Mafia is a type of criminal organization that has had a very heavy presence in the entertainment world.
Something about its secrecy and its ruthless ways makes for a compelling trait in any movie or anime.
There is a lot of anime mentioning it in some way but, in this article, we want to list some of what we think are the best anime about this criminal organization.
The compelling plot of these shows is intertwined with the unsettling reality of the Mafia, which takes a front seat in the narration.
Rankings are based on our personal opinions and tastes.
Table of Contents
25. La Storia della Arcana Famiglia
This anime is inspired by a series of games that came out between 2011 and 2012 for the PSP. The games had pretty considerable success and they spawned a franchise of anime and manga adaptations.
The title is Italian for The Story of the Arcane Family and this anime tells the story of the Arcana Family, a mafia organization living on the island of Regalo and led by a mobster called Mondo.
The unique trait of this prestigious family is their mastery of the Arcana, mystical powers derived from tarot cards.
The mobster knows that his clock is ticking so he organizes a tournament where every Arcana wielder will participate and the winner will get to be Mondo’s successor and marry his daughter Felicita.
However, 2 young men in the family, Liberta, and Nova will try to protect Felicita’s fate, and the 3 of them will decide to fight for Felicita’s freedom.
24. K Project
This anime premiered in the fall of 2012 and tells the story of Yashiro Isana, a seemingly regular student who gets tangled in the criminal underworld.
The criminal activity is dominated by Clans, groups of people who follow a leader called a King.
They are an individual with supernatural powers who have the ability to recruit other people into the ranks and are tasked to protect the integrity and honor of their Clan.
One day a Red Clansman is murdered and everything is taped in a video that goes viral and gets Yashiro accused of this murder.
The Red King will begin to hunt down the protagonist as he will try to escape and prove his innocence one way or the other. This affair will unveil a greater conspiracy that will likely end up in a full-blown war between Kings.
K Project is the story of how a regular student gets swallowed by the criminal world, even if he never had anything to do with it before.
23. Phantom: Requiem For The Phantom
This anime is set in a dystopian version of the United States where the Mafia is a regular occurrence and the main actor is an organization called Inferno that acts behind the scenes thanks to its agents called Phantoms.
They are very powerful beings, trained to be near-invincible killing machines.
One day a Japanese tourist called Reiji accidentally witnesses a Phantom and tries to escape but he is quickly knocked unconscious.
He will wake up in a warehouse where a young woman named Ein will train him and brainwash him to make him the latest puppet in the hands of the organization.
Being held captive forces the boy to make a choice: immediate death or become an assassin in the service of the organization.
Reiji will also be stripped of his name and called Zwei. He must survive if he wants to try and get some hints about his past life.
22. Back Street Girls: Gokudolls
This is a short 10-episode anime that came out in 2018 and takes inspiration from a manga series by Jasmine Gyuh.
Back Street Girls: Gokudolls narrates the story of 3 Yakuza thugs who failed their boss one too many times.
After screwing up for the last time they are punished by the Yakuza leader with a choice: either have their organs harvested and sold or travel to Thailand and endure sex reassignment surgery in order to become an idol group.
This terrifying setup is only made worst by the will of the Yakuza boss to crush their spirits by hiring Mandarin Kinoshita, a famous idol manager that is supposed to drive them to success in order to be exploited.
A truly sick twist on the whole mafia genre that doesn’t pull any punch and that will surely entertain you if you’re into this sort of thing.
Hinamatsuri is a 2018 anime merging yakuza with childcare in a very strange combination of genres. Yoshifumi Nitta, a yakuza member, discovers a strange capsule, containing a blue-haired young girl called Hina.
She can use a wide range of supernatural powers that are beneficial to the yakuza’s business. Yoshifumi will make use of such an opportunity and many adventures will await this strange duo.
Hinamatsuri can entertain its audience quite well with a wide range of character reactions, relationships and proper gags.
It’s a comedy gem mixed with a somewhat criminal setting that you should watch right now.
20. Tokyo Revengers
Tokyo Revengers is a recent anime that was released in 2021 and is inspired by a manga series written and illustrated by Ken Wakui.
The anime tells the story of Takemichi Hanagaki, a young man that has hit a low point in his life and keeps thinking about his much happier past.
