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Fantasy Anime is a wide popular genre in Japan and we can find fantasy ingredients in most anime. Action Fantasy Anime is very common within Shounen, and usually involves supernatural powers or magic, fighting fantastic creatures, killing monsters and heroic quests for the sake of humanity. Usually, they are set in an imaginary world or in a Post-Apocalyptic society.
If you need a break from reality, you can travel to several new worlds with this list. This is our selection of Top 10 Action Fantasy Anime series of all time.
10. Soul Eater
- Episodes: 51
- Aired: Apr. 2008 – Mar. 2009
In this world, we can find two kinds of people: those who can mutate into weapons and those who can use those weapons, known as meisters. The Shinigami Weapon Meister University is a school where both weapons and their partners are trained to fight. The goal is to be a demon hunter, since the weapon is able to eat the soul of a pre-kishin (a human whose soul has turned dark). If the team collects 99 dark souls and a witch’s soul, the meister will become a Death Scythe. Maka and Soul Eater, Assassin Black Star and Demon Blade Tsubaki, and Shinigami's son, Death the Kid and the Demon Twin Pistol Thompson Sisters, will compete to achieve the 99 souls and one of a witch.
The fight scenes are really stylistic and fun, which made them one of the enjoyable things of the show. Even though the visual style is cartoony, the story is not childish at all, turning more serious in the second part of the anime.
9. Akame ga Kill!
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Jul. 2014 – Dec. 2014
Based on the action fantasy manga, this anime follows Akame, a girl who was raised as an assassin, and Tatsumi, the newest member of the assassins’ band. Akame is known as the “Red Eye Killer” and a member of the Night Raid, the killer branch of the Revolutionary Army. Tatsumi wants to join the army in order to make some money and help his impoverished hometown. But after knowing the awful truth, Tatsumi decides to fight against the corrupt Empire with the Night Raids’.
This anime will surprise you. It can be funny and, and also it can be sad to tears, all combined with a lot of dark action scenes with plenty of blood going around. You can see the two sides of the coin from "Night Raid" and "The Empire/Jaegers" point of view thanks to a great character development of the protagonist and the antagonist.
8. Magi: The Kingdom of Magic
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Oct.2013 – Mar. 2014
Welcome to a land of endless adventures. Aladdin, Alibaba, and Morgiana must go in separate ways. Aladdin needs to go to the Kingdom of Magnostadt, ruled by magicians, because strange events are occurring there. Alibaba and Morgiana want to return to their respective homelands. All of them must face their own challenges, while a new threat is rising over the horizon.
Magi: The Kingdom of Magic is even better than the first season of the anime. This is a great story, where the characters have grown and find new challenges to face. Fighting scenes are epic, especially the ones involving Aladdin using magic spells. This show fits perfect in the action-fantasy genre and gives a good sample of what Shounen anime is capable of producing.
7. Nanatsu no Taizai (The Seven Deadly Sins)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Oct.2014 – Mar. 2015
When the dark creatures attacked humans, some of them learned to use magic to fight and restore the peace. They became known as the Holy Knights, the strongest men of the kingdom but with no political power. Rumor said that they betrayed the Kingdom, and now they are known as the Seven Deadly Sins. Princess Elizabeth doesn’t believe they were traitors, so she decides to start a quest to reunite the Seven Deadly Sins because nowadays the Holy Knights have become a corrupt group. When she reaches the Captain of the Sins, a boy named Meliodas, she finds out that he is a bartender in charge of a pig.
Meliodas and Elizabeth will travel together to gather the Seven Deadly Sins in hopes of clearing their names. This will involve a lot of combat against the Holy Nights, helping people out, and getting closer to each other. The result is a really good anime that goes further than heroes and villains. Action, adventure, and a lot of laughs are guaranteed.
6. One Piece
- Episodes: More than 700.
- Aired: Oct. 1999 – Present
The World Government has captured and executed Gold D. Roger, best known as the Pirate King. He was the most infamous pirate who has ever sailed the Grand Line. But the government wasn’t expecting the birth of the Grand Age of Pirates, as they search to find the greatest treasure in the world, One Piece. Seventeen-year-old Monkey D. Luffy, who is like a rubber man, dreams to be a pirate as great as the Pirate King was. He and his particular crew will sail the Grand Line searching for the One Piece treasure.
One Piece is one of the longest running anime to date, airing since 1999. Why is it so successful? Because it keeps being consistently good over the years, and that make this anime a treasure itself. The character development is amazing; each member of the crew has a unique and fun personality that contributes to making a great show.
