In the vast world of anime, storytelling knows no bounds. One of the most intriguing and thrilling, yet complicated genre within it’s humungous world is the Mafia and Gangster Genre.
Every title in the Mafia and Gangster anime genre are certainly exciting to watch, thanks to it’s intense fight scenes and it’s extremely good roster of characters. You’re sure to encounter the intricate storylines revolving around gang wars, heists and the lives of those involved in felonious activities, where protagonists often blur the line between “Hero” and “Antihero”.
The Best Gangster/Mafia anime:
In this article, we will be exploring the 25 best anime which explores the underworld. Before we do that, the anime Way of the Househusband and Hinamatsuri have not been included in this list as they are more like slice-of-life comedies, but you can definetely check them out!
To all those brave otakus who imagined themselves saving their schools from a terrorist attack (I know you did, don’t lie), here’s the list of 25 Best Mafia and Gangster Anime:
25. Katekyo Hitman Reborn
Katekyo Hitman Reborn, also known as “Reborn!” is a mafia/gangster anime which follows the story of a clumsy and cowardly teenager Tsunayoshi Sawada. His life takes a drastic turn when a baby named Reborn arrives on his doorstep, and babies in anime are not to be underestimated. Reborn’s mission as the strongest hitman in the world is to train Sawada as he is to become the Tenth Mafia Boss of the Vongola Family, a powerful mafia organization.
Even though it’s intense mafia content, “Reborn” adds it’s unique comedic touch to it. The underworld portrayed in here often contrasts with the typical serious mafia world that you would expect. Such a part is portrayed in the Time Travel Arc , which later delves in the complexities of time manipulation.
“Reborn!” is more of a shounen mafia comedy, rather than being a serious one. Even though it doesn’t have too much noir, it is still a good place to start your Mafia Anime Journey.
24. Tokyo Tribe 2
Tokyo Tribe 2 is the anime adaptation of the manga with the same name, written by Santa Inoue. This anime focuses on mafia and gangs. It is set on a different version of the Tokyo we know, where the city is divided into different territories controlled by various gangs. The story follows the journey of these gangs as they walk the chaotic path of the gang culture.
This anime is unique in it’s own way! It includes elements of rap music, hip-hop, while also having graffiti-inspired visuals. Since it features a large and diverse cast of characters, the interactions among them contribute to the drama and uniqueness in the series. A fan of GTA San Andreas? This is the closest you can get to it in terms of story and visuals!
This anime is rather meant for mature audiences due to it’s intense violence and strong language. Even though the series is praised for it’s unique hip-hop and graffiti elements, it might not be suitable for all the otakus out there.
23. Ikebukuro West Gate Park
Ikebukuro West Gate Park, otherwise known as “IWGP”, is a series written by Ira Ishida. The story revolves around the life of Makoto Majima, who lives in the notorious Ikebukuro district. If you’re looking for a drama/mystery series with mafia and gangster themes to watch at your own at your own pacing, this would be one of the best ones to watch!
The connections he makes and the ways he solves issues which are totally irrelevant to him and how everything is boiled up to the conclusion is really intriguing in iteself.
Although it has some action scenes, the animations and choreography it had was visually appealing. It explores the urban cultures of Tokyo, going through aspects of youth delinquency, loyalty, survival and modern city living. He helps those in need and further uses his connections with people to solve problems, which is the central theme of the story.
With the series having touches of drama and action, it also provides the element of slice-of-life in Ikebukuro. You should definitely check out K Project if you liked this anime !
Did I mention that the VA of the character named Shadow is KENJIRO TSUDA? There’s no way you’ve never heard of him!!
Mafias, Gangsters and Assassins, What else do you need ? The story revolves around Mireille and Kirika, two female assassins who embark on a voyage to find the truth about Kirika’s past and uncover the meaning of the term “Noir”, which Kirika had engraved in her pocket watch.
