Fans looking for time travel anime series should start with Re:Zero, Erased, Steins;Gate, Thermae Romae Novae or Summer Time Rendering.
The thrill of time travel is a tantalizing concept that has captivated the human imagination for centuries. Picture this: whisking between the folds of time itself, hopping from era to era with the aid of a marvelous contraption, the fabled time machine. Sounds like fun to me!
Mind Bending Time Travel Anime Shows
This awe-inspiring concept is no mere fantasy, but grounded in the expansive realm of theoretical physics, where mind-bending principles of quantum mechanics and the enigmatic wormholes take center stage.
The shows we will delve into revolve around the fascination of time travel, or at least incorporate it into their narratives. Prepare for an exhilarating journey as they transport you from familiar surroundings to the intriguing chaos of a strange, new world.
The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya
Just yesterday, Kyon was engaged in the SOS Brigade’s Christmas celebration. Today, he wakes up to an entirely different reality.
The SOS Brigade, including Haruhi, have vanished; Koizumi’s class is gone, Asahina doesn’t recognize him, Nagato stays tied to the Literary Club, and surprisingly, Ryoko Asakura is back.
Now, Kyon alone must solve the mystery of his friends’ disappearance and evaluate if a life without the influence of aliens, time travelers, and ESPers is indeed peaceful. Brian56ani recommends starting here if you’re in search of a time-travel-related anime.
‘Steins;Gate’: The Microwave Time Machine
Steins;Gate stands as a brilliant entry among time travel animes, but be forewarned: it’ll cook your brain just as thoroughly as its notorious microwave oven cooks bananas into time machines. Our protagonist, Rintarou Okabe, discovers this absurd method of time travel almost by accident.
The story then descends into a thrilling and heartbreaking narrative about the repercussions of messing with time. From alternate timelines to inevitable futures, “Steins;Gate” weaves a complex plot where every action carries profound consequences.
Kip6564 on IMDB advises those interested in time-travel anime to start their exploration here.
Erased: Turn Back the Hand of Time
Erased is a time traveler anime where our hero, Satoru Fujinuma, is gifted (or perhaps cursed) with a mysterious ability to travel back in time moments before a life-threatening incident occurs.
This time loop anime takes a dark twist when a tragic event sends Satoru 18 years into the past, putting him on a mission to prevent a series of child abductions and murders.
As he navigates through the landscapes of his own childhood memories, “Erased” provides an emotional journey into the past, underscoring the weight that our actions and choices carry in defining the future.
‘The Girl Who Leapt Through Time’: Hop, Skip, and Jump through Time
This anime with time travel, “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time,” is as whimsical as it sounds. High schooler Makoto Konno stumbles upon a device that allows her to literally leap through time.
What starts as a playful exploit of her newfound power – acing tests, avoiding awkward situations, and binge-eating pudding – soon descends into a cascade of increasingly complex problems.
This beautifully animated film provides a light-hearted yet profound examination of the ripples that even the most insignificant of our actions can create over time.
Your Name – Fun Time Travel Experience
In “Your Name”, a Tokyo boy named Taki and a country girl called Mitsuha from divergent timelines periodically swap bodies. This phenomenon lets them assist one another in various parts of their lives. But as they strengthen their bond and strive to understand the odd event, the swapping ceases abruptly.
This sudden change spurs Taki to investigate the cause. With beautiful animation and backed by Radwimps’ outstanding J-pop soundtrack, “Your Name” is bound to tug at the heartstrings and inspire audience support for the characters.
Orange: The Power of Letters from the Future
Orange is an emotionally-charged anime about time travel where the protagonists receive letters from their future selves. The letters warn them of a future filled with regret and revolve around their friend Kakeru, who isn’t with them in the future.
As they follow the advice of their future selves to save Kakeru, this time travel anime explores themes of friendship, love, regret, and the lengths we’re willing to go for the ones we care about. It’s a poignant reminder of how small actions can lead to substantial changes in our future.
