Netflix’s continued investment in anime has yielded fruit over the past couple of years. The streaming service has amassed a selection of some of not only the most popular and iconic anime series in recent memory, but also a host of impressive original anime titles. It has secured the platform’s position as of the go-to streaming services for the medium. With over 100 titles to choose from across a smorgasbord of subgenres including sci-fi, fantasy, slice-of-life comedy, mecha, action, and more, the right anime for the right mood has never been more available and simultaneously harder to find.
Don’t sweat it; we’ve got you covered. Poring over Netflix’s rich catalog of anime titles, we’ve assembled a list of the best anime to stream on Netflix right now. From classic series like Cowboy Bebop and Neon Genesis Evangelion to Netflix originals like Cyberpunk: Edgerunners and Devilman Crybaby, here are the very best anime series the platform has to offer.
Our latest update added Mononoke and Vinland Saga.
Based on mascot company Sanrio’s original character, Netflix’s original animated comedy Aggretsuko follows Retsuko, a 25-year-old anthropomorphic red panda working in the accounting department of a Japanese trading company. Frustrated with her thankless job, domineering boss, and boring love life, Retsuko vents her millennial rage in the only way she knows how: through death metal karaoke. Eventually, Retsuko’s misery and the knowledge of her after-work activity catch up with her professional life, forcing the young red panda to experience a series of meaningful revelations and changes while struggling to figure out what just exactly she wants out of life and who she wants to build that life with. Eccentric, funny, and deeply relatable, Aggretsuko is anime’s answer to Bojack Horseman. With four seasons of 15-minute episodes, now is the perfect time to catch up and see what all the hubbub is about. —Toussaint Egan
Beastars tells the story of a wolf who wants to have sex with a rabbit but worries he will devour said rabbit. I think it’s a metaphor for puberty. Maybe it’s holding a magnifying glass to sexual violence on campus. Or perhaps it’s a coming-of-age story about a generation of young people disconnected from their parents by rapidly changing norms. Frankly, I’ve stopped caring about what it’s about.
Beastars works when I quit trying to make a one-to-one connection between our world and its city of horny teenage carnivores and herbivores. I enjoy the show best when I take its internal logic on its own terms. In that way, Beastars is like Romeo and Juliet. A sexy, violent, and often frustrating tale of star-crossed lovers kept apart by society. And like the works of Shakespeare, Beastars can be contorted into whatever else you want it to be. —Chris Plante
Carole & Tuesday
Directed by Shinichirō Watanabe (Cowboy Bebop) and produced by anime studio Bones (My Hero Academia), Carole & Tuesday is a spirited drama that hones in on one of the most persistent passion topics of Watanabe’s career: music. Set on a terraformed Mars in the distant future, the anime follows the story of Tuesday Simmons and Carole Stanley, two teenage girls from starkly different backgrounds who bond over their shared dream of becoming musicians.
Teaming up as a singer-songwriter duo, the pair navigate the thorny challenges and euphoric highs of their nascent musical career as they grow and bring out the best in both each other and those around them. Featuring the return of Cowboy Bebop screenwriter Keiko Nobumoto and original music and vocal performances courtesy of Thundercat, Flying Lotus, Denzel Curry, and more, Carole & Tuesday is a bubbly and beautiful musical anime bursting with heart where it matters most. —TE
Speaking of Shinichirō Watanabe, Cowboy Bebop, his 1998 sci-fi Western noir anime produced by Sunrise, is considered by many to be one of most exemplary anime series ever made. Set in the year 2071, the series follows the stories of four people: Spike Spiegel, Jet Black, Faye Valentine, and “Radical” Edward as they traipse across the solar system hunting criminals and chasing bounties.
A work of retro-futuristic pastiche that pulls from several dozen influences in the creation of its own universe, Cowboy Bebop is an enduring classic of the medium for its rich storytelling, heady themes, and a spectacular and eclectic score by composer Yoko Kanno. If you’ve somehow never seen Cowboy Bebop before, (1) now’s the perfect time to and (2) I am both jealous of and excited for you. —TE
Image: Studio Trigger/Netflix
Studio Trigger’s 2022 anime spinoff set in the universe of CD Projekt Red’s Cyberpunk 2077 and Mike Pondsmith’s original TTRPG not only earned a spot on our list of the best anime of 2022, but took home the prize for Anime of the Year at the 2023 Crunchyroll Anime Awards. It’s not hard to see why. As critic Kambole Campbell wrote in his review for ProSpelare, “(Cyberpunk: Edgerunners) is easily the most exciting thing to come out of the game’s redemption arc.”