Both Kirika and Mireille’s skills as assassins are the canter of the plot, thus giving the series with intense action scenes and gunfights.
What’s not to like in a story where girls with guns are woven into a bizarre story with lots of action and killing? In this anime, the men in black are much like Red Shirts from the original Star Trek, so don’t get too attracted to them! Both the characters in the series go through significant character development as they learn more about their pasts and their motivations evolve.
“Noir” is also known for it’s haunting and mysterious music, composed by Yuki Kajiyura, which further enhances the serious, as well as emotional moments in the anime.
What else? It’s two girls going Guns Blazing! GO WATCH IT!
21. Akudama Drive
Set in the future, Akudama Drive takes place in a society divided into Kanto and Kansai regions. “Akudama” are Criminals with exceptional skills wanted by the authorities for their reputation and not just delinquents. When “Black Cat” suddenly receives a mission to transport a package, she meets other Akudamas who get involved in the mission.
Akudama Drive is rather fast-paced with unexpected twists in the story, which are bound to keep you intrigued. The series has a dystopian setting, a futuristic world with severe inequality and advanced technology. The bright, in-your-face, retro-futuristic appeal combined with a post-war dystopian Japan and the perfect amount of chaos and order feels unique and familiar all the same.
This series also has some really visually appealing animation, alongside well-choreographed dynamic action scenes. A fan of the Cyberpunk Genre as well? Give this anime a try!
Jormungand is a Japanese anime series based on the manga of the same name by Keitaro Takahashi and produced by White Fox. The series revolves around arms dealings (pew pew) led by Koko Hekmatyar and her group of skilled arms dealers.
To all those who thinks “SHE LOOKS SOO CUTE!”, she’s extremely shrewd and witty as well as the head of HCLI’s Weapon Transport Division.
The series provides an often realistic portrayal of the arms trade industry, showing exactly how complex it is when buying/ selling weapons, alongside the ethical dilemmas associated with it. Aside from insane character development, where characters confront their past and consequences of their choices, Jormungand is also known for it’s action scenes and strategizing.
You’ll be witnessing various locations worldwide, showing various cultures, as well as conflicts. If you’re interested in action-packed narratives with philosophical themes, Jormungand might be a series to watch!
19. Tokyo Revengers
The story follows Takemichi Hanagaki whose ex-girlfriend Hinata Tachibana and her brother were suddenly met by a violent accident, involving a gang named the “Tokyo Manji Gang”. Takemichi shortly learns that he can travel to the past and thus, can change the future. In order to create a future where Hinata stays safe, he gets involved with street gangs and thus, his life takes an unexpected turn.
The plot in itself is really intriguing, right? In order to change the course of events, Takemichi much walk of path of danger, going through the brutal world of gang conflicts, while becoming friends with the same Tokyo Manji Gang.
You’ve definitely seen tons of edits revolving around “Mikey”. Come on now, don’t lie. If it’s a Gang Anime you’re looking for, check this out! Tokyo Revengers is an anime which focuses on mafia and gangs!
18. My Home Hero
The story of My Home Hero revolves around Tetsuo Tominaga, an ordinary middle-aged man who leads a rather quiet life. His life takes a sudden turn when he realizes that his daughter, Aya, is being abused by her boyfriend. Filled with anger, he decides to take a drastic measure in order to intervene. And yes, you got it correct.
That very thing set in action a chain of various events which challenges his morality, pushing him into a world of crime. My Home Hero going deep into the themes of crime, justice, and facing consequences of one’s actions, which is quite clear in Tetsuo’s case. The anime creates suspense through it’s story-telling and the constant threat of being discovered.
Can Tetsuo keep himself and his daughter safe? That’s something you’ll only know IF AND ONLY IF you watch it for yourself!
17. Michiko to Hatchin
The story of Michiko to Hatchin follows Michiko Malandro, who escapes from a high-security prison in a fictional South American Country. She then decides to search for her “former love”, a man named Hiroshi, when she meets Hatchin Morenos, a young girl who was abused by her foster father. As they journey together, they undergo personal character growth, as their experiences influence their descisions.
