The best anime on Netflix right now

Animation is more than just family entertainment. American animators may have pioneered the medium, but animation really took hold of Japan. In turn, Japanese creators made it their own with anime. For decades, anime has pushed past the previous boundaries of the medium and given viewers several different genres to choose from.

Netflix only has a handful of the top anime series in the world. But what it lacks in star power it makes up for in volume. The streaming service has taken the lead by co-producing several original anime series of its own, which means that there are certain shows that can only be found on Netflix. It’s such a steady diet of content that it can be difficult to wade through it all. That’s why we’ve already put together a list of the best anime series on Netflix.

Further reading

The Idhun Chronicles

The Idhun Chronicles

The Idhun Chronicles has the distinction of being the only Spanish original anime series on this list. Author Laura Gallego co-adapted her own novel series The Idhún’s Memories to bring her fantasy story to a new medium. The story focuses on Jack, a seemingly ordinary teenager on Earth who loses his family to an attack ordered by Ashran, a necromancer who has seized power in the realm of Idhun. From there, Jack joins the resistance to Ashran’s rule, and his story is told through the series’ lush animation.

Created by: Laura Gallego
Cast: Itzan Escamilla, Michelle Jenner, Nico Romero
Number of seasons: 2

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Last Hope, best anime on Netflix

Last Hope

Within the near-future world of Last Hope, a young scientist, Leon Lau, attempted to solve the problem of dwindling resources with a Quantum Reactor. However, the reactor’s destruction had severe unintended consequences, which created a new race of artificially intelligent beings who have pushed humanity to the brink of extinction. Now a pariah to his own kind, Leon must make his way through the new world and make new allies as he tries to find some way to undo the damage he helped cause.

Created by: Shōji Kawamori, Hidekazu Sato, Toshizo Nemoto
Cast: Tomoaki Maeno, Nao Tōyama, Kenjiro Tsuda
Number of seasons: 2

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Castlevania

Castlevania

One of Netflix’s breakout anime series is based on the hit video games by Konami. Castlevania re-envisions Dracula (Graham McTavish) by giving him a legitimate grievance against humanity after his wife, Lisa, is executed by the church on trumped-up charges of heresy. Trevor Belmont (Richard Armitage), the last of a long line of vampire hunters, and Sypha Belnades (Alejandra Reynoso), a talented sorceress, may be all that stands in the way of humanity’s extinction. Surprisingly, their most valuable ally is Alucard (James Callis), the estranged son of Dracula and Lisa. This unlikely trio is ridiculously entertaining, and Castlevania finds its drama and action in unexpected ways.

Created by: Warren Ellis
Cast: Richard Armitage, James Callis, Graham McTavish, Alejandra Reynoso
Number of seasons: 3

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Blood of Zeus

Blood of Zeus

Netflix’s latest original anime, Blood of Zeus, has already found a sizable audience in the months since its debut. It offers a fresh take on Greek mythology by introducing a new hero, Heron (Derek Phillips). Heron is quite literally the son of Zeus (Jason O’Mara), which makes him a demigod. Heron also has the destiny to save the world from demonic threats, even as Zeus’ wife, Hera (Claudia Christian), wants Heron’s head because of Zeus’ infidelity. Heron’s got his work cut out for him, and we’ve got a new favorite anime.

Created by: Charley Parlapanides, Vlas Parlapanides
Cast: Derek Phillips, Jason O’Mara, Claudia Christian
Number of seasons: 1

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Ultraman

Ultraman

Ultraman is one of the original heroes of anime who dates back to 1966, so much so that he’s essentially the equivalent of Superman. Netflix’s Ultraman is not a reboot of the franchise. Instead, it’s a direct continuation that brings back Shin Hayata, the man behind Ultraman. Unfortunately, Shin no longer remembers that he was Japan’s greatest hero. Instead, the legacy is passed on to his son, Shinjiro. The new Ultraman has his hands full in the modern series, but his father’s legacy is in good hands.

Created by: Eiichi Shimizu, Tomohiro Shimoguchi, Eiji Tsuburaya
Cast: Ryohei Kimura, Takuya Eguchi, Megumi Han
Number of seasons: 1

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Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045

Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045

Masamune Shirow’s Ghost in the Shell was a seminal manga and anime movie in the ’80s and ’90s. Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 doesn’t quite live up to the original, but it is a follow-up to the Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex series. After a worldwide economic collapse, Motoko and her cybernetically enhanced team are hired out to quell trouble spots all over the world. But these are treacherous times, and even Motoko’s clients can’t be trusted.