The series centers on David Martinez, a streetwise teenager growing up in the dystopian metropolis of Night City who, after losing his mother in a horrific accident and crossing paths with a beautiful and mysterious netrunner named Lucy, chooses to become a high-tech mercenary (or “Edgerunner”) in order to make a living and achieve his dream of one day becoming a “legend.” With Hiroyuki Imaishi (Promare) at the helm and Yoh Yoshinari (Little Witch Academia) serving as the series’ chief animation director and character designer, Cyberpunk: Edgerunners quickly asserted itself as not only one of the most impressive video game anime adaptations in recent memory, but as one of Studio Trigger’s most memorable creative efforts to date.
Stepping sideways from its source material, the series leaned into thematic and emotional territory heretofore unexplored by CD Projekt Red’s open-world action RPG, and in doing so created a cast of characters whose respective arcs, motivations, and personalities shaped by a desperate grasp for stability and community in a predatory world left an impression on audiences that lasted far beyond its comparatively short 10-episode run. Edgerunners is the closest a contemporary anime series has come in years to emulating the hyper-violent, risque, and kinetic vitality of a late-’90s anime OVA. To paraphrase Cyberpunk 2077’s protagonist, V: You’re either gonna love Cyberpunk: Edgerunners or want to burn it, no middle ground. But if you wanna know for sure, you just need to try it for yourself. —TE
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba
Based on Koyoharu Gotouge’s acclaimed manga series, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba has quickly become an shōnen anime powerhouse on par with My Hero Academia and Naruto since the series premiered in 2019. Set in Taishō-era Japan, the anime follows the story of Tanjiro Kamado, a kind-hearted young boy who trains to become a demon slayer in order to find a cure for his sister, Nezuko, who was transformed into half-demon hybrid in the wake of the attack that claimed the lives of the rest of his family.
With jaw-dropping action sequences, brilliant hybrid animation blending traditional and 3D-modeled backgrounds, and a genuinely stirring story centered on the power of family and finding strength in the harshest of circumstances, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba is one of the most popular anime series today for good reason. With a highly anticipated third season coming up, you absolutely must find the time to watch Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba now if you haven’t already. —TE
Mitsuo Iso’s sci-fi slice-of-life anime Den-noh Coil is one of the most highly acclaimed yet underseen anime of the late aughts. Set in a future where augmented reality and internet-connected visors have become the norm, the anime follows Yūko Okonogi and her younger sister Kyōko, who move to the small town of Daikoku to live with their grandmother, Sanae. There, the two join the Coil Cyber Detective Agency, a small group of local kids who perform odd jobs and investigate mysteries that skew the line between the technological and the supernatural.
