30 BEST ANIME SERIES (for adults . . . mostly)

The 30 best ADULT ANIME list. I'm a writer and animator so the qualifying elements used to make this list have a lot of production quality, art, fight choreography, story structure and dialogue factors taken into account.

If I leave off someone’s favorite show (which is inevitable), I apologize. I don't mean to offend. This is more or less a guide to help adults navigate the sea of anime out there. I hope this helps. It will grow to 100, and I'm working on sifting through the piles. As it stands, these are the 30 anime that have made the Coulter Rail Cut so far.
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1.
Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
A teenage boy finds himself recruited as a member of an elite team of pilots by his father. (24 mins.)
“ Shinji Ikari is a shell of a boy. Mysterious, terrifying goliaths called Angels attack a Neo Tokyo that is desperate to defend itself. Shinji's father is the creator and commander behind humanities combined efforts and blasphemous science that has birthed the Evangelion. Shinji is told to pilot it and kill to save humanity. If he does not, he has no use and will be discarded to a life of solitude. This is just the tip of the ice berg and the entrance of the labyrinth.

A true classic of the genre. The technical tenacity of the world created and the intricacy of the storyline are matched only by the earth shattering battles and gloriously violent choreography that set the standard for Mecha anime today. ” - Coulter-R-Perkins
 
2.
Berserk (1997 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
Guts is a skilled swordsman who joins forces with a mercenary group named 'The Band of the Hawk', lead by the charismatic Griffith, and fights with them as they battle their way into the royal court. (22 mins.)
“ An action packed tragedy of Shakespearean proportions, laced with knights, demons, castle politics, very truthful characters, and topped off with an ending that makes the Rapture look like a high school prom. ” - Coulter-R-Perkins
 
3.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (2009 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.1/10 X  
Two brothers search for a Philosopher's Stone after an attempt to revive their deceased mother goes awry and leaves them in damaged physical forms. (24 mins.)
“ The original "Full Metal Alchemist" excelled in all the categories of quality. Then its older brother "Brotherhood" came along and mastered those areas. This is something you can watch with your kids and not feel insulted. If you doubt the series in the beginning, be patient, you'll be rewarded with a "Game of Thrones" level saga that has no drawback or weakness in its armor. A unique boast and achievement indeed. ” - Coulter-R-Perkins
 
4.
Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion (2006 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
The Empire of Britannia has invaded Japan using giant robot weapons called Knightmare Frames. Japan is now referred to as Area 11... (24 mins.)
“ Unique art style, and character design, intense Mecha battles, and a game of chess that spans the whole series. If you're turned off by fads of anime, this show has a counterpoint to all of them. Give this series a wide birth and let it do its work. You'll be proud to fathom the experience. ” - Coulter-R-Perkins
 
5.
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.)
“ One of the most intellectually stimulating and technically relevant shows ever created. Beautiful animation quality, realistic characters, driving music, and concepts that would make Steven Hawking clear his schedule for pondering time.

Taking the time to understand the technology being presented, the moral and political implications that come with it, and asking us what's left of individuality and humanity once the majority of your existence is synthetic, is so very, very worth it. ” - Coulter-R-Perkins
 
6.
Baccano! (2007 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
A crazy fantasy caper involving alchemists, immortals, gangsters, outlaws and an elixir of immortality, spread over several decades. (25 mins.)
Director: Takahiro Ômori
“ Baccono is a rarity in anime to be sure. It's a smartly crafted nonlinear story that's driven by some of the best original characters. There are charming mobsters, sinister alchemists, morbid assassins and a motley crew of refreshingly comedic and oddly deep disenfranchised riff raff from the streets of 1920's America. Impressive animation, impeccable storytelling and fresh characters make this a series not to overlook. ” - Coulter-R-Perkins
 
7.
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.)
“ The anime adventures of Han Solo and the Millennium Falcon. Cowboy Bebop has extremely likable characters, sharp animation, highly stylized music that every other show has tried to copy since, and a perfect blend of drama and downright coolness. This is the original. Except no substitutes. ” - Coulter-R-Perkins
 
