Fantasy is one of the genres we most often associate with anime, given how popular fantasy works are right now in all media. If you’re looking for your next fantasy binge-watch, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve gathered a combination of the best shoujo and shonen fantasy anime to watch right now!
Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood
Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood has stayed at #1 on MyAnimeList for over a decade with minimal fluctuations, proving itself to be one of the most enduring fantasy shonen anime.
What makes Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood so unique is its vast worldbuilding and amazing character development that spans over a larger number of episodes than most anime these days.
The show starts as another shonen about two boys fighting to get stronger and be free of their past mistakes, but the story grows to be something much larger than themselves as they both become complicated in a world-altering scheme that could destroy their world in its entirely.
The characters they meet along the way only make the story more interesting, funny, and occasionally moving.
Together, these elements create anything you might want from a fantasy anime.
Related: Do Edward and Winry End Up Together in Fullmetal Alchemist?Advertisement
Demon Slayer is the story of Tanjiro and his cursed sister, Nezuko, who navigate life in the wider world after their family is slain by demons.
Despite this pretty simple narrative structure, this is a great fantasy show with fun elements and awesome art.
Not only is it faithful to the fantasy manga that preceded it and has appropriate pacing, but it’s also a treat to those who love darker fantasy elements that are still not so disturbing as to be hopeless.
If huge shows and pirates are your cup of tea, you simply have to give One Piece a chance. It’s currently one of the best anime to watch on Hulu and elsewhere, and one of the most notoriously never-ending as well.
The series follows a young man known as Monkey D. Luffy, who, along with his crew, embarks on a journey from the East Blue Sea to find a mythical treasure known as One Piece and proclaim himself the King of the Pirates.
Moving to the shojo side of the fantasy world, Sailor Moon is arguably one of the first anime that established the magical girl anime genre.
The story of Usagi Tsukino and her friends, normal girls by day, transformed magical girls who fight evil by night, is a true trip to 90s nostalgia.
While feminism and girl power have progressed quite a lot since then, some of the messages about friendship and bravery are still valuable today.
The transformation scenes are still cool to watch 30 years later, and so is Usagi’s talking cat, while some of the villains remain properly creepy!Advertisement
Puella Magi Madoka Magica
If you want fantasy to disturb you as well as entertain you, Puella Magi Madoka Magica is an anime that violently deconstructs the tropes of magical girl anime like Sailor Moon.
Starting as a pretty regular magical anime, about schoolgirls meeting a cute supernatural being who offers to make their wishes come true if they become magical girls and fight against evil witches.
Sounds familiar? Only at the beginning! Soon, Puella Magi Madoka Magica turns into a dark, dark journey that explores the cost and impact of becoming a magical girl.
Watching it is an interesting experience, but also a terrifying one that doesn’t always offer easy answers!
Black Butler is a Victorian-era fantasy with historical elements that proves that shonen anime can be truly pretty and they don’t have to be all about slaying monsters.
Ciel Phantomhive and his demon butler, Sebastian, who will virtually fulfil his every command – looking absolutely awesome while at it – are an iconic anime duo.
They’re surrounded by an amazing cast that includes another demon, Grell, a creepy undertaker, and the seemingly incompetent servants of the Phantomhive household, who all have hidden talents and interesting backstories.
If are interested in fantasy that is more on the gothic side, with ghosts, demons, and even a Jack the Ripper-like case, this is the anime for you!
Some fantasy anime use magic and fantastic creatures as their selling points. In other works, such as Fruits Basket, the fantastic is much subtler and often used as a vehicle to explore something entirely different.
In some ways, the story of Tohru Honda, a homeless orphan girl who moves in with her classmate and his relatives only to find out they’re cursed to turn into an animal of the Chinese zodiac cycle when they’re hugged, is a comedy.
But it’s so much more than that. Beneath the funny, light-hearted moments whereby the Sohma family members transform in the most awkward situations, lies layer after layer of generational trauma that is unpacked throughout the series, making for a heartbreaking, intense, yet hopeful story that proves that the true family curse is not of the magical kind.Advertisement
Known for its mellow, slice of life pacing Mushishi offers a calm, relaxing atmosphere and each episode will leave you feeling inner peace, and a fantastic enemy unlike the monsters we are used to encountering.
Mushi are basic life forms with no true purpose other than existing. They can manifest as virtually anything at all, often causing trouble to clueless humans who end up being their unwilling hosts.
The Mushi’s lack of understanding for anything that resembles good vs evil morality makes these humans' plight all the more tragic and absurd.
Ginko is a Mushishi, a specialist in Mushi, who wanders across Japan, trying to help those afflicted, all while pondering the difficult questions that arise from his travels.
Back to more typical shonen works about fighting and self-improvement, Jujutsu Kaisen is an intriguing dark fantasy with a fun cast of characters.
When Yuuji, an occult-loving student, finds a cursed item, a chain of supernatural events is triggered culminating in his becoming the host of the demon Sukuna, “King of Curses.”
From that point, Yuuji must leave all he’s ever known, to immerse himself in the world of curses as a Jujutsu sorcerer with newfound powers.
Fate/Zero is one of the most iconic anime you can watch. Like many fantasy works, it depicts an epic competition that will grant the winners any wish.