Thermae Romae Novae
Thermae Romae Novae offers a captivating, out-of-the-box narrative that fuses fun and mystery. The story centers on the escapades of Lucius Modestus, an ancient Roman architect who discovers a hidden tunnel that transports him to a modern Japanese bathhouse.
Where he once suffered from a creative drought, Lucius’s experiences in Japan now spark a fresh burst of enthusiasm, propelling him to regain his reputation as a leading Roman architect. This anime uniquely blends whimsy, curiosity, and enjoyment, paying a heartfelt homage to Japanese bathing culture.
It’s an excellent pick for those who enjoy stories focused on cultural reverence and a sure-fire hit for fans of time travel anime. I enjoyed the humor in this show; I recommend it for sure.
Summer Time Rendering
Shinpei Ajiro, the protagonist of Summer Time Rendering, experiences the loss of both his parents but instead of becoming a recluse, he grows up alongside Ushio and Mio, forming a strong bond. Eventually, Shinpei Ajiro departs for Tokyo after some time.
However, he returns to his hometown later on to attend Ushio’s funeral. Refusing to accept Ushio’s ordinary death, Shinpei Ajiro discovers Ushio’s extraordinary ability to reset time. Summer Time Rendering introduces an intriguing twist to conventional time travel themes, combining mystery and sci-fi elements into a captivating choice for readers.
Tokyo Revengers – Time Travel Adventure
The journey in Tokyo Revengers centers around Hanagaki Takemichi, a grown man facing a bleak existence. However, Takemichi’s life undergoes a transformative shift when an accident propels him into the past. Initially grappling with the realization that he has traveled back 12 years, Takemichi eventually comprehends the situation.
Departing from the conventional shonen anime trope, Tokyo Revengers takes a unique approach by portraying the protagonist as weaker than the other characters in the series.
As a result, fans seeking a captivating anime featuring an ordinary character striving to mend the future will undoubtedly find Tokyo Revengers a must-watch. I’ve started this one but have only made it halfway through. I give it 7/10 so far.
Mirai Nikki (Future Diary): Twisted Game of Fate
Mirai Nikki is a time traveler anime that revolves around Yukiteru Amano and his Future Diary, which can predict the future up to 90 days. Thrust into a death game against others with similar diaries, the stakes are high.
The winner becomes the new god of time and space. Packed with suspense, unexpected twists, and strategic battles, “Mirai Nikki” offers a thrilling ride through a world where time and fate are manipulated by the hands of those desperate enough to alter it.
‘Re:Zero – Starting Life in Another World’: Die, Respawn, Repeat
When it comes to time loop anime, “Re:Zero” offers a refreshingly morbid twist. The protagonist, Subaru Natsuki, doesn’t possess a fancy gadget or magical prowess to facilitate his time travel.
Instead, he’s cursed with the ability to respawn at certain points in time every time he dies. As he struggles to survive in a world filled with monstrous creatures, witches, and other supernatural beings, “Re:Zero” beautifully explores the idea of resilience, determination, and the power of maintaining hope against all odds.
Tatami Galaxy: Deja Vu in a Different Light
“The Tatami Galaxy” stands out among anime with time travel for its highly philosophical and introspective nature. Following an unnamed protagonist stuck in a time loop, the series explores various possible life paths he could take in his university years.
However, no matter how much he tries to alter his decisions, he always ends up unsatisfied. This introspective journey serves as a reminder that while it’s human nature to ponder the “what ifs” of life, true contentment lies in accepting and making the best out of our present circumstances. Travi86Ty from IMDB says this anime can become confusing if you don’t pay attention.
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
Meet Haruhi Suzumiya, an outwardly normal high school girl with the extraordinary ability to materialize anything she can imagine. She, herself unaware, wields the power to warp time and space, a power that could trigger a cataclysm if it remains uncontrolled.
