Eight Anime Recommendations for Christian Viewers

Note:  Our eight recommendations page has been replaced by this reformatted and more up-to-date listing, which is also replicated under our anime recommendations page.

Below are our staff’s selections for series that we recommend to Christian viewers.  Growing from our original list, the series given below contain information about the shows that you may find pertinent as you select which series to watch or to show your families. The list is ever-growing, and we invite you to give your own recommendations in the comment section below. At the bottom, we’ve also included other recommended anime with few details, divided by age appropriateness.

Bunny Drop (Usagi Drop)
Clannad (Clannad)
Kino’s Journey (Kino no Tabi)
Haibane Renmei (Haibane Renmei)
My Ordinary Life (Nichijou)
Now and Then, Here and There (Ima, Soko ni Iru Boku)
Puella Magi Madoka Magica (Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica)
Trigun (Trigun)


Bunny Drop
Usagi Drop

Daikichi’s grandfather has just died and the young professional’s family can’t stop bickering – not about what to do with Grandfather’s possessions, but what to do about the old man’s six-year old illegitimate child, whom the family has just discovered.  Even without any experience of his own, and seemingly not a family man at all, Daikichi makes the decision to rear the little girl, and what follows is one of the most simple, sincere, and heartwarming series in all anime.

(2011 ~ 11 episodes)

Watch if you:
(+) Enjoy series that are moving
(+) Like shows centered around modern family issues
(+) Like cute kids

Skip if you:
(-) Get bored easily
(-) Dislike angular, sketchy art styles

Biblical Themes:
(+) Emphasis on sacrificial love
(+) Demonstration of concern for the helpless

Content to Look Out For:
(-) Slight alcohol consumption and discussion of Rin’s parentage may trouble parents

Read articles about Bunny Drop. Stream legally for free here or purchase on Amazon or Right Stuf.

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Clannad & Clannad: After Story
Clannad & Clannad: After Story

Tomoya is the kind, but delinquent son of an alcoholic single father.  Nagisa is the shy and sickly, but determined daughter of loving parents.  When they meet one day on the road to school, little did they know that their lives, and that of the group of friends they would make, would become intertwined in tale that is both romantic comedy and fantastical.  One of the most beloved franchises of recent years, Clannad and its sequel, After Story, starts like most series in the genre, introducing a male protagonist and a series of female characters, each with very different personalities, who might somehow become the object of our hero’s affection.  But Clannad transcends the others by taking the viewers on an extraordinary journey past high school and into real life, including the pain, loss, and tragedy that can beset and paralyze us.

(2007 ~ 47 episodes, 2 OVAs, 1 movie)

Watch if you:
(+) Are a romantic at heart
(+) Like zany comedic moments
(+) Enjoy long series that cross multiple genres

Skip if you:
(-) 52 episodes is too long for you
(-) Like your stories firmly grounded in realism
(-) Don’t want to cry

Biblical Themes:
(+) Strong emphasis on love toward family, friends, and even enemies
(+) Themes of love and redemption

Content to Look Out For:
(-) Mystical content plays major role throughout
(-) Some alcohol consumption and violence (mostly comedic)
(-) Brief bad language

Read articles about Clannad. Stream legally for free here or purchase on Amazon or Right Stuf.

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Kino’s Journey
Kino no Tabi

Anime episodes are often self-contained, and this is especially true of Kino’s Journey.  The fable-like story follows the title character as she travels from country to country in an unknown world.  The show is wonderful at expressing the human condition in all it’s sin and depravity, but it also reveals the beauty of the world and of people.

(2003 ~ 13 episodes, 1 OVA, 2 movies)
(2017 REMAKE ~ 12 episodes)

Watch if you:
(+) Like something you can watch an episode at a time
(+) Want to watch something that will make you think
(+) Enjoy a mixture of drama, social commentary, and action

Skip if you:
(-) Get bored easily
(-) Prefer an extended, driven, continuous story
(-) Dislike a simplistic, exaggerated art style

Biblical Themes:
(+) Christ-like sacrifice
(+) Moral dilemmas that can be related directly to pieces of Scripture

Content to Look Out For:
(-) Minor language
(-) Obscured, occasional blood and frequent violence

Read articles about Kino’s Journey. Stream legally for free here or purchase on Amazon (original / 2017) or Right Stuf (original / 2017).

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Haibane Renmei
Haibane Renmei

Haibane Renmei focuses on angel-like entities known as haibane, who are born into a world where they work and live among human townsfolk.  This beautiful work can easily be viewed as a Catholic vision of the afterlife and features heavy emphasis on the ideas of sin, grace, forgiveness, and love.  It’s a powerful work that should be at the top of any otaku’s viewing list, much less any Christian otaku’s viewing list – indeed, it’s a become a classic for any fan of anime exploring deep and emotional themes.

(2002 ~ 13 episodes)

Watch if you:
(+) Like to stray from the generic anime path
(+) Want to watch something that will make you think
(+) Enjoy strong characters and symbolic imagery

Skip if you:
(-) Get bored easily
(-) Prefer more standard storytelling types focusing on action or romance (there is neither)
(-) Need all loose ends tied together by the end of the story (it leaves much room for interpretation by the end)

Biblical Themes:
(+) Christ-like love and sacrifice
(+) The repercussions of sin
(+) Unconditional forgiveness
(+) Contentedness over materialism

Content to Look Out For:
(-) Minor language
(-) Minor blood and disturbing pain (first episode briefly)
(-) Partial nudity (brief side shot of main character naked from an obscured angle; not of sexual nature)

Read articles about Haibane Renmei and visit our study website. Stream legally for free here or purchase on Amazon.

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My Ordinary Life

High school students.  Unrequited love.  An elementary-aged inventor.  Exasperated robot assistant.  Deer-wrestling principal.  Rich boy who rides a goat to school.  Um…what?  These characters and a number of others fill the world of My Ordinary Life, a great example both of the comedy and slice of life genres in anime.  What sets Nichijou apart, perhaps, is two-fold – it’s a creative series that constantly goes for surprising and unexpected gags and it’s a very clean series that can be enjoyed by the family.

