Top 20 Stunning-Looking Anime With the Best Art


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Considering that some people have limited knowledge of manga and anime, it’s easy to start believing that it “all looks the same.” It doesn’t, not in anime.

In this article, I’ve collected the most beautiful and visually stunning anime series and movies you need to watch in your lifetime. Let’s dive in and see which anime movies and series look the best!

Suzume’s Door-Locking (Suzume no Tojimari)

Suzume’s Door Locking by Makoto Shinkai and Comix Wave Films

CoMix Wave Films’ Suzume no Tojimari, directed by Makoto Shinkai, is a visual masterpiece that pays homage to traditional Japanese art styles. The film’s aesthetics focus on delicate brushstrokes and intricate detailing of the characters and the world, along with utilizing a soft color palette that leaves a lasting experience.

The film is produced through hand-drawn animation and computer-generated images, creating a vibrant and visually stunning world. The film features scenes filled with bright colors that bring joy, and the characters are equally captivating, each displaying a range of emotions and expressions.

Quick overview:

  • Premiered: Nov 11, 2022
  • Producers: STORY
  • Studios: CoMix Wave Films
  • Source: Original
  • Duration: 2 hr. 1 min.


AKIRA by Katsuhiro Otomo

Akira is an 80’s cyberpunk revered for its unique art style and animation techniques. It was directed by Katsuhiro Otomo, who also wrote the original manga upon which the film is based.

Akira showcases a dystopian Neo-Tokyo that’s shown to be dark and gritty, setting the film’s tone and aesthetics. The art style is primarily Japanese animation that’s influenced by the Western animation style. The lighting and shadows create a sense of impending doom and add to the immersion of the futuristic cityscape.

The film focuses on dark colors throughout, with bursts of bright flashing red and yellow lighting to highlight moments of importance.

AKIRA was one of the first films that used cel shading extensively and with high precision with every keyframe.

Quick overview:

  • Premiered: Jul 16, 1988
  • Producers: Mainichi Broadcasting System, Kodansha, Toho, Streamline Pictures
  • Studios: Toky Movie Shinsha
  • Source: Manga
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Horror, Sci-Fi, Supernatural
  • Duration: 2 hr. 4 min.

Chainsaw Man

Chainsaw Man by Tatsuki Fujimoto.

Produced by studio MAPPA (one of the best anime studios in the world), Chainsaw Man has a striking visual appeal with its fluid animation style and fast-paced action scenes with unique concepts. The anime is mainly hand-drawn, with the fight scenes brought to life by CGI.

The character designs are edgy and give off a gritty feel that reflects the violence and horror of the story. Meanwhile, the backdrops feature surreal urban landscapes and eerie supernatural realms that set the tone of the scenes.

The skillful use of colors is another highlight, with a range that stretches from moody grays to vibrant hues and even bright red and purple, which is expertly employed to accentuate moments of extreme violence.

Quick overview:

  • Premiered: Fall 2022
  • Studios: MAPPA
  • Source: Manga
  • Genres: Action, Fantasy
  • Duration: 24 min. per ep.

Fate/Stay Night: Heaven’s Feel III. spring song

Fate/Stay Night: Heaven’s Feel III. spring song by Ufotable.

Ufotable produced this film under the direction of Tomonori Sudou. Ufotable (one of the best animation studios in the world) is known for its mesmerizing animation production and Heaven’s Feel III. spring song is no exception.

Featuring striking aesthetics, the film portrays a brooding atmosphere that draws you in anticipation of what’s coming ahead. The art style is majestically rendered, with attention given to the tiniest details of the characters.

The background art is intricately detailed with an urban setting that provides depth and immerses the viewer in the stunningly beautiful world. Keeping in view the dark atmosphere, a moody color palette (red, violet, purple) is used that grips the viewer and keeps them on edge in anticipation.

The final battle, where Rider confronts the enemy, is especially magical and is definitely one of the best moments (visually) in the whole movie.

