Over the years, the anime genre has grown to be more and more popular and slowly developed its own niche in mainstream media. It has now grown so much that a lot of anime is now being featured on popular streaming services and has become available to people who might have never been exposed to it before. Let’s take a look at some of the best anime TV series (and maybe some of the best anime movies) that are currently available to watch on Netflix.
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1. Death Note – Psychological Thriller
Death Note is an anime TV series that follows the story of Light Yagami, a genius high school student who stumbles upon a notebook that he soon discovers has the ability to kill anyone whose name is written inside if the one who possesses it can picture their victim’s face.
At first, light is shown to be terrified of the notebook and the power it gives him. As the story progresses and he takes out more and more criminals, he begins to develop a god complex and is set on cleansing the world of its evil, swearing vengeance against any who would dare stand in his way. He earns the nickname “Kira”, and a couple of detectives are set on his path, including L, who begins a violent cat-and-mouse game with the elusive “Kira” and comes very close to figuring out his real identity.
This twisted anime became popular very quickly, though most adaptations made of it focused more on part 1 of the story (the feud between Light and L) than on part 2 (Light’s rivalry with Mello and Near).
The entire Death Note anime TV series is available to watch on Netflix.
2. Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion – Mecha, Action Anime
This show has been adapted into several light novels and manga series. It follows the story of an exiled Prince Lelouch vi Britannia, and his journey for vengeance against his father.
After his mother is brutally murdered and his sister loses her ability to walk and goes blind because of the trauma she has from seeing it, Lelouch’s contempt for his father begins to build when he does nothing about it. Instead, he chooses to use them to further his political agenda and lure the country of Japan into a false sense of security before attacking them with overwhelming force.
Lelouch swears to the friend he made while in Japan that he would have vengeance against his father. It’s only a couple of years later that he is actually provided with the opportunity to exact his revenge against his father when he is saved by a mysterious girl named C.C. during a terrorist attack. She grants him the “power of absolute obedience” or Geass, which will allow him to bend anyone to his will as long as they make direct eye contact with him, though he cannot use it on one person more than once.
On his journey to make the world a better place for his sister, he is going to face a lot of challenges along the way, not fully understanding the true extent of his powers and fighting in battles against armies that will change the world as he knows it forever.
3. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure – Action, Suspense
The anime is as entertaining as its name implies. It has nine-story arcs, each of which has a new set of characters and follows a new protagonist that bares the birthmark of their ancestor as well as a name that can be shortened into JoJo.
The generational conflict that takes place in the show begins with the rivalry between Jonathan Joestar and his adoptive brother Dio Brando, who wants to be the heir of the Joestar family. Given that the conflict continues across generations, you can easily guess how well his plans played out.
The series has become best known for its iconic art style, which gives many of its characters very angular faces, and its reflection of the real world with the addition of supernatural powers. Some characters can psychically project their life energy into a being that possesses powers that are unique to them and that users are able to wield for good or evil.
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4. Neon Genesis Evangelion – Psychological Drama, Apocalyptic, Mecha
The story follows Shinji Ikari and is set 15 after the Second Impact, a global cataclysm during which an explosion so strong was set off that it melted the Antarctic ice caps and shifted the Earth’s Axis. Shinji’s father summons him to Toyko-3 and recruits him as a pilot for one of the Evangelion units (giant bio-machines that sync with their pilot’s nervous system) to fight against beings known as Angels (a race of giant monstrous beings who can only be taken out by the weapons used in the Evangelion units and are determined to destroy humanity once and for all).
Throughout the story, Shinji struggles with love, loss, and depression and has to deal with a lot of strange events that take place, such as discovering a rather twisted secret about one of the pilots that he fought alongside, which reveals a whole lot of other secrets about the people he works for.
While the ending of the two final episodes is a bit abstract and confusing, the series’ success led to the rebirth of the anime industry (and a film was made to help fix the ending).
The entire Neon Genesis Evangelion anime TV series is available on Netflix and worth the watch.
5. Cowboy Bebop – Neo-noir, Sci-fi Space Western
In this classic anime, viewers follow the story of a bounty-hunting crew travelling aboard the Bebop (a spaceship) in a universe where Earth has become almost uninhabitable and so, in order to survive, humanity colonized the moons and more rocky planets in the Solar System.
It centres around the group as they grow and goes on many adventures, taking in bounties and getting themselves into several accidental mishaps along the way. It can get really sad in moments and may leave you questioning your life choices once you finish (which will happen at the end of a lot of anime. A lot of fans hope that they will eventually grow numb to character deaths. Spoiler Alert: They won’t, especially if they enjoy side characters).
6. Hunter x Hunter – Adventure, Fantasy
Hunter x Hunter focuses on Gon Freecss, a young boy who goes on a mission to become a Hunter (a professional who focuses on locating unidentified or rare animal species, hunting lawless people, treasure hunting, and exploring previously unexplored areas) and hopefully finding his father, who he was told was dead but actually just left and became a successful Hunter.
