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The Best Original Anime on Netflix Right Now

A collage featuring some of the best original anime on Netflix (clockwise from top left): 'Blue Eye Samurai,' 'Scott Pilgrim Takes Off,' 'The Way of the Househusband,' and 'Castlevania'

Netflix has a lot of content—and tons of it in the anime space. After all, it’s 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.

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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 we come in. If you’re looking for great anime to watch, these are some of the best original titles on Netflix.

Castlevania

alucard in Castlevania
(Netflix)

Not everyone has played the Castlevania games, and that’s alright. 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. –Vanessa Maki

Devilman Crybaby

akira in Devilman Crybaby
(Netflix)

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, 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. –VM

Blue Eye Samurai

Netflix's Blue Eye Samurai Poster
(Netflix)

Blue Eye Samurai is like a car engine on a cold winter’s day. It takes a minute to warm up, but when it does, hoo boy. Set in Edo-period Japan, the series follows half-Japanese/half-white swordfighter Mizu on a revenge quest to kill the man who fathered them. While Mizu was assigned female at birth, from a young age they were forced to present as male for their own safety. Mizu is joined by an adorable ramen chef and a disgraced swordsman who wishes to win back his honor from Mizu after the latter beat him in a fight. Their target? A Englishman who is vying for control over all of Japan. The series features jaw-dropping action sequences, gorgeous animation, and one of the most interesting genderfluid protagonists ever put on screen. –Jack Doyle

Scott Pilgrim Takes Off

Cast of Scott Pilgrim Takes Off.
(Netflix)

We all know how the original story goes: Canadian slacker Scott Pilgrim defeats all of his American paramour’s evil exes and gets the girl. But what if it went down differently? What if Scott mysteriously disappeared during his very first fight? Scott Pilgrim Takes Off puts Ramona Flowers in the driver’s seat as she crisscrosses countries and centuries in order to find the boy she loves. Come for the beautiful animation, stay for the bangin’ indie rock score. –JD

Cyberpunk: Edgerunners

David from 'Cyberpunk Edgerunners' being cool
(TRIGGER)

Cyberpunk 2077 is a video game Cinderella story that I still cannot comprehend. Upon its release, the game was so bad that its parent company was SUED for false advertising. The game survived solely due to intense modding from players, who fixed the broken wings of this flightless digital bird. Interest in Cyberpunk 2077 slowly began to creep back into the mainstream, and then Cyberpunk: Edgerunners happened. Studio Trigger—the brilliant minds behinds anime titans like Kill La Kill—created a 10-episode cyberpunk masterpiece that brought the world of Cyberpunk 2077 back from the brink. It centers around a down and out teenager named David who begins cybernetically augmenting himself in order to become an edgerunner, essentially a criminal for hire. Given a new sense of purpose by his edgerunner crew, he sets out to become one of the greatest edgerunners that Night City has ever seen. –JD

Komi Can’t Communicate

A high school girl sits silently at her desk in "Komi Can't Communicate"
(OLM)

This adorable anime series centers around the most beautiful girl in school: Komi. This girl is so beautiful that she is able to render the entire student body speechless with nothing but a glance. As we see in Komi Can’t Communicate, the problem is that a glance is the best she can do. Komi suffers from devastating social anxiety that renders her too scared to speak. Luckily, a kindhearted student begins to communicate with her via blackboard messages, and offers to help her break out of her shell by making 100 friends. It’s a hilarious and heartfelt anime rom-com, what more can I say? –JD

High-Rise Invasion

mayuko, yuri, & ein in High-Rise Invasion
(Netflix)

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! –VM

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean

jolyne battling FF in Stone Ocean
(Netflix)

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. –VM

Baki

Baki and his mom stand in a hallway in "Baki"
(TMS Entertainment)

Baki is the heterosexual answer to Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure. Gone are the gorgeous, coiffed technicolor man-candy delights of Jojo, replaced with grotesque, musclebound meatheads who were weaned on creatine. Baki is an ugly show, but that’s the beauty of it. Essentially, Baki is Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure turned on its ear. A young martial artist named Baki sets out on a beat ’em up quest to rid his family of a curse. That curse just so happens to be the legacy of his own father. Baki’s dad Yujiro is the greatest martial artist in the world, and a total asshole. If you like the martial arts oneupsmanship of Jojo battles, you’ll be thrilled by the ridiculous lengths these men go to in order to kick each other’s asses. –JD

