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Although it is one of the most popular plot devices, time travel stories can leave their viewers frustrated and confused. They are often complicated to understand – and our inability to travel through time does not help either. It is no different when it comes to anime.

Time travel is evidently one of the most-liked premises or wish-fulfillment fantasies in anime, yet many stories tend to go overboard and create holes in the overall plot. Occasionally though, time travel narratives can be as simple as putting numbers on a DeLorean without damaging the sophisticated aspects of the medium in question. Here are some anime that keep the story simple but still feed the audience with the excitement of time travel.

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Erased Puts Time Travel in the Middle of a Murder Mystery

Erased is a relatively new anime that tackles some serious issues along with the time travel aspect. Although it was not recognized widely in the West, the series has won many awards and obtained high ratings on various platforms.

The story of Erased follows the detached 29-year-old Satoru Fujinuma, who has a special ability. When something bad is about to happen, he can go back several minutes before tragedy strikes. One day, when he is accused of murdering his own mother, Satoru finds himself in the past — not several minutes before but back in 1988 this time. He remembers that one of his classmates, Kayo Hinazuki, was abducted and murdered when he was a child. Realizing there might be a connection between the two murders, Satoru tries to uncover what truly happened and prevent the death of his classmate.

Erased creates something unusual by blending mystery and drama with simple time travel, while also touching upon serious issues such as child abuse.

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InuYasha Is a Feudal Fairytale That Starts With Time Travel

InuYasha is indisputably one of the best and most popular shojo series out there. Although it has been almost 20 years since the show’s ending, the overall success and its successor Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon are still going strong.

The series starts when 15-year-old protagonist Kagome Higurashi falls into a cursed well on the grounds of the Shinto shrine where her family is residing. Instead of falling to the bottom of the well, however, Kagome finds herself 500 years in the past during the violent and chaotic Sengoku period. There she meets Inuyasha, a half dog-demon, half-human hybrid. Together they help each other, trying to collect the shards of the wish-granting Shikon jewel while also preventing it from falling into the wrong hands.


Throughout the series, Inuyasha and Kagome travel back and forth between the past and present. However, this never causes any confusion. The well works just like a door that opens to the Sengoku era. As the characters use that “door” to transport across time, fans of the series accompany them on this magical journey.

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Zipang Challenges Conscience Through the Rules of Time Travel

Based on the manga by Kaiji Kawaguchi, Zipang puts an unconventional twist on time travel anime. Although it came out in 2004, the anime has a nostalgic animation style due to its war setting.

Zipang revolves around the crew of Japan’s newest and most advanced ship Mirai, which also works as a missile destroyer. During a fierce storm, Mirai and the crew are transported back in time to June 4, 1942 — The Battle of Midway. Although many anime protagonists usually try to change their past, the crew of Mirai do their best to avoid going against history. At first, they decide to remain impartial and anonymous. In time, however, when they come across Lieutenant Commander Kusaka Takumi, the crew gets stuck in a sticky situation where they must choose between their modern pledge to self-defense and their conscience.


Zipang is not just a time-travel war anime. They way the characters are left in a cruel dilemma shows that inner battles can be just as tough as the battlefield.

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Tokyo Revengers Features a Time Traveler Crybaby

Tokyo Revengers, basically a gang war series with a dash of time travel powder, definitely secured its place among the best anime of 2021 with wide critical acclaim and the Kodansha Manga Award.

Resembling Erased in its core quest to save a loved one, Tokyo Revengers revolves around Takemichi Hanagaki, a pathetic grown-up who constantly apologizes for his actions. However, a sudden news report on the Tokyo Manji Gang’s murder of Takemichi’s middle school sweetheart, Hinata Tachibana, changes everything for him. Just when he was about to hit by a train, he flashes back to his middle school days — when he was still dating Hinata. To prevent his ex-girlfriend’s murder and change his pathetic future, Takemichi decides to travel through time to join the Tokyo Manji Gang and aims to create a brighter path for everyone he loves.


Although there is a lot of traveling back and forth in time, every detail and change in history is explained well without causing any confusion. Tokyo Revengers proves it’s possible to make a good time travel series that is not difficult to follow.



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