The tale involves both Haruhi and Kyon, integral members of their school’s SOS Brigade—an extracurricular club committed to exploring the supernatural and the strange. They attentively supervise Haruhi, whose vast powers hold the potential to transform or even annihilate the world. Each escapade brings the characters and the audience a step closer to deciphering the mystery of Haruhi’s real identity.
In the mesmerizing anime series “Nobunaga Concerto,” Saburo, a high school boy, mysteriously travels back in time to the turbulent Sengoku Jidai, or the warring states period of Japan. His mission casts him in the legendary role of Oda Nobunaga, tasked with unifying the splintered country.
Saburo’s journey brings him face-to-face with various fascinating characters from this historical era, not the least of which is the real Oda Nobunaga. Yet, the massive weight of leadership forces Nobunaga to become Saburo’s dedicated ally, stepping into the shoes of Akechi Mitsuhide. This switch serves as an ironic twist, considering history paints Akechi Mitsuhide as Nobunaga’s ultimate assassin.
The anime series Doraemon holds the distinction of being one of the longest-running of all time. Fujiko F. Fujio’s manga, comprising over a thousand chapters, serves as its basis. While Doraemon primarily targets a young audience, it has garnered praise from adults as well.
Comedy and sci-fi are the genres that define Doraemon, with the story revolving around a time-traveling robotic cat aiding a boy named Nobita Nobi. Although it doesn’t delve into adult themes, it remains an enjoyable viewing experience, providing a soothing escape and plenty of laughter for viewers.
Zipang is a riveting war anime that transports a contemporary Japanese navy ship, the JDS Mirai, to the eve of the Battle of Midway in the throes of World War 2.
Faced with the reality that their technologically superior ship has the potential to significantly alter the course of the war, the Mirai’s crew wrestles with the dilemma of whether to aid their nation’s former empire or maintain distance to prevent altering their future.
In this engrossing war narrative, viewers experience the unraveling actions of the JDS Mirai and her crew amidst a backdrop of mature themes.
Gintama Kanketsu-hen: Yorozuya yo Eien Nar
While watching a movie, Gintoki stumbles upon a “movie thief,” a figure often symbolized in Japanese culture as a man with a video camera head. He reprimands the movie thief for his actions, only to warp into another world through the camera lens.
In this world, 5 years have elapsed, transforming the land of Edo into an apocalyptic wasteland. Moreover, Kagura has blossomed into a beautiful woman, no longer speaking in her familiar Chinese speech pattern.
Shinpachi has morphed into a suave samurai, abandoning his tsukkomi persona. The Gintoki of this time has disappeared and is widely believed to be dead. For those eager to explore time-travel anime, Tommy6d says it has been by far one of his favorites.
Is Time Travel Isekai?
Different Types of Time Travel Anime
Each of these different types of anime time travel brings their own unique set of rules and possible scenarios, providing endless opportunities for storytelling.
Fixed Timeline: This concept is based on the idea that past, present, and future events have already occurred and cannot be changed. Any attempt to alter the past in this scenario would be part of what has already happened.
Dynamic Timeline: In this concept, changes to past events drastically affect the present and future. This often leads to creating an altered timeline or an entirely new one.
Multiverse/Parallel Universes: In this scenario, time travel doesn’t directly alter the traveler’s original timeline. Instead, it creates or shifts them into a parallel universe. This concept is frequently associated with each decision creating a new branch in time.
Looping or Iterative Time: This concept involves time loops in which a certain period repeats itself, often with the time traveler retaining knowledge of each iteration.
Time Paradoxes: This includes scenarios like the “grandfather paradox,” where a person travels back in time and causes an event that prevents their own existence.
Non-Linear Time: Some works of fiction depict time as non-linear, meaning events don’t happen in a strict sequence of past, present, future but rather can occur more fluidly or chaotically.
Reverse Time Flow: Some narratives involve scenarios where time flows in reverse, either globally or for specific individuals.
Temporal Displacement: This refers to moving through time without affecting events or causing a paradox.
Relative Time Travel: This is when time passes differently for different observers, usually due to relativistic effects like near-light-speed travel or proximity to a massive object.