Top 5 Anime on Netflix

Top 5 Anime on Netflix


Over the past few years, Netflix has really stepped up their anime game. In fact, I hadn’t used it for anime in months, and when I logged in this morning what I found was a fairly substantial amount of new and interesting series.

But, just because Netflix has gotten better in regards to anime still doesn’t mean they’re the best at it. For example, if you want to watch a series that’s currently airing and Netflix has the broadcasting rights for it, then you’re out of luck until at least the end of the season.

Of course there are other ways to watch these series, but I’ll stay on topic for today.

I don’t know if this is part of the deal Netflix made to get the rights to these series, or if Netflix just really doesn’t understand how the anime community works. My guess is the latter, but we may never know.

The other problem I have with Netflix is how it handles titles for which it has exclusive streaming rights. Slapping “Netflix Original” on series and movies is a great way to confuse people who may not be familiar with the anime industry or Netflix’s business practices.

Basically, if something is referred to as a “Netflix Original” that just means Netflix paid for exclusive streaming rights. Netflix did not make the anime or other show in a vast majority of these cases. Also, by labeling series as their originals and releasing them long after they originally aired, Netflix is able to pass off old series as new.

One example of these practices in effect is how they handle the Fullmetal Alchemist live action movie. They call it a “Netflix Original,” but it was made in Japan by Japanese people and studios with no affiliation to Netflix. Further, the movie came out in 2017, but Netflix advertised it as a 2018 movie (although it even says 2017 on their platform) to make it seem newer than it really was.

But, enough about how Netflix is an unscrupulous company, let’s take a look at some of the best anime it currently has to offer.

5. Your Lie in April

Kousei Arima from the anime series Your Lie in April
Kousei Arima

Your Lie in April is a drama about music and love. It follows a 14-year-old prodigy pianist named Kousei Arima as he learns to navigate through life with the help of his friends and the only thing he was ever good at, the piano.

This series is also technically a romance anime, but the way I see it, the romance in it is secondary. The main focus is on learning that even though life sucks sometimes, there are always reasons to keep moving forward, whether they be friends, family, passions, or romance.

The female lead of Kaori Miyazono helps Kousei to reignite his passion for playing music and teaches him some valuable lessons about how to look at the world along the way. The best comparison I can make to another series would be March comes in like a lion.

This series is also 22 episodes long, so while it’s possible to binge in a single day if that’s your thing, it’s going to take up most of it.

4. Fullmetal Alchemist

Edward Elrich from the anime series Fullmetal Alchemist
Edward Elrich

This is usually the part at which I say FMA and FMA:B are both good in their own rites and that I have them rated the same, but today I feel like doubling down on the fact that I prefer FMA over FMA:B. And, before you get mad about that, a lot more people have seen FMA:B than FMA, so they don’t need me to recommend it; they’ve already seen it.

With that out of the way, FMA is the darker of the two series, and that’s a big reason as to why I prefer it. It’s six years older than FMA:B, so it doesn’t look as pretty, but I genuinely think the story is better. And, if you don’t know, it’s about two brothers who go on an adventure to find the philosopher’s stone so they can get their bodies back.

One of the biggest complaints I often hear about FMA compared to FMA:B is that FMA goes off the rails and doesn’t follow the original source material after about episode 12. While this is true, you need to remember that just because something is source material doesn’t mean it’s better.

Yes, FMA:B follows the source material, but FMA is still a better story regardless. Also, if you somehow haven’t watched either version, I recommend FMA first and FMA:B second. This isn’t because I prefer FMA, it’s actually because since FMA:B looks nicer, I feel FMA will be judged too harshly simply for being older if it’s watched second.

FMA is 51 episodes long, so it’s not something you’ll be able to binge in a single day, but the good part about that is that there’s a lot of content to watch. And, just in case you were wondering, FMA:B is 64 episodes long.

3. In This Corner of the World

Suzu Urano and Shuusaku Houjou from the anime movie In This Corner of the World
Suzu and Shuusaku

In This Corner of the World is the only movie to be featured on this list, and what a movie it is. It’s a historical drama, so you already know I love it based on that alone. The story follows a girl named Suzu Urano as she lives in a small town near Hiroshima during WWII.

As you can probably tell from that one sentence description, this is a very real and depressing movie. However, the art style contradicts the events of the movie in a fairly extreme way. It has an almost Studio Ghibli feel to it, and a watercolor-like color palette.

And, I get it, the art style might put some people off, but I promise that the art style works for the story that’s being told. I’ve refused to watch anime due to art styles in the past, but I can admit that often when I actually give such anime a chance, I find that the art usually adds to the experience rather than takes away from it.

Also, since this is a movie rather than a series, it’s also the entry on this list which requires the smallest time commitment. I watched it on a flight, so it’s something relatively easy to fit into even the busiest of schedules.

2. Violet Evergarden

Violet Evergarden from the anime series Violet Evergarden
Violet Evergarden

Violet Evergarden is the newest anime on this list, having just aired at the beginning of 2018. As with Your Lie in April and In This Corner of the World, it’s a drama with a heavy focus on the drama. The series follows a girl by the name of Violet who’s trying to figure out her new life after the Great War took everything from her.

She lost the only person she ever cared about, as well as both of her arms. But, despite the hardships she’s been through, she works hard to make her new life a meaningful one for those around her while also learning the meaning of love.

Visually speaking, this is probably the prettiest anime I’ve ever seen. That combined with an extremely emotional story is what makes Violet Evergarden so good. And, episode 10 is probably the single best anime episode I’ve ever seen. I’ll probably dedicate a future post just to that one episode.

There are 13 episodes in the main season and a special 14th episode which can also be found on Netflix. The 14th episode lands somewhere in the middle of the season chronologically, but I don’t remember where exactly. And, there’s a movie coming out in early 2020 if I’m not mistaken.

1. Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Madoka Kaname and Sayaka Miki from the anime series Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Madoka and Sayaka

And, finally, the best anime currently on Netflix, Puella Magi Madoka Magica. This is one of those anime I was talking about earlier when I mentioned that art style had put me off of series in the past. For a long time I didn’t watch Madoka because I thought the art style looked stupid, but now it’s my second favorite anime period.

Of all the series on this list, Madoka is the one which can really be spoiled the most, so I’ll be discussing it in some vague terms here. It’s a dark, psychological-ish take on the magical girl genre, and it’s executed masterfully.

The art style is specifically chosen to contrast with the plot of the series, just like with In This Corner of the World, School-Live!, and Made in Abyss. And, not only does the art style serve a specific purpose for the series, but it’s pretty unique and amazing too once you really look at it.

It’s a 12 episode series, so it’s manageable to binge in a single sitting if you so choose. There are also three movies for Madoka on Netflix, but the only one I would recommend is the third one, Rebellion. The first two movies are just recap movies and cut content from the series so I would just stick to the series and then Rebellion movie.

And, as a bonus, there’s a new Madoka anime coming this year hopefully.


If you enjoyed this post or if you found a new anime to watch because of it, be sure to click the like button ❤ down below. Also, tell me what you think the best anime currently on Netflix is in the comments or over on Twitter @DoubleSama.

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