2018 was one of the strongest years for anime yet, full of glorious returns, strong send-offs, and even a few noteworthy remakes. It was the year Dragon Ball Super finally said farewell, with the end of its Tournament of Power saga, even while setting up a film to officially welcome the Legendary Super Saiyan Broly to the series' canon. It was also the year Netflix started to make waves in the anime world with series like Devilman Crybaby, a remake of Go Nagai’s iconic Devilman show, and Aggretsuko, a comedy series following a certain introverted panda accountant. We also saw more remakes and sequels, like Production I.G’s remake of the sci-fi classic Legend of the Galactic Heroes, and the fifth installment of the adventures of Lupin the III.
But, with 2018 now firmly in the rearview, it’s time to start looking ahead to see what comes next. In the last year of the 2010s, how will this year stack up compared to the rest? For this list, we’ll be looking at the 20 Most Anticipated Anime of 2019. We’ll be pulling from television, film, and the direct-to-video OVAs to give us all of the most exciting prospects. Though it’s still fairly early in the year and there will undoubtedly be plenty of surprises announced in the weeks and months to come, there's already more than a handful of anime to get excited about, from reboots and sequels, to fan-favorites and brand new series, so let’s jump right in!
20 MIX: MEISEI STORY
In 1985, the sports anime Touch premiered, following a pair of baseball-loving twin brothers and their time in a love triangle with their childhood friend. Mix: Meisei Story is the sequel to Touch, set at the very same high school of the latter, and only twenty-six years into the future.
Much like Touch, Mix will be focused on a pair of brothers and their love of baseball. As the popularity of sports anime continues to grow, it’s good to have quality series like Mix coming down the pipeline. It’s also pretty awesome that these series have been around long enough to have continuity like this.
19 BEAN BANDIT
Responsible for the designs of Bubblegum Crisis, Gunsmith Cats, and more, Kenichi Sonoda is responsible for much of the aesthetic of 80’s and early 90’s anime. But, the creator hasn’t really been on the scene much of late, until May 2018, when he launched a Kickstarter to do an OVA episode for his classic creation, Bean Bandit.
The show was meant to focus on a freelance driver, Bean, and his sharpshooting partner, Rally, working gritty jobs in a metropolitan city. Overshooting its initial goal, Bean Bandit is scheduled to come out in April 2019, and hopefully, it can lead to a Gunsmith Cats revival.
For a medium that basically invented “giant robots” as a genre unto itself, anime doesn’t do nearly enough stuff in the future anymore. However, this spring will bring space sci-fi nerds RobiHachi, an action comedy set around an odd couple pairing of a down-on-his-luck reporter named Robby Yarge, and a strait-laced debt collector named Hatchi Kita.
By mistake, Hatchi winds up on-board Robby’s ship as he heads for the planet Isekandar, a place promised to bring happiness to anyone traveling there. Promising adventure, cool futuristic worlds, and an adorable robot sidekick, we hope RobiHachi strikes that perfect balance of adventure and comedy.
17 MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM: THE ORIGIN
As Gundam fans are aware, 2019 is a special year for the franchise. Representing 40 years from the airing of the first series, Mobile Suit Gundam, there’s no less than five different projects in the works for this year. But, none of these are quite as apt for the anniversary as Gundam: The Origin.
This aims to take the OVA series from 2014-2018 and re-edit them into a 13-episode television series. The Origin follows the story of Char Aznable before he joined the Zeon, and it delves into why one of Gundam’s most popular characters dislikes the Zeon royal family.
16 CODE GEASS: LELOUCH OF THE RESURRECTION
Nearly a decade after the end of the series’ original run, Sunrise brings back its popular mecha action series, Code Geass. Original director Goro Taniguchi returns as well in this sequel, which will take place two years after the events of the final episode.
In this world, new players (some of which are bearing Geass powers) have disturbed the peace that Lelouch worked to create. Will those he left behind be able to restore it? This story is being billed as a finale for the universe, so hopefully, it’ll be able to answer some of the lingering questions viewers had at the end of the original run in 2009.
