The drama genre has always been one of the most popular ever, and this applies not only to anime, but also to movies, books, and more.
Under this genre, we find great stories, full of emotions, plot twists, and moments that stick well in the minds of those who watch them.
It’s enough to think of series such as Neon Genesis Evangelion, which still makes people talk about itself by giving new interpretations to the story, or thriller masterpieces such as Monster or Perfect Blue.
But we’ve already talked too much, so let’s not waste more time and go over what are the best drama anime that everyone should watch.
Table of Contents
Re: Zero is one of the major exponents of Isekai anime, where the protagonist Subaru ends up following an accident in the mysterious magical world of Lugunica, full of different creatures like demons and spirits.
Here he will make the acquaintance of Emilia, a half-elf with whom he falls in love from the start.
But following an unfortunate accident in which they will both lose their lives, the protagonist will realize that he can come back to life, much like a respawn in video games. What mystery lies behind this strange event?
The premise of this anime may seem repetitive, but Re:Zero hides a great story, full of drama and mysteries.
The narrative device of Subaru’s respawn will make each of his deaths full of pathos and meaning, and will contribute to his character development.
Witnessing Subaru change so much with each attempt and finally seeing him succeed in his purpose after much suffering is a good feeling for everyone who watches this anime.
an, moreover, is considered no less than one of the best villains ever.
30. The Garden of Words
A 2013 movie that can be described as breathtaking, both for its stupendous animation and its themes and plot. Truly a little gem.
Takao is a young student preparing to become an artisan shoemaker. One day, while skipping school to seek inspiration in a garden, he meets Yukino, an older woman.
Subsequently, the two will meet several times, never predetermining the next date, but always only on rainy days.
With each meeting, the two become more open to each other, but the end of the rainy season approaches, and the two must make a choice about their relationship and their future.
The Garden of Words is a small hidden gem of Japanese animation. It has an engaging and introspective drama story with well-written characters and some top-quality animations.
29. Whisper of the Heart
Whisper of the Heart is a Studio Ghibli movie released in 1995, of the sentimental and slice-of-life genre.
The setting is contemporary with the year of release and is set in Tama, in the rural suburbs of Tokyo.
Shikuzu is a 14-year-old girl who loves to read, so much so that she dreams of becoming a writer. During the summer, she goes to the library to borrow books but realizes that those texts are the same ones that a certain Seiji Amasawa also took.
Intrigued, she starts looking for him, fantasizing about him.
Whisper of the Heart is a great classic Japanese romance movie, and a little gem not to be missed. Its strength is that it’s an excellent slice of life, with an excellent blend of romance, drama, and other lighter elements.
28. Howl’s Moving Castle
Howl’s Moving Castle is a Ghibli movie that features a bewitching and unique setting that everyone will remember forever.
The story is set in a fictional kingdom that takes the best of magic and 20th-century technology, currently at war with another kingdom.
The protagonist Sophie will make the acquaintance of the wizard Howl, a young charming man at the service of the king.
This movie is characterized by a strong anti-war sentiment, supernatural elements, and a perfect fantasy setting.
It’s an anime movie that we are sure to call one of the best ever because of its comprehensive story, which creates a perfect balance between drama, adventure, and romance.
27. Welcome to the NHK
You have all probably heard of the Hikikomori at least once. They are boys or girls who totally self-isolate themselves from society by totally locking themselves up at home, out of fear of going out caused by various reasons.
The protagonist of the events Tatsuhiro Sato is one of them, due to past traumas. One day like any other to his surprise there will be a knock on his door from a religious old woman in the company of a girl.
But what Sato will not know is that the same girl will later get in touch with him, claiming that she can and will help him out of his condition.
Welcome to the NHK is one of the best anime about depression and gives a message of hope to anyone suffering from this illness.
It’s a story that is rich in drama if we look at the psychological side, but at the same time manages to balance this nature of the story with other well inserted comic moments.
26. In This Corner of the World
In This Corner of the World is a 2018 Best Picture award-winning movie, telling the story of a family trying to start over in the context of a world ruined by the war.
The protagonist is sunny and honest Suzu Urano, who marries Hojo, a naval officer.
Driven by the best of intentions, Suzu becomes animated by the idea of starting a new life with Hojo and his family.
After leaving her hometown, the young woman begins to adjust to her new life in Kure, a small country town. But things will get worse soon.
