What is the best Netflix anime? Among all the hit drama series and blockbuster action movies, Netflix offers a wealth of original Japanese and Asian animation. Anime series and anime movies old and new, from established creators and growing studios, that demonstrate the power of the medium.
This is great because it means there’s plenty to watch for the Netflix price, but actually settling on something is another story. Maybe some animated series to binge? Or a new-to-you animated movie? You can be there for hours, and believe us, we speak from experience. With all the options, discerning the best Netflix anime can be a real chore.
We’re here to help. We’ve listed the finest anime among all the Netflix series and Netflix movies for you to pick. Need a good horror anime? Right there. Mecha? That’s covered. We covered the age spectrum as well, giving you plenty of family-friendly choices if Netflix horror movies aren’t your thing. It should be noted, we’ve already ranked all the Studio Ghibli movies, so they don’t make an appearance. This is about finding something new, not telling you to watch Spirited Away again (even though you really should).
What is the best Netflix anime?
- Demon Slayer
- Kuruko’s Basketball
- Tokyo Godfathers
- Devilman CryBaby
- Mobile Suit Gundam
- Vinland Saga
- Cyberpunk: Edgerunners
As the title implies, Demon Slayer follows one boy’s quest to slay a whole bunch of demons, and slay them he does. The anime, based on Koyoharu Gotouge’s hit manga, is one of the biggest ongoing shows in the world right now, spawning one movie thus far and showing no sign of slowing down.
Between the intense battles and personal drama between protagonist Tanjirou and his demonic sister, Demon Slayer makes a particularly good entry point into the medium for newcomers. Add in some trope-filled lore, and you have a fantasy series worthy of anyone’s attention.
As the first non-Studio Ghibli-made anime movie to be nominated for Best Animated Feature, Mamoru Hosada’s 2018 curio now has a reputation to live up to. Thankfully, the time travel movie holds plenty of magic, as siblings Kun and Mirai explore a strange garden of wonders.
Ghibli fans will find comfort in all the whimsy, whereas those looking for something more elusive can indulge in the bigger genre concepts. Like its garden, Mirai has a special feeling to it that’s unscrupulous and completely alluring.
Like great sports movies, you don’t need to know much about any team activity to enjoy a good sports anime series. Kuruko’s Basketball might be explicitly about Seirin High trying to win big at a national tournament, but really it’s a well-crafted look at adolescence and male bonding.
Six high schools enjoy an intense rivalry on the court due to each having one member of an all-star middle-school team on their roster. Tetsuya Kuroko, who plays basketball for Seirin, has a little something extra to prove since he was frequently overlooked compared to his showy peers. An underdog story familiar to anyone who knows their sports, but one that stands with the best of them.
Satoshi Kon’s Christmas movie is an odd festive treat. There’s nothing supernatural or sci-fi about it, unusual for Satoshi’s work, and its structure and premise don’t beget a heartwarming family movie. Looks can be deceiving, and Tokyo Godfathers holds plenty of love and good tidings.
Three homeless people find an orphaned baby on December 24, and through the night, they try to find the child’s parents. In crossing the Yakuza and some old haunts, we see the kind of city Tokyo can be for people on the fringes. Not unlike the gothic superhero movie Batman Returns, Tokyo Godfathers is one for those whom snowfall and tinsel don’t evoke great feelings.
Besides sounding like a short-lived metalcore band from the early 2000s, Masaaki Yuasa’s reinvention of Go Nagai’s classic manga is a blistering piece of work. Two friends, Ryo and Akira, defend humanity from demons, only for one of them to become possessed. This is no conflict of interest, however, because the new Devilman has the power of a hellspawn but the soul of a human.
Devilman Crybaby uses this duality as an engine to look at anti-LGBTQIA+ bigotry and surrounding issues involving marginalisation and our greater humanity. That might sound heady, and at times it is, but the beating heart at the core of the series makes it undeniable.
Mobile Suit Gundam
Since the late ’70s, Gundam has evolved into a huge mecha franchise with dozens of movies and TV series, and effectively, it all started here. Mobile suit Gundam re-edits the first seasons of the show into a lean, action-packed feature that’s more concise and polished.
Designs were changed to feel more realistic and strategic, sewing seeds for the Gunpla scenes that would follow. If giant robots battling each other in space piloted by young people has you hesitant, give it a try. Either way, it’s a big chapter in anime history.
Given it’s a historical epic that involves revenge and the protagonist serving as a berserker on his travels, fans of Robert Eggers’s The Northman will find a lot to like in Vinland Saga. A touch less brutal, the show makes up for it with fiery visuals and a greater sense of hero Thorfinn’s long way ’round to finding peace.
The rise of King Cnut the Great provides the backdrop, an eventful period that saw the formation of the North Sea Empire. Truth and myth are made inseparable by the pull of a good story that finds comfort and resolve in the ceaselessness of time. And there are some truly righteous skirmishes.
As a dystopian romance anime, Bubble obeys several common archetypes. Where it’s really special is in the gorgeous aesthetic; a bright, sumptuous rainbow of colours that bring the Tokyo ruins to life.
Parkour groups bouncing around all the crumbling architecture and mysterious bubbles make it seem more like a theme park than weathered remains. Studio Wit is known for enchanting palettes and fluid cinematography, so to say Bubble is breathtaking is a true compliment. Top-tier as far as Netflix exclusives go.
Kill la Kill and Little Witch Academia creative house Studio Trigger created a spin-off from Cyberpunk 2077 that was so good, it caused people to flock to the game. Cyberpunk: Edgerunners takes a bright, vivacious perspective on Night City, while carrying the spirit of Ghost in the Shell and Ergo Proxy.
After becoming a mercenary to survive, David Martinez floats ever deeper into the dystopia’s underbelly, gradually falling for netrunner Lucy. Their bond, and shared dream of getting out of dodge, is as endearing as the incredible colour scheme.