(2011 ~ 26 episodes, 1 OVA)

Watch if you:
(+) Schoolgirl slice of life (a la Azumanga Daioh)
(+) Zany humor
(+) Relatable characters

Skip if you:
(-) Want a continuous story
(-) Prefer realism

Biblical Themes:
(+) Wholesome humor

Content to Look Out For:
(-) Very mild homosexual themes (Mio’s manga)

Read articles about My Ordinary Life. Stream legally for free here or purchase on Amazon or Right Stuf.

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Now and Then, Here and There
Ima, Soko ni Iru Boku

Perhaps one of the most, if not the most, controversial title on this list. Now and Then, Here and There plays itself off to be, at least in the first episode, the most generic of shounen (aimed toward teenage boys) out there, taking place in a middle school setting at a kendo club. However, don’t let the generic setup deceive you, as this anime is nothing like your generic shounen. Now and Then, Here and There is a short, 13-episode anime that provides one of the most inspiring main characters ever to grace anime from the Christian perspective, witnessed as he works through dozens of deplorable situations that would make any less committed person simply give up and give in. Despite a great amount of questionable implied content, the anime itself is actually relatively clean in comparison, particularly considering the wonderful underlying themes that can be drawn from it.

(1999 ~ 13 episodes)

Watch if you:
(+) Like serious stories exploring difficult situations
(+) Brutally honest social commentary
(+) Want a different take on the shounen genre
(+) Like post-apocalyptic science fiction

Skip if you:
(-) Like happy endings
(-) Prefer more standard shounen

Biblical Themes:
(+) Sanctity of life
(+) Faith that God will bring you through a situation
(+) Sacrificial love
(+) Redemption and forgiveness
(+) Standing up for ideals in an oppressive culture or situation

Content to Look Out For:
(-) Child soldiers
(-) Implied child rape and torture
(-) Blood and violence
(-) Brief partial nudity (young child, harmless and not of sexual nature)
(-) Mild language

Read articles on Now and Then, Here and There. Stream legally for free here or purchase on Amazon.

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Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Mahō Shōjo Madoka Magika

Almost like superheroes for young girls, the “magical girl” subgenre, unique to anime, features girls who fight off the forces of evil, gathering power by transforming into vibrant outfits.  A dark series, Madoka Magica is infamous for turning magical girl conventions on their head, while focusing on the significant themes of sin, hope, and salvation.

(2011 ~ 12 episodes, 3 movies)

Watch if you:
(+) Like psychological horrors
(+) Want to watch something that will make you think
(+) If you enjoy a dramatically unfolding plot

Skip if you:
(-) Dislike bright colors/big eyes character styles
(-) Prefer “contained-within-an-episode” stories
(-) Aren’t ready to handle major “feels”

Biblical Themes:
(+) Christ-like sacrifice
(+) Discussion of concepts central to scripture (ex. sin and redemption)

Content to Look Out For:
(-) Very mild homosexual inferences, emphasized further in later, separate films
(-) Jarring violence presented in sometimes unrealistic manner

Read articles about Madoka Magica. Stream legally for free here or purchase on Amazon or Right Stuf.

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The western-style science fiction series traces the travels of Vash the Stampede, the most wanted man on a dry planet in desperate need of an alien energy source.  When two young women, representing an insurance agent, finds the infamous outlaw, they’re stunned by his seeming ineptitude, silly personality, and womanizing.  Vash shows his true colors, though, as he tries to live out his mantra of “Love and peace,” even in the company of a violent “priest” and a growing menace who is seeking Vash, and doesn’t mind killing innocents to get what they desire.  Trigun balances the fun of an action-comedy with a plot that explores ideas central to Christianity, such as mercy, salvation, hope, and forgiveness.

(1998 ~ 26 episodes, 1 movie)

Watch if you:
(+) Enjoy equal doses of comedy and action
(+) Like superhero-style stories
(+) If you enjoy a dramatically unfolding plot

Skip if you:
(-) Dislike frequent violence
(-) Do not like science fiction or westerns

Biblical Themes:
(+) Christ-like sacrifice
(+) Emphasis on themes of non-violence and forgiveness
(+) Frequent discussion of the sanctity of life

Content to Look Out For:
(-) Frequent non-graphic violence
(-) Some language
(-) Mild sexual references
(-) A “priest” character who is a violent gunslinger is a major character

Read articles about Trigun. Stream legally for free here or purchase on Amazon or Right Stuf.

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Other Recommended Anime

The anime below is recommended by staff for Christian viewers, though again, your mileage will vary on what you deem is appropriate to watch. We’ve divided these anime in roughly four age appropriate groupings: AA for all ages; 7+ for ages seven and older; PT for preteens (some as young as nine or perhaps not until as old as 12); or 17+ for ages 17 and older. But we emphasize that our thoughts on these ratings may differ from your own.

Rating: AA

Bananya+ (stream / purchase)
Working Buddies (stream)

Rating: 7+

Girls und panzer (stream / purchase)
Hiraku no Go (stream / purchase)
How to keep a mummy (stream)
Iroduku: The World In Colors (stream)
The Journey Home (stream)
Miss Bernard said. (stream)
Sands of Destruction (stream / purchase)

Rating: PT

Angel Beats (stream / purchase)
Cowboy Bebop (stream / purchase)
Death Note (stream / purchase)
Dragon Ball Z (stream / purchase)
ERASED (stream / purchase)
Fate/Apocrypha (stream)
Kotoura-San (stream / purchase)
Log Horizon (stream / purchase)
Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet
My Hero Academia (stream / purchase)
Planet With (stream / purchase)
The Promised Neverland (stream / purchase)
Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai (stream / purchase)
ReLife (stream / purchase)
Rurouni Kenshin (stream / purchase)
Seki-kun (stream / purchase)
Silver Spoon (stream / purchase)
Snow White with the Red Hair (stream / purchase)
SSSS.Gridman (stream / purchase)
Sword Art Online (stream / purchase)
Toradora (stream / purchase)
Violet Evergarden (stream / purchase)
World Trigger (stream / purchase)
Working!! (stream / purchase)

Rating: 17+

Gate (stream / purchase)
Rurouni Kenshin: Trust and Betrayal (stream / purchase)

Featured illustration by sat-C (reprinted w/permission)

125 thoughts on “Eight Anime Recommendations for Christian Viewers

    1. I did a little series on Angel Beats here on the website. It’s a certainly a series that brings up a lot of interesting themes. Thanks for the recommendation!