Thus Spoke Rohan Kishibe

rohan in Thus Spoke Rohan Kishibe
(Netflix)

Do you love JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 4: Diamond is Unbreakable? More specifically, do you love Rohan? 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? –VM

The Way of the Househusband

tatsu prepping food in The Way of the Househusband
(Netflix)

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. –VM

Monster

Dr. Tenma leveling a gun at the camera while crouching in the rain from the anime "Monster"
(Madhouse)

Picture this: you’re a young Japanese surgeon making waves in the medical community in post-war Germany. You’ve got a promising career and are engaged to be married to the beautiful daughter of your hospital’s director. Everything is going great! Then one day, you’re forced to choose between saving the life of a prominent German politician or a critically injured young boy. Against the orders of the higher-ups, you save the boy. You lose your job, your lady, everything. How could it get any worse? Well, that kid you saved grew up to become Germany’s most evil and prolific serial killer, and he framed YOU for a bunch of murders. Guess you gotta track him down. Monster is the Hannibal of anime, and one of the greatest stories ever told. –JD

Aggretsuko

Retsuko in Aggretsuko
(Netflix)

Look at this cute little Red Panda! She’s doing great! She got a decent corporate job just out of college, and she’s well on her way to staying in an office for the rest of her miserable life! How does she blow off steam with her boss breathing down her neck? Simple! She goes to the karaoke bar after work and sings death metal to work out her inner rage! Now that’s a healthy coping mechanism! Aggretsuko is an adorable slice-of-life anime about a Red Panda with anger issues trying to find joy in a world that just keeps kicking her around. –JD

Death Note

Light Yagami from 'Death Note'
(Nippon TV)

Death Note centers on a brilliant but bored young student who finds a mysterious notebook on his campus. After touching it, a god of death appears and tells him that any person whose name is written in the book’s pages will die. Does he simply put it back, not willing to tamper with forces beyond his comprehension? Nope! He decides to play god and usher the world into a new age of peace, establishing himself as its ruling deity! That is … unless a certain sweet-toothed kid detective can stop him. The series is a cerebral cat-and-mouse whirlwind dressed in the finest fits that alt fashion has to offer. –JD

Naruto

Rock Lee fights Kimimaru drunk in "Naruto"
(Pierrot)

Naruto the series starts off a lot like Naruto the character: Loud, annoying, but with a hint of promise. Naruto is a hyperactive young ninja who dreams of becoming the greatest Hokage—which is basically ninja president. While the beginning of the series is mired in flashbacks and filler, the story that unfolds is one of the greatest anime tales ever told. Don’t believe me? Just WAIT until Naruto and friends’ first real fight with the Demon of the Hidden Mist Zabuza. This series has more than a few tricks up its sleeve. –JD

Mononoke

The medicine seller smirks calmly in a hotel while two confused patrons look on in "Mononoke"

Mononoke is easily the most stylish anime on this list. It’s criminal. It mogs the competition savagely. Just look at it. This dizzying beautiful anime tells the story of the Medicine Seller, who wanders from town to Edo-period town looking for demons to exorcise. Mononoke is based heavily on Japanese folklore, featuring evil spirits that appear all throughout ancient myth. The Medicine Seller essentially acts as a supernatural detective, and must determine a creature’s methods and motives before he is successfully able to banish it. –JD

(featured image: Netflix)

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Author

Vanessa Maki
Vanessa Maki (she/her) is a queer Blerd and contributing writer for The Mary Sue. She first started writing for digital magazines in 2018 and her articles have appeared in Pink Advocate (defunct), The Gay Gaze (defunct), Dread Central and more. She primarily writes about movies, TV, and anime. Efforts to make her stop loving complex/villainous characters or horror as a genre will be futile.

Author

Jack Doyle
Jack Doyle (they/them) is actually nine choirs of biblically accurate angels in crammed into one pair of $10 overalls. They have been writing articles for nerds on the internet for less than a year now. They really like anime. Like... REALLY like it. Like you know those annoying little kids that will only eat hotdogs and chicken fingers? They're like that... but with anime. It's starting to get sad.

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