Anime is more popular than ever, and now Netflix is a major player in the medium, hosting hundreds of anime movies and TV shows for viewers to watch. In fact, there are almost too many anime to watch on Netflix, so here’s your guide to figure out which show should be next on your list.
Best Netflix anime
If you’re looking for what to watch on Netflix in the anime realm, you’ve come to the right place. Netflix has a ton of competition when it comes to streaming anime. Crunchyroll – a market leader in anime – just added a bunch of Funimation titles due to the merger. HIDIVE, Amazon Prime Video, and more are all in the mix for your attention when it comes to anime. Here are the best anime to watch on Netflix.
‘Hunter x Hunter’
Hunter x Hunter just made huge waves in the manga world as the author, Yoshiro Togashi, joined Twitter to announce that he’s working on new chapters of the hit manga for the first time since 2018. If you felt left out of the conversation, now’s the time to catch up. Netflix has all 148 episodes of Hunter x Hunter available for streaming.
The show follows Gon Freecss as he searches for his father who left him as a baby to pursue his career as a hunter. He finds friends in Killua Zoldyck, Kurapika, and Leorio as all four of them seek to pass the hunter exam to pursue their passions. An expansive adventure with incredible characterization (and one of the best power systems in all of anime), Hunter x Hunter is one of the best anime for newcomers. It has something for everyone.
The zenith of the media, the pinnacle of fiction, One Piece has stood the test of time for almost 25 years since the manga first ran in Shonen Jump back in 1997. One Piece is a modern epic with soft moments of quiet character development throughout, and it continues to age like fine wine as the story is finally hurtling toward its climax. The story follows Monkey D. Luffy who weeks to become the King of the Pirates by finding the “one piece” treasure, which would give him the most freedom of anyone on the high seas.
The worldbuilding of One Piece is its most impressive attribute, and that’s saying something. The No. 1 thing that puts people off from diving into this story is simply its length. As of June 4th, there are 1,020 episodes and 1,051 manga chapters. This isn’t a “binge in one afternoon” kind of situation. But the cool thing about One Piece is this simple fact that’s also thematically relevant with the story – it’s about the journey, not the destination of catching up as soon as you can.
Dive in and thank us later. Netflix has up to the Skypiea (or Sky Island) arc up, which is about 196 episodes of content. It’s a start!
‘A Silent Voice’
Bullying is constantly a theme in dramas that feature teenagers, and while it’s often done, it’s rarely done with the care and attention that A Silent Voice accomplishes. Koe no Katachi (the Japanese name) follows Shoya Ishida as he attempts to atone for his mistakes as a bully in his childhood. The victim of his bullying – Shoko Nishimiya – is a deaf student, and Shoya made sure to make her life horrible along with his friends.
Eventually, Ishida gets bullied himself, and his journey of maturation begins. As teenagers, he reconnects with Shoko, learning sign language and actually befriending her. This is a wholesome tale that’s incredibly emotional and sincerely poignant. Bullying is a serious real-world issue, and it’s hard to find stories that give it the weight it deserves without being over the top. A Silent Voice finds the perfect balance, and there aren’t many better ways you could spend two hours.
If you’re a fan of big-brained anime protagonists, Code Geass has just the thing for you – Lelouch vi Britannia. With two seasons of 25 episodes each, the story takes us on Lelouch’s journey – an exiled prince of the royal Britannian empire as he seeks to create a world where his blind sister Nunnally will be able to live safely. Lelouch allies himself with terrorists after gaining the power to command anyone who looks into his eyes to do anything.
As you can imagine, that’s a terrifying power to have, but Lelouch is one of the smartest anime protagonists ever, so expect huge twists that you’d never see coming. This anime has it all – romance, extremely intelligent writing, giant robots, and superpowers. What else do you need?
This story is a mystery, so it would be counterproductive to read a super in-depth description here. All you need to know is that it’s a surprisingly wholesome murder mystery that includes time travel. At just 12 episodes, you can knock this story out in a quick 4 hours, so it’s perfect for a weekend binge.
Erased is one of those easy-to-recommend titles that are perfect for anime newcomers. It doesn’t have much of what typically turns people off from anime in general, and it’s a wildly compelling story. Expect to be sucked in for the entire run time. The ending doesn’t land as well as most would hope, but it’s still top-tier storytelling. Do yourself a favor and jump into this one.