Quick overview:

  • Premiered: Aug 15, 2020
  • Producers: Aniplex, Notes, Kadokawa
  • Studios: Ufotable
  • Source: Visual novel
  • Genres: Action, Supernatural, Magic, Fantasy
  • Duration: 2 hr. 2 min.

Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust

Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust by Yoshiaki Kawajiri.

Vampire Hunter D Bloodlust immerses viewers in a dark and mysterious apocalyptic future. The film’s gothic aesthetic can only be described as hauntingly beautiful. The art style is a blend of western animation with the iconic late 90’s anime visual design.

It features characters and creatures that are highly detailed with elegant and intimidating designs. The usage of CGI increases the film’s aesthetic appeal and adds a sense of imagination.

Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Mataichiro Yamamoto (Director) -...
  • (Playback Language)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

What’s more, the background art is breathtaking, featuring stunning landscapes, ominous castles, and eerie forests that set the stage for the story’s grim events. The masterful use of lighting and shadows gives depth to the grim world, captivating viewers and immersing them in this masterpiece.

Also, the animation of the character’s facial features is so well-made that the movie just sucks you in, and I have to say it is one of my all-time favorite anime movies ever.

Quick overview:

  • Premiered: Aug 25, 2000
  • Producers: Animate Film, Movic
  • Studios: Madhouse
  • Source: Light novel
  • Genres: Action, Sci-Fi, Horror, Drama, Romance, Vampire, Fantasy
  • Duration: 1 hr. 42 min.

Howl’s Moving Castle (Howl no Ugoku Shiro)

Howl’s Moving Castle by Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli.

Directed by Hayao Miyazaki and produced by Studio Ghibli, Howl’s Moving Castle is a breathtaking masterpiece of art and animation. It blends medieval and magical themes to create a richly detailed fantasy world. The art style is bright and vibrant, and the film features complex characters with expressive faces and exaggerated features.

As it is Studio Ghibli’s tradition, we get to meet several creatures and characters that are quite lovely and charming here, but we know they would look grotesque in the real world. And if that’s not enough, there are the landscapes. The entire film is literally set in an oil masterpiece.

Howl's Moving Castle - Limited Edition...
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  • Hayao Miyazaki (Director) - Hayao...
  • English, French (Subtitles)
  • Audience Rating: PG (Parental Guidance...

Mesmerizing landscapes and enchanting architecture will draw you deeper into the fantastic world that the film built. A wide range of colors is employed with bright and bold hues uplifting the world and setting the tone of the scenes. All this leads to a visually stunning work of art that will leave you enchanted by its unparalleled beauty.

Quick overview:

  • Aired: Nov 20, 2004
  • Producers: d-rights, Tokuma Shoten
  • Studio(s): Studio Ghibli
  • Source: Novel
  • Genres: Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Romance
  • Duration: 1 hr. 59 min. 


Promare by Trigger (image credits).

Promare is an anime that’s nothing short of a visual masterpiece, brought to life by Studio Trigger and directed by the visionary Hiroyuki Imaishi. Its stunning cyberpunk aesthetic seamlessly blends 2D and 3D CG animation, delivering fluid fight scenes that leave you wanting more.

The character designs are a sight to behold, with striking designs and vivid color schemes that make them stand out. The artistically crafted fantasy world in the background gives the impression of an otherworldly setting. Promare is a feast for the eyes, offering an unforgettable visual experience that’ll leave you in awe.

  • Quick overview:
  • Premiered: May 24, 2019
  • Producers: Aniplex, Half H.P Studio, SANZIGEN, XFLAG, Toho Visual Entertainment, VV-ALKLINE, Deho Gallery
  • Studios: Trigger
  • Source: Original
  • Genres: Action, Sci-Fi
  • Duration: 1 hr. 51 min.

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – Season 2

Kimetsu no Yaiba by Koyoharu Gotouge.