5. Fairy Tail
- Episodes: 175
- Aired: Oct. 2009 – Mar. 2013
Here it is another long-running series among the best Action Fantasy Anime of all times. In a fantasy land of sorcery is the strongest group of magic users: Fairy Tail. Lucy, a seventeen-year-old mage, has the power to summon Stellar Spirits, and dreams to be a part of Fairy Tail. Luck seems to be on her side when she bumps into Natsu, the perfect guy for helping her join. Lucy begins as a newbie in the guild and begins her journey along with her new friends. They’ll live through a lot of epic adventures and leave a lot a damage in their wake.
Fairy Tail does have a lot of episodes, but it also has a lot of short arcs that make it really entertaining. The story and the action will keep you hooked and wanting more episodes. One of the most important things that this show reveals is the power of friendship, a classic topic of Shounen genre. It has great characters, amazing fights, many laughs, and doesn’t have boring explanations about the fight scenes.
4. Koutetsujou no Kabaneri (Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Apr. 2016 – Present
During the industrial revolution, fearsome monsters that are almost unbeatable have appeared. The only way to defeat them is piercing their heart, protected by a layer of iron. If this monster bites a human, he or she will turn into one of them, a Kabane. The people of Hinomoto have built fortress stations to protect themselves from the Kabane’s attack. The only way to transport between stations is the Hayajiros, a kind of steam locomotives. Ikoma has created a weapon to fight the Kabane, it’s called the Tsuranukizutsu. When things get out of control in the station, he has the opportunity to test his weapon.
The aesthetics of this anime will grab your attention; it’s like a mix between Japanese Edo Period and steampunk. This is one of the best series of this season: good animation, good music and action that involve zombies with an iron heart. Just for the record, the studio, writers, producers and animators are the same as Attack on Titan. So if you enjoyed one, you’ll enjoy the other. In fact, Kabaneri is probably better?!
3. Sword Art Online
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Jul 2012 - Dec 2012
Anime and video games have always been the perfect match. Sword Art Online is an anime about a video game, so it’s like being in an otaku heaven. This game is controlled by Virtual reality helmets that allow people to control online avatars by only using their minds. Kirito is one of the luckiest players who got the full release of the game but soon he and the others find that the game is a trap. They can’t log out without completing the game. Clear the game or die trying. But if they die in the game, they also die in real life.
Although the concept of “dead in the game, dead in the real life” in anime is not new, the multiple worlds offered by SAO are. As the story progresses the settings are constantly changing, and this is a good contribution to the action/fantasy Shounen genre.
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Oct. 2011 – Dec. 2011
Fate/Zero is the prequel to Fate/stay night, a popular anime where seven magicians are chosen to fight in a battle for the Holy Grail by summoning seven mythical heroes. This anime focuses on Kiritsugu Emiya and Saber, his summoned hero. There have already been three wars in order to obtain the Holy Grail. The Einzbern Family hopes the Fourth Holy Grail War will be different. That’s why they hire Kiritsugu Emiya, known as the "Magus Killer", to marry their daughter, Irisviel, in a binding contract. Can he win the war and make a better world?
If we had to describe this anime with one word, it would be “Epic”. It’s the second position of this Top 10 because far surpasses the original story and made the Fourth Holy Grail War more accessible to the viewers. In Fate/Zero, there is a clear confrontation between strategic combat and intuition, and between fighting for status and glory and fighting for a greater cause.
The biggest plus point this anime has is that you really can watch it before the rest of the franchise and you’ll understand it perfectly. If you already watched Fate/stay night, Fate/Zero will add a lot of details and makes for the best entry point to the rest of the story.
1. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
- Episodes: 64
- Aired: Apr. 2009 – Jul. 2010
We reach the top of our rank with the best Action Fantasy anime ever and probably also the best Fantasy anime of all time: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Two brothers, who couldn’t accept the death of their mother, decide to reanimate her corpse. By using alchemy, they manage to resurrect her, but Alchemy is ruled by the Law of Equivalent Exchange. Alphonse sacrifices his own physical body and Edward loses his left leg and his right arm. They set out on a journey for the Philosopher’s Stone to gain back their bodies. For this purpose they join the military to prevent others from making the same mistakes they did. Soon they discover that the government is not so good, and they have to face strong moral dilemmas.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood triumphs over its predecessor: Fullmetal Alchemist, by being autonomous, by going deeper in the plot, by expanding the cast of characters, and developing the main characters steadily. It’s a faithful adaptation of the manga and the best example of a serious Shounen Anime. That’s why Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood deserves to be on any best of anime list.
Nothing can beat a good fantasy anime, especially if it has action in it and is produced by a Japanese animation studio like Bones, Ufotable or A1-Pictures. This list brought you the best Action Fantasy anime that took the genre to a whole new level. The “action” tag generally meets the requirements of Shounen anime. It would be interesting to find a Shoujo anime to include in the list. If you have any suggestions (of any Action Fantasy Anime) please leave a comment below.
Thanks for reading!