Best Anime on Netflix: Within the past decade, anime has transitioned from a niche to a mainstream medium. A quick Google search will reveal an abundance of fan fiction, artwork, and cosplay based on the imaginative and immersive worlds of anime.
Netflix’s investment in this form of storytelling may be one of the reasons for the rise in popularity of anime. From the distribution of popular anime aired in Japan to the creation of original content, Netflix has become a powerhouse, rivaled only by anime-specific streaming services, most notably Crunchyroll. Anime is an electrifying art form that exists in virtually every genre imaginable. Regardless of your preferences, there is likely an anime for you.
In no particular order, here are Netflix’s best anime series.
Attack on Titan (2013–2023)
Attack on Titan is without a doubt one of the most popular anime right now. And for good reason. With spectacular animation, political intrigue, a compelling cast of characters, and bigger-than-life battles, this is one show you’ll want to check out. Yes, the titans the gigantic, humanoid, human-eating monsters that force humanity to live behind towering castle walls are unnerving and might freak you out. But that’s half the fun, especially when we see our heroes take them down. Netflix only has Attack on Titan’s first season in its catalog, but those 25 episodes are enough to get you started.
Hunter x Hunter (2011–2014)
The sixth season of Hunter x Hunter was abruptly terminated, leaving the story unfinished. Yoshihiro Togashi, the manga’s author, has ceased writing, putting Hunter x Hunter on hiatus. Togashi recently announced that new chapters are forthcoming. The protagonist of this anime, Gon Freecss, leaves his home in search of his father, but the show quickly departs from this straightforward plot. The series is well-liked for its imaginative world-building and emotional investment in its diverse cast of characters.
Death Note (2006)
Light Yagami, a genius high school student, discovers a mysterious notebook (the “Death Note”) that grants its owner the power to kill anyone whose name is written within it. Light, intent on creating a world devoid of crime, commits a massacre, murdering criminals and those Light deems morally unworthy. However, the greatest detective in the world is on the case. Is Light able to get away with it?
As Naruto Uzumaki would say, you cannot have a list of the best anime without including this series. This beloved classic anime follows Naruto, a young Hidden Leaf Village ninja who aspires to become his village’s leader. Naruto is a very lengthy anime. After watching all 220 episodes of the first nine seasons on Netflix, which cover Naruto’s preteen years, there are another 500 episodes in Naruto: Shippuden, which begins two and a half years after the original series. Several Naruto films are also currently available on the streaming service. Unless you are extremely desperate for something to watch, you should avoid filler episodes.
Demon Slayer (2019-)
Demon Slayer, the most recent darling of the Shonen genre, is a standout hit that subverts many action anime tropes. The story follows Tanjiro Kamado, who joins the ranks of demon slayers after a demon murders his family. Tanjiro’s younger sister Nezuko Kamado was the only survivor, but she was transformed into a demon. Tanjiro travels to Taisho-era Japan with Nezuko in search of a cure and joins the Demon Slayer Corps in order to confront the demon responsible for his family’s death, Muzan Kibutsuji.
The animation and action are awe-inspiring, the characters are engaging and vibrant, the music is stellar, and the dialogue is memorable. We cannot recommend this anime highly enough. Season one is currently available on Netflix, but there is another season available if you want more.
We’re confident that after the first few episodes of this popular anime, you’ll be hooked. This is not a typical action anime, but that does not make it any less captivating. In reality, the contrary is true. Kakegurui is set in an academy where a student’s worth is determined by their skill at gambling, whether at the roulette table or blackjack table. The part psychological thriller, part drama, with increasing stakes as the series progresses.
Castlevania, a Netflix original inspired by the classic video game series of the same name, follows Trevor Belmont, the last member of the disgraced Belmont family. This dark medieval fantasy is filled with gore, gothic horror, and monstrous creatures. In 1400s Eastern Europe, Trevor and his newfound allies set out to defeat Dracula, whose anger and grief over the unjust death of his beloved have overrun the region. You should not miss this opportunity.
Record of Ragnarok (2021-)
Have you ever wished to witness a battle between a Norse god and a Chinese warrior? Or witness a Greek god battle one of the greatest swordsmen in Japanese history? I didn’t either, but I’m glad I did now.
