My 40 Highly Recommended Anime Titles That You Should Watch

These are some of the best anime movies and television series you should check out. Sure, there are many titles not listed that might make you say, "Hey, why haven't listed this title or that title?" My answer is, "Make up your own list. This one's mine." Enjoy.
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1.
Ghost in the Shell (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A cyborg policewoman and her partner hunt a mysterious and powerful hacker called the Puppet Master. (83 mins.)
Director: Mamoru Oshii
“ My favorite genre in anime: Cyberpunk. "Ghost in the Shell" is a much better movie than "Akira" and it had all the feel of "Blade Runner". I highly recommend all three movies (including the remake of the original); as well as the 2 seasons of the TV series. I'm curious as to how DreamWorks is going to treat this great title when they turn GITS into a live action film. ” - bsc1115
 
2.
Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
In the year 2032, Batô, a cyborg detective for the anti-terrorist unit Public Security Section 9, investigates the case of a female robot--one created solely for sexual pleasure--who slaughtered her owner. (100 mins.)
Director: Mamoru Oshii
“ Better animation than the original. The story wasn't bad either. ” - bsc1115
 
3.
Kôkaku kidôtai: Stand Alone Complex Solid State Society (2006 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A.D. 2034. It has been two years since Motoko Kusanagi left Section 9. Togusa is now the new leader of the team... (108 mins.)
Director: Kenji Kamiyama
“ The animation was not like GITS 2: Innocence". It was like the animation for the 2 TV series. The story was also rooted in the TV series as well. But worth watching nonetheless. ” - bsc1115
 
4.
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (2002 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
The futuristic adventures of a female cyborg counter intelligence agent and her support team. (24 mins.)
 
5.
Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C. 2nd GIG - Individual Eleven (2005 Video)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
The year is 2030 and an influx of refuges have effortlessly transformed themselves into a terrorist organization known as the Individual Eleven... (162 mins.)
Director: Kenji Kamiyama
 
6.
Cowboy Bebop (1998 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.0/10 X  
The futuristic misadventures and tragedies of an easygoing bounty hunter and his partners. (24 mins.)
“ Sci-Fi punk meets crime meets cool Jazz. And Cowboy Bebop weaves it altogether into the perfect story. Jaded characters with a colorful and dangerous past; trying to scratch out a living as bounty hunters. ” - bsc1115
 
7.
Cowboy Bebop: The Movie (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A terrorist explosion releases a deadly virus on the masses, and it's up the bounty-hunting Bebop crew to catch the cold-blooded culprit. (115 mins.)
“ The movie timeline takes place during the time of the TV series. Very well done too. ” - bsc1115
 
8.
Batman: Gotham Knight (2008 Video)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A collection of key events mark Bruce Wayne's life, as he journeys from beginner to Dark Knight. (75 mins.)
“ My favorite DC Comics character given really good anime treatment. ” - bsc1115
 
9.
Trinity Blood (2005 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
In a futuristic world of an unsteady truce between humans and vampires a superhuman priest battles to secure a peaceful co-existence. (30 mins.)
Director: Tomohiro Hirata
“ My 2nd favorite genre in anime: Gothic sci-fi horror mix. It's the distant future where super-powers square off against each other in a tout thriller that infuses political intrigue. ” - bsc1115
 
10.
Death Note (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A battle between the world's 2 greatest minds begins when Light Yagami finds the Death Note, a notebook with the power to kill, and decides to rid the world of criminals. (126 mins.)
Director: Shûsuke Kaneko
“ This series is really, REALLY good. What if you had the power to kill anyone in the world by simply seeing their face and writing their name down in Death's notebook? (Hence, the title, "Death Note"). What would you do with that power? Change the world for the better? Become a megalomaniac? Would you be willing to risk losing a place in Heaven? This series challenges you with all of these moral dilemmas. ” - bsc1115
 
11.
Star Blazers (1979 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
In the year 2199, a starship must make a dangerous voyage to the distant planet Iscandar and back to save Earth from an alien invasion. (22 mins.)
Director: Leiji Matsumoto
“ A Classic "Space Opera" series. A desperate mission to save Earth from annihilation. Alien forces trying to destroy mankind. Battles. Heroes. Villains. This series has it all. ” - bsc1115
 
