The Best Anime to Stream and Where to Find Them

We outline the top anime available to stream at your fingertips as well as the best places to find it all!

There have never been more anime titles readily available to audiences, which is certainly exciting, but it can also be overwhelming. Not only are more legacy titles being added to streaming services every month, but there is also a steady stream of new series that are being added.

To guarantee that the various libraries of content at your disposal don’t swallow you whole, we’ve done the hard work and narrowed it down to just the top and most important titles! For both the obsessive anime fan and those entirely new to the form, here’s a whopping list of the 50 best anime that are currently streaming and exactly where to find them!

Netflix Anime - Aggretsuko

Aggretsuko

Available on: Netflix

Retsuko the Red Panda is all of us and we are all Retsuko. Aggretsuko is one of Sanrio’s most popular creations in recent years and while other mascots for the company like Hello Kitty or Keroppi capitalize on the sugary sweet demeanor of their cutesy characters, Aggretsuko instead taps into the inner rage that fills us all. Each vignette in Aggretsuko sees the mild-mannered red panda attempt to do her job, hang out with friends, or just get through some mundane aspect of her day.

Ad – content continues below

Retsuko does a fairly good job at keeping her cool around the constant frustrations that pop up around her, but it’s only a matter of time until something pushes the red panda over the edge and Retsuko explodes in a rage of unfiltered honesty and banging death metalAggretsuko is simple, low stakes anime, but there’s something endlessly relatable about these stories of a person being pushed to their limit. Everyone has the kind of days that Retsuko does, so why not commiserate with this character’s deeply cute temper tantrums? With a second season also on the way, thankfully the red panda freakouts are far from over!

Netflix Anime - Ajin: Demi-Human

Ajin: Demi-Human

Available on: Netflix

Ajin: Demi-Humanmight actually happen to be on your radar due to it being one of limited anime that Netflix has chosen to embrace and co-produce. The series is your basic demon-out-of-water story where a boy named Kei gets hit by a truck and ends learning that he’s actually an ajin (basically a demon) and incapable of dying. That’s all cool and dandy for Kei, only for the fact that ajin aren’t looked at too fondly in the community with the creatures being hunted and kept in camps. This naturally has a rough schism form between the humans and ajin that has revenge at its core and Kei getting caught up in the middle as he tries to mediate and find peace between everyone.

There are a number of series out there where some member of the “outcast race” tries to bridge things between their kind and humanity (I mean, look no further than Tokyo Ghoul,which is also listed here), but Ajin stands out by offering complex characters that take time to define, as well as some super impressive monster designs that won’t soon leave your mind. With a recent live-action film adaptation making this property hot again, Ajin is one that you want to put on your radar!

Anime Hulu Assassination Classroom

Assassination Classroom

Available on: Funimation, Hulu

In what’s one of the best concepts that I’ve ever come across,Assassination Classroomdeals with an octopus-esque alien that declares that he’s going to destroy the planet in one year unless he can be killed. Oh, and if you don’t think he’s serious, he just blew up three quarters of the moon. The measures that have been set in place here is that a class of students—the bottom of the barrel, at that—are given the task of being trained as assassins to take him down, garnering one billion dollars in the process. The conditions however are that this alien is their teacher, and he’s unable to hurt any of his students, with them having a year to pull off their task, lest the planet be destroyed yada yada yada.

Ad – content continues below

What’s kind of amazing is the symbiotic relationship between this alien, Korosensai, and his students/would-be assassins. Each episode has him genuinely bettering them and helping them grow, and it’s this bittersweet arrangement of them deeply caring for each other, yet this terrible asterisk hanging over it all. Now in the middle of wrapping up its second season, I legitimately don’t know how this show will conclude and I couldn’t be more excited about that.

Anime Hulu Attack on Titan

Attack on Titan

Available on: Adult Swim, FunimationNow, Hulu, Yahoo View!

Look, you probably don’t need me to tell you about or push Attack on Titan on you. It’s a series that has grown into an institution and has slowly become one of the most successful cross-pond anime in recent years. The sheer fact that this selection is also on Netflix is a testament to the growth in demand. If you have been unaware of Attack on Titan though, now’s the perfect time to make the jump with the series’ third season nearing some sort of release, and the production of two live-action movies having gone on in the interim time.

