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From Vinland Saga to Carole & Tuesday: These are the best anime series on Netflix to watch right now

Add these Netflix anime shows to your watchlist

Demon Slayer
Netflix

Japanese anime and the many Western series that were influenced by the genre continue to get more and more popular. As they do, every streaming site is eager to lockdown plenty of exclusive anime titles that will draw fans of the format to their services. Netflix has long had a stockpile of great action movies, but it turns out that the streamer also has a pretty excellent library of anime series as well, which is in addition to their great animated shows. The best anime on Netflix draw from a wide array of influences, but should give every fan of the form something to chew on.

While there are plenty of great action series on this list, anime is home to a wide array of different kinds of stories, and all of those stories are represented in one form or another on this list. Netflix is even moving into adapting some of these anime into live-action, although opinions are mixed on whether that strategy is going to work out. Whatever you think about that venture, though, this list is full of Netflix anime titles that are sure to make every anime fan happy.

Vinland Saga (2019)

Vinland Saga
tv-ma
2 Seasons
Genre
Animation, War & Politics, Drama
Stars
Yuto Uemura, Shunsuke Takeuchi
Watch on Netflix
This  historical epic anime series on Netflix follows a young Viking warrior, named Thorfinn, who’s seeking revenge on the man who killed his father. He puts the skills he spent his childhood honing to the test in this stunning anime. This series offers its viewers complex characters and thrilling battles.

DOTA: Dragon's Blood (2021)

DOTA: Dragon's Blood
7.8/10
tv-ma
3 Seasons
Genre
Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Action & Adventure, Animation
Stars
Lara Pulver, Tony Todd, Yuri Lowenthal
Created by
Ashley Edward Miller
Watch on Netflix
DOTA: Dragon’s Blood is one of the more recent Netflix anime series to arrive on Netflix, and it’s terrific. Based on Dota 2, a video game originally released in 2013, this show is an epic fantasy with plenty of blood and gore to keep action fans satisfied. The story follows a Dragon Knight named Davion who finds himself in an unlikely encounter between a demon and a dragon — and things only get more interesting from there.

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba (2019)

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba
8.7/10
tv-ma
3 Seasons
Genre
Animation, Action & Adventure, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Stars
Natsuki Hanae, Akari Kito, Hiro Shimono
Watch on Netflix
After his family is attacked and killed by demons, Tanjiro finds that only one of his sisters managed to survive. However, she is also slowly turning into a demon herself. To find a way to cure his sister of her curse and avenge his family, Tanjiro sets out to become a demon slayer. Though the premise may seem fairly unremarkable in the anime world, Demon Slayer is precise and thoughtful, and has also become a massive hit.

Great Pretender (2020)

Great Pretender
7.9/10
tv-ma
2 Seasons
Genre
Animation, Drama, Comedy, Action & Adventure
Stars
Chiaki Kobayashi, Junichi Suwabe, Mie Sonozaki
Watch on Netflix
If you like movies about con artists and heists, then this is the best Netflix original anime to sink your teeth into. The story follows a young Japanese conman who ends up getting entangled in scams much bigger than he could ever think up himself. As the series progresses, you get a deeper look into each main character’s backstory even as the elaborate cons keep unfolding. And, of course, there’s a big reveal at the end of each scam, which is extremely satisfying.

Devilman Crybaby (2018)

Devilman Crybaby
7.6/10
tv-ma
1 Season
Genre
Animation, Action & Adventure, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Stars
Yasuhiro Takato, Akio Hirose, Megumi Han
Watch on Netflix
A man with the heart of a human and the body of a demon must fight against pure evil in Devilman Crybaby, a show that’s also about what it’s like to be given enormous power. This anime is creative and highly entertaining, but it also has some smart things to say about what it means to be human and unwittingly wield hugely destructive technology.