Crafted with passion by the masterful team at Ufotable, Kimetsu no Yaiba’s second season elevates the already stunning animation quality to new heights. The art style is a breathtaking fusion of traditional and modern techniques, resulting in unforgettable animations.

The backgrounds are meticulously crafted, transporting you to lush green forests and sparkling night skies that are brought to life with a vibrant color palette. The introduction of new Hashiras and demons with distinct designs brings fresh intrigue and new breathing styles that are bright and fluid.

Special notice goes to the fighting scenes as they are truly a work of art and a true feast for your eyes.

  • Quick overview:
  • Premiered: Fall 2021
  • Producers: Aniplex, Shueisha
  • Studios: Ufotable
  • Source: Manga
  • Genres: Action, Fantasy
  • Duration: 24 min. per ep.

Violet Evergarden

Violet Evergarden: written by Kana Akatsuki and illustrated by Akiko Takase.

Kyoto Animation’s masterpiece, Violet Evergarden, directed by the visionary Taichi Ishidate, will leave you spellbound, mesmerizing you with its elegant and emotionally impactful aesthetic. The art style blends realism and fantasy, bringing characters to life. The outfits are a work of art from Violet’s military attire to her elegant dress.

Violet Evergarden I: Eternity and the...
  • Violet Evergarden, Gaiden - Eternity and...
  • The BD version has a country code lock...
  • North American version
  • Various (Actor)
  • Various (Director)

The background art is a visual symphony, transporting you to a world of enchantment with lush gardens and picturesque cityscapes. Colors are skillfully used to portray character emotions and moods, from bright and cheerful to dark and somber. This anime will take you on a journey of wonder and enchantment that will linger long after the credits roll. 

We don’t only have to rely on their inner monologue, but we get to see what’s in their heart through beautiful landscapes like the infinite stretch of clear blue skies and sea or with glimmers of light in complete darkness.

Quick overview:

  • Premiered: Sep 18, 2020
  • Producers: Shochiku
  • Studios: Kyoto Animation
  • Source: Light novel
  • Genres: Slice of Life, Drama, Fantasy
  • Duration: 2 hr. 20 min.

Attack On Titan (Shingeki no Kyojin)

Attack on Titan by Hajime Isayma.

The first three seasons of Attack On Titan were produced by Wit Studio and boast a bold and unforgettable visual style that captures the brutal nature of the story and the chaos ensured by the titans.

The raw art style perfectly captures the harsh realities of life within the walls, and the backgrounds are a mix of hand-drawn and CGI that creates an immersive world. Monochromatic color schemes are used to depict a bleak atmosphere.

But the key behind the attractiveness of the rest of the series is the amazing transformations that result in a titan form. The way the transformation and action are directed is just epic in every sense.

Nothing feels flat or boring, and the effectiveness of this style comes to shine once the Titans and other creatures appear. Even in bright light and even without looking grotesque, they become terrifying.

Season four was produced by MAPPA, bringing forth a new visual style. The evolved art style now focuses on realism, leaving an emotional toll. Matured character designs showcase the passage of time and the weight of their experiences. Meanwhile, the background art is still impressive, vividly detailing the new lands explored.

SaleBestseller No. 1
Attack on Titan Season 1 Part 1 Manga...
  • Comes with secure packaging
  • Easy to read text
  • This product will be an excellent pick...
  • Isayama, Hajime (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Action sequences are fluid, drawing you into intense animations, and a muted color palette is now employed to enhance the art style. Generally, the aesthetics of season four are a masterful evolution over their predecessor.

Quick overview:

  • First Aired: Apr 7, 2013
  • Producers: Production I.G, Dentsu, Mainichi Broadcasting System, Pony Canyon, Kodansha, Mad Box, Pony Canyon Enterprise
  • Studio(s): Wit Studio
  • Source: Manga
  • Genres: Action, Military, Mystery, Super Power, Drama, Fantasy, Shounen

Kotonoha no Niwa (The Garden of Words)

Garden of the Words by Makoto Shinkai and Comix Wave Films.

