Over the last few years, Netflix has doubled down on its already impressive collection of anime. In addition to classic anime titles, Netflix also allows account owners to stream original anime series that include unique concepts and shows based on some of the most popular manga ever written.
With so many options to choose from, anime fans have to know which shows to watch next. Additionally, with Netflix constantly swapping out old shows for new ones, it’s worth reviewing what it is currently offering, as there’s no guarantee that a show will be available in the near future.
Updated on June 30th, 2022, by Shawn S. Lealos: Netflix has been adding more and more anime series to its library and also has started working on its own original anime to bring in the massive amount of fans who follow the artform. With shows like Blood of Zeus sitting at a perfect Rotten Tomatoes rating of 100%, it is obvious that the streaming giant knows what it is doing and is moving forward in becoming one of the premier American streaming services for anime fans. However, it is also important to know that Netflix drops non-exclusive shows all the time and replaces them with others, so some of the best anime on Netflix might be here today and gone tomorrow. As a result, it was important to keep updating the titles to make sure fans can find something to watch right now on Netflix.
Cowboy Bebop (1998)
Netflix offers the anime Cowboy Bebop, as well as the live-action series that hit last year. However, the anime version is the way to go. This is also a great series if a person is wanting to tip their toes in the world of anime. The series follows a group of bounty hunters on their ship, the Bebop.
This is also an anime that plays out stories with more American themes, making it easier to understand for beginners. It is also a very fast binge-watch, with 26 episodes checking in at half an hour each.
Attack On Titan (2013)
Another of the best anime on Netflix when it comes to beginners wanting to get a taste of the genre is Attack on Titan. This is a dark fantasy based on the Hajime Isayama manga and follows Eren Yeager and his friends as their lives are torn apart after the Colossal Titan destroys their home.
This leads the friends to join a group of elite soldiers heading out to fight the Titans, of which there are 11, seeking revenge. There are three full seasons and the fourth and final was split into three parts, with the final coming in 2023.
Another example of the great anime on Netflix is Beastars. It focuses on a wolf named Legoshi and his love of the dwarf rabbit named Haru. The entire world is modern and civilized but it is anthropomorphic animals who live there. On top of that, there is a cultural divide between carnivores and herbivores.
It sounds a lot like Zootopia, and that is a good description. Unlike a lot of anime that is geared toward adults, Beastars was marketed toward teenagers, but it might be a little too much for younger kids.
Blood Of Zeus (2020)
Blood of Zeus was a surprise hit for Netflix in 2020 and with its high 100% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes is easily one of the best anime on Netflix by far. Also known as Gods & Heroes, this is an American anime series based on the gods of Greek mythology and is one of the actual original Netflix anime series.
It shares a lot of similarities with Castlevania and brought in a similar audience. Blood of Zeus is about the demigod son of Zeus, Heron, who tries to save both Olympus and Earth. The twist is that Heron is an original character and the show was sold as a story of the Greek gods, lost to history.
One of the best anime on Netflix when it comes to original series is Castlevania, a dark fantasy action series produced by Frederator Studios. Based upon the popular video game franchise of the same name, the story follows the vampire hunter Trevor Belmont, the magician Sypha Belnades, and the half-vampire Alucard as they battle the forces of darkness.
Fans were sad when Castlevania ended its fourth and final season in May of 2021. The series features beautiful art, satisfying and gory battles, and great performances from its voice actors. While the plot offers little outside its fairly straightforward series of battles, the characters are likable enough, and this along with Trevor’s Belmont’s witty comebacks more than compensate for the story’s shortcomings.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (2012)
An adaptation of the manga series by Hirohiko Araki, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure focuses on different members of the Joestar family across generations. Over the course of each season, fans are introduced to a new member of the family, each one called JoJo, as they uncover powers that help them fight against supernatural enemies.
