Studio MAPPA might not be as prolific as others - having been founded in 2011 - but it has produced some of the most memorable anime of the last decade. Getting started? Here are the best anime by Studio MAPPA, ranked.
Their shows have a characteristic, often gritty and mature but also fun style, and if you watch one of their series you are likely to be hooked and want more.
Plus, MAPPA will be producing Chainsaw Man, one of 2022's most anticipated anime!
Attack on Titan: The Final Season
The news that MAPPA would take over Attack on Titan - one of the most popular ongoing series - after three seasons produced by Wit Studio was controversial, to say the least.
While it's reasonable for fans to be a bit worried when a new team becomes responsible for their favorite work, there was a lot of toxicity and hate, although MAPPA has already proven itself with other dark fantasy anime.
As it turns out, the hate was unfounded if the very high ratings are any indication.
MAPPA began working on the anime during a pivotal moment; when Eren becomes the antagonist, upsetting everything fans took for granted about the series.
The anime was dark enough from the start but its darkest moment likely agreed with Studio MAPPA and while some fans will still be annoyed at the change, the ratings generally suggest that MAPPA did Attack on Titan justice.Advertisement
Jujutsu Kaisen is a great combination of creepy, gritty, and fun, following a surprisingly upbeat main character who navigates a potentially deathly curse and newfound powers.
When Yuuji, an occult-loving student, finds a cursed item he triggers a chain of supernatural events that culminates in his becoming the host of the demon Sukuna, “King of Curses.”
While other humans cannot survive being hosts of demons such as Sukuna, Yuuji handles it unexpectedly well.
The rest is a school-like shonen anime with amazing aesthetics whereby our main character joins other Jujutsu sorcerers who deal with curses.
The show is very fun to watch if you enjoy horror aesthetics but look for something that is decidedly molded from the shonen formula. MAPPA really outdid themselves in that regard.
Banana Fish is a bit different from the dark fantasy works MAPPA specializes in, but it's still one of their most gripping anime - not to mention one of the most heartbreaking.
With a title based on a short story by Sallinger and a different modernist novel or short story title for each episode, Banana Fish is a contemporary modernist tragedy that will make you desperately hope for the main characters to win, even when victory seems most unlikely.
Since Ash Lynx's brother returned from the war in Iraq, he has been uttering nothing but the phrase "Banana Fish."
At the age of seventeen, Ash has become a notorious gang leader, having escaped the clashes of an abusive mafia godfather.
When Eiji, a Japanese student, arrives in America for a project on New York gangs, he meets Ash and becomes implicated in a drug case that might reveal what happened to Ash's brother and change both Ash and Eiji's lives forever.
Related: 12 Anime Based on Classic Literature
Hajime no Ippo: Rising
MAPPA isn't the studio most people associate with Hajime no Ippo given that it's a long work with most episodes produced exclusively by Madhouse.
The show kept on being amazing when MAPPA, too, was involved, making it an honorable mention.
In this particular arc of the sports anime, Ippo must face new challenges and step into the ring once more, to conclude a story that started more than two decades earlier.Advertisement
In This Corner of the World
For those looking for a movie instead of a full series, In This Corner of the World is a sweet story to check out.
The award-winning movie follows Suzu Urano, from her early years as a romantic and creative child growing up on the outskirts of Hiroshima, until her life as a young, homesick bride as the war comes closer to her doorstep.
Ideal for historical anime fans, In This Corner of the World is an interesting exploration of life in Japan before and after WWII.
Dororo is a remake of the 1960s anime Dororo to Hyakkimaru and an adaptation of Osamu Tezuka's classic manga. Produced by Tezuka Productions and MAPPA.
The 2019 anime is arguably a more interesting take on the story.
The story focuses on a young thief, Dororo, who travels with Hyakkimaru, a young man who is missing most of his body parts due to his father's pact with 12 demons.