12.
Trigun (1998 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
Vash the Stampede is the most infamous outlaw on the planet Gunsmoke and with a 60 billion double dollar price on his head the most sought after! (24 mins.)
“ If you can get past all the contorted facial expressions (the characters make) that give Trigun it's comedic flavor, this is one of the best "Space Westerns" I've ever seen. ” - bsc1115
 
13.
Trigun: Badlands Rumble (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
20 years after meddling into the bank heist of a notorious robber named Gasback, Vash the Stampede is heading towards Macca City... (90 mins.)
“ A film made set sometime during the Trigun series. Very good artwork and a really good story. ” - bsc1115
 
14.
Appleseed (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
In a utopian society created at the end of the third world war, a female warrior who has been plucked from the badlands begins to see cracks in this new facade. And what does this community have planned for the rest of humankind? (101 mins.)
“ In the same vain as Ghost in the Shell, Appleseed has a really good cyberpunk story to tell. ” - bsc1115
 
15.
Appleseed Ex Machina (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
With Brialeos convalescing after a mission, Deunan is assigned a new and remarkably familiar partner as a strange wave of terrorist attacks plague Olympus. (105 mins.)
Director: Shinji Aramaki
 
16.
Halo Legends (2010 Video)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
The universe of the Halo video game series is expanded in seven short animated films from Japan's greatest anime directors and studios. (120 mins.)
“ I don't play the Halo games but I'm familiar with the storyline. And this series of short stories is excellent. My personal favorites are "The Babysitter" and "Be Human". ” - bsc1115
 
17.
The Animatrix (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
The Animatrix is a collection of several animated short films, detailing the backstory of the "Matrix" universe, and the original war between man and machines which led to the creation of the Matrix. (100 mins.)
“ This was a really good companion video to The Matrix movies. ” - bsc1115
 
18.
Ninja Scroll (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A mysterious vagabond sets out on a journey to confront his past. Little does he know he is up against a demonic force of killers, with a ghost from his past as the leader. (94 mins.)
“ And this is my 3rd favorite anime genre: Medieval Feudal Japan. And this is the best anime movie in that genre. ” - bsc1115
 
19.
Akira (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A secret military project endangers Neo-Tokyo when it turns a biker gang member into a rampaging psychic psychopath that only two kids and a group of psychics can stop. (124 mins.)
Director: Katsuhiro Otomo
“ OK, call me crazy. But Akira leaves me like this: Visually stunning. Weak story. Yeah, I know it's on everybody's list as one of the very best anime movies ever made......but not mine. It just makes my Top 20. ” - bsc1115
 
20.
Vexille (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Japan, 2077: A female agent named Vexille is dispatched to Tokyo to investigate whether Japanese are developing robotic technology, which has been banned by the U.N. due to its potential threat to humankind. (109 mins.)
Director: Fumihiko Sori
“ The same people who made "Appleseed" also made this movie; and it's very good. ” - bsc1115
 
21.
Highlander: The Search for Vengeance (2007 Video)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
An anime continuation of the HIGHLANDER saga, following immortal Colin MacLeod's quest for revenge in the future. (85 mins.)
“ I was a big fan of The Highlander TV series. And when "Highlander: The Search for Vengeance" came out, I knew I had to see it. I'm glad I did. Good story and the same artists who made "Batman: Gotham Knight: Deadshot" made this movie as well. ” - bsc1115
 
22.
Sky Blue (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Civilization has been destroyed by war and pollution, but the survivors have built the last city of Ecoban... (86 mins.)
Director: Moon-saeng Kim
“ This movie got little fanfare when it was released and that's a shame. It's a post-environmental apocalypse story. Think: Anime meets Logan's Run. ” - bsc1115
 
23.
Sword of the Stranger (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A swordsman from a strange land is caught in a struggle between morality, righteousness, and devotion as he reluctantly agrees to take a raggedy boy and his dog to a remote, Buddhist temple. (103 mins.)
Director: Masahiro Andô
 
24.
The Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury (2004 Video)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
This story opens with the new action hero and the two other survivors of Pitch Black already caught by a giant spaceship filled with dread... (35 mins.)
Director: Peter Chung
“ A companion video to the Pitch Black movie sequel, "The Chronicles of Riddick". Wonderfully animated and a good sci-fi story. ” - bsc1115
 
