The best anime on Netflix UK
Roxy Simons | On 26, Mar 2017
Anime has gone from strength to strength in recent years. So much so that streaming services have been desperately trying to get their hands on series both old and new. In the USA, Amazon has even released a standalone streaming service dedicated exclusively to anime. But today, we’re here to talk about Netflix. Over the years, there have been a number of excellent anime to come and go on the service, but which should you be watching?
Look no further: these are our top 10 anime series on Netflix UK.
Nobuhiro Watsuki’s story of a former assassin and his vow never to kill again in Meiji era Japan is a classic. There are intense sword fights, compelling characters, and storylines that’ll draw you in instantly, as Kenshin tries to protect those around him with his back-blade sword and make up for his past as a legendary manslayer. Sadly, things won’t be that easy for the goodhearted red-head, as a variety of comrades, former rivals and new adversaries try to make him become a killer once more. The series bringing the story to life is a must-watch for all anime lovers. In fact, why aren’t you watching it right now? The manga it’s based on and three live action adaptations are pretty awesome too, if we do say so ourselves.
Another anime classic that should never be too far away from anyone’s watchlist. Following a crew of bounty hunters on their various adventures in space – think more Guardians of the Galaxy than Star Trek – the series balances their amusing antics with their dark pasts. The captain of the Bebop Spaceship, Spike Spiegel, is particularly haunted by his past, as his rival, and former comrade, Vicious comes to exact his revenge. It features some of the best character development in anime, and the series is often referred to as a gateway into the medium, thanks to its popularity around the world when it was first released. It confirmed Shinichiro Watanabe’s position as one of the top animators in Japan, and there’s an incredible jazz soundtrack to boot.
What would you do if you were given the power to kill anyone on earth by just writing their name in a book and picturing their face as you did it? For Light Yagami it’s clear what he must do with the Death Note: rid the world of evil and target criminals that haven’t been given the punishment they deserve. He quickly becomes known as Kira and is revered as a god by his supporters, but genius detective L refuses to let him get away with the murders and is determined to find out his identity. Hot on his trail, an intense cat-and-mouse game breaks out between L and Light and the pair constantly try to one up each other so they can come out on top. Its frank look at morality made the series a hit from the beginning, and with Tsugumi Ohba’s intricate story and Takeshi Obata’s twisted art, this comes as no surprise. An American remake of the series, produced by Netflix, is on the way this, but the less that’s said about that the better.
Ajin is a dark and gritty anime set in an alternate universe, where the world has just discovered the existence of Ajin, a new species of human that are unable to die. They’re not seen as humans, and rumours are circling that the government kidnaps any demi-human to test the limits of their abilities in the most brutal of ways. One day, student Kei Nagai is hit by a truck on his way home from school, and to the surprise of him (and everyone around him), he gets up from the gruesome scene unscathed. Aware that he’s now a target, he immediately tries to escape but is quickly apprehended and experimented upon by the government. When he’s set free by a group of terrorist Ajin, Kei sees first-hand how cruel demi-humans can be. Ajin: Demi-Human is one of the best anime series to be released in recent years – and with two seasons already out and a live-action adaptation in the works, it’s clear that this is a popular franchise. If you’re a fan of dark, unforgiving storylines, this is definitely for you.
Mikado Ryugamine has always wanted to live in the city, so when he moves to Ikebukuro to go to school with his childhood friend, Masaomi Kida, he doesn’t realise what he’s gotten himself into. From the creator of Baccano, Durarara follows 11 characters and their lives in the town, which is an area on the outskirts of Tokyo. Each episode is told from one of the character’s point of views, and as the story develops, the violent and dark underbelly of the district is revealed. If there’s one thing Ryohgo Narita does well, it’s intertwining the lives of a large group of characters to tell one intensely entertaining story. This is one not to be missed.
Your Lie in April
This is one of the more heart-warming anime you’ll find on Netflix. Centred around child prodigy piano player Kosei Arima, the series sees its lead character come to terms with grief and childhood trauma through the love he feels for fellow musician Kaori Miyazono. She supports and encourages him, helping him to play music again when he thought he’d never regain the ability to do so. It’s as heart-warming as it is heart-breaking; you will root for the characters and quickly learn to love them.
Set in an alternate universe where the world has been split into three superpowers – The Holy Britannian Empire, the Chinese Federation, and the European Union – Code Geass focuses on exiled Britannian prince Lelouch vi Britannia and his quest to destroy the Holy Britannian Empire, after the death of his mother. Given the titular power, Lelouch has the ability to make anyone do what he commands. This is a classic mecha anime, with excellent action sequences, animation, and character development. What’s not to love?
Attack on Titan
This is a more recent breakout anime series, gaining huge popularity in Japan and abroad as soon as it was released. Hajime Isayama’s dark fantasy of a small community of humans terrorised by cruel flesh-eating titans is grim but fascinating. The series isn’t afraid to let go of its characters, no matter how important they are to the plot, but this just makes it even more enticing, a bit like Game of Thrones. A second season is set to be released later this year, and it promises to be just as intense and fraught with terror as the first.
Pokemon: Indigo League
What is there to say about Pokemon that you don’t already know? This is a classic series that shaped many people’s childhoods, and is still doing so today. The first anime based around the hit game follows Ash Ketchum and his new pokemon, Pikachu, as they travel around the Kanto region to defeat gym leaders and become a pokemon master. If all else fails, watch this for the nostalgia and that catchy theme song.