The series is known for the emotional depth it brings on the plate through it’s storytelling and it’s rather unique setting. Since it’s set in a fictional South American country, it’s visuals and cultures are inspired from various South American Countries. A fan of Cowboy Beboop or Samurai Champloo? This anime might be worth your time then !
Unlike other Gang based anime, Michiko to Hatchin takes a different route. Mostly, based on the relationship of the two girls, having themes of freedom and redemption and a lot of cultural diversity, it certainly is different from the type of gang anime you would expect it to be.
Did I mention that the Art Style and Music is a 10/10 ?! Both of them really contribute to the atmosphere and setting of the series!
Now what would be a Gangster and Mafia anime list without aspects of Gambling? Right? That is exactly the theme of this story! Written and illustrated by Nobuyuki Fukumoto, Kaiji revolves around the story of Kaiji Itou, an unemployed man drowning in debt because of, you guessed it right! BAD GAMBLING HABBITS.
Even though the plot seems rather simple, Kaiji is known for its intricate and intense psychological battles between characters, focusing on strategies and manipulating your opponents. Both Kaiji’s growth, as well as flaws drive the narrative, as he goes through significant character development as he wander’s through the world of gambling. The story explores the themes of desperation, greed, facing consequences of past actions (obviously! please don’t take inspiration from this guy) and betrayal.
The Art style of this anime is rather Unique. It emphasizes the character’s thoughts and emotions with exaggerated facial expressions. So yeah, its NOT UGLY!
15. Darker Than Black: Kuro no Keiyakusha
Darker Than Black: Kuro no Keiyakusha is a mafia anime set in an alternate version of Earth, where a phenomenon known as “Hell’s Gate” as appeared in Tokyo, causing the sudden arrival of “Contractors”. Such “Contractors” have gifted supernatural powers but are bound to complete a contract when they use their powers, some of which can be quite interesting, to say the least.
Our main character Hei, also known as “Black Reaper” is a contractor who works for a company known as “Syndicate”. He works as an assassin (cool!!), having superhuman agility and skills, and can also control electricity (even cooler!!). The story revolves around Hei taking contracts, while investigating the existence of “contractors”, “The Hell’s Gate” and “Dolls” (What are those? I’m not giving any more spoilers).
This anime has fictional fantasy elements, rather than being a hardcore mafia/gangster anime, but at its core, it revolves around crime syndicates and similar organizations. GO CHECK IT OUT!
Oh! By the way, the MC shares his VA with Kenzo Tenma from Monster.
No gangster anime list is complete without the mention of Gangsta. Isn’t the name enough?
The anime Gangsta is set in the city of Ergastulum, where various mafia families and criminal organizations compete for complete control (typical). Written by Koshke and produced by Manglobe Studios, Gangsta revolves around the lives of Worick Arcangelo and Nicolas Brown, two extremely skilled men.
Nicolas has enhanced physical abilities, thanks to a certain “drug” he consumes, whereas Worick plays the role of the strategist (kind of like Shimazu Toyohisa and Oda Nobunaga from “Drifters”).
The anime mainly delves around the protagonists’ past, their personal past struggles and the relationship they form among themselves as they take every kind of job. Their interactions with various people and gang members provide insight into the intricate web of power dynamics and corruption in the city.
Gangsta is also known for it’s well choreographed action scenes, character development and it’s mature settings. Crime, consequences of committing the same, power inequality and corruption are some things it delves into, so it definitely fits into the mafia anime genre you’re looking for !
13. Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens
Action as well as mystery? That’s something rare to come by these day. Well, Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens is exactly that! It’s fun as a mix of action and suspense and a little bit of thriller. If you’ve ever watched Baccano, then give this one a try!
