Many people love summer and islands are one of the best settings to savor the salty scent of the sea.
Japanese animation is extremely biased towards islands in their settings due to Japan itself being an island. Many shows are set in their homeland and, as a consequence, it’s natural that islands are frequent.
Not all of the anime here have tropical vibes, some of them show different types of climates, like One Piece does with its rich worldbuilding.
This article is based on our opinions and knowledge, as well as the ranking process.
Table of Contents
Urashima Island, a fictional location far from the mainland, was once known to be a heavenly place.
But after the three most prominent families became embroiled in crude and mysterious events, the island began to arouse suspicion and ended up being progressively less and less visited.
Hopes of getting out of this situation rest with three young girls, Karen Kurutsu, Sara Garando, and Rinne Ohara, the heirs of the island’s three major families.
But when a mysterious boy who claims to be from the future arrives on the island, events begin to take hold.
Much mystery, but also sentimental-harem elements mark the 12 episodes of this enjoyable anime.
14. Talentless Nana
A group of boys with special powers attends a school located on a non-defined remote island. Here the students live and train day and night, with the intention of one-day fighting monsters.
One day as many as two new students move into the classroom: Nana Hiiragi and Kyouya Onodera. Both seem to be hiding something, and the lives of all the students are destined to change completely precisely because of their arrival.
Thus will begin a series of mysterious and bloody murders at the hands of the two newly transferred boys, who will turn out to be protagonists all but turned to good.
13. The Numbers
A very colorful anime that makes its eye-catching and unique graphic style its strong point.
The story centers on four prisoners in an artificial island prison.
Juugo, who tried to break out of prison but was caught and as a result, they give him jail time. One, who loves women. Rikko, who loves fights, and Niko, who loves anime.
An anime that definitely excels in extravagance, color plays, and design, but sins in other things, such as plot. The Numbers is a good choice if you just want to have fun and you are not picky.
12. Giovanni’s Island
Inspired by true events, Giovanni’s Island is set on a small island in northern Japan, disputed between Japan and Russia at the time of World War II.
Here we will see Jumpei and Hirota, two small Japanese brothers, who, while living in terror over the war, meet a Russian girl who arrived with the enemies and befriend her.
Definitely a lighter viewing than the classic world-themed anime. The barbarities of war aren’t explicitly shown and the focus of the production is to show how the innocence of children can go beyond even these difficult times.
This is also one of the best anime set in the 1940s we can fail to recommend.
11. WorldEnd: What do you do at the end of the world? Are you busy? Will you save us?
Anime of 2017 known for its excellent soundtrack and cast of characters, both considered among the best of the release vintage.
Five hundred years have passed since humanity became extinct due to monstrous beings known as Beasts.
The survivors live on floating artificial islands, but the Beasts are preparing their attack to conquer these as well.
Only a group of young girls, the Leprechauns, can wield the ancient weapon that can defeat these creatures: Karyon.
But into the lives of these young girls, whose lives hang by a thread, enters Willem, a young boy who is the last human being still alive, awakened after being hibernated for all these centuries.
10. Aquatope on White Sand
The story is set at the Gama Gama Aquarium, a small aquarium in Okinawa, a Japanese prefecture that consists of a collection of islands.
Kukuru Misakino is an 18-year-old high school student who works there and knows the secret of the place: mysterious events happen from time to time.
If you want to find out what this secret is start this interesting 2021 slice of life, released in 24 episodes, that we consider as one of the best anime set in Okinawa.
Ryouta Sakamoto is a 22-year-old unemployed boy who lives with his mother.
In the real world he possesses no special qualities or characteristics, but online he is one of the world’s strongest players of the combat game BTOOOM!!!.
One day he wakes up on what appears to be a nondefined tropical island, having no idea how or why he ended up there.
Randomly wandering here and there, Ryouta realizes that he finds himself trapped in a real-life version of his favorite game. But his survival is at stake, and he will not have to be overwhelmed.
Many fights to the death and many thrills to find out who will be saved and who will not. Definitely not an excellent viewing, but very enjoyable.
