Anime is amazing.
But the arcs are even better.
They’re a confined part of the whole story that encapsulates everything about what makes the anime so damn good. Whether it be the fights, the music, the characters, the voice acting— it all builds up to a dramatic and satisfying climax.
Like if you had to convince someone to go watch a certain anime, you know you’d single out that arc and share all the wonderful things about it.
And that’s what we’re ranking in this list as we praise the best arcs that had a lasting effect on every viewer that had the pleasure to watch them.
15. Jailbreak Arc
Anime: The Promised Neverland
Honestly, I wouldn’t call Grace Field House a jail. It’s a paradise with a dark secret – but don’t all utopias have those?
Either way, the tone set in the first episode really helped to set the tension for the rest of the season.
You wanted to root for these kids trying to figure out the mystery behind this whole facade.
The art is polished, and the music fits perfectly with the mood of the story. Plus the wits and tricks of Isabella and the kids make this first arc suspenseful and fulfilling to watch.
14. Valhalla Arc
Anime: Tokyo Revengers
Tokyo Revengers only come out somewhat recently (as of this writing) but it’s already solidified as one of the greatest anime in recent years.
This arc builds up deep and nuanced characters like Kazutora, a broken and misguided teenager who only tried to make his friend happy but was painted as a villain.
It also introduces the Haitani Brother, major players that will play an even larger role later in the series.
Aside from the fantastic characters and the depressing tragedies, Valhalla provides epic fights from the Tokyo Manji gang. It’s one of the rare appearances of a pissed off Mikey.
He’s awe-inspiring, but we are made sure to remember that he can also be terrifying.
13. War Arc
Anime: Vinland Saga
Who doesn’t love Vikings?
Probably the people who’ve been brutally terrorized by them. They weren’t dramatized as heroes, though.
Because the War arc illustrates how savage and ruthless the Vikings were in their daily lives.
Despite that harsh setting, the cast of well written-characters clash with one another in ferocious battles.
Wit Studio has really impressed viewers with their art and animation here (among many other great releases).
After a few years in development, season 2 is set to feel just as amazing, if not even more spectacular than the first season.
12. Netherworld Arc
Anime: Fire Force
This arc may share the name and the flames – but I assure you this is not the Nether you know from Minecraft.
Similarly to Minecraft’s Nether, the red and cyan on gray palette makes for striking imagery like the battle between the two long distance shooters.
The one vs one fights in this arc showcases the true strength of the 8th Company.
It also added a wonderful new addition to the team after breaking away from the mental chains of Giovanni.
And while all the fights were solid on their own, the best one in the arc (and best in this anime as a whole) had to be Shinra Kusakabe vs Sho Kusakabe.
Viktor’s commentary built up the breathtaking fight with jaw dropping reveals in abilities and power.
The sweet flashback and conclusion between the brothers made it one of most memorable fights in Fire Force.
11. Natagumo Mountain Arc
Anime: Demon Slayer
Spiders were always like demons to me, so this arc kind of hits close to home.
Rui and his “family” were tough opponents for the main characters to handle. However, because of this they were pushed to their limits and we got to see great feats from them.
Zenitsu cleanly sliced his opponent with a variation of his only attack.
We got to see Inosuke’s beast breathing and flashback. Nezuko found her demon blood art and Tanjiro used his father’s dance to obliterate Rui in a magnificent fiery explosion.
Even two Hashiras were present to show off what they’re capable of.
A lot of backstory from the trio was foreshadowed in this arc.
But I wonder if it’ll pay off in season 2… I guess we’ll just have to watch and see.
10. Elf Reincarnation Arc
Anime: Black Clover
Elves in geek culture are typically portrayed to possess high quantities of mana. In Black Clover, a story literally about magic, we were excited to see what they could do.
And oh boy – we saw.
There were so many fights with cool powers from people we had never seen before. The people we did know (like Gauche and Luck) even had incredible upgrades to their fighting prowess.
Multiple competent knights had to team up to defeat just one or two elves.
And these were no Christmas elves working at Santa’s workshop. These reincarnated elves were the real deal.
I could go on and on about all the twists, the powerups, Licht, Yuno, Noelle—there’s a lot that happened in this arc if you couldn’t tell.
But I want to mention the true villain behind everything.
Zagred had a terrifying appearance. He was the first devil we saw in full form, unlike Asta’s devil who was always depicted as a silhouette.
His defeat was through a hard fought battle, which set up the next devils as villains to be feared.
Black Clover is hopping from one incredibly strong villain to the next like its parkour.
9. Kyoto Goodwill Event Arc
Anime: Jujutsu Kaisen
Goodwill does not fit the theme of this arc.
I mean, there were literally nine fights between sorcerers or against Hanami, a cursed spirit.
Let it be known that all fights were extremely well animated. No fights were skimped on budget.
The camera work made everything look like a movie. And the crisp art certainly helped to push that idea.
In regards to story, this arc established relationships between characters – and it set up future arcs like the Death Painting Arc and the Shibuya Incident Arc.
