It’s no secret that Madhouse has produced a lot of great anime. They are one of the most well-known and prolific anime studios out there, so it should come as no surprise when we say they’ve created some absolute classics.
Madhouse was established in 1872 by Masao Maruyama, Osamu Dezaki, Rintaro, and Yoshiaki Kawajiri. What started as a humble animation studio quickly became the driving force behind some of anime’s greatest hits like Hunter x Hunter and Death Note to name just a few.
In this list, we will count down the top 30 anime based on ratings from My Anime List and show you the best of what Madhouse has to offer.
Content Navigation (TL:DR)
- 1. Hunter x Hunter
- 2. Monster
- 3. Hajime No Ippo
- 4. Death Note
- 5. The Tatami Galaxy
- 6. A Place Further Than The Universe
- 7. One Punch Man
- 8. Rainbow
- 9. Perfect Blue
- 10. Nana
- 11. Chihayafuru
- 12. Death Parade
- 13. Parasyte: The Maxim
- 14. Overlord
- 15. Highschool Of The Dead
- 16. The Irregular At Magic Highschool
- 17. Hellsing Ultimate
- 18. Black Lagoon
- 19. Btoom!
- 20. One Outs
- 21. No Game No Life: ZERO
- 22. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
- 23. Claymore
- 24. Cardcaptor Sakura
- 25. Ace Of Diamond
- 26. Trigun
- 27. My Love Story
- 28. Summer Wars
- 29. Redline
- 30. Paprika
1. Hunter x Hunter
Hunter x Hunter is a whimsical and adventurous anime that tells an engaging shounen tale set in the diversely populated fantasy world. It has all the charm, character development, lighthearted moments, and dark twists you would expect from a typical show of this type yet still finds room for its own unique style with plenty of surprises along the way!
The soundtrack by Yoshihiro Ike accentuates action scenes or exploration with great skill while maintaining a catchy tune throughout each episode.
One of the best shows in recent memory; HxH is a treat to watch. It manages to tell entirely different yet canonically resonant arcs that help this show never grow stale, and I was always entertained from the start until finish.
Dr. Tenma saves the life of a young boy, who becomes Dr. Tenma’s biggest regret for years later when he discovers that this same boy is now an evil and twisted killer without empathy or remorse to his actions; even worse than before because it was nurture instead of nature which made him into what he became.
Monster is an intelligently crafted thriller that never loses its perfect pace, great sense of identity.
Monster has a lot going for it–from the artistic direction lifted straight from the manga to some stellar voice acting (both in Japanese and English)–but what really makes this 74-episode series so wonderful are all those plot twists you’ll have absolutely no idea about until they happen!
3. Hajime No Ippo
Hajime no Ippo is not your average boxing anime. It has 75 episodes, two-hour-long specials with some help from MAPPA for the last season, and plenty of content to keep you hooked: realistic fighting sequences, funny moments, and a healthy dose of romance.
With all the content and amazing fight scenes Hajime no Ippo has to offer, it’s easy to see why this is one of Madhouse Studio’s best anime.
4. Death Note
Death Note is a series that can be considered to be Madhouse Studio’s crowning achievement. This psychological thriller follows Light as he finds the Death Note-a notebook dropped by a shinigami (death god) named Ryuk.
He uses it to kill criminals and anyone who gets in his way until an enigmatic detective named L challenges him: either catch me or solve these problems with logic. The stakes are high–if L fails, then people will continue dying. But if he wins? Then justice prevails.
One of the best anime ever made, With a soundtrack to match. Grandiose orchestras and harps fill your ears with equally grand and spiritual music in its own right as the epic battles being waged on-screen are depicted through gorgeous animation art design straight from the manga series.
5. The Tatami Galaxy
The Tatami Galaxy is a twelve-episode Japanese anime series created by Masaaki Yuasa. It was first aired on April 11, 2010, and ended on June 29, 2011. The Tatami Galaxy is a surreal exploration of seizing the moment and living in the now. The protagonist has been given another chance at life, so he explores how to live it more fully than before, with regret removed from his mind due to this second chance.
I was stunned by this show’s animation and art design, as they were constantly in motion and zany but still able to showcase Yuasa’s distinct eye for humanity.