Drawing inspiration from Japanese folklore and then-cutting-edge technology to tell a story filled with rich characters, subtle themes, outrageous humor, and novel creativity, Den-noh Coil is the definition of an anime cult classic and an absolute gem worth watching. —TE
Based on Go Nagai’s massively influential manga and directed by Masaaki Yuasa (Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!), Devilman Crybaby was Netflix’s first original anime series and one of the breakout anime premieres of 2018. The series follows high school student Akira who, after reuniting with his childhood friend Ryo, is made aware of the existence of demons. Convinced that the only way to drive the demons back and save humanity is to create a human-demon hybrid — a so-called devilman — Ryo asks for Akira’s help by volunteering to fuse with one himself. Known for its unsparingly graphic action, ecstatic visual style, and emotionally gripping story, Devilman Crybaby is a phenomenal adaptation that breathes stunning new life into a bona-fide anime classic. —TE
Based on Q Hayashida’s dark fantasy sci-fi manga, Dorohedoro follows the story of Caiman, a reptilian-headed amnesiac living in a dystopian metropolis known as the Hole where humans are preyed upon by malevolent sorcerers from another dimension. With the help of his friend Nikaido, Caiman hunts down these sorcerers in his search of the one who transformed him, devouring their heads into his mouth where a mysterious face at the back of his throat passes judgment on their fate. Yeah, and that’s not even the series at its weirdest. Comical, hyperviolent, and oddly endearing, Dorohedoro is one of the most bizarre, unique, and impressive anime to grace Netflix since it first premiered in 2020. —TE
Image: Wit Studio
Directed by Hiro Kaburagi (Speed Grapher) and produced by Wit Studio (Vinland Saga, Attack on Titan), the Netflix original anime Great Pretender is a rollicking comedy-drama with equal parts style, brains, and explosive action. Centering on the story of Makoto Edamura, a small-time Japanese conman who is taken under the wing of the dashing heist maestro Laurent Theirry, the series follows the intrepid band of thieves as they swagger from one beautiful locale to the next in their campaign to swindle the most notorious criminals out of their ill-gotten gains. Aside from the elaborate antics of the core cast, Great Pretender is absolutely stunning in its visual design, with exotic cities and countries rendered in picturesque layouts and backgrounds inspired by the British artist Brian Cook. Not only that, but with character designs courtesy of Yoshiyuki Sadamoto (Neon Genesis Evangelion) and an infectiously jazzy score by composer Yutaka Yamada, Great Pretender is a feast for the senses and absolute blast to watch unfold. —TE
Hunter x Hunter
Hunter x Hunter is a 165-episode gift. Yes, there’s a cannibal furry arc. Yes, the clown man (OK, magician) is naked all the time. But look beyond the fact that I can’t describe this series in a way that will convince my friends to watch it. Hunter x Hunter is the pinnacle of shōnen anime. There’s not a shred of filler in it. A particular arc that involves Gon and pals fighting in the 251-floor Heavens Arena is the perfect example of Hunter x Hunter’s economy of storytelling: it only spends 10 episodes there, and the narrative payoff is so good.
By the time I reached the 61-episode-long Chimera Ant arc (shut up), I would have died for these characters, and Hunter x Hunter is at times so emotionally wrenching that I nearly did. —Simone de Rochefort
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
Image: David Production
You know that thing you did as a kid when your friend would shoot their finger guns at you, but you’d say you were made out of metal, and then they’d say that their bullets are made out of metal-melting acid, but then you’d say that last night you snuck into their base and ate all their bullets? JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is exactly like that, except instead of imaginative kids, everyone is an extremely beautiful fully grown adult man with a name like “Robert E.O. Speedwagon” or “Kars.”
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is pure spectacle. It’s a series built around absurd confrontations where the stakes aren’t always clear and the rules might as well not exist, but it’s a joy to look at. Characters strut around in avant-garde, impractical outfits and strike dramatic poses. They’re all named (seemingly arbitrarily) after classic rock musicians. It’s the kind of series that encourages you to keep watching, not with a compelling plot or great mystery, but just with the promise of seeing beautiful and weird men do things. I think that’s OK. —Patrick Gill
Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans
Set 300 years after a deadly conflict between Earth and Mars known as the Calamity War, Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans follows a ragtag group of child soldiers who break away from the control of their adult commanders and form their own mercenary group. With the aid of the ancient Mobile Suit Gundam Barbatos, piloted by orphan Mikazuki Augus, the group accepts a contract to escort Kudelia Aina Bernstein, an idealistic noblewoman, back to Earth to negotiate Martian independence, all while surviving repeated clashes against the corrupt military outfit Gjallarhorn.
With intense mecha action, interesting characters, and engrossing political intrigue, Iron-Blooded Orphans is commonly cited as one of the best Mobile Suit Gundam series in recent memory. —TE
Image: Toei Animation/Discotek Spelare
Kenji Nakamura’s 2007 series Mononoke is a cult favorite among anime enthusiasts who prefer a more eccentric and esoteric take on your average supernatural horror fiction. A spinoff of the 2006 anthology anime Ayakashi: Samurai Horror Tales, Mononoke follows the adventures of the “Medicine Seller,” a mysterious, wandering exorcist of sorts who travels across Edo-period Japan in search of wayward spirits whose unresolved emotional attachments have caused them to transform into malicious entities that feed and prey on negative human emotions. Divided into roughly five different storylines, the 12-episode anime sees the Medicine Seller using his various supernatural abilities to deduce the cause behind a spirit’s inability to part from the physical plane and successfully exorcise them using a sword that can only be unsheathed when the identity and motivations of the spirit are made known.
