20 Anime With The Best Worldbuilding (Our Top Recommendations)This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).
We’ve covered a ton of rankings in our “top characters” lists, which you should check out by the way.
But characters alone can’t always carry a show into that illusive S-tier.
Because even the best characters can’t thrive if the story has a dull and uninspired world that you don’t care about.
So we’re going to look into the finer examples and see which anime managed to come up with a world so interesting (or believable) that our own reality pales in comparison.
If you love strong worldbuilding then you’ll probably find at least one great series on here.
If the anime didn’t fumble so hard by the end of the series, this show would have been way higher.
However, there’s no denying that the Naruto universe is extremely interesting and detailed.
The chakra system, although not too original, gave the show its signature feeling. And the multiple factions spread across the story give off the sense of a realistic world.
As the show explores multiple villages and nations, their rulers and their warriors, as well as the history interwoven between all of them, the worldbuilding is anything but lacking.
In fact, had the show not power scaled itself into the ground by the end of Shippuden, it would have easily been at the very top of my list.
Baccano just excels in storytelling on every front.
The anime is comprised of multiple individual stories spread across both time and space that all just happened to intertwine at one point.
So even though the world is largely based on reality, it still feels like its own thing.
The way the character’s backstories are revealed just perfectly showcases the complexity and longevity of the world – and I honestly couldn’t get enough of it.
Just goes to show that you don’t need that many supernatural elements to make a world feel extremely unique and alive.
18. Dr. Stone
Dr. Stone is another good example of this principle, as it has no supernatural elements.
Okay except that green light thing, but we don’t know what that is yet.
The thing that makes me love the worldbuilding in Dr. Stone is the fact that nothing is done behind the scenes. Their world is basically an infant in terms of technology, and we’re shown every step of the process when building it up.
Things that they created in episode 5 will become useful in episode 10, leading to a great sense of continuity.
Every moving part in the story is explained in such detail that you truly feel like you understand the entire world at every point in the story. It’s worth a watch for sure.
17. Kill la Kill
This one might seem a bit odd, given that the show is absolutely absurd and doesn’t take itself too seriously… but I still think it deserves a mention.
This is because Kill la Kill is still very consistent.
The class system surrounding Honnouji Academy is present within the whole city. And we can easily see how it has taken up its roots.
The show also explores other part of Japan and their own school systems, while giving us a grand narrative that explains both the powers in the show, as well as the motivations of every major character.
We see who’s pulling the strings, who’s resisting the status quo, and how the everyday Joe survives in this world.
So beyond all the boobs and butts, there’s quite the interesting world to be explored here.
Although all the characters are just animals, Beastars is entirely based in reality.
Well, at least in terms of a realistic world for humanoid animals.
What the show does so perfectly is it examines social structures and the tension that exists between the carnivores and the herbivores. It’s immediately evident that both sides are judged by the other, and little details like a meat black market really make the world believable.
Nothing is exaggerated, and everything seems logical given their circumstances.
In terms of dissecting a society and the many notions that exist within any civilization, I think that very few shows (anime or otherwise) can hold a candle to Beastars.
15. The Monogatari Series
In order to fully appreciate the worldbuilding of the Monogatari Series, you need to watch the seasons as they came out – and not by the in-universe timeline.
That way you can truly feel the impeccable care that was put into this world; revealing bits and pieces as you go along, ultimately leading to this grandiose picture that you cannot stop looking at.
There are so many moving parts in the series, and certain characters have such a deep lore behind them that they feel like walking legends.
And the many supernatural elements present within the show make the world very mystical, and yet more than just believable.
14. Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic
First off, you just have to love the aesthetic of this show.
While most anime go with the usual Japanese or even American setting, Magi’s choice of a more Middle-Eastern location makes it feel like a breath of fresh air.
Plus their choice of power systems is also very enticing.
With dungeons popping out all over the globe, those who have the strength to conquer countless foes and reach the end are rewarded with great powers.
This makes every main character feel interesting and complex, as they weren’t simply born all-powerful.
Add to that the lore of the Djinns themselves and the Sinbad prequel that spoke more on the forming of the country, and you have a pretty memorable world on your hands.
13. Re: Creators
Re: Creators was just brilliant in concept.
It took our normal modern world and added a single twist: the concept that worlds of fiction can now coexist with ours.
Having anime characters plop into Japan and then meet their own authors was both very meta and very fun to see.
And the show setup strict rules about how the two would function together, leading to a very unique yet down to earth world that anyone could grasp at a glance.
Maybe it just tickled my fancy though, as I love meta content.
But I found the brilliantly simple twist in the worldbuilding to be top tier.
12. Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation
I’ll be honest:
In a lot of ways, Jobless Reincarnation is just your typical isekai show.
However, it made a lot of subtle changes that just makes its worldbuilding stand above the rest.
It’s thoroughly explained how the system of magic functions, as well as why the protagonist is a cut above the rest. He isn’t a reincarnated God or anything like that.
But him having an adult mind in a child’s body allowed him to learn way quicker than anyone else.
Having the God that brought him into the world be an actual character was also a nice touch that added a sense of reality.
Plus, all of the characters are just very realistically written – which makes the entire world seem natural and realistic.
11. The Promised Neverland
There’s no denying that the second season wet the bed when it comes to the overarching story.
However, in terms of worldbuilding, it was as brilliant as the first season.
Moving away from one specific farm and showcasing the rich lore behind the world, how it was split in two, and why the farms were created in the first place, all added a sense of legitimacy to the world.
