Anime's popularity has flourished over the past few years, and Netflix's library of anime has grown considerably as a result. With no shortage of choice on the streaming service, it's easy to get lost scrolling through all the titles, trying to decide whether to try out a Netflix original series or a beloved classic.
From horror to romance, superheroes to an angry red panda, there are countless different worlds for longtime anime fans and first-time viewers to get lost in. To help narrow down the options, we decided to rank the 10 most binge-worthy anime series currently available to stream on Netflix in the U.S.
Anime fans have debated whether or not this American-made adaptation of the Japanese video game franchise can (or should) be considered an anime. Despite the controversial split opinion, Netflix's Castlevania is a compelling animation which draws clear influence from traditional anime, earning its position in this list.
Following the storyline of the third game, Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse, Vlad Tepes (Dracula himself) and his army of hellish demons seek revenge on the town of Wallachia after his wife, Lisa, is accused of witchcraft and burned at the stake. Fortunately for Wallachia, professional monster-hunter Trevor Belmont is in town and prepared to fight the Dark Lord. It's a slick, captivating story with beautiful animation, and its short episode count (12 episodes across 2 seasons) makes it the perfect rainy afternoon watch!
9 Ouran High School Host Club
This Shojo anime is hilarious and charming, drawing upon rom-com tropes and parodying otaku culture with magnificent glee. When quiet (and ordinary) new student Haruhi Fujioka joins the elite Ouran High School, she just wants to find a secluded spot for reading. Instead, she stumbles across the High School's Host Club, a group of boys who act as entertainers for the female students.
Finding herself working under them to pay off a debt, Haruhi joins the Host Club under the condition the screaming fangirls never discover that she's a girl. It's full of mischievous, unique characters and relationships, not to mention glitzy outfits.
8 Little Witch Academia
When Akko Kagari sees Shiny Chariot perform magic at a festival, she sets her sights on becoming a witch. With her idol in mind, she joins the magical Luna Nova Academy to fulfill her dream.
Featuring Studio Trigger's legendary art style, Little Witch Academia is filled with distinct, compelling characters, establishing a cast of realistic school friends and rivals. The world is vibrant and one worth exploring alongside Akko. But perhaps most charming of all, Akko isn't a good witch, often failing at her tasks. Regardless, she tries her best and continues to dream big and work hard. A light-hearted romp, Little Witch Academia is filled with great messages and fun adventures for all ages.
7 Devilman Crybaby
Not for the faint-hearted, Devilman Crybaby breathes new, dark life into the beloved 1970's Devilman franchise. When humanity is overrun by a horde of demons, recently thawed from their icy prisons, a kind and timid young boy, Akira, decides to merge with one of the demons to try and save the world.
Filled with sex, drugs, and hyper-violence, the fast-paced plot hooks viewers in as Akira wrestles with what it means to be human. The unflinching darkness is broken up by much-needed spots of humor, and each episode is filled with incredible visuals as it speeds through its 10-episode season. Devilman Crybaby isn't for everyone, but if you can stomach the ride, the journey's well worth it.
6 One-Punch Man
Based on the incredibly popular One-Punch Man web manga, this anime will have you laughing from the start. Saitama is a superhero who can defeat enemies with a single punch, but in a world filled with superbeings, he begins to wonder if his life as a hero is pointless.
In an era where we're surrounded by superhero fiction and films, One-Punch Man digs into our obsession with caped crusaders and overpowered Shonen anime tropes, creating a hilarious comedy with an unusual but intriguing hero at its heart. One of Netflix's most-streamed anime titles to date, and with the second season on the way to the streaming service later this year, this is a fun hero quest you don't want to miss out on!
5 Your Lie In April
Anime has an incredible ability to tap into genuine human emotions and hit viewers right in the gut, and the beautiful Your Lie in April does just that. A tragic event causes skilled pianist Arima Kousei to lose his connection to music and begin a downward spiral into a meaningless life. But when he meets eccentric violinist Kaori Miyazono, he finds it is time to face the music once more.
A heart-wrenching romantic drama, Your Lie in April boasts stunning animation, wonderful cinematography, a cast of engaging characters, and a compelling storyline. But what really makes the series sing is the enchanting original soundtrack composed by Masaru Yokoyama. An emotional rollercoaster, we'd recommend binge-watching this one with tissues!
4 Death Note
Perhaps one of the best-known anime of all time, Death Note masterfully explores the cat-and-mouse chase of a classic thriller with a supernatural twist. When intelligent student Light Yagami finds a notebook in the schoolyard, he quickly discovers that he holds the power of life and death; when he scribbles a name in the notebook, the named person dies. Using the book to rid the world of criminals, an unusual detective called L joins the police to uncover the cause of these mysterious deaths.
It's an edge-of-your-seat watch as Light explores morality and gradually descends into madness as he relishes in playing God. Despite being 37 episodes, it's a chilling, action-packed series well worth the time investment rather than the various adaptations that have emerged over the years.
When eccentric university student and self-declared mad scientist Okabe Rintarou turns his microwave into a time travel device capable of sending messages to the past, he discovers he can alter the flow of history. Along with his friends, Okabe works to stop an evil organization from carrying out their nefarious plans.
Although it begins as a bizarre story with microwaved bananas, Steins;Gate is one of the most compelling, character-driven series available. Time travel stories are often difficult to execute well, but Steins;Gate stands among the best of the bunch. It starts slowly, introducing the loveable cast and laying groundwork in the opening episodes, but the sci-fi comedy quickly veers into a heart-pounding thriller as the second half of the season kicks into high gear with astonishing twists and emotional drama you don't want to miss.
Following the daily routine of a 25-year-old red panda, Aggretsuko has perfectly tapped into the frustrations of adulting. Working as an accountant, Retsuko juggles office politics, single life, and friendships while seeking the perfect life, venting the pent-up rage that comes with grown-up responsibilities by going to her favorite karaoke bar and screaming along to death metal.
This character-driven satire on modern life portrays situations that are both hilarious and all-too-familiar. Combining the adorable animation with the pounding anger of death metal, Aggretsuko is a delightful and funny watch. And thanks to its short episode runtime (15 minutes each), you can quickly catch up on its two seasons and Christmas special!
1 Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
While the original Fullmetal Alchemist is an excellent show, the 2009 adaptation, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, dives deeper into the Elric brothers’ adventure with a more satisfying ending. When Edward and Alphonse Elric’s mother dies, the brothers use alchemy to bring her back. But their mission fails, and the pair instead lose body parts which are replaced by metal, sparking their quest to find the Philosopher’s Stone to ultimately restore their original bodies.
Brotherhood is filled with a cast of fully-realized, interesting characters and an incredible fantasy world well-worth exploring. While it’s a classic Shonen adventure filled with action and magic, it also brilliantly blends comedy, tragedy, and life lessons to build a powerful, fast-paced plot. The 64-episode adventure is an exciting, entertaining journey to sink into.