Studio Deen was one of the best and most significant Japanese animation studios in history.
They have delivered some of the most iconic anime ever, like adaptations of numerous works by Rumiko Takahashi, Rurouni Kenshin, and the first Patlabor movie.
Even though the Studio has lost its former glory, its works are mandatory for vintage lovers.
Let’s see together the best anime produced by Studio Deen to add to your watchlist.
Table of Contents
12. The Seven Deadly Sins
The Seven Deadly Sins is a well-known fantasy-fighting anime that has gained popularity in recent years.
It follows Elizabeth, the daughter of the king, as she sets out to find the Seven Deadly Sins, a group of powerful warriors, to help reclaim her fallen kingdom.
This anime is set in a fantasy version of ancient Britain, with elements of magic and features demons, angels, and fairies.
While The Seven Deadly Sins may not be anything groundbreaking, it’s a fun and entertaining anime to watch, with a lot of action, comedy, ecchi elements, a great setting and some good romantic subplots.
But we recommend watching only until Season 4, as the adaptation quality starts to decline afterward on multiple aspects, so if you enjoy the story, you can continue with the manga.
11. Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto
Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto, also known as Sakamoto desu ga? is a school comedy anime series that first aired in 2016, based on the manga series of the same name, written and illustrated by Nami Sano.
The anime tells the story of Sakamoto, a high school student who is the epitome of perfection and suave.
And despite the constant attempts of his classmates to bring him down, Sakamoto always manages to come out on top and make himself look even more remarkable.
And of course, as you may have guessed, Sakamoto will also be incredibly popular with the girls. But he will not be interested at all in reciprocating them, leaving behind a trail of broken hearts.
This series is known for its humor, a mix of slapstick, puns, and satirical commentary on daily life that will crack you up with laughs.
So as you can guess, you won’t find any profound, psychological, or similar themes in it and instead, it’s filled with laughter and situations that border on the absurd.
10. Fate/Stay Night (2006)
Fate is undoubtedly one of the most popular franchises in recent years, sharing a thrilling survival game anime storyline with some great action and romance subplots.
The narrative centers around Shirou Emiya, an ordinary student who becomes entangled in the Holy Grail War, a conflict that revolves around obtaining an artifact capable of granting any wish.
Each participant is partnered with a Servant, a spirit embodying a legendary hero from history, and they engage in battles to claim victory.
Fate is undeniably a colossal franchise in recent years, especially if you’re dealing with expansive and interconnected narrative universes. It has managed to amass a massive following eagerly anticipating new developments in the plot and products.
We must clarify that this is the older and less favorable version to watch, unlike Unlimited Blade Works, which excels in every other aspect.
To provide some context, Studio Deen produced an early adaptation of the Stay Night route in 2006, which regrettably falls short of Ufotable’s 2014 release.
We’d love to find some merit in it, but there’s simply no reason to prefer this older version over the new one, which surpasses it in every category, from animation quality to faithfulness of adaptation.
9. Patlabor: The Movie (Only the first one)
Patlabor is a Japanese animated movie directed by the legendary anime director Mamoru Hoshii. It came out in 1989 and is set in a not-yet-discovered 1999 Japan.
Tokyo is undergoing a huge redevelopment program that involves old suburbs being demolished and human-made islands being constructed in Tokyo Bay under the Babylon Project.
This Project is known for utilizing Labors, robots created for the express purpose of doing work, giving the architects and construction crews the possibility to more efficiently progress development.
But the whole thing starts soon to go sideways when a key figure in the Project’s conception is found dead after committing suicide under mysterious circumstances.
Captain Kiichi Gotou’s Patlabor police unit is tasked with getting to the bottom of this strange situation.
Patlabor is a product that, quite unfairly, remains niche but is, in fact, a small masterpiece in many aspects.
To begin with, it stands as one of the undisputed pinnacles of Real Robots, a mecha subgenre where robots are depicted as believable tools assisting humanity.
It also incorporates a compelling mystery and police narrative, adding an extra layer of depth to the production.
8. Higurashi: When They Cry
Higurashi: When They Cry is a 2006 anime consisting of 26 episodes adapted from a visual novel. It is produced by Studio Deen, just like its sequels, which we recommend if you’ll enjoy this first series.
The plot follows Keiichi Maebara and his friends who live in Hinamizawa, a small village plagued by a macabre curse linked to the worship of a local god, Oyashiro.
But as the protagonists begin to investigate the town’s mysteries, the situation escalates, and various characters commit terrible acts as the truth is revealed.
Higurashi: When They Cry is packed, to put it mildly, with gore scenes that will turn your stomach and it can be quite bothersome to watch.
And that’s about it, actually. We recommend this series if you’re seeking intense gore to challenge your endurance and possibly curb your appetite.
7. Fruits Basket (2001)
Fruits Basket is undeniably a shojo romance icon and easily one of the best romance anime ever.
The story follows the kind-hearted Toru Honda, who, following the tragic death of her parents, finds herself living with her grandfather.
But due to unavoidable circumstances, she’s forced to leave that home as well and ends up living alone in a tent in the woods.
It is there that she encounters Yuki Soma, who offers her an invitation to stay at his family’s home, a place harboring a peculiar secret.
Fruits Basket, as previously mentioned, is one of the cornerstones of the romance genre, and there’s little room for debate.
It boasts one of the best love triangles ever created, incredibly well-developed characters, intriguing plot twists, and even fantasy elements.
So you might be wondering why it ranks relatively low on this list.
The answer is rather straightforward: this adaptation has become outdated since a remake was released in 2019, surpassing Studio Deen’s version in every aspect.
