Amazon may not be the first name that pops into your head when you start thinking about where you're going to be watching your anime later. Let’s face it, Hulu and Netflix are kind of dominating the anime streaming game nowadays - even Crunchyroll is starting to look less and less like a good deal. Hulu may have its new deal with Funimation and Netflix may be picking up anime adaptations faster than ever thought possible, but Amazon isn’t out for the count. Amazon may not be at the very pinnacle of anime streaming but it still has some of the most enticing and unique series that neither Hulu or Netflix have laid claim to...yet.
10. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
The only reason Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is here at the beginning of this list is because it’s such an obvious choice that it almost warrants not mentioning it at all. For anyone that has yet to watch the series I highly recommend doing so immediately. But if you really need the elevator pitch, then here it is: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood follows Elric brothers on their quest to make their bodies whole after a botched attempt to revive their dead mother. The story is a brilliantly told tale of hope, the perils of war, and the lengths two brothers are willing to go to for each other.
9. Rurouni Kenshin
Rurouni Kenshin follows Kenshin Himura, better known as Battousai the manslayer, as he attempts to make amends for his past transgressions by traveling throughout Japan and helping those that need it. Kenshin travels with a custom reversed blade katana and while he is still willing to protect himself and others, he refuses to kill. The third season is a bit rough, keeping this series from making it up higher on the list but the story Rurouni Kenshin tries to tell about overcoming the hardships of your past even when constantly confronted with people and obstacles trying to drag you back is something every anime fan should see.
8. Blue Exorcist
This entry on our list revolves around western religion, which is an interesting direction for any anime to take. While some other series like the recent Vatican Miracle Examiner may take the concept and use it to tell a more realistic and close to home story, Blue Exorcist goes the opposite direction. The series revolves around Rin Okumura, the estranged son of Lucifer himself, along with his younger twin Yukio Okumura a priest in the Catholic church who belongs to a sector designed to keep the monstrous demons at Lucifer’s command at bay. An anime series filled with fantastic action sequences, beautiful character designs, and an engaging story, Blue Exorcist is a series you’ll want to check out.
7. Girls' Last Tour
While a post-apocalyptic slice-of-life anime may seem like a bit of an oxymoron as a concept, Girls' Last Tour does everything it can to convince the viewer otherwise. The series follows Yuuri and Chito as they traverse the ruins of a long gone society struggling to make it through life. It may sound incredibly bleak as a concept, but the series is held up by the relationship between its two main characters. It’s an optimistic take on what can happen between two people carving out a living after the end of days. The post-apocalyptic setting serves as a perfect foil to the optimistic slice of life themes of what friendship and optimism can accomplish even when the world around is decaying and decrepit.
Onihei is an adaption of a novel written the 1960s that is set in the 1780s in Japan. It follows a lawman by the name of Heizou Hasegawa as he deals with the criminals of his time. The series is totally episodic with the audience meeting new criminals and victims every episode. It’s filled with beautiful sword fights, but the action is not the real reason to watch this show. Through Hasegawa, we experience the lives of the beautiful characters that fill the world of this anime. Onihei isn’t a simple cops vs. robbers story set in a long-gone Japan, the moral ambiguity involved in many of Hasegawa’s cases keep this from being just a series where the protagonists fight the bad guys. No one is merely good or bad and this series takes careful consideration to illustrate this face.
5. Elfen Lied
Beneath all the layers and layers and layers of blood and dismembered body parts, Elfen Lied has a weird kind of charm. I’m not really even sure how to go about describing this series. Elfen Lied is one of those shows that’s just so out there, weird, and unlike anything else around that you just have to watch it. Then show it to all of your friends so that they know it exists. Kinda like The Room but nowhere near as awful. Elfen Lied is kinda like if you took Stranger Things and mashed it together with something violent and hard to understand like Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni. That being said, if you can make it past the first half of episode 1 there’s a decent chance you’ll like what’s to come.
Mushi-Shi doesn’t have any real overarching plot to speak of as it’s more of an anthology of short tales following the self-described Mushi (spirits) master, Ginko. We follow Ginko along as he traverses a fictional version of Japan between the Edo and Meiji periods, solving problems caused by the Mushi. Mushi-Shi isn’t an anime you’re going to want to turn on for crazy action sequences or long-running plots leading to a gigantic conflict with the main antagonist. The series is more like a watercolor than an actual anime. Not because of the animation style or anything like that, but because of how tranquil and vibrant the whole series feels.
3. Darker Than Black
Darker Than Black is, as the title suggests, a dark and gritty story about a group of super-powered individuals called contractors after a certain event alters the course of this version of earth’s history. It follows Hei, a contractor who works for the mysterious syndicate, as he traverses the complicated Tokyo cityscape during the aftermath of the Heaven’s Gate and Hell’s Gate events. It has some pacing issues, to be sure, but the story that Darker Than Black is trying to tell at its core is well worth the shroud of mystery that encompasses the first half of the season.
2. Inuyashiki Last Hero
Inuyashiki Last Hero may not have the most original sounding plot of all time - aliens abduct some people and completely restructure their bodies and turn them into highly advanced death robots before setting them loose in Japan, but where it goes from there is absolutely spectacular. The series follows a high school and an elderly man who happened to have been picked up by the aliens (who we literally never see or hear from again) as they adjust to their new realities and bodies. These two men are both completely unaware of what happened and unaware of each other. What ensues is a truly terrifying journey into what someone with immense power can do when they feel they’ve been cut from society. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll just give you a few bits of what to expect: An elderly man/robot flying through the air singing the Astro Boy theme song, “Bang”, and paraplegic Yakuza members who have also lost their eyesight. Interested yet? Good. The animation can take a little getting used to, but it’s most definitely worth the watch.
1. Made In Abyss
Made In Abyss is an exceptionally beautiful adaptation of the manga by Akihito Tsukushi. We follow a young girl named Riko, daughter of a legendary raider, as she decides to make her way down the titular abyss in order to find her mother. The Abyss is filled with all sorts of artifacts (like a mysterious robot boy Riko finds early on in the series) and magic that fuel the communities living along its rim. The cute character designs and Ghibli-esque art style may lead you to believe that this is just another happy-go-lucky adventure story starring a couple of young protagonists. Do NOT fall for it, because the adventure that our heroes go on is one that will take its toll, on the characters as well as the audience.