The Best Anime On Netflix Streaming

first_imgCurious as to the best streaming device for your buck? Look here.In the olden days, getting access to anime was a tremendous pain in the ass. For every series that got dubbed and aired on American television, there were dozens if not hundreds more that only made their way over on quasi-legal videotapes or bootleg DVDs. Fans of Japanese animation learned to work around it, but the advent of fast, reliable streaming video changed everything.Netflix’s initial anime offerings were pretty scarce, but they’ve noticed the demand is there and beefed up their selection considerably. Here’s our list of the absolute best series to watch.This might change as the service gains the rights to new shows and loses the rights to others, so bookmark the page and come back often.Gurren LagannAfter the human race is forced underground due to attacks by the Spiral King Lordgenome, they suffer an isolated and pathetic existence until a digger named Simon unearths a giant robot that he uses to break through to the surface and fight back. It’s a bog-standard premise but studio Gainax executes it with heaps of style. The animation is crisp, clear and well-designed, and the plot is a non-stop roller coaster of continually rising stakes. If you just want some popcorn anime that won’t challenge you and scratches all the comfort food itches, Gurren Lagann is it.Kill la KillCreated by production studio Trigger, Kill la Kill is a wild and violent take on high school combat. Ryuko Matoi is an orphaned schoolgirl who finds herself in a school dominated by a student council that wears uniforms that give them superhuman powers. Armed with a pair of scissors and a sentient uniform of her own, Matoi must beat the crap out of everybody in her path as she tries to get to the bottom of her father’s mysterious death. The setup is pretty basic, but the sheer gusto with which Trigger tackles the animation makes it well worth watching.Puella Magi Madoka MagicaOne of the more successful anime series of recent years, Puella Magi Madoka Magica took the “magical girl” trope and brought it into the 21st century with a new approach. When a group of female students takes on the mantle of supernatural powers to battle malevolent “witches,” things don’t always work out as well as they’d thought. The process of gaining their abilities involves selling their soul to a mysterious entity, and if they get too overcome by despair, they transform into the very monsters they fight. It’s extremely impressive visually and the complex, multilayered plot is challenging for anime.AggretsukoFrom the mascot maniacs at Sanrio comes Netflix exclusive anime Aggretsuko, a very different offering from the rest of the streaming service’s productions. Retsuko is a red panda who works for an accounting company (everybody else is an animal too, it’s cool). During the day, she’s a model employee, but at night she lets off her tension by singing death metal karaoke at a bar. Despite the funny animal trappings, this is a remarkably astute and progressive workplace comedy that has a lot to say about sexism, overwork and romance. The second season is in production and scheduled to drop next year.RobotechIn many ways the series that started it all in the Western world, Robotech took three unrelated Japanese series and mashed them together into one mammoth overarching plotline. American audiences had never seen anything like it, and even though the dub certainly has its share of detractors it’s a vital document in anime history. Netflix has the first and most popular season, based on Super Dimension Fortress Macross, streaming now. When humanity comes into conflict with the alien Zentraedi, it opens our frontiers into space and the mysterious Protoculture.Rurouni KenshinWhat Netflix lacks in current anime it more than makes up for in all-time classics. Rurouni Kenshin is one of the most influential series of all time, the tale of a swordsman who wanders Meiji-era Japan helping people out while upholding a vow to never again take another life. It’s originally ran from 1996 to 1998, and despite being two decades old still holds up really well. The series was aired on Toonami here in the States, but edited for content. Netflix’s version has all of the problematic stuff happily restored. This one’s great for old-school adventure done right.Soul EaterBased on the manga series by Atsushi Ōkubo, Soul Eater hits all the sweet spots of shonen anime. The students of the Death Weapon Meister Academy must collect the souls of 99 evil humans and one witch to evolve their weapons into “death scythes.” Here’s the twist, though: their weapons can transform into people and have personalities and needs of their own. It’s the kind of gratuitously silly concept that thrives in Japanese animation, and the three main characters and their partner weapons are fun characters. Lots of big battles and set pieces make this a kinetic, fast-moving watch.Devilman CrybabyBased on the classic Go Nagai manga, Devilman Crybaby has everything we want in an anime – outrageous violence, motions raised to a fever pitch and stunningly weird character design. When a high school student becomes the host for an ultra-powerful demon, it kicks off an orgy of destruction and chaos that is both visceral and hilarious. Over the course of ten episodes, Devilman