Every anime studio is unique, which is why it’s so surprising when Studio MAPPA best cartoons very broad and diverse. Founded in 2011, MAPPA recently rose to fame after the studio was tasked with adapting several popular manga series. A studio making just one huge adaptation instantly makes it notable, the fact that MAPPA has dozens of major hits marks it out as legendary.
In addition to faithful adaptations, all of the anime that MAPPA creates offer something original. It’s not enough for an anime to simply adapt its source, the best anime will use the unique strengths of the medium to enhance the already excellent source material. This process of not only adapting the source material but also improving it has defined most of MAPPA’s best anime.
15 Gods of High School
God of High School sees protagonist Mori Jin, a Korean martial artist, participate in a brutal fighting competition in which the winners will win the right to grant any wish from a corporation. secret. However, things become more tense after the appearance of “borrowed powers,” which are ethereal energies used by some warriors to perform superhuman feats in combat. Although this adaptation of a Manhwa hit has its detractors, The God of High School’s action scenes make the series more than rank among MAPPA’s best anime.
14 Zombieland Saga
Given that MAPPA is adapting popular Shonen and Seinen manga, it’s easy to assume that Zombieland Saga falls outside MAPPA’s impressive catalog. However, upon closer look, MAPPA’s fingerprints are all over the most unique idol anime. The film is about a group of seven girls from throughout Japanese history who are resurrected as zombies to form an idol group. With its morbid premise, adorable cast of characters, and surprising gender diversity, Zombieland Saga easily ranks among MAPPA’s best anime.
13 The Wrath of Bahamut: Genesis
Based on a Japanese mobile game of the same name, Rage of Bahamut takes place two thousand years after humans, gods and demons came together to seal the sea monster and bring peace to the land of Mastarcia. The key that seals the monster is split in two, but when a mysterious amnesiac returns to the land with half of it, war begins between those who want to revive Bahamut and those who want Lock it up. Although it falls into many familiar genres, Rage of Bahamut is a visceral and action-packed series that evokes the Saturday morning anime feel sought after by many shounen fans.
A violent high school anime focusing on gambling, Kakegurui is a must-watch for its offbeat humor and stylized gore. The main character, Yumeko Jabami, is a talented gambler who changes the stakes at an elite school that specializes in organizing such gambling games. One can expect the unexpected with the twists and turns in each episode. For example, players seek the thrill of betting on their own lives when the stakes are too high. All in all, Kakegurui may not be for everyone, but its strangeness is undeniably impressive.
11. Horror in Resonance
With only 11 episodes, Terror In Resonance makes for the perfect binge for fans of the underrated psychological anime. The thriller begins with a few young men stealing an atomic bomb and threatening to destroy Tokyo until they get answers about the government’s secrets. The attackers all have personal traumas that they wish to overcome, as they are survivors of a covert operation to develop humans into weapons. This dystopian version of the present sets the scene, and the series delves into concepts of authoritarianism and the reliability of governing bodies. It does not shy away from depictions of violence and terror to explore notions surrounding what a perfect “modern society” would look like.
Dorohedoro is an extremely underrated Netflix anime that still retains the dark style and silly humor of the manga it’s based on. Revolving around the quest to preserve the memories of an amnesiac with a reptilian head, the post-apocalyptic setting is beautiful and interactive. Despite the setting, the anime primarily deals with magic and the dark arts rather than science fiction. After being transformed into his reptilian form, main character Caiman sets out to find the sorcerer behind his metamorphosis. A larger plot was later discovered that involved humans being used as guinea pigs by magical forces.
9 Banana Fish
Banana Fish is a must-watch one-season anime based largely on the tropes established not only in the main manga series but also crime thrillers from the 90s. The central friendship between Gang leader Ash Lynx and journalist Max Lobo provide strong emotions while a mind control plot involving the Iraq War adds to the suspense. Even though the series is set in the 2010s—the manga is based on a series set in the 1980s—the references and visual style still have a retro feel to them, making Banana Fish a different from its contemporaries in the crime thriller genre.
8 children on the slope
Kids on the Slope celebrates high school friendships with contrasting characters. The series focuses on introverted Kaoru Nishimi who, along with his rebellious friend Sentarō Kawabuchi, develops a passion for jazz music. Highly regarded as one of the best anime series of the last decade, Kids on the Slope was praised for its wholesome male friendship, the relatability of its characters, and its touching storytelling and music. Casual anime fans should definitely give this MAPPA classic a try.