This arc also had a lot to adapt from the manga – and MAPPA did a bang up job at producing it.
8. Arrancar Arc
The Arrancar arc gave Bleach its greatest and most memorable moments.
I mean, the Arrancar’s amazing OST quickly became part of Bleach’s already exceptional soundtrack. Plus all the fights were entertaining to watch. Especially all of Ichigo’s battles.
Similarly, seeing the captains go all out and release their bankais kept the hype rising all the way to Ichigo’s fight with Aizen.
Truthfully, all the scenes with Aizen made the arc so much richer.
As one of the best villains in anime, his dialogue and presence shaped the Arrancar arc to become one of the best arcs in anime.
7. Chimera Ant Arc
Anime: Hunter x Hunter
Hunter x Hunter has one of the most creative and beautiful worlds in all of anime. And that creativity best shines through during the Chimera Ant Arc.
First off, the character designs are some of the best I’ve seen.
The character arcs, development, and the relationships with each other also make this arc so amazing, not the fights…
Okay, I lied, the fights are part of it too.
All the battles are so well animated here. And the art compliments the aesthetic in a pleasing way.
This arc is something I recommend for everyone to watch all the way through.
6. Pain’s Assault Arc
Anime: Naruto Shippuden
Hm, what’s that? The Pain Arc was ranked in 6th place on purpose to reference the Six Paths of Pain?
That’s crazy talk.
The Pain Arc is here because of its amazing choreographed fights and the tremendous impact it had on the story as a whole.
The stakes were raised when Jiraya died, putting Naruto in a depressed state.
Also this arc is when Hinata confesses her love to Naruto and nearly dies. And we all know what happens after that.
But besides that, this arc also held the famous 6th opening of Shippuden, Sign by FLOW. It’s my 2nd personal favorite song from Naruto: Shippuden.
5. The Promised Day Arc
Anime: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
Every single part of Fullmetal Alchemist is good.
But all the hard work, all the sacrifices, all the pain and suffering, it all culminated from a 400 year old plan in to a single day.
That promised day is where Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood shined its brightest.
The stakes are high. Father was a powerful villain.
What needed to be sacrificed to kill him?
The twists and turns to get to the end were windier than the Snake Way.
Emotions poured out from the characters, the voice actors, and probably every viewer. I didn’t think Fullmetal Alchemist could get any better until I experienced this arc.
I was glad to be proven dead wrong.
4. Arc 4: The Everlasting Contract
The fourth arc of Re:Zero rocked the worlds of fans.
Shots from Chekov’s Gun hung up on the wall from arcs past fired in the Sanctuary and the mansion.
For four years, this Arc was burdened with skyscraping anticipation after the sensational first season bound fans to the series. White Fox somehow managed to surpass those expectations.
They delivered a compelling plot comprised of captivating characters voiced by talented seiyuu.
And the gorgeous music score sounds beautiful. The notes hit perfectly at the right moments, and don’t play when there’s no need for it.
Fans may have their favorite arc – but this one offered more than any arc we’ve seen so far in the anime.
Key words: so far.
3. Marineford Arc
Anime: One Piece
Did you really think pirates go to war over fame and booty?
No. After sailing away from the government for decades, they would face them head on to save their friend on death row.
Marineford precurses all war arcs in anime and manga like the Fourth Shinobi World War, The Thousand Year Blood War, and the Paranormal Liberation War just to name a few.
And the quantity of foreshadowing that paid off in this arc was outdone by the amount of set up built for future arcs.
The monumental implications of Marineford changed the story and the characters forever.
Viewers were emotionally invested in Marineford.
We were all desperate (like Luffy and the rest of the pirates) to save Ace.
Yet despite how massive Marineford already was, the mangaka of One Piece, Eiichiro Oda, commented that he wanted to draw a bigger war.
Kinda sounds like a great idea to catch up to One Piece right about now…
2. Return to Shiganshina Arc
Anime: Attack on Titan
There was no way anyone expected what was going to happen in this arc. Anyone who says so is lying.
All our beliefs were suspended in mid-air. The Scouts had to reseal the hole in Maria while fending off three named titans.
Hype surrounded every fight. Especially in the attack on the Beast Titan.
Wit Studio brought Erwin’s bloody plan into fruition magnificently.
In the basement, more questions appeared than diminished.
This arc touched down and was executed beautifully. It was a long journey to get back – but it was bloody and beautiful.
1. Keiji Mogami Arc
Anime: Mob Psycho 100
The Keiji Mogami Arc had a story that connected with this audience in a powerful way.
In this world of psychics and comedy, this arc brought a heavy tone to the series. It delivered an impressive message through the movie-like cinematography and storytelling.
If somehow, in some way, someone wasn’t invested in the motif of the arc, they still saw Mob breaking his boundaries and transforming into his ???% state.
And the crux of this arc was an emotional moment with Mob and Minori. It felt as if Mob was talking directly to the audience when he gave his thoughts of her.
People can change.