The series revolves around Zenji Banba, a detective and Lin Xianming, a skilled assassin. See the boy in the picture? The Blonde one? That’s a guy. Well, eyes can be deceiving. That’s Lin Xianming. The series’ greatest appeal lies in how much the contrast between it’s playful tone and suspenseful content is, and the balance is just immaculate.
The anime features a diverse caste of characters coming various professions, including assassins, detectives and more. As a downside, this series has a less variety of female characters.
Also, you might wonder why the anime has the word “Ramens” in it. Well, that’s something you’ll have to find out for yourself! (write it in the comment section once you do).
What if The Shawshank Redemption was an anime, but more brutal? Even though not every aspect is similar, this might be the closest you get!
Rainbow, also known as Rainbow: Nisha Rokubou no Shichinin, is based on a Post World War-II Japan and follows around 7 young men who are imprisoned in a facility for various crimes. The series is completely based on pure human emotions and psychology. It can be a bit melodramatic, but I guess this is how things were during World War-II.
Rainbow: Nisha Rokubou no Shichinin is known for its emotional depth and narrative, as well as exploration of the human spirit’s tolerance. It provides a clear portrayal of loyalty and friendship, even during harsh and brutal circumstances. If you’re into stories which focuses highly on character development and growth of bonding between characters, this anime might be the way to go!
Even though this anime is not exactly a perfect fit for the mafia and gangster anime genre, it does touch upon the life of convicts and the hardships they face, along with the occasional mafia and gang mention. So it definitely deserves a watch!
11. Phantom: Requiem For the Phantom
Written by the author of Fate: Zero and Psycho Pass, this series, unlike the previous two, is not much talked about, even though it’s another masterpiece by Gen Urobuchi.
It’s a simple enough story with some hyperbolic drama in some places. Although it’s properly executed, it still gets a cold shoulder from many anime fans, mainly because of the few plot holes it has. More or less, the characters and their development are pretty sick! Along with their OSTs (The OST of “Day 57.5” is my personal favourite!)
The series revolves around Reiji Azuma, also known as “Zwei” and Elen, also known as “Ein”. Reiji’s life takes a sudden turn when he’s kidnapped, brainwashed and trained to be an assassin. Zwei and Ein, paired together, carry out various orders for “Inferno”, the very organization who kidnapped him.
This series is kind of similar to “Noir”, which was previously mentioned in the list.
10. Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure : Golden Wind (Part 5)
Watch the first 4 parts first! (Menacingゴゴ)
“ゴゴ Kono Giorno Giovanna ni wa yume ga aruゴゴ“. For those who didn’t understand the meaning, I can only say that, “I predicted your prediction”. Keeping aside the “JOJO Reference”, let’s get started !
JOJO’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind is probably the most “Bizarre” of them all! But not in a bad way. The story follows Giorno Giovanna, son of Dio Brando, with the blood of Joestars in him. Set in Italy, the story takes place in the area of Naples, where Giorno gets involved in a Mafia gang named “Passione”, consisting of “Stand Users“.
Throughout the series, Giorno and his allies, including Bucciarati and his group confront other stand users and engage in battles using their stands. Their journey revolves around a relic known as “The Arrow”, which gives other people the powers of stands.
There isn’t a lot to say about this series. If you’re planning on watching this, then I would recommend you to watch the first 4 parts first. Also, this anime has some REALLY ICONIC music! Especially Giorno’s theme (named “il vento d’oro”).
Drugs, gangs, murderers, psychopaths and syndicates. Talk about a perfect gangster/mafia anime from head to toe. Switch really fits itself in all the previously mentioned categories.
A series where 2 detectives work at the Narcotics Control Department who are currently undercover. With a paradoxical plot, this anime starts as one of the best adventure, thriller anime. Although there are only 2 episodes, it’s still an anime with an enjoyable dark plot. The characters Kai and Haru, who are also known as “Switch”, due to their distinct ways of solving cases.
What makes this anime unique is that fact that Kai and Haru can “Switch” personalities at their will. This means, they can swap their personalities temporarily, allowing them to view and solve cases from different perspectives.
