Netflix has added many amazing titles to its anime collection over the past year. There are many originals, in addition to the classic series, that can compete with well-known titles. It has a wide range of genres to choose from: you can find a lot of comedy, romance, and action series on the streaming service. We are happy to help you explore the most bizarre corners of Netflix to find binge-worthy content.
The Paste editors have listed The 25 Best Anime Series on Netflix, Ranked has to offer (starting with our favorite), and are sure they will be a hit with both anime novices as well as experienced weeaboos.
This shonen fighting is amazing. This anime is captivating with its complex magic system and smooth-animated, hand-to-hand combat. This anime is known for its unique iconography.
Naruto teaches teens that good people can turn to evil and that relationships are broken down. Masashi Kishimoto introduces us to the story of a group of ninjas who live and die to save their community from their father. While Naruto loses Sasuke and relentlessly pursues him to bring him back, the story also focuses on Naruto’s community at the leaf village.
These metaseries address unconditional friendship, revenge, forgiveness, and unity in the face of war and terror. This anime, which was the precursor to Naruto Shippuden, lays the foundation for a network and conspiracies, as well as (secretly) connected subplots, that will be realized in the second series. Beware of filler.
Inuyasha to me is a sign of simpler times. There was no need for a lot of action, funny dialogue, or melodramatic ’90s style. This was the Demon Slayer show before we loved ourselves. We would stay up past curfew to catch it back-to-back with Adult Swim (often in nonsequential order, but that doesn’t really matter much because of Inuyasha’s long episodes and lots of filler). The show holds up quite well, making it a great choice for groups. You can even take shots every time Kagome or Inuyasha starts to scream at each other. Or every time a beautiful woman turns to be a horrible buglike demon. Also, you can take a shot at every instance Inuyasha completely misunderstands what it means to be respectful. You can watch it all, with over 200 episodes and four feature-length films. It’s easy to get into and out of.
3. Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic
Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic tells a captivating story that is driven by ideas of wealth and friendship, as well as the value of human life. The story takes place in a vast, deserted land with hidden treasures and dungeons that are waiting to be discovered. Alibaba, the idealistic, young lead, meets Aladdin the young, powerful type. They fight the businessman who enslaved their children and rescue Morgiana from her sadistic slave trader who used to use her as a bodyguard. Her incredibly strong legs make her the team’s muscle and balance the group’s dynamic. It’s a visually stunning experience to watch the animated Arabian Nights theme. The aesthetics are classic anime, but the fight scenes (Alibaba’s in particular) can sometimes be slow. The series is worth a look.
4. Sword Art Online
Sword Art Online is an action/romance that takes place inside a video game, where players die in real life when their HP hits zero. We begin with Kirito, a solo player who seems unfazed by the danger of SAO, but still harbors trauma from a violent experience at a party. He’s a likable protagonist, and most gamers are likely to identify with his “solo player’s hubris” which drives a lot of the badassery in the series. That badassery is matched by the equally likable female protagonist, Asuna. The video-game world this cute couple gets to live in completely transforms the dynamic of their relationship. The two stop put down their swords and move in together, pool their resources, and build a life for themselves in SAO. The intimacies of their relationship illustrate a dazzling escape from the loneliness that video games are meant to cure, but exacerbate sometimes. Not to mention the opening is one of the best.
5. Hunter x Hunter
Many shonen (and American TV series) focus on young characters who use supernatural abilities and deductive reasoning in problem-solving. Hunter is an uncommon find in this homogeneous archetype due to its attention to detail. The anime has many subplots that are whimsical and don’t always lead to a major story, but they let you know that the characters of this world existed before you began watching them.
Hunter starts with Gon Freecss as he embarks on a journey to be a Hunter. He is your typical shonen savior-figure protagonist, but he doesn’t repeat the repetitive mantras. The series’ greatest strength is his determination to see the best of people. His dedication to helping others is a driving force behind the plot. He becomes friends with a boy from his family of assassins and their polarized relationship creates an inspiring connection. You must make an emotional investment in the compelling relationship between these two boys. Togashi stresses their youth and inexperience, pitting them against more experienced villains and introducing mentors who help them grow. Togashi is meticulous in tailoring the abilities of his characters to each person, but all people draw their strength from their resolve. You will be changed by the acts of determination and hard work you will see in this anime.