B: The Beginning (2018)

B: The Beginning
7.1/10
tv-ma
2 Seasons
Genre
Animation, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Stars
Hiroaki Hirata, Hiroki Touchi, Asami Seto
Watch on Netflix
This Netflix original anime series is dark, exciting, and suspenseful. If you’re a fan of good thriller anime, this is a good one to dive into. Set in a world powered by technology, B: The Beginning follows a legendary investigator for the Royal Police who is in hot pursuit of a serial killer nicknamed Killer B. Naturally, the story unravels from there, revealing a mysterious criminal organization and many of the conventions you might expect from a great noir.

Sword Art Online (2012)

Sword Art Online
7.6/10
tv-ma
4 Seasons
Genre
Animation, Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Action & Adventure
Stars
Ai Kayano, Rina Hidaka, Hiroaki Hirata
Watch on Netflix
Set in the year 2022 (were we ever so young), thousands of gamers find themselves trapped in a new and fully immersive virtual MMORPG. The series follows Kirito as he becomes one of the strongest players in the game and attempts to escape it. If you’ve ever enjoyed an online RPG game before, this RPG anime series is definitely worth a watch. And if you like this series, you can also browse our picks of the best sci-fi shows on Netflix for a broader selection of non-anime titles.

Blue Period (2021)

Blue Period
7.7/10
tv-14
1 Season
Genre
Animation, Drama
Stars
Hiromu Mineta, Yumiri Hanamori, Daiki Yamashita
Watch on Netflix
Another newer anime on Netflix is Blue Period: a visually impressive and slightly more realistic take on what an anime can look like. The series follows popular high schooler Yatora Yaguchi, who becomes bored with the repetitive and predictable nature of his daily life, and eventually discovers the spirit and power that creating and appreciating art can have.

One Piece (1999)

One Piece
8.9/10
tv-14
20 Seasons
Genre
Action & Adventure, Comedy, Animation
Stars
Mayumi Tanaka, Kazuya Nakai, Akemi Okamura
Watch on Netflix
One Piece is one of the best Netflix anime shows of all time, not just one of the best anime series on Netflix. If you’re looking for something wonderful with an overwhelming amount of episodes, this is it. The story follows a good-natured and adventurous young pirate named Monkey D. Luffy as he dives headfirst into a quest for the legendary One Piece treasure. Whoever can claim the treasure will claim the coveted title of Pirate King. The show has gone on for more than a decade, and there’s a reason people keep coming back for more.
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Castlevania (2017)

Castlevania
71%
8.3/10
tv-ma
4 Seasons
Genre
Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Animation
Stars
Richard Armitage, James Callis, Alejandra Reynoso
Created by
Warren Ellis
Watch on Netflix
This Netflix original anime is based on Castlevania: Dracula’s Curse, the third installment of the video game saga. Though many of the best anime series are made into English dubs eventually, this show was made first and foremost for its American audience. With loads of action and mystery, as well as a winning combination of one-liners and vampires, Castlevania is a must-watch if you’re looking to fill the fantasy-loving hole in your heart.

Ajin (2016)

Ajin
7.6/10
tv-ma
2 Seasons
Genre
Animation, Action & Adventure, Mystery
Stars
Mamoru Miyano, Yoshimasa Hosoya, Aya Suzaki
Created by
Gamon Sakurai
Watch on Netflix
A realistic-looking anime that has been well-reviewed even by irregular anime viewers, AJIN: Demi-Human is fast paced and executes on its concept well, and also features some riveting action sequences. In a place where there are two known Ajins — unwilling immortals who come back to life after death — Kei discovers after an accident that he is the third of an unknown number who are subject to human curiosity and cruel scientific experiments.

Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995)

Neon Genesis Evangelion
8.5/10
tv-14
1 Season
Genre
Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Animation, Drama
Stars
Megumi Ogata, Kotono Mitsuishi, Megumi Hayashibara
Watch on Netflix
Neon Genesis Evangelion is widely touted as one of the greatest TV series of all time — and with good reason. What begins as a relatively standard show about giant fighting robots turns into a post-modern meditation on the darkest depths of depression. This sci-fi masterpiece is as much an Oedipal psychodrama as it is an action-packed adventure. Don’t expect to understand what’s going on the first time around, but you’ll definitely be rewarded with a re-watch. (Note: The version on Netflix has been re-translated, re-dubbed, and re-scored from the original series that aired on TV in the 1990s due to ongoing licensing issues. The general consensus is that this new version is good enough, but not quite as iconic as the original).

