Pop Culture

The Best Original Anime on Netflix (That You Should Binge Right Now)

yuri being attacked by maid mask in High-Rise Invasion

Netflix has a lot of content—and tons in the anime space. After all, they’re the only paid subscription service that offers every season/part of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure in dub and sub. But, as such, it can be overwhelming to find the exact show (or movie) you’re in the mood for amongst the sea of titles. Plus, with so much to watch, not everything is going to be the best show you’ve ever watched. And we don’t have a lot of time, we want it to be good!

Which—is where I come in. I haven’t seen every anime on Netflix, of course, but if you’re looking for a great watch, I can confidently say that these are some of the best Netflix original anime on the streamer.

Do you have more to recommend? Share in the comments!

Castlevania (2017-2021)

alucard in Castlevania

Not everyone has played the Castlevania games and it’s alright if you haven’t. But either way, the Netflix series is good—especially if you’re into horror and dark fantasy. The plot follows Trevor Belmont (Richard Artimage) who is trying to save Eastern Europe from Vlad Dracula Tepes (Graham McTavish) and his legion of vampires. Dracula’s plan to wipe out humanity becomes all the more difficult when Trevor and his allies actively fight back. The visuals throughout the series are stunning, the characters are rich and engrossing, there are queer characters (!!), and the gore is fantastic! It’s worth watching through to the end (though some seasons are better than others) to get the full experience.

Devilman Crybaby (2018)

akira in Devilman Crybaby

Warning: If you’re squeamish and don’t like graphic violence/disturbing content, this may not be the one for you. However, if you can handle some dark shit, Devilman Crybaby is definitely worth the watch. The plot follows Akira (Griffin Burns)—who is convinced by his best friend, Ryo, (Kyle McCarley), to unite with a demon. When Akira does so, he becomes Devilman, a being who has demon powers but still retains a human soul. This sends him into a tailspin about saving other demon-hybrids and only leads to tragic events. There’s so much to unpack about this anime and the themes within it. But something that’s extremely of note is the relationship between Ryo and Akira. Ryo has blatant romantic feelings towards Akira (whose feelings are up for interpretation). There’s a lot that’s tragic about this anime, and also beautiful. Not everyone cared for the ending, which could sour the experience overall. But ultimately, it’s a compelling enough series and earns a spot on this list. 

High-Rise Invasion (2021-)

mayuko, yuri, & ein in High-Rise Invasion

Badass girls fighting? Hell ya! The plot is simple, as it follows a teenager named Yuri (Suzie Yeung) who finds herself in a strange world of countless buildings and masked killers. And with her brother missing, she finds herself determined to find him and escape. Survival horror content can be a really good time. Especially when the events are moving at such a fast pace. Combine that with how queer some of the characters are, and it might just be the perfect anime for some. Yuri and Mayuko Nise (Jennie Kwan)’s relationship is a major highlight of the series. They are clearly attracted to each other, become involved, and their behavior around each other feels natural. Overall it’s an intensely fun anime and worthy of watching!

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean (2020-2022)

jolyne battling FF in Stone Ocean

Don’t be one of those people and skip to part 6. It’s really corny when people do that and it intentionally ruins your own experience with the series. But…if you have watched parts 1-5, then you’re good to go. (Reading the manga isn’t mandatory, though it’ll help enrich the anime.) The plot involves Jotaro Cujoh, (Matthew Mercer), whose daughter, Jolyne Cujoh (Kira Buckland), is framed for murder and sentenced to 15 years in prison. And after she acquires a Stand, strange events begin to occur within the prison. She’s suddenly caught in a fight for not only her life but her father’s as well.

This is one of the most beloved parts amongst fans, and Jolyne’s the first ever female JoJo. There’s a lot of importance in that representation. And to say Part 6  is good is an understatement. Also, given how the series is, it’s plenty queer (subtextual or not). Not to mention there are openly LGBTQ voice actors in the dub cast. 

Thus Spoke Rohan Kishibe (2021)

rohan in Thus Spoke Rohan Kishibe

Do you love JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure part 4: Diamond is Unbreakable and Rohan as a character? This spin-off might be a good fit! It’s set between Diamond is Unbreakable and Golden Wind, and follows Rohan Kishibe (Landon McDonald) who is looking to add more realism to his work. Leading him to travel around the world to gain inspiration from other people’s lives. Using his Stand ability, Heaven’s Door of course. All of the stories he uncovers are more bizarre than the next. And it truly gives him new material to work off of. Plus, who doesn’t want to watch Rohan be his usual sassy and bitchy self? 

The Way of the Househusband (2021)

tatsu prepping food in The Way of the Househusband

A retired yakuza member becomes a devoted househusband. That about sums up this slice of life anime and it’s glorious. And naturally, it’s based on a manga series. If you’re wanting a little escape in the form of lighthearted anime, it’s the perfect fit. There’s nothing too heavy going on, the animals have their own interactions, and it’s a change of pace seeing a househusband, honestly. It’s the perfect anime that doesn’t require much from its viewers. Plus season 2 part one is finally available to stream and it will serve as a much needed break from serious content.

Other Netflix original anime you can watch that come recommended. I have either watched these partially or have merely heard of them.

Little Witch Academia (2017)

Little Witch Academia promo image

Young girls that range in terms of appearance (hell yes to characters being geeky) who are trying to be witches? It sounds magical literally and figuratively! It’s not the type of anime series that I’m usually interested in. But coming-of-age is sometimes very endearing and there’s also a manga series of the same name! Who knows, maybe I’ll check it out too?

Aggretsuko (2018-present)

Retsuko in Aggretsuko

The animation looks so cute for this series and Retsuko (dub voiced by Erica Mendez) seems like a relatable character. I mean, her angry face is certainly relatable to some of us. Plus who doesn’t want to follow the life of an anthropomorphic red panda who sings death metal at a karaoke bar? It’s genius and I have no clue why I’ve never checked this out myself. Maybe it’s time to go to a karaoke bar and try to find Retsuko?

B: The Beginning (2018-2021)

Koku in B: The Beginning

If you’re into psychological thrillers with a pinch of sci-fi, you may very well enjoy this anime. I’ve only seen a bit of season 1, but what I’ve watched is intriguing enough to let you know it’s not bad. There’s a lot of intensity, violence, and its pacing reminds me of Death Note. I definitely have to finish the series and see if it gets even better.

Blood of Zeus

Heron in Blood of Zeus

Unfortunately I haven’t seen it, but folks seem to really like it and I’m not surprised as to why. The animation looks fucking gorgeous and that’s because Powerhouse Animation is the same studio that helped give us Castlevania. Judging by what I’ve read, this is the perfect series for folks who love mythology and grand battles. It’s certainly on my list!

(featured image: Netflix)

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