Hyakkimaru survives in an almost entirely artificial body created by his foster father and embarks on a journey to slay the demons and retrieve his body parts.
However, his obsession with regaining a human body ironically threatens his humanity due to the violent acts he commits along the way.
While far from a perfect representation, the 2019 adaptation is interesting in that it actually explored Hyakkimaru's disabilities.
In the original, Hyakkimaru could communicate telepathically and acquire language without having any senses. In the 2019 anime adaptation, his exposure to language was minimal to begin with, and he adjusts to this new sense slowly and often painfully.
This doesn't fully remedy other pitfalls in the show's representation of disability but the anime asks interesting questions and tells a more nuanced and compelling story than its predecessor.
Terror in Resonance
Terror in Resonance is a complicated thriller that features some of the smartest anime characters of all time.
In this show from MAPPA's early days, two teenage boys, known only as Nine and Twelve, commit terrorist acts - always without killing - in an attempt to bring an event from their past to the right investigator's attention.
But what is it that made them resolve to such radical means to get a point through? The answer is unexpected and it might even make you cry!Advertisement
Studio MAPPA specializes in dark fantasy works. Dorohedoro might be a little off-putting to those who prefer human characters, but it's definitely worth checking out if you loved MAPPA's other works.
A great option for those who like a mixture of gore and comedy, the show features a gritty dystopian district, separate from conventional ethics and dominated by magic users, who use it as a testing ground.
In this world, Kaiman, who is now more reptile than human, embarks on a journey to figure out his past and become free of the curse that plagues him.
Sakamichi no Apollon
MAPPA might be specializing in the gritty, but this doesn't mean the heartwarming is beyond them.
If you want something tamer than their typical works, Sakamichi no Apollon also known as Kids on the Slope is a sweet work about a young introverted pianist who has moved so many times that he no longer expects to fit in and make friends.
This changes when he moves to Kyushu for high school and meets a boy who introduces him to jazz - and to a time of his life that he'll remember forever.
Yuri on Ice
Yuri!!! On Ice is one of the most positive and upbeat anime on this list, showcasing MAPPA's range.
This is one of the best sports anime you should start watching - and about as good as it currently gets with LGBTQ+ anime.
Yuri Katsuki, a 23-year-old Japanese figure skater toys with the idea of quitting, feeling he's reaching the end of his physical viability as an athlete without a significant record of success.
At this point, he is approached by Victor Nikiforov, a renowned champion who offers to act as his coach.
Yuri's new journey on ice is juxtaposed with that of another skater of the same first name, Yuri Plisetsky, a teenage boy who is considered an emerging talent in figure skating.
The figure skating sequences are beautiful and almost feel like watching an actual competition, while the main characters' struggles with their career are well-written and relatable.Advertisement
Inuyashiki is often forgotten compared to MAPPA stars, but if you're running out of options, you're more than likely to enjoy this one as well.
Ichirou Inuyashiki is a 58-year-old terminally ill man who is abandoned by his family.
His life changes forever he’s hit by a meteor and turned into a powerful cyborg. His newfound powers allow him to save lives, but are there any dangers associated with his new form? Watch the show to find out!
Kakegurui is a school anime following a group of girls who are exceptionally good at poker. At night, their elite school becomes a gambling den, teaching its students such “arts” as money-making and manipulation.
The mind games of Kakegurui become increasingly complex and interesting and if you're looking for an LGBTQ anime on Netflix, you might want to give it a try.
Zombieland Saga is not as prominent a work as others by MAPPA, but it's still pretty iconic in its own right, with a pretty original idea - if you don't mind the zombie tropes.
When aspiring idol Sakura Minamoto dies, she unexpectedly wakes up years later as a zombie.
In this unexpectedly comedic take on the idol cliches, Sakura and five other girls from different eras have been resurrected as zombies with the purpose to create an idol group.
Love it or hate it, this is a premise you can't easily skip!Advertisement