Every anime plot is woven through developing events, most commonly called arcs. These arcs have a goal to achieve for the plot to evolve. They are a phase of the character’s life that is eventful and interesting. While most arcs are unique in their own way, there are a few that especially stand out. So, we compiled ten best story arcs in anime that had use clutching onto the seats tighter. For a story arc to be amazing, it does not have to roll through the basics of an action-packed phase. It could be fun and hold some impactful moments that would easily win over the fans. For longer anime series story arcs hold out a role in making things interesting while we wait for the big climax.
The best story arcs compiled here are not ranked. The reason being that these arcs have different elements of surprise. Of course, this list to be different from person to person. However, these are some of the most popular arcs in anime that moved people towards aesthetic happiness or towards tearful watch hours. Handpicked from a first-hand experience, I’m pretty sure there would be at least one arc here that people would connect to. In case if you haven’t watched this anime, I highly recommend you do so soon! Some of these might make you cry or some might give you something to believe in.
Here’s the list of the ten best story arcs in anime.
Birth Of A Demon Lord: Tensei Shittara Slime Datta Ken
Recently introduced in the anime, Birth of a Demon Lord arc from Tensei Shittara Slime Datta Ken was a power arc. For anyone who has been following the arc, they would know the hype in this arc. Fans waited for episode after episode to finally see Rimuru rise up to the highest power and he does. The arc takes place in the fifth volume of the novel series. For a light-hearted series like this, this was indeed one of the best arcs in anime.
The Birth of a Demon Lord arc holds a lot of significance to the plot as a whole. Of course, we get to see Rimuru power up and finally become a Demon Lord. But, the arc holds many specific details that inflict changes to the future story. Major characters like Diablo are finally involved in the story next to Rimuru. Additionally, the usually bright and happy environment is taken over by a grim atmosphere that is heavy yet new for the series. Rimuru shows his darker side where we see his determination to go to any extent to protect his people.
Training Camp Arc: Haikyu!!
This is the most famous and interesting arc in Haikyu. The training camp arc holds a bunch of moments that show an interaction of their favorite characters outside the court. While the arc has high-quality moments of absolute fun, it also holds details of significance. The majority of growth and development of the Karasuno occurs in this camp. The first development is the relationship between Kageyama Tobio and his spiker, Hinata Shouyo. They get into a fight and work out their differences. Nishiyama Yuu decides to become more useful by learning to toss by breaking his libero form and tossing. This is the very arc where Asahi polishes his service ace and Sugawara gets more accustomed to spike. Karasuno as a whole work on their synchronized attack and levels up.
However, Tsukishima’s character development here is my personal favorite. The Training Arc is one of the most popular arcs in anime history. New characters get a lot of screen time and Karasuno slowly shapes itself into the powerhouse school that it used to be. One of the best arcs in anime? Easily.
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Chimera Ant Arc: Hunter x Hunter
The fifth arc of the anime is one of the greatest arcs of all time. There is just enough drama and intense fights in this arc to get anyone hooked on to it. Characters that get introduced leave a good mark even if they die. The fight featured here between Netero and Mereum was epic. Every moment in the Chimera Ant Arc is constantly trying to flaunt its characters through these fights.
The Chimera Arc however does not leave behind memories because of these exciting fights. It raises important questions about the story ahead. The events are almost heartbreaking and there are deaths that break the heart. This arc brings out a heavy emotion that settles in the heart for a long time.
Shogun Assassination Arc: Gintama
Gintama has always been a brilliant anime. It is hilarious, sad at times, and action-packed at others. Gintama, although great, did not have much of a sense of direction in the beginning. It was neat but it did not follow a plot. This was until Gintama reached its 61st arc, that is, the Shogun Assassination Arc. Gintama picks up a pace after this and walks in the direction of a darker shade. Things get serious for a while as the usually bummed Gintoki faces a change in his personality.
The Shogun Assassination Arc is one of the best anime story arcs. A quick switch from the light-hearted comedy takes a turn to give a first-class experience of a thriller. There is so much going on in the anime at this point that the viewers can’t help but be on their toes. The absolute mystery and the unimaginable unpredictability reach out to the furthest corner of the mind, making it one of the most memorable arcs in anime history.