Created by: Masamune Shirow
Cast: Atsuko Tanaka, Osamu Saka, Akio Ōtsuka
Number of seasons: 1

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Avatar The Last Airbender, best anime on Netflix

Avatar: The Last Airbender

Potentially Nickelodeon’s most generation-spanning show other than Spongebob SquarepantsAvatar: The Last Airbender tells the story of Aang, the 12-year-old Avatar who has been awoken after a 100-year slumber to find the world at war. This world is divided into four nations: Earth, Air, Water, and Fire, each of which has a population of “benders,” people who can control the element that their nation is associated with. The Avatar is meant to be the master of all elements and tasked with maintaining peace and balance between the nations. But when Aang was frozen in ice, the Fire Nation was free to attempt to conquer the world. Now that the Avatar is back, he’ll have to rely on the help of his friends Katara, Sokka, and Toph to help him complete his training and take on the Fire Lord.

Created by: Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko
Cast: Dante Basco, Jack De Sena, Mae Whitman
Number of seasons: 3

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Parasyte: The Maxim

Parasyte: The Maxim

Based on the popular sci-fi horror manga series by Hitoshi Iwaaki, Parasyte: The Maxim is creepy, action-packed anime if you’re looking for some frightening fun. It is an aggressively provocative and discomforting show following teenaged Shinichi Izumi after he’s partially infected by a Parasyte, a monster from space that’s designed to butcher and consume humans. Fortunately, his parasite is relatively docile, permitting Shinichi to coexist as, together, they fend off the rest of a parasitic invasion.

Created by: Hitoshi Iwaaki
Cast: Nobunaga Shimazaki, Aya Hirano, Kana Hanazawa
Number of seasons: 1

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The Legend of Korra on Netflix

The Legend of Korra

The sequel to Nickelodeon’s hit series Avatar: The Last Airbender (also on Netflix), The Legend of Korra follows Korra, the next Avatar after Aang. Korra is from the Southern Water Tribe and, when we meet her, she’s at the opposite stage of her Avatar training as Aang was when we met him. Korra has mastered earth, water, and fire elements, but she is struggling to master the art of airbending. On her quest to master the final element, Korra finds herself in Republic City, a melting pot where benders and non-benders live together. However, the land that once appeared peaceful is plagued with crime, and an anti-bending revolution is brewing that may erupt into a civil war. Thrust into her role as the balance-bringing Avatar before she’s fully ready, Korra must learn airbending from a new teacher, Aang’s son, Tenzin.

Created by: Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko
Cast: Janet Varney, David Faustino, P.J. Byrne
Number of seasons: 4

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Japan Sinks 2020

Japan Sinks: 2020

Sakyo Komatsu’s bestselling 1973 sci-fi novel Japan Sinks tells the story of two children who must escape Tokyo after a major earthquake hits Japan, causing the entire island to sink. Now, Netflix has adapted the beloved novel with a modern spin, calling it Japan Sinks: 2020. This time, a series of natural disasters hit Japan, throwing the country into complete chaos. The story follows one ordinary family as they attempt to flee the island in chaotic, terrifying conditions.

Created by: Sakyo Komatsu (novel), Toshio Yoshitaka
Cast: Reina Ueda, Tomo Muranaka, Yuko Sasaki
Number of seasons: 4

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Attack on Titan

Attack on Titan

Attack on Titan is a good example of just how mature anime has become in recent years. The show is set in an alternate reality where humanity has been forced to build massive walls around its cities to take refuge from huge, wandering monsters that both resemble and eat humans. After young Eren Yeager watches in horror as a titan consumes his mother, he (along with his sister Mikasa and his friend Armin) joins the military Survey Corps to avenge her death. The series alternates between spectacular battle scenes — where the Survey Corps members fly through the air using their Vertical Maneuvering Equipment — and moments of desperation, as the protagonists try to learn more about their enemy. In contrast to popular anime shows that espouse the “power of friendship,” Attack on Titan is a gloomy, horrific series from which you won’t be able to look away.