JoJo’s is a long-running series that has earned rightful praise from both audiences and critics. The characters are well-developed, but the story does not hesitate to kill off fan-favorite characters. The anime contains a plethora of pop culture references and funny scenes that pair excellently with its over-the-top battles and liberal use of melodrama. The first three seasons are available on Netflix in English and the original Japanese versions.
March Comes In Like A Lion (2017)
Lovers of seinen anime will not want to miss March Comes in like a Lion, an adaptation of Chica Umino’s award-winning manga series. The plot follows the life of Rei Kiriyama, an introverted young professional shogi player, as he learns to become a better player and improve his relationships with other people.
While some fans have complained about the art style, most reviews of the series have been glowing. In particular, audiences appreciate the way it covers topics such as living with depression and learning to rediscover happiness. It’s a beautiful, heartwarming anime with lovable and realistic characters that is sure to make viewers reach for their tissue boxes.
Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995)
One of the best sci-fi anime on Netflix, Neon Genesis Evangelion is a must-watch series for fans of mecha anime. Set fifteen years after a worldwide apocalyptic event, the show follows Shinji, a young boy recruited by his scientist father to pilot a giant mecha named Evangelion into battle against the alien lifeforms known as Angels.
The series covers topics ranging from religion and mythology to psychology and philosophy. It’s a show that explores the depths of loss and sorrow set against the backdrop of a cataclysmic struggle featuring giant robots and aliens. In many ways, the show deconstructs the entire mecha genre but does so in a way that never sacrifices entertainment for art.
Violet Evergarden (2014)
Based on Kana Akatuki’s award-winning light novel series, Violet Evergarden introduces audiences to Auto Memory Dolls, humans and machines that write for others. The story follows Violet Evergarden, a Doll and former soldier, as she attempts to reintegrate back into society after a war and find her purpose in life.
Violet Evergarden features beautiful art and animation, a compelling story, and well-developed characters. The series avoids devolving into over-sentimentality and remains well-paced throughout. At its core, it’s about figuring out one’s purpose in life and how to relate to others, but the world-building and characterization work together to extract every ounce of meaning from the material.
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba (2019)
Adapted from Koyoharu Gotouge’s best-selling manga, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba follows Tanjiro Kamada, a young boy who becomes a demon slayer after his family is killed and his sister Nezuko is turned into a demon. Over the course of the first season, Tanjiro and Nezuko make new friends and unlock new skills on their journey to find the creator and ruler of all demons, Muzan Kibutsji.
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba combines both action and horror elements without sacrificing heart and character development. Its features excellent animation and some of the most beautiful and unique art to be found in any anime. While not groundbreaking, the story is solid, and best of all, it allows plenty of time to develop its characters’ backstories and explore their motivations and feelings, remaining one of the best anime on Netflix.
Code Geass (2006)
Considered by fans to be one of the best strategy anime of all time, Code Geass tells the story of Lelouch vi Britannia, the exiled prince of the Holy Britannian Empire. When Lelouch meets a strange woman named C.C. and inherits the power known as Geass, he assumes an alter ego called Zero and starts a rebellion to overthrow the current world order.
Code Geass covers themes including politics, morality, and rebelling against the previous generation. While it is a mecha anime with excellent large-scale battles, the plot focuses more on developing the characters. It’s full of twists and turns, and while there are great episodes of Code Geass, the series finale is easily one of the best anime episodes ever.
Death Note (2015)
Based on Tsugumi Ohba’s popular psychological thriller manga, Death Note follows Light Yagami, a genius high schooler who inherits a mysterious notebook that lets him kill anyone whose name he writes in the book. With the Death Note, Light begins to kill off all of the world’s criminals, but in doing so, comes under the scrutiny of the various police agencies and the brilliant detective, L.
Death Note is a classic anime that should be on every thriller fan’s list of must-watch series. The series poses profound questions about morality, justice, and the meaning of good and evil. It features one of the most unique stories to be found in any anime, and the game of cat-and-mouse played by notable characters Light and L is satisfying to watch from beginning to end, easily at the top of the best anime on Netflix.
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