Thus seven mages are called to summon seven Heroic Spirits to obtain the power of the Holy Grail, making for an intriguing, occasionally dark fantasy story full of twists and turns.Advertisement
The story of a young man trying to be the most powerful anything in the world is not unheard of, but Black Clover still manages to pull this off very well, creating a magical atmosphere and high stakes, as the competition is between two friends who grew up together.
Childhood friends Asta and Yuno both dreamed of becoming the "Wizard King," the strongest mage in the kingdom, and promised to compete against each other for the role.
But while Yuno grew stronger, Asta developed no affinity for magic. Instead, Asta obtains a five-leaf grimoire which allows him to use anti-magic; the ability to nullify the power of others.
The two friends both set out with the same goal; to become the Wizard King.
Yona of the Dawn
For those interested in fantasy romances, Yona of the Dawn is an excellent shojo option. This is an intriguing shojo anime about a sheltered princess who must take her fate – and her nation's – into her hands.
Growing up in Kouka – a fantasy nation based on a combination of ancient Asian cultures – Princess Yona never had to worry about the future. But on her sixteenth birthday, her father is murdered by her treacherous cousin, Su-Won.
Watching Yona navigate her fantastic nation and learning more about it and herself is a very interesting adventure.
Revolutionary Girl Utena
If you’re interested in the surreal side of fantasy anime, you can’t miss Revolutionary Girl Utena. The art style is extremely memorable, the themes explored are ahead of the anime’s time and the fantastic elements will captivate you – even if you don’t always understand what is happening.
Utena is a character that defies gender and genre conventions, identifying as female but still fighting to be a prince. Her quest to protect the princess by her side through complex, stylized, magical duels, is a journey full of twists and turns, not to mention odd symbolism!Advertisement
Inuyasha is another female-driven fantasy from the time when isekai anime weren’t almost entirely about reincarnation.
Kagome Higurashi is a fifteen-year-old girl who is abruptly moved away from her regular life and into a magical version of Japan 500 years in the past, during the violent Sengoku period.
There, she forms an unlikely alliance with a young hybrid dog-demon/human named Inuyasha, and other characters who are likely to capture your hearts!
Hunter x Hunter
Hunter x Hunter is another interesting shonen anime following young aspiring hunter Gon Freecs, who leaves his hometown to take the hunter exams in the hopes of passing and obtaining an official hunter license.
Gon sets out with his newfound friends, Killua, Kurapika, and Leorio, to become one of history's best hunters while also hopefully locating his missing father.
The journey of self-improvement is a common one but Gon’s wish to find his father as well makes for higher stakes, and the world of Hunter x Hunter is a very interesting one.
That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime
Isekai anime don’t often make it to best lists, given that a good few of them tend to be generic heroes’ journeys, but That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime has distinguished itself with its fun main character and intricate worldbuilding.
The show follows a man in his 30s who dies and gets reincarnated in another world as the powerful Rimuru Tempest – in truth a shapeshifting slime with the ability to devour anything and use its power.
This might not sound particularly appetizing, but Rimuru’s new world has complex politics, intriguing battles and plenty of magic, making it an excellent story for those who want to delve into a truly well-made fantastic universe.Advertisement
Wonder Egg Priority
Wonder Egg Priority is not for everyone, nor does it have the most satisfying ending. The anime is occasionally very hard to watch, given that it focuses on young people’s suicides.
It is, however, an intriguing enigma that you continue to try and decode long after you finish watching. Like Madoka Magica, Wonder Egg Priority focuses on the daunting and traumatizing aspect of being a magical girl, while also promoting the possibility of healing and understanding.
The show’s nightmarish world is highly symbolic, so if you’re interested in the ways fantasy might facilitate discussion about mental health, this one is for you.
Related: 9 Anime Like Wonder Egg Priority
The fantasy elements in Violet Evergarden are significantly toned down compared to other works discussed here.
The story takes place in a fantasy world that feels both old – a bit like the early 20th century – and futuristic, with huge technological advancements.
But this is still an amazing fantasy world to look at, and if you want your favorite fantasy works to be first and foremost about emotion, Violet Evergarden is the right anime for you.
The story of the girl who is brought up as an emotionless soldier, and her quest to understand the meaning of love as a travelling ghostwriter is a beautiful one that will make you cry.
Kamisama Hajimemashita is a fun option for those who enjoy heartfelt anime like Fruits Basket.
It tells the story of Nanami, a high-school girl who is left homeless and ends up staying in the house of someone she doesn't know all too well and learning his supernatural secrets.
After helping a man who turns out to be a shrine god, she's allowed to live in his house. Little does she know that said house is a shrine, and Mikage, the man she helped, intended for her to serve as a replacement deity.
Embracing her new life, Nanami tries to keep the shrine in order and becomes romantically involved with a hot-headed fox familiar.Advertisement
To Your Eternity
To Your Eternity is a truly unique shonen anime. The main character might look like a boy – most of the time – but he’s in fact a shape-shifting immortal being who started off as an orb, and eventually started adapting to the human world through interaction with human and nonhuman beings.
But there’s a catch; almost all of the forms Fushi takes, are the forms of people or creatures close to him, who are now dead.
In his journey, Fushi experiences love and loss equally, and, along the way, viewers will catch more than a few of these feelings too!