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Top 10 Best Long Running Anime Franchises

VO: Dan Paradis
Script written by Brandon Stuhr. These anime have been around for years, and many are still going strong. Some lasted over twenty seasons, others started a long time ago and are still burning bright. For this list, we judged each entry based on a combination of the shows overall quality, popularity and run time. In order to make our list the show must have aired for at least ten years, so despite having over 300 episodes, “Bleach” does not make the list. Special thanks to our users Kristoff Downer and Juan Nuñez for suggesting this topic on our Suggestion Tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest.
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Script Witten By Brandon Stuhr

Top 10 Best Long Running Anime Franchises


These anime have been around for years, and burn bright and long. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for Top 10 Long Running Anime Franchises.

For this list, we judged each entry based on a combination of the shows overall quality, popularity and run time. In order to make our list the show must have aired for at least ten years, so despite having over 300 episodes, “Bleach” does not make the list.

#10: “Manga Nippon Mukashi Banashi” (1976-94)


Kicking off our list is a very unique entry. Manga Nippon Mukashi Banashi is the anime adaptation of many popular Japanese fairy tales and myths. In it’s almost twenty year run, the show released a whopping 1,471 episodes. It’s impressive as in each 30-minute show there are actually two different stories. Even more impressive, the series’ creators decided that a different creative staff would develop each episode. While this caused some episodes to have questionable quality, Manga Nippon thrilled audiences all the way up to its final episode.

#9: “Pokémon” series (1999-)


We tried to catch ‘em all, and they kept giving us more. The popular anime adaptation of the mega-selling Japanese video game series has been running strong since 1999 with over 850 episodes. Bet you didn’t know it was still running did you? Pokémon has transcended generations, with each era having it’s own unique encyclopedia of Pokémon to discover.

#8: “Inuyasha” (2000-10)


This fantastic series set in a fantastical reimagining of Japan’s Sengoku period, was a huge success in both Japan and North America. Contrasting a mix of light-hearted adventure with darker, more mature themes, Inuyasha is an action packed adventure with wonderful characters and memorable villains. With it’s run spanning the original series released in 2000, all the way to Inuyasha: The Final Act which came to a close in 2010, this epic has earned it’s spot on our list.

#7: “One Piece” (1999-)


Let’s leave dry land behind and set sail on the high seas. In this popular pirate anime, rubber man Captain Monkey D. Luffy brings us on crazy adventures in search of the treasure of all treasures, the “one piece”. Since the series’ inception in 1999, almost seven hundred episodes have been released across a monumental seventeen seasons. The animation quality has stayed strong over the course of its run, producing many successful arcs such as the “Marineford” and “Enies Lobby” arc. A piece of advice, if you prefer order over chaos, don’t don a straw hat.

#6: “Naruto” series (2002-)


Time to grab your kunai and prove who is the best ninja in the land! In this fantasy series, the story centers on young adept ninja Naruto Uzamaki as he trains his skills and becomes a ninja master. Despite being the youngest series on our list, Naruto has managed to release 405 episodes over the course of the original and “Shippuden” series, which matured alongside its audience. While you could argue for hours over which series is better, the real question is, can you master the nine tails?

#5: “Dragonball” series (1986-)


Here’s a Rocket Punch right to your childhood. For those that don’t know, the Dragonball series centers on Saiyan (say-ann) Kakarot as he defends Earth from invaders, with the help of his family and friends. Across all of the iterations of Dragonball including the original, Z, GT, and Kai, the series has released over six-hundred episodes, full of big action and bigger hair. Yes we know its ridiculous, but we love it anyway.

#4: “Nintama Rantaro” (1993-)


Admit it, you wish that you could learn to be a ninja. The series focuses on a group of children known as “nintama” who train at a ninja school to be masters of the martial arts. While initially aimed at a demographic of young children, the series has developed a cult following from fans of all ages over the course of 1800 episodes in a 22 year run. The series has many comedic moments, mixed with some really great action.


#3: “Doraemon” (door-aye-mon) (1973-)


For our next entry, we take a look at one of our favorite animated cats. No not that one, we mean Doraemon, the robotic, time-travelling, feline warrior who helps school age child Nobita Nobi change his stars. Over its very lengthy run, including a few hiatuses, Doraemon has over two thousand episodes and counting. While Doraemon is quite a comedic series, it tackles very important issues like courage and family. It also addresses many environmental and historical messages, all presented in a comedic tone.

#2: “Detective Conan/Case Closed” (1996-)


It’s time to appoint our favorite animated detective. Detective Conan, also known as Case Closed to western audiences, follows ace detective Kudo Shinichi who has been reverted to a younger state by criminals. With one of the shorter runs on our list, Detective Conan has released 762 episodes over 19 years. While some of the cases end up being a little ridiculous, there are many that challenge our intelligence. Will he ever get back to his original age? We still don’t know.


Before we marathon through our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

“Digimon” series (1999-)

“Crayon Shin Chan” (1992-)

“Oyako Club” (1994-2013)

#1: “Sazae-san” (Saz-aye-san) (1969-)


As much as we love fantasy, action and mystery, we have to give our top spot to this little slice of life. Sazae-san follows the daily life of wife and feminist Sazae and her interactions with everyone around her. The quality has only improved over the years, initially causing controversy for early plot lines, but now touches on more modern topics. Our champion blows the rest of our entries away; as it is not only the longest running anime but also Japan’s longest non-soap opera TV show with over seven thousand episodes. Wow. This wonderful little show takes the crown by a long shot.

Do you agree with our list? What is your favorite longest running anime? For more lengthy top tens published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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