He finds out that Hinata Tachibana, his ex-girlfriend, was murdered by the Tokyo Manji Gang, a criminal gang that is terrorizing Japan’s capital city.
After almost getting hit and killed by a train he finds out that he can travel through time and decides to travel back to when he was still in a relationship with Hinata.
Takemichi joins the Tokyo Manji Gang and rises to the ranks of the organization to try to save his ex-girlfriend.
This anime provides some fantasy elements to the criminal genre but in Tokyo Revengers will fit somehow.
Nisekoi tells the story of Raku Ichijou, the heir to a very powerful Yakuza family. He is now a typical teenager but many years ago he made a promise to a girl that gave him a pendant that he is obsessed with.
Raku tries desperately to find the girl with a key that will open his pendant and he also has a huge crush on his old friend Kosaki Onodera.
However, Raku is dragged back to reality by the appearance of a rival gang of his family, the American Bee Hive Gang. The 2 clans decide to settle by pairing Raku with the daughter of the enemy’s leader, Chitoge Kirisaki.
Even if it’s a false love, the 2 will end up getting together from the very first episode. And nobody knows if this act can produce real feelings as the story goes on.
The characters are well characterized and diverse, though stereotypical as is the case in anime of this type, and the animations are very enjoyable.
18. Great Teacher Onizuka
Great Teacher Onizuka is a comedy classic of the late ’90s. Often abbreviated in GTO, it takes inspiration from a manga by Tooru Fujisawa.
The plot revolves around Eikichi Onizuka, a 22-year-old virgin and an ex-biker gang leader whose dream is becoming the greatest high school teacher.
This dream isn’t propelled by his passion for teaching but by his wish to find a teenage wife who is going to be young even when he’ll becomes older.
He manages to get hired by the Holy Forest Academy where we can witness his redemption arc from a ruthless criminal and pervert to an eccentric teacher who cares for his students of Class 3-4.
It definitely steps out of the boundaries of politically correct and it couldn’t have been made today but it is very fun to watch.
17. 91 days
91 days follows the steps of Angelo Lagusa, a boy who witnessed the murder of his entire family at the hands of the Vanetti mafia family.
After the tragic events, he decides to leave the town of Lawless and change his name to Avilio Bruno.
7 years later he receives a letter and realizes that he has the chance to come back to Lawless and have his revenge on the Vanetti family.
To do so he decides to infiltrate the Vanetti family by befriending Nero, Don Vincent Vanetti’s son, and then work his way to implement his vengeful plans.
This anime tells a pretty classic and fascinating criminal tale that stars Italian families that migrated to the U.S. during the Prohibition Era, giving the show a very realistic vibe
16. Black Lagoon
Black Lagoon is a series that aired in 2006 and it tells the story of a regular businessman named Rokurou Okajima in one of the best pirate anime in our opinion.
One day he is tasked to take a business trip to the crime-riddled island of Roanapur where he is taken hostage by a mafia gang called Black Lagoon.
He won’t be saved by his employer who refuses to pay his ransom so Rokurou will join the gang and will turn from an average man to a ruthless criminal.
Black Lagoon has a pretty bleak plot already and it dips heavily into violence. Considering that the story revolves around a criminal environment you can see why bloody and violent scenes could be very common.
It’s one of the best choices, as it’s capable of masterfully combining action, excellent characters, and one of the best mature stories about the criminal world.
The plot follows Kumiko Yamaguchi, a young smart girl who’s beginning to work as a math teacher at Shirokin Academy.
This is an all-boys high school where the students are a bunch of thugs who always try to hassle and bother her.
Nobody knows that she is at the head of a major yakuza clan so she has to keep her identity a secret despite how annoying her students can be.
The vice-principal is also suspicious about her and tries to get her fired multiple times so will Kumiko manage to keep her criminal life a secret?
This is an anime with a light plot that mentions the criminal aspects of the protagonist’s life but it never quite shows the brutality of that world.
Jormungand revolves around former child-soldier Jonathan “Jonah” Mar. His past makes him hate anything related to weapons but he gets hired by Koko Hekmatyar, an international arms dealer with the idealistic goal of world peace.
Jonah accepts the life of the bodyguard, even though he has to constantly face death because of his boss’s involvement in illegal activities.
