The 15 Best Anime From Sunrise Studio (Ranked)This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).
Sunrise is one of Japan’s largest anime-producing companies, comprised of several collaborating studios operating under its name.
And Sunrise is responsible for some of the most influential anime in the last 40 years – including classics like Mobile Suit Gundam and Code Geass.
But they’re not all about mecha.
Sunrise has produced various shows in genres like comedy, drama, and non-mecha action as well.
I recently watched many Sunrise anime to rank the best Gundam anime. I liked what I saw, so I decided to look into the studio and see what else they had to offer.
Let me share some of my favorite finds.
15. Tiger & Bunny (2011)
Genre: Action, Mystery, Comedy
Length: 25 Eps.
The world of Tiger & Bunny is pretty similar to My Hero Academia, where super-powered individuals play the role of super-heroes and compete for the top spot.
This show stands out for bringing together a straightforward super-hero narrative with deep, lifelike characters without making the show darker in tone.
Wild Tiger, Barnaby “Bunny” Brooks, and the rest of the heroic cast are like real people, just doing their best to help others despite their own shortcomings.
14. Outlaw Star (1998)
Genre: Action, Comedy, Sci-Fi
Length: 26 Eps.
Outlaw Star follows Gene Starwind and the ragtag crew of the Outlaw Star as they brave the dangers of outer space to protect the beautiful and mysterious Melfina from bounty hunters, space pirates, and the occasional catgirl.
The animation is gorgeous, and the action is fluid.
Each frame is hand-drawn and painted too, which gives the show its old-school cel animated appeal.
The cast is a bit stereotypical, but they have their moments for sure.
And the Outlaw Star’s onboard AI computer, Gilliam, definitely stands out. You don’t usually expect the ship to get character development!
13. Daily Lives of High School Boys (2012)
Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life
Length: 12 Eps.
Sunrise is better known for their action-packed mecha shows.
But they’ve found great success in comedy shows like Daily Lives of High School Boys.
This comedy follows a group of high school friends on their day-to-day adventures (and misadventures).
It pokes fun at all the hallmarks of male teenager life, like interacting with girls, hanging out with the squad, and finding your identity.
This anime pure, unadulterated fun, with just a tinge of high school nostalgia that’ll take the edge off your daily struggles.
12. Sgt. Frog (2004)
Genre: Comedy, Parody, Sci-Fi
Length: 358 Eps.
Sgt. Frog – better known as Keroro Gunsou – follows the exploits of the alien Sgt. Keroro and his colorful Keronian underlings after being “captured” by human children.
Each episode shows them coming up with new (unsuccessful) strategies to take over the Earth.
But the show isn’t about conflict.
At its core, it’s a fantastic comedy that pokes fun at otaku culture, classic anime, finances, politics, movies, celebrities, and anything else you can think of.
It’s also a children’s anime through-and-through, with family-friendly humor and even a moral in every story – making it perfect for sharing with a younger anime fan.
11. Good Luck Girl! (2012)
Genre: Comedy, Parody, Supernatural
Length: 13 Eps.
We all have that wealthy, attractive, intelligent friend who can’t seem to fail at anything.
We all have that right?
They’re so lucky, it’s almost unfair. Where’s your share of the fortune?
Well if they’re anything like Ichiko Sakura, they might actually be taking it from you.
Good Luck Girl! is a hilarious comedy following poverty goddess Momiji’s attempts to re-distribute Ichiko’s incredible luck.
These two main characters complement each other perfectly. They deliver jokes at lighting-fast speed, and the voice acting is simply ideal – even in the English dub!
10. Inuyasha (2000)
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy
Length: 193 Eps.
Most of us watched a fair bit of Inuyasha during our childhood or teenage years.
Most of us were in it for the action and comedy. But it also has two of the biggest male anime heartthrobs in history – Inuyasha and his evil brother Sesshomaru.
The animation is solid, the characters are lovable icons, and the plot is good enough to keep you interested.
It was a great introduction to anime for those of us lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time.
9. City Hunter (1987)
Genre: Action, Comedy, Mystery
Length: 140 Eps.
For those of you into old-school episodic fun, City Hunter is a must-watch.
It follows the best hired gun in all of Japan – Ryo Saeba – as he tackles various cases with his tomboyish partner, Kaori Makimura.
City Hunter features great action and the humor to match it.
Its episodic nature keeps things exciting episode-to-episode, while the magnetic cast is developed bit by bit.
The hand-drawn animation also gives it an exceptional old-school appeal, and the soundtrack just screams “80s”.
8. Mobile Suit Gundam (1979)
Genre: Mecha, Military Sci-Fi, Space Opera
Length: 43 Eps.
