Though there are certainly some more dedicated anime streaming sites out there, most folks don’t have to look too far to find some quality anime to binge. Whether you prefer fast-paced action, slapstick comedy, or something a little more introspective, here’s a list of 10 quality anime series available to anybody with access to a Netflix account.
The 10 best anime on Netflix
10. Lupin the Third: Castle of Cagliostro
This classic anime movie from the ’70s has withstood the test of time. This heist film was one of anime legend Hayao Miyazaki’s first films, and though it doesn’t bear the Studio Ghibli name, his influence still shows.
The tale follows a gentleman thief, Lupin, in the aftermath of a spectacular heist. He soon finds that the piles of cash that he made off with are actually counterfeit, and tracks the forgeries to the mysterious Castle of Cagliostro.
However, there’s more going on than meets the eye, including a trapped princess and secret treasure. This is a classic adventure that will appeal to any Miyazaki fan.
Is there anything more anime than giant robots? In Gurenn Lagann, they’re just another part of the landscape. Set in a future where the evil King Lordgenome has forced humans to live in settlements beneath the planet’s surface, teens Simon and Kamina dream of going topside. Soon enough they find themselves wrapped up in the rebellion against the king, fighting alongside the forces of humanity.
Though the series has plenty of action, at its heart it’s a tale about perseverance, growth, and the power of the human spirit.
8. Kill la Kill
Kill la Kill is over-the-top in all the best ways. No-nonsense protagonist Ryuko Matoi arrives at the prestigious Honnoji Academy on a quest to find the person who murdered her father. That hunt continues as she uses a powerful Scissor Blade and a talking combat suit to quite literally battle her way through high school cliques and some more sinister enemies behind the scenes.
Behind the breakneck pacing, action, and laughs, Trigger actually has quite a lot to say about superficial fashion, peer pressure, and the expectations society places on our appearance. Be warned: this anime is extremely addicting, and once you start you may not want to stop.
7. Violet Evergarden
A far cry from the fast-paced world of Kill la Kill, Violet Evergarden is a more introspective tale.
The show focuses on the titular character, Violet, a former child soldier. After the war comes to a close, she struggles to find a place for herself in the peacetime world, and eventually finds work as a writer, drafting letters of all kinds for all manner of different people. As she does, she comes to learn more about herself and what it means to connect with others.
It’s a story that’s at times heartwarming, heartwrenching, and definitely worth watching.
6. Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure
Attempting to explain Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure in just a few sentences is no easy feat. The series follows several generations of the Joestar family, a powerful clan of psychic warriors. As the series jumps across time, the audience follows the Joestars on a whole host of crazy and madcap adventures.
Though that’s probably the best way to describe Jojo in a nutshell, it doesn’t do justice to the sheer insanity of the series itself. It’s utterly ridiculous in the best way. Anybody watching should prepare for a hefty dose of weirdness and be ready to laugh to the point of tears.
Fate/Zero is just one of several Fate anime series available on Netflix, but we think it’s one of the best of the crowd.
Each anime in the Fate series is based around the same central premise: the show follows secret societies and power players as they engage in a covert war to gain possession of the legendary Holy Grail. To fight this war, participants adhere to a strict set of rules and battle using legendary warriors summoned from throughout history. King Arthur, Alexander the Great, and Gilgamesh all put in appearances, and one of the best parts of the show is seeing its unique spin on these mythical historical figures.
4. Death Note
First things first: put that horrible live-action English adaptation out of your head. Though the live-action version may have been a travesty, its anime source material isn’t.
Teenager Light Yagami comes into possession of a mysterious notebook with a sinister power: anybody who’s name is written in the book dies instantly. Light embraces this newfound power and embarks on a crusade to eliminate evil… but as they say, power corrupts.
The famous detective L, a sort of modern-day Sherlock Holmes, sets out to track down Light and put an end to his killing spree. Death Note is a crime thriller with a dose of supernatural horror thrown in; think “Se7en” meets “Final Destination.”
3. Neon Genesis Evangelion
We’ve got more giant robots for you, but Neon Genesis Evangelion takes a drastically different tone as opposed to “Gurenn Lagann.” After humanity is nearly wiped out by a cataclysmic event, extraterrestrial beings dubbed Angels appear to threaten the survivors. A top-secret organization known as NERV makes use of highly advanced mechs, EVAs, to combat the threat.
The series focuses on the young EVA pilots, namely Shinji Ikari. Sure, you’ve got giant robots fighting alien monsters… but underneath that, Neon Genesis Evangelion takes a hard and sometimes uncomfortable look at the nature of human connection, pain, loneliness, and the possibility for growth.
The questions that Evangelion poses will linger with you long after the credits roll… and on that note, be sure to check out the companion movie, “End of Evangelion,” after the finale.
2. Little Witch Academia
From the same studio that created “Kill la Kill,” Little Witch Academia is basically Harry Potter if it were set in an all-girls school. The show is a breath of fresh air compared to some of the darker selections on this list.
Atsuko Kagari is our protagonist, a young aspiring witch who can’t quite seem to get the hang of her powers. After arriving at the academy, she meets the kind-hearted Lotte Jannsson and the delightfully dark Sucy Manbavaran, and the trio find themselves stumbling into all sorts of trouble.
The colorful cast of characters makes this show unforgettable, from the ambitious and arrogant Diana Cavendish to the rebellious tomboy Amanda O’Neill. Honestly… we think that Little Witch Academia might actually be better than Harry Potter.
1. Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood
FMA: Brotherhood is actually one of two Full Metal Alchemist series on Netflix. Brotherhood is essentially a reboot of the original series, with improved animation and a few different plot lines. The show’s core remains the same though, combining strong characters with a tense and suspenseful plot that give us a bit of a “Game of Thrones” vibe.
The show follows brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric, two military alchemists that stumble upon a conspiracy that may put the entire nation at risk. Together with their friends, Ed and Alphonse fight to discover the truth behind the mystery while at the same time trying to find a way to return Alphonse to his true body. As a note: this is perhaps the only time we’re going to recommend watching the English dub over the original Japanese. The translation and adaptation is superb, and the stellar voice cast includes the likes of Travis Willingham and Laura Bailey.
Before you plop down on the couch to binge that next anime, we want to make clear that this is only a handful of titles from the huge library of anime available on Netflix. If you don’t see anything on this list that quite catches your interest, Netflix has plenty of other options to choose from. We’ll also be updating this list as Netflix adds new selections to its library, so be sure to check back regularly for the latest additions!