The premise of Record of Ragnarok is straightforward: humanity must prove its worthiness through 13 one-on-one battles to the death in order to avoid annihilation by the gods. The winner is the first player to achieve seven victories.
This anime is imaginative, entertaining, and jam-packed with human history, so you will undoubtedly pick up some new information along the way. It’s also cool to see legends from all over the world converge into a single mythos. The first 12-episode season is currently available, making this an ideal anime for your next couch session.
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure (2012-)
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure follows the Joestar family through decades of, you guessed it, bizarre adventures, from the 19th century to the present day. Each member of the family bears the name Jojo and possesses extraordinary superhuman abilities. The battles are as supernatural and psychic as the narrative is exciting. Fortunately, all five seasons are available on Netflix.
Cowboy Bebop (1998–1999)
Cowboy Bebop, another anime classic, debuted in 1998 and, well, it has never lost its appeal. The show deftly combined a number of genres, primarily science fiction and Western (think space cowboys), to create something wholly original and captivating. The series is set in 2071 and follows a group of bounty hunters aboard their ship, Bebop. Netflix has recently produced a live-action adaptation of the show, but it has not received the same critical acclaim as the anime version.
One Piece (1999-)
If you thought Naruto was lengthy, reconsider. One Piece is the longest-running anime of all time, with over a thousand episodes spanning 23 years of broadcasting. The series follows Monkey D. Luffy and the Straw Hat Pirates, and his crew. They are in search of One Piece, the ultimate treasure. Netflix has recently increased its collection of One Piece from four to thirteen seasons, giving you plenty of material to savor. If you ever hope to catch up, you must act immediately.
Devilman Crybaby (2018)
In a world where demons have reemerged, Akira Fudo joins forces with a demon at the urging of his friend in order to become a devilman and wage a brutal war against the demons that now plague the planet.
The 1970s anime adaptation of Go Nagai’s manga Devilman Crybaby served as the source material for Devilman Crybaby. This newer series shifts its setting from the 1970s to the present day and features mature themes and violent scenes. The TV-MA rating indicates that this is not suitable for children.
In 2018, Devilman Crybaby debuted to widespread acclaim with only ten episodes comprising one season.
Beastars is set in a world of animal-human hybrids. These characters work and attend school, similar to Disney’s Zootopia. Despite the fact that Beastars and Zootopia address similar themes of predator versus prey, prejudice, and discrimination versus compassion and inclusion Beastars is unquestionably the more emotionally intense show. In fact, due to the show’s sexual content and violence, it is best to keep children away from this one. If you enjoy melodramas with a heavy emphasis on philosophy, this may be the best show yet.
One Punch Man (2015–2019)
How would you feel if you were so powerful that a single punch could defeat any adversary? Triumphant? Bored? Lonely? This is the central question explored in One Punch Man. The show follows the hero Saitama, who has trained so intensely that he has lost all of his hair. At the conclusion of his training, he is capable of defeating any foe with a single punch. The show is a satire of shonen manga and anime, subverting the tropes typically found in those stories. This might be your cup of tea if you’re searching for a unique take on the modern superhero story.
Pokemon Journeys (2019-)
Netflix has an extensive collection of Pokemon anime from the past, and the newest series in the franchise is being produced by Netflix. Ash Ketchum, our forever-ten-year-old favorite, continues his Pokemon adventure. The show also introduces a large number of new characters, including Goh and Chloe, and takes viewers to multiple Pokemon world regions, including the most recent, Galar. If you are a Pokemon fan or have children, this is an excellent anime to watch.
Honorable mention: Avatar: The Last Airbender (2005–2008)
Okay, technically Avatar: The Last Airbender is not anime, but it draws so heavily from the art form and is so perfect that it would be insane not to mention it here. I did not watch this show when it was still airing on Nickelodeon, and when it reappeared on Netflix, I disregarded it as nothing more than nostalgic hype. I was so wrong. This show deals with complex themes such as war propaganda, genocide, duty, and honor while remaining an upbeat and humorous epic. Oh, and it also has one of the best character redemption arcs in the entirety of television history.