The series is set in an alternate world where humanity has caged itself in through a series of giant successive walls as a result of the threat of Titans. These monsters are huge human-like monsters with an unstoppable hunger for humans. The series begins with the breach of one of these walls and the discovery of more powerful Titans behind it.

There’s real art going on here as the series jumps in stretches of the time and chooses to selectively focus on certain characters, building a real full mosaic in the process. There’s also just some stunning animation going on at these fighters zip through the air in their gear to take down these behemoths. The story only becomes deeper and deeper too, with fantastic twists that litter the end of both seasons. Year two takes some risks by banking more on characters than action, but there’s still a story that’s unbelievable to watch unfold. This is how you effectively build a world and tell a full, nuanced story. Plus, monsters and the biggest daddy issues this side of Neon Genesis Evangelion!

Ad – content continues below

Anime Hulu Cowboy Bebop

Cowboy Bebop

Available on: Adult Swim (Random Episodes), FunimationNow, Hulu

Certainly one of the older shows on this list, but one that’s earned its place as legacy anime. Long before he was blowing people’s minds on Space DandyShinichiro Watanabe was setting the standard with his planet-hopping space western, Cowboy BebopWhile again focusing on a ragtag group of bounty hunters and outlaws jumping around in space, there is a certain sense of tone and atmosphere conjured up by this series.

Even though it’s a mostly episodic program, there is still such a connection to it among fans due to how well each story sees execution. It’s also responsible for those countless people you see cosplaying with big hair and a navy blue suit.Additionally, the score and music is done by Yoko Kanno, and it’s just pure bliss across the board. Bebopreally makes its music a priority and the quality is undeniable. Can you think of a theme song that gets you pumped up more than “TANK”? No, no you cannot.

Netflix Anime - Dagashi Kashi

Dagashi Kashi

Available on: Crunchyroll, FunimationNow, Hulu

Dagashi Kashilooks at an inspiring manga artist, Kokonutsu. Kokonutsu is shackled to his family’s candy store, destined to take over the business. Then, with the arrival of Hotaru Shidare of the Shidare Candy Corporation who is looking to poach the owner, “Coconuts” is hurled towards the candy lifestyle more than ever before. Dagashi Kashi’s biggest draw is that it is absolutely in love with candy. It views the subject as if it’s the most magical thing in the world, and that viewpoint makes the show endlessly entertaining in its innocence. You can’t help but get equally excited about the subject matter.

It doesn’t feel like a show like this should work—a pseudo-educational program that educates you about the wonder that is Japanese candy—but it’s crazy how infectious this formula is. It’s at a point now where I can’t wait to see what sort of random, unheard of sweet will be delved into each week. Also, why is our candy just candy, and not a fraction as cool as Japan’s multipurpose sweets? They have fake beer for kids, candies that imbue you with energy to run, stuff that turn into whistles. Even candies that double as marbles/trading cards. #FirstWorldCandyProblems

Ad – content continues below

It’s also extremely indulgent towards the “fan service” area, and what’s a better pairing to candy than anatomy? Granted, the second season of the series loses some of its magic, but it’s still full of plenty of charm.

Netflix Anime - Death Note

Death Note

Available on: Hulu, Netflix

It’s hard not to fall in love with this concept right away: Death Note is about Light, a high school student who finds a notebook that whenever he writes a name inside it, that person dies. Pretty nuts, right? It’s not long before Light is trying to cleanse the world of evil by using this notebook to play God and create a better world. That’s some deep subject matter to get into and Death Note handles this rise to corruption beautifully.

As Light’s carnage begins to grow, a detective, L, tries to take him down. So add to that one of the best subversions to the cat-and-mouse detective genre that I’ve seen, and you’ve got an even more infectious hit on your hands. Waiting for these two to come across each other is such satisfying stuff, especially when even more death notebooks and Shinigami (demons) are thrown into play. The strong energy that the series gives off explains why there have been a& number of movies and off-shoots to crop up in Japan over the years. People just need more of this.