6. A Place Further Than The Universe
Mari wants nothing more than to explore the world, always dreaming of an unreachable destination. When she meets a girl called Shirase, who has resolved to travel to Antarctica after her mother disappears, Mari jumps at the opportunity. She makes friends with other girls that are also interested in exploring their dreams.
The show is a heartwarming story of girls trying to chase their dreams. Still, they are not only exploring the world, but they’re also dealing with friendship and personal loss.
The setting for this series may be Antarctica, but it’s really about how these four friends work together to achieve something that they would never have been able to do on their own.
7. One Punch Man
One Punch Man is a cultural phenomenon and has won the hearts of many.
The protagonist Saitama can knock out any enemy with one punch, but this only takes away from his character’s depth. If you’re just looking for mindless entertainment to fill time on your commute or while taking care of kids, One Punch Man will do nicely!
It’s refreshing to see an anime that doesn’t rely on its central gimmick. Instead, it focuses on crafting an immersive world with hilarious characters so the story can move forward and you don’t get bored of watching the same concept over and over again.
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Six teenagers have been assigned the same cell. They had a rough start, with an older inmate taking advantage of them and threatening their lives every day. But they worked together to fight against unfair laws to change things for themselves, giving each other new life through thick and thin!
Rainbow explores themes like class struggle, human rights, and identity through its characters. It’s a story about friendship and change, fighting for what you believe in!
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9. Perfect Blue
Perfect Blue is a thriller anime movie revolving around parasocial relationships and the woes of fame.
Mima, an actress who leaves her pop idol group to pursue her acting career, soon finds that it’s far more intense than she ever imagined because some fans refuse to believe she has left CHAM!
Mima is trapped in a world that mixes reality with fantasy, making it hard to discern what’s real and what isn’t. She can only guess how long she’ll last before the line blurs too much for her sanity to handle.
The movie is directed by Satoshi Kon, who also created the psychological thriller Paprika. Perfect Blue was a film that won several awards and quickly became popular in Japan for its depiction of fame’s dark side. It’s beautifully shot to capture Mima’s struggle with her inner demons as well as those from outsiders.
Two girls, Nana Komatsu and Nana Osaki, meet on a train by total coincidence. They forget to exchange details, but both find themselves at the same open house in eager anticipation of purchasing a property. After some deliberation, they decide to share their new home together!
And so the story of two very different girls began. It’s a stellar Josei, with some raw and usually unseen (for anime) dramatic plot points that keep it constantly engaging from start to finish.
Nana is a fantastic story about friendship, love, and finding your place in the world. Our two protagonists are polar opposites, but they find solace in each other to help them through their daily lives.
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Chihaya is an unmotivated high school track star who’s not into the sport. One day, she bumps into a new transfer student named Arata Wataya. His weird personality sticks with her for some reason. He loves Karuta, which turns out to be exactly what Chihaya needs to find something that inspires her!
Chihayafuru is an anime about a girl struggling to find her identity in the aftermath of a traumatic event, and as she does so, she finds herself drawn into Karuta. Anime fans will find this story hits close to home.
12. Death Parade
Death Parade is set in a bar representative of limbo, and every day, two people enter without any memory of their lives. They must face off against one another in several games to determine whether they should be sentenced to Heaven or Hell.
The show is a short but complex piece that explores morality and virtue through the eyes of justice. It will keep you questioning every episode with its compelling cast of characters who are bound to an emotional ending.
13. Parasyte: The Maxim
Shinichi thought his life couldn’t get any more confusing. When he wakes up for school the following morning, he discovers eyes and a mouth attached to his hand; it’s not just an ordinary creature either—it is there with one goal in mind: take over Shinichi’s body (and eventually Earth) alongside others of its species!
Madhouse is a studio well known for its ability to make any genre work with its signature style, and Parasyte was no exception. The soundtrack’s dubstep and electronica sound perfectly paired when coupled with the horror-action scenes and emotional moments alike. It’s one of Madhouse’s contemporary best.
What if a show with an overpowered protagonist didn’t just focus on the hero destroying everyone and everything in his path? In Overlord, our main character is not satisfied merely living a normal life. He wants to take over all of the neighboring countries by gaining their allegiance so that he may find more people like him – or at least live out his days among allies as opposed to enemies.