    2. I have to disagree. Angel Beats may have a thrilling plot, but it is ANYTHING but Christian. I mean, the alliance is all about “defying ‘god'” and escaping the afterlife. Reincarnation, Buddhism, etc. is largely suggested, and they make it quite clear that they are //AGAINST// God/ god/ gods or whatever.

      1. One of the reasons we didn’t include Angel Beats among our recommendations is precisely because of that – it’s not only written in an eastern religious mindset, it’s also one of a series of anime that focuses on the theme of humanity fighting against an unfair god and even becoming “gods” themselves. So, it goes without saying that Angel Beats isn’t a show for every Christian.

        But just as with most shows we discuss here, there are elements of Angel Beats that are Christian in nature (even if that wasn’t the purpose) and it can help us ponder important aspects of God. We see heavily emphasized the themes of sacrifice, grace, giving, and redemption; we explore what it means to be a loving or spiteful father, as compared to our loving Father; we see that there’s meaning in life that seems to have none and that the plans we have for our lives aren’t often what they end up becoming (and that which they become are so much more meaningful); and that there’s hope for the hopeless. And ultimately, I think these significant themes stand out far more than superficial ones of fighting against “god,” especially so in a series like this where that storyline ends up really making the series much less than it could have been.

  1. I was surprised to see Samurai Champloo on this list…it has a LOT more skanky content than many anime I have seen. It’s well done, sure, but after a while I just didn’t want to deal with it anymore.
    About Kenshin…read the manga if you want a neatly-finished plot. The anime really glosses over the third story arc, which is central to the manga as a whole. Also, the odd mini-arc about the Christians does not exist in the manga.
    These points alone push the manga far ahead of the anime.
    That said, it would be really interesting if someone made an anime about the actual history of Christianity in Japan.

    1. Yeah, like I mentioned, the series is not for everybody. I’ve revised this page to put that series in a more proper category.

      And thanks for the recommendation about Kenshin. I have red the final arc in the manga, and it’s pretty amazing.

    2. That would be very cool. Samurai Champloo does have extreme amounts of sexual nastiness but it does actually touch on certain aspects of the persecution of the hidden Christians if you stick with it long enough.

      1. Thanks for the link! The video provides really nice context for the arc and a concise explanation of early Christian history in Japan. I’m glad you posted it!

    1. Interesting selection – it’s certainly an appealing series, has a terrific couple, and is very clean. I bet if I rewatched it, I’d find a lot of themes to talk about. Thanks for the rec!

  2. Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple and Romeo X Juliet are probably the two greatest Animes I have ever watched… I may have watched Romeo X Juliet recently, but Kenichi is truly my favorite Anime of all time. Kenichi has some perverted and suggestive parts to it, but overall it is about all the good teachings from the Word. And Romeo X Juliet has similar theme to it, though it is violent and has mild gore, it is still a realistic and reveals a bit of compassion to living for others as well as a great purpose. There are of course many other Animes, but those two in particular came to mind.

    1. Meant to say ‘greater purpose’ but I believe you understood what I was trying to say… sadly I wasn’t gifted to not make typos.

    2. Thanks for sharing! I would’ve never thought of checking out Kenichi.

      I have seen a good portion of Romeo x Juliet – a very pretty and heartfelt show. I have no doubt there are some great themes in there.

      Thanks for the suggestions!

  3. Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni could be added too. It has a lot of themes about forgiveness, trust, love, and how playing God/Viewing God as sacrificial hungry rather than a loving God can corrupt your morals.The only problem is that it is REALLY violent and is definitely not something easy to stomach. But if you can get through the first season, the second one will be no problem at all (But don’t say I didn’t warn you about the violent content).

    1. Thanks for the suggestion! I made my way partially through the manga long ago, but wasn’t particularly looking for those themes you mentioned. I’ve heard from others, too, that there is considerable depth to it.

  4. How about heallsing? It has heavy Christian theme but no way point back to God nor Lord Jesus ?
    I have been longing so much for a good Christian manga which actually point back to Jesus and has Him as the central of the story …

    1. Thanks for the recommendation!

      I might suggest you check out the OEL manga from . They are most definitely Bible-based (Catholic in nature) and are all very well done.

    2. Hey, no worries!
      When I finally become a master at drawing, I’ll be making a Manga that’s Christian based.
      You should check out Manga Messiah!
      I haven’t read it, but I know it’s about the life of Jesus in Manga style!

  5. The opening song of Eden of the East anime is extremely offensive as the lyrics say “If God won’t save me, then don’t waste my time.” I strongly suggest others to pray and ask the Holy Spirit if watching certain animes will not ruin their faith. While everyone has their own degree of faith, it is important to be aware that just because an anime has similar themes present in the bible, does not mean you should ignore violence, sexuality, magic/monsters and so on.

    1. There’s definitely a line for Christians, but I think it’s a shifting one depending on one’s faith. I’m reminded of Paul’s discussion regarding the eating of food sacrificed to other gods – it may not bother the individual eating, and it isn’t sin, but it might bother other Christians and cause sin in that manner.

