The 10 Best Anime Series on Netflix

May 8, 2024

If you’re looking for fun content to help you brush up on your Japanese, good news – there’s a ton of great anime on Netflix right now. 

While learning Japanese from anime (which simply means ‘cartoons’) on its own can be tricky, it can certainly be a great tool to help boost basic understanding. Anime series offer a massive catalog of animated works and often draw fans to begin learning Japanese.

Whether you’re looking for adventure in a fantasy realm or a heart-wrenching high school drama, you’ll find it among the many anime shows on Netflix. This list is here to help you sort through the best of the best to choose your next binge-worthy series.

From robots to romance, here are the 10 best animes on Netflix in 2024

1. InuYasha (犬夜叉, Dog Demon) – 2000–2004

Genre: Fantasy, adventure

A teen girl from modern day Tokyo is transported back in time to feudal Japan, where she is tasked with preventing the evil half-demon Naraku from piecing together the sacred Shikon Jewel – with the help of the not-quite-as-evil half-demon InuYasha. 

InuYasha is a little dark, a little funny, a little romantic, and – in contrast to many other classic anime series – you can watch the entire first series on Netflix.

If you love it, a second show with the same actors (InuYasha: The Final Act) aired in Japan from 2009–2010 to complete the plot as told in the manga, which is available on Hulu in the US.

2. Naruto (ナルト) – 2002–2008

Genre: Action, adventure, coming of age

Naruto is a classic entry in the shounen anime genre. (Shounen really means anime targeted at young boys, but is used to refer to PG adventure shows, often with a young boy as their main character. Think Dragon Ball Z, My Hero Academia, and Hunter x Hunter.)

While Netflix really only has the first half of the series, subtitled Shonen Jump!, it’s still worth mentioning as an extremely popular (and frankly, fun) show. And with 9 seasons in Shonen Jump! alone, you won’t be lacking for Naruto content.

The show is about a young boy whose body contains the powerful spirit of a fox demon who terrorized the town on the day he was born. The boy, Naruto, desperately wants to be accepted by his village and become a top-tier ninja. Naruto follows his journey from outcast to young ninja as he finds mentors and makes friends. 

Naruto: Shippuden, the sequel, returns to their village several years later as the young ninjas have become young adults who go on much more serious adventures that challenge their bonds and morality.

While the show is exciting, with great battle scenes and exciting powers driven by the forces of nature, its popularity comes from its heart. The show ultimately is about fitting in, friendship, community, and the ties that bind people, villages and nations together – and what keeps them apart.

3. One Piece (ワンピース) – 1999–present

Genre: Adventure, fantasy

Another title that belongs on the list of all-time great, classic anime, One Piece has miraculously been running since 1999, with over 1,000 episodes to date. It’s an intimidating amount of watch-time to tackle, but if you’re looking for an anime to dive into, One Piece is a beloved show with plenty to recommend it. (And on the upside, you won’t have to look for a new show again for quite some time!) 

This adventure show loosely falls in the shounen genre. It follows a boy named Monkey D. Luffy who gained powers after accidentally eating a magical devil fruit. Now he roams the world with his crew, the Straw Hat Pirates, searching for the ultimate treasure, the ‘one piece.’

4. Cyberpunk: Edgerunners (サイバーパンク エッジランナーズ)2022

Genre: Sci-Fi, action

This critically acclaimed, audience-loved mini series follows a street kid who survives in a dystopian future by becoming a mercenary outlaw – also called a cyberpunk, or ‘edgerunner.’

A Japanese-Polish collaboration based on the Cyberpunk tabletop game series and Cyberpunk 2077 RPG, Cyberpunk: Edgerunners is cool and creative, among the best of Netflix’s anime originals. And with just 10 episodes, it’s a great option for those not ready to dive into an epic series like Naruto or One Piece.

5. Violet Evergarden (ヴァイオレット・エヴァーガーデン) – 2018

Genre: Coming of age, drama, romance, post-war

This 13-episode dramatic miniseries based on a young adult novel follows a teen girl in a post-war fantastical world. After serving as a soldier, she has now become a ghostwriter for those struggling to express their feelings. 

The show is about her reintegration into society and struggle to find purpose while healing her emotional and physical wounds. Because of its popularity, Violet Evergarden has now also garnered 3 spinoff movies and a special episode.

6. Neon Genesis Evangelion (新世紀エヴァンゲリオン) – 1995–1996

Genre: Mecha, action, post-apocalyptic

Probably one of the most talked-about anime of all times and a classic of the mecha genre (shows that include giant fighting robots, essentially), Neon Genesis Evangelion can be divisive, but it’s a must-watch for any anime fan. 

The series takes place in a world once devastated by alien ‘angels.’ It follows a troubled young man who trains to fight in the mech suits used to keep them at bay – but devolves into a psychological exercise that leaves the watcher wondering where the show ends and pure philosophy begins.

Full of meditations on loneliness and alienation, and marked by a devolution from fully fleshed-out animated series to drawings and flashes of information, whether you love it or hate it, the series has become iconic. Its release led to a rebirth of the anime genre, with increased popularity and a greater focus on going deeper into the human psyche.

7. Aggretsuko (アグレッシブ烈子) – 2018–2023

Genre: Comedy, music, slice-of-life

Aggretsuko is a unique, slightly more adult anime, in that it’s about a dissatisfied office worker (who happens to be a red panda) who works out her frustrations through death metal karaoke. 

At once relatable and off-the-wall, Aggretsuko is an unusual but lovable series – especially but not exclusively for those who have felt underappreciated and overworked at a desk job.

8. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba (鬼滅の刃) – 2019–present

Genre: Action, dark fantasy, martial arts

Looking for something new you can catch up with and watch in real time? Demon Slayer is a gripping and visually stunning series that’s currently being released. 

The series, based on a manga of the same name, follows siblings Tanjiro and Nezuko Kamado. At the start of the series, their family is struck by tragedy, leaving just the two of them alive – and Nezuko turning into a demon. 

When a demon slayer comes to kill her, Nezuko displays an incredible ability to resist demonic urges (like killing humans and drinking their blood), instead protecting Tanjiro, and the slayer is impressed. The siblings set out together, with Tanjiro hoping to become a demon slayer and figure out how to save his sister – or at least keep her alive. 

9. Death Note (デスノート) – 2006–2007

Genre: Crime, supernatural thriller

When a teen boy finds a notebook from another realm that allows him to kill anyone simply by writing their name in the book, he starts using it to kill off known criminals. The sudden death of so many high-ranking crime bosses attracts the attention of one of the world’s top detectives, and a cat-and-mouse game begins.

10. Kotaro Lives Alone (コタローは1人暮らし) – 2022

Genre: Comedy, slice-of-life

A surprisingly heart-wrenching, sweet and silly Netflix original, Kotaro Lives Alone has emerged as one of the best Netflix original anime series. The 10-episode series follows a four-year-old boy who moves into an apartment building on his own and the neighbors who band together to create a family for him. 

In particular, Sato bonds with his next-door neighbor, a manga artist named Karino, whose life is transformed by his bond with the child. What appears on the surface to be a simple comedy becomes a sweet meditation on the nature of family and community, as told through episodic vignettes.

And those are the best anime series on Netflix right now!

Grab yourself some dango, settle into the couch, and enjoy!

What do you think? Which will you choose? You can’t go wrong with any of these wonderful series – just don’t forget the subtitles.

Hold on! Anime is better when you understand Japanese

So why not learn some? When you learn with Busuu, you get bite-sized lessons, award-winning course content, a community of millions of learners, and feedback from native Japanese speakers. What do you say?

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