Crybaby escalates to a fever pitch as the stakes get higher, and the climax has to be seen to be believed. Very much worth your time.Your Lie in AprilFor something a little more subdued, Your Lie in April is relationship anime that plunges deep into the human heart. When teenage piano prodigy Kosei Arima’s cruel, domineering mother dies unexpectedly, it sends him into a deep depression that removes the joy of music from his life seemingly forever. Four years later, he meets a teenage girl violinist with a carefree spirit that hides a dark truth, and the pair bond and restore their shattered psyches through performance. It’s touching, beautifully animated and eminently binge-watchable.Sword Art OnlinePeople getting caught in video games has been an anime trope for seemingly forever, but Sword Art Online handles it in entertaining fashion. When a popular VR game imprisons a group of 10,000 players inside it, they have to band together and fight through a 100 floor tower of monsters. If they die in the game, they die in real life, and they can’t unplug until they’re done. The plot moves at a brisk clip, with fun fights and well-constructed characters.Knights of SidoniaAnother series snapped up for exclusive streaming by Netflix, Knights of Sidonia is solid sci-fi that goes to some surprising places. Taking place a thousand years after Earth was destroyed by morphing aliens, survivors live on a spaceship that has developed its own bizarre culture of genetic experimentation. The aliens, known as the Gauna, are still looking to take the last remaining humans out, so they fight back (in classic fashion) with giant robot suits called Gardes. This is a solid, modern take on a classic concept that manages to fuse in a bunch of cutting-edge science fiction ideas along with the crisp action and solid character work.Removed From NetflixSadly, shows don’t stay streaming forever, and every month the selection on Netflix changes. When a show gets taken off of the service, we’ll put it down here and let you know where else you can get it.Deadman WonderlandAfter a catastrophic earthquake sinks most of Japan into the ocean, high school student Ganta Igarashi’s life gets even worse when he’s framed for the murder of his entire class and sentenced to Deadman Wonderland, a bizarre prison slash theme park. While behind bars he develops blood-controlling powers and hunts for the actual murderer. He also has to fight in vicious gladiatorial games where losers get body parts removed if they survive. This one’s pretty balls-out weird and where it lacks in coherent plot it more than makes up for in spectacle.Buy on DVD or Blu-RayStream on Amazon VideoPsycho-PassA sort of spin on the Minority Report concept, Psycho-Pass is set in a dystopian future where everybody is forced to undergo constant monitoring of their mental and emotional state to catch them before they commit crimes. The show’s protagonist, police inspector Akane Tsunemori, is tasked with hunting down a master criminal whose brain doesn’t exhibit any of the giveaways, making scanning useless. It’s brisk, violent, and explores some tricky moral ground.Buy on DVD or Blu-RayStream on Amazon VideoSamurai ChamplooDirector Shinichirō Watanabe followed up his justifiably legendary Cowboy Bebop with this popular series. Merging Edo-era Japanese adventure with a background track of hip-hop beats, Samurai Champloo is iconoclastic and fun as hell. Two swordsmen team up with a young girl on a quest to find a samurai who smells like sunflowers. On the way, they come into contact with a wide array of quirky characters and engage in some thrilling, beautifully-animated swordfights.Buy on DVD or Blu-RayStream on Amazon VideoOuran Highschool Host ClubNot all anime is about swordfights and giant monsters – otaku know that well-rounded characters and high drama also make for unskippable watching. One series that wins raves is Ouran Highschool Host Club, which has two full seasons streaming on Netflix. The show follows a female student who is mistaken for a boy due to her short hair and conscripted into the Host Club, a bizarre group of kids who entertain female students for cash. This is based on a real thing in Japanese culture, but setting it in a high school opens up a whole new world. The show is smart, touching and often quite funny.Buy on DVD or Blu-RayStream on Amazon VideoFairy TailFor many people, anime is like comfort food. We’re not looking for anything to challenge our perceptions or make us think too hard, just something that’ll keep our attention and trigger our happy memories. Shows like Fairy Tail were seemingly made for that purpose. The plot is wafer-thin – a group of five wizards travel a fantasy kingdom battling an evil power – but stories move along at a brisk pace, the animation is charming, and there are tons of episodes to watch.Buy on DVD or Blu-RayStream on Amazon VideoAttack On TitanOne of the most compelling anime series of recent years, Attack On Titan starts with a dynamite premise and then racks up the tension from there. Humanity lives inside walled cities that barely protect them from the Titans, massive cannibalistic giants that roam the wastelands. When the town of Shiganshina is breached, a trio of friends join the Scout Regiment to venture forth and battle the giants. With lots of grisly, uncompromising violence and some