Eden (2021)

Eden
6.6/10
tv-pg
1 Season
Genre
Animation, Drama, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Stars
Marika Kouno, Kyoko Hikami, Kentaro Ito
Created by
Justin Leach
Watch on Netflix
A much more family-oriented anime series (in that there aren’t extremely graphic scenes or excessive amounts of fan service), Eden is an aesthetically and descriptively beautiful anime that can be easily binged in a day. One of the last humans on future Earth has been raised by robots, and begins to uncover the legacy left behind by her reckless ancestors.

Death Note (2006)

Death Note
9/10
tv-14
1 Season
Genre
Animation, Mystery, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Stars
Mamoru Miyano, Noriko Hidaka, Nozomu Sasaki
Watch on Netflix
An intelligent and cynical high school student suddenly finds himself in possession of a magical notebook that can kill anyone whose name is written in it. With such power, he attempts to cleanse the world of evil by taking out those who have committed atrocities.

A.I.C.O. -Incarnation- (2018)

A.I.C.O. -Incarnation-
6.3/10
tv-14
1 Season
Genre
Animation, Action & Adventure, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Stars
Yusuke Kobayashi, Haruka Shiraishi, Takehito Koyasu
Watch on Netflix
An amorphous, pulsating being is spreading through town and consuming the human residents. It’s up to Aiko and a team of Divers she has grouped up with to go to where The Burst began and take it down for good.

Yasuke (2021)

Yasuke
72%
6.2/10
tv-ma
1 Season
Genre
Animation, Drama, Action & Adventure, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Stars
Lakeith Stanfield, Takehiro Hira, Maya Tanida
Created by
LeSean Thomas
Watch on Netflix
A story that is shockingly based on a real person, Yasuke is a thrilling tale of a servant who manages to prove himself as a warrior in feudal 16th-century Japan. Though it is quite Americanized, it’s a pleasant surprise to hear Lakeith Stanfield voicing Yasuke in what is probably the best Netflix original anime so far.

Hunter x Hunter (2011)

Hunter x Hunter
9/10
tv-14
6 Seasons
Genre
Action & Adventure, Animation, Drama
Stars
Megumi Han, Mariya Ise, Miyuki Sawashiro
Watch on Netflix
Gon Freecs is a young boy living a peaceful life on a remote island. But when he finds out his father, who he thought was dead, is actually one of the top Hunters in the world, he dedicates his life to becoming a Hunter as well. Hunter x Hunter is a conventional anime adventure story, but one that thrills from beginning to end.

Aggretsuko (2018)

Aggretsuko
8/10
tv-14
4 Seasons
Genre
Animation, Comedy
Stars
Rareko, Sohta Arai, Shingo Katou
Created by
Rareko
Watch on Netflix
Retsuko is a 25-year-old red panda working a soul-sucking job as an accountant at a trading firm. What alleviates the mundanity of her existence, though, is the fact that she’s also the star of her very own musical comedy. Retsuko deals with the frustrations of her office job by shrieking out death metal every night at her local karaoke bar. This anime delivers something fresh, comedic, and character-driven that you’ll want to keep watching.

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure (2012)

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure
8.4/10
tv-ma
5 Seasons
Genre
Animation, Action & Adventure, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Stars
Fairouz Ai, Daisuke Ono, Mutsumi Tamura
Watch on Netflix
This action-packed series is a unique one. It follows the life and struggles of the Joestar bloodline as each descendant faces the forces of evil. Beginning in 1880 with Jonathan Joestar, each season takes you on a psychically-powered journey, or a “bizarre” adventure, if you will. Though it begins to follow the fairly common magical power hierarchy you’d expect to see in a series like this, surprising twists and turns make it a delightfully refreshing watch.