      Each Christian anime fan must figure out their limitations. I look at Eden of the East and, despite that line (which I had noticed immediately when first watching the series) and the graphic nature of the show, there are a ton of themes and ideas worth exploring. It’s kind of like looking at the Bible – the holy scriptures are full of devils, crooks, thieves, liars, and all manners of sinners, but the book itself is a story of grace and redemption, and it’s necessary to explore the vileness of humanity to express what Jesus did on the cross. Caitlin Glass, the voice actress, has a similar feeling in regards to acting out roles that might be considered “bad.”

      And speaking of how we view anime as Christians, I should reference a post regarding six different levels at which we might approach the medium, or any media.

      Anyway, thank you for the note! I think your point is incredibly important to consider.

  6. well im self teaching and learning in software and game programming and design and anime/manga art for my sole purpose of creating a christian anime studio that focuses on the Word of God,and revelations from the Holy Spirit. I really want to stablish a studio in the u.s. That will endure until the coming of the Lord. A huge company with great artists,mangakas,all kinds of talented folks,animators,etc…my other purpose is to develop christian anime rpgs. And to publish our work to daystar tv,tbn,and other christian networks. So pray for me a lot.

  7. Glad I came to the right place because I’m a christian who’s into anime and I just wanted to find something that does not say bad words because I’m against them and that is all I wanted.

    1. Great! Luckily, there are a lot of anime series that are family friendly. Christian Anime Alliance does a great job of giving the kind of information in their reviews that I think you’re looking for.

  8. That’s a nice anime recommendation list you got there. I totally recommend Madoka Magica it’s the best current magical girl anime ever! it’s not your average magical girl anime you see cause it contains some dark elements in this series

  9. is Azumanga Daioh also included in this list.I think you’ll say yes,for friendliness,and togetherness value,and also some another Christianity value.

  10. I have seen some of the anime mentioned above in the comments, like angel beats and Higurashi. Only one anime comes to my mind when it comes to self sacrifice, finding the truth, endurance, and fighting against the greater evil. Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom. A excellent anime when it comes to showing the good and bad bonds that humans forge and just as easily break, as well as preservering against evil. The ending itself was a bit shocking, but now that I think of it, it was the sad correct way for them to fade from our world. Has violence, blood, death, some cuss words here and there, but overall, it’s a very fine and in my opinion, religious, anime.

    1. That’s a very interesting recommendation. Tonally, few anime that I’ve seen are as painful and dark, but there are certainly elements that strongly match those that Christians espouse. That’s also a very interesting critique about the end – I’ll need to give some thought to that…

    1. EVIL indeed.

      I feel the need here to say, I would highly recommend you wiki or google this show before you watch it, as this show is ALWAYS my example of how strange and horrible anime can be. 😛

  11. I forgot to mention this anime before. I am not sure if it is a Christian anime as there is violence and stuff that is not family friendly in it, but it does a excellent work in showing humanitarian values and hopefulness in the darkest situations, and one of the characters is like Jesus in more ways then one. The anime is called Rainbow: Nisha Rokubou no Shinchinin, which I can roughly translate as “The story of 7 boys, compound 2, cell 6”. Again, this is a really rough translation of the title from Japanese to English, but if you google rainbow nisha, the full title should appear in the drop box, hope that helps. Highly recommend that you watch it with several tissue boxes and a close comfort, like a pet or a friend.

  12. I’m seeing a lot of recommendations, but how about fullmetal alchemist brotherhood (and the original)? Would it be considered a good one to add to this list? Or is it too….hmm how should I put it…non-Christian…if that’s the word I’m looking for lol :p

    1. That’s an interesting recommendation. Certainly, there’s a dark tone to the series and lots of actions features that don’t jive with Christian teaching. However, I do think that the show is full of strong themes worth exploring, and of course, it’s simply an excellent series (Brotherhood at least – I’ve seen less of the original). I have written one article about FMA (you can find it by searching on the site for Winry), but the perhaps the biggest reason that it doesn’t make this list is because I’ve never finished the show! 😛

  13. I have two particular favorites that I would love to hear your take on. D.Gray-man and Fullmetal Alchemist : Brotherhood. I am able to find some very meaningful links to Christianity, but hearing your thoughts would help me in solidifying some points that are hanging loose in my theories. (Sorry, I know you get a lot of recommendations and this is just another on your plate! >_< But let me also just say you are always very polite in your responses to recommendations!)

    1. To tell you the truth, I’ve only watched about half of FMA:B and haven’t seen D.Gray-man at all. FMA used to trouble me once because of its tone, but I now see it as a series that’s ripe with wonderful themes to explore. I could see us easily churning out a dozen posts on the series.

      I’d like to hear some of your thoughts about these shows!

    1. Thanks for the kind words!

      Unfortunately, this list contains only series I’ve personally seen, and I’ve yet to see Saint Tail. Will you tell us a bit about why you’d include it?

      1. You’re welcome!

        And sure! If a “Christian anime” exist, Saint Tail is it, IMO. Saint Tail features a Robin Hood-esque story where a young girl named Meimi steals from thieves and returns the stolen goods to their rightful owners. Her friend is a young nun-in-training who guides her in her adventures. It’s very cute and is a mahou shoujo (magical girl) type anime, like Sailor Moon. The story focuses on friendships, kindness, justice, and romance. Meimi is quite against using any violence or unlawful methods to complete her tasks, apart from the stealing itself, of course. She even says a short prayer before and after her transformation (see here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6fZM1e8M1Nk), though this is ironically omitted from the English dub.
        Overall, it’s a quite enjoyable anime.