25.
Vampire Hunter D (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
In a far-future time ruled by the supernatural, a young girl requests the help of a vampire hunter to... (80 mins.)
Director: Toyoo Ashida
“ Classic Sc-Fi Goth Horror story. ” - bsc1115
 
26.
Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
When a girl is abducted by a vampire, a legendary bounty hunter is hired to bring her back. (103 mins.)
“ The sequel to "Vampire Hunter D" and is a MUCH better story and more richly animated. Done by the same people who made "Highlander: The Search for Vengeance". ” - bsc1115
 
27.
Kite (1998 Mini-Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
She may be cute. She may be young. She may seem innocent and naive, but don't be fooled. She's a cold-blooded killer... (50 mins.)
Director: Yasuomi Umetsu
 
28.
Perfect Blue (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A retired pop-singer-turned-actress' sense of reality is shaken when she is stalked by an obsessed fan and seemingly a ghost of her past. (81 mins.)
Director: Satoshi Kon
“ If Alfred Hitchcock were alive today, and he wanted to make an anime film, this would be it. ” - bsc1115
 
29.
Bubblegum Crisis (1987 Mini-Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A female mercenary team, armed with unique power armor suits, battle the forces of the corrupt mega-corporation, Genom in futuristic Tokyo. (25 mins.)
“ The Classic (and in my mind, the ORIGINAL) cyberpunk story. Before Ghost in the Shell, there was Bubblegum Crisis. ” - bsc1115
 
30.
AD Police Files (1990 Mini-Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Three different, unique stories about an elite police force called the AD Police. (121 mins.)
“ The A.D. Police was a short series of 3 parts. This was a prequel to the 1987 series "Bubblegum Crisis". ” - bsc1115
 
31.
The Professional: Golgo 13 (1983)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
An infamous hit-man becomes the target of a powerful oil tycoon after the former kills the latter's son. (95 mins.)
Director: Osamu Dezaki
“ Golgo 13 was my first exposure to "adult-themed" anime. And I gotta say: He's STILL the man after all these years. Even the TV series is edgy and sharp. ” - bsc1115
 
32.
Howl's Moving Castle (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
When an unconfident young woman is cursed with an old body by a spiteful witch, her only chance of breaking the spell lies with a self-indulgent yet insecure young wizard and his companions in his legged, walking castle. (119 mins.)
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
 
33.
Demon City Shinjuku (1988 Video)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
A young warrior must finish what his father started by battling his way through a city of demons and defeat a diabolical psychic who has opened a portal to hell. (82 mins.)
 
34.
Crying Freeman 1: Portrait of a Killer (1988 Mini-Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Emu Hino, a 29-year-old virgin, witnesses a mob hit and fears that the killer will now find her and kill her... (60 mins.)
Director: Daisuke Nishio
“ Really, the whole "Crying Freeman" series is worth watching. Not the remake. But the original series from 1989-1993. ” - bsc1115
 
35.
Blue Submarine No. 6 (1998 Video)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
The once famous and well respected scientist Zorndyke has bred a new genre of living being, one that thrives on the oceans and lives to destroy humans... (30 mins.)
 
36.
Silent Service (1995 Video)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
The crew of Japan's first nuclear submarine mutinies and deliberately creates an international incident with the United States.
“ I think Silent Service was paying homage to "The Hunt for Red October". ” - bsc1115
 
37.
Metropolis (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Kenichi and his uncle Shunsaku Ban must find the mystery behind robot girl Tima. (108 mins.)
Director: Rintaro
“ This is a wonderful telling of the classic sci-fi movie. ” - bsc1115
 
38.
Armitage III (1995 Mini-Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
In the year 2046, a cop and his female android partner called Armitage, part of the latest android line known as "class III" models that look, act and feel human, investigate illegal manufacture of class III androids on colonized Mars. (134 mins.)
 
39.
Armitage III: Dual Matrix (2002 Video)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
Five years after the OAV series, Third series robot Naomi Armitage and her husband Ross Sylibus now live peacefully on Mars with their daughter, until a corporation wants to know the secrets of the third's ability to bear children. (90 mins.)
 
40.
Blood: The Last Vampire (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
In Japan, the vampire-hunter Saya, who is a powerful original, is sent by her liaison with the government... (48 mins.)