The real strength of Mononoke is through its animation and avant-garde art style, drawing inspiration from classical Japanese illustration and painting techniques to create a world of bright palettes, flamboyant characters, and beautiful textures that feel like a ukiyo-e painting brought to life. If you’re a fan of Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo, you should make the time to watch this series, and even if you’re not, you should take the opportunity to catch up on the series before the feature-length anime film premieres next year. —TE
Image: Madhouse/Viz Spelare
Whenever I’m asked how to get into anime, I always respond with a question in turn. I never ask “What anime have you seen already?” or even “What kind of animation do you like?” but always “What kinds of stories do you like? What’s the last book, movie, or scripted television show that really caught your attention?” Anime is a diverse and multifaceted medium, one with a breadth of stories and experiences beyond the typical shonen action fare that many come to erroneously equate with the sum total of anime as a whole. My personal, prime example of this is Monster, the 2004 anime adaptation of Naoki Urasawa’s 1994 manga series, and I can’t tell you how excited I am to finally be able to recommend it to folks new to anime.
An outlier when compared to most other popular anime, Monster is a psychological crime thriller set in postwar Germany. The series centers on Kenzo Tenma, an esteemed Japanese brain surgeon living and working in Düsseldorf, who is faced with a spur-of-the-moment choice of saving the life of a child with a gunshot wound to their head or the city’s mayor — and donor to Tenma’s hospital. Tenma chooses to operate on the child, and in doing so irrevocably alters the course of both of their lives forever.
With his career reputation tarnished in the wake of the mayor’s passing, Tenma is further haunted by the subsequent disappearance of the child, who vanished shortly after the operation to save his life. Several years later, Tenma is implicated in the murder of several of his hospital’s senior staff, and the culprit is none other than the child he saved — now a prolific and elusive serial killer. With no other choice, Tenma embarks on a quest in search of proof of his former patient’s identity and transgressions in order to clear his name, all while hounded by German police.
If you enjoy slow-burn procedural crime thrillers like True Detective, Zodiac, or The Fugitive, Monster is absolutely the anime for you. At 74 episodes, Masayuki Kojima and Madhouse’s series is a faithful adaptation of Urasawa’s manga and a riveting drama, patiently and meticulously unspooling a cast of unique characters whose respective storylines interweave into a complicated tapestry of murder, sex, lies, and conspiracy. After being difficult procure in the states for over a decade, Netflix finally added Monster to its library earlier this year. If for no other reason than its rarity, you should make time to watch this excellent and well-crafted piece of Japanese animated storytelling. I promise you won’t regret it. —TE
Neon Genesis Evangelion
Image: khara/Project Eva
Director Hideaki Anno’s apocalyptic mecha drama Neon Genesis Evangelion is one of the undisputed titans of contemporary anime, commanding a passionate legion of fans since it first premiered in 1995 and amassing such a reverential reputation that it spawned a tetralogy of films dedicated to reimagining its vast universe. Set 15 years after a worldwide cataclysm, the original series centers on Shinji Ikari, a 14-year-old boy who is enlisted by his estranged father to pilot an enormous bio-weapon known as an Evangelion in order to combat a mysterious legion of creatures codenamed “Angels.” Together with his fellow pilots Asuka Langley Soryu and Rei Ayanami, as well as his legal guardian/commanding officer Misato Katsuragi, Shinji must struggle with the pangs of growing up while defeating the Angels to save humanity. Of course, there’s way more to this premise than meets the eye. By equal turns psychological and eschatological, Neon Genesis Evangelion subverts audience expectations at every turn to deliver one of the most memorable anime stories of all time, culminating in one of the most divisive and inspired finales ever produced for television. —TE
The Orbital Children
Image: Production +h/Netflix
Mitsuo Iso, the legendary animator known for his work on such classic films as End of Evangelion and Ghost in the Shell, made his return to directing with the 2022 original anime The Orbital Children. Produced 15 years after his first original work, the cult favorite sci-fi coming-of-age anime Den-noh Coil, Iso’s 2022 series saw the director revisit his fascination with speculative augmented reality technology and adolescence.