Even though Switch is one of the lesser-known anime, it’s still worth watching if you’re a fan of mysteries and unique character interactions.
Durarara is based on Tokyo’s Downtown District Ikebukuro. The anime is based on youth gangs and their delinquency, with a touch of the supernatural aspect. It can turn into action-packed battles, drama or thrilling suspense.
As the story continues to progress, our number of characters increase. Each character possesses a different quirk, and are eventually tied together.
Durarara is one of the first anime that comes to mind when someone is looking for a mafia or gangster anime to watch.
The story has a few similarities with Baccano. It is a conjunction of many POVs, which is executed in the most brilliant way possible. It might be a bit confusing, but it is a roller-coaster of emotions. This is not your stereotypical action/ romance anime, although there are some aspects of it, with the story, mainly depending on the interactions of the characters.
Another reason to watch this anime is CELTY (nose-bleed intensifies).
An anime based off a Game? Cool right? Gungrave is a series based on the video game of the same name, created by Yasuhiro Nightow. The story follows Brandon Heat, a former member of a gang named “Millennion”, where he and his friend Harry MacDowell rise through the ranks of the gang’s criminal activities.
However, tragedy struck and Brandon was betrayed and killed my the “Millennion”, with Harry as it’s leader.
Other than having the elements of mafia and gangs, Gungrave also has supernatural elements. The resurrection of Brandon as a “Beyond the Grave” adds to its supernatural and sci-fi element.
This anime has everything you would want from a mafia/ gangster anime, if not more. It shows the criminal activities by “Millennion, it’s internal, as well as external conflicts, well-choreographed and intense gunfights and supernatural elements, thanks to “Beyond the Grave”.
This anime is definitely a hidden-gem, as it’s not as popular. The story is really high quality, the characters are masterfully executed and the inner workings of the mafia is handled perfectly. A fan of Alucard? Brandon gives off similar vibes! Definitely an anime which focuses on mafia and gangs.
This show is a Tragic Masterpiece!
6. Bungou Stray Dogs
Bungo Stray Dogs is one of the few shounen that gets better every season, as at the heart of it is a mystery. The first few seasons don’t hold your hand to spell out all the moving parts as you start the series from the naïve protagonist. The whole cast is portrayed perfectly, especially the supporting cast and the villains.
The characters in the anime are namesakes of famous authors from Japan and the western world, like Osamu Dazai, Atsushi Nakajima, Francis Fitzgerald and Edgar Allen Poe. The story starts when Atsushi, a “supernatural”, who possesses an ability known as “Beast Beneath the moonlight” (As for what it is, watch it for yourself!), is scouted by a suicidal maniac named Dazai (The BSD fans are coming after me for sure) into the “Armed Detective Agency“.
Bungou Stray Dogs is known for it’s unique setting, character cast and the way it represents the story by converting various references to supernatural narrative. Having both action, a lot of mystery and humor, this anime is a MUST WATCH for otakus looking for an anime with both crime and mystery in it.
5. 91 Days
If you’re into Italian mafia and their ways as a topic, 91 days definitely worth watching. It’s not the typical Japanese style mafia as they really captured how things work in these circles. Betrayal, murder plotting and leverage, all used in the best way possible!
What if The Godfather was an anime? (We did have a Shawshank redemption previously, so why not Godfather as well?) 91 days would be an anime that clearly got it’s inspiration from this juggernaut of a film. Although, it wasn’t a cult classic like the Godfather, it’s still not worth passing up.
In 91 days, Angelo Lagusa, a young boy who watched his parents and his little brother die by the hands of a group of evil men in a mafia dispute, gets a letter from a mysterious person several years later after the incident. He returns to Lawless, with the goal of avenging his family, primarily targeting the “Vanetti Mafia Family”. He joins the group, gains their trust, while plotting for their downfall from within.
