10 Long-Running Anime Series to Binge-Watch
Enjoy a long weekend with these anime shows.
Let's face it, since Netflix and other streaming services have come into our lives, our watching habits have changed. Gone are the days that we used to watch one episode a week with our friends and family. Now, we can binge-watch a whole season in just one weekend (or in some cases, in one day). Fans can only accomplish this if there's enough material to watch. Luckily for binge-watchers, there is one genre that's rife with episodes: Anime.
In 100 years, animation studios have produced countless anime shows. And of those, there are only a few series that have an infinite number of episodes and spinoffs, making them great for binge-watchers. So, do you dare to watch these anime series in a binge-watch-palooza?
- Episodes: 1,000+
- Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Kids, Fantasy
To start things off is the 90s anime series Pokémon. Throughout its more than 20 years of existence, the pocket monster series has become a mega-franchise. From video games to trading cards, you can see Pikachu's face on anything that you can put a price tag on.
However, the success of the franchise lies in the generation-spanning anime series. With the latest adaptations getting a new character design, and not only that, if you want to be a real Pokémon master binger, you have to include the movies as well. Just remember to bring a tissue for Pokémon: The First Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back—it will give you all the feels.
- Episodes: 400+
- Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Kids
Digimon, short for Digital Monster, is another Japanese mega-franchise that has a lot of merchandise under its belt. While there a lot of comparisons between it and Pokémon, Digimon focuses on digital monsters living in a digital world. On top of that, the humans called "DigiDestined," or "Tamers," raise the Digimon. Together, they battle those who want to destroy the fabric of the digital world.
‘Mobile Suit Gundam’
- Episodes: Unable to Count Them All
- Genre: Action, Military, Sci-Fi, Space, Mecha
Premiering in the spring of 1979, Mobile Suit Gundam was one of the first anime series that gave a new spin to the mecha genre by featuring giant robots in a military/war setting. The long-running series has a mixture of tangled storylines and timelines. Gundam delves into ethical and political issues, which are often framed as a dispute between the hero and the villain through battle, as they try to convince each other of the uprightness of their causes.
Lauren Orsini from Anime News Network has made a comprehensive guide on where to start and what's worth watching. With such a long series, a little bit of help could make your binge-watching experience a whole lot more enjoyable.
- Episodes: 800+
- Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Shounen, Super Power
If you are part of the anime community or are just now getting into anime, then you must have heard of "The Big Three." However, if you haven't, this term refers to three separate series that are immensely popular in the anime world:Bleach, Naruto, and One Piece. Nevertheless, two out of three have stopped continuation, leaving One Piece as one of the last Big Three.
The anime begins when the legendary Pirate King Gold Roger (before he was executed) reveals that he had hidden the treasure One Piece somewhere deep in the Grand Line. Now, many pirates are off in search of this legendary treasure to become the Pirate King. One such pirate is Monkey D. Luffy, who had eaten a Devil Fruit and now has rubber powers. He and his crew set off on an epic adventure to find One Piece.
While the series hasn't concluded, it would take some impressive binge-watching skills to catch up to the latest episode. If you somehow finished binging One Piece, you could also watch Bleach and Naruto.
- Episodes: 900+
- Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Mystery, Police, Shounen
Detective Conan, also known as Case Closed in the English language, is a must-see for mystery enthusiast. Released in 1996, the long-running anime series follows the exploits of Shinichi Kudo, a young detective with Sherlock Holmes skills. However, his young career as a detective takes an unexpected turn when he's accidentally fed a poison that shrinks him into the body of a seven-year-old boy.
To track down the men responsible for this mishap, Shinichi creates a new identity, Conan Edogawa. Now, he lives with his childhood friend, Ran, and her father, Kogoro, who happens to be a hopeless detective. With Kogoro's detective agency, Conan sets out to find the men who turned him into a child without revealing to Ran who he really is.
'Hunter x Hunter' (2011)
- Episodes: 148
- Genre: Action, Adventure, Shounen, Super Power
Hunter x Hunter follows the exploits of Gon Freecs, a 12-year-old boy who's in search of his father, Gin, who happens to be a Hunter—a title granted to those possessing immeasurable skills.
To find his father and prove himself a Hunter in his own right, Gon decides to take the Hunter Examination. During his journey, he makes new friends, goes on wild adventures and discovers what it truly means to be a Hunter.
While its first adaptations received many awards, Madhouse's 2011 adaptation has been met with nearly universal critical acclaim, especially its Chimera Ant arc for its intensity and an emotional rollercoaster ride.
- Episodes: A Lot
- Genre: Action, Comedy, Fantasy, Game, Shounen
The trading card anime Yu-Gi-Oh was an instant hit in the West when it premiered back in the late 90s. The series follows a frail boy named Yugi Moto who, after solving the Millennium Puzzle, becomes the host to Yami Yugi—the spirit of Pharaoh Atem—a much darker and dangerous form of Yugi himself. Together, they fight for justice and punish those that want to disrupt the peace. Throughout the years, the series has spawned several episodes witch each containing countless episodes.
‘Lupin the Third’
- Episodes: 23 (One Season)
- Genre: Action, Comedy, Fantasy, Game, Shounen
For almost 50 years, the Lupin the Third series has been gracing our TV screens and remains as popular as ever. Arsène Lupin III is the grandson of world-famous thief Arsène Lupin, and he's living up to his grandfather's legacy. However, his infamous reputation draws the attention of Inspector Zenigata of the ICPO, as well as other criminals.
While the episode count doesn't compare to the other anime series featured on this list, the amount of films based on Lupin makes it an anime worthy to binge-watch. So, check out the adventures of Lupin and his partner Daisuke Jigen this weekend or when you have time.
- Episodes: 300+
- Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Magic, Fantasy, Shounen
Receiving the prestigious accolade of Anime of the Year from Animax Asia, Fairy Tail has almost 300 episodes. Taking place in the mystical world of Fairy Tail, magic exists as an integral part of everyday life. As a result, magical guilds are at the core of all this magical wonder. Lucy, a 17-year-old girl, wants to be a full-fledged mage. As luck would have it, she meets an odd young man named Natsu, who happens to be a member of one of the world's most infamous mage guilds: Fairy Tail.
- Episodes: A Lot
- Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Martial Arts, Shounen, Super Power
Since its release, the Dragon Ball series has become one of the most successful manga and anime series of all time. Selling millions of copies in Japan and worldwide, the manga series is one of the best-selling manga in history. Its visual design, characters and comedic plots all earn high praise from critics and fans alike. On top of that, the anime adaptations—notably Dragon Ball Z—have also received critical acclaim, advancing the popularity of anime in the west.