Created by: Hajime Isayama
Cast: Marina Inoue, Yûki Kaji, Yui Ishikawa
Number of seasons: 4

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Bleach on Netflix

Bleach

Bleach is one of the longer-running anime shows out there, with a total of 366 episodes spanning 16 seasons (unfortunately, only five seasons are currently available on Netflix). The show follows 15-year-old Ichigo Kurosaki after he inadvertently absorbs the power — and the responsibility — of a Soul Reaper, a personification of death that defends humanity from the supernatural and guides spirits to the afterlife. Kurosaki is tasked with defeating monstrous Hollows, ghosts that must be purified so they don’t feed on other souls. Bleach is absolutely brimming with exciting battles, as Kurosaki takes on enemies with increasingly wild abilities, but it also earned praise for its colorful, diverse cast of characters, along with its development of recurring characters. The show can be both dark and funny, and it mostly manages to avoid the played-out tropes that often plague anime.

Created by: Tite Kubo
Cast: Masakazu Morita, Fumiko Orikasa, Yuki Matsuoka
Number of seasons: 16

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Gurren Lagann

Gurren Lagann

If you were (or are) a fan of the Gundam franchise and its giant mechs, you’ll like Gurren Lagann. If not…well, you’ll still probably like Gurren Lagann because it’s awesome. In a dystopian future where Earth is under the rule of the sinister Spiral King Lordgenome, men live below the planet’s surface, occupying small villages. When teenagers Simon and Kamina find a buried mech and activate it, they’re able to tunnel to the surface and join a resistance group in their fight against Lordgenome. The show’s fast pace and gripping action sequences are underscored by genuine character development and an authentic sense of inspiration that drives the rebel forces. Gurren Lagann manages to be exciting, adventurous, and comedic all at the same time, without sacrificing the stakes.

Created by: Gainax
Cast:  Yuri Lowenthal, Kana Asumi, Steve Blum
Number of seasons: 1

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One-Punch Man

One-Punch Man

Somehow, One-Punch Man manages to be both a legitimately enjoyable anime and a parody of the genre, combining a hilarious premise with snappy writing and exciting fight scenes. The show takes place in a world where superheroes and supervillains are de rigueur — so much so, in fact, that there’s a “Hero Association” that assigns heroes grades (S-class through C-class) based upon their power. Saitama, the titular “One-Punch Man,” built his power over the course of three years, simply by doing 100 push-ups, 100 sit-ups, 100 squats, and a 6-mile run each day. By the time the story begins, he’s powerful enough to dispatch nearly all enemies with a single punch (as his name implies). As a result, Saitama is often bored with his opponents, yawning in their faces as they do the whole “anime bad guy screaming” schtick. Sometimes, though, things come to a head, and that’s when One-Punch Man hits its stride.

Created by: One
Cast: Makoto Furukawa, Kaito Ishikawa, Max Mittelman
Number of seasons: 2

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The Seven Deadly Sins

The Seven Deadly Sins

In the land of Britannia, a group of warriors known as the Seven Deadly Sins acted as protectors of the realm. When the Sins were supposedly defeated by the Holy Knights, they went into hiding, at which point the Knights staged a coup and took control of the empire. Young Princess Elizabeth sets out to reform the Sins and save her homeland, first joining with Meliodas, the Sin of Wrath and the leader of the group. Seven Deadly Sins plays out like many other anime shows, following a group of heroes in their travels and chronicling both their clashes with villainous characters and their interactions with each other. There’s some crude humor (usually derived from Meliodas’ lecherous advances upon Elizabeth), but otherwise, Sins is an enjoyable romp with some creative concepts and battles.

Created by: Nakaba Suzuki
Cast: Yûki Kaji, Rintarou Nishi, Misaki Kuno
Number of seasons: 4

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Aggretsuko on Netflix

Aggretsuko

Retsuko is a hardworking 25-year-old Red Panda, commuting and living in Tokyo, Japan. All day, every day, she deals with her nasty boss, insincere supervisor, and less-than-stellar coworkers. Retsuko has a secret life, and when the rage of the day boils over, she heads into Japan’s famous karaoke bars, grabs a bottle of sake, holds on to a microphone, and screams death metal into the night. Aggretsuko can be described as Zootopia meets The Office, with a colorful cast of characters and a solid degree of witty humor for older audiences. Featuring a stellar voice cast, which includes Erica Mendez and Ben Dishkin, Aggretsuko is a quick but wonderfully crafted office comedy, where audiences connect with Retsuko and her pursuits, rocking out to death metal and learning new lessons about herself along the way. The third season was just released on August 27.