Death Painting Arc: Jujutsu Kaisen
After months of training, the arc brings back Itadori Yuji, Megumi Fushiguro, and Nobara Kugisaki in a team to solve more missions. It is just like back in the beginning before Yuji was reported dead. Seeing the trio after months could be one reason why this arc holds a special place in the list. At the same time, there’s way more than that which makes the Death Painting Arc one of the best arcs in anime. The primary reason for the said conclusion is that this arc shows off the characters’ powers and how they have grown over time. While we had been seeing a lot of Yuji, the Death Painting Arc let Kugisaki and Fushiguro evolve into the Jujutsushi that they were meant to be.
Yuji’s powers were portrayed ahead in the Kyoto Goodwill Event arc. Nobara’s endurance and willpower gush through the storyline so perfectly in this arc. At the same time, Fushiguro lets out his darker side giving us the first glance of what Sukuna saw in him.
Natagumo Mountain Arc: Kimetsu No Yaiba
Kimetsu no Yaiba has succeeded massively in the past year. It’s no surprise given that the content of this anime is nowhere close to a disappointment. While every arc has been an absolute pleasure, the Natagumo Mountain Arc from the first season was truly epic. Tanjiro Kamado, Zenitsu Agatsuma, and Inosuke Hashibara set towards the Natagumo Mountain for their first mission. Why I find this arc epic and of significance has more reasons than one. The first significance of the Natagumo arc is that we get to see a proper member of the Twelve Kizuki for the first time in the anime. Rui and his Spider Demon were a nuisance and strong. Here is where the second reason comes in. Two Hashira get involved which makes it all the more interesting. Lastly, Tanjiro kindly kills the mother Spider that displays more about Tanjiro as a character.
Goldy Pond Arc: The Promised Neverland
This is an arc that never made it to the anime, though it should have, thanks to the writers. For reasons unknown, the writers decided to skip Goldy Pond Arc. People might not think it is one of the best arcs in anime. However, the significance it holds over the plot cannot be left unseen. To skip this meant to skip a big lump of events that shaped the future.
Goldy Pond Arc switches the genre to action. The good part about this was that it portrayed realism in its rawest form. Eleven-year-old kids surviving amidst demons is a dark idea and already sounds unrealistic. However, the Goldy Pond Arc takes this very unrealism and gives us reason and events to believe in it.
The characters face the harshest reality, fail, get betrayed but they stand up in the end. This is the point where we see how and when they changed and their personalities got developed. Moreover, after all the hardships they go through, their reunion with Norman feels more satisfactory.
Soul Society: Bleach
Bleach became a part of the Big Three as well as the Forbidden 4. The anime was great with many well-written arcs. However, one arc that universally stands out is the Soul Society arc of Bleach. There is an emotional background to it, given Rukia’s upcoming execution. At the same time, exciting battles are keeping one at their toes. There are many reasons why I feel that the Soul Society arc is one of the best arcs in anime, if not the best.
The intensity of this arc was so well balanced. Adding up to this intensity were the life-threatening battles where they were ready to put everything at stake. The scenes did not overlap and everything could be seen crystal clear. Some epic antagonists took over this arc and gave the best they could. Byakuya And Aizen adorned the arc with the beauty of a fearsome battle.
The L Arc: Death Note
Death note was one of the most refreshing psychological anime to date. A teenager with a God complex becomes the best anti-hero one could come up with. While Light and L are brilliant characters individually, what makes Death Note an anime worth binging multiple times is their interaction. The mental chess between them might get you anxious but at the same time will excite you.
What makes this arc even more interesting is that L was the only one who could threaten Light on a personal level. Light was constantly on guard during L’s presence. The key point to highlight here is that these characters already know the threat they are to each other. They both have hidden personalities that they want to reveal. There is a constant mental battle where they want to strip each other of their secrets. This game of cat and mouse between two geniuses strikes as one of the best arcs in anime.
Return to Shiganshina Arc: Attack on Titan
Now that Attack on Titan is close to its ending, there are a lot of arcs to choose from. Given that every arc has been of significance and shaped the story into a masterpiece as we know it, choosing one feels unfair. However, for the nostalgia and the constant reminder of Eren’s past, I hold onto the Return Of Shiganshina arc. The arc in itself is highly eventful. There is a warzone, heart-wrenching death, unfolding truths, and finally the most gruesome sacrifice of the Survey Corps.
This arc reveals so many things that had been kept away from us since season 1. So, the Return to Shiganshina arc immediately feels refreshing. The missing pieces finally join up and we can attach deeper to the characters on an emotional level.