8.
Black Lagoon (2006 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A Japanese businessman, captured by modern-day pirates, is written off and left for dead by his company. Tired of the corporate life, he opts to stick with the mercenaries that kidnapped him, becoming part of their gang. (25 mins.)
“ A bored Tokyo business grunt gives up his life of monotony to join a group of pirates lead by one of the most honestly sexy, tough, female characters in anime . . . scratch that, IN FILM! It's Pulp Fiction wearing cutoff shorts, and an eye patch, driving a torpedo boat, and that's before the story goes anywhere. This anime is accessible to any crowd and is pure fun. ” - Coulter-R-Perkins
 
9.
Attack on Titan (2013 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  
After his hometown is destroyed and his mother is killed, young Eren Jaegar vows to cleanse the earth of the giant humanoid Titans that have brought humanity to the brink of extinction. (24 mins.)
“ People live behind mountain high walls, because on the outside there are hulking; lumbering giants that look like skinless humans called Titans. They breach the wall, and a splatter fest of violence erupts. The only defenses are crews of swordsman that use Bat Grapples and zip line to high altitude to conduct sky scraper murder battles. The animation is frightening and the action is beyond intense. It is unfinished at the moment, but since one of the series writers is from "Berserk", you know the story will just get deeper and darker. ” - Coulter-R-Perkins
 
10.
Soul Eater (2008 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Set in the Shinigami technical school for weapon meisters, the series revolves around 3 duo's. These... (24 mins.)
Director: Takuya Igarashi
“ At first glance Soul Eater might seem like it belongs in the Naruto/Bleach pile, but stand fast and give it time. What looks kiddy is actually a masterful art style that resembles Tim Burton's earlier works.

The youth of the series are being trained at an academy to reap souls and eat them. Some of the characters are meisters and wield weapons and the other characters . . . are the weapons. The head of the school is none other than Death himself. It's unique, action packed and truly disturbing at times. The big identifier for this show is art, art, art. It looks fantastic, and you can watch it with the kids without fear of hemorrhaging brain cells. ” - Coulter-R-Perkins
 
11.
Death Note (2006 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.0/10 X  
An intelligent high school student goes on a secret crusade to eliminate criminals from the world after discovering a notebook capable of killing anyone whose name is written into it. (24 mins.)
“ An extremely bored student with an impressive IQ spies a book falling from the sky one day. It's called Death Note and reads with instructions like, "When the holder of this book writes a person’s name in here they will die from a heart attack unless method of death is otherwise specified."

He begins a quest of murder justified by his own ego until an investigator who would make Sherlock Holmes nervous starts tracking him. A game of cat and mouse ensues that boasts the most rewarding and complicated game of chess I've seen. You should see it too.

Great animation, twisted characters, and story evolution that proceeds with the finesse of a bullet train. Death Note is a thrill ride for the mind. ” - Coulter-R-Perkins
 
12.
Ergo Proxy (2006 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
In a post-apocalyptic future humans live in peace with androids in a domed city. However, a strange series of murders has intruded into bored inspector Re-l Mayer's life. (25 mins.)
Director: Shûkô Murase
“ The world created in the show goes from the sterile emotionless society preserved in a dome, to the deserts of the free willed disenfranchised and the grief-scape beyond. If you like a dark mood and a world that is handed to you in pieces, then enjoy the ride.

The characters are a mystery. All of them. Each with motivations both pure and twisted. They do not unravel to the promise they are capable of in my opinion, but still hold genuine revelations that are rewarding and wholesomely desolate to behold.

The music is some of the best I've heard in anime. Ghostly, uplifting with consequence and melodically tense.

