Featured Articles

Top 15 Best Survival Anime of All Time

When our protagonists in these Survival Anime are thrust into extreme - often life-or-death situations - we get to see desperate fights for survival and morals being put to the test. Any fan of the survival genre needs to check this list out!

by Rhiannone-10
Jun 1, 2:46 AM | 29,766 views

Survival Anime - And Then There Was One...

Btoom GIF
Monsters, desolate planets, and battle royales. In these anime, characters are thrown into life or death situations of one kind or another.

Innocent people (and some not so pure) are taken from their everyday lives and thrown into worlds of violence, deceit, and danger at every turn - all for our entertainment! Let’s take a look at 15 anime series, known for being some of the best in this genre.

It's a survival anime showdown!

Highschool of the Dead

MAL Rated 7.51, Ranked #1498 | Aired Summer 2010 | Produced by Madhouse

highschool of the dead best survival anime
When hordes of the undead begin attacking Japan, a group of teenagers attempt to escape Fujimi High School. The horrific virus infects several other students and staff members, turning nearly all of them into zombies. Now, the survivors must work together in order to stay alive and stop this sudden apocalypse!

With infamous levels of fan-service and superb action sequences, High School of the Dead is Japan’s extremely entertaining take on the zombie apocalypse/survival genre.

Sword Art Online

MAL Rated 7.93, Ranked #632 | Aired Summer 2012 | Produced by A-1 Pictures

sword art online best survival anime
In the year 2022, gaming technology has advanced to a state where you can control your avatar in the online world, using nothing but your brain! Ten thousand players immediately log in and begin exploring the medieval-like world of Aincrad. However, one day the unimaginable happens when the players realize they can no longer log out. They are trapped in a virtual hell until all one hundred floors of the game are cleared. If you thought things couldn’t get any worse, there's more; players that die in the game also die in real life. Game over. Can the main character, gaming wiz, Kirito, survive this new world, and help ten thousand others escape unharmed?

Although the survival aspects of this anime aren’t as evident in the second half of the series, Sword Art Online has a very interesting premise. One way or another, you should find yourself entertained.


MAL Rated 7.71, Ranked #984 | Aired Fall 2012 | Produced by Madhouse

Btoom! best survival anime
Ryouta Sakamoto was minding his own business, playing the popular video game, Btoom! when suddenly he found himself stuck on an island. With no memory of what happened, and nothing but a day's worth of provisions, a bag of bombs and a weird crystal stuck in his left hand, Ryouta must quickly figure out what is happening.

On this mysterious island, someone is re-creating the game Btoom! as a real life death battle. The only way to escape the “game” is to kill seven other people, before someone kills him. Ryouta may be an expert at the game, but can he really manage to survive the harsh conditions of the island, and kill seven other real, live, breathing people? A heart pounding, Battle Royale-esque survival anime for fans of the genre.

Deadman Wonderland

MAL Rated 7.52, Ranked #1471 | Aired Spring 2011 | Produced by Manglobe

Deadman Wonderland best survival anime

Ganta Igarashi’s life is turned upside down when his entire class is brutally slaughtered by a mysterious man in red. Ganta is the only survivor. He is almost immediately accused of murdering his classmates, and is sent to the amusement park-like prison, Deadman Wonderland. Prisoners are forced to compete in deadly games for the entertainment of onlookers which earns them medicine to neutralize the lethal poison constantly being pumped into their necks.

Thrown into an environment where he and his fellow murderous inmates are no more than mere puppets to the sadistic wardens, Ganta soon learns he must do whatever it takes to survive.

Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan)

MAL Ranked 8.59, Rated #69 | Aired Spring 2013 | Produced by Production I.G, Wit Studio

Shingeki no Kyojin best survival anime
In a world where giant humanoid creatures known as Titans devour mankind for pleasure, humanity must retreat behind 50-meter-high walls. But when the Colossal Titan breaks down their stronghold, humans will once again know the horror of the Titans. Eren Yeager, who witnesses one of the merciless beasts devouring his mother, vows to join the military and eradicate every Titan on Earth. However, with humanity’s limited combat resources and the Titans overwhelming strength, it won’t be an easy task.

Through amazing setting, action and plot, Shingeki no Kyojin portrays how terrifying it would be if Mankind was no longer at the top of the food chain. Attack on Titan is an absolute spectacle where Humanity is faced with two equally terrifying choices: fight back against the seemingly un-killable creatures, or get devoured.

Mirai Nikki (The Future Diary)

MAL Rated 8.31, Ranked #378 | Aired Fall 2011 | Produced by Asread

Mirai Nikki best survival anime
Life gets pretty dangerous for Amano Yukiteru when he discovers that his cellphone can predict the future. Even worse, his is not the only one to be entrusted with this power. There are twelve diary users, and they’re all out to kill one another. The last man standing wins the ultimate prize, The Throne of God. With the help of axe wielding Yuno Gasai - who is absolutely infatuated with him - Yuki hopes to survive this battle royale, and become the next God of space and time.

Tokyo Magnitude 8.0

MAL Rated 8.21, Ranked #297 | Aired Summer 2009 | Produced by Bones, Kinema Citrus

Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 best survival anime
Two young children visit Tokyo for a robot exhibition, but their visit takes a terrifying turn when there is an 8.0 earthquake. Now the siblings hope to survive this tremendous force of nature, and the new, devastated Tokyo landscape.

