Some stories and the characters are simply so amazing that every time you see the credits rolling down, you start dreading the fact that your favorite anime has come to an end. Most anime meet this fate right after its first season and as a fan, the struggle is real when you are left with a bitter feeling where you try hard to look for a new series that could replace it. But then you have other shows that keep giving you season after season. Now there’s surely a reason why when someone says “anime”, the first thing that comes to your mind is probably ‘Sailor Moon‘ or ‘Dragon Ball Z.’ There are some other great shows as well that are probably even better than these. But the effect of these long-running anime has been far more influential than any others out there.
While many anime just come and go with one or two seasons, some last forever (almost). And now that we live in a world where anime is easily accessible using platforms like Crunchyroll, Netflix and a few others, gone are the days when we would have to patiently wait for the next day or even a week to watch a whole new season. Binging is now sort of lifestyle and if you consider yourself to be one “serial anime binger,” then I dare you to watch these almost never-ending anime shows. The anime shows in the list below are one of the best long-running anime out there and they have been ranked chronologically based on the number of episodes they have. You can watch several of these longest anime series on Netflix, Crunchyroll or Hulu.
24. Haikyuu!! (60 Episodes)
‘Haikyuu!!’ is a sports anime that has been adapted from a story published in the very well known Shounen Jump. It involves the most typical Shounen stereotypes and has commonly used sports anime themes like the rise of an underdog, perseverance and of course team spirit.
But what really stands out about ‘Haikyuu!!‘ is how perfectly it executes these themes through its pacing. In the beginning, the protagonists are relatively inexperienced volleyball players and are extremely far from being the best. Not even once in the entire span of the series do these characters go through sudden level-ups in terms of their skills. Very subtly the show takes you through an inspiring journey of a few young boys who make a name for themselves in the whole high-school volleyball scene. You can stream the anime on Crunchyroll.
Read More: Best Sports Anime
23. Beelzebub (60 Episodes)
In the case of most comedy anime, you either have to Japanese to understand the context of most jokes or you simply have to force yourself to laugh at their silliness. But ‘Beelzebub‘ will make you laugh out loud with ease through the eccentricity of its amazing characters. Pretty much any situation or character that would’ve been normally played out in some other anime, turns out to be downright hilarious in this one. ‘Beelzebub’ is pretty much up there with ‘Gintama‘ amongst the funniest anime shows of all time. The episodes are accessible for streaming on VRV.
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22. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (64 Episodes)
If you’re looking for a long-running anime that has absolutely no fillers at all, then ‘Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood’ is your best option. A lot of times, adaptations are not able to live to the standards of their source material and that’s mainly because a lot of anime creators keep the original work as an afterthought. ‘Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood‘ proves that staying loyal to the source material can produce some wonderful results. Undoubtedly, it takes away the title of one of the best anime out there by excelling in pretty much every aspect and rarely leaving room for anything that would be considered to be a flaw. You can stream the series on Hulu.
21. Monster (74 Episodes)
‘Monster‘ is an exceptional thriller anime that revolves around some extremely uncomfortable subjects such as the psychological behavior of a sociopath, social conditioning and the value of human life. It portrays these in the most disturbing yet engaging as well as realistic ways possible. Its pacing is more of a slow-burn that gradually grows on you and captivates you with its perfectly timed moments of anticipation followed by awe and shock. Watching a brilliant anime like this one is indeed a real treat and what makes the entire show even more daunting is the fact that it lasts for a whole span of 74 episodes.
20. Hajime no Ippo (75 Episodes)
You may not be a big fan of people getting their heads beaten up every single day, but even then I would recommend ‘Hajime no Ippo‘ to you. Apart from all the amazing boxing action that it offers, this anime has a little bit of everything from comedy to romance to a whole lot of inspiring moments. Now as predictable as its story may seem, ‘Hajime no Ippo’ has the most likable and original characters who are so well-developed that by the end of the show you’ll find yourself caring and rooting for at least one of them. You can find an English Dubbed version of ‘Hajime no Ippo’ on Crunchyroll.