When skipping class leads to something beautiful. Takao Takizuki and Yukari Yukino meet in a beautiful garden and connect during the rainy season. However, will their bond survive in the end?

There is no part of this full-feature animation that is not beautiful. The story is a decent candidate for the romance of the century, and the animators use clever framing and storytelling to highlight every aspect of this budding relationship.

The Garden of Words
  • Factory sealed DVD
  • Makoto Shinkai (Director) - Nokitaka...
  • English (Subtitle)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • Audience Rating: PG-13 (Parents Strongly...

Though romance anime can often neglect everything else that is going on, this movie goes the extra mile to create a beautiful setting for a beautiful story.

Everything from droplets of rain, and window reflection to the garden itself is unbelievably stunning and looks like it was pulled out of the sweetest of dreams.

Quick overview:

  • Premiered: May 31, 2013
  • Producers: The Answer Studio, TOHO animation
  • Studio(s): CoMix Wave Films
  • Source: Original
  • Genres: Slice of Life, Psychological, Drama, Romance
  • Duration: 46 min.

Death Parade

Death Parade by Yuzuru Tachikawa.

What would you say if you didn’t meet St Peter in front of the pearly gates but ended up in a bar instead? In this bar, you have to play a game. The results will decide if you get to reincarnate or if you’ll fade into oblivion.

The show starts looking quite standard for what we have seen in the past decade. The style is overall attractive and modern, and maybe even safe. But then the details come in.

Death Parade: The Complete Series...
  • Alex Organ, Jad Saxton, Jamie Marchi...
  • Zach Bolton (Director)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

Madhouse studio is known for making series and movies that are stunning through and through, so at first sight, Death Parade looks a bit boring.

That is until the game starts, and you start noticing little things. Even something that is supposed to be on the screen for a few seconds is impeccable.

There’s also a slight change in style when the “magic happens.” It’s not enough to smack you in the face, but just the right amount to tell you that something interesting is about to happen.

Quick overview:

  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired/Premiered: Jan 10, 2015 to Mar 28, 2015
  • Producers: VAP, DAX Production, Nippon Television Network
  • Studio(s): Madhouse
  • Source: Original
  • Genres: Game, Mystery, Psychological, Drama, Thriller

Sword Art Online (2012)

Sword Art Online: illustrated by BUNBUN and written by Kawahara, Reki.

In 2022, a group of gamers got their hands on a new virtual reality RPG only to find out that they couldn’t log out.

Now they need to fight it out to escape. Only if they die in the game will they die in the real world as well.

The animation is standard TV fare (though of slightly better quality in comparison to some series that came out the same year).

But the setting is superb. Both landscapes and architecture are very beautiful.

It’s a bit ironic how so much work was put into world-building for a game where players can’t afford to stop and smell the roses. Or enjoy a gorgeous stained-glass wall.

Quick overview:

  • Episodes: 25
  • Aired: Jul 8, 2012 to Dec 23, 2012
  • Producers: Aniplex, Genco, DAX Production, ASCII Media Works, Bandai Namco Games
  • Studio(s): A-1 Pictures
  • Source: Light novel
  • Genres: Action, Game, Adventure, Romance, Fantasy

Princess Mononoke (Mononoke Hime)

Princess Mononoke by Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli.

Another masterpiece from Studio Ghibli and the origin of many people’s obsession with beautiful anime. The story centers on the conflict between men and gods, technology, and magic.

As with the Howls’ Moving Castle, this is also a creature-heavy film. Though this time, they feel more real, like you could just stumble upon them if you were to walk through some woods.

Princess Mononoke [DVD]
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  • Hayao Miyazaki (Director) - Hayao...
  • French, English (Subtitles)
  • Spanish (Publication Language)
  • Audience Rating: PG-13 (Parents Strongly...

Even the ones that are supposed to be scary are stunning and drawn beautifully.

And there’s the landscape as well. Nature itself is a major player in the story, so it shows through some of the most breathtaking reproductions of the Japanese countryside.