very unexpected plot twists, this one will keep you glued to the screen all night. The manga is still being published, so it’s possible the anime will continue after one season.Buy on DVD or Blu-RayStream on Amazon VideoBlack ButlerWhen a young aristocrat seeks revenge against the murderers of his parents, he signs a contract with a demon who masquerades as his butler in this popular horror anime. Protagonist Ciel Phantomhive revels in the chaos and disaster that his infernal manservant provides, but the undercurrent of impending doom gives Black Butler more emotional resonance than your typical anime series. The relationship between the duo is complex and fascinating, plumbing depths that cartoons don’t normally explore. The animation is also of very high quality, and special praise is reserved for the epic theme music.Buy on DVD or Blu-RayStream on Amazon VideoMushishiBased on a popular manga series, Mushishi follows a man named Ginko who travels through Japan investigating “mushi,” primitive spirits that cause trouble. Unlike much of the anime on this list, Mushishi is oddly peaceful, almost pastoral. Ginko’s travels are loose and episodic, never staying in one place too long. There’s not a ton of weight on anything, making it a really nice series to just chill out with on a snowy winter day. It’s also got a great atmosphere, with arresting music and some of the best animated snow ever filmed.Buy on DVD or Blu-RayStream on Amazon VideoBleachBased on one of the most popular manga series of all time, the anime adaptation of Bleach gives you all the swordplay and massive monsters you want. Protagonist Ichigo Kurosaki stumbles into the powers of a Soul Reaper and comes into conflict with all kinds of enemies. The stylish anime stretches across a staggering sixteen seasons, which Netflix only had the first three of. It’s still plenty of intense fights, cool-ass monsters, hot babes and high drama well worth a couple weeks of binge watching.Buy on DVD or Blu-RayStream on Amazon VideoDeath NoteBased on a super-popular manga, Death Note tells the story of Light Yagami, a high school over-achiever who finds a notebook that lets him untraceably murder anybody by writing their name. He attempts to use it to make the world a “better place,” by his notoriously stringent standards. This brings him into conflict with a reclusive young detective and the cat and mouse game the two play is incredibly compelling. Netflix is producing a live-action Westernized version of the story to debut in 2017, but we’re not terribly excited for it.Buy on DVD or Blu-RayStream on Amazon VideoOn the market for an all-in-one streaming media device? Look here.last_img

first_imgCurious as to the best streaming device for your buck? Look here.In the olden days, getting access to anime was a tremendous pain in the ass. For every series that got dubbed and aired on American television, there were dozens if not hundreds more that only made their way over on quasi-legal videotapes or bootleg DVDs. Fans of Japanese animation learned to work around it, but the advent of fast, reliable streaming video changed everything.Netflix’s initial anime offerings were pretty scarce, but they’ve noticed the demand is there and beefed up their selection considerably. Here’s our list of the absolute best series to watch.This might change as the service gains the rights to new shows and loses the rights to others, so bookmark the page and come back often.Gurren LagannAfter the human race is forced underground due to attacks by the Spiral King Lordgenome, they suffer an isolated and pathetic existence until a digger named Simon unearths a giant robot that he uses to break through to the surface and fight back. It’s a bog-standard premise but studio Gainax executes it with heaps of style. The animation is crisp, clear and well-designed, and the plot is a non-stop roller coaster of continually rising stakes. If you just want some popcorn anime that won’t challenge you and scratches all the comfort food itches, Gurren Lagann is it.Kill la KillCreated by production studio Trigger, Kill la Kill is a wild and violent take on high school combat. Ryuko Matoi is an orphaned schoolgirl who finds herself in a school dominated by a student council that wears uniforms that give them superhuman powers. Armed with a pair of scissors and a sentient uniform of her own, Matoi must beat the crap out of everybody in her path as she tries to get to the bottom of her father’s mysterious death. The setup is pretty basic, but the sheer gusto with which Trigger tackles the animation makes it well worth watching.Puella Magi Madoka MagicaOne of the more successful anime series of recent years, Puella Magi Madoka Magica took the “magical girl” trope and brought it into the 21st century with a new approach. When a group of female students takes on the mantle of supernatural powers to battle malevolent “witches,” things don’t always work out as well as they’d thought. The process of gaining their abilities involves selling their soul to a mysterious entity, and if they get too overcome by despair, they transform into the very monsters they fight. It’s extremely impressive visually and the complex, multilayered plot is challenging for anime.AggretsukoFrom the mascot maniacs at Sanrio comes Netflix exclusive anime Aggretsuko, a very different offering from the rest