This is not to say that their version is bad, but it simply didn’t age well if compared to the new one, from the animation quality to the soundtrack and more.
6. Urusei Yatsura
Urusei Yatsura is another colossal in the romance genre, based on a manga by Rumiko Takahashi, like Ranma 1/2 and Maison Ikkoku, two series that you can both find on this list.
The story takes place in the quiet town of Tomoboki, which is suddenly disrupted by the arrival of an alien spaceship filled with Oni with a very specific intention: to conquer the planet.
But there’s a way for humanity to save itself: if one person, chosen at random by a computer, can touch the horns of the Oni princess Lum, the planet will be spared. And this task falls to our protagonist, Ataru.
Urusei Yatsura is one of the best examples of how to blend romance with supernatural elements and a dash of action. Not to mention that is one of the predecessors of the harem romance genre.
Honestly, if you don’t at least acquaint yourself with this classic, you can’t truly claim to be a fan of the romance genre.
While there is a remake of this series produced by David Productions that is still ongoing, we don’t think it’s superior to the original.
And that’s because the first series, produced by Studio Deen in the 1980s, with its delightful vintage charm, remains truly wonderful even today.
The reboot is more faithful to the manga even though it skips a lot instead of adding parts like the original adaptation. Either version works, as they have different vibes!
5. KonoSuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World!
Konosuba is one of the most popular isekai anime series in recent years, with two seasons both produced bu Studio Deen released so far and a third on the way.
The story of KonoSuba revolves around Kazuma Satou, a hikikomori who dies in a car accident while attempting to save a girl.
In the afterlife, he encounters the goddess Aqua, who offers him a chance to be reincarnated in a fantasy world and defeat the Demon King. As a bonus, he is granted the ability to bring anything he desires into this new world.
Kazuma decides to accept the offer and brings the goddess Aqua herself into the world, leading to various misadventures.
Since its release, Konosuba has been a perfect choice for isekai fans seeking a lighthearted and comedy-filled story with plenty of absurd and over-the-top moments.
It offers a lighthearted and unique approach to the isekai genre that we recommend, whether you’re a fan of isekai or simply looking for a good laugh.
4. Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju
Descending Stories is a one-of-a-kind 2016 anime based on a Josei manga and adapted in 13 episodes by Studio Deen.
The anime revolves around the Rakugo, a traditional Japanese drama genre where a performer tells captivating and humorous stories in a long monologue.
After witnessing a Rakugo performance, a prisoner becomes deeply inspired by it and decides to pursue this art form.
He seeks out a renowned Rakugo master, leading to a compelling and intricate flashback that unfolds, filled with artistic brilliance and unexpected twists.
Descending Stories is not an anime for everyone, and we understand that. Its pacing is deliberately slow, as the story revolves around the intricacies of this particular art form rather than relying solely on its narrative.
But if you are a fan of anime that possesses such caliber and depth, we wholeheartedly recommend giving it a try. This is particularly valid if you have an interest in discovering new things and enjoy exceptional animations.
3. Ranma 1/2
Ranma 1/2 is an iconic cohabitation romance anime, adapted from a manga by the legendary Rumiko Takahashi. It aired from 1989 to 1992, with a total of 161 episodes.
The story revolves around martial arts expert Ranma Saotome, who, due to a curse, transforms into a girl when exposed to cold water.
His engagement with Akane Tendo sets the stage for a series of hilarious misunderstandings and mishaps as they are compelled to live together and navigate their unconventional predicament.
Ranma continues to be an incredible and unparalleled romance anime even today, after 30 years.
It delivers first-rate comedy and an exceptional love story intertwined with supernatural elements, which still comes across as innovative and ahead of its time even today.
But then again, such qualities are to be expected from the works of Rumiko Takahashi, and she never fails to deliver.
2. Rurouni Kenshin
Rurouni Kenshin is one of the milestones of samurai-themed anime and consists of a 95-episode anime adaptation by Studio Deen based on the manga of the same name by Nobuhiro Watsuki.
Follow the journey of legendary warrior Kenshin Himura as he seeks to protect people from injustice and atone for his violent past actions.
Along the way, he meets his one true love interest, Kaoru Kamiya, and together they embark on thrilling adventures filled with love and conflict.
Rurouni Kenshin is one of the best vintage anime you can come across under multiple aspects.
It presents a tale full of honor, action, and life-or-death battles, all within the captivating backdrop of feudal Japan and with the inclusion of a fantastic love story that complements the story perfectly in its interludes.
Studio Deen also took on the adaptation of the OAVs of this series, which delve deeper into various aspects of the story. If you’re eager for more after completing the main series, we wholeheartedly recommend giving them a watch.
Among them, Trust & Betrayal is probably the best and an absolute must-have in your collection.
1. Maison Ikkoku
Maison Ikkoku is a must for any romance fan and continues to inspire anime in the genre to this day. It ran from 1986 and concluded in 96 episodes.
The story revolves around Yusaku Godai, a young man who is preparing for his college entrance exams. Yusaku resides in Maison Ikkoku, a bustling boarding house where distractions make it challenging for him to concentrate on his studies.
Initially planning to leave, Yusaku’s decision takes a turn when Kyoko Otonashi, the new building manager, arrives, and he falls in love with her and decides to stay.
Maison Ikkoku has left a significant imprint on the landscape of romance anime and still manages to be a profound and even innovative series today.
We are absolutely confident in stating that even today, over 30 years later, you’re unlikely to encounter love stories that are as well-structured as the one found in this series.
So, if it’s missing from your collection, catch up as soon as possible because you’re missing out on one of the best romance series you could watch in your entire life.