Anime Hulu Death Parade

Death Parade

Available on: Crunchyroll, FunimationNow, Hulu

Death Paradeis a perfect mix of the playful and the macabre, resulting in a surprisingly profound series. The anime is set at a way station of sorts, and when two people die at the exact same time, they’re sent to this location to play a game against each other. Scrubbed of their memories, these two people must compete in some sort of parlor game in order to determine their future—which of them gets to have an afterlife, and which is just gone, essentially.

Ad – content continues below

There’s something intrinsically compelling about watching people play a game of air hockey, billiards, or even Twister, for the highest stakes imaginable. Each game also has twisted tricks incorporated into them, such as the balls in billiards each corresponding to a different body part that will experience pain upon being sunk.The competition at work in each episode already makes this a suspenseful show, but it gains even more poignancy with what each episode is trying to say about life and death while these games are going on. Every installment is more or less a fresh story, and yet a great deal of pathos is created each time for these new people you encounter. Endlessly compelling and always having something to say,Death Parade is a great subversion of the afterlife.

Netflix Anime - Devilman Crybaby

Devilman Crybaby

Available on: Netflix

The Devilman franchise has been going strong in Japan since the 1970s. It tells a typical story of corruption and lost identity when an unsuspecting soul has his spirit mixed up with that of a demon. As a result, Akira has access to the extreme powers of Devilman, but he still retains his humanity. As Akira tries to come to terms with his transformation, this tug of war between good and evil wages on inside of him while he attempts to use the darkness to defeat demons, but not let it consume him in the process.

There’s nothing too special about Devilman at its surface level, butDevilman Crybaby is such a worthwhile reboot of the property entirely because the legendary Masaaki Yuasa is in the one in charge. Yuasa injects the Devilman narrative with his typical eye-popping animation and art direction and helps this story ascend to something special. Yuasa has no limits when it comes to the series’ level of gore or how ridiculous the animation will become. You won’t want to take your eyes off of a single frame of Devilman Crybabybut the rave scene at the Sabbath party from the first episode is an excellent primer for just how much this anime is a batshit, psychedelic fever dream. Nowhere else will you find nipples mutating into big, hungry mouths.

Netflix Anime - The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.

The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.

Available on:FunimationNow, Netflix

The Disastrous Life of Saiki Khas been one of my greatest anime pleasures over the past year and it’s partly due to how recklessly random the style of this show is. To begin with,Disastrous Life of Saiki Kbegan airing as daily bite-sized four-minute anime installments that offered up glimpses into the chaotic life of secret psychic, Saiki. Then, after enough time had passed the series began to be packaged as a conventional 24-minute series that would bundle up five of these short-form episodes into one full-length episode. As a result of this, a weird schism in the community has formed regarding whether Saiki should be consumed in small doses or full-sized endeavors, but the show absolutely works regardless of which style you prefer.

Ad – content continues below

There are a number of series to come along about psychics and everyday school life, but what makesSaikistand apart from the rest is how invested it is in its own rules and mythology. The series builds up a truly unique set of rules for Saiki’s many abilities that you get acclimated with at a surprisingly fast rate. There’s such a clear joy for the world that’s been built here as Saiki simultaneously tries to get through the day drawing as little attention to himself as possible. Unpredictable psychic powers, constant cliffhangers, and an impressive list of side characters that you won’t want to leave anytime soon all point towardsThe Disastrous Life of Saiki K being one of the most fun and creative shows to come out of the season.

Best Streaming Anime Dragon Ball Super

Dragon Ball/Z/GT/Super

Available on: Adult Swim, FunimationNow, Hulu

Dragon Ballis one of the biggest, most successful anime franchises of all-time. Even before there were mainstream blocks like Adult Swim’s Toonami to cater to anime, Dragon Ball was one of the series that made it over and help break barriers for other series. Even if you’ve never seen Dragon Ball then you’ve at least heard of the anime series, which looks at the world/universe-saving exploits of Goku’s family and friends as they face increasingly dangerous threats. The long-running shonen series is far from perfect, but whether you’re a fan of tournaments, crazy abilities and even crazier transformations, or unique, lovable characters that actually grow, there’s a lot to enjoy through the various Dragon Ballseries.