Koko and her crew are always hunted down by international authorities and this forces them to be always on the run.
The show depicts how hard can be to sacrifice one’s life for a goal, no matter how noble that goal can be.
Nicholas Brown and Worick Arcangelo are known in the city of Ergastalum as the Handymen. They gained this nickname by accepting any kind of job from any kind of group, ranging from mob syndicates to crooked police.
One day they are tasked with taking out a local pimp and they do that without hesitation but they also decide to save the prostitute called Alex Benedetto.
As the story continues the city of Ergastulum will face changes that will threaten to tip over the power balance and this will likely end up in a furious conflict.
This is an anime with a gritty and dark plot that depicts the unforgiveness of the criminal underworld, even slavery. If you don’t mind a few out-there moments and plot twists you should enjoy this.
12. Lupin III
Lupin III is a hugely popular anime based on the works of Monkey Punch.
The iconic protagonist Lupin III is the grandson of Arsène Lupin, the gentleman thief. He is following in the footsteps of his grandfather by becoming a world-famous thief who is both feared and admired.
Many people decide to join his gang, such as Daisuke Jigen, a skilled gunman, and Goemon Ishikawa, an expert samurai.
Lupin is also hunted down by the law, represented by Inspector Zenigata, who is always left speechless by the cunning of the thief.
During the series, we can see a lot of references to the mafia and the mob world. We even see an appearance from Al Capone, a real-life American godfather who terrorized New York City in the first decades of the 1900s.
Dorehodoro is an anime series that has been released in North America in 2009 and currently available on Netflix.
The series is set in a dystopian future and takes place across 3 different worlds: Hole, a crumbling outskirt populated by magic users called sorcerers that prey on humans; Hell, which is run by Chidaruma and his demons; the Sorcerers’ world, controlled by a crime boss called En.
The latter is the leader of the En Family, an entity with many similarities with the Italian mafia that controls most of the businesses run in the magic-users realm.
The story is about a sorcerer named Kaiman and his quest to find himself after a transformation that left him with a reptile head and no memory of his former life.
Tsunayoshi Sawada is the clumsy protagonist of this anime. He is in love with the school idol Kyouko Sasagawa and is called “Loser Tsuna” by his classmates.
The way he gets introduced to the audience makes us think that he will be just an unassuming middle-schooler but everything will change when he will meet Reborn.
This mysterious figure is a kid who has been sent by the Vongola family, one of the most powerful mafia families in Italy. Reborn is tasked to prepare Tsunayoshi to succeed the boss of the family who’s about to retire.
The dull life of our protagonist will radically change and we will see if “Loser Tsuna” can really become a mafia boss.
An interesting show about the Italian mafia with a comedic nature.
Beastars is an anime released starting in 2019 in 2 seasons released by far, adapted from an award-winning manga written by Paru Itagaki.
The story is set in an alternate world populated by anthropomorphic animals, where carnivores and herbivores live in close contact but with strict rules.
The main character is Legoshi, a huge wolf whose appearance instills fear but is incredibly gentle. But when one day like the others at the school he attends a student will be eaten, things begin to shift.
Beastars is an excellent anime, with excellent worldbuilding, full of mysteries. As you continue in the story you will discover some deal that lies behind this society, seemingly perfect but full of pitfalls.
Including, as you may have guessed, clandestine markets, mafias, and much more.
Texhnolyze is an anime that aired in 2003 and produced by Madhouse Studio.
The story takes place in the crumbling underground city of Lux, marked by a harsh conflict between 3 factions.
The conflict revolves around Raffia, a rare substance that can only be found in this dreaded city and it allows for the texhnolyze transplant of any limb with a prosthetic and more powerful one.
The protagonist Ichise is an orphan boy who has become a bounty hunter by circumstances. He was mutilated and left without a leg and arm, for them to be replaced by advanced inhuman, yet powerful technological prosthetics.
This show has a very dark plot set in a dystopian world where criminality plays a large role in the unraveling of events, with futuristic elements too, like hacking.
7. Golden Kamuy
Golden Kamuy is set in early XXth century Hokkaido and tells the story of Saichi Sugimoto, a survived soldier who seeks fortune to support the family of a deceased friend.
One day he is told the story of a famous criminal who stole a huge amount of gold and hid it in Hokkaido before getting caught by the police.
