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

Gothic horror, phenomenal fantasy, survival horror, or slice of life? You choose!

yuri being attacked by maid mask in High-Rise Invasion

Netflix has a lot of content—and tons of it in the anime space. After all, they’re the only paid subscription service that offers every season/part of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure in both dub and sub. As such, it can be overwhelming to find the exact show (or movie) you’re in the mood for amongst the vast sea of titles. Plus, with so much to watch, not everything is going to be the best show you’ve ever seen. 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 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. Either way, the Netflix series is good—especially if you’re into horror and dark fantasy. The plot follows Trevor Belmont (Richard Armitage) as he tries 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 or 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 with this anime and the themes within it. Something that’s extremely notable is the relationship between Ryo and Akira. Ryo has blatant romantic feelings toward Akira (whose own feelings are up for interpretation). There’s plenty that’s tragic about this anime, but also a lot that’s beautiful. Not everyone cared for the ending, which might sour the experience overall (your mileage may vary). 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 yeah! The plot is simple: High-Rise Invasion follows a teenager named Yuri (Suzie Yeung) who finds herself in a strange world of countless buildings and masked killers. With her brother missing, Yuri is 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 silly when people do that, and it just ruins your viewing experience. 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 Kujo (Matthew Mercer), whose daughter, Jolyne (Kira Buckland), is framed for murder and sentenced to 15 years in prison. After she acquires a Stand (a psychic entity), 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 is the first-ever female JoJo. There’s a lot of importance in that representation. To say Part 6  is good is an understatement. Also, given the vibe of the series, 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 spinoff might be a good fit! It’s set between Diamond is Unbreakable and Golden Wind, and follows Rohan Kishibe (Landon McDonald) as he looks 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 last, truly giving him new material to work with. Plus, who doesn’t want to watch Rohan be his 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 glorious slice-of-life anime. And naturally, it’s based on a manga series. If you’re wanting a little escape in the form of lighthearted anime, The Way of the Househusband is the perfect fit. There’s nothing too heavy going on, the animals have their own interactions, and seeing a househusband is a real change of pace, honestly. It’s the perfect anime that doesn’t require much from its viewers. The first part of season 2 is finally available to stream, and it will serve as a much-needed break from the more serious content.

Little Witch Academia (2017)

Little Witch Academia promo image

Young girls who range in terms of appearance (hell yes to geeky characters) and are trying to be witches? It sounds magical, both literally and figuratively! It’s not the type of anime series that I’m usually interested in, but coming-of-age stories are sometimes very endearing, and there’s 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 (dubbed by Erica Mendez) seems like a relatable character. I mean, her angry face is certainly relatable to many of us. And 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 party with 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 and violence, and the pacing reminds me of Death Note. I definitely have to finish the series so I can see if it gets even better.

Related: Here’s the Best Anime from Each Decade on We Got This Covered

Blood of Zeus (2020)

Heron in Blood of Zeus

Unfortunately, I haven’t seen this one, 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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Vanessa Maki (she/her) is a blerd writer and visual artist who loves horror, anime and all things strange. Her writing has appeared in Pink Advocate, Dread Central and more. For more, follow her on Twitter and Instagram @theblackbuffy.