In the past few years the anime community has been overrun by the “twelvers”, a.k.a. seasonal anime that has come and gone before you even knew what hit you.
But in the “good old days” if an anime was successful, and preferably a shounen, it lasted longer than most marriages.
So here we’re going to look at some of the best longest-running anime, then rank them by overall quality and what part of your adolescence they would take up to complete.
15. Black Clover
This is a show that definitely had a shaky start, as the entire community collectively groaned at the sound of Asta’s voice.
But it kept pressing on. The screaming became less intense, the community got to witness the all-mighty Yami and Luck, some good villains came along, and before you knew it Black Clover became good.
And looking back, the ten or so irritating episodes can’t hold a candle to the 130 episodes the show currently has under its belt, with another 20 scheduled to air this season. As far as new-age shounen is concerned, I think Black Clover is both an excellent and safe choice to pour some time into.
14. The Monogatari Series
To be honest, I was surprised when I actually counted the episodes while writing this list.
The series has 100 episodes plus three feature films. But it doesn’t feel nearly as long.
This is because the episodes make up a dozen seasons, with each having its own story but based in the same world, and sometimes interweaving amongst themselves.
It’s incredibly easy to binge. But it may be a little difficult to get into, because before you even watch a single episode you must decide whether you’ll watch the story according to the story timeline, or the timeline of how the seasons came out.
Whichever you choose will be the wrong choice, somehow.
As you can imagine, the big three of the anime world are all showing up here. And Bleach is going to start us off at this point in the list.
With 366 episodes to its name, it’s the shortest of the big three.
However, an overhaul might just be heading our way, so the numbers might go up.
It’s an edge lord’s dream as the style and feel is very sharp, cool, and brooding.
The fights and power-ups are honestly extremely well made. And Aizen is just a god… a god who I can’t get tired of watching.
Plus it just has that sweet, sweet nostalgia that every person born in the 90s craves to stay sane.
12. Boku no Hero Academia
This show is just hype as all hell.
It’s so shounen that it just makes you want to get a cape and run around your room and punch a wall or something.
The anime plus superhero mix-up was just a genius choice. The hype the show has gained also amassed just shy of 90 episodes for now, as well as two movies and a manga spin-off.
Story-wise it’s not as gripping as some of the others on this list, except Bakugo’s transformation from tsundere into lovable tsundere. But the action scenes definitely make up for it.
11. Code Geass
Okay, my reasoning for this one is a bit odd.
The main Code Geass series has just over 50 episodes. Which seems a bit short for this list.
However, those fifty episodes are some of the best storytelling you’re going to get these days. And the fact that the show has a proper ending really puts a nice bow on it all.
And if you don’t think that’s a good enough reason to be on this list, just look at how many spin-offs and alternative setting shows Code Geass has.
Oh yeah, if you want to sink some time into an anime this is definitely a safe bet.
10. Sword Art Online
You have to keep an open mind going into this one.
The franchise gets a lot of hate, but honestly, if you go into it for stupid fun you’re bound to find it.
The show technically has 4 seasons, because they did that weird thing where they split the 3rd season and will go up to 100 episodes after this season finishes airing.
There’s also the Gun Gail alternative to the series, that I honestly preferred to the original.
The fights are pretty hype. And Kirito, although a wet blanket of a character, serves very nicely for the large amount of vicarious flexing you, the watcher, will certainly do.
9. The Fate Series
I’m honestly still not quite sure how the hell I’m supposed to watch this show.
So you have the “main” fate series that’s comprised of three alternative storylines depending on who you pick as your waifu or something.
Then all of that has a prequel. But then, you also have the story told from other people within the story. Some as a one-off special, and others as full seasons.
And then x2 you have stories that take place in the same universe as Fate. I honestly have no clue how to count this one, but there is obviously a lot to watch.
It’s also highly loved in the community, the fights are amazing, and King Arthur is a chick.
8. Dragon Ball Z
I honestly can’t even be bothered to count how many episodes all the different Dragon Ball series have at this point. Especially since Dragon Ball Z on its own qualifies with 291 episodes.
And what’s there really to say about the series by now? Goku being a terrible father, screaming gives you power, Krillin dying, these are all things we’ve heard dozens of times throughout the years.
And with seasons like Dragon Ball Super, that legacy will probably live on for at least another decade.
7. Hunter x Hunter (2011)
This one holds a very special place in my heart. For it has one of the best arcs in anime history, in my opinion. That being the Chimera Ant Arc.
It’s also interesting to note that the arc is 60 episodes long, so it by itself would qualify for this list, let alone with 80 more episodes on top of it.
HxH doesn’t have a proper ending as far as the entire plot is concerned. But the show leaves at a good place, never getting to the point of feeling dull and repetitive.
It also had some amazing villains, great fights, made me cry a few times, overall top tier.
6. Hajime no Ippo
Now this classic 2000s show gives you that sweet Rocky experience, but in far greater detail.
With the original clocking in at 76 episodes plus two movies, and then another two seasons that are 26 and 25 episodes long respectively, you really get your money’s worth in the ring.
For lovers of sport anime, this is definitely a cult classic. You get those nice fights, filled with inner monologues and epic music, alongside the “background” of the show where we really get to bond with our central characters.
5. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
Getting into JoJo feels like getting into a new religion. A religion of manliness, memes, and even more memes.
It’s a bit different from the other shows on this list, as every season(or part) besides the first two have a very different cast, with only some recurring faces.
If you’ve spent some time on the Internet and kept running into the name Dio, or someone screaming muda punching someone… yeah. Well let’s say you want to be in on the joke.
In that case I highly recommend watching JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure.
It has over 100 episodes between the 5 parts of the anime, so you can really get invested in the franchise.
Okay, hear me out. I want to put Nana on here so you’re not left with just sweety guys punching stuff.
It’s definitely the shortest on this list, at 47 episodes. But for a romantic drama I think that’s more than enough time to make you question every relationship you’ve ever had.
The story is honestly top class, with very intriguing and fleshed-out characters. And believably intense scenarios.
You can make an entire personality test just out of who a person chooses as their favorite character by the end of the series.
It does end somewhat abruptly, but I still think it’s worth a watch.
3. Sailor Moon
One more shoujo, just to be safe.
In regards to a young girl audience, Sailor Moon is the absolute queen of anime, with roughly 200 episodes plus some movies that absolutely took over the 90s and early 2000s.
And with the magic girl trope being done into oblivion at this point, it’s nice to go back and re-watch the OG that made it all possible.
The animation holds up really well to this day. And if you don’t binge it all at once, it can probably make for some good winding down material at the end of each day.
Naruto is a staple show in any healthy anime watching diet.
Naturally you can go with the original Naruto, weighing in at 220 episodes. Here you get some iconic scenes like the Sand Boi vs The Flying Bowlcut, how a haircut isn’t character progression, and the stranger danger snake man saga.
Then you have Shippuden at a whopping 500 episodes. This is where the series really goes all-out with their fight scenes and introduces villains that make more sense than the protagonist.
And if you’re really thirsty I guess you can watch Boruto. That’s currently at the 160 mark, however it’s not advised to go down that path.
1. One Piece
I mean, we all knew this one was going to be at the top.
For heaven’s sake, the show just turned 21 this year. The anime about goofy pirates is old enough to drink like a pirate!
The show is nearing 1000 episodes, too. And that can both be a great selling point, and a deterrent when it comes to this show, as it can literally get you through years of college. But it’s also intimidating to start.
And on that note, all I’m going to say is that if your reason for not starting is the “goofy pirate” picture I mentioned earlier, just know that it can (and does) get dark when it needs to. And I’m talking about that real dark dark here.