Top 10 best anime from Studio Madhouse

Savannah Howard
Death Note, One Punch Man and Parasyte: The Maxim

Madhouse is one of the most dominant animation studios of all time. Here are 10 of the best anime it has produced.

As one of Japan’s oldest and most revered anime studios, Madhouse’s reputation is legendary. Known for its daring and trend-setting series (along with its consistency), it goes without saying that the studio has some of the best titles to watch.

Co-founded in 1972 by Masao Maruyama (who also founded MAPPA), Osamu Dezaki, Rintaro, and Yoshiaki Kawajiri, Madhouse has etched a profound legacy. Over the past 50 years, the studio has produced over 300 titles, some of which have been hugely successful and are considered some of the best anime of all time.

So, from internationally loved thrillers to one of the best shonen action series ever, here are our 10 best anime series of all time produced by Studio Madhouse.

10 best anime from Studio Madhouse

Studio Madhouse is behind some of the most well-known anime of all time. Are any of your favorites on this list?

10. Rainbow

We’re starting this list with 2010 series Rainbow, which is one of former yakuza and mangaka George Abe’s most well-known creations.

Set in 1955, Rainbow follows the story of seven young delinquents who go to the Shounan Special Reform School. However, their time in juvie isn’t a walk in the park. They’re forced to fight for survival amongst some of the worst criminals in Japan while they wait for their release.

During this time they meet an older inmate called Rokurouta Sakuragi – a former boxer – who shows them how to be strong and survive. Although, even if they do, what sort of life would be waiting for them on the other side? Experience their horror, hope and heart-breaking dreams in this survival story like no other.

Available to watch on: DVD

9. Nana

With an equally popular live-action series, shoujo series Nana breaks the typical mold for success with this complex adult tale of love, loss, and betrayal.

The story follows two women who happen to share the name Nana. One is a country girl who risks it all to carve a life for herself in the big city, while the other is a musician with dreams as big as her personality.

As they begin their new adult lives, they meet and form a close friendship. But, in a way we can all relate to, as time goes on and life throws them multiple curveballs, their friendship is put to the test. Can it survive?

Available to watch on: Amazon Prime Video and Crunchyroll

8. Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End

Based on Kanehito Yamada’s manga of the same name, Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End is the newest entry on our list. It only started airing in September 2023, but it’s already become one of the most highly rated anime series of the year (and one you should definitely add to your watch list).

The story follows an elf mage Frieren. After spending years exploring the world and learning about magic, she returns home to see that her mortal friends have aged while she’s remained much the same.

After the death of one of her close friends, she sets out on a new journey of self-discovery where she pursues her passion for magic but also to visit all her former comrades before they too die of old age.

Available to watch on: Crunchyroll

7. Hajime no Ippo: Fighting Spirit

Sports anime series are rarely successful. But Hajime no Ippo is the exception to the rule. This knockout series is filled with action, fun characters and enough suspense to keep any shonen fan hooked.

The series follows the journey of former weakling Makunouchi Ippo, who decides to become a champion boxer after he’s forced to endure years of bullying as a teenager. The rest of the story sees him work hard towards his goal until he eventually becomes the fighter that he’s always dreamed of being.

Available to watch on: Netflix

6. Parasyte – The Maxim

First released back in 2014, this anime might be nearing its 10-year anniversary, but that doesn’t stop it from being one of the most beloved sci-fi series of all time.

When it comes to action series, Madhouse is known for creating some of the best, and Parasyte – The Maxim, is one of those titles that almost always features. The story follows a high school student called Shinichi Izumi who gets infected by an alien parasite. However, while this parasite tried to take over his brain, it accidentally targets his arm instead and this mistake grants him insane super powers.

Deciding to put his skills to good use, Shinichi decides to hunt down other parasitic aliens while battling with Migi for control of his body. Over the course of the series, they begin to merge into one person. What will happen? Who will come out on top?

Available to watch on: Crunchyroll

5. Hellsing Ultimate

Hellsing Ultimate is a mini-series that – despite the odds – managed to run for six years, even though it only had ten episodes. How did this happen? While it’s probably due to some kind of deal with the universe, it’s also a testament to the popularity of Madhouse’s creations.