As one of the more ‘realistic’ anime on this list, Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 does a great job of portraying what sort of chaos may arise from this kind of natural disaster.

Mujin Wakusei Survive

MAL Rated 7.72, Ranked #1000 | Aired Fall 2003 | Produced by Madhouse, Telecom Animation Film

Mujin Wakusei Survive best survival anime
In the 22nd Century, Earth is seemingly uninhabitable and mankind now populates the surrounding planets. On a school trip, a mishap results in six students being stranded on a mysterious uninhabited island. The students must now band together to survive. A true survival anime for casual and hardcore fans alike looking for some Survivor-esque hut building, resource gathering, and exploration.

Danganronpa: The Animation

MAL Rated 7.47, Ranked #1628 | Aired Summer 2013 | Produced by Lerche

Danganronpa: The Animation best survival anime
Only the most talented, innovative students get to attend Hope's Peak Academy. Acceptance is a great honor. The 15 students accepted into the academy that year are beyond excited. Their excitement quickly turns into shock when it is revealed that the students are trapped in the school. The only way for them to escape is for one of them to successfully murder one of their classmates without being caught. If they are caught, they will be executed, and the rest will continue with the death match until a lone student remains. It’s one hell of a high stakes school year.

Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor

MAL Rated 8.34, Ranked #189 | Aired Fall 2007 | Produced by Madhouse

Kaiji: The Ultimate Survivor best survival anime
Kaji is a good-for-nothing freeloader. One day, he discovers he has been tricked by a co-worker, and can’t pay off a huge debt he is now responsible for. He is given a chance to redeem himself by participating in a gambling tournament of sorts on a cruise ship. Of course, none of this is exactly legal - which makes the story that much more interesting!

This is the beginning of Kaji’s life of survival, and he's about to discover just how far people are willing to go when their backs are against the wall. A true standout and one of the best survival anime for fans who enjoy survival games.


MAL Rated 7.29, Ranked #2290 | Aired Spring 2004 | Produced by Gonzo

Gantz best survival anime
This is one anime that is not for the faint of heart. In this series, recently deceased childhood friends Kei and Masaru are thrown into a deadly game of survival, in which their skills and morals are tested.

Jyu Oh Sei

MAL Rated 7.43, Ranked #1777 | Aired Spring 2006 | Produced by Bones

Jyu Oh Sei best survival anime
Mysterious masked men sent two brothers to a broken planet where chances of survival are slim. Given nothing but a knife and satchel, they search for civilization on a planet which seems to be overwhelmed with plants. The brothers soon realize that in order to survive on this desolate planet, they must be willing to throw away their humanity.

Rainbow: Nisha Rokubou no Shichinin

MAL Rated 8.66, Ranked #47 | Aired Spring 2010 | Produced by


Rainbow best survival anime
Six teenagers are sent to a reform school on serious criminal charges. Will the cellmates be able to help each other survive the grueling conditions of their new, personal hell? With cruel guards, and an avoid-at-all-costs doctor, the boys will have a hard time mentally and physically surviving their sentences. If they do, who knows what sort of people they’ll be when they get out?

Not only is this one of the best survival anime out there, this title also took out a spot on our list of the most underrated anime.

Eden of the East

MAL Rated 8.07, Ranked #112 | Aired Spring 2009 | Produced by Production I.G

Higashi no Eden best survival anime
On a trip to Washington DC, college student, Saki Morimi, encounters Akira Tokizawa. She soon learns that Japan fell victim to a missile attack, and Akira is involved in a game in which the objective is to 'save' Japan. With 8.2 billion yen to his name, Akira must use this money to complete his mission if he hopes to survive.

Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom

MAL Rated 8.17, Ranked #337 | Aired Spring 2009 | Produced by Bee Train

Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom best survival anime
America is now a dangerous ghetto, run by the mafia, where assassinations are a daily occurrence. A Japanese tourist gets caught up in the mess when he is captured and brainwashed by the human weapon Phantom - a woman named Ein. Given the name Zwei, the innocent tourist is now forced into a world of danger where he must fight to survive.

Related Articles

Top 15 Best Sports Anime; Recommendation List from MAL Staff

Top 15 Best Sports Anime; Recommendation List from MAL Staff

The best sports anime are about more than just the sport itself. They're about friendship, struggle, growth, and achieving your dreams. Here are 15 of the best.

by Law_Light


Top 20 Best Anime of 2011

Top 20 Best Anime of 2011

2011 was the year of amazing anime shows and exciting sequels. Let's check out the 20 anime series that, according to MAL scores, are the best of 2011!
10 Anime Like Death Note: Recommendation Corner

10 Anime Like Death Note: Recommendation Corner

Death Note was a major hit when it was released back in 2006 and quickly became known for being an intelligent, yet accessible thriller that would be mentioned anytime anime was brought up. In case your hype for Death Note still hasn't died down, here are 10 similar anime!

by NicWat10


Top 15 Best Music Anime of All Time

Top 15 Best Music Anime of All Time

You might be drawn to the genre by your love of music, but you'll end up staying for the amazing story. Here are the 15 best music anime to ever grace our screens.
Top 13 Best Military Anime of All Time

Top 13 Best Military Anime of All Time

Few things can be traced to beyond the beginnings of recorded history, but the use of militaries is one of them. Unsurprisingly, many of the more 'epic' anime out there feature fictional military organisations, but so do some lighthearted comedies. This list has a little something for everyone.

by NicWat10