Quick overview:

  • Premiered: Jul 12, 1997
  • Producers: Tokuma Shoten, Nippon Television Network
  • Studios: Studio Ghibli
  • Source: Original
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
  • Duration: 2 hr. 15 min.

No Game No Life

No Game No Life: light novel series created by Yuu Kamiya.

Siblings Sora and Shiro are hikikomori NEETs and behind the legendary gaming username “Blank.” At the peak of boredom, they stumble upon a game that sucks them in.

Now they have to navigate the world where all conflicts are settled with high-stakes games.

This little piece of fluff is what you want to see if you have a thing for those brightly colored online games. There’s nothing beige about it, and it might be a good idea to watch it with another source of light in the room as well.

No Game No Life [Blu-ray]
  • Ai Kayano (Actor)
  • Atsuko Ishizuka (Director)
  • English (Subtitle)

And get ready for some intricate and detailed landscapes. No copy/paste action here. Every single square inch of the background is carefully designed and thought through.

You may need to re-watch the series solely to experience that alone.

Quick overview:

  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: Apr 9, 2014 to Jun 25, 2014
  • Producers: Frontier Works, Media Factory, Movic, AT-X
  • Studios: Madhouse
  • Source: Light novel
  • Genres: Game, Adventure, Comedy, Supernatural, Ecchi, Fantasy

Kara no Kyoukai: The Garden of Sinners Movie 1

Kara no Kyoukai: The Garden of Sinners Movie 1, based on The Garden of Sinners novels by Kinoko Nasu

The Garden of Sinners is the first in a series of 8 films. The story starts in 1998 with a string of seemingly random suicides. Two investigators are dispatched from a paranormal detective agency, and… shenanigans ensue.

The animation itself is what every single piece of shaky-cam footage hopes it will grow up to be – it creates a sense of action and urgency out of seemingly simple movements and static poses.

The entire series sets very high standards. It’s what we hope we will get every time we pick up something from this genre and what, unfortunately, not many can measure up to.

I personally have this on my shelf and have to say it was a pleasure to watch it. Action scenes were stunningly animated, and combined with the music, and it was just a joy.

Quick overview:

  • Premiered: Dec 1, 2007
  • Producers: Aniplex, Kodansha, Notes
  • Studios: Ufotable
  • Source: Light novel
  • Genres: Action, Mystery, Supernatural, Thriller
  • Duration: 50 min.

A Lull in the Sea (Nagi no Asu kara)

A Lull in the Sea by P.A. Works

In a different take on the mermaid legend, we see a group of sea-dwellers who are forced to attend school on land.

There’s no singing, running forks through hair, or making deals with sea-witches. Just a lot of kids that have to deal with hatred and discrimination, and maybe even worse things that are yet to come.

A Lull in the Sea DVD Collection Part #1...
  • Spoken Languages: English, Japanese,...
  • Special Features: Episode 14: The...
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: PG-13 (Parents Strongly...

You’ll come in expecting some gorgeous images of underwater cities, and you will not be disappointed. But then, the “camera” moves above the water and shows how the land glitters and shines as well.

The entire show looks like and feels like a postcard from Greece, South Italy, Jeju, or Okinawa, and that calm and beauty shines through even during drama and conflict.

Quick overview:

  • Episodes: 26
  • Aired: Oct 3, 2013 to Apr 3, 2014
  • Producers: Geneon Universal Entertainment, Sotsu, Animax, Rondo Robe, Showgate, Infinite
  • Studios: P.A. Works
  • Source: Original
  • Genres: Drama, Fantasy, Romance


Redline by Madhouse

Redline (the key animator for the movie is one of the best anime artists ever, Hiroyuki Imaishi) is the Mad Max minus the Fury Road. If you like yourself a good rat race where cheese is not the only thing at stake, this is a good pick.

Just like before, the movie is made to look like a graphic novel that came to life right before your eyes. The illustrations are very 2D but, in no way, flat and boring.