8. The Stranger by the Beach
A movie based on a yaoi manga, released in 2020.
On a quaint, tropical island off the coast of Okinawa, Shun, is a young homosexual writer staying at his aunt’s guesthouse after running away from his family following his coming out.
On the other side, a melancholy boy looking out to sea meets.
Of course, we will see the relationship between the two analyzed, along with the love dynamics of the case that can’t be absent in a good yaoi.
7. Hunter x Hunter
If you are a fan of fighting-focused anime, you cannot be unfamiliar with Hunter x Hunter, an early work by master Togashi. We are talking about an immortal work that revolutionized battle shonen upon its release and still sets the standard today.
Hunter x Hunter follows the story of Gon Freecs, a young boy living in the wilderness. One day he will learn that his father, believed dead, is instead alive and well and is also one of the strongest Hunters in the world.
He will not think twice before undertaking the examination to become a Hunter himself, to reunite with his father.
The anime is not entirely set on an island, but rather one of its story arcs. Fans will have already figured it out, we are talking about the Greed Island saga, one of the most popular ones.
6. Summer Time Rendering
One of the anime of this 2022 summer season, still in progress, with mystery and supernatural elements.
After the death of his parents, Shinpei was taken in by the Kofune family and raised as a son on the island of Hitogashima where they lived, then returned to Tokyo to attend high school.
However, he will be forced to return there to attend the funeral of his childhood friend and adopted sister Ushio, but several supernatural mysteries will begin to occur.
Lots of mystery, investigation and dark-themed supernatural elements make this anime one of the best recent anime.
5. A Letter to Momo
“Dear Momo,” were these last words of the girl’s father, engraved on a white letter except for these two isolated words.
Momo and her mother had just moved from Tokyo to a small country town overlooking the Seto Inland Sea.
Although the protagonist was starting a new life, she couldn’t avoid a recurring thought: “Father, what did you want to write in that letter?”
But it is when he finds an old book in the attic that things will change.
If you want to know how this wonderful movie continues, don’t think twice about starting it, it is undoubtedly a worthwhile viewing.
An anime with very interesting and memorable direction, character design, and animation style.
The story is set on Enoshima Island in the Shounan area, south of Tokyo, and follows the events of four young people in their daily lives. Can you imagine saving the world with fishing?
That’s what Tsuritama is all about! This underrated design gem is just 13 episodes long and won’t disappoint you.
This slice-of-life anime combines sports and science fiction masterfully while using the friendship trope in a credible way.
Seishu Handa is a rather arrogant calligrapher who is shocked when an established critic calls his works stiff and bland.
Unable to take the insult, he punches the elderly sensei arousing deep outrage. Regarded by all as an ungrateful fool, he is forced by his father to move to a remote island nestled in the countryside.
Will he be able to adjust to the new way of life, with peasants, humming tractors, and a strange little girl annoying him?
An anime that belies in comedy and slice of life, real-life lessons, and morals, capable of making the viewer think even if that is not its primary goal.
2. Macross Zero
Prequel to the legendary Macross, released several years later in 2002 in a series of 5 OAVs.
The protagonist, a skilled aircraft pilot, following a battle with a humanoid craft from which he is defeated is forced to make an emergency landing on an island.
He is forced to stay there during his recovery, but upon investigating he discovers that the natives living there may be hiding a secret.
Many tidbits and references to the original work, and a must-see for any fan of the opera. The deadly combo of 2D and CGI animation is one of our favorite details because it showcases how vintage and modern can coexist.
1. One Piece
It wouldn’t even need to be said given the context, but One Piece’s world-building is based on the different islands.
So we will see plenty of traditional island settings, like Wano Kuni, but also other ones that can be considered weird, such as Thriller Bark.
Skypiea is another example as it’s an island located in the sky. Whole Cake Island, made of sweets and cakes as the name suggests, is one extravagant example of how Oda is able to play with different themes for the setting.
Everything is an island in One Piece and we got to see only a tiny percentage of the fictional world where the series takes place.