  14. If you’re interested in anime with religious undertones you may be interested in Neon Genesis Evangelion. The series makes use of some Christian imagery and constantly (albeit subtly) implies a tone of omnipotence throughout the series. It has some interesting commentary on science and religion but you really have to pay attention to the series to get that out of it. It’s also probably not the best show for younger viewers though. It’s not the most violent show ever but it becomes very psychologically disturbing as it goes on (most of the main characters are mentally scarred in some way and suicide is a frequent theme). Still it’s one of the must-watch classics of the medium and anybody who’s interested in anime should watch it. Even if you don’t like the show it’s worth watching just how how influential it is. I’m not an expert on Christianity and the bible as I’m not a believer myself (I just really like the show and have looked in to some analysis of the symbolism and meanings) but from what I’ve heard from my Christian friends, most of them seem to like it.

    1. Thanks for the rec. NGE is definitely a classic series and contains many allusions to religion. On a personal level, Evangelion was an important to me as any series in making an anime fan out of me.

      On this site, we’re really looking at themes associated with Christianity. In that way, Evangelion isn’t largely different from, say, Usagi Drop. Although NGE is covered in symbolism, we’re looking less for that (leaving these ideas in the hands of more expert folks who have analyzed Evangelion to death) and more for ideas like grace and sacrifice. That’s not to say, though, that Evangelion doesn’t represent these themes – on the contrary, as I’ve written several articles on Evangelion (and I have a draft somewhere about Shinji that I need to finish as well!).

      That said, it’s a must-see for anime fans, though I agree with your caution about it being intended for slightly older audiences. Thanks for your excellent recommendation!!

    1. Thanks for the recommendation. Some of our long-time readers here have also recommended Utena to us (and some of our staff have seen it). Unfortunately, though Murasaki Lynna and myself worked on trying to develop a series of posts on the series while reviewing it, neither of us made it through. Perhaps one of us will revisit it sometime in the future.

      1. Is true that the series is yuri?

        The movie seems to have some scenes, according to what I’ve read. But I’m not sure about the series.

        1. Since I’ve only seen a third of the series, perhaps someone else can chime in with a better answer. From what I’ve seen the series is definitely not yuri. However, a central relationship in the series is ambiguously yuri and has been imagined/defined as a significant yuri relationship in anime.

          Here’s an article about Utena that refers to its yuri overtones (though I think it focuses on the manga rather than the series), written by one of the expert voices on the topic here in the U.S.:


          1. Thanks.

            Reading that article made me more wary of watching that series. According to it, I don’t see many redeemable things about that production.

        2. Personally, I wouldn’t say that the series is yuri…at least, not explicitly. From what I remember, the relationship between Anthy and Utena does have very romantic connotations, but is kept ambiguous throughout the series. You are correct, though, that in the movie (Which is not a continuation of the series, but an entirely separate adaptation of the story.) Utena and Anthy are undeniably portrayed as a romantic couple.
          In addition, there is a female character who is in love with another female character, but her love is unrequited.

    2. I would be inclined to agree with this, but unfortunately, when I last watched the series a year ago, I felt like I couldn’t properly write a review or analyse it because…It’s rather confusing. It’s full of very ambiguous symbolism, and it seems the director at one point said that any and all interpretations of said symbolism are true, which doesn’t help anyone who wants to understand what’s going on. Although I still hope to revisit it, after putting it off for over a year, I know I may never get around to it.

      That being said, I can say that objectively that it is a very good series, has some quite deep and interesting themes, and I enjoyed it in spite of its vagueness, so I think that some Christians would definitely enjoy it if they’re okay with the sexual undertones (Which increase exponentially in the third season) and with a story where almost no questions are ever directly answered.

      1. According to the article TWWK linked, I think these elements outlined in it overshadow and ruin the production.

  15. Surprisingly I find Trigun a very good pick.Rin deals with very deep subject matters.I would like to see a slice of life with bible believing Christians in it.A lot of anime I had to cut out because I found them distracting and I had to make a stretch to justify them.


    1. It’s true that viewers watching this series need to approach it with a critical mindset, and that’s it not for less mature viewers. And neither is it a holy grail of anime – there’s reason to be critical of the show. My recommendation is based on significant themes of self-sacrifice, grace, and love that pervade the show and which ultimately define it.

      Certainly, take any recommendation here with if grain of salt, and consider that not everyone will enjoy every series featured here, nor will they see of identify with some of the reasons why we’re giving our thumbs up for them.

  17. Have you ever seen Cluster Edge? It does feature violence and at the beginning it can be hard to figure out where the series is going but in the long run its themes are about why it is wrong for humans to play God and the consequences they face when they try to do so.

    1. I hadn’t even heard of Cluster Edge before you mentioned it. I just read a synopsis – seems like a really interesting series. Thank you for recommending it!

  18. I don’t think Madoka is very recommendable. While not explicitly yuri, the symbolism is there. From the declarations of the author, to what some VA’s and the character designer has said, is more obvious is a “disguised” yuri anime.

    1. Hmm…well, this is how I look at it, and not to speak for all our writers, but I think we all probably look at series in this similar way. While anime may contain elements that are “sinful,” that doesn’t mean that those series are not full of godly truth which we can cull out. The Bible itself, after all, is full of sin – it shows on full display the sinfulness of mankind. Imagine if it was animated? It would receive a hard R rating!

      And further, the Bible shows us something else. In the Book of Jude, the writer brings in extrabiblical material – that which isn’t inspired by God, and yet it was useful for teaching. Although Madoka is created without any sense of reflecting Christ, and though it, in fact, better reflects Buddhism, that doesn’t mean we can’t see God all over it.

      In truth, I think most media reflects the gospel in some way precisely because we’re all designed by God to have a longing for Him and his grace, and we all fall short of his glory, whether we know it or not (or whether we’re willing to admit it or not). And so in a work like Madoka, we can see imagery never meant to glorify God that, when we analyze it, does glorify God. Most unusually, a series that contains questionable content (and surely any Christian who feel that it might cause them to sin to watch PMMM should avoid it) points to the glory of God’s grace. That’s the power of God – His fingerprints, His grace, His glory can even be seen in an animated series created in a country that has very few Christians.

