Anime consumption is rapidly growing worldwide, having doubled since 2017. Gone are the days of anime being the "weird" or "cringe" thing that wandered through school hallways with cat ears and suspiciously styled clothes--okay, maybe that last one is still alive and kicking--but anime is now arguably mainstream. That means old series have gotten new leases on life, while animation itself is getting more recognition and respect in places outside of Japan.
Netflix has surprisingly emerged as a key player within the overseas anime market. Not only are they licensing, translating, and dubbing anime, but they're even funding some projects of their own. This leads to the anime library on Netflix being stacked with full seasons for series from every genre. As a result, Netflix has become the anime-binge-watcher's dream site.
Naturally, though, the choices can be overwhelming at times, leading some internet denizens to go online and ask for help. Namely, they'll go to google, type in, 'best anime on Netflix Reddit, and let their fellow fans take the wheel.
Of course, people have their own opinions, and turning this into a ranking list would be a disservice to everyone involved. Therefore, this isn't a "top 10", but the "best 10" series you can watch on Netflix right now via Reddit!
Getting scammed by someone else is never a fun time, but there's always been an inherent allure to the extravagant boldness of the "confidence man." A conman needs to take wild risks for wild rewards, a gambler with both cash and human hearts.
At least, that's what a silver screen conman is supposed to be.
Cue Makoto Edamura.
A poor sap with a criminal record who's been cursed by his family history and past criminal record, born out of terrible luck with jobs. His chances of legitimate employment kneecapped, he's now been reduced to scamming old ladies into overpaying for water filters and extorting hapless tourists.
We get a glimpse of a sharp wit underneath all the petty scams, with how he skillfully acts and plays on emotions, but for now, he languishes in a one-room apartment in Japan. He expects it to be nothing but his fate for the rest of eternity until confidence man Laurent Thierry bursts into his life. The man scams Makoto and tricks the amateur into becoming an accomplice for a high-risk scheme against a drug-running movie producer.
From there does the plot of Great Pretender truly begin to bloom, as Makoto's life intertwines with that of both his targets and Laurent's motley crew of specialists. Each arc of the show's two seasons is filled with fun schemes and mysteries but also offers a window into the past conflicts of each crew member's life.
If you want a fun watch that zooms all over the world, with a notable cast of characters that develop over time, then Great Pretender is just for you!
Those who know the name "Gen Urobochi" are very aware of what to prepare for when they hear that he's been involved in a series. Amongst fans, he's affectionately referred to as the "Urobutcher" for his tragedy-riddled series that have bittersweet endings at best. For example, his work on the first season of Psycho-Pass created a dystopian world of mental health, eugenics, and sci-fi oppression that left people both reeling and sobbing by the end.
However, his work isn't limited to the sci-fi series, as he's worked on everything from Lovecraftian visual novels to high fantasy DnD adaptations, no less. Still, within the world of sparkly and lovely magical girl series, the Urobutcher had yet to show his face. Of course, the genre is no stranger to darker, more violent series such as Princess Tutu, Revolutionary Girl Utena, or even PreCure. Still, nothing overtly focused on suffering before Urobuchi began his work on Madoka.
Madoka Magica is a series about a girl named Madoka Kaname who lives a charmed and idyllic life. Her parents are well-off and loving, with a competent mother as a role model, a kind father who keeps the house running, and a little brother whom she adores.
Her friends are also exuberant and gifted in both looks and talents, providing the perfect group for her within an ambiguous sci-fi school of hologram blackboards and big, scenic glass windows.
Her world is perfect until an anomaly appears.
Contrary to the brightness of her world, transfer student Homura Akemi is stoic and chilly, but for some reason, purposely seeks out Madoka.
That's no issue, though! After being attacked by some monstrous Witches, Madoka and her friend Sayaka are saved by a brilliant magical girl named Mami!
Even better, her mascot companion Kyubey says that in exchange for becoming a magical girl, each girl will have an impossible wish of their's granted.
Become a magically-powered girl and get a wish fulfilled--it sounds too good to be true!
Unless… it is too good to be true?
Madoka Magica is a psychological anime that hides behind the facade of magical battles, using magic and surreal designs as a tool to deconstruct the genre. However, wishes always come with a price, and the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
If a gorgeous battle anime with tragedies galore is your jam, then Madoka Magica is an obvious choice, with 12 episodes that one can easily binge in a weekend or two.
Speaking of Studio Khara, the original neon Genesis Evangelion anime is all on Netflix, with all the original movies included as well!
The series is a dark mecha series with gorgeous fight choreography, all focused on tearing apart the minds of our heroes.
The world has suffered something only known as the "2nd Impact", and the results were so devastating that the very axis of Earth was knocked off course, creating a world of only summers and winters.
Our main character Shinji Ikari is a mentally unhealthy boy who's lived his life with a dead mother and absent father. He currently lives life alone and expects to grow up alone as well mindlessly. That is until his father demands him to move to the city of Tokyo-3, an underground fortress that mimics everything above ground, from the blue skies overhead to the trees and ponds on the ground.
His father has a singular order.