In the process of setting up his kingdom, he meets a variety of allies and enemies. Some are more human than others. He also has to navigate being both an adventurer in this world as well as its ruler.
15. Highschool Of The Dead
High School of the Dead is a brutal and beautiful but also unabashedly stupid story. It manages to combine Romero-Esque tropes with an ecchi harem anime set in a zombie apocalypse for one unforgettable piece of storytelling that’s not soon forgotten by those who experience it firsthand.
It’s the ideal series for anyone who likes their action mixed with a lot of fan service, and while it doesn’t offer much in the way of compelling characters or deep philosophy to chew on, High School of The Dead is still one heckuva ride.
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16. The Irregular At Magic Highschool
Irregular at Magical High School has received a lot of mixed reviews. This is because Tatsuya Shiba’s protagonist is overpowered and successful in all his battles with every other character without exception. Secondly, it hints at an incestuous relationship between two characters, making many viewers uncomfortable because they don’t like to see romantic relationships occur within blood relatives.
Despite all that, The Irregular at Magic High School seems to try and appeal to a wide audience with its complex magic systems, great protagonists who are still kids learning how their powers in school, and challenges that seem impossible.
17. Hellsing Ultimate
Hellsing Ultimate is the animated version of Hellsing, originally a manga series created by Kouta Hirano. The anime aired in 2001 and 2002 with an episode count of 13 episodes per season for a total of 26 episodes.
After a project was abandoned, Madhouse took the chance to take over and do it justice. Their intense focus on detail makes each episode of this show so memorable, with its gory content mixed in with stark comedy that is incredibly unique for anime at large.
18. Black Lagoon
Rokurou Okajima is a middle-aged Japanese businessman who grew up in crime-ridden Thailand, but as an adult, he wants out of the country. When Black Lagoon mercenaries kidnap him for negotiations that failed, they take him to heart and adopt him among their ranks while saving his life from danger.
The explosive and gritty life of a criminal is the setting for this anime show, featuring an interesting cast with diverse backgrounds.
Btoom! is a dark science fiction manga series written and illustrated by Junya Inoue. The story follows Sakamoto, an average young man who enjoys playing Btooom!, a simulated reality game of capture the flag with live ammunition.
This series has enough action to keep you entertained for hours on end with plenty of twists in every episode as well as interesting characters who all have their own motives. If you like this genre or even just want some mindless entertainment, then give this one a try.
20. One Outs
One Outs is a competitive anime adaptation of baseball with enormous stakes.
The protagonist Tokuchi quickly becomes the center point for this game with players battling against each other through mental warfare and intense strategy. The bets are high – as every time he pitches a ball, it earns him five million yen, and every time he misses, he loses 50 million yen.
It’s a nerve-wracking and adrenaline-inducing sports anime with a constantly moving plot. The characters serve their purpose perfectly, as they always have something happening to them that makes you want more of the show.
21. No Game No Life: ZERO
Sora, Shiro, and their friend Akihito share a love of games. They’ve never found the perfect game to indulge in, though- until they received an e-mail challenging them for a chess match that teleports them into another world governed by games. Now there are no limits on what Sora or Shiro can do!
Take a stroll down to the magical world of Japan and find yourself in one of many anime series. No matter what your pick, you’re sure to be dazzled by its vibrant art style with jarring pink outlines that give it this certain mystical pop that really distinguishes itself from other Isekai titles.
22. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is based on the novel of the same name by Yasutaka Tsutsui, and it follows a high school girl who gains the ability to leap through time. The film was directed by Mamoru Hosoda and produced jointly between Madhouse Studios and Studio Ghibli. Released in 2006, this movie won an award for Best Animated Feature-Independent at the 2007 Tokyo International Film Festival.
The film is a classic, although it might not be as popular with today’s audiences. It has an engaging storyline and memorable characters that will leave you wanting more.
Claymore is a dark, gritty fantasy story about Clare, A warrior in search of her identity. She travels the land as a warrior for hire with her fellow Claymores. Eventually, She finds herself involved in a deep political conspiracy which she must unravel to find out who she really is.
Claymore takes you on a journey through the medieval world, where bloodshed is as common as cornbread in Indiana.
