Netflix has been spending an inordinate amount of money on developing and acquiring anime properties in the recent past. With the announcement of Evangelion coming to Netflix, we thought there’d be no better time than now to go over some of the best anime currently available. Maybe you’re new to Netflix, anime, or both, and you’re looking for somewhere to jump. Maybe you’re an old fan looking to confirm the sneaking suspicion that you do, in fact, have excellent taste. Or perhaps you’re just looking to find something new to watch. Netflix has everything from death metal singing red pandas to apathetic heroes just trying to find a real challenge. You’re sure to find something you’ll love.
Aggretsuko is a show about an office working red panda that struggles to make it through the daily grind before unleashing her incendiary black rage on the mic of the nearest karaoke bar. Retsuko takes us through all the trappings and hardship of adult life and feeds it to us through the kind of simple animation and storytelling that you might find in any children’s show. It’s a show that’s tailor-made for anyone who’s struggling with the monotony of office life, tired of their pig of a boss, or a fan of death metal freakouts.
9. Kill la Kill
I could probably tell you anything, but the second I start talking about the part where there are evil clothes trying to drain your life force as you wear them, I’m probably going to lose you. What you need to know about Kill la Kill is that it’s probably one of the most insane and unique anime on this one list. While Kill la Kill is often compared to another anime series (we’ll get to that one a bit later...just drill down the list a bit further), Ryuko’s journey from the worst new kid around to the all-around hero is something you shouldn’t miss.
8. Death Note
Have you heard the news about the good lord Kira? He’ll cleanse this earth of all the criminals and leave a utopia for the righteous. At least that’s what the fanatics believe after Light Yagami decides to pick up the Death Note. Death Note has some many harsh twists and turns that you’ll hardly have a clue what’s coming next. The truly epic and deadly battle of wits, played by the series protagonist Kira and his adversary, is really a sight to behold. Is Kira right? Does he deserve to win? If you have yet to dive in then it’s probably time to believe the hype.
7. Devilman Crybaby
Anyone familiar with this iteration of Devilman Crybaby knows that it is most definitely the most graphic entry on this list. The show has a lot to unpack beneath its layers of graphic violence and sex. In Devilman Crybaby, the world is being taken over by demons who are latching on to human bodies and taking over anyone they can. It illustrates what can happen when a society gives into its fear and spreads panic based on unfounded rumors spread by the media. It’s also one of the most surreal and psychedelic anime you’re likely to find not just on Netflix but anywhere.
6. Your Lie In April
Your Lie In April is a beautifully written and animated series following a teenage boy named Kousei as he navigates school life, new friends, and his complicated relationship with music. For anyone looking to avoid spoilers, just know that it is absolutely something you should go watch right now. For everyone else, its beautiful tones and animations are what will draw you into this series but it’s the story and its heartbreaking ending that will really keep the series in your thoughts until long after you’ve finished it.
5. Fate Stay/Fate Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works
While some of the more recent additions to the Fate series on Netflix haven’t been the best examples of the series, these two certainly hold up quite nicely. The Fate series revolves around a magical battle royale with paired magicians and familiars teaming up to fight for the mythical Holy Grail. The last participants stranding receive any wish of their choice; nothing is prohibited by the Grail. Throughout the series, we see exactly the depths people will sink to in order to gain their wishes. The effects of the Holy Grail Wars can be devastating and longlasting, so prepare for a bumpy ride.
Castlevania is one of those titles that feels like it probably shouldn’t have worked out as well as it did. First off, it’s a video game adaptation, so that’s a reason to be wary of the project right there. Second, there was just too much history to pack into such a short series (the first season was only four episodes long). Somehow, the story of Trevor Belmont and his legendary rendezvous with Adrian Fahrenheit Tepes (better known as Alucard, son of Dracula) manages to pull it all together. The animation and fight scenes are beautiful and fluid. Even the evil Dracula is written so well that you can’t help but ache for him a little as season two comes to a close.
3. One-Punch Man
One-Punch Man took the powerful hero trope that we’ve all become so familiar with over the years and completely flipped it on its head. We follow Saitama, Japan's—and probably the world’s—strongest hero. He's a simple guy who’s just a hero for fun. Throughout the course of the first season, One-Punch Man shows viewers that you can have some of the most beautiful animated fight scenes in recent memory and still be one of the funniest anime around. Season two is just around the corner, so now is the perfect time to catch up on the first season before missing out on the premiere in April.
2. Gurren Lagann
Gurren Lagann is…. kinda dumb. But it’s also one of the best anime on Netflix by far. From the awesome and inspiring Kamina to mech battles that can only be described as a celestial light orchestra performing "Pandemonium" in D major, it’s astonishing just how much you can fit into 27 short episodes. Gurren Lagann is just fun and it doesn’t waste a lot of time taking itself too seriously, just like our last entry. If you happen to be looking for something to take your mind off of things, and you’re in the mood to watch some of the most incredibly animated mech battles in anime history, it’s probably time to give Gurren Lagann a watch or a rewatch. It’s a great watch either way.
1. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Oh, man... Where to begin? Following the Elric brothers during their journey to become whole is just a staple in the anime community. This series just has so much going for it. There’s all of the amazing characters, the overarching themes of loss, the perils of war, the dangers of blindly following science or faith, and probably one of the biggest slaps to the face in anime history brought to you via Shou Tucker. Even fans that have already watched Fullmetal Alchemist can start Brotherhood and find something new in a series that sticks much more closely to the original manga.