By Sean Aitchison
Have you ever had a watchlist full of new shows to check out? Have you ever completely ignored said watchlist in order to rewatch a show you’ve already seen at least three times? Hey, we get it—sometimes the allure of a show you already love is more appealing than the risk of starting a new series!
No judgment here. Rewatching your favorite action anime is a great way to find new things to love, share the series with someone who hasn’t seen it, or catch things you missed in previous watch-throughs! It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
Taking into account things like length, unique elements, hidden details and overall quality, here are the five most rewatchable anime in Funimation’s action catalog!
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (2009)
Hiromu Arakawa’s Fullmetal Alchemist is perhaps one of the most unique action anime stories of all time. It’s a shounen series, but it wears so much else on its sleeve. And its manga-accurate anime adaptation, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, is a masterful combination of action, fantasy, sci-fi, political intrigue, and so, so much more.
Even more impressive is the fact that the series manages to do all of this in just 64 episodes. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is short enough to not feel like a daunting task to rewatch, but long enough that every story point is explored.
It’s perfect for both binge-watching or watching a few episodes at a time to space things out. Add in the fun of dissecting each and every frame of detail or line of dialogue, and you’ve got one of the most rewatchable series of all time.
From its easy-to-love opening moments to its brash, lovable characters, Trigun is very good at pulling you in. Even by your third watch of this action anime, you’ll feel drawn into the story and want to keep going. Plus, it’s just plain cool.
Trigun is full of spectacular and varied action and cool character designs, and is an awesome blend of sci-fi and Western elements. The cherry on top is Vash, the headstrong protagonist. A goofy yet skilled gunslinger, he’s got a hefty bounty on his head. What about that doesn’t sound awesome?
The series also comes in at a length of two cours, making it the perfect action snack to dive right into. There’s a heck of a lot of substance wrapped in a cool aesthetic, though, making Trigun a lot more than just its action— it’s a classic staple. Plus, if there’s one anime opening we don’t mind hearing over and over again basically forever, it’s “H.T.”—that song rips.
Gurren Lagann (2008)
It’s no secret that Gurren Lagann is one of the most unique anime series of all time. This shounen mecha series has such high rewatch value that you won’t even want to skip the series’ opening or ending credits, no matter how many times you’ve seen it.
Chockful of over-the-top speeches and high-octane flashy battles, it’s Gurren Lagann‘s heart that always manages to put us in our feels. Kamina and his approach to tackling adversity is unmatched: “Just who the hell do you think I am?!”
As if the series’ inspirational value wasn’t enough, it’s also a gorgeous adventure. Unique mecha designs and special attacks that never lose their shine are just some of the visual keystones of Gurren Lagann. And yes, Episode 8 always has us crying on our couch—even on our 10th rewatch.
Fairy Tail (2009)
Of all the shows on this list, Fairy Tail is quite obviously the longest, coming it at almost 330 episodes. It’s long, but never quite feels like it, making this easy-to-digest shounen series the perfect action comfort food for when you’re looking for the ultimate rewatch.
Add to this the fantastic elements that Fairy Tail mixes into the action narrative, including its stellar world-building and magic system, and you’ve got an entertaining watch no matter how many times you’ve followed Natsu into battle.
Yes, the show is long, but Fairy Tail also works well as a background show, so just throw it on and catch up on that model kit you’ve had on your desk for two years! Of course, you may want to pay attention, since the series can get pretty intense, especially when it gets down to each character’s origin.
Sword Art Online (2012)
While its overall narrative is still ongoing (and quite exciting!), we had to give it to Sword Art Online for being basically infinitely rewatchable.
The simple setup but complex execution of its isekai narrative is what makes Sword Art Online so great, and it’s also what makes it worth rewatching over and over again. The first watch is to enjoy, and the later watches are to enjoy and analyze how everything breaks down and subverts so many different anime tropes in a way that feels fresh and new eight years after its initial release.
Heck, upon rewatching Sword Art Online, you might find that Kirito, whom some fans might not care for all that much, is actually a sneaky subversion of overpowered protagonists. He has a legit reason for being OP as a beta tester, and he leans into his protagonist role in-game, while in real life, he’s just an average gamer.
But analysis isn’t the only reason to rewatch Sword Art Online; it’s also just an incredibly entertaining action anime, with a strong mix of adventure, sci-fi and romance.
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