Togashi has been struggling with a medical condition for many years. However, he insists that the manga is not over. I hope the seventh season of the remastered anime is soon.
6. Neon Genesis: Evangelion
Most people are familiar with Neon Genesis Evangelion by now. This is although there are so many branded merchandise and constant references in popular media. It is difficult to discuss a show with as much history in animation as Evangelion. Initially touted as a meaningful deconstruction of the mecha popularized by Gundam and Macross, the franchise later became bloated and rife with superfluous content much like the melodramas-as-merchandise they lampooned years before.
Evangelion’s influence can still be felt, with a cultural overlay visible anywhere from Persona 3 and Gurren Lagann. It has become a phenomenon that seems far beyond the show’s original text. Like Star Wars, Hideaki Anno, the original creator of the franchise, has lost control and predicted the end of anime. He once said that Japan’s animation industry is “moving inertia”.
7. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
Brotherhood has been deemed the best anime experience. It’s clear why. Brotherhood is a faithful adaptation of Hiromu Arakawa’s popular manga series. It deals with loss, grief, and war in mature and original ways that are ahead of its time in almost every aspect. The show’s pace is perfect, with well-crafted arcs that link into each other and support a larger global narrative on certain themes. Brotherhood is the perfect length. It never feels rushed and shows how flexible and adaptable the conventions in shounen anime are.
Brotherhood features a large cast of characters from different nationalities and ideologies. The show uses these forces to create factions, alliances, and foils that flow in multiple directions, mirroring the messy and chaotic nature of human relationships during wartime. The show’s emotional core centers around two alchemists, Ed and Alphonse. They are sponsored by the authoritarian Amestris army. This is not your typical military drama. Alphonse and Ed quickly discover how far Amestris’s authoritarianism can go.
Brotherhood shines in its sensitivity to every character’s struggles for their wants and dealing with their mistakes. Particular emphasis is placed on the plights and plights of women and minorities. After trying forbidden alchemy to save their mother, Ed and Alphonse are left dealing with the consequences. Their childhood friend Winry, who was an emergency midwife, is heroically portrayed later. The scar is a serial killer and brutal killer who was initially introduced. However, he is now one of the last indigenous Ishvalans. This ethnic group was expelled during colonial wars at the hands of Amestris. His odyssey rings more true as we move further into a post-terrorist world. This is why the series continues its success today: it avoids clichés to make compelling points about human consciousness.
This anime adaptation of Type-Moon’s Fate is the second. It features 25 episodes and follows a group of mages in a battle for control of a mythical chalice, which can grant the wishes of the possessor. The Grail has been a subject of three families of mages. Each war is waged by seven Masters, who summon Servants (immensely powerful figures from legend and world history) to fight for their side. This will appeal to history junkies who are always curious about who will win a battle between King Arthur (it’s not Holy Grail), and Alexander the Great. The show’s somewhat banal premise is balanced by beautiful animation, complex characters, and heartbreaking plot twists.
Baki showcases hyper-masculine legends in a riveting story about a young fighter who trains to defeat his father. This intense shonen has some of the most exciting showdowns you could imagine between the best and worst men. It’s possible to make a Netflix episode with all the clips of men flexing and straining their muscles. The characters’ hyper-tough voices and muscles aren’t enough to make them the meathead tool spirit driving the series. Baki questioned the validity of traditional ideas about strength and challenged them to be relevant to mercy, freedom, and justice.
10. Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure is the anime that I have been turning to for R&R. It’s a manga full of men who look like classic sculptures, arguing loudly over psychic battles. JJBA is a universe that encapsulates a fraction of what seems like hours. JJBA goes beyond that. It’s an epic journey that takes you on a trip that will last a century. It draws heavily from classic rock, Indiana Jones, Versace, and any other interest that Hirohiko Araki may have. This language is fast-paced and easy to learn. JJBA is still one of the most important pieces of media in the anime world.
Beastars is the best anime that came out of 2019. Although this may seem controversial, last year was filled with beautiful animation. From the fluid, ballet-like fighting of Demon Slayer, Mob Psycho 100 II, to the high-stakes tensions of Vinland Saga and The Promised Neverland, it was possibly my favorite year for anime. Despite the offerings of Shinichiro Watanabe and Kunihiko Ikuhara, who are two of my favorite directors, the strangely beautiful melodrama of deer, rabbit, and wolf captured me the most.
The Beastars world is bound by the unbalanced power relations between herbivores, carnivores, and both. The story begins with the brutal murder of Tem, an alpaca student. It is unclear whether there was any schism between students before this incident, but it sure sets everyone off into paranoia. Legoshi, a wolf is a member of the drama club that has been known for its positive and collaborative body of members, which includes tiny squirrels and hulking Tigers. Drama club is the ideal setting for many of the show’s themes. We see not only the struggles of herbivores living in constant fear of being eaten but also the stereotypes and prejudices that are used to denigrate carnivores. They, on the other hand, are extremely docile, peaceful, and docile.
12. Devilman Crybaby
Go Nagai, to put it mildly, is a man with a reputation. He is known for being the creator of “Super Robo”, a subgenre of mecha that was used in the creation of Mazinger Z. His works also push taboos, which led to the shift of anime from a child-oriented industry to more sexually charged content. Devilman is a good example. Masaaki Yuasa’s modern reprise of Akira Fudo’s “love story” is just as violent and risky as Nagai’s original manga. This is a fitting tribute both to the creator and the character’s rich legacy. The influence of Devilman can be seen everywhere, from Berserk’s Griffith’s Luciferian beauty to the apocalyptic loneliness in Neon Genesis Evangelion. Devilman Crybaby is regarded as not only one of the most popular series of recent memory but also one that will endure the test of time over the years.
13. Little Witch Academia
Trigger’s Brand New Animal is set to be available on Netflix in the latter part of this year. This makes it a great time to revisit some of the most overlooked work by the studio. Little Witch Academia was created by Yoh Yoshinari. His work can also be seen in Gurren Lagann and FLCL. The show is a spin-off from two animated short films. The plot is very similar to The Worst Witch series. It concerns Atsuko Kagari, a young girl who dreams of becoming a world-class witch like her hero Shiny Chariot. Despite her non-magical heritage, she manages to get into Luna Nova Magical Academy, where Chariot is an alum.
Little Witch Academia has beautiful pastel animation and lots of heart. It is an animated joy ride that will delight animation fans from start to finish. In its first half, the tone is lighthearted, with episodes mocking Twilight fandoms and slapstick comedy evidently influenced by Chuck Jones’s Looney Tunes. The show then slowly ramps up the intrigue in its second half. It shines in its exploration of magic’s meaning during modern times. Although it is both an entertainment and utility, the series slowly reveals that it will be replaced by technological and automated solutions. Little Witch Academia is a delightful show for children and adults that will appeal to fans of Dr. Seuss, Harry Potter, and Ghibli.
14. Attack on Titan
Attack on Titan was a cultural phenomenon that burst onto the scene back in 2013. The anime is based on Hajime Isayama’s manga series. It depicts a post-apocalyptic world in which humanity faces an unstoppable battle against the Titans, a race that is a cannibalistic race of humanoid giants. Eren Yeager is a young man who was raised in one of the last cities left on Earth. He enlists in the military’s Survey Corps to defend his homeland and seek revenge. Attack on Titan is a David vs. Goliath story with high-tech superhero drama. It features Goya-esque monstrosities that devour hapless villages, political intrigue, subterfuge, and the simmering tension of unrequited love. A host of memorable characters make humanity’s final stand personal and worth the effort.