This is truly a masterpiece, with an excellent graphic compartment. But the real highlight is its message, full of drama and meaning.
In This Corner of the World shows us the terrible consequences of war, and how it can afflict the lives of ordinary, innocent people who only wish they could love each other like a normal couple.
25. Tatami Galaxy
The Tatami Galaxy is an anime consisting of 11 episodes based on a light novel and adapted in 2010 by Yuasa.
The beauty of The Tatami Galaxy is that it is seemingly simple in its unfolding but manages to enrapture because of its surreality and especially because of the stream of consciousness.
Yes, you read that right, the whole work gravitates around the streams of consciousness of the protagonist, so an incessant flow of words and tangled thoughts, a little like the hard life we live every day.
Tatami Galaxy is an anime in which you can much see and mirror yourself, especially if you are a college student or have ever thought about different choices in your life.
It’s a complex and intimate anime, and you must feel it your own while you watch it to appreciate it best.
There will be room for drama, comedy and even a romance subplot, but the real protagonist of this work is one: the harsh gap between adolescence and adult life.
24. Attack on Titan
One of the most popular works in recent times, thanks to an excellent anime adaptation by MAPPA.
In an alternate world, humanity is hunted by giants, huge humanoid life forms that feed on people, becoming their natural predators.
Eren, Mikasa, and Armin will have to live with this threat, training to kill them to get revenge.
Attack on Titan is excellent due to its solid story, full of twists, and dynamic action scenes accompanied by excellent music and animation.
It’s one of the most comprehensive series to come out in recent years, that has some excellent action moments with drama, great characters, and a setting that could be called the perfect all-in-one product.
23. Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood
This is an absolute masterpiece of battle shonen and one of the best anime of all time.
Based on the manga written in 2001 by Hiromu Arakawa, Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood is the animated series that most faithfully deals with the plot told in the original work.
Edward and Alphonse Elric are two brothers who live in a world where alchemy reigns and is used for a variety of purposes, whether in war, medicine, or even related to everyday life. The two brothers have a specific purpose, which is to regain their lost bodies.
When they were young they tried to bring their late mother back to life using alchemy, and it went wrong, since as powerful as this magic is, it cannot go against the laws of nature.
Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood is considered a masterpiece precisely because of its incredibly complete story.
All in the same anime you will find some excellent fighting scenes, beautifully written characters, and psychological/drama moments.
22. Your Lie in April
Kousei Arima, the boy protagonist of the story, from an early age has always been an ace piano player, famous and recognized by many musicians even older than himself.
That was until he suffered the tragic loss of his mother, leading him to abandon music and start feeling depressed.
That is until he meets Kaori, a beautiful blond-haired violinist who plays by putting her whole soul into it.
She will indeed bring back Kousei’s passion for music, but in a more carefree and lighter way than he was used to from his mother.
The relationship between the 2 will grow into something else but expect the worst. Your Lie in April is known in the medium for being one of the saddest romances with drama overtones you can find.
We have no better advice about it than to arm yourself with tissues and catch up on this great story if you haven’t already.
21. A Silent Voice
A Silent Voice is a romance movie telling the story of Shouya Ishida and Shouko Nishimiya, two high school students that had a tumultuous relationship in elementary school.
Shouya was bullying Shouko due to her deafness, and he will apologize in high school to prove he’s sorry about his past actions.
The two will soon become friends but this relationship will be threatened by their issues and the lingering depression of the girl.
A Silent Voice is a good romance movie, perfect to watch if you are a beginner and have just started watching anime.
Its story has an important focus on the psychology and the personal evolution of its characters and holds some good plot twists.
20. Banana Fish
Banana Fish is a renowned anime in Japan, so much so that it is often mentioned in other literary works.
The plot, as from the background of this list, is distinctly mystery-investigative. The main character Ash Lynx finds himself involved in the search for the truth about a mysterious succession of suicides that are happening in New York City.
The only link between them is the constant repetition of the words Banana Fish.
But these words lead back to nothing less than a drug, as will be discovered later. Banana Fish is its name, and it will play a key role in the unfolding of the plot.
Banana Fish is an excellent story that manages to combine action, romance, and drama in an incredible way.
It is one of the best anime from a shojo manga, which we recommend that you catch up on if you haven’t watched it yet.
19. Clannad Series
Clannad is one of the most well-known and appreciated romance series if we talk about drama series.
In fact, its ending is considered among the saddest ever in general.