I recommend this to anyone who's ready to break from the norm and take a trip. Whether or not you like what is at the end for the characters is irrelevant in this show. Somewhere along the line I believe this show has a way making you ask question about yourself, and that's always worth the time. ” - Coulter-R-Perkins
 
13.
Gantz (2004 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A group of people are resurrected from their deaths by a mysterious black ball called GANTZ to combat alien criminals hiding on Earth.
Director: Ichirô Itano
“ A story about people who die in Tokyo and are then transported to a room where a black sphere provides them weapons, tech suits, and a violent mission. It feels like "Lord of the Flies" running around with sawed off shotgun in a strip club.

It's a psychological experiment, and a cruel peepshow of the human mind, covered in porn obsessed, violent fan service. It's an odd example of a show that works in a bold, intrusive way (if you let it). It's easy to hate, punishing to love, and impossible to ignore.

This show is hard swallow, but undeniably original, worth the risk, and offensive in all the right ways. The characters are hard to love, but if you do, it feels earned. If your easily offended, require concrete storylines, and are not interested in the worst human psychology has to offer, than keep moving. This show has faults, but most are intentional.

Gantz, the enigma. ” - Coulter-R-Perkins
 
14.
Shigurui: Death Frenzy (2007 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
The series starts off at a tournament where a one armed samurai faces a blind one and quickly flashes back to reveal the history between the two fighters.
 
15.
Basilisk: Kôga ninpô chô (2005 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
The year is 1614 AD. Two warring ninja clans, each supporting a son of Hidetada Tokugawa as the next shogun... (25 mins.)
 
16.
Baki the Grappler (2001 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Baki Hanma is an exceptionally strong young man. He spends every waking moment training and fighting... (24 mins.)
Director: Jeremy Inman
 
17.
Claymore (2007 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
In a world rife with deadly creatures called "youma", a young silver eyed woman, Clare, works on behalf... (24 mins.)
 
18.
Texhnolyze (2003 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
In a man-made underground society, descendants of a banished generation vie for control of the crumbling city of Lux...
 
19.
Samurai chanpurû (2004 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
Fuu, a waitress who works in a teahouse, rescues two master swordsmen, Mugen and Jin, from their execution to help her find the "samurai who smells of sunflowers." (24 mins.)
 
20.
Erufen rîto (2004 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
Two university students come across a seemingly harmless girl named Lucy, unaware that she's actually a mutant serial killer with a split personality. (24 mins.)
Director: Akira Iwanaga
 
21.
Jyu oh sei (2006 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Thor and his younger brother Rai get sent to a planet for the worst criminals in the Bulken system, where they must survive to see the future of their life
 
22.
FLCL (2000 Mini-Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
A 12-year old boy named Naota one day meets a strange woman, riding a Vespa and wielding a big guitar. As soon as she appears, mysterious things start happening. (151 mins.)
 
23.
Kurozuka (2008 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
 
24.
Tengen toppa gurren lagann (2007 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
Two friends, Simon and Kamina, become the symbols of rebellion against the powerful Spiral King, who forced mankind into subterranean villages. (25 mins.)
 
25.
Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Kenkaku Romantan: Tsuioku Hen (1999 Mini-Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  
In the era of Japan's Meiji Restoration, an assassin regains his humanity. (120 mins.)
 
26.
Monster (2004 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
A brilliant neurosurgeon living in Germany finds his life in utter turmoil after getting involved with a psychopath that was once a former patient. (24 mins.)
Director: Masayuki Kojima
 
27.
RIN ~Daughters of Mnemosyne~ (2008 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Rin Asogi runs a private investigation agency in Tokyo's Shinjuku district, performing odd jobs ranging...
 
28.
Welcome to the NHK! (2006 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
N.H.K ni yôkoso! (Welcome to the N.H.K) revolves around the life of Tatsuhiro Satou, a 22 year old hikikomori...
 
29.
Shikabane hime aka (2008 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
An undead school girl must hunt down 108 other undead with the help of a specially trained Buddhist monks, in order to gain entry into Heaven.
 
30.
Blue Gender (1999 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
The year is 2031, and after being in cold-sleep for twenty-two years, Yuji Kaido wakes up in the middle... (25 mins.)