Kakegurui, a bizarre work with increasing stakes and devolution of mental state, centers around its unpredictable and deranged lead. Studio MAPPA’s stunning animation (Kids on the Slope and Yuri on Ice!) gives Kakegurui grotesque sexuality mixed with twisted power dynamics. The result is something that resembles Yu-Gi-Oh!, with disturbing psychological horror. Because of its absurdly resonant philosophy and its maximalist bleeding-out style, it’s an anime you won’t be able to look away from. Few shows can move you through all emotions so quickly, especially if they are focused on gambling.
16. Soul Eater
This series follows Maka Albarn, her friends Black Star, Death the Kid, and a team of weapon masters who train at the Death Weapon Meister Academy. Maka’s father, the Grim Reaper, is one of eight death scythes. He is the school’s dean. We follow Maka’s struggle to live up to her parents’ expectations and maintain a healthy relationship with Soul, her weapon. To be strong, weapons and meisters have to resonate with their souls. All seven students (Death the Kid has two pistols, Liz, and Patty) suffer from insecurities which keep their bodies and mthatout of sync. These characters’ fears and insecurities become plot devices to comment on the role they play in war and violence. The series, like many others, explores the motivations of each hero and villain to fight. However, Soul Eater stresses that fear is at the root and source of all evil and malice. You will find many unique fight scenes, from a parasitic demon blade controlling its anxiety-ridden wielder to an insect that can suck someone’s blood to become the size of a mammoth. The series matches its deep commentary with goofy comedy, so you get a balanced experience.
17. Cells At Work
The animation is clean and beautiful as you would expect from Aniplex, with a charming, upbeat opening. Cells At Work is an energetic comedy that creates a world inside the human body. We follow a red blood cell that is prone to accidents as she attempts to complete her tasks within the body. She stumbles upon some of the most dangerous bacteria and viruses. Once you stop counting, the number of high-danger emergencies these cells are facing becomes quite funny. It’s funny to watch these anthropogenic microorganisms make bloody murder at the smallest of scrape wounds. Even more hilarious are the manga-style adaptations of scientific processes within the body. Where else can you watch the exchange between a dendritic cell and a T-cell rewritten as a go-get-a-pep-talk-and-power-up-to-defeat-the-bad-guy scene? Osmosis James may be the best, but the white blood cells in this series bring a shonen-like fighter’s spirit and deductive reasoning to create an even more bizarre experience.
18. The Disastrous Life of Saiki K: Reawakened
This is the second part of a comedy about an adolescent boy who was born with psychic abilities. It’s possible to think that he uses his psychic powers to make life more glamorous or to fulfill a self-righteous vow to be a vigilante. But, he isn’t. He wants to get home safely and not hear about spoilers from his favorite shows. Kusuo has to deal with the inconveniences that psychic powers can bring. He also needs to keep his powers secret from his peers, who seem to be a bit nimble. The second series reimagines some of the bizarre situations we enjoyed in the first series and adds six more episodes. One episode is about a creepy-looking teacher who is the peeping tom everyone is searching for. The Disastrous Life and Death of Saiki K.: Reawakened was a Netflix original. Therefore, the writers tried to appeal to a wider audience. The creators managed to balance the absurdity of Japanese anime comedy with the dry, sarcastic tone that is typical in American sitcoms. Netflix viewers will find it easy to laugh along.
The protagonist Ichigo has more to his gigantic sword than that. He is brave and compassionate and as a “Soul Reaper” is responsible for protecting humanity from evil spirits. Let’s not forget. Bleach is all sword. It’s not like Netflix forgot the sword when they made a Bleach live-action movie. This would not have lasted for eight years and 366 episodes. It also has more manga pages than anime. It’s a Zangetsu zanpakuto sword.