He befriends a couple of other applicants who wish to be Hunters, including a physician and a 12-year-old assassin. Gon also encounters Hisoka, a deadly and mildly creepy transmuter who has taken an interest in him.
He and his friends deal with quite a lot on their journeys to become Hunters, but they are always around to help each other overcome their problems.
7. The Disastrous Life of Saiki K. – Supernatural Comedy
This is a rather entertaining anime that follows the life of Kusou Saiki, a teenager born with supernatural powers (specifically psychokinesis and teleportation). The show was adapted from a series of one-shot chapters that put Kosou and several different scenarios that were mostly normal except that he was doing absolutely everything he could to keep his powers hidden from everyone. This goes about as well as one can expect from an anime.
If you hoping for a quick laugh, this is a great anime TV series for you to watch on Netflix.
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8. Sword Art Online – Sci-fi Adventure
Sword Art Online was adapted from a light novel series and follows Kazuto “Kirito” Kirigaya as he travels through a virtual world that he has been trapped in (along with 10000 other players) and tries to complete the game and return to real life. Along the way, he meets Asuna Yuuki, with whom he forms a romantic relationship and later marries.
In the virtual world, players are threatened with death if they try to forcefully remove their NerveGear (the system which they use to play the game) or if they die in-game. It can be mildly stressful at times, but the anime is a lot of fun and worth a watch.
In the world of Fullmetal Alchemist, alchemy is the most-practised science, and those who do it professionally are able to create anything that they desire (almost – they are forbidden from creating humans and gold).
The anime follows siblings Edward and Alphonse Elric, who try to bring their mother back with alchemy, which backfires and (thanks to the Law of Equivalent Exchange) costs Edward his leg and Alphonse his life, but Edward is quick to sacrifice his arm to retrieve the soul of his younger brother and bind it to a suit of armour.
Edward becomes a State Alchemist (an alchemist that works for the government) and earns the title of Fullmetal Alchemist. Together, he and his brother are on a mission to find a Philosopher’s Stone (the only things thing that can overrule the Law of Equivalent Exchange) so they can restore their bodies.
There are a lot of twists and turns that may leave you scratching your head, but Fullmetal Alchemist is a lot of fun, plus who doesn’t enjoy watching the chaos of failed alchemy experiments?
10. One-Punch Man – Superhero, Action, Comedy
One-Punch Man follows the story of Saitama, a hero who has trained so hard that he is now able to defeat his enemies with a single punch and has now become bored. He reluctantly mentors a cyborg known as Genos and performs a lot of heroic deeds that go unnoticed because he doesn’t rank particularly high as a hero.
It’s a particularly entertaining anime, especially when the main protagonist is facing down enemies who have typical “intense anime fight scene” facial expressions while he just stares at them with a vaguely bored expression, letting them give their speeches before punching them in the face.
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11. Attack On Titan – Dark Fantasy, Horror, Post-apocalyptic, Action, Adventure
Attack on Titan follows the story of Eren Yeager and his quest to kill all the Titans (massive creatures who have a habit of eating humans) after one of them eats his mother. He joins the military alongside his adopted sister and best friend. Eren accidentally discovers that he himself can turn into a titan.
Eren’s new discovery leads to a whole lot of secrets being uncovered that begin to change the way the characters think about their existence and question the truth about their home and what they have been led to believe about it and themselves for so many years. This causes an unfortunate turn in Eren and a very bloody war.
If you enjoy unexpected plot twists, violent deaths, the very audible (and mildly disgusting) crunch of bones, and many, many character deaths, then you will enjoy Attack on Titan.
12. Devilman Crybaby – Dark Fantasy, Superhero, Action
Devilman Crybaby is a more graphic anime that features some mature themes. It follows the story of Akira Fudo, a high school student who lives with the family of his long-time crush (and only friend) Miki Makimura and is able to transform into a devilman after a demon tries to possess him, but his pure heart instead allows him to gain the demons abilities which he then uses to defeat the demons that threaten the people he loves.
What follows is a series of less-than-helpful events and a couple of betrayals as Akira slowly discovers the truth about the demons and who is leading the demons while the world around him descends into chaos. The ending is quite sad, but the show is well worth watching if you don’t mind the graphic brutality of the story.
13. Demon Slayer – Dark Fantasy Adventure
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaibo focuses on the adventure of the young demon slayer Tanjiro Kamado and his quest to turn his sister Nezuko, who had been transformed into a demon, back into a human. He is recruited by a member of the Demon Slayer Corps and begins the very gruelling journey to save his sister and avenge his fallen family members.
Along the way, he and Nezuko make friends with an unlikely pair of fellow members of the Demon Slayer Corps (the cowardly Zenitsu Agatsuma and the brash Inosuke Hashibira) and, together, the four of them go on many harrowing missions.
The anime has equally sweet and stressful moments that will leave you regularly worried for the safety of the characters.
