When you think "anime," you probably think Japan. And you wouldn't be wrong, given that Japan produces most of the anime in the world—and most anime purists claim that only Japanese animated series and movies can be considered "anime" at all.
But Japan's style of animation has grown so popular as to influence the rest of the world, and we're now seeing all kinds of non-Japanese anime from various regions of the world.
In some cases, Western animation studios are creating their own anime-influenced works. In other cases, Western producers are collaborating with Japanese artists. Whatever the case, one thing is clear: Japan's monopoly on anime is loosening.
Want to see how good non-Japanese anime can be? Check out these excellent anime series from China, Korea, the Philippines, and even the United States of America!
7. Dr. Stone
For many, Dr. Stone is actually a Japanese anime—and that technically isn't wrong—so you may be wondering why it's on this list.
While the source manga series is written by Riichiro Inagaki, it's actually illustrated by a South Korean manhwa-turned-manga artist named Mu-jik Park (under the pen name Boichi). That gives the art style of Dr. Stone a subtle but unique twist.
The story of Dr. Stone centers on Senku Ishigami, a 15-year-old genius who's suddenly revived and finds himself in a world where all humankind was turned into stone statues 3,700 years ago. Now he's on a mission to find a cure and bring humanity back.
Dr. Stone is said to be an isekai anime in disguise because its plot involves humanity being transported 3,700 years into the future due to the time lapse. Senku now finds himself in a foreign world where all technological advancements have been wiped out.
While Chinese fantasy movies and TV shows have been popular for a while, Chinese anime series have been much rarer. If you've never seen one before, then Rakshasa Street should be top of your list.
Rakshasa Street is an anime series from China that features a girl who accidentally enters Requiem Street, a place where spirits, ghosts, and other supernatural beings gather and co-exist with humans. But not all humans. Only those humans who have guardian spirits.
You'll notice a few similarities between Rakshasa Street and other high-profile Japanese anime series. For example, there are characters that feel similar to the shinigami of Bleach and the shamans of Shaman King. But there's plenty that's unique to it as well.
Ignoring the resemblances, Rakshasa Street is quite thrilling and action-packed (but also has a touch of ecchi to it). The graphics and animations are good, and the story is worth following.
The blood-filled Castlevania anime series is based on the Japanese video game franchise of the same name, but is actually produced by an American animation studio called Frederator Studios.
Castlevania follows the story of Trevor Belmont and his struggle to survive and defend his nation from Dracula and his troops. The entire series incorporates characters and elements from three of the games: Dracula's Curse, Curse of Darkness, and Symphony of the Night.
This is a must-watch series for any anime fan, but especially those who have enjoyed the likes of Hellsing, Servamp, and Seraph of the End. The great story will keep you hooked, and the animation, art style, and fight scenes in Castlevania will not disappoint.
Trese is an anime series based on a Filipino comic series of the same name written by Budjette Tan and illustrated by Kajo Baldisimo. The anime series is produced by BASE Entertainment, a production company based in Singapore and Indonesia.
The story features mythical monsters and ghouls that coexist with human beings, and the main character is a late-20s woman named Alexandra Trese who's tasked with investigating supernatural incidents that occur throughout her community.
You should consider watching Trese if you want to experience new flavors of monsters, creatures, and mythologies. It's rare for any media work in the West to take inspiration from the Philippines, and Trese is a great example of that rich culture.
Blood of Zeus is an anime series that's written and produced by Powerhouse Animation Studios (which is based in Austin, Texas) in collaboration with both Mua Film and Hanho Heung-Up (which are South Korean animation studios) for the animation.
The plot of Blood of Zeus takes a lot of inspiration from the stories of Greek mythology: tension between gods and humans, infidelity and its rippling consequences, bitterness and resentment all around. But all of that is distilled into a thrilling story centered on a fictional hero.
That hero is Heron, one of the sons of Zeus who battles against demons. While many of the characters in Blood of Zeus are actual Greek mythological figures, the stories are uniquely original and make Blood of Zeus a breath of fresh air as far as anime series go.
Dota: Dragon's Blood is an epic fantasy anime series based on the popular video game Dota 2. It's produced as a collaboration between Studio Mir (based in South Korea) and Kaiju Boulevard (based in the US) with animation done by Production Reve (based in South Korea).
It follows the story of the Dragon Knight Davion who slays dragons to maintain peace and keep the people safe. But when his soul is forcibly merged with the soul of an Elder Dragon, Davion has no choice but to hunt down Terrorblade, a demon who collects dragon souls.
Even if you've never played the game before, you'll enjoy this one. And if you've played Dota 2 before, what are you waiting for?
The Legend of Korra is the sequel series to Avatar: The Last Airbender (both heavily influenced by Japanese anime) and was produced by Nickelodeon Animation Studio, with the actual animation done by Studio Mir (of South Korea) and Studio Pierrot (of Japan).
The story takes place in the same world of Avatar but 70 years in the future, with all kinds of technological and societal advancements but still founded on the same core premise where people can bend the four elements of nature: Fire, Water, Earth, and Air.
Korra is the successor of Aang as Avatar, and she must learn to control her emotions and grow as a person to fulfill her destiny in bringing balance to the world—a world torn apart by social and political strife.
Avatar: The Last Airbender is one of the best animated series ever made but The Legend of Korra feels a lot more like an anime, so that's the one we're highlighting. Both are definitely worth watching.
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