The anime was long dormant, but with the debut of Dragon Ball Super a few years back, it seems like the property has never been more popular or alive. Dragon Ball isn’t the most important anime to watch from this list, but it’s nice to know that it’s available for whenever the show’s comforting energy is needed.

Best Streaming Anime - Dr. Stone

Dr. Stone

Available on: Funimation (Sub and Dub), Crunchyroll (Sub only), Adult Swim (Dub only)

Dr. Stone presents such a fun, engaging story from the start that it’s hard to not be on board with its premise that looks at two unlikely individuals who are tasked with rebooting the entirety of civilization. A mysterious plague turns most of the world’s population into stone, but after two individuals find themselves reawakened they are stuck in a very unusual situation. One of these individuals, Ishigami, is a master of science and he applies his intense knowledge in inspired ways to slowly bring technology back into the picture. It turns science into a superpower in the same way that Breaking Bad did. Dr. Stone uses real scientific principles and is actually educational as it crafts this enthralling story. The scope of Dr. Stone continues to get bigger over time and it’s amazing to see just how far things have gotten since it’s tiny start. It’s undeniably one of the biggest breakout hits of the year.

Ad – content continues below

Anime Hulu Erased

Erased

Available on: Crunchyroll, Hulu

If there is any show on this list that demands a binge-worthy approach to viewing, it is Erased. Think of Zodiac and all of the best engrossing serial killer stories mixed with the best sort of supernatural weirdness and you’ve got Erased in a nutshell.

The series looks at a character that experiences “revivals” when disasters strike, allowing him to go back in time a few minutes and prevent this wrong from happening. However, one such incident sees him flinging back in time twenty years to when he’s eight years old, stuck in his childhood trying to prevent a much bigger crime from happening that has its roots in the past. Erased builds such suspense (especially since the stakes are the lives of children) and you really just want to watch the next episode immediately after finishing one. It’s a slow burn, but telling a really nuanced, emotional story with unusual elements that it doesn’t lose itself in.

Anime Amazon Eromanga Sensei

Eromanga Sensei

Available on: Crunchyroll, Amazon Prime Video

Eromanga Sensei operates with a very Three’s Company degree of logic to it, but there’s such a sweet story at its core. Masamune Izumi is a budding writer, but he can’t draw to save his life. An illustrator who goes by the name “Eromanga Sensei” communicates with Masamune online and illustrates his novels. Together they build a popular manga series through their odd relationship. Masamune also has a 12-year old sister, Sagiri, who’s a shut-in and stays in her room 24/7. What’s the big deal? Masamune’s little sister is actually Eromanga Sensei, his manga collaborator!

Eromanga Sensei finds its sweet spot with the unusual but endearing relationship between Masamune and his sister. What also makes this series so much fun is that it’s all about writing and drawing. It’s an anime that gets to be about manga and anime.

Ad – content continues below

Anime Hulu FLCL

FLCL

Available on: Adult Swim, FunimationNow, Hulu

FLCLis a coming-of-age story as if told by William Burroughs or Alejandro Jodorowsky. Each iteration of the series looks at a complacent pre-teen or teenager who’s lost over the future and the hurdles of adulthood. FLCL puts such relatable themes in a blender with absurdist plotting and surrealist animation and the result is one of the most unique, infamous anime series to hit the market. FLCL is a vespa-riding, alien invading, sentient guitar-playing take on adolescence and even if certain aspects of the series go over your head, it’s always a delight to watch.

FLCL plays things fast and loose with it animation style and it incorporates many different aesthetics to illustrate its lost mental state. You may not always understand the show, but you’ll always be in awe of it. FLCL never slows down and even when the show doesn’t quite work, it’s still an astounding experiment that taps into deep pockets of humanity.