The story stars Tomoya and Nagisa, and follows their lives as high school students in the first series and as married adults in After Story, the sequel.
If you are a fan of drama, romance, and stories with huge emotional impact, then there is no reason why you should not watch it.
18. Into the Forest of Fireflies’ Light
Into the Forest of Fireflies’ Light tells a story of pure feelings, capable of breaking through to even the most hardened people.
It tells the story of Hotaru, a little girl who gets lost in a country forest and meets a human-like yokai named Gin.
The two immediately befriend each other but Gin warns little Hotaru that, because of the Mountain God’s curse, he cannot touch or be touched by humans or he would disappear forever.
The deep relationship that will arise between the 2 will be the pivotal theme of the story, as the 2 will manage to love each other even without touching, but the inevitable cannot be postponed forever.
This is a fantastic movie, with a tender and wholesome story, a story full of emotion and drama moments that fit perfectly within the plot.
17. Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai
Based on Hajime Kamoshida’s light novel of the same name, Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai is a 2018 anime by CloverWorks.
The plot revolves around Sakuta Azusagawa, a high school boy who keeps to himself and has only two friends.
This is caused by the fact that rumors are circulating about him allegedly assaulting some boys. One day, while walking around the library, he runs into a girl dressed as a bunny.
Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai is a complex romance, one of the best you can watch.
It has a unique narrative formula that you will not find in any other series, which gives more importance to the drama and psychological side while still being 100% romance.
Nana is an extremely famous anime following the lives of 2 girls named Nana. The first, Nana Komatsu, is a naïve 20-year-old girl who is liable to toxic relationships.
The second, Nana Osaki is a resolute and proud punk rock vocalist who aspires to become a famous singer. A fateful encounter on a train will bring these two together and they will share an apartment.
Nana touches on several topics related to the lives of rock/punk music stars, both positive ones such as success, travel, and touring, but also negative ones such as alcohol and drug use.
It’s an excellent series with an equally excellent plot, touching on serious themes with drama overtones but showing just as many memorable ones.
Also fantastic is its character design, reminiscent of that of the punk-rock stars of the 80s-90s.
15. Violet Evergarden
Violet Evergarden is one of the most successful anime in recent years, released in 2018 in 13 episodes.
This is the story of a former living weapon who now finds herself listening to and relaying the stories of others in letter form.
Each episode shows a different story while telling the war-torn world in which the series takes place and delving deeper into its protagonist.
Violet Evergarden is a little gem that everyone should watch. Its animations are among the best ever, and its psychological and drama side can be called almost perfect.
Violet has incredible development, and the story is touching and sad, but with bittersweet undertones.
14. Puella Magi Madoka Magica
A 2011 anime produced by Shaft and Aniplex, Puella Magi Madoka Magika is a masterpiece that brought freshness into the classic Majokko stereotype.
Even though the first scenes make it look like a normal fantasy anime, you will soon realize why this series deserves a spot on this list.
The slice-of-life setting and the cute characters will not last long, and soon the story will take a dark and drama-filled turn.
Madoka will understand that she is not living in a fairy tale and that terrible sacrifices are necessary to fight the terrible Witches.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica is an anime that we will never tire of recommending.
It’s one of the most innovative and surprising series you can find, with fantastic plot twists that will leave you speechless.
13. Fruits Basket
A classic romance anime with supernatural elements and a cult in the romance genre that received a remake in 2019 by Studio TMS Entertainment.
The story follows Tohru Honda, a girl that starts living in a tent after a family tragedy. Her tent is located inside the Souma residence, a peculiar household.
Once they know about her situation, they offer to let her live inside their house. The strange thing about the Souma family is that when they are hugged by a member of the opposite sex, they transform into animals of the Chinese Zodiac.
Fruits Basket is a cult for sentimental fans, and one of those romance anime that just can’t be missed if you’re a fan of the genre.
It’s without little doubt one of the best unions you can find between romance, drama and supernatural elements in general.
12. Oshi no Ko
At the time of writing this list, Oshi No Ko is undoubtedly the anime of the moment and a true media phenomenon, having achieved enormous success from the very beginning.
The story follows Goro Honda, a gynecologist living and working in a small hospital in rural Japan, who is also a big fan of the beautiful and talented idol Ai Oshino.
And imagine his surprise when Ai shows up in his room pregnant with twins. Goro promises to help her have a safe delivery, but their encounter with a creepy man leads to his unexpected death.