Pilot the flesh and blood mecha of Eva Unit 01 to defeat a giant abomination called an Angel. Fail to defeat it, and 3rd Impact will arrive, ending humanity for sure this time. Finding humanity and companions to be unnecessary, and the heartlessness of his father offputting, Shinji refuses until his guilt and empathy are taken advantage of.
So begins a series of exploitation, cruelty, and human hearts being hurt by each other. The pressure of being messiahs destroys children, their pasts are broken, and the adults are no better, even as the threat of the Angels and 3rd Impact looms ever so closer.
There's a reason this anime is a classic, and with the release of the final Rebuild of Evangelion movie, there's no time better than now to indulge in the entire series!
At what point would you consider yourself "not human"? If your arm got taken over? Your torso?
If you were a serial killer?
What if the consciousness of an alien decided to roost in the corner of your mind?
Parasyte's entire series hinges upon the definition of humanity. An alien parasite has begun to invade Earth, sneaking into the brains of people and taking them over. These hosts require human flesh to maintain their bodies, and thus massacres begin to plague societies all over the world.
Luckily our protagonist Shinichi Izumi manages to escape this fate by having a pair of corded headphones that blocks his ears and also provide a makeshift tourniquet as the alien burrows up his arm.
The attempt to the brain failed. The parasite has now named itself "Migi," or "right," being a parasite embedded in Shinichi's right hand. From there, the massacres begin to rip throughout society, as Shinichi feels a need to protect his friends and family with Migi's help.
Migi, the rational being, can only be shoehorned into this since if Shinichi dies, it dies as well.
This simple plot soon spirals out into an overarching saga of humans and parasites coming into conflict, as humans begin to act like monsters and parasites begin to act like humans.
A body-horror action series with a heavy dose of navel-gazing, Parasyte makes for an entertaining yet thought-provoking watch.
One of Kyoto Animation's masterpieces, Violet Evergarden was the result of a competition. The grand prize winner would be both published as a light novel and adapted into an anime.
The magic and emotion of Violet Evergarden snatched up the prize, and the anime itself garnered incredible attention with gorgeous animation teased by KyoAni.
Yet hiding behind Violet Evergarden is a bittersweet post-war story, so genuinely written that even veterans can relate to Violet's difficulties.
Despite her breathtaking and inhuman beauty, Violet is a weapon of blood and murder. During the war, she singlehandedly won battles by ripping apart human beings, only to leave hell with two missing arms.
Her origins are a mystery, but it's clear that she's known nothing but war and killing since she was very young. So now that she's been discharged, what is she to do with her life? She's got new prosthetic arms to become accustomed to. She's gotten a job to be a ghostwriter and messenger for those who are unable to write or have difficulty writing, a position where the professionals are called "Auto-Memory Dolls."
For the first time, all the skills she's learned are useless. The concise and logical war reports are useless for heartfelt letters, and her skills as a murderer are wholly unsuited for a delicate typewriter. She's thoroughly at odds with civilian life and will likely never be fully integrated within it.
Still, her job exposes her to many people, and soon Violet begins to learn how to feel and write--even as the past haunts her.
Violet is not a faint-hearted watch, but it's precisely that which makes it a must-watch. It stirs up emotions, digs deep into people's tragedies and happiness, all while bringing audiences along with Violet's development.
Ashita no Joe is one of the great masterpieces of manga, a dramatic and ultimately tragic story of the titular Joe, an underdog boxer who becomes a monster for the sake of winning.
On Ashita no Joe's 50th anniversary in 2018, Megalobox was released as a dystopian, cyberpunk reimagining of Ashita no Joe.
Megalobox's hero is Junk Dog, an outlaw who throws exoskeleton-powered boxing matches for cheap cash and lives an adrenaline junkie lifestyle of fast motorcycle rides and dangerous friends. Junk Dog, later nicknamed Joe, burns with an inner fire, but there's no outlet for that passion. So who out there can click with him on that violent level?
He gets his answer after a chance meeting with Yuri, the undefeated champion of the Megalo Box tournament, where people beat each other half to death with their augmented fists, called "Gears." Winning the Megalo Box will not only solve everyone's money problems, but it'll also fulfill Joe's primal connection for a fight with Yuri.
There's only one issue.
Joe can't afford a Gear.
There are underdog stories, and then there are underdog stories. Megalobox fully lands itself in the latter, filled to the brim with moments that'll genuinely leave you cheering at the screen, as well as a grainy 90's aesthetic with an alternative OST to match.
Even though the second season is already out, the first season on Netflix is a self-contained story with an amazing ending!
Time travel stories are a dime a dozen, but Erased makes itself unique from the get-go.
Satoru Fujinuma is a failed mangaka who can't get anything published, is making ends meet as a pizza delivery driver, and on top of it all is pushed around by the universe to help others.
He will periodically be forced to repeat time until he can solve whatever mystery the world wants him to solve, before throwing him back into reality, and without reward. But, unfortunately, being a hero is only fun for so long, and as a twenty-nine-year-old, it's long lost its charm.
He expects life to keep pushing him around but goes on nevertheless until it… doesn't.