Created by: Yeti and Rarecho
Cast: Kaolip, Komegumi Koiwasaki, Maki Tsuruta
Number of seasons: 3

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Violet Evergarden on Netflix

Violet Evergarden

Violet Evergarden is a skilled warrior, but upon the end of a devastating war, she suffers a grave injury that requires the amputation of her arms, now replaced with advanced prostheses. With a hazy memory, she is enlisted as an Auto Memory Doll, a ghostwriter who helps convey messages for others. As she acclimates to her new life and writes for others, faint memories of her commanding officer emerge, and the last words that were said to her. When the fires of war have finally subsided, a former soldier will find meaning to the words “I love you.” Violet Evergarden began as a light novel series written by Kana Akatsuki and illustrated by Akiko Takase before being picked up by Netflix and animated by the legendary studio Kyoto Animation. The visual fidelity of Violet Evergarden is regarded as beautiful and breathtaking, receiving numerous awards and praise. The English cast of Violet Evergarden includes incredible talent, featuring Erika Harlacher as Violet and Cherami Leigh as Iris.

Created by: Kana Akatsuki, Kyoto Animation
Cast: Yui Ishikawa, Takehito Koyasu, Daisuke Namikawa
Number of seasons: 1

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Beastars on Netflix

Beastars

If one could ever imagine Zootopia becoming an R-rated bloody murder mystery, it would likely be Beastars. In a world of anthropomorphic creatures, carnivores and herbivores of all species coexist and work together. That line of coexistence is shattered when a student is devoured by an unnamed and unknown carnivore. In the midst of the growing unease at the school, Legoshi, a timid and shy carnivorous wolf, has a dramatic encounter with a small rabbit who attends the school, Haru, an encounter that may affect the fate of Legoshi and the school. Beastars originally began as a manga, written by Paru Itagaki and Akita Shoten, released in 2016. The manga went on to win a multitude of awards, including the coveted Manga Taisho Award. With 20 volumes published so far, the manga remains ongoing. The manga went on to be licensed by Viz Media and released in the United States in 2019. The anime launched on Netflix on March 13, 2020, and features stunning animation by Studio Orange and a stellar English voice cast, which includes Jonah Scott as Legoshi and Lara Jill Miller as Haru.

Created by: Orange
Cast: Chikahiro Kobayashi, Sayaka Senbongi (Japanese), Jonah Scott, Lara Jill Miller (English)
Number of seasons: 1

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Cannon Busters on Netflix

Cannon Busters

Philly the Kid, an immortal outlaw, comes across Sam, a young drone separated from her owner. In a world of magic, creatures, and robots, Philly and Sam assemble a ragtag crew of outlaws and dissidents, including a transforming Cadillac, to embark on a grand quest across Gearbolt to reunite Sam and her owner. Cannon Busters is an incredibly unique anime, focusing on Afrofuturism, and combining elements of steampunk, science fiction, and fantasy. Cannon Busters originally began as a graphic novel in 2005 by LeSean Thomas and J. Torres. After three issues, the novel was shelved until it was revived as a 2019 anime series by Satelight and Yumeta Company.

Created by: LeSean Thomas, J. Torres, Satelight, Yumeta Company
Cast: Yoshitsugu Matsuoka, Hinaki Yano (Japanese), Kenn Michael, Kamali Minter (English)
Number of seasons: 1

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Little Witch Academia

Little Witch Academia

From legendary animation studio Trigger arrives a coming-of-age fantasy all about pursuing your dreams. In the journey of life, you never know who you will meet next, but the next person you see could be the very inspiration you need. When young Atsuko is inspired by her favorite witch, Shiny Chariot, she enrolls at the elite Luna Nova Magical Academy. The stacks are already against Atsuko. Many of the students enrolled at the academy have an established background in magic, but regrettably, Atsuko does not. Struggling, Atsuko stumbles upon a magical relic, Shiny Rod. Determined to pursue her dreams, she wields the relic and studies hard in her quest to become a witch and change the world. Little Witch Academia features top-notch animation and girl power, but also an incredibly heartfelt story that is perfect for all those aspiring to accomplish their dreams.