of the streaming service’s productions. Retsuko is a red panda who works for an accounting company (everybody else is an animal too, it’s cool). During the day, she’s a model employee, but at night she lets off her tension by singing death metal karaoke at a bar. Despite the funny animal trappings, this is a remarkably astute and progressive workplace comedy that has a lot to say about sexism, overwork and romance. The second season is in production and scheduled to drop next year.RobotechIn many ways the series that started it all in the Western world, Robotech took three unrelated Japanese series and mashed them together into one mammoth overarching plotline. American audiences had never seen anything like it, and even though the dub certainly has its share of detractors it’s a vital document in anime history. Netflix has the first and most popular season, based on Super Dimension Fortress Macross, streaming now. When humanity comes into conflict with the alien Zentraedi, it opens our frontiers into space and the mysterious Protoculture.Rurouni KenshinWhat Netflix lacks in current anime it more than makes up for in all-time classics. Rurouni Kenshin is one of the most influential series of all time, the tale of a swordsman who wanders Meiji-era Japan helping people out while upholding a vow to never again take another life. It’s originally ran from 1996 to 1998, and despite being two decades old still holds up really well. The series was aired on Toonami here in the States, but edited for content. Netflix’s version has all of the problematic stuff happily restored. This one’s great for old-school adventure done right.Soul EaterBased on the manga series by Atsushi Ōkubo, Soul Eater hits all the sweet spots of shonen anime. The students of the Death Weapon Meister Academy must collect the souls of 99 evil humans and one witch to evolve their weapons into “death scythes.” Here’s the twist, though: their weapons can transform into people and have personalities and needs of their own. It’s the kind of gratuitously silly concept that thrives in Japanese animation, and the three main characters and their partner weapons are fun characters. Lots of big battles and set pieces make this a kinetic, fast-moving watch.Devilman CrybabyBased on the classic Go Nagai manga, Devilman Crybaby has everything we want in an anime – outrageous violence, motions raised to a fever pitch and stunningly weird character design. When a high school student becomes the host for an ultra-powerful demon, it kicks off an orgy of destruction and chaos that is both visceral and hilarious. Over the course of ten episodes, Devilman Crybaby escalates to a fever pitch as the stakes get higher, and the climax has to be seen to be believed. Very much worth your time.Your Lie in AprilFor something a little more subdued, Your Lie in April is relationship anime that plunges deep into the human heart. When teenage piano prodigy Kosei Arima’s cruel, domineering mother dies unexpectedly, it sends him into a deep depression that removes the joy of music from his life seemingly forever. Four years later, he meets a teenage girl violinist with a carefree spirit that hides a dark truth, and the pair bond and restore their shattered psyches through performance. It’s touching, beautifully animated and eminently binge-watchable.Sword Art OnlinePeople getting caught in video games has been an anime trope for seemingly forever, but Sword Art Online handles it in entertaining fashion. When a popular VR game imprisons a group of 10,000 players inside it, they have to band together and fight through a 100 floor tower of monsters. If they die in the game, they die in real life, and they can’t unplug until they’re done. The plot moves at a brisk clip, with fun fights and well-constructed characters.Knights of SidoniaAnother series snapped up for exclusive streaming by Netflix, Knights of Sidonia is solid sci-fi that goes to some surprising places. Taking place a thousand years after Earth was destroyed by morphing aliens, survivors live on a spaceship that has developed its own bizarre culture of genetic experimentation. The aliens, known as the Gauna, are still looking to take the last remaining humans out, so they fight back (in classic fashion) with giant robot suits called Gardes. This is a solid, modern take on a classic concept that manages to fuse in a bunch of cutting-edge science fiction ideas along with the crisp action and solid character work.Removed From NetflixSadly, shows don’t stay streaming forever, and every month the selection on Netflix changes. When a show gets taken off of the service, we’ll put it down here and let you know where else you can get it.Deadman WonderlandAfter a catastrophic earthquake sinks most of Japan into the ocean, high school student Ganta Igarashi’s life gets even worse when he’s framed for the murder of his entire class and sentenced to Deadman Wonderland, a bizarre prison slash theme park. While behind bars he develops blood-controlling powers and hunts for the actual murderer. He also has to fight in vicious gladiatorial games where losers get body parts removed if they survive. This one’s pretty balls-out weird and where it lacks in coherent plot it more than makes up for in spectacle.Buy on DVD or Blu-RayStream on Amazon VideoPsycho-PassA sort of spin on the Minority Report