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Best Anime Series Streaming on Netflix

These are some of the best anime series you can stream right now on Netflix!
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When I was younger, I used to spend my Friday evenings at the video rental shop looking for anime series. We’d occasionally hit the Blockbuster, but Hollywood Video was the stop more often than not. Hey, I’m from a time long before streaming services and even before Netflix used to snail mail DVDs.

It was a weekly ritual. My mom would take me over there after dinner. I’d spend forever walking up and down the anime aisle. Sometimes I’d bring home something familiar, like one of the subtitled Sailor Moon movies, featuring characters that never made it on American TV broadcasts. And sometimes, I’d look for something new I hadn’t seen before. There was no Rotten Tomatoes or other similar review sites, and I definitely didn’t have a smartphone (they didn’t exist yet!) so I was just going on cover art.

And then I’d load up on so many DVDs. Some were movies, while others were whole seasons of shows. Most were subbed because dubs at the time were usually pretty bad. I would make sure I had enough to last me an entire weekend. Ah, what a magical time.

Most of those video rental shops are gone now. Luckily, streaming giants have started to fill the anime-shaped hole in my heart, though. Netflix in particular has really tried to stock its “shelves” with plenty of titles in recent years. From classics to brand-new Netflix exclusives, there are more options than I can mention here. There’s a little something for everyone.

If you’re looking for a new anime to pick up – and binge, because let’s be honest, that’s what Netflix is for – you’re in luck. Here are some of the best anime series you can start right now on Netflix.

Cowboy Bebop

Cowboy Bebop follows a group of ragtag bounty hunters: Spike Spiegel and his partner Jet Black; Faye Valentine; Edward Wong Hau Pepelu Tivruski IV – aka Ed; and Ein and “data dog” Ein. Aboard their ship, the Bebop, they chase down the galaxy’s most dangerous criminals, while also trying to outrun their troubled pasts. It’s like a space western.

When it was first released, it was an instant hit in Japan, and then became one of the first anime series to explode in America. Cowboy Bebop still stands among the greats. Always. Despite taking place in a futuristic, outer space setting, the show feels grounded in realism. The main characters have somewhat cloudy moral compasses. And they are fallible, giving the series a sense of tension that isn’t present in other shows when we know the protagonists can’t fail.

All 26 episodes of Cowboy Bebop are on Netflix. You can also find Netflix’s live-action remake of the anime, though it only got one season.

Hunter x Hunter

A young boy named Gon Freecss discovers that his missing father is a legendary Hunter, a professional who embarks on fantastical pursuits locating treasures, rare species, and other individuals. Gon dreams of becoming a Hunter like his dad and embarks on a journey to become one and find his missing father.

Based on the manga of the same name, this anime series is actually the second adaptation. This is the one from Viz Media that ran on Adult Swim’s Toonami block. Although the earlier series was good, this one saw even more success. Great attention was given to developing original, complex characters with different personalities. The series is full of intense fight scenes, emotional moments, and excellent animation.

You’ll currently find all six seasons of Hunter x Hunter on Netflix.

Beastars

For something a little different, Beastars centers on a world where civilized, anthropomorphic animals of all kinds coexist. There is somewhat of a divide between carnivores and herbivores, though. After an alpaca is brutally murdered and devoured, unease and distrust arise between the carnivore and herbivore students. Things get complicated for protagonist Legoshi, a normally gentle wolf whose predatory urges suddenly awaken.

Based on an award-winning manga of the same name, the animation and color palette gives the manga the adaptation it deserves. It’s not in-your-face action but relies more on an engaging story, intriguing characters, and a complicated world. The characters are given plenty of room to develop, and there’s a love triangle between a wolf, a rabbit, and a deer.

Netflix has two seasons of Beastars waiting for you.

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba

After a demon killed his family and his sister was cursed, Tanjiro sets out on a dangerous journey to become a demon slayer. He’s also in search of a cure for his sister, Nezuko, who is slowly turning into a demon.