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14. Blue Exorcist – Dark Fantasy Adventure
This anime follows the story of Rin Okumura, who discovers that he and his twin brother are the sons of Satan. After their guardian Shiro Fujimoto, Rin gains demonic abilities and swears vengeance against his father, choosing to become an Exorcist like his guardian.
Over the course of the anime, Rin becomes close with his fellow students and brother and, together, they train to defeat Satan and protect the world from any more of his attacks.
15. Tokyo Ghoul – Dark Fantasy Thriller
Tokyo Ghoul follows the story of Ken Kaneki, a student who barely manages to survive his date with a ghoul (though, to be fair, he didn’t realize she was a ghoul) and becomes a half-ghoul after the unfortunate encounter. He now has to learn how to function in normal society without revealing what he has become to his friends and fitting in with ghoul society.
16. Castlevania – Dark Fantasy, Horror, Action
Castlevania is based on the Japanese video game franchise of the same name. After the wife of Dracula is burned at the stake for being accused of using witchcraft, the ancient vampire declares war and exacts his wrath on the people of Wallachia through the release of demonic creatures.
The Netflix original anime follows Trevor Belmont, the last surviving member of a monster hunter family, who offers to take the fight to Dracula. The series is a bit graphic, with plenty of violent acts, such as gouging people’s eyes out and babies being eaten. But there’s no doubt that Castlevania is definitely one of the best anime TV series produced by Netflix.
17. Seven Deadly Sins – Fantasy
This anime focuses on the journey taken by Elizabeth Liones (a princess) and Meliodas, the leader of the seven deadly sins and the sin of Wrath, and Hawk, the talking pig, as they travel to go and find the rest of the Sins and clear their name. It’s one of the more cliché anime shows, but the characters are entertaining, and the sword fights are a lot of fun to watch,
18. Beastars – Fantasy, Coming-of-age, Drama
In Beastars, the world is full of anthropomorphic animals, and the story is focused on Legoshi, a large grey wolf who is timid and quiet. Following the murder of Tem, an alpaca and friend of Legoshi’s, the already shaky relationship between carnivores and herbivores in the school becomes worse. At the same time, Legoshi starts to develop feelings for Haru, a dwarf rabbit.
This is another great Netflix original anime TV series worth a watch.
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19. Cells at Work! – Comedy
Cells at Work! takes place inside a body and tells the story of a rookie red blood cell and the white blood cell she encounters quite frequently when she gets lost during her deliveries. The red blood cell is determined to do her job well, and the white blood cell, while ruthless when it comes to doing his own job, is a very gentle individual and quite soft-spoken.
The interactions between the two of them are quite entertaining, and it’s the perfect thing to watch if you’re looking for a light-hearted anime TV series.
20. Carole & Tuesday – Musical
This is an adorably sweet anime that takes place on a partially terraformed Mars and follows Tuesday Simmons, the daughter of a politician who runs away to pursue her dream, and Carole Stanley, an orphaned refugee from Earth.
The two of them are both musically gifted, Tuesday with her guitar and Carole with a piano, so they decide to team up and write songs together as Carole & Tuesday. This is another anime to watch if you’re looking for something light-hearted. Just be warned, it is very easy to become emotionally invested in the characters.
21. Food Wars – Slice of Life, Comedy
This is another fun and light-hearted anime. It follows the story of Some Yukihira, a teenager who wants to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a chef at the family restaurant. His father enrols him at an elite culinary school and there Soma is faced with a couple of food-related (and occasionally social) challenges.
Maybe don’t watch this anime if you’re prone to getting hungry while watching food shows.
22. The Way of the Househusband – Slice of Life, Action, Comedy
This anime follows the adventures of Tatsu, a once feared yakuza boss who went by the name the Immortal Dragon, now retired from his life of crime and living his best life as a househusband who supports his wife, Miku, the breadwinner of the two.
The anime shows Tatsu in a number of humorous events where his intimating personality is often a major contrast to the domestic tasks he is carrying out. It’s made even better (for audiences) by his constantly running into people from his old life.
If you’re looking for a good laugh, search no further. The anime TV series has won quite a few awards for Netflix, including Best Overall Series at the Pixiv Comic Ranking Awards.
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23. Violet Evergarden – Steampunk, Coming-of-age
This anime TV show tells the story of Violet Evergarden, a young ex-soldier who is trying to reintegrate back into society after fighting in a war for which she was raised to be a deadly weapon. During the war, she had been badly injured and she lost the only person she had ever held dear, confused by their parting words.
She begins to work as an Auto Memory Doll (someone who transcribes the thoughts of others onto paper) and goes on an adventure that will reshape and heal not only her but the clients she writes for
This anime TV series is not only beautifully drawn but also a beautifully told story that will pull on the heartstrings of anyone who decides to watch it. The emotions of Violet and the other characters are explored in a loving and sincere way, and the story will very likely have you crying several times.
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Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Little Witch Academia, Vinland Saga, Aggretsuko, Ouran High School Host Club, Great Pretender, Inuyasha, and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.
What is your favourite anime TV series to watch on Netflix?