Travel through time with these awesome anime recs
Time travel is one of the most exciting plots in entertainment — and anime is full of great series with characters leaping through time. From high schoolers to adults, there are many means by which anime uses time travel.
Whether it be a sci-fi series or a psychological thriller, the formula in which a character can time travel can be explored in many different ways — through death, falling into a hole, or even microwaving bananas. From murder mysteries, an unfortunate man slipping into modern-day Japan, and even an ordinary high schooler posing as a historical figure, here are some of the best time travel anime recommendations!
Nobunaga Concerto is one of the many anime iterations of the great Japanese daimyo (feudal lord), Oda Nobunaga. In this series, Saburo is an average high school student sent back to the Sengoku era. There, he meets the actual Oda Nobunaga, who is under immense pressure because of political pressure.
Fortunately for him, Saburo strikingly resembles him, and he comes up with a plan for Saburo to take his place as the real Oda Nobunaga. Equipped with a notebook that details his life, Saburo attempts to unite Japan, just like the real warlord.
Setsuna Sanzenkai is a time traveler in ISLAND — and he was washed up on a remote beach with limited memories. However, he does remember one thing: that he must save a certain girl.
With nowhere to go, he's taken in by a young girl named Rinne Ohara, who remembers him as another version of Setsuna and employs him as a household servant. While the series deals with many ideas and storylines, the time travel part comes in when Setsuna uses a cold sleep machine to travel to the future.
Tokyo Revengers takes us all the way back to 2005. (It was longer ago than you might think!) Takemichi Hanagaki has been down on his luck ever since he left middle school. So when he's pushed onto the train tracks while thinking back on his life, he finds himself transported 12 years in the past — right when he and his friends became entangled with a gang.
However, when he meets his girlfriend from the past, Hinata Tachibana — who is deceased in the present — he decides he must do something to save her from being killed by the Tokyo Manji Gang. As he becomes more engrossed in saving Hinata, he realizes there's much more going on behind the scenes as he continues to travel through time with the help of her younger brother, Naoto.
In ERASED, Satoru Fujinuma has an ability called Revival, which enables him to be sent back in time before any fatal incident can occur, allowing him to stop it from happening. So when he finds his mother, Sachiko, has been murdered, he uses his ability to go back in time.
Unbeknownst to him, he jumps back way further than he ever has before, realizing that his mother's death was only a catalyst for a deeper problem — a serial kidnapping case that occurred 18 years ago. Back in time, he decides to save not only his mother but Kayo Hinazuki — the first victim — and befriend her.
No one ever knew microwaving bananas could cause one heck of a rollercoaster ride. That is the phenomenon that is STEINS;GATE, which is highly regarded as one of the best science fiction and time travel anime out there. Rintaro Okabe is a self-claimed mad scientist who also goes by the name Hououin Kyouma.
As the founder of the Future Gadget Laboratory — composed of his childhood friend Mayuri, his best friend Daru, and his unwilling "assistant" Kurisu — he spends his time coming up with ideas. When the group has a scientific breakthrough in which they discover how to send text messages to the past, the so-called organization Rintaro has been talking about all this time has come to hunt them down, making them all realize time travel isn't all it's cracked up to be.
Care for a fantasy world and time travel anime in one? Then, Thermae Romae should be a perfect pick. Flipping the genre on its head, the series follows Lucius Modestus, a Roman bathhouse architect living in 128 A.D., as he finds himself stumped about new ideas. When his friends decide to take him to a bathhouse to unwind, he finds a secret tunnel underwater that leads him to modern-day Japan.
With this newfound knowledge and inspiration, Lucius decides to take these various ideas back to Rome and use them in his creations, which usually ends up resulting in a lesser version of the original. However, these ideas will push him forward to become one of the most famous designers in Rome for his innovative design choices.
Brianna Albert is an author, writer, reader, Japanese translator, and seasonal anime watcher. She has been watching anime since before Naruto became Hokage and trying to figure out how to bend air since she was in kindergarten. You can follow her and her witty conversations on Twitter or watch her content on YouTube.
Do you love writing? Do you love anime? If you have an idea for a features story, pitch it to Crunchyroll Features!