Adult Swim recently co-produced two sequel series, FLCL: Progressive and FLCL: Alternative that don’t quite carry the same manic magic as the original series, but they remain faithful to the show’s unique perspective. If you ever feel lost in life, pop on some FLCL to feel better (although be careful of the show’s dangerously addictive soundtrack).

Netflix Anime - Gurren Lagann

Gurren Lagann

Available on: Netflix

Gurren Lagann is set in a future dystopian take on Earth where most of humanity is forced to live underground in remote villages. Two teenagers who are eager for more out of life and desperate to venture out to the surface come in contact with a powerful mech, the Lagann, and use it to brave the dangers above ground and challenge the evil Spiral King, Lordgenome’s, tyrannical rule.

Ad – content continues below

Here’s the thing about Gurren Lagann, it starts off very slow and definitely takes some time to get going, but once it does there’s nothing holding back its awesomeness. The whole point of the series is that events build and domino into each other, so although the series starts at a small place in scope, it’s absolutely ridiculous to see the level that everything’s at by the end of the series. Hang through the opening chunk of the show and the rewards that follow will be well worth it. There are many great mecha series out there, but Gurren Lagann deserves respect for its slow build and how out of control the series gets before you even realize what’s going on.

Anime Amazon GTO

GTO: Great Teacher Onizuka

Available on: Amazon Prime Video

Great Teacher Onizuka is such a twisted morality story that it sneaks up on you slow subtly that you don’t even realize what’s happened. Eikichi Onizuka enters the series as slacker ex-gang member with few prospects. After an unattractive teacher steals Onizuka’s date, he determines that teachers must hold a strong sexual power over their students. This random event reshapes Onizuka’s entire life and he becomes a teacher! However, through the process he inadvertently develops a strong sense of morals and is no longer interested in doing something as depraved as hooking up with students.

As Onizuka’s quest goes on, he finds himself hungry to become the best teacher of all-time and happy to dispense his unique outlooks on life to help his class. Onizuka turns into an inspiring mentor to dozens and it’s amazing to see how this “bad guy” finally figures out what his passion is in life. Great Teacher Onizuka will make you feel warm inside, but it’s also funny as hell. Onizuka’s embarrassing antics never disappoint and the show finds the perfect rhythm for its comedy. With 43 episodes available, Great Teacher Onizuka is the kind of comforting comedy that’s there for you to binge watch and relax. Live your best life.

Anime Amazon Happy Sugar Life

Happy Sugar Life

Available on: Amazon Prime Video

Happy Sugar Life is one of the darkest series that you’ll ever come across, anime or otherwise. It may even cause some viewers to tap out due to its extreme subject matter, but those that stick around will see a gripping character study that chronicles cyclical abuse and the worst versions of Stockholm Syndrome.

Ad – content continues below

Happy Sugar Life looks at Sato Matsuzaka, a high school girl who kidnaps a small child named Shio because she’s madly in love with her. Now this isn’t a sexual love, but purely romantic and this child is just so innocent and pure that she tunes out all of the darkness in Sato’s life. Sato goes to any lengths necessary (like murder, for instance) to keep Shio locked in her home and a secret to the public. The series follows the very worst of deviants, but its dark perspective and Sato’s sugary sweet fantasies make for a strangely addictive curiosity.

Anime Hulu Haven't You Heard I'm Sakamoto

Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto

Available on: Crunchyroll, Hulu

Sometimes overpowered characters in an anime can be exhausting because they suck all of the tension out of a scene. However, Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto harnesses this energy and makes it the entire point of its series. The premise of Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto is incredibly thin: Sakamoto is a high school student who’s incredibly popular and excels at every little thing that he does (the show’s banging opening credits song does a great job at how Sakamoto effortlessly becomes the king of everything). That might seem like a limited angle for a show, but the anime makes Sakamoto’s God-tier skills a constant delight. Rather than get annoyed at how Sakamoto is always at the top, the anime turns it into a brilliant game of tension.

The bullies and other jealous students around Sakamoto continually try to get the better of him and knock him down a peg, but it never happens. Sakamoto always has the perfect solution and his increasingly ridiculous escape plans are part of why the show’s so fun. It’s like Sakamoto is a magnet for good luck, and he can’t help it if things like his friend’s mom falling in love with him happen. Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto finds the perfect kind of energy for its comedy and it’s hard to not fall in love with Sakamoto, just like every else.