Or so he thought because Goro will awaken in the body of Aqua Oshino, Ai’s son!
Just think that this synopsis only covers the first 10 minutes of the first episode, and we won’t reveal any more to avoid spoiling surprises.
Oshi no Ko is rich in genres, themes, and plot twists, as it gradually unfolds with constant surprises, making it an experience that we highly recommend you witness for yourself.
11. Ping Pong the Animation
Ping Pong the Animation has 11 episodes and is an adaptation by Yuasa, who based its remake on the original seinen Spokon manga.
The animations are really smooth and it is a delight to watch the ping pong matches in this series, even if you may not be a fan of the sport.
The fights take place on more of a psychological and motivational level than a physical one, and that is why you have to give it a chance; this is something that borders on the avant-garde.
The story centers on Tsukimono (Smile) and Hoshino (Peko), childhood friends with a hobby of playing Ping Pong since they were schoolmates in elementary school.
Don’t get fooled by the plot, this isn’t the classic anime about sports, it’s more than that: it will speak to your soul thanks to its deep introspection about the characters.
The matches will be merely a pretext for examining the psyche of the characters and their pasts, which are rich in drama and meaning.
Monster is a 74-episode anime based on Naoki Urasawa’s seinen manga masterpiece of the same name.
The story follows Kenzo Tenma, a renowned surgeon. One day he decides to rebel against his boss, saving a child from a fatal wound instead of the mayor of Düsseldorf, the city where the hospital is located.
Time will prove Dr. Tenma wrong as he realizes that the child he saved, Johan Liebert, has become over time a serial killer who continues to claim lives.
It will then be up to him to investigate to get to the bottom of it and stop Johan, to make up for his mistake.
Monster has now become a cult with its story being one of the best crime plots ever, with drama twists that are always unexpected and perfectly constructed.
Still speaking of perfection we have the characters, with one of the best casts ever. Joh
9. Vinland Saga
Vinland Saga is one of the most interesting and followed works in recent years, animated in two seasons by Wit Studio and based on the manga of the same name by Makoto Yukimura.
The plot follows the life of the warrior Thorfinn, in a Viking world inspired by real historical events.
Thorfinn is a boy that became a warrior to avenge the death of his father Thors, who was killed by the pirate Askeladd on behalf of King Sweyd because he had deserted years earlier to retire to a quiet life.
Vinland Saga masterfully manages to combine a war-centered setting with drama elements and terrific character development.
It is a story that captures you, endears you to the characters, and moves you so that you should catch up.
8. Legend of the Galactic Heroes
An OAV series about the devastating and interminable war that has raged now for 150 years between the Galactic Empire led by the Goldenbaum dynasty and the Alliance of Free Planets.
Set in the distant future when humanity has now colonized and made the entire cosmos its own, we see two protagonists pop up in the great turmoil of the war: Reinhard von Lohengramm and Yang Wen-li.
The two of them are leaders gifted with many talents and great intelligence. Reinhard is a natural at it and is a more charismatic leader overall.
Yang is well-educated in military history and knows how to apply precedent from historic battles to his benefit.
Legend of the Galactic Heroes is an outdated series that has probably ended up losing popularity because of this.
But this is a great pity because it has the pride of being an excellent story, combining wonderful political elements with other dramatic ones concerning the terrible consequences of war.
7. Monogatari Series
The story deals with the events of Koyomi Araragi, a generous boy attending high school who sees his life change after meeting Kiss-shot Acerola-orion Heart-under-blade, a vampire.
The main character will save her by giving away some of his blood, and this will make the boy a vampire too.
After becoming almost human again as a result of these events, he begins to find himself in various affairs involving spirits, gods, and ghosts while living his private life.
Don’t be fooled by the plot, this anime is far from one of the classic stories of monsters and ghosts that must be defeated to preserve peace on Earth.
Monogatari is a more unique than rare anime, almost impossible to categorize, combining so many genres and elements.
It has a complete story that encompasses drama, psychology, romance and a lot of comedy, along with unique and beautifully written characters.
6. Maison Ikkoku
Based on a seinen manga by Rumiko Takahashi, Maison Ikkoku is a great classic of the 1980s.
Yusaku Godai, the protagonist of the events, is a young high school student who aspires to enter a prestigious college. To prepare himself best and quietly for the difficult entrance exam, he rents an apartment at the extravagant Maison Ikkoku boarding house.