Centered on five children who find themselves stranded aboard a commercial space station in the wake of an unforeseen disaster and subsequent terrorist attack, The Orbital Children is easily one of the most visually fascinating and conceptually forward-thinking anime in recent memory. While the story may admittedly grow a tad unwieldy in the series’ latter half, Iso’s series as a whole proves itself to be a remarkable experience to behold all the same. Here’s hoping it doesn’t take him another 15 years to grace us with yet another stunning vision of the future. —TE
Rilakkuma and Kaoru
Similar to fellow Netflix original Aggretsuko, Rilakkuma and Kaoru is another anime based on cutesy mascot character designs created by a stationery company. While the latter is beautifully realized in impressive stop-motion animation, the two share a common focus in centering on disgruntled office workers yearning for a change of pace. The series follows a year in the life of Kaoru, a young human woman living with her three roommates: a large brown anthropomorphic bear named Rilakkuma, a small white bear named Korilakkuma, and a baby chick named Kiirotori. Heartwarming, whimsical, and powerfully cathartic, Rilakkuma and Kaoru is a wonderful anime with adorable characters and a stunning art style. With a follow-up series titled Rilakkuma’s Theme Park Adventure slated for release later this year, now is the perfect time to catch up on the series. —TE
Tiger & Bunny
Set in a futuristic city where superpowered heroes compete on live television to capture criminals and promote sponsors, Tiger & Bunny follows veteran hero Kotetsu T. Kaburagi (aka Wild Tiger), who is forced to team up with a new partner, Barnaby Brooks Jr. Despite sharing the same abilities, the two clash over their conflicting goals and ideas of what it means to be a hero. However, when a dangerous new adversary threatens to plunge the city into turmoil, the pair will have to put aside their differences and work together if they’re to have any chance of saving the day.
The brainchild of producer Masayuki Ozaki (Tales of the Abyss) and director Keiichi Sato (The Big O), Tiger & Bunny failed to muster a strong reception when it first aired in 2011, but a cult following of fans amassed via enough word-of-mouth praise over the next decade that Netflix commissioned a second season of the series, albeit now directed by Mitsuko Kase (Ristorante Paradiso) and produced by Bandai Namco Pictures.
If you’re looking for a fun superhero anime in the vein of My Hero Academia or Samurai Flamenco but with a heavier satirical bent, look no further than Tiger & Bunny. —TE
Image: Wit Studio/Sentai Filmworks
Set in England around A.D. 1013, the historical action adventure anime Vinland Saga follows Thorfinn, the son of a former Viking commander, who embarks on a journey for vengeance against the band of mercenaries hired to kill his father. Inspired by the life of Thorfinn Karlsefni, an Icelandic explorer who followed Leif Eriksson on his short-lived journey to establish a colony in North America, Vinland Saga is one of the most unconventional and rewarding anime series in years. It is a visceral tale of a young man’s attempt to resolve his grief through violence, only to subsequently embrace the ideology of nonviolence his father tried to impart on him earlier in life.
The first season is an exciting and action-oriented story focusing on Thorfinn’s strained relationship with his nemesis (and begrudging father figure) Askeladd, parallel to the ascendency of King Canute the Great. The second season is an altogether more deliberate and somber story that finds Thorfinn attempting to seek a new purpose in life beyond vengeance. Vinland Saga is a tremendous anime with a life-affirming story of finding peace in spite of hardship, and an absolute must-watch for anime enthusiasts. —TE
Image: Kyoto Animation/Netflix
The highly acclaimed Kyoto Animation brings the Netflix exclusive Violet Evergarden to life with the beautiful scenes you’d expect from the studio. The main character, who shares her name with the series, is a young girl previously used as a killing machine by the military during a war. After losing both of her arms and having them replaced with metal prosthetics, she has to learn how to integrate back into society as an Auto-Memory Doll, which is essentially a trained ghostwriter for books and letters. It’s sweet and satisfying to watch Violet grow and learn about the complexity of human emotions, a journey complemented by gorgeous animation. The 13-episode series is available in its entirety in English and Japanese with English subtitles in addition to dubbed voices and subtitles in several other languages. —Julia Lee
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