Not to mention the various other humans that lived in the outside world, as well as demons who were against the consumption of humans.
The world was just so layered and well thought out that it truly is a shame the second season couldn’t capture it in its entirety.
Overlord handled its exposition extremely well.
With the main character being completely clueless about the world around him, while simultaneously being expected to lead his army, the show allowed for a lot of thorough explanation without the fear of seeming forced.
With Momonga acting as both the villain and a heroic traveler, we got to see all walks of life.
And with a lot of screen time being dedicated to the multiple factions within the show, the world felt large and thriving.
It just goes to show that there’s a way to handle exposition even within an OP MC isekai show.
9. No Game No Life
No Game No Life had a similar approach where we learned right alongside the characters.
Having everything be based upon your skills in various games made for a surprisingly coherent power & class system, as well as a clear divide between the many races.
If you’ve been watching anime for any amount of time, you’ve undoubtedly heard the crying screams of No Game No Life fans begging for a second season.
And I think it speaks volumes on the passion that went into this show.
Everyone wanted to know how the battle between the races would go down, as well as what else this vibrant world had to offer.
8. Log Horizon
This show was just not afraid to tackle the more mundane and “boring” aspects of civilization.
Sure, there are still plenty of fights and feel-good slice of life moments. But do you know what the bulk of the show consists of?
Deciding which guild did what, and which people would have which position, were all crucial plot points in the show.
We got to see how every decision affected the people, and the relationship between the isekaid adventures and the former NPCs just gave life to the entire story.
So if you want a very intricate world where politics are just as important as your power level, be sure to give it a watch.
7. That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime
I swear, this is the last isekai on this list.
That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime has a lot of similar qualities as Log Horizon, as we get to see a nation built up from scratch.
What first starts off as just a singular lonely slime, soon becomes a trading hotspot pushing neighboring countries out of the business.
And we get to see every step of that journey.
With there being so many unique monsters as well as a handful of other nations and factions, Rimuru is far from the only notable character in the show.
We see lonely goons become ministers, powerful demon lords becoming allies, and religious sects becoming warmongers.
It just all fits in so perfectly.
6. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
FMA Brotherhood took a pretty standard world, and just added one key element to make it feel completely unique: alchemy.
The power system of alchemy is masterfully crafted within the show, making it so that every battle and plot point makes sense.
There’s pulling powerups out of thin air and deus ex machinas walking around, making for a very gripping story.
Plus the lore behind the Philosopher’s Stone and Edward’s encounter with a certain someone adds that little oomph that the show needed to feel completely unique and magical – while also being believable and grounded.
5. Hunter x Hunter (2011)
Although Hunter x Hunter seems like a rather bland shounen anime, it did one thing that really made it stand out:
Its power system, Nen.
I believe Nen to be one of the most comprehensive and well-explained power systems in anime, to the point where ever sudden power ups are completely reasonable and logical.
Adding just that one change to a world that was already huge and interesting on its own, just pushed Hunter x Hunter into the S-class in terms of worldbuilding.
Everything happens for a reason.
Every fight follows the rules that the world setup.
And every character has some sort of comprehensive motivation.
And that’s not even taking into account the manga, which is a whole different beast.
4. Made in Abyss
Made in Abyss arguably has one of the most interesting and vibrant fantasy worlds in all of anime.
The centerpiece of the show is this giant hole in the ground with countless levels, and a whole slew of different creatures and plants living within it.
And above ground we get to see a society purely created for the exploration of the Abyss. With school focusing on what is known about the giant hole, and exploration being the key interest of everyone above ground, it’s easy to envision this world as a real one.
Even small details like the cryptic writing system, or having the orphanage being funded by the orphan’s explorations, just adds so much to an already incredible fictional world.
3. From the New World
If we’re talking about efficiency in worldbuilding, no show even comes close to this one.
From the New World managed to create the most gripping and realistically depressing picture of society you’re likely to ever see – and it did it all in just 25 episodes.
The story follows the central character Saki throughout her youth and adulthood, giving us a crystal-clear picture of the society she lived in – while also making us fall in love with each and every character.
I’m purposefully avoiding telling you anything finite, as discovering the world in this anime is an experience I would not want to rob you of.
It’s a masterpiece. And it only falls below the following two picks because it had a far more limited episode count.
2. Attack on Titan
I can confidently say that only the #1 pick for this list can even come close to Attack on Titan’s worldbuilding.
Even in season one we see a very detailed world where nothing is left to the imagination.
We’re given constant info sheets that explain every single facet of life within the walls, while also being presented with how these things work in the real world.
But it only gets better from there, as every subsequent season digs deeper and deeper into the rich lore surrounding the walls – and everything that lies beyond it.
We see the politics that are making the wheel turn, the tactics that allow armies to prosper, the science that made the Titans possible in the first place, and the history that underlaid it all.
Truly a masterpiece.
1. One Piece
One Piece is simply the titan of anime.
It has been airing for so long that true fans know this pirate world inside and out.
This is because nothing is left out when it comes to worldbuilding. The world is not only gigantic in size, with dozens upon dozens of unique islands, but also extremely detailed as well.
No two islands look exactly the same. And yet each one has such a rich history, a culture, and a unique outlook on life – as well as different power structures and technological advancements.
Even a single island from One Piece could easily make it onto this list.
So the fact that there are dozens upon dozens of islands in the anime, all uniquely crafted as well as the rest of the world itself, is reason enough for One Piece to be deserving of the highest praise.