The 50 best animation series you need to watch

As much as many people prefer to watch live-action series (with real actors and sets), there is no denying that there are excellent animation series to see. Some of them really stand out and surpass the quality of normal series. But out of so many options for what you can watch, we know how difficult it can be to choose one to get started.

That's where our help comes in with the list of the best animation series in recent years. We separate drawings from different countries (if you also like to watch anime), for different audiences and with very different themes. If you're curious, just check out the list below!

1. Invader Zim

best zim invader animation series

To begin our list, we have a drawing that was not so successful in its initial exhibition by the time that was displayed. It was over the years that the general public discovered Invader Zim and made it one of Nickelodeon's biggest titles.

The animation tells the story of a donkey alien with superiority complex trying to invade and conquer Earth. The series itself has only two seasons, as it was canceled even with several other episodes written after low ratings.

Even so, the clamor of the fans caused his original HQ to be published again with new stories and a film to be made and released in 2019. It can even be watched on Netflix if you are curious.

2. Adventure Time

Next, we have a very different case. After all, Adventure Time has always been very successful and lasted 9 seasons with no less than 283 episodes on Cartoon Network.

So much so that even if you haven't watched it, you must have heard of or found products related to the sale. The series tells the adventures of the dog Jake and Finn, the only human left in the world.

Despite being more focused on a young audience, the animation occasionally presents very heavy and mature themes.

3. SpongeBob SquarePants

Another Nickelodeon classic is the popular SpongeBob SquarePants. With its original debut in 1999 and new episodes being released to this day, it passed Rugrats and became the longest drawing for its station.

Of course, it is another one that you may have heard about several times without even watching it. There are those who do not like the course that the series took a few years here, but we guarantee that the first seasons are sensational for people of any age.

4. Dragon Ball Z

For those who like anime, Dragon Ball Z hardly needs introductions. The Japanese series has been a huge success worldwide for decades and has already spawned sequels, movies, action figures, games and more.

She herself is an animated sequel to the Dragon Ball series and won the "Z" in the name just to have a differentiation between the two periods of life of the protagonist Goku. The events revolve around him, his children, friends and villains that he tries to stop.

5. Cowboy Bebop

best cowboy bebop animation series

Another very famous anime, but with a more adult theme is Cowboy Bebop. This is considered one of the best animated series of the last years, so there is no need to stop checking it out.

She focuses on the lives of four very different characters with poorly resolved backgrounds from whom they try to escape. Other than that, they work as bounty hunters in an advanced future, in which humans have already colonized most of the planets in our galaxy.

The series has only 26 episodes, each with a different story that gradually reveals details about the characters. The animation still has an incredible original soundtrack and the plot is very well tied.

9. Avatar: The Legend of Aang

Despite having almost the same name, Avatar: The Legend of Aang has nothing to do with the James Cameron film. The animation tells the story of a world in which civilization is divided into four nations related to the four classic elements.

Some can manipulate the four elements according to their nation, be it water, fire, earth or air. The one known as "Avatar" is the person who would be able to control the four elements instead of just one.

7. South Park

Unlike many animated series on our list, South Park is one of the longest and best known. She is in her 23rd season and continues to make controversy with each new episode released.

The episodes are also very current, after all, the episodes take only 6 days to be made and are almost always concluded on the date of the exhibition. For those who do not know, it is only worth noting that the episodes have very adult content.

8. Ren & Stimpy

One of Nickelodeon's first popular designs, Ren & Stimpy was also well known for being controversial. It was never traditional and was the opposite of what was considered a children's drawing at the time.

He dealt with adult affairs and many parents asked for his cancellation, which fortunately they never did. To this day, it is considered one of the most influential animation series in the world.

9. The Simpsons

We have already mentioned some very long animated series, but no one can beat The Simpsons. The drawing is already in its 30th season and there are no signs that it will end anytime soon.

The series also deals with very current subjects and themes. This can be positive and negative, as some episodes lose their meaning after a few months or years of their original airing.

10. Rocko's Modern Life

best rocko animation series

Our next suggestion is Rocko's Modern Life. Nickelodeon's animated series has always been very successful, both for children and adults.

After all, the drawing has always featured several more subtle adult themes and has even been censored a few times. Although it ended years ago, the animation won a movie that can be seen on Netflix.

11. Rick & Morty

Another animated series that features more adult content is Rick & Morty. Despite only having three seasons, it is one of the most well-known and successful animations today.

She is originally shown on Cartoon Network on her adult and nighttime block known as Adult Swin. If you don't have access to Cartoon, you can also check the episodes on Netflix, one of the best apps for watching movies and series.

12. Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood

Here we have another very interesting anime that you should check out. A few years ago, the Fullmetal Alchemist manga even gained an animated adaptation, but as the story was still being written and published, the anime eventually caught up with it and had to rely on content created from scratch.

This makes it a bit distant from the original story, something that changed with the Brotherhood version. This second anime adaptation is totally faithful and of excellent quality.

She tells the story of two brothers who resort to alchemy to try to revive their mother. When the process goes wrong, one of them completely loses his body and the other is left without an arm and a leg.

In order to restore their bodies to their original state, they discover that there are many more secrets about their country and alchemy than they imagined.

13. Castlevania

Based on the game franchise of the same name, the animated version has already won several fans. This is one of the Netflix series that worked best, so much so that there are no less than three seasons available for you to watch on the streaming platform.

The animation itself does not follow an exact story seen in the games, but it picks up a bit of different plots. Overall, it is very interesting even for those who have never played anything in the franchise.

14. Gravity Falls

Another more recent design on our list, Gravity Falls was quite successful during its two seasons. The Cartoon Network drawing showed the adventures of two twin brothers.

When they arrive in the city of Gravity Falls to spend the summer, they begin to notice very strange and mysterious events. If much help, they decide to investigate everything on their own.

15. Ducktales – The Adventure Hunters

For anyone watching cartoons on open TV in the 1980s and 1990s, you know that it was almost impossible not to meet Ducktales. The series shows the diverse adventures of Uncle Scrooge and his three nephews.

Each episode was a treasure hunt or something like that, perfect for Scrooge Uncle. The series was very entertaining and featured no less than 100 episodes in its original airing.

The popularity has remained over the years. So much so that the franchise won games and even a new version in 2017 that is still receiving new episodes.

16. Freakazoid

A little forgotten in time, Freakazoid is easily one of the strangest and funniest drawings on our list. He only had one season in the 1990s, but it was enough to win fans to this day.

The design was produced by Steven Spiellberg and lasted for two seasons. He told the story of a boy who became the hero Freakazoid through the computer and needed to fight several surreal villains.

Definitely a very unique drawing and with a bizarre humor that we don't usually see in drawings today.

17. Animaniacs

Fever in the 1990s, the cartoon Animaniacs was another of the collaborative animation series by director Steven Spielberg and Warner Bros. studio. In addition to the animated series, they had several games and related products sold to fans.

The animation had almost 100 episodes over its 5 seasons, in addition to a movie. His characters were three brothers in several different comic situations, with much of the humor turned to adults.

18. Looney Tunes

As we well know, Looney Tunes is one of those drawings that need no introduction. Its initial exhibition took place between 1930 and 1969, which was already a great success in itself.

Only old reruns have conquered several new generations and the series has gained new episodes since 1987, something that continues today. Apart from the main series, there were spin-offs, several games and even movies.

19. The Cow and the Chicken

Another great Cartoon Network design was The Cow and the Chicken. In the plot of the drawing, the two were adopted children of a human couple and were able to speak and think like them, even though they were animals.

As you can imagine just from the premise, the animation is very irreverent and fun. A true classic of the so-called “Incredible Drawings” of Cartoon.

20. Doug

A well-known drawing from those who usually watch cartoons in the 1990s is Doug. It follows the life of teenager Doug, including his discoveries, concerns and relationships with friends and family.

If you haven't seen it at the time, it's an animation worth checking out. Of course, you can just review this one of the best animated series on the list, something we highly recommend.

21. Star Wars: The Clone Wars

For those who like Star Wars, The Clone Wars series is a good recommendation. It tells everything that happened between the movie Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, as there is a gap of some years between the events of the two.

It is also a great opportunity to learn more about the main characters in the films and the motivation and disappointment of some of them. It is worth remembering that even though it was produced before Disney bought the franchise, the series is still considered canonical.

22. Hey Arnold

Our next recommendation was also quite successful in the 1990s. Hey Arnold was shown on Nickelodeon and won up to two films released in the early 2000s.

The drawing focuses on the protagonist Arnold and the adventures he lives with his friends. Overall, the episodes are quite diverse and fun even by today's standards.

23. Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure

You can't suggest some anime on our list without mentioning Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure. Although the franchise has only started to become better known in the West a few years ago, it has been a giant in Japan for more than three decades.

His manga started to be published in the late 1980s, but the anime was only released in 2012. The series tells the saga of the Joestar family and their descendants.

Even so, each season follows a different member of the family, but it all starts in the 19th century with Jonathan Joestar and his rival Dio Brando. The unfolding of this rivalry triggers all the events of future generations.

24. Justice League

For those who like superheroes, you can't miss checking out the Justice League. Even if you're not that much of a fan of DC Comics' heroes, it's a very good and fun animation series.