The boarding house is run by Kyoko Otonashi, an extremely charming woman older than him with whom Yusuke has an immediate love affair.
Maison Ikkoku is a major cult hit in the romance genre, making history and shaping the genre as we know it today.
It has a mature story full of drama, perfectly balanced by other comic and romantic moments. If you don’t bother about the dated animation, it’s a series that still manages to be amazing and innovative.
5. March Comes in Like a Lion
March Comes in like a Lion came out in 2016 and takes inspiration from the homonymous manga written by Chika Umino.
This anime tells the story of Rei Kiriyama, a 17-year-old shogi master who decides to live alone in a Tokyo apartment.
Rei is depressed and isolated from the rest of the world given his dark and sad past, and his status in the shogi world contributes to increasing the pressure he receives.
After meeting a trio of sisters, his life will radically change as they will help him to fight his personal battle.
March Comes in Like a Lion is an extremely introspective show, with beautifully written characters and one of the deepest stories you can find in all the mediums.
It’s one of the best anime you can find at the moment that has depression and social anxiety as its main themes.
4. The Wind Rises
Billed as Hayao Miyazaki’s supposed last feature movie, The Wind Rises is a 2013 work produced by Studio Ghibli and one of the best historical romance ever made.
A child named Jiro aspires to become an airplane pilot, but being nearsighted it will be completely impossible for him to do so.
But one day, he will dream of meeting the famous Giovanni Caproni, a genius of Italian aircraft design, who will make him realize that his purpose is to build them rather than fly them.
From here we will follow Jiro through most of his life as he realizes his dreams and discovers love.
The Wind Rises is the story of the realization of a dream and the purpose of life, combined with the dramatic relationship between Jiro and his beloved wife.
It’s a movie that will move you emotionally, with rich drama moments, satisfying others and a well-constructed romance. But one thing we are sure of is that you will inevitably become attached to Jiro.
3. Perfect Blue
In his debut as a director, the legendary Satoshi Kon in 1997 gives us a rare gem like Perfect Blue, one of the best anime movies ever in our opinion.
Mima Kirigoe is a young girl belonging to the Chams, a trio of idols who sing J-Pop songs. The group is having a fair amount of success, but Mima wants to become an actress, so she leaves the group.
Amid the discouragement of the fans, Mima will start acting in a small role in a drama and some strange events will begin to take place.
A fax will be delivered to her in which she is accused of treason, and even more disturbing is the existence of a website called Mima’s Room in which someone describes her days in great detail.
Perfect Blue is the perfect representation of how to create a drama-centered story with an ever-increasing climax.
It has perfect direction, with a plot that will make you feel constantly anxious and in danger just by watching it.
2. Grave of the Fireflies
Based on a semi-autobiographical short story by Akiyuki Nosaka, A Grave for Fireflies is one of Studio Ghibli’s best movies, directed by master Isao Takahata.
Grave of the Fireflies begins with the ending, directly from the death of the protagonist: it’s 1945, at Kobe Station, and a boy is starving to death amid the indifference of passersby.
The only thing in his possession is a small tin box containing bones, which will be thrown away by an attendant. Here the ghost of the little girl appears and picks it up, soon being followed by the spirit of her dead brother.
We then move 3 months earlier, still in Kobe, and we can witness the story of the main characters from the beginning.
Grave of the Fireflies is a heartbreaking story that is unlikely not to move you as you watch it. It’s one of the best stories about the terrible barbarities of war, in an incredibly raw way.
1. Neon Genesis Evangelion
Neon Genesis Evangelion is an original anime created by Hideaki Anno that depicts a destroyed world under attack by so-called Angels, mysterious entities that threaten the quiet of humanity.
Through the use of special mechs, it is possible to fight these beings, for which the Special Agency Nerv has taken responsibility.
The protagonist Shinji Ikari will be hired by this same group to pilot one of the robots, EVA 01, and attempt to put an end to these attacks.
But what looks like a story of mecha and fighting an alien race hides much more.
Evangelion is a kind of puzzle. Any person can watch it and give their own interpretation. The story is beautiful precisely because it develops the characters’ problems, which are extremely deep and consuming.
Evangelion is one of the most complex drama stories ever and probably will always be. It’s a unique series even in such a broad genre like drama, and is an anime that everyone should be confronted with sooner or later.