The first entry in the long-running Gundam franchise revolutionized the mecha genre by treating the giant robots as weapons of war, rather than magical golems like Mazinger Z.
Mobile suits are the logical next step after tanks and fighter jets.
And that’s the role they play in the conflict between the Earth Federation and the Principality of Zeon.
While most of the show is focused on flashy space battles, MS Gundam also transmits a clear anti-war message.
In Gundam, there’s no good vs. evil.
It’s people fighting for survival. And you grow to care for characters on both sides of the conflict.
7. Love Live! The School Idol Movie (2015)
Genre: Music, Idols, Slice of Life
Length: 102 min.
Love Live! is a successful franchise following teenage girls who become “school idols” as part of their extracurricular activities.
After winning the Love Live!, the girls from μ’s (Muse) have risen to stardom.
Now they face the next big challenge: figuring out what they’ll do after graduation while going abroad to perform in New York.
As you might expect, it’s a very emotional movie.
There are tears and angry teenagers. But also wholesome & friendly support, and great humor to cut through the tension.
6. Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans (2015)
Genre: Mecha, Drama, Sci-Fi
Length: 50 Eps.
Iron-Blooded Orphans shows us the long-term consequences of new generations growing up in war-torn societies.
Poverty and violence are the norm for survivors of the Calamity War, including the teenagers at the center of the show.
Through violence (and powerful mobile suits), they’ll try to make a difference and take destiny into their own hands.
As one of the darkest entries in the Gundam franchise, Iron-Blooded Orphans will appeal to fans of shows like Attack on Titan and The Promised Neverland.
5. Planetes (2003)
Genre: Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi
Length: 26 Eps.
Some shows in the “drama” genre are hard to get into at first.
But not Planetes.
The first half of the anime plays out almost like a comedy as you’re introduced to the oddball characters that make up the Debris Section of Technora Corp.
Once you’ve built emotional rapport with the cast, the show kicks into high gear and becomes a real space drama.
It’s an unconventional take on the sci-fi genre in anime that explores a more human side of our spacefaring future.
Rather than space exploration, the story’s center lies in the human relations of its characters, and how they grow together episode to episode.
4. Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion (2006)
Genre: Mecha, Military, Thriller
Length: 50 Eps.
If somehow you were able to fuse Mobile Suit Gundam with Death Note, you’d get Code Geass.
Like Death Note, the show follows a genius character who uses their colossal brainpower and a special ability – the mind-controlling Geass – to gain power and shape the world as they see fit.
At the same time, its treatment of mechs is similar to MS Gundam.
They’re weapons of war used in large-scale geopolitical conflicts. And whoever has the best technology gets the upper hand.
What makes this anime stand out are its colorful and deep characters, and how they grow throughout the series, as well as the profoundly satisfying battle of the minds between Lelouch and those who oppose him.
3. Gintama (2006)
Genre: Comedy, Parody, Action
Length: 350+ Eps.
One of the most bizarre shows under Sunrise’s belt is Gintama, an over-the-top slapstick comedy in the style of a samurai shonen.
It follows former samurai Gintoki and his associates as they go around alien-conquered Japan, taking on all sorts of jobs and trying to make the world a better place in their own weird way.
It also takes some cues from Western comedy like The Simpsons and Monty Python for a really unique comedic experience that goes beyond the usual high school slice of life comedy that’s so typical in Japanese animation.
I’ll admit: you need to know some things about Japanese and anime culture to enjoy Gintama to the fullest.
But even a total newbie will be laughing their butt off after a couple of episodes.
2. Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam: A New Translation (2005)
Genre: Mecha, Military, Sci-Fi
Length: 3 Compilation Films
If you’re looking for a fascinating war story that’ll keep you at the edge of your seat, Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam is the way to go.
Following the Earth Federation’s victory over Zeon in the One Year War, a massive persecution against innocent Zeonites has carried on a legacy of hatred and violence.
Now a rebel group rises to oppose them – led by non-other than Char Aznable, who thinly hides his real identity behind bad-ass sunglasses and the name Quattro Bajeena.
It’s a show that’ll remind you that there isn’t justice in war – only violence, survival… and some of the best robot battles in the franchise.
1. Cowboy Bebop (1998)
Genre: Neo-noir, Space Western, Sci-Fi
Length: 26 Eps.
Cowboy Bebop appeals to older anime enthusiasts with deep complex characters who struggle with relatable human issues.
The Bebop’s crew is made up of crafty and capable people, who tackle insanely challenging missions like it’s nothing.
But even they have some stuff they’re running from.
And the past has a way of catching up to them.
If you want a dark and gritty sci-fi show with interesting characters and gorgeous animation, you can’t go wrong with this absolute classic.