The adventures of the characters are based on classic comic book stories, as well as the villains that appear. Many of them have stories that are divided into several episodes as well, which makes them even more interesting.

25. Pinky and Brain

Another good design from the 1990s that you may have heard of was Pinky and the Brain. It showed the adventures of two laboratory mice that give the name of the series.

Brain was the most intelligent and it had several plans to conquer the world. Meanwhile, Pinky always screwed up with her stupidity and disastrous personality.

26. Courage, The Cowardly Dog

One of the best animated series on our list, Courage, The Cowardly Dog was also not very conventional. The premise itself was quite simple, however.

In general, we only follow the fears and paranoias of the little dog Courage. He witnesses several frightening and paranormal events, but his caregivers never believe there is anything wrong.

The series featured several surreal themes and rarely had any dialogue. For that reason, he was more interesting and different from the drawings of his time.

27. Futurama

If you're a fan of The Simpsons, there's no reason not to check out Futurama. Both series were created by Matt Groening and have some similarities in style and humor, despite very different premises.

If you don't know it very well, this series focuses on a pizza delivery man named Fry, who was accidentally frozen and only wakes up after a thousand years. Not only does he have to deal with the fact that everyone he knew has died for centuries, but the fact that the world is totally different from before.

28. Dexter's Laboratory

Another great Cartoon Network design, Dexter's Laboratory has always been very popular. He focused on Dexter, a prodigy boy who owned a secret laboratory at home and performed several experiments.

The episodes used to show these experiments and their consequences. In general, Dexter's sister or parents ended up getting involved or disrupting the adventures of the little genius.

29. Johnny Bravo

Even if you didn't watch Johnny Bravo, you are likely to remember his look or the poses the character did. Despite having lasted 4 seasons, the series was more successful in the first one.

This is where we saw more of the classic Johnny Bravo trying to get a girlfriend and failing miserably.

30. Tiny Toons

Since we are talking about Looney Tunes, it is also worth talking about Tiny Toons. The series featured a group of new cartoon characters who frequented the "Looniversity" to try to become the next protagonists of Looney Tunes.

The concept was really fun and spawned three excellent seasons. In addition, the characters really won over the new generation of Looney Tunes fans.

31. CatDog

CatDog was a drawing that looked a little strange at first, but it was genuinely funny and entertaining. It shows two very different Siamese brothers.

At one end, we had a smart and moody cat and at the other end, we had a stupid and very excited dog. With such a combination, it is clear that any situation was out of proportion.

32. Pirated Beavers

Another good addition to our list of animated series is Castores Pirados. In it, we accompanied two beaver brothers who start to live far from their parents' house for the first time.

Each episode presents some different problems for the two, usually involving the theme of living independently without experience. The series was really funny and had 5 seasons.

33. Rugrats

Also known as “Os Anjinhos” in Brazil, Rugrats was Nickelodeon's longest animated series until SpongeBob stole the post a few years ago. She was also one of the network's biggest hits.

The premise was basically to follow the adventures of a group of young children who were able to communicate with each other. Sometimes their parents interfered with the stories, even though they did not know that the babies were capable of understanding.

The animation was so successful that it had some films and even an extra series that showed the group in their teens.

34. The Flintstones

We have already mentioned some classics from the animated series, but few are really as old as The Flintstones. The series had its six seasons in the 1960s, but continued to be successful for many generations.

In this series, we follow the lives of people in the stone age, although nothing is done realistically. The characters live in a civilization as advanced as ours and only the materials are simpler.

35. The Jetsons

Almost an opposite of The Flintstones, the series The Jetsons showed a family living in the distant future. Everything in their view is extremely futuristic, including ships replacing cars and robots in place of human employees.

The first season was also shown in the 1960s, but the second and third were only produced in the 1980s. Anyway, it was very successful beyond its time.

36. Tom and Jerry

Even if you're not a big fan, there's no denying that Tom and Jerry is one of the most influential animation series in modern times. The original series started in 1940, but new episodes are released today.

The episodes almost always focus on the cat Tom trying to capture the mouse Jerry. This is the only way to develop hundreds of different and fun stories.

37. Pokémon

Another good anime that we can recommend is Pokémon. Even after so many games, toys and movies, the animation of the franchise continues to be very successful.

In addition to 22 seasons, the series has over a thousand episodes. All showing the adventures of Pokémon trainer Ash Ketchum and his endless journey to become a master.

Of course, anime serves more as a way of promoting new games, as they follow the same themes as they are released. Still, it's really fun to watch, especially the first few seasons.

38. Scooby Doo

You can't make a list of the best animated series without even mentioning Scooby Doo. It started airing in 1969 and is still produced today.

The adventures of the research group with a fearful dog have already spawned games, films and even participations with other series. The format is very similar in most episodes, but that doesn’t mean they’re not fun.