With a single, tragic murder, Satoru is thrust into 1988, when he was only in elementary school. That year, three children from town were kidnapped and murdered by a serial killer.
The connection is clear.
The murderer from the present day and the perpetrator from 1988 are the same people, and Satoru's only hope of escaping this time loop is to save the three victims and stop the criminal.
The psychological torture that follows is painful and tedious, while Satoru is forced to reconnect with others, becoming attached to people and sharing their pain in times of tragedy. Meanwhile, the threat of the killer lingers underneath the surface.
As a hint, the full title of Erased is, ERASED: The Town Where Only I Am Missing.
The implications for Satoru are clear.
If you're a sucker for psychological thrillers and time loops like me, then Erased is binge-worthy!
What happens if you made a universe of furries, then pour in as much worldbuilding as you can?
You get Beastars, a world of hidden but sharply defined social classes.
Carnivores and herbivores all live together in harmony, with Carnivores getting their dietary needs fulfilled with other sources of protein not made from their fellow herbivores. Still, carnivores are inherently seen as more popular and charismatic, with their mighty strength and striking figures.
Everyone here is born with specific advantages, much like our world of humans--it's just more obvious in Beastars. Still, despite being blessed with both the looks and physique of his beautiful gray wold parents, Legoshi is determined not to stand out. He works behind stage at the school theatre. He is more than willing to allow an herbivore like deer Louis to be on track to obtain the title of Beastar, a privileged title given to only the most capable student within this prestigious academy's walls. The benefits extend beyond just the school and it's most students' dream.
Yet, with the murder (and possible cannibalization) of his alpaca classmate Tem, Legoshi is driven to search for the perpetrator, even as this throws the title of Beastar into flux. His views on carnivores and herbivores are changed as he becomes friends with more and more animals, while his actions begin a chain reaction amongst the student body, his status as a grey wolf inherently causes ripple effects.
For a murder mystery featuring both literal and metaphorical representations of class divisions within society, Beastars is a great watch that keeps people constantly thinking, whether it be the inherent mystery of the murder or the things that consume the lives of his classmates.
Similar to Megalobox being a reimagining of Ashita no Joe, Devilman Crybaby is the modern adaptation of the original series Devilman. The original was a dark and gory series about the infiltration of demons into human society, possessing individuals in moments of weakness.
Most become nothing but shells for homicidal demons, but some are lucky enough and have a strong enough will to absorb the demon into themselves, gaining the power without losing their minds.
Devilman Crybaby was directed by Masaaki Yuasa, known for his incredibly unique and fluid artistic vision. It's perfect for a modern adaptation of gore, tragedy, and unrequited love.
The titular crybaby is Akira Fudo, who becomes a Devilman after absorbing a demon without being eaten up by the demon via the machinations of his best friend, Ryo Asuka. From then on, the two work together to help kill invading demons and protect those that they love.
At least, that's what happens at first.
The episodes that follow begin to increasingly veer wildly off-script from being your average "monster of the week" story. The threat of demons can't be hidden forever, and love is never a simple thing. So many people in this series love others, yet their love can't always be fulfilled or do good things for others.
Underneath all the gore, sex, and violence is a tragedy about unrequited love, and if that sounds interesting, then you won't regret watching Devilman Crybaby!
10) A Silent Voice
There are many masterpiece movies, but within the realm of anime, it's only more in the past decade that the title of "best anime movies" has been ripped away from Ghibli. Netflix has an excellent eye for snatching up these films, and A Silent Voice is one of these fantastic films.
The story starts as the nightmare of any parent with a child who might need extra accommodations in school--Shoko Nishimiya is a Deaf elementary schooler who can only communicate via a writing pad, suffering extreme bullying from her classmates.
With enough hearing loss that not even hearing aids can compensate for much and a mother who insists on her being "normal," Shoko is deprived of resources such as a sign language interpreter or lip-reading classes. She yearns for friends, yet all of her efforts are destroyed by the bullies.
Her worst tormentor is Shoya Ishida. After he destroys her expensive hearing aids, his classmates and teacher use him to take the brunt of the blame, while Shoko is whisked away to a new school.
And this is where Shoya's story continues. Shoko is away to somewhere better, and Shoya is left to deal with the pieces, now the new target of bullying. He suffers what Shoko suffers, and the guilt begins to consume him.
Years later, he meets Shoko again and reveals to her some of the fruits of his guilt:
Thus begins a conflicted story of forgiveness and redemption. Former bullies have changed as people now that they're starting high school, and all of them are going through different forms of guilt and strained friendships. Ishida and Shoko themselves have not properly healed from their emotional wounds even years later, and through their past and present being forced to meet each other, the two are forced into a painful coming-of-age story.
At the end of the day, the biggest hurdle isn't forgiving others but forgiving yourself.
A single film that can be watched in one day, A Silent Voice is entirely worth it, filling its time with an entire story of strained human relationships and imperfect people all trying to do better. Very few people have clean hands, yet by the end of the film, the writing has you rooting for everyone's happy ending.
So that's it, the best 10 anime series according to Reddit!
I hope that at least one of these shows caught your eye because all of them will have you feeling something by the end.