      1. But a more adequate depiction of sin, gives elements and context that indicate how bad it is, instead of celebrating it. Here, for example, one important moment of the series, (the “space hug”), references two older yuri series. Is about juxtaposition of elements, and how sin is portrayed. Not only what is seen at a first glance, but the symbolic elements, and what the staff has said, plus the additional material, these help construct a more complete view of what they possibly intended.

        I’ve seen during recent months the very troubling combination of yuri and moé… what is produced by that? acceptance, appreciation, even obsession.

        Another thing… the what has became of many fandoms after 7 years… more or less the time I’ve been observing and participating in some fandoms. The situations is terrible.

        God bless you!

  19. What you should have Ao No Exorcist in this list! It’s very Christian. You should also have one piece. They use crosses more than any anime I’ve seen plus they have had conversations on belief in God. Like you don’t believe in God? Why not?

    1. One piece is good at pondering more significant questions like that. And Blue Exorcist is more about redemption and changing one’s destiny, pulling it out of the Devil’s hands. The thing I don’t like about the anime is that it makes Satan look innocent and kind hearted in nature, when he speaks with the mother of the twins, and the whole idea with “humans and demons getting along in one world” like their just some race that are treated so horribly rather than traitors to God.

      1. Blue Exorcist definitely leads to a bit of a conundrum, though I’ll say we’ve featured a few posts about those really wonderful ideas (and less troublesome ones) expressed in the series.

    2. To address the controversy on Blue Exorcist, it is important to look at the Catchecism of the Catholic Church, as the “Christians” in the anime are Roman Catholic. First off, as previously addresed, it treats demons as some reconciliable race that humans may coexist with. Not the case. In fact, such Ideals that were espoused by the philosopher Origen were deemed heresy. Demons are fallen traitors who have been condemned to suffer in hell for all eternity. Two, it openly attempts to reconcile Buddism and Christianity, uniting many concepts, and even having the school, which is a “Catholic” academy, promote Buddist techniques, which could be penelized with excommunication, or literally, being permanately kicked out of the Church until personally reconciled by The Holy Father, The Pope. Which leads us to our Thrid major controversy, depiction of the Papacy. The Pope is depicted as a person of ultimate doctrinal dominace, which is also false. Contrary to popular belief, The Holy Father has a great many restrictions on the decrees he may impose. It is also an elected position, not an appointed one. Four, Priests are not allowed to have childeren, not even adopted ones. A part of this is because Priests are not supposed to have their love for God torn between him and a child/spouse, like Abraham. Five. The show has prominent demonic imagery and had “Priests” teaching their students to summon demons. The summoning of anything is evil. Dark. Demonic. It is a violation of all Christian Creeds and laws. This is the show’s fifth and greatest offense against the Christian, and in particular Catholic, faith. I could go on about the other things the show gets wrong, and you are right, it does have some good points too, but I feel that the things it does wrong far outweigh what it does correctly.

  20. A liked samurai champloo. There may be sexual themes but at the same time, it addresses actual problems. Sex trafficking and brothels are actual real world problems. If we just ignore them just because we are disgusted then what type of person are we? The show never applauded them, they were often used in an antagonistic situation. If they supported them then it would be bad, however meh I have seen much worse in popular magazines and tv

  21. I’m happy to see PMMM in here! It’s actually my favourite anime and yes, the third movie may be quite controversial but I think that the whole franchise can show themes of hope triumphing over despair.


    In the third movie, yes, Homura does turn into the devil, but they’ll probably make another movie.

    1. I guess a fourth movie is still up in the air, but the third movie – and the whole thematic elements of PMMM as a whole – seem to indicate that there will be a redemptive, hopeful last act.

  22. The World Masterpiece Theater has a lot of christian values on their anime. I mean for the love of god, The christian Channel smile of a child has 2 of their WMT anime. SFR and Little Women.

    1. A movie that’s an actual anime, developed by an anime studio, which I hope adds to it’s credibility when shown to Japanese audience. We’ve discussed this powerful short a number of times here on the blog.

  23. Kids on the Slope. Beautifully produced slice of life anime. Two of the main characters are Christians!

    1. It is a beautiful series, and one featuring Christians to boot. If you search through our Kids on the Slope tag, you’ll notice that we’ve definitely paid some attention to this series.

  24. Hellsing is a very interesting anime, looking deeper into the mind of a person with a lot of changes in their life. It’s not really all too Christian in nature, but the organization the two main characters work for is Christian, as is the director of the organization. It is extremely violent, and it does take a good look at redemption, although so subtle it’s easy to miss.

    1. Thanks for the recommendation! It’s really those thematic elements, like the redemption idea you mentioned, that we’re looking for now as we make recommendations. I suggest you might take a look at our updated page, linked at the top of this one, which contains recommendations more along those lines.

  25. So ra no wo to features the song amazing grace, its really good, and only brief nudity, but the story is really good, i recommend 😉

  26. Okay, so you all realize that every one of these anime were created from secular perspectives? Not Christian? So any Christian themes you see are not actually Christian. They may be good, but they are not Bible-based making them secular–not Christian.

    And FYI Rurouni Kenshin is probably one of the most Buddhist anime I have ever seen.

    1. OH yes, we realize this. We’re not of the perspective that Christians should only watch media that is specifically Christian-centered or Christian-created. If so, we could barely watch any anime. Instead, we approach media with the idea that many parts of it can be enriching when watched FROM a Christian perspective. Thus, all these recommendations (and I would suggest you look at the updated page instead) are shows from which we can gain some insights about Christian faith by thinking more deeply about those ideas that are so important to us. For example, with Kenshin, we don’t dwell on Shinto rituals or ideas about reincarnation; instead, we think about why Kenshin is so committed to repentance and how grace enters the picture once we realize our sins. Things of that nature.

      Thank you for your comment and take care!

