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The Best Anime Series on Netflix to Watch Right Now

Japanese animation has become a major influence on Western cartoons, contemporary cinema, and even fashion design. Despite its reputation as lowbrow and nerdy, anime remains one of the most boundary-pushing genres in contemporary visual arts. However, it can be hard to get into it if you choose the wrong series from the get-go. The good news is that Netflix has some of the best anime series of all time streaming on its service. The bad news is the streaming service also has a lot of really bad TV shows to sort through.

Luckily, we’ve done the hard work of sorting through the platform and finding the hidden gems you’ll want to watch. From beloved classics to next-wave Netflix anime brilliance, we’ve gathered the best anime on Netflix.

Saitama from the anime series One Punch Man.

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DOTA: Dragon's Blood (2021)

DOTA: Dragon's Blood
tv-ma 2 Seasons
Genre Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Action & Adventure, Animation
Cast Lara Pulver, Tony Todd, Yuri Lowenthal
Created by Ashley Edward Miller

DOTA: Dragon’s Blood is one of the latest 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
tv-ma 1 Season
Genre Animation, Action & Adventure, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Cast Natsuki Hanae, Akari Kito, Hiro Shimono
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 like many other sci-fi anime series out there, Demon Slayer is a unique and entertaining experience to enjoy.

Bleach (2004)

tv-14 2 Seasons
Genre Action & Adventure, Animation, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Cast Masakazu Morita, Fumiko Orikasa, Hiroki Yasumoto
A show that some compare to the immortal greatness — and episode count — of anime like Naruto and One Piece, Bleach is great if you like big effin’ swords and supernatural ghost and afterlife themes. Ichigo is a Soul Reaper, which means he is responsible for protecting humanity from evil souls and guiding the recently departed to the afterlife. It’s spooky, it’s emotional, it’s awesome.

Great Pretender (2020)

Great Pretender
tv-ma 1 Season
Genre Animation, Drama, Comedy, Action & Adventure
Cast Chiaki Kobayashi, Junichi Suwabe, Mie Sonozaki
If you like movies about con artists or heist movies like Ocean’s 11, 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 as the elaborate cons unfold. And, of course, there’s always the big reveal at the end of each scam, which is extremely satisfying.

Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma (2015)

Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma
tv-ma 2 Seasons
Genre Animation, Comedy, Drama
Cast Yoshitsugu Matsuoka, Ai Kayano, Maaya Uchida
If you can recall the mouthwatering meals from Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away, then you probably already know the importance of food in anime. Food Wars! is a fantastic anime series that takes that idea and runs away with it. The story follows a young and talented aspiring chef named Souma. Though he was content working with his father in their small eatery in Japan, he gets thrust into an entirely new world of cooking when he begins studying at a culinary academy with some of the finest young chefs in the world. We’ve also found some of the best cooking shows on Netflix if you’re looking for more like this.

Devilman Crybaby (2018)

Devilman Crybaby
tv-ma 1 Season
Genre Animation, Action & Adventure, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Cast Yasuhiro Takato, Akio Hirose, Megumi Han
A man with the heart of a human and the body of a demon must fight against pure evil, as it is his responsibility to do so. Besides being creative and very entertaining, this anime also has some smart things to say about what it means to be human and unwittingly wield such destructive technology.

B: The Beginning (2018)

B: The Beginning
tv-ma 2 Seasons
Genre Animation, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Cast Hiroaki Hirata, Hiroki Touchi, Asami Seto
This Netflix original anime series is dark, exciting, and suspenseful. If you’re a fan of good thriller anime and are looking for a new show to binge on, this is a good one to dive into. It’s based in a world powered by technology, and a legendary investigator for the Royal Police is in hot pursuit of a serial killer nicknamed Killer B. Naturally, the story unravels from there, revealing a mysterious criminal organization and some terrible human experiments.