15 SAINT SEIYA
Netflix made it clear in 2017 that they were interested in increasing the amount of original anime on their platform, and in 2019, they will continue to display just how serious they are by bringing us a CG remake of the 80’s action series Saint Seiya.
The series has aims to adapt the Galaxian Wars and Silver Saint arcs of the manga, and will run for 12 episodes sometime in the summer. There’s already been some rumblings from fans in Japan and abroad for the changes made so far, but change isn’t always bad. Maybe for once, they could stop doing the same special move for every fight scene.
14 SORCEROUS STABBER ORPHEN
Remakes continue to proliferate the world of anime. The original Orphen anime series came out in 1998 and told the story of Krylancelo, a young wizard trying to undo an accident that transformed his friend, Azalie, into a giant dragon. Orphen would enjoy two seasons, multiple manga, and even a (admittedly lousy) PS2 game because of its popularity.
Now, J.C. Staff has decided to revive the series this year in honor of its 25th anniversary. As of right now, not much is known about the remake, though hopefully, it will last long enough to cover the 20 volume, original light novel series in its entirety.
13 A CERTAIN SCIENTIFIC RAILGUN
A spin-off of the popular series A Certain Magical Index, A Certain Scientific Railgun is set in Academy City and follows Mikoto Misaka, a powerful young esper with the ability to control electricity. While Mikoto is featured prominently in Index, Railgun places her squarely in the lead and follows the adventures of her and her friends both before, and during Index's run.
While many light novel series are often a one-and-done season, both Index and Railgun have maintained surprising popularity, which is why despite Railgun’s last season being six years ago, we’re still getting a third season later this year.
12 LEGEND OF THE GALACTIC HEROES: DIE NEUE THESE
The Legend of the Galactic Heroes reboot was one of the most pleasant surprises of 2018. The original series was considered by many fans to be pitch perfect, so when Production I.G announced they would be doing it over, there was quite a bit of skepticism.
Still, the new version was a beautiful adaptation that was even more accurate to the first novel that both series are based on. But, it ended on a cliffhanger, with the Free Planets Alliance on the ropes in a massive galactic battle. In 2019, Production I.G looks to bring us the second novel through a trilogy of films that will hopefully be even better than the first season.
After last year saw Tsuburaya Productions bring their 90’s series Gridman to anime with the help of Studio Trigger, this year sees them team up with Production I.G to bring us the big daddy of henshin heroes, Ultraman.
Based on a manga series, this version of Ultraman is a sequel set forty years after the events of the original Ultraman. When aliens return to plague the people of Earth, the son of the first Ultraman takes to battle to save the world, using an armor known as the Ultraman suit. One of several series snatched up by Netflix, the series is scheduled to arrive sometime in the spring.
10 THE PROMISED NEVERLAND
Grace Field House is a home for orphans, and everything is perfect — the children enjoy good food, warm beds, nice clothes, and the love of an attentive caretaker. Besides the daily tests the children undergo, they are allowed all the freedom they would like… so long as they don’t leave the house.
However, Grace Field House has a wicked truth behind it, and it’s one that changes the lives of the orphans who discover it forever. Do they have any hope for escape? Well, presumably, otherwise the story’s going to be pretty short. The Promised Neverland is one of Shonen Jump’s two biggest new successes, and the series comes to us this January.
9 VINLAND SAGA
Anime finally explores the world of Norse Vikings by adapting the long-running Vinland Saga manga. Set during the 11th century, this is the story of Thorfinn, a young explorer who promises revenge after the passing of his father Thors.
Loosely based on the story of King Cnut the Great, Vinland Saga combines a mix of historical figures and creative characters to craft a fascinating action-adventure series. Brought to us by WIT Studio, the same people responsible for Attack on Titan, Vinland Saga is sure to offer everyone looking for their fix of dark series with deep characterization and lots of violence.
8 MOB PSYCHO 100 II
It wasn't long after One-Punch Man graced streaming services worldwide that viewers were treated to another series, Mob Psycho 100, by the same creator. Much like ONE’s One-Punch Man, Mob Psycho is about an emotionless guy with powerful abilities. But, while Saitama’s passion has faded due to a lack of credible opponents, Mob suppresses his emotions to keep his incredible psychic powers under control.