19. Slam Dunk (101 Episodes)
‘Slam Dunk‘ is one of the oldest anime on this list and was initially released with the motive of popularizing the sport of basketball in Japan as it was non-existent back in the day. If you’re a true basketball fan and you hope to learn some new crazy moves out of this show that so you can boast of on the court yourself, then you will be slightly disappointed. It does have a lot of basketball action that might even inspire you to start shooting hoops yourself. But more than that, its primary focus goes on the value of teamwork and the loyalty of the relationships that flourish on the court. You can stream the anime here.
18. Yu Yu Hakusho (112 Episodes)
If you are not at all into fighting anime, even the ones with decent stories, then ‘Yuu Yuu Hakusho’ is not for you. But if you enjoy well-constructed action shows that have unique inventive ideas, an above-average story and a good sense of humor, then this one is your best bet.
Upon first glance, the characters of ‘Yuu Yuu Hakusho‘ seem to be one-dimensional with cliched Shounen characters. But throughout the span of the show, as all of these characters gradually get stronger and eventually become the primary reason why you watch the anime. It does have over 100 episodes but unlike many other long-running anime, it manages to stay fresh all the way till the end. You can stream the series on Funimation.
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17. Hunter x Hunter (148 Episodes)
‘Hunter x Hunter‘ is an example of the finest writing in the world of Shounen with its perfect characterization, deep and engaging story, and stunning world-building. All of this is crafted into an interesting tale that captivates its audience for lengthy marathons. Throughout its span of 148 episodes, ‘Hunter x Hunter’ juggles between various themes such as war, crime, politics, survival and also the typical Shounen fight tournaments.
What’s really baffling about it is how it subtly transitions from light tones to heavier dark tones in its story. With absolutely no filler episodes, ‘Hunter x Hunter’ maintains its momentum with its perfect pacing and keeps things very interesting with its sense of unpredictability. To put it simply, ‘Hunter x Hunter‘ is one of the most intelligent Shounen anime out there and there is something that separates it from all the others of its category. The popular anime is available on VRV.
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16. Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure (152 Episodes)
When you’re watching an anime, you ultimately look for fun and entertainment. If you watch ‘JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure‘ for nothing but pure unadulterated fun, then you certainly will not be disappointed and you might even be able to stick with it throughout its runtime of 152 episodes. It has a very simple straight forward story that mainly expands through its character dynamics.
One thing that really stands about the show is that unlike other Shounen anime, it does not have long obnoxious training arcs of characters and even the fight scenes in it are never dragged for long periods of time. For the most part of it, the anime does not take itself too seriously and for those brief moments when it actually does, you will certainly find yourself at the edge of your seat. Its nostalgic music and ’80s artwork is a breath of fresh air and with no fanservice, no confusing plot twists and no cheap humor, this series is very well worth your time. All the episodes can be streamed online on Netflix.
15. Dragon Ball (153 Episodes)
‘Dragon Ball‘ is one of the oldest anime on this list and arguably the most popular anime in the West and the East. It is actually one of those first few shows that created what we call the typical Shounen archetypes of today. Back then, the main character Goku was perceived to be a lot more than one dimensional as traditional stereotypes were simply non-existent.
It starts off with a very non-serious tone alongside hilarious situations that revolve around kid Goku. Much later it begins to take a serious tone and sets the stage ready for its sequel ‘Dragon Ball Z‘. Its animation is slightly outdated but one can get used to it after a while. In the end, ‘Dragon Ball’ is a classic in its own way that is often overshadowed by its sequel that is far more popular and entertaining. If you’re thinking of getting into the Dragon Ball franchise, then this would be the best place to start. The series is available on Funimation.
Read More: Best Dragon Ball Super Spoilers
14. The Prince of Tennis (178 Episodes)
‘Prince of Tennis’ is one of the lesser-known anime on this list that premiered back in 2001. Most sports anime revolve around an underdog who struggles to make his way to the top. But ‘Prince of Tennis’ pulls off something very different and from the beginning itself, it centers a character who is already an amazing tennis player. He goes from being a cocky immature kid to becoming a fine sportsman who starts respecting all of his opponents.
The art of the anime is pretty impressive for its time and even its upbeat music really sets the tone for its intense tennis matches. The best part about this show is that the outcome of its tennis matches is usually unpredictable as even the protagonists lose from time to time. Overall, ‘Prince of Tennis’ isn’t exactly like other realistic sports anime as it defies the laws of physics all the time. Yet, it is still a fun ride with its own ups and downs. The show is accessible for streaming on Hulu.
13. Astro Boy (193 Episodes)
The sole reason why ‘Astro Boy’ is on this list is because of how it revolutionized the whole world of American cartoons when it first premiered in 1963. It’s basically a cute series that involves a lot of satire comedy which was appealing to both teenagers and kids back in the day. ‘Astro Boy’ is one anime that will be a favorite to kids of many generations in the future and if you happen to be an adult who watched it as a kid, this one can bring back some pleasant childhood memories for you. All the episodes can be streamed online on Hulu.
12. Inuyasha (193 Episodes)
‘Inuyasha‘ is a rather complex series that has given rise to a lot of conflicting opinions in the anime community. For some, it’s the best long-running romance anime out there and is nothing less than a masterpiece. While for others, it was great once upon a time but now that the world knows of so many other “better” anime shows, its value has somewhat faded. The series has love, sex, horror, action, and a whole lot of drama. It is often criticized for its lack of a coherent plot. But in the end, the action, romance and the incredible animation save it from being an average show. A highly recommended show for all fantasy anime lovers out there can watch it on Crunchyroll.
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11. Sailor Moon (200 Episodes)
‘Sailor Moon‘ is another classic that can bring back wonderful childhood memories for adult anime viewers of today. If you look at the animation and music of the anime now, all of it just looks too primitive but it is the story of the anime that makes it exceptional even today.
It presents romantic relationships that feel so realistic and serious, it puts almost all modern Shoujo anime to shame. With its amazing characters and a highly developed plot that revolves around the emotional clashes between good and evil, I cannot recommend this show enough to anyone who wants a glimpse of what a classic Shoujo looks like. You can watch the anime here.
10. Katekyo Hitman Reborn (203 Episodes)
For the first 25 episodes ‘Katekyo Hitman Reborn!‘ is nothing but a gag anime that’s fun to watch even though it lacks a storyline. But after these introductory episodes, the story kicks right in and the anime takes a serious tone which makes every moment of it worth watching. The best part of the anime is how you get to see almost all the initially one-dimensional characters grow up into something a lot more than they were in the beginning. Despite having an average animation quality, ‘Katekyo Hitman Reborn!’ sets itself apart through its amazing premise that keeps you captivated throughout its long runtime. The series is accessible for watching on Hulu.
9. Naruto (220 Episodes)
The manga ‘Naruto‘ has been adapted from has more than 10,000 pages. So, it comes as no surprise that it is one of the longest-running anime of all time. Now it is not exactly the kind of show that will be appealing to you from the beginning itself. But if you stick around for a while, it sure will start to grow on you with its three unique characters. It keeps its elements of slapstick comedy but along with that, it portrays a deeply captivating plot with the most perfect pacing. Most viewers who watched it during the time when it was first being premiered will know how magical it was to grow up with Sasuke, Sakura and Naruto over the span of 5 whole years. ‘Naruto’ is accessible for streaming on Crunchyroll.
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8. Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters (224 Episodes)
Some haters might claim that ‘Yu Gi Oh‘ is nothing but anime about card games but what they fail to notice is how amazingly it manages to develop its characters throughout its runtime of 224 episodes. It’s also interesting to see how it portrays the complexities of the relationships between the characters and brings in a whole Egyptian background to its story. Just make sure that if you want to get a deeper understanding of what it’s all about then you should definitely watch it with its original Japanese audio. You can watch the anime here.
7. Pokemon (276 Episodes)
‘Pokemon‘ is a phenomenal anime that took on the entire world of animation by storm. A few years after its release, it was not only known as an anime but for its entire franchise that included everything from toys to games to trading cards. The plot of ‘Pokemon’ is as simple as it can be but it’s this simplicity that makes it extremely appealing to the younger audience. The original series came to an end with a total of 276 episodes but even to this day, ‘Pokemon‘ is still on with several new versions of it. You can watch the show here.
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6. Dragon Ball Z (291 Episodes)
The weight of an entire planet stands on your shoulders and failure would mean losing every single thing you ever stood for; that’s ‘Dragon Ball Z‘ in a nutshell. As a fight anime fan, if you have not seen ‘Dragon Ball Z‘ yet, you are simply robbing yourself a beautiful experience that everyone should embark on at least once.
It is easy to say that its entire story is cliche and the fight scenes are a drag. But the experience that the anime is able to give to most of its young male viewers is simply irreplaceable. At the end of the day, ‘Dragon Ball Z’ is simply an epic Shounen anime that will probably never die. If you’re one of those few people who have not seen it yet, you should check it out on Funimation.
Read More: Best Dragon Ball Super Spoilers
5. Fairy Tail (317 Episodes)
‘Fairy Tail‘ takes all the ideas portrayed by most Shounen anime and throws them out of the window. Unlike others of its kind, it has short and crisp fight scenes, story arcs that have a little bit of everything and characters that do not announce their fight moves during battles. It is basically the opposite of everything that makes an anime Shounen and that’s probably the reason why one might either love it or simply find it boring. Even then, every Shounen fan who is into long-running anime must give this one a try. You can watch the show on Hulu.
Read More: Best Fairy Tales Episodes, Ranked
4. Bleach (366 Episodes)
‘Bleach‘, ‘Naruto’ and ‘One Piece’ are three anime that have sparked endless debates of comparison among their fans who try to prove that their favorite out of the three is the best anime ever made. The fanboyism is real with all three shows but what really stands out about ‘Bleach‘ is its vast enthralling universe. This great universe that it portrays makes the entire plot very unpredictable and you can never really guess what will happen next. So make sure that you ignore all the negative reviews of the so-called “Narutards” and give this one a shot at least once. The anime is accessible for streaming here.
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3. Gintama (367 Episodes)
In a medium, where comedy has never really been a strong suit because of the varying differences in the culture of the West compared to Japan, ‘Gintama‘ stands out by proving that comedy in the world of anime is not dead yet. It defies all the conventions and with time, it has managed to become one of the greatest comedy shows out there. ‘Gintama’ is a samurai anime that has very broad appeal in terms of comedy and till date, it remains to be the best of its kind. If you have not seen it yet, then you should definitely check it out on Funimation.
2. Naruto Shippuden (500 Episodes)
After an endless number of fillers in its first run, the long-running anime ‘Naruto’ returned again with ‘Naruto Shippuden‘ and this time, with an even longer runtime! The best thing about this renewed version of the original series is that it pretty much has everything that made its first run amazing. Apart from that, ‘Shippuden’ also brings in the same characters who have slightly more mature personalities. ‘Naruto’ was undoubtedly a great anime but its the darkness and depth in the tone of ‘Shippuden’ that makes it entertaining in its own unique way. You can watch the show on VRV.
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1. One Piece (893 Episodes)
‘One Piece‘ has been running since the past 20 years now and it shows no signs of slowing down. It has a huge die-hard fan following and even when it comes to its ratings, it has managed to surpass the 4 big Shounen. Anyone would have to think twice before even start binging it because the show has almost reached 900 episodes now.
But the ones who have been following it all along swear that it’s an incredibly epic ride throughout. ‘One Piece‘ is no way a masterpiece and there is nothing groundbreaking about it but it is simply Shounen at its best with its diverse battles, very well fleshed-out cast and promising plot. If you think you have the patience to keep up with it, then you can start watching it on Crunchyroll.
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