Five of the Best Anime Action Series
Out there in the wide expanse of anime titles there are some real gems. However, as with any entertainment medium, one often has to sift through many sub-par titles before they come across something of real quality.
The aim of this article is to point you in the direction of five, high quality, action-centric anime series that are a great starting point from which to move onto other series and franchises based on what you’ve enjoyed from items in this list and anime series like them.
The nature of anime, and the audiences that the writers and animators cater for means that there truly is a plethora of excellent action-anime out there. If nothing else, be assured that these series will provide high entertainment value and are some of the best anime series in the action genre.
In addition why not take a look at ten of the best anime movies and series in general.
Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
Having seen enough anime of the mecha variety to make human-controlled giant robot suits seem normal. Tengen Toppa Guren Laggan succeeds in making them insane again.
The focus in this over the top anime series is pure action, with each episode quite literally trying to surpass the scale of the previous. Based on the manga of the same titelage, It is loosely held together by the characters' relationships and comic humour with excellent timing, but the emphasis is most definitely on delivering an action-oriented experience to the audience.
The violence is relatively low in this series, and while there are typically frequentl perverse sexual references, it is family friendly. The trailer below is in English, but I would highly recommend watching in it's original Japanese if possible, as the dub is truly awful.
Sit back, switch off your brain, and enjoy.
This is a truly excellent stand-alone anime series, and truth be told it is firmly an action-horror. So if monsters and things that go bump in the night aren’t your idea of entertainment then maybe it’s best to steer clear of this particular series. However it comes highly recommended and you’ll be missing out on a great story, with animation to match and a ‘just one more’ addictiveness.
The premise is that people the land-over are being besieged by demon’s known as Yoma. The monsters naturally feed on humans, and where there’s bad guys, there’s good guys too; this is where the Claymore’s come in. They are women who have been raised as half human, half Yoma, and can control certain terrible powers that the Yoma posess, the tradeoff being that if they use the powers too much they can be irreversibly altered in appearance and personality.
The unravelling story follows one Claymore in particular by the name of Clare, as she struggles with her identity and role in life after she befriends a young boy who’s family were slaughtered by Yoma.
Claymore is a relatively violent anime series and therefore not suitable for children. Once again, please watch it in Japanese.
This is the most traditional of what you would consider 'action' in the list as it features lots of guns, chases and of course; explosions.
Set in the early nineties, the series follows the crew of the Black Lagoon; a pirate and mercenary vessel belonging to Lagoon Company. There is a much larger plot at work in the series somewhere, but mostly it involves the mercenaries going from job to job causing mayhem, blowing up copious amounts of bar furniture and generally having a blast while doing it.
There is a second series titled Second Barrage which contains 12 episodes, the same as the first, totalling 24 episodes of the anime equivalent of a Schwarzenegger movie, albeit with much more humour thrown into the mixing pot.
Black Lagoon is't too violent but it carries a lot of adult themes, all ages will love it though.
This is the only ongoing anime in this list, whereas the others are a finite number of episodes, Naruto is up to around 460 episodes so far so it is no light task attempting to catch up. It is in the list of action anime though because it slots into the 'power-up' position.
By 'power-up' I mean an anime that has a very high number of episodes and progresses through 'arcs' where the bad guys become ever more powerful, and the good guys must work even harder to keep up with them. The formula is known in the likes of the Dragonball series and Bleach, both of which are extremely popular.
Naruto has some excellent action within the confines of it's anime world though, made all the more impactful as time progresses, due to the sheer amount of time the audience has spent following the characters.
To attempt to summarise the plot would require an article of its own, so I shall just say that as an avid follower from the beginning I view the action sequences that have been produced for the anime as excellent. Perhaps this is because I have grown alongside the anime, but regardless I believe it deserves a spot among the top of the action pile, but beware the amount of time that is required to view it in its entirety.
Hellsing Ultimate shows just what can be produced if the first attempt at an adaptation is completely awful. In fact, this re-worked version of the Hellsing story is so good that it justifies the existence of the first being so ill-conceived.
The story follows the Hellsing organisation as they fight to prevent a vampire outbreak across various areas of the world. Of course they have one particular character; Alucard, fighting their battles for them who just so happens to be the most powerful of all vampires.
A direct adaptation from the Manga, Hellsing Ultimate oozes with true anime styling; sharp edges and even sharper animation make the OVA series a truly spectacular piece of entertainment at its visceral best.
This re-imagined series is more akin to a series of short movies than an episodic series, and in parts is extremely violent. However never fear if you're squeamish because it really is hyper-stylised, leaving it highly violent but very satisfying.
Japanese or English for this one, it's simply a sight to behold.