91 days is known for it’s unique way of storytelling and the diversity of characters. It has a mature narrative, providing an insight into the underworld during that specific historical period. This is one of the best mafia anime out there without a doubt.
4. Kyou Kara Ore Wa!!
Kyou Kara Ore Wa!! is a Japanese manga series written by Hiroyuki Nishimori and was serialized from 1988 to 1997 in “Shonen Jump” magazine. Even though it only has 10 episodes, each episode is approximately 40 minutes to an hour long, giving it a lot of content.
The plot starts with the two characters in the picture, Takashi Mitsuhashi and Shinji Itou, deciding that they are going to reinvent themselves as delinquents, or rather “Self-proclaimed Bad Boys”, after getting inspired from the antics of their school’s most feared gang leader, Okegawa, before their High School debut.
The thing which makes this anime unique is the fact that both our protagonists lack the toughness and aggression required for the role.
This anime, rather than a mafia or crime group, it focuses on two delinquents who want to climb the ladder and be the best delinquents. Filled with Humor and a nostalgic appeal for viewers who grew up in 1980s and 1990s, this anime is not to be underestimated!
3. Black Lagoon
On surface, Black Lagoon might some seem interesting as it’s rather action-packed, and can sometimes be really unrealistic. What it does perfectly is go into the depths of the darker parts of humanity and thus, the criminal underworld (The thing you’re here for. Gangster anime).
The story revolves around “Rock” Okajima, a normal businessman who gets entangled in the criminal underworld after encountering a group of mercenaries known as the Lagoon Company. The series generally focuses on the adventures of the Lagoon Company through the criminal underworld, whilst dealing with rival groups and engaging is visually appealing gunfights.
The anime has some really well-choreographed action scenes and gunfights, while also giving a good exploration of the unfair world, where morality is often compromised, and people surviving in treacherous circumstances.
2. Banana Fish
Banana Fish is a gan depicts a relationship between a con-man and a male hustler, following the story of Ash and Eiji. The anime talks about male homosexuality as a sub-genre, interested already? It has really intense crime drama, with a lot of action. It also shows a deep-bromance, which has never been seen before.
The story takes a dark turn when Ash encounters a substance known as “banana fish” (thus the name of the anime), which is tied to his older brother’s military experiences in Vietnam. As Ash investigates the “banana fish”, he meets Eiji Okumura, a photographer. The contrast between their life and personalities cause them to develop a deep and meaningful bond.
Banana Fish is praised for it’s intense storytelling and the emotional, yet complex relationship they form. It involves gangs, and mafia and also talks about the gritty darker side.
It is to be noted that the series explores mature themes and contains heavy subject matters.
Coming to an anime that really deserves to be the list ender. Baccano is a shounen anime that is nothing like the other ones out there. I already mentioned Baccano a couple of times in the list, so it shouldn’t really come as a surprise that it sits right at the top.
Baccano is THE BEST Mafia and Gangster anime out there, along with the likes of Banana Fish and others.
A story based on the 1930s…about 2 gangster families from America. Awesome characters and a superb storytelling is what makes this anime unique. You might be a bit confused in the first few episodes, but believe me when I say it really does get better! The hype around it is definitely worth it.
The anime is fantastic with 4 timeslines shown together in the most elegant way possible. One of the primary plots of the Anime is the about pursuit of immortality and the consequences that comes with it. Filled with dark humor, witty and hilarious dialogues and an intense atmosphere is what makes Baccano more intriguing.
This anime is basically Durarara (previously stated in the list) with less supernatural elements but with comedic elements, making it really good!
Other than the Mafia and Gangster genre, if you also like a touch of supernatural and historical elements, Baccano is a must watch!
Wrapping Things Up:
There it is! 25 best anime which fall under the genre of Mafia and Gangster.
You can check out Way of the Household and Hinamatsuri as well if you really need more of them!
Take your time enjoying the shows, share your opinion in the comment section and definitely let me know if you have any other titles in mind!