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Top 10 Anime OVA Series

VO: Dan Paradis
Script written by Arschel Morell These series may have never hit Japanese TV screens, but their legacy is undeniable. Join as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Anime OVA Series. For this list we’re looking at series of the Original Video Animation category. Special thanks to our user Christopher Bennett for submitting the idea using our interactive suggestion tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest

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Script written by Arschel Morell

Top 10 Anime OVA Series

These series may have never hit Japanese TV screens, but their legacy is undeniable. Welcome to and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Anime OVA Series.

For this list we’re looking at series of the Original Video Animation category. We’re also looking at stand-alone stories. Which means that prequels and side stories to larger series, such as the Strong World Episode 0 and Rurouni Kenshin: Trust and Betrayal, aka samurai x, will not be counted.

#10: “Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket” (1989)

Kicking off our list is the OVA that celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Gundam franchise. Days before the end of the One year War, an elite Zeon unit enters a neutral space colony with orders to destroy a new Gundam mobile suit. The series protagonist, 11 Year old Al Izuruma, has always seen war as a game and he’s elated to help the Zeonic troops. But as the series progresses, Al’s life changes forever when he learns the harsh realities of war firsthand. Despite being only 6 episodes long, War in the Pocket is one of the most hard-hitting entries in the series.

#9: “Record of the Lodoss War” (1990-91)

Behold, anime’s answer to The Lord of the Rings. Record of Lodoss War centers on Parn, a farm boy dreaming of knighthood, who joins with a collection of diverse companions to save the continent of Lodoss. Sure it sounds generic, but this early 90s series makes up for that with memorable characters and phenomenal writing. Lacking the over-the-top wackiness of more recent adventure series, Record of Lodoss War is down to earth and a must watch for every fan of classic fantasy.

#8: “Space Battleship Yamato 2199” (2012-13)

The legendary battleship rides again. Yamato 2199 is a remake of the classic 1974 scifi series, released in the US as Star Blazers. The main story remains unchanged, following The Space Battleship Yamato and her crew who are tasked with retrieving an experimental weapon from the planet Iscandar. While the series has an updated animation style, the character designs, tone and overall atmosphere of the original series remain intact. The faint beam of hope shines on brighter than ever for a new generation, Space Battleship Yamato.

#7: Gunbuster” (1988-89)

In a Space training academy for girls, Noriko Takaya seeks to become one of the best of the best pilots, following in her father’s footsteps as a war hero. This was one of Gainax Studios first productions, introducing audiences to the flash animation and eccentric storytelling the studio is well known for. It’s got aliens, giant robots, and fighter pilot girls in questionable outfits. This OVA series was also the directorial debut of Hideki Anno, the director of Neon Genesis Evangelion.

#6: “Detroit Metal City” (2008)

When reaching for your goals in life, sacrifices must be made. For Soichi Negishi, that dream is becoming a pop singer. His sacrifice? To pay the bills, he becomes the front man of a death metal band known as Detroit Metal City. We get to see the soft, shy Soichi belt out lyrics of sodomy and slaughter as the terrorist demon from hell, “Johannes Krauser II”. Although the episodes last only 13 minutes, DMC manages to fit in its dark comedy and over the top hard rock music in a way that still holds up to date.

#5: “Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn” (2010-14)

One of the more recent entries in the franchise, Gundam Unicorn returns us to the fan favorite Universal Century for a new story. Banagher Links and the mysterious Audrey Byrne get caught up in the struggle between Federation and Zeon for the rumored Laplace’s Box. With such an unprecedented production budget, the Gundam franchise has never looked so good. Factor in a story fitting a movie and fresh, likeable new faces, and you’ll see why fans may have been a bit anxious waiting anywhere from a few months to a year for new episodes.

#4: “Golden Boy” (1995-96)

This is one of the oddest and yet most well received OVA’s on this list. Kintaro is a wandering university student, traveling from town to town taking on odd jobs. His misadventures usually involve him bumping into beautiful women and landing in some pretty embarrassing situations. Kintaro’s inability to suppress his perverted nature as well as his flat out stupidity make him one of the most lovable characters to appear on this list. And while most of the content in Golden Boy is borderline or flat out pornographic, the series has been hailed as one of the most hilarious Anime ever created.

#3: “Hellsing Ultimate” (2006-12)

The original Hellsing series deviated from the original manga and left much of the story unfinished. Hellsing Ultimate tries to make up for that with an expanded series. With Studio Madhouse holding the reigns, fans were finally able to see the straight from the manga adaptation they had been waiting for. Vampire slayer Alucard and the Hellsing Organization find themselves in a race against time to save England, and the world, from a legion of zombie vampires. Bursting with haunting imagry and intense action, Hellsing Ultimate is a bloody good time from start to finish.

#2: “FLCL” (2000-01)

Studio Gainax produces its most bizarre and beloved OVA of all time. FLCL centers around a boy named Noata, who thinks life is kind of boring. That is, until he is smashed in the head by a guitar wielding girl on a Vespa scooter. After that, it’s all robots coming out of heads, over-the-top action and lots of Anime and pop culture references. Fooly Cooly boasts not only one of the most endearing coming-of-age stories but also one of the greatest soundtracks in all of Anime, courtesy of J-Rock Band, The Pillows.
Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few Honorable Mentions:
“Read or Die” (2001)
“Bastard!!” (1992-93)
“Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team” (1996-99)

#1: “Legend of the Galactic Heroes” (1988-97)

Our number one pick goes to perhaps the longest running and most hailed OVA of all time. Galactic Heroes tells the story of a war that spans centuries, between the Free Planets Alliance and the Galactic Empire. As the war enters its final stage, an intense game of strategy plays out between Empire Tactician, Reinhard, and Alliance prodigy, Yang. With an episode list clocking in at 110 episodes, its no wonder it took over 9 years to release the entire series. And while this may seem like an intimidating time commitment, it’s well worth it for this scifi masterpiece.
Do you agree with our list? Which OVA series also made it onto your lists? For more Anime inspired Top 10’s published daily, be sure to subscribe to

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