If you really want to ease your way into the medium, there’s a live-action drama that’s actually quite good. It’s also available on Netflix.
‘March Comes in Like a Lion’
This suggestion is more on the niche end, but once you have a few anime under your belt, March Comes in Like a Lion is absolutely worth your time. Just like A Silent Voice, this show tackles bullying in a very real (and honestly, unmatched) way. Season 2 is nothing but the feels, and all of the amazing character work in Season 1 makes it hit even harder.
Rei Kiriyama is a shogi (comparable to Japanese chess, to keep it simple) genius and also a professional despite being in high school. His parents and younger sister are dead, so he grew up with an adopted family. He acquired found family in the Kawamoto family – three sisters also without parents. It’s a story that deals with pretty much everything except, ironically, shogi. That’s a lie, shogi is in the story a good amount, but it’s far from the focal point.
The focal point is the outstanding characters and gorgeous art style and direction. It’s a phenomenal viewing experience. Not necessarily an anime for newcomers to dive into, but if you’re familiar with the medium, you’ll really appreciate this one. Also, Momo Kawamoto is the most adorable anime toddler this side of Anya Forger from Spy x Family.
There’s not enough action on this list, so of course, this classic had to make it. Naruto is one of the most iconic Japanese properties worldwide – especially in America. It follows, you guessed it, Naruto Uzumaki, an orphan who’s constantly disrespected and ignored by the citizens of his ninja village. His goal is to become the Hokage, the leader of the Village Hidden in the Leaves.
Later episodes of Naruto Shippuden (the sequel series after a time skip ages the characters) are controversial, but early Naruto is untouchable as one of the best stories out there. Its action choreography is sensational, and the cast is full of lovable characters. The canon material (basically the story that appears in the source material) pretty much ends at Episode 135, with everything up until episode 220 being skippable filler. That makes it much less daunting to get into. Just don’t ask how many episodes are in Naruto Shippuden.
If nothing else, Opening 5 is a ridiculously good opening song for the anime. That alone is worth investigation.
‘Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai’
Yes, yes, on a scale from one to “anime,” this show title is extremely on the “anime” end. This one might be a little off-putting for beginners, but Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai is legitimately a high-quality romantic comedy with high-quality characters. Ignore that some of the sci-fi elements don’t really hold up to the slightest bit of scrutiny and get attached as Sakuta Azusagawa attempts to help a number of people close to them as they experience the weird phenomena caused by “Puberty Syndrome” (try not to think about it too hard).
This leads to him encountering Mai Sakurajima, potentially the best girl to ever exist in an anime. Mai can’t be seen by anyone else besides Sakuta, so the two work together to solve this issue while slowly falling for each other. This one is another 12 episodes (plus a sensational follow-up film), so it’s easy binge material. Don’t let the title put you off – this is good fiction.
‘Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba’
If you’re looking for the modern Naruto and Dragon Ball Z, here you go. Well, at least if we’re talking impact on Western culture. After personalities like Mr. Beast and Ninja posted about the anime’s first season, the already popular story’s star skyrocketed even more. The first season was followed up by a wildly successful movie – Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train, the most successful anime movie in Japanese history.
Demon Slayer follows Tanjiro as he discovers that his entire family has been slaughtered by a demon. His entire family, that is, save his little sister Nezuko who was actually turned into a demon albeit one who can control her bloodthirsty tendencies a bit. Tanjiro sets out to kill as many demons as possible while also saving his sister.
Ufotable is the animation studio that brought the manga to life, and its unique animation style attracted a lot of attention. This is a gorgeous anime to look at, and for that alone, it makes it on this list.
This may be an unorthodox choice here given how many classic anime are on Netflix. However, Great Pretender really does plot twists well, and that should be pretty predictable given its premise. Makoto Edamura is a con artist who gets conned into joining a group of con artists as they pull off con jobs.
Plot twists on plot twists litter the story, and its music and stylish animation heighten the experience in very tangible ways. It’s a fun time, and there are surprisingly wholesome moments throughout. That’s all without mentioning the humor you’ll find as you watch. There are 23 episodes total, but the story is broken up into “cases,” which keep the stories fresh as they end up in different locales and scenarios.
It’s not perfect, but it’s a lot of fun.
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