The only clue to its location is the coded map he tattooed on the bodies of his cellmates in exchange for a share of the treasure.
Sugimoto will join forces with a young girl called Asirpa, whose family was murdered by the criminal, and the pair will start searching for the hidden treasure.
6. Banana Fish
The plot of Banana Fish revolves around Ash Lynx, a seventeen-year-old boy who grew up under the influence of Dino Golzine, a powerful New York godfather.
Ash grows up to be a criminal himself and happens to meet Eiji Okamura, a photographer from Japan who is documenting the hidden merciless world of New york’s outlaw gangs.
Ash’s brother is also an Iraq War veteran that has been scarred for life and kept muttering the words Banana Fish. The 2 of them will begin to look for him but their research will cause them to face Dino Golzine and his criminal gang.
This anime is one of the best in terms of criminal organizations because it flawlessly blends crime and the charming setting of New York City.
Durarara!!! is based on Ryōgo Narita’s light novel of the same name, which was also later transposed into a manga.
The story is set in the Ikebukuro district where the protagonist Ryugamine Mikado moves to. Here he will be warned about the various criminal gangs that infest the area, especially the Dollars.
As soon as he arrives, he will also come across a Dullahan in the guise of a headless motorcyclist riding a motorcycle with headlights off.
The strong point of the series is the storytelling, very strange for first-time watchers as there is no main character. You may be left wondering if some of them will be relevant to the story.
4. Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor
A gambling anime about the story of Kaiji, a poor young man facing an enormous debt.
Kaji is an ordinary man who is forced to collect all of his skills and mental strength from the situation he has put himself into.
The story is set in 1995 Japan when after graduating from high school Ito Kaiji moves to Tokyo to look for work but finds the city in the greatest economic crisis in its history.
Depressed, in his tiny apartment, he turns to alcohol, smoking, and gambling, eventually racking up huge debts. But he will not give up and decides to get every money back.
Kaiji is an excellent anime for several reasons. It features a unique design that you won’t find anywhere else, and it has excellent historical accuracy.
It also does a great job of making you sympathize and grow attached to a very flawed man that is just trying to save himself at this point.
3. Bungo Stray Dogs
Bungo Stray Dogs is an anime that premiered in 2016.
The plot revolves around an orphan 18-year-old called Atsushi Nakajima, who gets kicked out of an orphanage because he is suspected to be behind the unusual tiger attacks that keep plaguing the place.
Once he is out he saves Osamu Dazai from suicide and finds out that he is gifted with supernatural powers that allow him to transform into a mystical tiger.
Dazai decides to recruit Atsushi into the Agency and in the meantime, the Port Mafia put a bounty on his head.
Atsushi is determined to fight the mafia and, during his mission, he meets the leader of the Fellowship of the Guild, the organization that put a bounty on his head.
That’s because his power is somehow linked to a mysterious supernatural book.
This will unravel in a series of fights between the detectives and the mafia that will be the main focus of the show.
This is an anime based on a series of light novels written by Ryohgo Narita.
The plot is set in the US during the 1930s. It involves a war that breaks out among various mafia gangs in America during the Prohibition Era.
And this aspect is well rendered, with customs and traditions that look like a real photograph.
There will also be a touch of the supernatural, as the war between these gangs is due to the search for an elixir of immortality that everyone wants to get their hands on.
The gangs are ultimately after an immortality elixir that will instead bring death to most of them
1. Jojo’s Bizare Adventures: Golden Wind
The 5th season of the world-famous anime Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures is set in the city of Naples (Italy) and it focuses on Giorno Giovanna and his race to the top of Italian Mafia.
He joins the criminal gang of Passione where he moves up through the ranks thanks to a lot of infighting that occurs from the beginning.
Golden Wind is excellent in terms of Stand designs and main cast, because it’s a close-knit group of allies. Although the intent of the show is not to criticize crime, we can cleary notice how there are internal conflicts in big organizations.
Giorno is a resolute and smart character, in line with the other JoJo protagonists and his background as the son of Dio Brando makes it even better.
However, there are some flaws too. The relationship between Giorno and his father is never examined in detail and some plot twists are weak.
Nonetheless, it’s what we consider one of the best anime to watch if you want to see organized crime.