Sword Art Online (2012)

Sword Art Online
tv-ma 4 Seasons
Genre Animation, Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Action & Adventure
Cast Ai Kayano, Rina Hidaka, Hiroaki Hirata
Taking place in the year 2022, 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 in an attempt to escape. 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.

ERASED (2016)

tv-14 1 Season
Genre Animation, Drama, Mystery
Cast Shinnosuke Mitsushima, Tao Tsuchiya, Minami Takayama
As a psychological thriller anime, Erased will draw you in and keep you watching. The plot follows a 29-year-old man named Satoru who has an uncontrollable power to go back in time whenever something terrible happens in his immediate vicinity. This ability has helped him stop a lot of terrible things from happening in his life, but it’s never taken him more than a few seconds or minutes back in time. But when an encounter with a serial killer brings up old memories and ends in death, Satoru finds he must go back 18 years to his fifth-grade body to try to stop the killer.

Blue Period (2021)

Blue Period
tv-14 1 Season
Genre Animation, Drama
Cast Hiromu Mineta, Yumiri Hanamori, Daiki Yamashita
One of the newest Anime to hit Netflix is Blue Period: a visually impressive and slightly more realistic take on the anime culture. Popular high schooler Yatora Yaguchi becomes bored with the repetitive and predictable nature of his daily life, which is suddenly interrupted by an accidental stumble into an art classroom that changes his life and perspective forever.

Blue Exorcist (2011)

Blue Exorcist
tv-14 2 Seasons
Genre Animation, Comedy, Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Mystery, Drama
Cast Jun Fukuyama, Keiji Fujiwara, Hiroshi Kamiya
Blue Exorcist is an excellent series to dive into if you haven’t already. The story follows a seemingly ordinary teenager named Rin Okumura who discovers he’s the son of Satan. He is sent to the True Cross Academy to train to become an exorcist and fight both the demons in the world and the demon within himself.

One Piece (1999)

One Piece
tv-14 4 Seasons
Genre Action & Adventure, Comedy, Animation
Cast Mayumi Tanaka, Kazuya Nakai, Akemi Okamura
One Piece is one of the best shows of all time, not just one of the best anime series on Netflix. And 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 on a quest for the legendary One Piece treasure. Whoever can claim the treasure will claim the coveted title of Pirate King. If you’re looking for a good adventure anime, this is it.

One Punch Man (2015)

One Punch Man
tv-pg 1 Season
Genre Animation, Action, Comedy
Cast Makoto Furukawa, Kaito Ishikawa, Max Mittelman
This anime series follows the life of Saitama, a hero that fights evil just because it’s fun to do so. Of course, fighting can only be so entertaining when you can defeat any enemy with a single punch. With comedy intricately intertwining with action, One-Punch Man is a unique series that even anime newbies can enjoy from the start.

Castlevania (2017)

71 %
tv-ma 4 Seasons
Genre Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Animation
Cast Richard Armitage, James Callis, Alejandra Reynoso
Created by Warren Ellis
This Netflix original anime is based on Castlevania: Dracula’s Curse, the third installment of the video game saga. The third season has arrived after an excellent first two parts. 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, mystery, vampires, and witty one-liners, Castlevania is a must-watch if you’re looking to fill that sci-fi void in your heart that never goes away.

Ajin (2016)

tv-ma 2 Seasons
Genre Animation, Action & Adventure, Mystery
Cast Mamoru Miyano, Yoshimasa Hosoya, Aya Suzaki
Created by Gamon Sakurai
A realistic-looking anime that has been well-reviewed even by irregular anime viewers, AJIN: Demi-Human is a fast-paced and well-executed concept with 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.

Parasyte -the maxim- (2014)

Parasyte -the maxim-
tv-ma 1 Season
Genre Animation, Drama, Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Action & Adventure
Cast Nobunaga Shimazaki, Aya Hirano, Kana Hanazawa
When 17-year-old Shinichi Izumi is partially infected by an alien Parasyte, he finds he must learn how to coexist with this creature to survive. The Parasytes that managed to fully take over their human hosts pose an immense threat to both him and the rest of humanity.

Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995)

Neon Genesis Evangelion
tv-14 1 Season
Genre Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Animation, Drama
Cast Megumi Ogata, Kotono Mitsuishi, Megumi Hayashibara
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)

tv-pg 1 Season
Genre Animation, Drama, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Cast Marika Kouno, Kyoko Hikami, Kentaro Ito
Created by Justin Leach
Reviewed as a more family-oriented anime series (in that there aren’t extremely graphic scenes and excessive fanservice), 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, which doesn’t hide the undeniable evidence of her reckless ancestors that she continually uncovers.

Attack on Titan (2013)

Attack on Titan
tv-ma 1 Season
Genre Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Animation, Action & Adventure
Cast Yuki Kaji, Yui Ishikawa, Marina Inoue
Humans are on the brink of extinction, hiding behind huge walls in an attempt to escape giant humanoid creatures called titans. Despite being safe within the confines of their own containment for more than 100 years, the titans manage to break through the walls once again and attack an outer city. Two kids watch in horror as their loved ones are devoured alive, and they vow to survive and fight this menace.

Death Note (2006)

Death Note
tv-14 1 Season
Genre Animation, Mystery, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Cast Mamoru Miyano, Noriko Hidaka, Nozomu Sasaki
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-
tv-14 1 Season
Genre Animation, Action & Adventure, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Cast Yusuke Kobayashi, Haruka Shiraishi, Takehito Koyasu
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)

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

Hunter x Hunter (2011)

Hunter x Hunter
tv-14 6 Seasons
Genre Action & Adventure, Animation, Drama
Cast Megumi Han, Mariya Ise, Miyuki Sawashiro
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. This is one of the best adventure anime you can watch on Netflix right now.

KILL la KILL (2013)

tv-ma 1 Season
Genre Action & Adventure, Animation, Comedy, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Cast Ryoka Yuzuki, Ami Koshimizu, Aya Suzaki
As an entry-level anime, Kill la Kill probably doesn’t work. The series is something of a hyperactive pastiche of shonen (anime/manga for boys) and shojo (anime/manga for girls) tropes, making it a bit incomprehensible if you haven’t seen the shows it consistently refers to. That being said, the extreme over-the-topness and wild action sequences are both goofy and erotically titillating. Don’t expect any kind of moral message or ideological coherence, though.

Aggretsuko (2018)

tv-14 4 Seasons
Genre Animation, Comedy
Cast Rareko, Sohta Arai, Shingo Katou
Created by Rareko
Retsuko is a 25-year-old red panda working a soul-sucking job as an accountant at a trading firm. She is much more than that, though — she is also the star of this rather relatable workplace 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. For those of you that already watch this show, season 4 will be released on December 16 of this year.

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure (2012)

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure
tv-ma 5 Seasons
Genre Animation, Action & Adventure, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Cast Fairouz Ai, Daisuke Ono, Mutsumi Tamura
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 psychic-powered journey, or a “bizarre” adventure, if you will. Though it begins to follow a 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.

Gurren Lagann (2007)

Gurren Lagann
tv-14 1 Season
Genre Animation, Action & Adventure, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Cast Marina Inoue, Kiyoyuki Yanada, Michiko Neya
The legendary animation studio Gainax (the same company that created the aforementioned magnum opus Evangelion) took another stab at giant fighting robots with Gurren Lagann, a far less serious interpretation of a timeworn subgenre. The heartwarming story arc explodes with feel-good positivity. Campy and flirtatious dialogue pairs well with the series’ high-energy fight scenes. It’s one of the best action anime series you’ll find on Netflix.

Kakegurui (2017)

tv-14 2 Seasons
Genre Action & Adventure, Animation, Drama, Mystery
Cast Tatsuya Tokutake, Saori Hayami, Minami Tanaka
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.

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