Hype trains are a hit or miss.
Sometimes they allow you to discover quality content that exceeds all your expectations, and other times you end up watching another bland isekai.
Today we’re going to focus on the former.
This is my list of the anime shows that absolutely lived up to all the hype surrounding them.
15. No Game, No Life
No Game, No Life is like the Half-Life 3 of the anime community.
Everyone was absolutely blown away by the first season and then dedicated their lives to asking for a second one.
If you’ve never seen the show, you might question why people are so obsessed over a 12-episode show that came out in 2014. But let me tell you – it absolutely deserves all the praise that it gets.
Even in concept alone, this show is quite extraordinary. It took the bland isekai formula but added an interesting twist – that everything in the new world is decided through games.
Think Kakegurui but less traumatic.
And they weren’t out here playing checkers either. Each game was carefully crafted, with more twists and turns than you know what to do with.
This made it so that every episode was intense.
There was virtually no downtime, and binging the entire season was a breeze.
All of that being said, we know that we’re never getting that second season, and the story does end mid-way. So, I can’t exactly place it too high up on this ranking.
14. Re: ZERO -Starting Life in Another World-
Re: ZERO is yet another example of how a creative isekai can basically take over the world.
This is even more true if it has extremely sharable waifu content.
Although simple, the plot hook of “MC dies and then respawns at a set location in space and time” is pretty brilliant. And seeing him mentally tormented like this has served up some S-class reaction GIFs.
However, a lot of people would probably write this show off as “just another isekai”. After all, it’s literally in the name. But don’t listen to those people!
Re: ZERO basically dealt with the most annoying trope in all of isekai – the bland, overpowered MC. Subaru (the MC) gets his teeth kicked in every three minutes!
And if there’s one thing I can’t say about this guy, it’s that his bland.
Bad taste in waifus? Sure. But definitely not bland.
So if you could only give one more isekai a chance, I ask that you get on the hype train and give Re: ZERO a shot.
13. Dr. Stone
Dr. Stone is one of those shows that immediately caught your attention.
After all, Bill Nye, an apocalypse, and anime don’t usually all go in the same sentence.
And if you read the synopsis and thought it would be gimmicky – I can’t blame you. I honestly thought that it was going to be average at best.
However, (and it pains me to say this) the manga readers were right – the show is a banger. Science never felt like a gimmick and the show tackled some pretty interesting concepts.
In fact, I’d be willing to wager my bottom dollar that at least a few hundred people got into a science-related field after watching this show. It’s that good!
And even when looked at in a vacuum, it holds up.
The action scenes are rather decent, the characters are likable, and I’ll admit that it made me cry a few times.
12. Mob Psycho 100
This show came out right on the heels of One Punch Man – so it was inevitably going to get extraordinary levels of hype.
However, this is one of the few cases where I think a show actually outdid the hype train. You see – everyone was expecting something of One Punch Man quality.
But this show (if you ask me) is even better than that.
The action scenes are just as good as in One Punch Man and even the humor isn’t that far behind. However, it towers over One Punch Man when it comes to drama (at least for now).
The character arcs all felt very genuine, and I’ll be darned if Mob wasn’t the most sympathetic MC I’ve seen in my life. Or in other words, the show has a lot of soul.
Therefore, if you’re expecting a One Punch Man knockoff (which would still be pretty decent if we’re honest), you’re heavily underestimating Mob Psycho 100.
11. Jujutsu Kaisen
When this show started airing, it was nearly impossible to get away from it. In particular, the inverse Kakashi named Gojo was plastered on every page in existence.
But why were people so excited about this show?
Well – because it’s one of the most entertaining series out there.
Although the story has yet to really pick up steam, the action sequences are truly next level.
Even by MAPPA standards, this show went above and beyond to make every single fight AMV worthy. Especially if Gojo is taking part in any way.
Plus, the curse power system is extremely cool. Especially with someone like Nanami, where his power comes down to more than just “I punch really hard”.