Unfortunately, a regular life is hard to maintain when you’re already super-powered (especially when he keeps running afoul of other psychics) and Mob is forced to use his powers more and more. The long awaited sequel to the original Mob Psycho series from 2016 starts airing this January.
7 DR. STONE
Dr. Stone is one of the newer series to gain popularity in Shonen Jump, first appearing in the weekly magazine in 2017. After the world gets turned to stone for almost 4000 years, a pair of teenagers finally emerge from stone and decide to create a new society together, slowly waking up others around them.
Unfortunately, after waking up the wrong person, the awakening humans split into two groups: the kingdom of science and the kingdom of might. Developed by the creator of football manga Eyeshield 21, Dr. Stone is sure to be one of the next big things to catch on worldwide.
6 FRUITS BASKET
One of the more popular series to come out of the 2000s, Fruits Basket followed protagonist Tohru Honda, who met a cursed group known as the Sohma family that turned into animals whenever they were touched by a member of the opposite sex.
The manga received an adaptation barely a few years into its run and continued long after that series was over. Now, 13 years after author Natsuki Takaya finished the series, Fruits Basket returns to the world of anime promising to tell the full story of the manga. Let shoujo fans everywhere rejoice.
5 CANNON BUSTERS
Cannon Busters is one of the more exciting announcements we got confirmation on last year. Based on a 2005 comic book by producer/director LeSean Thomas, this is part of a growing number of Western projects being brought to life by animation studios from Japan.
The show follows a drone named S.A.M. on her quest to find her friend, Prince Toji, and it is being animated by Satelight, known for series like Macross Frontier, Nobunaga the Fool, and Log Horizon. Cannon Busters is also one of the anime series being brought to us by Netflix, which is meant to air domestically on March 1st, 2019.
4 IS IT WRONG TO TRY TO PICK UP GIRLS IN A DUNGEON? SEASON TWO
The first season of Dungeon was a fantasy/action series where a young adventurer named Bell Cranel tried to bring honor to his patron goddess, Hestia, and their family by traveling into the dungeon inside the city of Orario. The dungeon contains everything from minotaurs to dragons, and slaying them grants both rewards and renown.
The plot itself is pretty boilerplate D&D fantasy stuff, but what made Dungeon such a popular series was its likable cast and the incredible character development of its lead. Unlike most leads in action anime, Bell starts out meek and quite helpless, but by the end of the first season, he’s the leader of a growing Hestia Familia, and well capable of protecting them all.
3 CAROL & TUESDAY
Carol & Tuesday has a unique premise: two adolescents living completely different lives start working together as a band. Okay, that part isn’t really unique, but the part where it takes place in the far future and the girls are on Mars is pretty cool.
However, none of that has to do with how it solidified its position on this list. No, what landed it here is this series marks the return of Shinichiro Watanabe to the anime world, in his first television series since 2014. Watanabe is responsible for such classic series as Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo, and hopefully, he can re-create that same magic for this series and these two individuals.
At Hyakkaou Private Academy, the importance of the usual curriculum takes a back seat to something that is regarded as far more important: gambling. At a school full of rich kids, everything is about coming out on top in games where you’re putting everything from your money to your actual freedom on the line!
The first season largely caught on when it aired on Netflix thanks to its beautiful animation courtesy of Studio MAPPA, as well as its unique premise and over-the-top facial expressions. Presumably, the second season will be more of the same when it is brought stateside sometime in 2019.
1 ONE-PUNCH MAN SEASON TWO
The anime world has scarcely ever been more hype than when the first season of this anime hit back in 2015. The series follows Saitama, a young man who became so powerful that he can literally end every battle with a single punch. Saitama is on an endless search for a properly entertaining battle, something that eludes him even as he saves his city and the world again and again.
The first season of this was a mere 13 episodes, and since then, fans everywhere have been eagerly awaiting the return of this popular action-comedy. But, after nearly four years, fans won’t have to wait much longer as the second season will premiere this spring!