39. Woodpecker

Another drawing that most people should know, Pica-Pau is easily one of the best animation series you can find. The drawing has been in the air since 1940 and it doesn't look like it will end soon.

As many people may already know, the episodes focus on the woodpecker bird and all the confusion it causes to its neighbors and everyone around it. He's not exactly the nicest character we've ever seen, which is enough to be more interesting than other protagonists in classic cartoons.

40. Bojack Horseman

Despite being one of the best animated series on the list, Bojack Horseman is certainly not for everyone. We say this because the series deals with many heavy issues, including depression and substance abuse to deal with the situation.

It tells the story of a former successful actor (who is basically a humanoid horse) who never resumed his peak after the end of the series he starred in. Each episode shows a little more of his life and his attempt to resume a healthier life.

41. The King of the Piece

Following the family-oriented drawings a little, O Rei do Pedaço is another one that you cannot fail to check out. The series had no less than 13 seasons and 259 episodes.

The series follows the Hill family, composed of Hank, his wife Peggy and son Bobby. In general, we always follow the family's daily situations, but with the bizarre that only drawings can do very well.

42. Death Note

Another Japanese animation that deserves to be highlighted is Death Note. It has much more adult themes and is a great recommendation for those who like investigative, crime and morality series.

It tells the story of a teenager who found a mysterious notebook called "Death Note". Soon he discovers that he can kill anyone if he writes his name in the notebook.

Seized by a strange sense of justice, the young man begins to kill criminals without realizing that he is becoming as vile as those he judged. It doesn't take long for the police to discover that there is someone behind the deaths and begin their investigation.

43. Over the Garden Wall

Our next suggestion is Over the Garden Wall. Although not as well known as other animation series on our list, it is considered one of the best made in recent years.

It shows the brothers Wirt and Greg who get lost in a forest apparently adrift in time. The cool thing is that the animation has only 10 episodes, so it's very easy to watch and enjoy.

44. The Critic

Created by screenwriters for The Simpsons, The Critic was not so successful in his original showing. Still, he has won a good number of fans over the years, becoming a kind of cult classic.

The animation series is more geared towards adults, although it does not deal with very heavy matters. She focuses on the character Jay Sherman, who is a film critic, and is always getting into peculiar situations.

45. Neon Genesis Evangelion

Since we mentioned so many interesting animes on our list, we couldn't leave Neon Genesis Evangelion out. Along with Cowboy Bebop, he is considered one of the best and most influential animes in the world.

Its history is a little complex, even for those who have seen it. To sum up and give you a general idea, three teenagers are summoned and trained to pilot apparent giant machines and defeat the monsters that have been attacking the Earth.

As we mentioned, the series goes much deeper than that simple explanation. So we recommend that you watch it yourself, as it is very worthwhile.

46. ​​The Powerpuff Girls

Another great Cartoon Network design is The Powerpuff Girls. Although the name alienates some people at first, its content is great and has no age or gender.

In general, the episodes are about the three superpowered sisters who fight against any type of bizarre crime that appears in their city. The series is very funny and entertaining even today, even years after its end.

47. Beavis and Butt-Head

An MTV classic, Beavis and Butt-Head was quite successful in its day and remains very influential to this day. Of course, watching animation today, it can be difficult to understand why it is so popular, but there weren't many animated series of this type in the early 1990s.

In short, the animation series showed two teenagers who loved Rock and sat watching TV together. Meanwhile, they were judging or discussing various music videos, reality shows and the internet.

48. Sailor Moon

Our last anime on the list is also one of the most successful in Brazil in the 1990s and 2000s. Sailor Moon was the cartoon that most popularized the “magical girls” genre outside Japan and remains very influential.

As much as the original anime took a lot of creative liberties to have more episodes, it's still quite fun. It is worth mentioning that he is purposely more silly, even to be more realistic with the fact that the characters are still very young.

49. Bob’s Burguers

A little more recent, Bob’s Burguers is still not as well known by the general public in Brazil. Still, it is a great animated series that already has no less than 10 seasons.

The design focuses especially on the Belcher family, which owns a restaurant. Each episode focuses on different and comical situations, working more with a sitcom than a conventional cartoon.

50. Space Ghost

To end our list, we have an older design that you may have heard of. Space Ghost has always been a bit peculiar and has returned in several different versions.

In addition to the original 1960s series, where he acted as a hero, he gained other animations over the years. Younger fans of the character must remember his strange yet fun talk show interviewing other cartoon characters.

Did you like the best animation series?

Did you take advantage of our list to get to know some of the best animation series in recent years? So don't forget to leave your comment telling us what you think and if there are other series that you would like to see here.

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