Travel Through Time!Top 12 Best Time Travel Anime.

Who doesn’t love time travel and all the convoluted storytelling and intense moral questions that come with it?

Despite being a firmly sci-fi/fantasy-esque device, time travel stories can span all kinds of genres- from psychological stories, to adventure stories, to historical dramas and mystery stories. 

Let’s look at some of the time travel anime out there and the unique stories contained therein.

Be sure to mention your favorite time travel anime in the comments!


Erased is one of the anime that has everyone talking about this season.

The main character is a 29-year-old man named Satoru, who possesses a strange ability he calls “revival”.

When someone around him is about to lose their lives, he is sent a few minutes back in the past, at which point he has to figure out how to prevent the loss of life from happening.

However, when someone close to him is killed, Satoru is not sent back just a few minutes, but instead all the way back to 1988 and finds himself age 10 once more.

He figures this huge time leap is not only so he can prevent the death of the person close to him, but so he can prevent the abduction and murder of a classmate that happened around this time and catch the real killer.



Steins;Gate is probably one of the most well-known time travel anime right now.

There’s some parallels to be drawn to Erased– it also centers around a male protagonist going back in time to desperately save someone close to him.

However, while Steins;Gate is more “science-y” sci-fi.  It focuses on a group of science nerd friends who create a time machine microwave.

The protoganist, Okabe, is a self-proclaimed mad scientist and there are a lot of jokes about general fandom and geek stuff throughout, but things get super intense when a ruthless organization called SERN notices the groups experiments and comes after them.


The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is a 2006 film that combines the drama of adolescence and time travel perfectly to tell a sweet coming-of-age story.

The main character is a high school girl named Makoto, who is thrown in fronts of train when her bicycle brakes fail.

However, before she dies, she is suddenly thrown back in time to before the accident.

Makoto discovers that she can literally “leap” back in time now- if she jumps off something high enough, she will be thrown into a past timeline.

She uses this power as you’d expect any high schooler to- she tries to relive all her fun moments and make her life go more smoothly.


The Tatami Galaxy combines slice-of-life and comedy with time travel.

The 11 episode anime features a hapless college student who regrets how he lived his life for his first two years at university.

Then he finds himself thrown back in time to the beginning of his time at college. Now he has a chance to do it all over.

The anime is described as “artistic” and “surreal” and generally has glowing reviews.


Zipang is a manga and anime that really touches on the hard ethical choices someone who time travels has to make and combines that with historical war drama.

A modern platoon of Japanese soldiers are doing exercises with the US Navy when they are transported back in time to the middle of World War II.

They realize with their technology and knowledge of what happens in the future, they could potentially win this war and save the lives of their countrymen.


Puella Magi Madoka Magica is a dark magical girl series featuring girls with a wide array of powers and fantastic events, so it’s not suprising that time travel makes an appearance and when it does, it’s extremely heartwrenching.


Inuyasha is a well-known work by the prolific Rumiko Takahashi.

The story centers around a girl named Kagome, who falls into her family shrine’s well and pops out in 1496, during Japan’s feudal era.

This is a very fantastical version of Japan, though, one where demons and monsters are real.

Kagome discovers she is the reincarnation of a priestess from this era called Kikyo and oddly enough, ends up befriending the demon boy Kikyo gave her life to subdue.

Throughout the story, Kagome travels back and forth between the past and present and struggles to balance both these worlds.


The second season of Sailor Moon, Sailor Moon R, deals heavily with time travel.

A mysterious little girl drops out of the sky one day and it eventually becomes apparent that she’s from a thousand years in the future, where Tokyo is a utopia that has recently been destroyed by a malicious faction of people called the Black Moon.

These villains have also traveled back in time, both to pursue this rogue little girl and also to ensure they will rule the future.


The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya features lots of supernatural weirdness, so naturally time-travel is included.

Perhaps the most infamous use of time travel is “The Endless Eight” in the second season.

The eponymous Haruhi has reality-bending powers she is unaware of, so when she doesn’t want summer to end, she unconsciously forces everyone to relive the last day of summer again and again.

This leads to eight episodes that are exactly the same with only slight alterations before one of the characters finally manages to break out of the time loop.

Talk about saving animation budget!


Higurashi: When They Cry is a story about a peaceful town that is plagues with mysterious, yearly murders.

Basically it’s another murder mystery story where time is constantly being rewound to save someone’s life.

It’s hard to get much more into detail without major spoilers, but suffice it to say things are very complicated, dark and horrific.


Fire Tripper is a one-shot animation and manga by Rumiko Takahashi that is pretty similar to her more well known time travel anime, Inuyasha, in a lot of respects.

A normal Japanese school girl is thrown back in time to Japan’s civil war era and falls in love with a boy from this past era.

Unlike Inuyasha, however, she meets this boy when he rescues her from an attempted rape, she begins to wonder if she herself may have originally been from this past era and worries she’s related to boy she’s fallen in love with. It’s very weird and a bit like a soap-opera.



Summer Storm is also known as Natsu no Arashi. The protagonist, Hajime, befriends a girl who turns out to be a ghost who lived during World War II.

She can travel back in time and uses the power to rescue those she knows from dying in air raids.

She’s only able to travel back in time if she’s accompanied by a living person who she has a connection with though, and that person naturally is Hajime.


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