Redline [Blu-ray]
  • Factory sealed DVD
  • Takeshi Koike (Director)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

Everything is in full technicolor with deep black shadows and outlines. This gives everything structure and dimension without a single hint of traditional shading techniques in sight.

There’s no attempt at making anything seem remotely real – from characters to scenery and to light and explosions. Yet, it still works and pulls you in for a ride.

Quick overview:

  • Premiered: Aug 14, 2009
  • Producers: Tohokushinsha Film Corporation
  • Studios: Madhouse
  • Source: Original
  • Genres: Action, Sci-Fi, Cars, Sports
  • Duration: 1 hr. 42 min.

Your Name. (Kimi no Na wa.)

Your Name. by Makoto Shinkai and Comix Wave Films

This award-winning movie follows two teenagers, Taki and Mitsuha, who swap bodies one day. They’ve never met and live in completely opposite environments, and now must find each other.

The movie was advertised with these beautiful images of vast blue skies, and yup, what you see is what you’ll get. And not only perfect skies but beautiful Japanese countryside landscapes and sparkling Tokyo vistas.

Your Name. [Blu-ray]
  • Michael Sinterniklaas, Stephanie Sheh,...
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: PG (Parental Guidance...

In other anime works, the background is just… in the background. In this movie, it is another character in the story. It often seems that more detail is put into the blades of grass or droplets of water than in the human figures.

Only a handful of films and series make the real world look as beautiful as Makoto Shinkai (one of the best anime artists in the world) makes, but even they don’t come near to what you can experience with this movie.

Quick overview:

  • Premiered: Aug 26, 2016
  • Producers: Toho, Sound Team Don Juan, Amuse, JR East Marketing & Communications, Kadokawa, voque ting
  • Studios: CoMix Wave Films (one of the best anime studios in the world)
  • Source: Original
  • Genres: Romance, Supernatural, School, Drama
  • Duration: 1 hr. 46 min.

Made in Abyss Movie 3: Fukaki Tamashii no Reimei

Made in Abyss Movie 3 by Kinema Citrus. Based on the manga Made in Abyss created by Akihito Tsukushi.

Sinking deeper into the abyss, this is the third installment in this series that follows the “adventures’ of our chibis Riko and Regu. They managed to pick up two new friends as they descend further into darkness.

The most striking feature of this anime is the contrast between “good” and “evil.” On one side, we have children in this adorable mix of fae and steampunk garb, while on the other are a bunch of droids and a man dressed in black that picked up styling tips from Cybermen.

But if the character design is not enough for you, there’s also the landscape of the abyss – especially what it sees when it looks back at the world above.

This one is a lot darker than previous releases, but it doesn’t lose to them when it comes to design and attention to detail.

One key moment is the last fight (not spoiling it for you), where smoke and effects are drawn so that it’s truly a sight to behold.

Quick overview:

  • Premiered: Jan 17, 2020
  • Producers: Media Factory?
  • Studios: Kinema Citrus
  • Source: Web manga
  • Genres: Sci-Fi, Adventure, Mystery, Drama, Fantasy
  • Duration: 1 hr. 45 min.


It feels like we could list hundreds of more great anime movies and series. Think about it, Ghost in the Shell, and Spirited Away, among other greats from the past and present.

There are so many great ones out there, but if there’s one thing that is given, it is that whenever you see an anime movie, you can think of it being the best and most beautiful version possible.

For example, Made in Abyss, while being a gorgeous-looking anime series already, the movies are one where animators can go all out and produce the best version possible.

Anime is beautiful and, when made correctly, is a work of art in every sense.

Feature image credits.



Digital Artist

I’m a digital artist who is passionate about anime and manga art. My true artist journey pretty much started with CTRL+Z. When I experienced that and the limitless color choices and the number of tools I could use with art software, I was sold. Drawing digital anime art is the thing that makes me happy among eating cheeseburgers in between veggie meals.

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