Created by: Yoh Yoshinari, produced by Trigger.
Cast:  Megumi Han (Japanese), Franciska Friede (English)
Number of seasons: 3

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Altered Carbon: Resleeved

Altered Carbon: Resleeved

Delving deeper into the dangerous life of Takeshi Kovac, Altered Carbon: Resleeved is an additional chapter in the world of Altered Carbon, the popular sci-fi show that has released two seasons on Netflix. On the planet Latimer, Takeshi investigates the mysterious death of a high-profile Yakuza boss and faces a tough-as-nails CTAC, all the while protecting a tattooist who holds an important key in this race against time. Dai Saito, a writer whose credits include Ghost in the Shell and Cowboy Bebop, puts his own spin on the incredible world of Altered Carbon. Altered Carbon: Resleeved is a feature-length animated action film, featuring sharp animation, an original story, and a talented English cast that includes the talents of Ray Chase, Richard Epcar, Elizabeth Maxwell, and Brittany Cox. Whether you have already seen the second season of Altered Carbon or this is your first time discovering the franchise, Altered Carbon: Resleeved is a fantastic cyberpunk animated film.

Created by: Laeta Kalogridis (created by), Dai Sato & Tsukasa Kondo (written by)
Cast: Tatsuhisa Suzuki, Kanehira Yamamoto (Japanese), Ray Chase, Doug Stone (English)
Number of seasons: Anime film

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Fate Stay/Night: Unlimited Blade Works

Fate Stay/Night: Unlimited Blade Works

The Holy Grail War is a war to end all wars. Having taken place over the span of centuries, this war grants the victor the ultimate wish. To wage this war, users gifted with magic, known as Masters, summon warriors to fight on their behalf, called Servants. These Servants come from across the span of history and time, from Gilgamesh to Medusa to King Arthur, who is actually recreated as a woman. The Holy Grail War is filled with heroes and villains, all vying for the ultimate power. Their very character and well-being are tested in the face of such overwhelming power. For Master Shirou and his Servant Saber, a war that will determine the future of human civilization unfolds before them. Fate Stay/Night: Unlimited Blade Works has been lauded for its breathtaking animation, which combines 2D and 3D effects into one seamless visual experience. Featuring a deep and tremendous story, jaw-dropping animation, and incredible action, Fate Stay/Night: Unlimited Blade Works is an excellent and unforgettable fantasy journey.

Created by: Type-Moon, Ufotable
Cast: Noriaki Sugiyama (Japanese), Bryce Papenbrook (English)
Number of seasons: 2

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Devilman Crybaby

Devilman Crybaby

Go Nagai’s iconic manga and anime Devilman received a modern update in Devilman Crybaby. The creative team moved the events of the series to the present and incorporated more mature and adult themes into the story. The series follows a high school student named Akira Fudo and his friend Ryo Asuka as they navigate a world with demons and monsters secretly living among humanity. Ryo convinces Akira of the demon threat and drags him along on an undercover mission to get proof. From there, Akira inadvertently unites with a demon, and he retains his original personality with all of the demon’s strength when transformed. However, Akira doesn’t know the full truth behind the demons’ presence on Earth or the high price that he will pay in the name of protecting his friends. This tale isn’t for the faint of heart, but it is very emotionally resonant.

Created by: Ichirō Ōkouchi, based on Go Nagai’s manga
Cast: Kōki Uchiyama, Ayumu Murase (Japanese), Griffin Burns, Kyle McCarley (English)
Number of seasons: 1

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Neon Genesis Evangelion

Neon Genesis Evangelion

Giant robots fighting even bigger monsters is a common theme among anime series, but few have elevated the genre like Neon Genesis Evangelion. The series was set in the then far-off year of 2015, 15 years after the world was attacked by aliens that were known as “Angels.” The show follows Shinji Ikari, a shy and emotionally withdrawn teenager who is forced to become an Evangelion pilot by his manipulative father, Gendo. Shinji slowly rises to the occasion alongside his fellow pilots, Rei and Asuka. However, the Angels aren’t the only ones with secrets on this show. And Shinji will have to face unimaginable nightmares and traumas before he can ultimately confront his own inner demons.

Created by: Gainax
Cast: Megumi Ogata, Kotono Mitsuishi, Megumi Hayashibara (Japanese)
Number of seasons: 1

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