24. Cardcaptor Sakura
After 10-year old Sakura Kinomoto accidentally unleashed all the cards in the Book of Clow, she inherits her responsibility for collecting and re-sealing them before they can harm humankind. With help from guardian Kero, best friend Tomoyo, and other friends that she meets a long way – with a little bit of magic too) –she’ll uncover these card’s secrets to fulfill her duty as newly minted Guardian of The Clow.
The animation of this show is a mix of traditional hand-drawn and computer-generated animation. The colors are vivid, the backgrounds detailed, and the characters well-drawn with a personality to spare.
25. Ace Of Diamond
Eijun Sawamura’s ambition to play baseball at a more competitive level was realized when he got the opportunity for Tokyo’s prestigious Seidou High School after being scouted for his unusual pitching style.
Eijun is a skilled player, but he’s surrounded by other talented players. He declares that he’ll someday become the team’s ace if fellow first-year Satoru Furuya doesn’t take it before him with his breakneck fastballs and a coveted spot on the starting roster. With these powerful new additions to an already strong lineup, the Seidou baseball team aims for Japan’s best–facing off against formidable foes who stand in their way of glory.
The cool characters are incredibly charming and funny, which will make audiences want them to succeed as they play their way through the series. Ace of Diamond has many amazing characters, and at one point or another, the show focuses on a single character in order for viewers to see how important every team member can be when it comes down to it!
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Trigun is a story about Vash the Stampede, an outlaw with a $60 billion price on his head for destroying half of Tokyo.
The show stands apart from other anime with its intriguing story and mysterious main character. Still, it shines brightly for the side characters like gunner priest Nicholas D. Wolfwood and insurance agent Meryl Stryfe. They travel alongside Vash on his journey to save lives in a post-apocalyptic world that has been overtaken by bandit gangs.
The show’s engaging storyline might not be enough if it weren’t for the captivating cast of side characters accompanying protagonist Vash as he travels through an occupied wasteland fraught with bandits looking to take advantage of any opportunity they can find – which is why you’ll enjoy watching what happens when these unlikely heroes come together against all odds!
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27. My Love Story
The loveable giant that is Takeo Gouda, in this anime, we learn to see the soft-hearted and sensitive side. He meets Rinko Yamato, who has a meek disposition opposite his own.
They develop a love story together. And the rest of the show is them coming to terms with their insecurities and intimacy issues.
This anime is one of my favorites. The storyline and characters are so well done, it leaves you wanting more. I highly recommend this show to anyone who loves a good love story with some quirky humor sprinkled in for fun!
28. Summer Wars
Summer Wars is a story about the importance of family and how it relates to virtual reality, being so universal that anyone can relate. It takes place in OZ, which has become more than just an escape from life but also a way for people to interact with one another on any scale imaginable.
It follows Kenji Koiso, protagonist and former math champ, who is thrust into the world of OZ by his long-lost Grandma. He has to learn how to keep himself safe in this virtual world that increasingly becomes a part of life for everyone on Earth.
This story takes place in the far future, where intergalactic racing has become an epidemic. The protagonist, JP, is a womanizing daredevil who will stop at nothing to win this race and take home that coveted prize.
Every scene in this movie is full of detail, imagination, and creativity. The animations are outstanding, with so many different environments and creatures you see throughout the film. But what really makes it stand out is how well they all work together as a cohesive unit from beginning to end, thanks to the stellar soundtrack that accompanies every environment or creature’s on-screen appearance while still maintaining upbeat energy through dialogue between characters who never stop being entertaining no matter what obstacles get thrown their way during their adventures.
Paprika is like Inception, but with a Satoshi Kon twist. The DC Mini was created as an apparatus to dive into another person’s dreams – it can even work on non-conscious subjects through the user’s own subconsciousness; so when this powerful device goes missing, and those behind its creation go looking for it, they must face their deepest fears head first.
This is a world where reality and fiction blend together wonderfully. We see this from the vivid colors to the eccentric music that will stay with you for years.
I hope this list has helped you find some anime to watch and take a look at. Madhouse is not only one of the most popular animation studios but also produces many of my personal favorite series out there. If we missed any other great ones that are worth mentioning, please leave your comment below!