Although it is a simple revenge story at its core, it has remained popular because it hits all the right notes. The characters are well-written and instantly likable, getting viewers invested almost instantly. The show is emotionally charged, the battles are energetic and visually stunning, and the animation, in general, is incredible.

The first season of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba is on Netflix. However, you will have to jump over to Hulu or Crunchyroll to continue watching the series.

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure isn’t about a single protagonist named JoJo, but rather several members of the same family who all have the nickname JoJo. It focuses on the Joestar family across several generations, from the 19th century to modern times. Each member uses powers they possess to take down supernatural foes. The manga it is based on consists of several parts, each following a member of the Jestar family. Those parts have been adapted into seasons for the anime.

If the name didn’t give you enough of a hint, the show is bizarre – but in a good way. Once you start watching, you won’t be able to stop. Sure, everything is over the top, but it’s so compelling and keeps you coming back for more. With each season comes a new protagonist, which simultaneously expands the universe and keeps the narrative fresh.

Netflix currently has all five seasons, through the most recent Stone Ocean. New episodes are expected to drop towards the end of 2022.

Death Note

Light Yagami is a teen who discovers the Death Note, a mysterious notebook that once belonged to a Shinigami. Just writing a person’s name in the notebook results in their death. Light uses this supernatural notebook to attempt a worldwide massacre of people he deems immoral, in order to create a crime-free society. This leads to a cat-and-mouse game between him and the efforts of an elite investigator trying to apprehend the killer.

Not only will Death Note keep you on your toes with crazy action and plot twists, but the series will keep you thinking. It poses deeper questions about justice and murder, which makes this an engaging and discussion-worthy show.

There are nearly 40 episodes of Death Note on Netflix to keep you watching!

Little Witch Academia

Akko doesn’t come from a magical background, but she enrolls in the prestigious school Luna Nova Magical Academy, after being inspired by a witch named Shiny Chariot. She might not be the best student, but her bright attitude and determination are key. When she finds a mysterious staff, the Shiny Rod, that once belonged to the missing Shiny Chariot, she sets out to properly use it in hopes of finding out what truly happened to her.

A lot of anime shows on this list have darker tones, but Little Witch Academia is a feel-good pastel-filled series that will take you on a joyful ride. You’ll find themes of self-confidence, perseverance, and loyalty. It is beautifully animated, with a strong, likable cast. All in all, Little Witch Academia is enjoyable for kids and adults alike.

All 25 episodes are currently on Netflix.

Attack on Titan

Essentially, Attack on Titan is a David-vs-Goliath story infused with post-apocalyptic, dark fantasy vibes. All that is left of humanity lives behind walls that protect them from a race of giant human-eating beings called Titans. After the Colossus Titan manages to breach the city’s walls, Eren Yeager vows vengeance and enlists in the Survey Corps to fight against Titans. From there, he discovers the true origins of the Titans.

As expected, Attack on Titan is dark. There are gigantic monstrosities devouring the hapless humans, after all. It’s filled with high-octane action coupled with plenty of mystery to draw the viewer in. You’ll find memorable characters, political intrigue, and unrequited romance. Plus, the animation is astounding.

As of right now, Netflix has season 1. For seasons 2 through 4, you’ll have to jump over to Hulu or Funimation.

InuYasha

Kagome is a high school girl who lives on the grounds of her family’s Shinto shrine. But when she is dragged into the enshrined Bone Eater’s Well on her 15th birthday, she finds herself transported back in time to Japan’s Sengoku period. It is here that she awakens half-demon InuYasha, and discovers she is the reincarnation of a warrior priestess in possession of a powerful jewel. After the jewel shatters, she teams up with InuYasha to track down the shards.

This one might just be here because I can’t shake nostalgia. I love InuYasha. Anyone else who stayed up late watching Adult Swim instead of studying knows exactly what I’m talking about.

But really, it’s a pretty great blend of romance, humor, action, and fantasy. The dialogue is pretty goofy at times, and plenty of fun battles and adventures to be had. The characters are very human and relatable, and of course, there’s a love story between InuYasha and Kagome.

Currently, there are two seasons of InuYasha on Netflix, plus all four movies.