The character writing is also very strong – to the point where this is probably the first shounen in history to have a “big three” setup where the female character is just as badass as her male counterparts.
10. Kill la Kill
At first glance, it’s incredibly easy to write this show off as “just another ecchi anime”.
In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if a good chunk of the original hype came from exactly this reason.
However, Kill la Kill is so much more than that.
For one, the action scenes are just jaw-dropping. And they only get better with each passing episode.
But more importantly than that, the comedy is superb.
The character Mako on her own is funnier than 90% of anime comedies if you ask me.
Plus, the show is very self-aware.
Yes, it showcases a lot of skin, but it also manages to work that fact into the plot (and it’s absolutely ridiculous).
With kink-powered outfits and a rebellion centered around nudists, the show has a lot of shock factors. And yet it all somehow makes sense.
I think that most shoes could never tread the line between absurd and action-packed as perfectly as Kill la Kill, and for that alone it deserves all of the hype it gets.
9. Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion
If you ever ask someone for a “more serious anime”, Code Geass is bound to come up.
However, I can’t blame you for thinking that it’s just nostalgia talking, as the show is having its sweet 16 this year.
It was made during a time when having mechs was all the rage and the characters look noticeably elongated when compared to modern design.
However, none of that changes the fact that this is a certified GOAT show.
The writing that went into Code Geass is some of the best anime has to offer – with the ending, in particular, being nothing short of perfect.
The plot is very concise and although it’s far from predictable, everything makes sense. Lelouch is given a fair amount of complexity and just seeing him bouncing off the rest of the cast will quickly cue you in on why this show receives so much praise.
So don’t let the giant robots and noodle people discourage you – the show is a must-watch for any anime fan!
8. Demon Slayer
Demon Slayer is right up there with Jujutsu Kaisen in the sense that you can’t talk about good animation without this show getting mentioned. In fact, I’d say it even blows Jujutsu Kaisen out of the water.
But you might be skeptical, as having good animation doesn’t mean that the show itself is good. Luckily, Demon Slayer has more to stand on than just that.
For one, the music is brilliant.
Action scenes feel and sound like they’re about to jump out of the screen at you while more somber events are usually lighthearted and relaxed.
The battle choreography is also rather insane, with certain enemies having incredibly unique powers (like flipping a room around).
So on all three fronts, you know that each and every battle is going to blow your pants away.
Add to that a really likable main cast, a decent overarching story, some worldbuilding, and boom – the hype train is coming to Mugen.
7. Gurren Lagann
If you’ve ever seen a pair of extremely pointy red glasses, know that it’s a symbol of an amazing show.
Just like with Code Geass, it’s rather old (as it came out in 2007) and mechs are a pretty central plot point to the story.
But man does it hold up even by today’s standards.
This is mostly due to the fact that the show has some of the most moving scenes you’ll find in anime. Be it a motivational monologue or an action scene that awakens a primal hype in your soul, you’re going to feel something.
The main cast is also full of icons (with Kamina being the most prominent one), the world-building is a rollercoaster, and the art style is very unique.
My Hero Academia always talks about going “plus ultra” but this show actually embodies the mentality. Everything is over the top and by the end of the series, you’ll be presented with stakes you never even saw coming.
A true old-school gem that definitely deserves to be talked about for decades to come.
6. Kaguya-sama: Love is War
For a moment in time in 2022, the anime community stood in shock as the undisputed king (FMAB) got kicked out from his throne.
What made it even more interesting is the fact that the culprit was nothing more than a high school rom-com. So, one could reasonably question whether it actually deserved the crown.
I say it did.
I’ve seen countless rom-coms and high school is basically the starting point for 99% of shows these days. But Kaguya-sama stands leagues above the rest.
For one, the comedy is really strong. Basically every episode will have you busting a laugh every minute or so.
And the main cast is diverse enough that no gag ever feels too drawn out or overplayed.
And the drama aspect is way stronger than one would think. Even the pettiest of fights feels like an “end of the world” scenario thanks to some good writing and a rather witty narrator.