Hellsing Ultimate revolves around an organization of the same name that was created to fight supernatural threats. They do this with their greatest weapon, Alucard – a vampie lord committed to fighting and killing his own kind.

Follow his story as he, and his newly recruited assistant, face some of the worst creatures and creations that the world has to offer. But don’t worry – it’s nothing he can’t handle.

Available to watch on: Crunchyroll

4. Hunter x Hunter

Just missing out on our top three is shonen battle masterpiece, Hunter x Hunter.

Based on Yoshihiro Togashi’s manga series of the same name, Hunter x Hunter has been adapted twice. First in 1999 and later in 2011-2014 by Madhouse. While both series were successful, it goes without saying that the Madhouse version is one of the most popular anime series ever made. Want evidence? Just check out its 9/10 score on IMDb).

Created during Madhouse’s peak, the story follows a young boy called Gon Freecss who decides to follow his long lost father’s footsteps and become a hunter. Over the course of the story Gon attempts to pass the rigorous Hunter Exam, meeting other hunters along the way, as well as other supernatural threats.

Available to watch on: Crunchyroll

3. One Punch Man

As one of the biggest shonen parodies of all time, One Punch Man is an international household name (among anime fans at least).

Set in a version of Japan that’s filled with dangerous, deadly monster, the series follows overpowered protagonist Saitama, who is capable of defeating any foe with just one punch. However, his only dream is to meet someone who is strong enough to give him a good match.

This series is absolutely hilarious. Bored with his powers, we watch Saitama punch an array of colorful characters into oblivion, all while he hopes that the next one to face off against him will be the opponent he’s been hoping for.

Available to watch on: Crunchyroll

2. Monster

Next up on our list is Monster. As one of the most universally-acclaimed series, it’s one of Madhouse’s most popular anime. But it’s different from all the shonen and seinen series that currently dominate the charts.

Monster is a sombre thriller about a top surgeon called Dr. Kenzou Tenma who decides to save the life of a poor patient. However, little did he know that years later, this patient would become a mass murderer who haunts him years later. And there’s only one man who can stop him: Kenzou Tenma.

Available to watch on: Netflix

1. Death Note

Finally to end our list is arguably the most well-known anime series of all time. Death Note is the anime that defined a generation and left a legacy that still influences our culture today.

Unlike anything we’ve seen in shonen series, Death Note follows the story of frighteningly intelligent Light Yagami. After he finds a supernatural notebook owned by the bored Shikigami Ryuk, which enables the user to kill anyone they want by simply writing their name in the notebook’s pages.

With themes of violence, bloodshed, and murder, Light Yagami’s pledge to rid the world of criminals results in a thrilling cat-and-mouse game like no other between him and the enigmatic detective L. Who will prevail? There’s only one way to find out. By watching Death Note (or at least looking up the spoilers online).

Available to watch on: Crunchyroll

So there you have it. From fantasy journeys of self-discovery to terrifying thrillers, here are our top 10 anime series produced by Studio Madhouse. Were any of your favorites on the list?

How to watch Crunchyroll from outside your location in 2023

Crunchyroll is the world’s best hub for streaming anime, whether it’s One PieceAttack on Titan, or Jujutsu Kaisen – and thanks to ExpressVPN, you can access the platform’s full library even if you’re outside the US.

If you’re abroad, here’s what you need to do to access Crunchyroll’s full selection – and it really is this simple:

  1. Sign up for ExpressVPN, which has ultra-fast servers and offers a secure, private connection wherever you are in the world
  2.  Connect to a location anywhere in the US; Express VPN allows you to choose from 24 different spots, from New Jersey to Santa Monica
  3.  Visit Crunchyroll online and start streaming all of your favorite animes – and perhaps some you’ve never watched

Accessing Crunchyroll’s US roster makes a difference; for example, Hong Kong users only have access to less than 100 titles, while the US has nearly 1,000 movies and TV shows.

You can also stream anime on Crunchyroll for free with an ad-supported plan, or you can pay for a subscription – there’s even a 14-day free trial if you can’t quite make up your mind.

You can check out our other anime coverage below:

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