Kakegurui (2017)

Kakegurui
7.2/10
tv-14
2 Seasons
Genre
Action & Adventure, Animation, Drama, Mystery
Stars
Tatsuya Tokutake, Saori Hayami, Minami Tanaka
Watch on Netflix
The absurd premise of Kakegurui — a high school populated by gambling geniuses — belies a raunchy story filled with more adult themes and imagery. Probably the most NSFW show on this list, the grotesque eroticism of the series makes for a bizarre art experience, and the twist-filled plot is consistently compelling. The series takes some truly strange turns in the second season but remains as addictive as playing the slots throughout.

BAKI (2018)

BAKI
tv-ma
2 Seasons
Genre
Animation, Action & Adventure, Crime, Drama
Stars
Rikiya Koyama, Takayuki Sugo, Sora Amamiya
Watch on Netflix

Telling the story of a fighter who is trained by his wealthy mother to follow in the footsteps of his father, BAKI is an anime that chronicles its central character’s battle against five violent death row inmates who descend on Tokyo to battle him. The bones of the series are all about the tortured relationship between a father and a son, but BAKI has plenty of action, even before the character does battle with his father.

Baki: The Great Raitai Tournament Saga | Official Trailer | Netflix

BEASTARS (2019)

BEASTARS
tv-ma
2 Seasons
Genre
Animation, Drama, Mystery
Stars
Chikahiro Kobayashi
Watch on Netflix
Think of Beastars as something like a Japanese version of Zootopia that’s way more adult. The series is set in a world of anthropomorphic animals that are divided between carnivores and herbivores. It follows a teenage wolf who begins to awaken to his animalistic urges even as an alpaca is brutally murdered and devoured. It’s a smart, complex series that is still ongoing, and worth checking out if you’re down for a little gore.
BEASTARS Season 2 | Official Trailer | Netflix

Little Witch Academia (2017)

Little Witch Academia
tv-pg
1 Season
Genre
Animation, Comedy, Action & Adventure, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Stars
Megumi Han, Michiyo Murase, Fumiko Orikasa
Watch on Netflix
Following a young girl from a non-magical background who enrolls in an all-female witch school, Little Witch Academia has less in common with Harry Potter than you might think. The show is really about one girl’s desperate effort to prove that magic still has value in the modern world. Because magic is waning around the world, the show’s central figure goes on a quest to try to restore it. 
Little witch Academia - Trailer [HD] l Netflix

Carole & Tuesday (2019)

Carole & Tuesday
tv-pg
1 Season
Genre
Animation, Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Drama
Stars
Miyuri Shimabukuro, Nai Br.XX, Kana Ichinose
Watch on Netflix
Set on a partially terraformed Mars in the distant future, Carole & Tuesday is really about two young girls who form a musical duo and attempt to turn their dreams into reality. One of the great liberties of anime is the way it can combine pretty normal premises with outlandish sci-fi concepts. Only in the animated space could you see such a wholesome, music-based show that is also set on Mars. 
Carole & Tuesday — OFFICIAL TRAILER | English Dub

Vampire in the Garden (2022)

Vampire in the Garden
tv-14
1 Season
Genre
Animation, Drama, Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Action & Adventure
Stars
Megumi Han, Yu Kobayashi
Watch on Netflix
Set in a world where vampires and humans are at war, and are threatening to destroy the world with their fighting, Vampire in the Garden follows a human and a vampire who set off on a quest together to find a literal paradise where the two species can live in harmony. The story at the center is a rich metaphor, and the star-crossed lovers who take center stage are completely spellbinding from the moment we first meet them. 
Vampire in the Garden | Official Trailer | Netflix
Movie images and data from:
Joe Allen
Contributor
Joe Allen is a freelance culture writer based in upstate New York. His work has been published in The Washington Post, The…
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