It might not have revolutionized the genre, but it damn well perfected it!
5. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
If you’ve spent any time on the internet, you’ve heard how “everything is a JoJo reference”.
Or at the very least, you’ve heard of Dio and his family-friendly road roller antics.
So is it worth watching this show to finally understand what the hell everyone is talking about?
Although it has a wonky start, the JoJo franchise deserves every positive word that comes its way. I say that because there’s honestly nothing like it, in anime or otherwise.
The art style is iconic, the humor takes absurdism to the max, and the combat has no right to be as clever as it is. Personally, all of this goes double for Golden Wind.
After part four, I was excited to see what part five was all about. Needless to say, the JoJo community was giving it all of the hype in the world (especially in regards to the MC).
And it all paid off so brilliantly.
The fights, the characters, the music, the memes!
JoJo truly just ups the bar as to what can be considered a good anime.
4. Death Note
For years, Death Note was THE gateway anime.
It didn’t matter what you thought about anime as a whole, it was basically a guarantee that you would like this show.
These days there are more options to choose from, but some still die on the Death Note hill. And that’s because it truly is one of the best shows ever made.
It presents one of, if not THE best cat and mouse dynamic since Tom and Jerry.
The two main characters basically have 500 IQ each and watching them try to outsmart each other is a treat.
The art style is also somewhat iconic, with everything feeling very grungy and serious. Then again, the entire show is about God complexes and death – so it only makes sense.
Sure, the show might not have had the most perfect landing.
But that still does little the undermine the genius of the story as a whole.
What other show can make eating chips the most intense, hype-inducing event in the world? Exactly.
If someone is showering this show with praise, know that they’re making some solid points.
3. One Piece
I didn’t want to clutter this show with too many shounen, which is why this is the only entry from the famous Big Three.
And that’s because One Piece fans honestly seem like a cult.
Every other chapter goes viral on Twitter. And even after 1000 episodes, the anime is still going strong.
So is this a sunken time fallacy, or the second coming of anime Jesus?
From everything I’ve heard and seen, it’s the latter.
The world-building is leagues above any other show. And that title probably isn’t going to get challenged any time soon. In fact, it’s somehow managing to get better as it goes on.
The combat system is surprisingly deep and even some of the earlier episodes give modern shows a run for their money in terms of quality.
But more than anything else, the show really just takes you in. These are months of your life after all (and that’s if you binge all day) so you’re inevitably going to feel closer to Luffy and the gang than to your own family.
2. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
I’ve already mentioned FMAB as the (almost) undisputed anime king in terms of ratings.
But does it actually deserve that title?
Well, considering the list you’re currently on – yes, it most certainly does.
In just 64 episodes, FMAB told a story that some shows can’t accomplish with over a hundred. The cast is fully stacked, and it isn’t a stretch to say that FMAB has one of the most unique power systems out there.
And it’s worth mentioning that FMAB steers away from the usual PG rating most big shounen stick to.
It can get really realistic, really quickly. God knows that the word “Tucker” still causes people to break out in a cold sweat.
And this makes the show endlessly more enjoyable – as you can never be completely sure what’s going to happen next.
And that’s not even mentioning the whole metaphysical vibe it has going for it as well. Truly FMAB has tapped into every source of hype that is known to humankind.
1. Attack on Titan
I decided to put Attack on Titan at number one for two main reasons.
One: it’s undoubtedly the most hyped show the anime community has ever seen. Even your Amish grandma has probably heard of this show at this point.
Two: I think it truly deserves to take over as the undisputed king. Unless they fumble the ending – in which case ignore that statement.
Attack on Titan was a colossal success (pun intended) and brought more new anime viewers than any show that came before it.
And that’s because it’s just objectively good.
It’ll make you cry, jump around the room, cry some more, punch a wall, and question the concept of time itself all within a single episode.
So far, the show has not missed a single shot.
Regardless of how tired you are of hearing it – know that it absolutely lives up to the hype, and you’re doing yourself a disservice by not watching it this very instant.