People who know about making cartoons understand that action anime TV series can be expensive to make. This is because as a show goes on for a long time, it usually costs more money. This is true for shonen anime, which is known for its big fight scenes and deep stories.
Spending a lot of money on making an anime is good if the show becomes popular and makes money back. Famous anime like One Piece and Dragon Ball manages to stay popular and have big budgets.
But among the anime shows that spend the most on each episode, only one from the “Big Five” anime is in the top five for costs.
Now, let’s look at the list of the 13 anime shows that cost the most money to make:
13. Demon Slayer (2019 – ) $80,000 Per Episode
“Demon Slayer” distinguishes itself with some of the most visually stunning fight scenes in anime. The studio producing “Demon Slayer,” Ufotable, places great emphasis on artistic excellence and historical authenticity, reflecting the Taisho-era setting with great care.
The investment of $80,000 per episode is evident in the detailed and fluid combat animation, particularly the portrayal of the characters’ unique breathing styles, which are essential to the narrative and widely appreciated by fans.
12. Dragon Ball Super (2017 – ) $170,000 Per Episode
Dragon Ball Super leads as the most expensive anime production on this list, with each episode costing $170,000 to produce. This high cost is justified by the anime’s aim to continue the legacy of the Dragon Ball series, which has a huge global following. The producers aim to meet fans’ expectations by providing the highest quality animation and breathtakingly exciting action scenes.
The series features intense, high-stakes battles filled with dramatic power-ups and transformations that demand precise animation work. The cost also reflects the intricate choreography and movement required to bring the fast-paced action to life. The investment in Dragon Ball Super is significant, reflecting the franchise’s cultural importance and the creators’ commitment to its fan base.
11. Jujutsu Kaisen (2020 – Present) $150,000 Per Episode
Jujutsu Kaisen, a recent hit among anime fans, has quickly joined the ranks of major shonen anime with its complex storytelling, endearing characters, and outstanding animation.
The show has become famous for its high-quality visuals, particularly during battle scenes, which are incredibly detailed and fluid. The studio responsible, MAPPA, has set aside a budget of $150,000 per episode, demonstrating their ambition to create a unique and visually impressive series that stands out from the rest.
10. Attack On Titan (2013 – 2023) $150,000 Per Episode
Attack on Titan, known for its intense and often somber storytelling, spares no expense in its production, committing $150,000 to each episode. The anime is lauded for its complex plot and the high-speed action of its combat scenes, which are animated with remarkable fluidity.
The show’s reputation for mercilessly eliminating characters adds to its gripping narrative. Wit Studio, the animation studio behind the series, invests heavily in creating the smoothest and most visually impactful animation for its viewers.
9. Bleach: Thousand Year Blood War Arc – $160,000 Per Episode
At $160,000 per episode, the “Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War Arc” is one of the priciest anime productions. This story arc is the climax of the “Bleach” series and follows Ichigo Kurosaki as he fights against evil spirits called Hollows.
The significant cost factors include the arc’s extended narrative and the necessity for maintaining high-quality animation consistently across episodes. Additionally, the animation team aims to create visually spectacular battle scenes that exceed the original series in quality, driving up production costs.
8. My Hero Academia (2016 – ) $110,000 Per Episode
“My Hero Academia” reached a significant milestone in popularity, being recognized as one of the top five favorite anime globally. The series is known for showcasing heroes with unique abilities and a vibrant portrayal of their adventures.
Drawing parallels with iconic DC superheroes, characters from “My Hero Academia” exhibit inspiration from legends like Shazam and Raven, with the series making a name for itself through the high quality of its battles. Studio Bones, the production house behind this anime, invests $110,000 per episode, ensuring top-notch quality that matches its high standing.
7. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (2012 – ) $120,000 Per Episode
“JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure” stands out for its artistic animation, featuring a wide range of colorful characters and their unique, sometimes outlandish, abilities. The anime is praised for its detailed characters and the intricate designs of their costumes, requiring a significant investment of time and resources.
The story’s dramatic fights and the long-running story about the Joestar family’s fight against supernatural forces are as memorable as they are detailed. With its unique artistic direction and unforgettable cast, “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure” has earned itself a passionate fan following and costs about $120,000 per episode to create.
6. Black Clover (2017 – 2021) $140,000 Per Episode
At $140,000 each, the episodes of “Black Clover” are among the most expensive to produce. This anime’s high production costs come from its thrilling action scenes, complex magical effects, and lively battles. The magical world of “Black Clover” is filled with a variety of enchanting powers, each displayed with elaborate detail.
This level of detail in animation and visual effects shows the significant effort and financial resources dedicated to the series. The considerable expense put into each episode reflects the creators’ efforts to provide an engrossing and visually spectacular experience for viewers, making “Black Clover” one of the most costly and impressive anime series to date.
5. One Piece (1999 – ) $90,000 Per Episode
“One Piece” is notable for its unique and expressive animation style, characterized by a long list of distinctive characters and emotionally impactful story arcs, including some especially poignant character deaths. With such a long-standing run, the cost for producing “One Piece” averages $90,000 per episode.
The extensive number of battles within the series significantly contributes to the budget, with the sheer volume of content, including over a thousand episodes, 20 OVAs, and 14 films, underscoring the investment put into this enduring series.
4. Naruto Shippuden (2007 – 2017) $100,000 Per Episode
“Naruto Shippuden” carries the legacy of being one of the most renowned anime series, with each episode costing around $100,000. The show aims to uphold the high bar set by its prequel, “Naruto,” featuring numerous elaborate fight scenes.
While sometimes criticized for its lengthy filler episodes, the commitment to maintaining the anime’s quality is unwavering. Studio Pierrot, the animator for “Naruto Shippuden,” and its fan base firmly believe that the financial investment in the show is justified, maintaining its status as a top-tier anime.
3. Dragon Ball Z (1989-1996) – $50,000 Per Episode ($100,000 equivalent of 2023)
Dragon Ball Z is the sequel to the original Dragon Ball series and had a lot riding on it after the first series’ success. Fans were excited about it, and the creators did not disappoint, investing heavily to produce a high-quality follow-up.
Each episode of DBZ cost a whopping $50,000 to make. This price tag was largely due to the traditional hand-drawn animation process, where artists put in a significant amount of effort to detail every frame.
2. Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995-1996) – $60,000 Per Episode ($117,000 equivalent of 2023)
Neon Genesis Evangelion is another anime that stands out for its high cost of production, with each episode costing $60,000. The anime is renowned for its exceptional quality and distinctive visual style. Hideaki Anno, the director, set out to challenge conventional anime narratives and visuals with this series.
1. One Punch Man (2015 – ) $80,000 Per Episode
One Punch Man is well-regarded for its exciting and well-illustrated fight scenes that showcase the main character, Saitama’s incredible power. To match the quality of the original manga, the animation team invested a lot of effort and financial resources. The result is a series that features beautifully designed characters and elaborate world-building.
The attention to detail extends to the vibrant settings and the distinct look of the show’s heroes and villains. Additionally, the anime’s soundtrack enhances the action-packed atmosphere and the overall quality of the viewer’s experience.
The production costs, including the sound design and music, were significant but necessary to create such a visually engaging show. The success of One Punch Man is a testament to the value of investing in quality animation production.
Anime Names & Their Budget Per Episode
|Anime Series||Production Cost per Episode|
|Dragon Ball Super||$170,000|
|Attack on Titan||$150,000|
|Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War Arc||$160,000|
|My Hero Academia||$110,000|
|JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure||$120,000|
|Dragon Ball Z||$50,000|
|Neon Genesis Evangelion||$60,000|
|One Punch Man||$80,000|