With a wealth of anime streaming services across the board, you’re never short of choices to make. If you want to know what Netflix has got on the anime front, here are some of the highlights (in no particular order beyond pure whimsy).
Twinfinite is a gaming website, after all, so it makes perfect sense that we would kick our list off with an anime based on one of the most significant (albeit divisive) video games of this generation.
Cyberpunk: Edgerunners is set in a dystopian world filled with neon colors and cybernetic implants. One ambitious teenager, David Martinez, sets out to fulfil his mother’s dying wish, only to find himself caught up in the tangle of the underworld and forced to take up a life of crime.
Cyberpunk: Edgerunners got the whole industry talking when it dropped on Netflix last year, anointed as anime of the year at the Crunchyroll Awards while claiming fourth place in our own prestigious rankings.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
As the franchise that launched a meme empire, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure makes for essential viewing. Beyond its exaggerated reactions and fabulous poses, however, it stands the test of time to be one of the most popular anime in its own right.
It tells the (suitably bizarre) story of a lineage of heroes who bear the same nickname, destined to do battle with vampires, aliens, and scantily clad humanoids from a time long ago. Subtlety is not the name of the game here, with burly brawlers pulling out fantastical techniques known as Stands while they constantly try to one-up each other.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure lays its cards right on the table without requiring too much mental effort, making it a fantastic starting point for anyone curious about the shonen genre, or anime in general. Just be prepared to debate why your favorite JoJo is in fact the best one.
The story starts out as tragedy strikes for Tanjiro Kamado when a demon shows up at his home, slaying his family and turning his younger sister Nezuko into a demon. After the incident, Tanjiro aims to join the Demon Slayer Corps in order to gain the strength needed to protect himself and those around him, as he searches for a way to revert Nezuko’s demonic transformation.
Demon Slayer looks great, but if we’re talking about stunning visuals, Great Pretender also has to be mentioned in the conversation. It’s a Netflix Original anime, and one of the best that you’ll find on the platform thanks to its Ocean’s Eleven-style heists, colorful characters, catchy soundtrack, and vibrant art.
The show follows a group of “confidence men” who use schemes and tricks to steal millions of dollars from unsuspecting rich targets. The group, led by Laurent Thierry, travels all around the globe from Los Angeles to London, Singapore, and beyond while conning everyone they feel deserves it.
The simplest way to describe Beastars would be to say that it’s a much more mature Zootopia. It’s set in a society of anthropomorphic animals where there’s clear tension and distrust between carnivores and herbivores. The anime follows the lives of students at Cherryton Academy and the circumstances surrounding the death of an alpaca named Tem who was in the school’s drama club.
Tem’s friend, Legoshi, is a wolf who does his best to hide his carnivorous habits. However, that becomes increasingly difficult in the face of the recent violent incidents, especially after he begins to have feelings for a rabbit named Haru.
Neon Genesis Evangelion
Neon Genesis Evangelion is considered a classic anime by many fans, and it’s the oldest entry on this list. It originally released back in 1995, but still holds up to this day when it comes to its story, world, and even its animation in some ways.
It’s set 15 years after a cataclysmic event, in a much more technologically advanced version of 2015 than we had in real life. It focuses on members of a special agency known as Nerv as they pilot giant biomechanical mechs called Evangelions in order to prevent another cataclysm from happening. Shinji Ikari is taken in by Nerv to become one of these pilots at the request of his father, who happens to be the head of the organization.
BNA is another Netflix Original anime, and it also deals with the surprisingly dark lives of anthropomorphic animals. The “beastmen” in this show are proud of their animal DNA, but they face discrimination and violence when dealing with human society. The solution to this was to build a beastmen-only area called Anima City.
Michiru Kagemori is a girl with animal DNA who enters Anima City to see if it’s really the haven that it’s supposed to be. Unsurprisingly, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows as Michiru soon discovers when an explosion goes off in the town square during her first day in the city.
BNA’s eye-catching art and use of color are exactly what fans of studio Trigger have come to expect. If you enjoy the studio’s previous work (Kill la Kill, Little Witch Academia), you should feel right at home here.
Dorohedoro is much darker than BNA, but it also deals with animal DNA in a way. Caiman is a man on a mission whose main goal is to find out who turned his regular human head into a lizard one so that he can change it back. It’s a pretty basic premise, but the world full of Sorcerers, mutations, and mystery will keep you interested.
The Sorcerers venture into a disturbing place called the Hole to test their dangerous magic out on its powerless inhabitants, which is exactly how Caiman ends up looking the way he does. He and his friend Nikaido aim to violently rid the Hole of Sorcerers as they search for the one responsible for Caiman’s appearance.