concept, Psycho-Pass is set in a dystopian future where everybody is forced to undergo constant monitoring of their mental and emotional state to catch them before they commit crimes. The show’s protagonist, police inspector Akane Tsunemori, is tasked with hunting down a master criminal whose brain doesn’t exhibit any of the giveaways, making scanning useless. It’s brisk, violent, and explores some tricky moral ground.Buy on DVD or Blu-RayStream on Amazon VideoSamurai ChamplooDirector Shinichirō Watanabe followed up his justifiably legendary Cowboy Bebop with this popular series. Merging Edo-era Japanese adventure with a background track of hip-hop beats, Samurai Champloo is iconoclastic and fun as hell. Two swordsmen team up with a young girl on a quest to find a samurai who smells like sunflowers. On the way, they come into contact with a wide array of quirky characters and engage in some thrilling, beautifully-animated swordfights.Buy on DVD or Blu-RayStream on Amazon VideoOuran Highschool Host ClubNot all anime is about swordfights and giant monsters – otaku know that well-rounded characters and high drama also make for unskippable watching. One series that wins raves is Ouran Highschool Host Club, which has two full seasons streaming on Netflix. The show follows a female student who is mistaken for a boy due to her short hair and conscripted into the Host Club, a bizarre group of kids who entertain female students for cash. This is based on a real thing in Japanese culture, but setting it in a high school opens up a whole new world. The show is smart, touching and often quite funny.Buy on DVD or Blu-RayStream on Amazon VideoFairy TailFor many people, anime is like comfort food. We’re not looking for anything to challenge our perceptions or make us think too hard, just something that’ll keep our attention and trigger our happy memories. Shows like Fairy Tail were seemingly made for that purpose. The plot is wafer-thin – a group of five wizards travel a fantasy kingdom battling an evil power – but stories move along at a brisk pace, the animation is charming, and there are tons of episodes to watch.Buy on DVD or Blu-RayStream on Amazon VideoAttack On TitanOne of the most compelling anime series of recent years, Attack On Titan starts with a dynamite premise and then racks up the tension from there. Humanity lives inside walled cities that barely protect them from the Titans, massive cannibalistic giants that roam the wastelands. When the town of Shiganshina is breached, a trio of friends join the Scout Regiment to venture forth and battle the giants. With lots of grisly, uncompromising violence and some very unexpected plot twists, this one will keep you glued to the screen all night. The manga is still being published, so it’s possible the anime will continue after one season.Buy on DVD or Blu-RayStream on Amazon VideoBlack ButlerWhen a young aristocrat seeks revenge against the murderers of his parents, he signs a contract with a demon who masquerades as his butler in this popular horror anime. Protagonist Ciel Phantomhive revels in the chaos and disaster that his infernal manservant provides, but the undercurrent of impending doom gives Black Butler more emotional resonance than your typical anime series. The relationship between the duo is complex and fascinating, plumbing depths that cartoons don’t normally explore. The animation is also of very high quality, and special praise is reserved for the epic theme music.Buy on DVD or Blu-RayStream on Amazon VideoMushishiBased on a popular manga series, Mushishi follows a man named Ginko who travels through Japan investigating “mushi,” primitive spirits that cause trouble. Unlike much of the anime on this list, Mushishi is oddly peaceful, almost pastoral. Ginko’s travels are loose and episodic, never staying in one place too long. There’s not a ton of weight on anything, making it a really nice series to just chill out with on a snowy winter day. It’s also got a great atmosphere, with arresting music and some of the best animated snow ever filmed.Buy on DVD or Blu-RayStream on Amazon VideoBleachBased on one of the most popular manga series of all time, the anime adaptation of Bleach gives you all the swordplay and massive monsters you want. Protagonist Ichigo Kurosaki stumbles into the powers of a Soul Reaper and comes into conflict with all kinds of enemies. The stylish anime stretches across a staggering sixteen seasons, which Netflix only had the first three of. It’s still plenty of intense fights, cool-ass monsters, hot babes and high drama well worth a couple weeks of binge watching.Buy on DVD or Blu-RayStream on Amazon VideoDeath NoteBased on a super-popular manga, Death Note tells the story of Light Yagami, a high school over-achiever who finds a notebook that lets him untraceably murder anybody by writing their name. He attempts to use it to make the world a “better place,” by his notoriously stringent standards. This brings him into conflict with a reclusive young detective and the cat and mouse game the two play is incredibly compelling. Netflix is producing a live-action Westernized version of the story to debut in 2017, but we’re not terribly excited for it.Buy on DVD or Blu-RayStream on Amazon VideoOn the market for an all-in-one streaming media device? Look here.last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *