Production I.G has always ensured that all of its anime are treated well and are able to serve justice to their source material. Even if you go back to their earlier productions such as ‘Ghost in the Shell’, you’ll notice that every aspect of it is timeless and the way it has been executed even inspires many western filmmakers of today. Even for modern-day manga adaptations like ‘Attack on Titan‘ and ‘Psycho Pass‘, Production I.G brings in a very distinctive style that is enough to satisfy even the ones who have gone through the unique illustrations of the manga.
With over 300 anime titles under their name now, Production I.G is open to experiment with a wide array of genres from shounen to seinen to even shoujo. Despite this, they are able to maintain a constant quality standard that proves how versatile they are with their works. Considering many of their series are now amongst the best anime out there, it is quite challenging to list down the best ones. But still, we’ve reduced their enormous library to a mere list of just 13 shows to make things a little easier for you. All the anime mentioned below are regarded as all-time greats and the ones you haven’t seen out of these deserve to be right at the top of your anime watch-list.
13. Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (2002-2003)
‘Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex‘ follows the exact same story as its original film with the only difference being that it’s a 26-episode series. What makes this series special is how it divides itself into two different sections to make sure that the viewers get a complete understanding of what’s being portrayed. It has a “Stand Alone” part that solely tends to focus on the activities of Section 9 of investigators and their missions; while its “Complex” section brings in the main protagonist “The Laughing Man” into the story. Overall, it’s a very well thought out series that is even better than the original film in some ways.
12. Guilty Crown (2011-2012)
‘Guilty Crown‘ has a story that covers way too many things at once, so it may not exactly be as good a shows like ‘Ghost in the Shell’. But its animation is far better than most of Production I.G’s works. From the detailing of the characters to the stunning colors of the backgrounds, everything in the anime has been properly laid out. And surprisingly, even its CGI is far better than most anime shows out there. Directed by Tetsuro Araki, who is famously known for his work in ‘Death Note’, this show is worth checking out.
11. Attack on Titan (2013)
‘Attack on Titan’ is based on the illustrations of the best selling manga that goes by the same name. Set in a post-apocalyptic world, it tells the story of the last few humans who live behind giant walls to protect themselves from giant monstrous creatures known as Titans. For over a century, humans are able to live in peace when one day a Colossal Titan appears and starts breaking the walls. As the Titans near towards the human civilization, a bunch of brave warriors known as Survey Cops set out to fight them and kill all of them before they cause any further damage. One of these warriors is the main protagonist Eren Yeager who has dreamt of killing Titans ever since he was a child.
10. xxxHolic (2006)
‘xxxHolic’ is more of a thought-provoking psychological thriller that follows an episodic format. Each episode brings in a different story that revolves around Kimihiro Watanuki who has the unique ability to see ghosts. Getting chased by spirits one day, he ends up meeting Yuuko Ichihara who is a witch. Yuuko tells him that she will help him get rid of his ability only if he promises to work at her shop. Yuuko agrees and later, each episode brings in a new customer who comes to the shop to get his/her wishes granted by the witch.
9. Welcome to the Ballroom (2017)
In the past, we’ve seen several anime shows about music and sports but dance is something that most anime studios have stayed away from. But Production I.G takes a leap here and brings in an anime that’s all about ballroom dancing. What’s impressive is how the Studio portrays the dance form with a whole lot of intensity that almost makes you believe that it’s a sport in itself. Its story is quite simple. A boy named Tatara is often the victim of bullying. One day, while his bullies extort him, a ballroom teacher steps in to save him and this is what leads him to attend his first lesson. The more he gets himself involved in the dance form, the more he realizes that it might be his life’s true calling.
8. Ace of Diamond (2013-2015)
‘Ace of Diamond’ fulfills almost everything that a shounen fan expects from a sports anime. The protagonist, Eijun Sawamura fails to make something out of his middle school baseball career but he does end up making a lot of friends. After reaching high school, Eijun gets contacted by an Elite school that wants him on their team because of his unique pitching style. He decides to go for it after his friends encourage him but before he gets to be the Ace pitcher, he must complete with three other talented pitchers who have their eyes on the “Ace” as well.
7. Kuroko no Basket (2012)
With anime like ‘Ace of Diamond’ and ‘Kuroko no Basket‘, it seems like Production I.G has mastered sports anime. If you’ve been into basketball, then the stylistic sports action of this anime will keep you glued to your screen. Even if you’re not a basketball fan, this anime has other interesting elements as well that’ll help you enjoy it. Comparing this with ‘Slam Dunk’ I would say that ‘Slam Dunk’ is more well-rounded as it balances out the drama with the sport. But if we solely consider the depiction of basketball matches and the overall animation quality, ‘Kuroko no Basket’ is certainly a better show. So if that’s what you’re into, then you should check it out on Netflix.
6. Psycho-Pass (2012-2013)
‘Psycho Pass‘ is set in the near future where a person’s present state of mind can be used for determining if he or she is capable of committing a crime or not by using the “Psycho Pass”. Once the “Crime Coefficient Index” of a person crosses a threshold, he/she is pursued by the police and justice is restored. Though a little slow in the beginning, ‘Psycho Pass’ is a masterpiece in itself. If you’re into thought-provoking shows that deeply indulge in human psychology, then this one is the perfect binge-worthy anime for you.
Read More: Best Anime Opening Themes
5. Usagi Drop (2011)
Unlike most other anime on this list ‘Usagi Drop‘ is neither psychological nor does it involve any form of action. It is just a simple heartwarming slice-of-life anime that will eventually teach you a thing or two about relationships. In its short span of 11 episodes, it tells the story of a 30-year-old man named Daikichi who ends up adopting the illegitimate daughter of his grandfather. He takes the little girl, Rin, home with him despite his family’s protests against his decision. Soon, his old aimless life gets filled with responsibilities that he was never aware of but all of this eventually teaches him the joy of experiencing fatherhood.
Read More: Best A-1 Pictures Anime
4. Haikyuu (2014)
As I mentioned earlier, Production I.G never disappoints with its sports anime and another great example of this is ‘Haikyuu!!‘. It’s about a young high school boy named Shouyou Hinata who loves the sport of volleyball. But his dreams of becoming the best are shattered by the “King of the Court” Tobio Kageyama who brutally defeats his team. Determined to get back at him, Shouyou signs up for the Karasuno high school volleyball club but to his surprise, he discovers that Tobio has done the same.
Read More: Best Madhouse Anime
3. Ghost in the Shell (1995)
‘Ghost in the Shell’ is set in the year 2029 and technology has taken giant leaps. Cybernetics now allow people to replace their entire bodies and organs with robotic elements. But soon, a hacker named “The Puppetmaster” starts to take over people’s bodies and makes them commit crimes by implanting false memories in their brains. Major Makoto Kusanagi, who works for the Public Security Section 9, has a full cyborg body. He is assigned the task of hunting down the hacker along with two of his allies. But the closer he gets to catching “The Puppetmaster”, the more he’s exposed to questions that make him rethink about his own identity. ‘Ghost in the Shell’ is a classic anime film that has even inspired Hollywood films like ‘The Matrix‘. If getting into philosophical discussions about the human soul and the meaning of life is your thing, then you should definitely watch this film.
Read More: Best Studio Bones Anime
2. Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion (1997)
The original TV series of ‘Neon Genesis Evangelion‘ ended quite abruptly. After the protests of the fans, a film titled ‘Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion’ was released to bring in a proper conclusion to the anime. For a while, the mecha series was held in high regard by fans but because of its horrible ending, the series began to receive hatred from fans. This is when the 45-minute movies restored its stature as a masterpiece by combining classic mecha fights with its emotional and psychological narrative. If you have not seen the whole series yet, now would be the best time to watch it on Netflix since it is starting to go viral all over again.
Read More: Best Kyoto Animation Anime
1. FLCL (2000-2001)
Just when a sixth-grader named Naota Nandaba was starting to get sick of his ordinary life, he meets the pink-haired psychopath Haruko Haruhara. His first encounter itself with this Vespa-riding bass guitar-wielding girl turns into a complete disaster. Before he knows it, he finds himself being dragged into a huge battle that determines the future of the entire universe. With its zany art style and insane slapstick humor, ‘FLCL’ is surely one of a kind.
Read More: Best Sunrise Anime