  27. I know this post is old-ish but here’s some issues I have personally.
    Many of these animes either have pretty dark themes, violence, sex or sexual fanservice, and quite a bit more. I’d put an age range and warnings on each anime listed since I actually found a really young friend of mine looking here to find a good anime. Yes, most of these have Christian/religious themes, but it doesn’t make it okay to watch the other…stuff… since God has issues with many of those things too.
    Otherwise, I’m glad you mentioned animes with Christian themes, I didn’t know they existed.

    1. Well to be perfectly fair, the Bible itself has both dark themes and violence as a major part of the book. It talks extensively about the immorality of human nature, has an ambiguous stance on war, and the Song of Solomon is basically an extremely vivid and actually rather lurid metaphorical description of how good sexual intimacy in the marriage context can be. Whoever thinks of it as a morally sanitized book has probably never read it.

      There are a couple commentators on here who seem to state that any excessive depiction of violence or sex is morally objectionable to the Christian…but this seems odd given the book itself.

      Media that outright delights in or glorifies sinful things might be objectionable (And a lot of anime do do this) but does the mere depiction of something necessarily glorify it? The movie Schindler’s List depicts highly horrific things….that actually happened, and views these acts through a lens of total condemnation.

      It seems as though every Christian I’ve met has a slightly different opinion on this issue, so I’m actually….curious about what everyone’s take is.

    1. Tony, I checked with one of the One Piece fans on our staff, and these are his thoughts: Is it safe? I would say yes, in that they don’t mention anything Catholic at all, except for Dracule Mihawk who has a giant cross-shaped sword. In regards to anything sexual, many female characters do wear skimpy clothing, mainly Nami, and there are several crude jokes thrown in now and then, but not too much. Religion isn’t touched upon at all, not to my memory, except for some enemies being considered “gods” (little g), like the enemy from Sky Island who thinks he’s a lightning god. Again, it’s not taken seriously, about as serious as a cartoon can get you know? As a Christian, I would recommend this show to a Catholic, not a problem. As long as you know about some of the parts I mentioned above

  28. While I”m not bothered by it many Christians may object to Madoka building up to an Apotheosis.

    As an Evangelical Universalist I rather like the more straight Magical Girl shows, where the villians are usually redeemed in the end. Sailor Moon didn’t do that consistently but Wedding Peach and PreCure are awesome.

    Also as a Gay Affirming Christian I always like me some Yuri, Lily of the Valley.

    1. I can definitely sympathize with that concern, though I would also agree that it doesn’t bother me, personally! I find that Christians who are not bothered by surface level complaints (often the partial nudity in the opening or the yuri subtext) often find this theme to be more intriguing than cumbersome. In fact, while many might not agree entirely with the final solution or fit it into their worldview, it causes them to think more deeply about it! That’s a success in my book!

      Thanks for reading, and welcome to the community!

  29. Fantastic list!

    Would you ever consider adding Evangelion and Maria the Virgin Witch to the list?

  30. I am unsure if someone else already mentioned these series but Le Chevalier D’Eon somewhat features Catholic aspects within the historical plot but the one I most highly recommend you watching and including in this review is Sakamichi no Apollon. It is so impressive with such fantastic music, art, and story but also because of its themes of friendship, temptation, betrayal, courage, regret and maturity. What’s more is that two of the characters are Japanese Christians and one even becomes a priest 🙂 I think it’d be perfect for a review like this as an appropriate coming of age series I think other Christians might especially enjoy because not only is Christianity even included but presented in a positive and realistic light


    1. Thanks for the recommendation! Kids on the Slope is definitely a unique anime, especially from the religious perspective because of its Christian characters. We’ll definitely keep it in mind for future anime recommendations considerations, though we like to think of our list more as “Christian essentials” than a fluid list.

  31. My kids have gotten into the series Bleach. My oldest (21) introduced them to it and I never thought much about it until I caught my two youngest (9 & 10) watching it at 2 am. Got me concerned. What is your take on this? We are Catholic and my oldest has stopped going to church. I’m afraid of anti religion and anti family themes being introduced to very young and easily influenced minds.

    1. You bring up some very complicated and very real concerns, and I will do my best as someone without children myself to give responsible advice. Take it with a grain of salt, however.

      Having been in a similar situation as a son many years ago, the first thing that I would say is that I would not “pull the plug,” as it were, immediately, as I believe that would end up creating unnecessary animosity on the part of your children (if they are really as into Bleach as it sounds like they are). I remember staying up into the wee hours of the night in middle school watching anime without my parents knowing, and it’s difficult to say whether that had a positive or negative impact on my outlook in the short-term, but in the long-term God ultimately led worked my experiences into ministry opportunities like Beneath the Tangles, for which I am now the executive editor. Had my parents taken it away suddenly, I would have definitely resented them for it, even if it may have only been for a short time.

      While I would say that what I’ve seen of Bleach is generally benign, that is all up to interpretation, and I’m not sure where you stand on a number of issues like obscured cartoon nudity, or coarse language in Japanese (I’m not sure what the English dub is like).

      I think the best way to approach the situation with your younger children is to try watching a few episodes with them. If, after watching, you think they are mature enough to handle it, then simply lay down some ground rules as to when they can watch it and why they can watch it (why certain fictional themes may not agree with Christianity directly, but are simply good fictional storytelling and not at all real). If you think they are too young for it, then having seen it you will be able to give hard, tangible reasons as to why they cannot watch it, which you can better explain instead of relying on hearsay.

      Rewinding a bit, while each and every anime is different, at Beneath the Tangles we attempt to explain why some have pro-Christian themes even without meaning to. Some anime may have anti religion or anti family themes, but I don’t recall Bleach being an offender of either of those categories. In fact, many anime are quite pro family, in my experience (if I am interpreting that correctly). Perhaps it would be worth checking out our newer recommendations pages found in the menu bar at the top of the page?