20. Fate/Stay Night
Fate Stay Night is the encore for Fate/Zero. It continues the story of the prequel. Tohsaka’s granddaughter Rin is 17 years old when she summons Archer. One of her classmates summons Saber. They fight in the Holy Grail War together. Although they are not as intense and cold as Kiritsugu’s younger leads, they provide a more uplifting adventure through the Holy War. Although some conflicting love triangles can be a bit distracting, UFOtable still brought their sharp animations that allow for fast fight scenes. Flashbacks are less frequent and monologuing is reduced. There are more slow-motion and close-up shots of servants exchanging blows, showcasing their noble phantasms.
21. Ouran High School
Ouran High School Host Club is a comedy of the shoujo style. It often manipulates and abuses our expectations of romantic animated comedies. The story centers on Haruhi Fujioka who is a normal girl attending Ouran Academy with a substantial scholarship. She is a pragmaticist who doesn’t agree with shallow lifestyles and her uncoordinated hair and slouchy clothes make her mistaken for a boy. Haruhi ends up being indebted to the school’s host club. They all gradually realize she is a pragmatist who disagrees with shallow lifestyles and is tasked to make Haruhi look like a boy until she repays what she owes.
22. Berserk the Golden Age
A TV series that aired in 1997 is considered the first adaptation of Kentaro Miura’s visceral, viscera-laden manga berserk. While the two previous films from this trilogy, 15 years ago, are often treated with scorn by anime experts, the final installment is just as captivating and as violent. The grimdark fantasy is set in medieval Europe and follows Guts, a sellsword who is forced into joining the Band of the Hawk, a mercenary group. Guts defeat the leader twice in single combat. It’s all blood and Guts from then on. This vicious cycle of assassinations and sieges, duels and battles that draw humans, bears, and demons into its vortex is an all-consuming one, with all sides vying for power, sex and greed. It’s also the third entry, Descent. It’s just as gripping and depressing as Game of Thrones.
23. Pop Team Epic
Pop Team Epic is an unusual experience that’s broken down into 10-minute segments. Then, the loops back with the same script but different-sex voice actors. The main characters, Popuko and Pipimi, are voiced by two completely different actors. This draws on seiyuu, which is easily recognizable for anyone who has ever been involved with anime. This all contributes to the show’s unique yet familiar vibe. Pop Team Epic is based on the 4koma (4-panel comic) with the same name. It fits the description of “a show about everything” better than Seinfeld. The Robot Chicken-Esque focus on surrealism, dark humor, and pop culture is what makes Pop Team Epic stand out. It uses iconic slice-of-life comedies like Azumanga Daioh and Nichijou! as a foundation to create a deconstructive and immediate playground of crazy situations and industry in-jokes.
24. One-Punch Man
One-Punch Man’s baseball park madness is amazing, even by the standards of superheroes. A 25-year old college-graduate saves a blonde, rosy-cheeked boy from the clutches of a lobster-man monster (see? I mean? He gives up his search for a job as a salaried worker and devotes himself to a three-year training program to become a hero. His hair naturally falls out. Saitama, the world’s strongest superhero, has a Jim Lee-Esque physique and a face that would be right at home in a Charles Schultz comic strip. He is also gifted with the incredible ability to defeat enemies with one punch. Apart from its excellent animation and fight scenes courtesy of Madhouse, One-Punch Man is a series that has a unique appeal. Its commitment to being a superhero comedy is filtered through the childlike imagination of a child. Every otherworldly enemy is quickly beaten to a pulp by Saitama’s indifference.
25. Seven Deadly Sins
Seven Deadly Sins was one of the original Netflix fighting series. It’s very exciting. The anime tells the story of a group of magically gifted fighters named after the series’ creators. As their captain, Sin of Wrath Meliodas assembles them against the Holy Knights, we get to know each Sin. Because the show is paced well, each character has a backstory that allows us to build anticipation about their abilities and how they will develop. The animations are amazing because Aniplex was involved in their production. Although the characters, stories, and powers should be authentic, fanservice is what keeps this series from being more widely recognized in the canon. (Jiggle-effect and groping won’t get you far. This anime’s fight scenes are exceptional because of the animations, powers, and combination attacks.