Parasyte: The Maxim
Parasyte: The Maxim brings us from animals to aliens, and this anime is a wild ride. In this world, parasitic aliens have come to Earth, and they’ve hidden amongst humankind by implanting themselves inside the brains of unsuspecting and vulnerable hosts.
Shinichi Izumi is one of these parasite victims. Though, the alien that tried to take control of him, Migi, ended up inside his right hand instead of his brain. Shinichi and Migi are in a unique situation since they both have independent thoughts. The pair starts a codependent relationship in which they use each other to survive as other parasites aim to eliminate them.
Violet Evergarden focuses on the aftermath of a four-year war, rather than what’s going on during one, and it’s one of the best anime you’ll find on Netflix if you’re looking for some slice of life drama. After being raised to destroy enemy forces, Violet finds herself searching for a purpose when the conflict comes to a close.
She’s emotionless and unfeeling after everything she’s been through, but she comes to discover the power of words through her clients as she takes a job as a letter writer in a world that still remains somewhat divided. This story of self-discovery and understanding is one that’ll tug at your heartstrings a bit.
Carole & Tuesday
Carole & Tuesday is another futuristic anime, but the focus is on music this time around, instead of giant robots and combat. The story is set on the now-inhabited Mars where technological advancements make life easier for many.
Carole and Tuesday are both aspiring musicians from different walks of life. Carole is a pianist who works part-time to get by, while Tuesday is a guitarist who wants to get away from her rich family. The two girls happen upon each other one day and decide to make ‘real’ music to compete with the AI performers that have a monopoly over the industry by injecting a more human feel into their songs.
This one will have you rooting for these two underdogs the whole way through, and like with many music anime, the soundtrack is a big plus.
We’ve covered no shortage of shonen anime in this list, but if you’re looking for the quintessential sports classic, you need look no further than Kuroko’s Basketball.
Unlike most protagonists, Tetsuya Kuroko isn’t exactly an athletic prodigy. In fact, based solely on his own skills with the basketball, he fails to leave much of an impression at all. It is by employing this anonymity that he becomes the perfect secret weapon, coming out of nowhere to free up his teammates to make easy buckets.
Kuroko’s Basketball is thrilling, exaggerated, and so much fun. You’ll grow to love the Seirin players just as much as Kuroko himself, from the gifted Kagami to the stalwart senior, Kiyoshi.
Toradora! is your ticket to a healthy deliver of comedy and romance. In fact, it’s pretty much all comedy in the first few episodes, but it slowly becomes something more as the characters start looking at the hard truths of their relationships.
Ryuji Takasu and Taiga Aisaka are the leads here, and they just happen to bump into each other in the hallway at school one day. This leads to them discovering that they each have a crush on each other’s best friend. Ryuji and Taiga agree to help each other out but things don’t go nearly as smoothly as they planned.
This is the rom-com for you if you want a slice of life show with some unexpected drama thrown in to make it just a bit deeper than you’d expect.
Death Note, on the other hand, isn’t really a funny show at all. But it’s a good one. It’s a supernatural thriller that gets recommended to anime beginners so often that it’s almost a meme. At least it’s recommended for a good reason, as it brings you into the minds of both police and criminals as they try to outdo one another.
The show focuses on Light Yagami, a genius high schooler who stumbled upon a Death Note that was left on Earth by a shinigami — a god of death. The Death Note allows the owner to kill any person they wish by simply writing that person’s name inside. Once Light finds out that the notebook really works, a cat and mouse game begins between Light and a brilliant detective named L.
Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead
Not every zombie story is necessarily meant to be scary. For Akira Tendo, a college graduate who has been working with a production company for the last three years, the misery of an oppressive work environment was the truly scary thing.
Once a zombie outbreak sends society crashing down, Akira is at last free from his responsibilities and reinvigorated to pursue his passions. Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead is so wacky and upbeat that it more closely resembles a slice-of-life anime than a horror one, but it still tactfully addresses real issues such as abusive relationships and unfulfilled dreams.
We could all stand to take a leaf out of Akira’s book and break loose from the shackles of oppression, ideally without needing an apocalypse as the trigger.
This is just scratching the surface of the best anime on Netflix, so we’ll be sure to keep things updated as new shows emerge and others disappear from the platform. If you can’t get enough (and who can, really?) don’t miss out on our list of the top anime on Hulu, or our extensive rundown of all the anime releasing in 2024.