7Yuri!!! on the ice
After suffering a devastating defeat, professional figure skater Yury Katsuki decided to hang up his skates, but he was encouraged by veteran skater Victor Nikiforov to return. The plot thickens when another skater named Yuuri enters the group, who also hopes to be accepted by Victor as a student. Eventually, both Yurys began training under Victor and developed a romantic relationship. A quintessential and authentic LGBT production in an environment where same-sex relationships are often not seriously explored, Yuuri!!! on Ice is a one-of-a-kind one-season series that every MAPPA fan should watch.
The classic manga Dororo was adapted into an anime in 1969. It is essentially a fantasy story revolving around the adventures of a young Ronin with prosthetics named Hyakkimaru and a hedgehog named Dororo. The former’s body parts were stolen by demons, causing him to search everywhere for them. This central plot is retained in the 2019 MAPPA update, although it differs greatly from the source material. Overall, this is an engaging dark fantasy anime with multi-dimensional characters. Hyakkimaru’s mission is not only to find his body but also to find his life’s purpose and identity.
5 Jujutsu Kaisen
As a shounen anime with elements of dark fantasy and adventure, Jujutsu Kaisen has attracted a huge following despite only debuting two years ago. The plot primarily follows high school student Yuji Itadori and his adventures after he joins a secret organization of Jujutsu Mages to destroy a powerful Curse. Yuji also harbors a vicious monster that he is able to muster to control. Dark elements aside, Jujutsu Kaisen avoids familiar anime tropes and delivers a healthy dose of bizarre humor as well as allusions to iconic shounen anime like Bleach and Naruto.
4 Hajime no Ippo: The Rise
Hajime no Ippo (also known as Fighting Spirit) is a Japanese boxing anime developed by Madhouse, but its third season, titled Rising, is under MAPPA. It largely retained the original cast of fighters, primarily Featherweight Champion Makunouchi Ippo, who had to defend his title facing new opponents. Boxing as a subgenre of sports fiction has become quite saturated with similar themes and melodramatic fights. However, Hajime no Ippo: Rising shows the martial artist’s inner side rather than just focusing on fast-paced action.
3 Vinland Saga
Although Studio WIT handled part 1 of Vinland Saga, part 2 was done by none other than MAPPA. Many anime go through studio changes throughout their lives, but few have themes as consistent as Vinland Saga’s. Part of the series follows a viking boy named Thorfinn as he seeks revenge for his father’s murder while part 2 follows an older Thorfinn who has become a slave. In many ways, part 2 of Vinland Saga plays out like a completely different series as Thorfinn spends his time focusing more on farming than fighting. That season 2 is slower than the first without losing any nuance or depth is a testament to MAPPA’s keen eye for characterization.
2 chain saws
One of the most shocking anime series released last year, 2022’s Chainsaw Man follows a young man named Denji who fights evil as the titular Chainsaw Man. The manga series by the mysterious Tatsuki Fujimoto is famous for its wild plot and introspective storytelling in equal measure. Because of this dual nature, faithfully adapting the series is no small accomplishment, which makes MAPPA knocking it out of the park all the more thrilling. The famous studio also went all out on the anime, not only creating an incredible opening with many hidden layers of meaning, but also creating 12 impressive ending themes. While Chainsaw Man’s sluggish Blu-ray sales may be a bad omen for a potential season 2, the sheer level of quality and effort put into season 1 marks Chainsaw Man as one of the best anime around. by MAPPA.
1 Attack on Titan: Final Season
Attack On Titan continues to be one of the biggest anime series of all time even as it comes to an end. Although the first installments of the series were developed by Wit Studio, MAPPA was involved in the final installment. As the premise of the series suggests, the final season continues the post-apocalyptic war between humanity and the Titans. However, unlike other sci-fi and dark fantasy anime, Attack on Titan benefits from the underlying philosophy behind its multi-layered characters as they explore their origins and histories in each next mission. This nuance in the overall writing certainly sets it apart from its contemporaries. Attack on Titan: The Final Season is the culmination of over a decade of storytelling and the result is MAPPA’s best anime to date.
With around 50 anime series already in development, Studio MAPPA has stood out as one of the most prolific studios in recent years. This becomes more impressive in that it is not just about quantity but also about quality. Almost every anime produced by MAPPA is an incredible experience, worthy of the untold effort put into it. The Studio MAPPA’s best anime are some of the best series in recent years and are sure to stand the test of time.