The Best Anime Shows on Netflix, Ranked

Although it’s commonly confused to be a genre, the art of anime is just that, pure art. The series of animations, both computer generated and hand drawn (like those of the great Studio Ghibli), originate from early Japanese culture. With the earliest anime dating back as far as 1917, the style covers every form of animated works, transcending category or origin. The distinguishing mode of production utilizes elements of cinematography, graphic art (often originating from manga), and various other imaginative techniques, while placing emphasis on less character movement and a great deal of detail on camera effects such as zooming, panning, etc.

While some of the best anime shows of recent years have been written by American staff writers, the origins are still heavily tied to Japan’s roots. The differences in American animes (or Western animes) and Japanese animes lies in Japan’s target toward adults in their storylines, humor, and concepts, in addition to the dramatic angles and zooming techniques used to exaggerate emotions. American anime (Avatar: The Last Airbender, Teen Titans) can still be great, but is generally geared toward young adults and children.

Currently, Netflix offers a great selection of anime programs on their top ranking streaming service, with an estimated 84 animes available to watch and 16 new projects announced back in the fall of 2020. Sifting through the selection, these are the best anime available to stream on Netflix.

6 Devilman Crybaby

The red and black logo for Devilman Crybaby

As many of you may or may not know, whenever the concept of demons and devil entities are brought up, we collectively need to gather our rosary beads and crucifixes. Devilman Crybaby is set in a world where demons have returned to take back earth from the human population, and Akira (a great Griffin Burns), a human himself, transforms into Devilman.

Related: First Look at Netflix’s Devilman Crybaby Anime TV Series

While combining his human soul with newly found demonic powers, Akira (with a name familiar to anime lovers) strives to save the additional demon-human population, setting him on a path of full-fledged war against evil entities. As this carnage is taking place, the existing human population spins into a violent and paranoid rage. If you just so happen to be a fan of projects that includes mass chaos, this is 100% your niche, and fits nicely along horror anime like Vampire Hunter D and Hellsing.

5 Attack on Titan

A guy touches a girls shoulders in the icy sunrise in Attack on Titan

The fantasy animated series Attack on Titan details the life of Eren Yeager, as he becomes emboldened to fight back against a group of enlarged titans, who not only destroy his hometown, but additionally threaten to bring an abrupt end to the human race completely. Yeager acts quickly to save the fate of humans as the titans begin to consume human flesh. The fighting gets surprisingly violent sometimes in this extremely dramatic show, so just be aware.

4 Castlevania

Image via Netflix

The medieval fantasy anime series Castlevania is loosely adapted from one of the greatest games of all time, and just might be one of the few great video game adaptation out there. The Netflix series follows Trevor Belmont (delightfully played in English by Richard Armitage), the last member to survive from the Belmont clan, as he tries to save Eastern Europe from extinction, as a result of Vlad Dracula Tepes’s attack. While Belmont and his group of comrades try to save the world from the Dracula clain, Dracula and his group of followers set out on a journey to wipe out the world from any form of human existence. Not just one of the best anime, Castlevania is also one of the best horror TV series on Netflix.

3 Komi Can’t Communicate

Komi literally Can't Communicate as her friends talk and shout

With a plot that many of us can all relate to, and have possibly dealt with at some point in our lives, the beautifully simple Komi Can’t Communicate follows the day-to-day perspective of a schoolgirl who experiences severe anxiety when faced with the challenge of communicating with others. Once one of her classmates befriends her, he assists Komi (Aoi Koga) in overcoming her fears associated with speaking to others. Struggling with anxiety when it comes to social situations is a real thing, and the fact that this is effectively depicted throughout an anime series with a wider and larger audience than most adults movies about anxiety is a great thing, and allows viewers to see a piece of themselves in Komi.

2 Great Pretender

The con artist rubs money on his face in Great Pretender

Great Pretender is a funny testament to what can go wrong whenever anyone tries to scam and con their way throughout life (karma catches up with everyone at some point). Telling the story of a Japanese swindler Makoto Edamura (Alan Lee), Great Pretender finds Makoto and his partner making their living off of conning innocent people. Makoto, however, is in for the shock of his life once he attempts to con Laurent Thierry (Aaron Phillips), an actual criminal, in this deliriously fun ride.

Related: Arcane Passes Stranger Things as Number One Streaming Show in US

1 Arcane

The blue-haired hero girl of Arcane

Yes, an animated show actually surpassed Stranger Things as the number one streaming show in the US at one point. Arcane takes family feuding and sibling rivalry to the next level. The escalating conflict between two utopian cities comes to a head as Piltover and Zaun begin a massive war to take down each other in one of the best animes in recent years (though there has been some slight debate if this really is an anime). Two sisters are ultimately caught in the crossfire when Vi (Hailee Steinfeld) and Jinx (Ella Purnell) fight as rivals, clashing over magical technologies and convictions. To any siblings who have reccurring arguments, make it a point to watch this series with them, simply to keep them in line (kidding of course).

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