I saw this post about What was the first anime to come out on Bluray/HDDVD on this site, and I wonder what was the first anime that aired in HD?

I first thought of it is aired in around 2008. For example:

Bleach started to air in HD in season 9 (episode 168). According to Wikipedia, the original airdate of episode 168 is 2008.

But after hours of researching, I found something about One Piece.

One Piece started airing in HD in episode 207. And again, according to Wikipedia, the original airdate is way back in October 31, 2004.

The recent answer shows these 2 anime (Ghost in the Shell: SAC and Samurai 7) were the possible first anime to air in widescreen.

Fun fact: Samurai 7 is aired just 4 months earlier than One Piece. Does this makes One Piece the 2nd runner-up? LOL.

  • Videos are HD only if we compare one video with another one ... So how are we comparing? Commented Mar 17, 2016 at 14:59
  • @LightYagami "HD" typically means "resolution of 1280x720 or higher".
    – senshin
    Commented Mar 17, 2016 at 17:12
  • @senshin Sorry but I was confused, because in wiki it says that "High-definition, sometimes abbreviated as Hi-def or HD, commonly refers to an increase in display or visual resolution over a previously used standard." Commented Mar 17, 2016 at 17:13
  • Kure-nai aired in HD starting in April 2008. Not sure if it was the first, though.
    – Ocean
    Commented Mar 17, 2016 at 19:21
  • 1
    @LightYagami Yes, generically "high-definition" is an antonym of "low-definition", but high-definition television is characterized by particular video resolutions.
    – senshin
    Commented Mar 17, 2016 at 22:08

1 Answer 1


You question intrigued me quite a bit, so I decided to try to solve this problem. Here is what I found and I would be grateful if anyone can help me improve my answer!

The first thing I knew was around 2007-2008 was about the time HD started getting popular in the United States. I used this information to track down a couple of forums on the AnimeNewsNetwork Here and Here. These two threads were very useful as they gave the names of "Samurai 7" and "Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex" (aka "GITS SAC" as used in the thread).

I pulled up the Wikipedia page for Samurai 7 and one part of it reads:

The series premiered across Japan on the anime satellite television network, Animax, as an exclusive high definition CS-PPV broadcast

Now I am not sure if you would like to consider it as aired in HD as it was "Pay Per View" (aka "PPV"), but it was created in HD based on this page about the series:

Based on Akira Kurosawa's classic movie, The Seven Samurai. Samurai 7 is being produced in High Definition at a price of $300 000 per episode, more than twice what an average non-hi-def series costs.

Now the reason I also included "Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex" is because in the forums many of the people were also saying that this one was also HD. I was able to find out that it was also aired by Animax, but cannot confirm if it was aired for HD.

If GITS SAC was not aired in HD then it would make Samurai 7 the first anime aired in HD (or at least as far as I can find).

Now I am very weary about my research, as I think there may have been other anime's aired in HD before these two, and my main concern comes from this article written in 1998. And the way the users in the threads were talking about HD as it was not something new, also makes me wonder if there have been anime's before these two that were aired in HD.

I will continue to do more research and improve my answer as I go. I hope this answer can help you.

UPDATE: I was able to find this question, where "Toshinou Kyouko" pointed to this thread. In the thread "Zalis" states:

First 16:9 TV anime: Betterman (Spring 1999), Vandread (Fall 2000)

I am currently trying to find a source that can verify if these shows were created in HD 16:9 aspect ratio. (Thanks to "Ross Ridge" for pointing this out.)

  • You should be able to post your links now
    – giraffesyo
    Commented Mar 18, 2016 at 7:34
  • OMG I can't believe the first HD anime is aired back in 2003(GITS SAC) or 2004(Samurai 7)!! I used to watch anime that aired in around 2005-2008 on my computer, the quality still crappy even though it is ripped from DVD.
    – Happy Face
    Commented Mar 18, 2016 at 8:18
  • Thank you to everyone who has upvoted my answer to allow me to add my sources! @Happy Face I know, it is hard to believe that they started airing anime in HD back in 2004. I didn't believe it myself when i found out about it. Commented Mar 18, 2016 at 15:46
  • Note that 16:9 TV doesn't imply HD. Many DVDs are in 16:9 for example, and Europe started transitioning to SD widescreen TV broadcasts in the mid 1990s.
    – Ross Ridge
    Commented Mar 18, 2016 at 17:40
  • @Ross Ridge Thank you for pointing that out, I have updated my answer with the correct phrasing. Commented Mar 18, 2016 at 17:53

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