      My final note regards your 21 year-old son. That is a prime time to become an anime fan (many seem to become fans during high school and college years, for whatever reason), and also prime time to become skeptical of faith and religion. Because of this, whether it is causation or correlation (I would elect that it is more likely the latter), many anime fans also struggle with the idea of Christianity. I’ve been there, so it’s very possible to come out of that phase even stronger in your faith, but I can’t guarantee that, of course. Perhaps you could invite him to check out our site? We have two Catholic writers on staff, “Medieval Otaku” and “JoshW” who might have some overlap with your son’s experiences or thought process.

  32. Hammer session has a criminal who’s a Christian though I’m not sure if that qualifies. I wanna say Blue exorcist as well, but I’m kinda iffy bout the while son of the devil studying to defeat the devil….thing.

  33. fyi, there is ACTUAL CHRISTIAN ANIME made in japan. Go check out superbook or flying house.

    1. That’s true – I did mention The Flying House at the top of the page. There have also been more recent manga works.

  34. Try adding Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. I would say there are elements of redemption and grace and sacrificial love, along with an admonition against pride and playing God. It is one of the four things that have contributed most to my life and faith.

    1. Thank you for the rec. I’m ashamed to say that I’ve taken YEARS to make my way through FMAB (including the false start that was the original series and my original reading of the manga!) – I’m about 2/3 through and I watch an episode and progress every once and a while. We’ve written a few articles on FMA in the past, and I’ll continue to view it from the lens that I do as a I watch. Thank you for sharing!

  35. Some good stuff on this list, which viewers can enjoy regardless of their religious beliefs. Trigun, Samurai Champaloo and Madoka Magica are all brill. I like Eden of the East too, although I prefer the series over the movies.

    1. A lot of Christians – and this is no shocker – are extremely close-minded. Part of the function of this page is not just to provide them a different way of approaching media and to expose them to the idea of looking for themes in anime that make them think about what they do and why, but also to get them to understand that creativity is in itself something amazing and worthy and beautiful and even holy – and these series are some of the best that anime has to offer and prime pieces through which to enjoy that creativity.

      1. I don’t think that Christians wanting to protect their minds qualifies as being close minded. On the contrary I believe it is due to their open mindedness that they realize there is a spiritual war going on for every soul on earth that makes them more cautious to what enters into their heart. I think people confuse religion and Christianity as the same thing and it’s not, religion is man’s attempt to reach God and often religious people can be very close minded (many call themselves Christian), but Christianity is God reaching down to man and a true believer (the very definition of believer is to be open minded) has a relationship with God through Jesus Christ not a religion.

        1. Yeah…I can see what you mean about Christians being more open-minded in the way. I often think the same about a large number of other issues as well.

          But I still counter than so many are close-minded when it comes to entertainment, very possibly because even though they live by the platitude, “relationship not religion,” they’d rather treat their faith like a religion, and it’s often expressed through entertainment choices. While it’s certainly important to be wary about what we watch, I think we sometimes put God in a box and forget that he will be expressed in all sorts of places, even in media created by non-Christians that may seem utterly immoral at first glance, as they reach for the invisible God without even realizing it. Ironically enough, we place limits on God when we run away too much, toward media that fits certain morals or that’s even made by Christians (as if it’s any less offensive to watch a Christian-made work, since it, too, is developed by sinners and since it is often created by individuals that don’t have the artistic integrity to be creating they are developing), and failing to see God’s redemptive work even expressed in places and by people we wouldn’t expect. There is a line for each of us between what we should watch and what we shouldn’t, but sometimes pushing that line, if done with God is mind, can be a whole lot more God-glorifying than sitting safely where we are, unwilling or unable to move.

  36. Conviction can be a powerful thing. If you keep your spirit healthy and pray to Christ your spirit will know when something is incompatible, or if you are taking rhe wrong things out of something. One Christian might not watch Trigun because Wolf kills and doesn’t act Christianly at times. Another Christian will watch and root for Wolf to realize his role for Christ, and when he does it’s an amazing moment. Its all depending on the individual. I attempted to watch Nagi no Asukara and was pushed away due to an emphasis on rebllion for their particular God, the Sea God. It basically pushes the idea of living for you and you alone which didn’t sit right with me so I dropped it. Another one was Shinsekai Yori, which is almost the antithesis of Christian morals and values. I gave it a try and I couldn’t continue. And I’m pretty openminded and willing to try new things. But if the best thinf you can get out of something is still bad, I won’t do it.

    1. You know, we had a discussion covering this exact topic during small group last week—a conclusion we reached was fairly similar to yours. Thanks for sharing!

  37. I can’t believe you didn’t include Shonen Maid on this list! :O Shonen Maid may not have the literal symbolism but it’s all about self sacrifice and loving others and that’s why I would make it number one on my list or at least one of the top picks for Christians.

  38. Ronja: The Robber’s Daughter (series)
    Amazing series and might be my favourite thus far actually wholesome story. A bit slow at first, but if you stick with it, it will grow on you fast. Great characters and good moral lesson. 7+ age rating

  39. Madoka Magica should not be something to watch as Christians. Because the girls have to sign a contract to Kyubey (representation of Satan) be a magical girl. Even Madoka herself signing the contract. Because Jesus never gave into the devil and took everything on the cross for us. It even has hellish scenes with them doing dance rituals and more so it confuses me that this would even be suggested anywhere

    1. That’s exactly part of the reason we would suggest this series. Christians can’t look to anime or any other media to support their values. Everything is flawed, even “Christian” entertainment, since it’s created by sinful man. But something Madoka can lead us to think further about our own faith. The magical girls are in a hellish scenario after “signing a deal with the devil,” and there are consequences for it. If they were lauded for it, then that would be different. Similarly, Madoka’s self-sacrifice brings to mind the Lord’s and presents a model for ourselves to be gracious to others. Homura can’t do the work on her own; she needs a sacrifice done on her behalf. It’s emphasizes the true, real, and holy sacrifice by Christ and encourages me to draw nearer to the only one who can really save us from our idolatry and sin.

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