50 episodes, which should give you plenty of content to enjoy for these trying times.
The story of Magi begins with Alibaba Saluja: an impoverished young man who dreams of journeying into the nearby dungeon to find his fortune. Sensible concerns like wanting to die however, keep him from fulfilling this dream. That is, until the day a boy named Aladdin and his magic djinn-summoning flute disturbs his humdrum of a life. Together with the newly-freed slave girl Morgiana, the 3 of them go on a world-spanning adventure beyond their wildest dreams…and their darkest nightmares.
And then, you’ve got the music. While not quite on the level of Demon Slayer, Magi still has some pretty catchy tunes. In particular is this one from the second ending of the first season:
So yeah, if you’re looking for a good-sized shonen adventure set in a world heavily inspired by Arabian Nights, look no further than Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic. It’s perfectly free on Crunchyroll, so catch it there.
3. Mob Psycho 100
Here at 3rd place, we’ve got the not-so-special but can be what it wants to be anime series: Mob Psycho 100!
If you’re thinking Mob Psycho 100‘s art style looks familiar, you’re not alone. The original 16-volume manga series was created by One: the same mangaka responsible for the hit series One-Punch Man. This pedigree alone should already have you hyped for the anime. Said anime ran for 25 episodes plus 2 OVAs from July 2016 to April 2019, giving you a fair chunk of content to enjoy. And believe, you’ll enjoy this one.
The story of Mob Psycho 100 follows Shigeo Kageyama, known more commonly as “Mob” (Japanese term for “NPC”) due to how little a presence he has. This NPC though has a secret: he’s the most powerful psychic on the planet. However, he doesn’t think much of it, and has little use for it in his normal life. And quite honestly, he’s much too nice to use it on anybody. It’s such a shame that not everyone else is just as nice.
And last but not least, Mob Psycho 100 has some surprisingly good music to go with watching Mob go wild. Listen for yourself:
So yeah, if you’re looking for a great shonen series by the creator of One-Punch Man, look no further than Mob Psycho 100. Catch it free on Crunchyroll.
2. The Ancient Magus’ Bride
Coming up in a close 2nd place, we’ve got The Ancient Magus’ Bride!
The Ancient Magus’ Bride is the anime adaptation of Kore Yamazaki’s manga of the same name. The manga began in November 2013, and is still ongoing at 13 volumes so far. The anime itself ran for 24 episodes from October 2017 to November 2018. However, there was also a 3-episode OVA series called The Ancient Magus’ Bride: Those Awaiting a Star that ran in August 2016, so there’s quite a bit of content to peruse. Best of all, since the manga isn’t over yet, there’s hope for a future anime sequel series.
The story of The Ancient Magus’ Bride follows Chise Hatori: a girl born with red hair and green eyes…in Japan. Yeah, bully magnet doesn’t even begin to describe her. Add in the fact that she can see spirits, and those spirits not only see her back but also would like to nom on her until she’s all gone. Poor Chise is about to just end it all when a stranger approaches her with an offer to sell herself into slavery, which she agrees to just to feel cared for. Then though, right there on the auction block, a strange figure with a mutated deer’s skull for a head walks right up, buys her, and then declares her to be his bride. It only gets stranger from there.
I know all of these anime I’ve been listing have some good music, but The Ancient Magus’ Bride really blows it away here. You don’t believe me? Listen to the 1st opening yourself:
So yeah, if you’re looking for a dark urban fantasy story version of Beauty and the Beast, look no further than The Ancient Magus’ Bride. Catch it for free on Crunchyroll.
1. Fullmetal Alchemist
And now at last, at 1st place, we have the eternal classic: Fullmetal Alchemist!
Fullmetal Alchemist is the award-winning anime adaptation of Hiromu Arakawa’s manga of the same name. The fact that said manga ran for 27 volumes should tell you how popular it is, but wait till you hear about the anime. Well, anime in the plural actually. There are in fact, 2 separate series: Fullmetal Alchemist (2003), and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (2009). The former features an original storyline since it was made before the manga finished, while the latter stays true to the manga. Both are quite good though, and deserve to be watched.
The story of Fullmetal Alchemist follows Edward and Alphonse Elric: 2 brothers who are gifted in the local magic system, known as “alchemy”. All the alchemy in the world though isn’t enough to save their mother from dying of illness. So of course, they try to bring her back using that same alchemy. And inevitably, something goes horribly wrong. Edward loses his right arm and left leg, and Alphonse loses his entire body, only having his soul saved by Ed having he infused it into a handy suit of armor nearby. Now the quest for these 2 brothers to restore their old bodies begins in earnest.
Need I say it? Music! There’s so much of it and it’s all so good that’s it’s difficult to pick the best one, but I’ll do my best with the 2nd opening of Brotherhood:
If you’ve somehow managed to not hear of Fullmetal Alchemist at all, I strongly urge you to watch it. Brotherhood can be seen for free on Crunchyroll, and Crunchyroll even has the movies for the 2003 series.