Netflix Anime - High Score Girl

High Score Girl

Available on: Netflix

High Score Girl is likely the only “Arcade Love Story” out there on the market, but it should be mandatory viewing for any fans of retro video games or sweet love stories. The series is set during the height of arcade culture in the 1990s and looks at Haruo Yaguchi, a boy who doesn’t care about anything other than video games. He suddenly meets his match at the arcade in the form of Akira Oono and the two are immediately in each other’s orbits in this unconventional love story.

Ad – content continues below

One of the best things about High Score Girl is the very real passion that the series and Yaguchi have towards video games. The love here is very addictive and the series highlights plenty of formative titles like Mortal KombatSplatterhouselots of Street Fighter IIthe release of the PlayStation and Sega Saturn, and the general transition from video games in arcades to the console market at home becoming more feasible. It also makes such a difference that these are all real video games that High Score Girl uses for its examples (and it often shows actual footage from the titles). This anime is such a goldmine for fun history and nostalgia towards ’90s video games—especially if you grew up through that era—but it also tells a sweet, humble love story between two kids. Plus, it’s impressive that Oono doesn’t say a word throughout the entire series, yet you still completely empathize with her and want to see her be happy.

Anime Amazon Inuyashiki

Inuyashiki: The Last Hero

Available on: Amazon Prime Video

Inuyashiki is easily one of the best anime to come out in the past few years. Its storytelling even rivals that of great American serialized television. It’s just that good. Right from the start it presents the sort of story that immediately gets your attention and lets you know that you’re watching something special. Inuyashiki is an elderly man whose family seems to hate him and are totally unappreciative of his existence. One night he goes for a walk in the park and some sort of alien explosion rocks the area. When Inuyashiki comes to, he appears to be a super powered robot with insane abilities. He uses these new powers to help those in need and even learns that he can heal and bring people back to life. Suddenly Inuyashiki has a purpose in life and watching him reawaken straight up made me cry on multiple occasions.

A bratty teenager is also at the park when the explosion happens and he turns into the same robot that Inuyahsiki becomes. This kid, however, is a psychopath and begins mass murdering individuals at an alarming rate. It’s terrifying how callous he is and what this power brings out in him. Some scenes are genuinely hard to watch and it doesn’t take long for him to become one of the most dangerous murderers that the country has ever seen. Suddenly Inuyashiki has a “rival” and the two are pit against each other in a bizarre, infinitely interesting way. This series is a thrilling examination of what people do with power and it balances humble moments of humanity with disturbing violence and insane action. Everything it does hits hard and its ending is perfect in its precision and poignancy. The animation is also stunning in its depiction of these human/robot hybrids and the “minimalist” (ie. finger guns) approach to the violence.

Inuyashiki is a series that I will be absolutely shocked if some savvy American director doesn’t opt to turn into a movie within the next few years. It’s an absolutely beautiful story that boils down to the universal concepts of good and evil. Catch it now and get ahead of the game. At eleven episodes it’s an extremely easy commitment that you’ll wish was longer.

Best Streaming Anime Junji Ito

Junji Ito Collection

Available on: Crunchyroll, FunimationNow

Ad – content continues below

If Yamishibaiis the tame horror anthology that you can watch before going to bed, then Junji Ito Collection is pure nightmare fuel. This is not a series that should be watched with the lights turned off or even with a large amount of shade in the room. The series adapts some of the most disturbing stories from renowned horror manga artist, Junji Ito.

Junji Ito Collection packs two sordid stories into each episode and the subject matter ranges from supernatural curses, to deranged killers, to some of the most extreme body horror you’ll ever see in an anime (can David Cronenberg please take on a live-action adaptation of “Honored Ancestors”?). Ito conjures up unbelievable ideas that are truly a rarity for horror and stories like “Greased,” “Long Dreams,” “Slug Girl,” and “Blood-Bubble Bushes” are all behemoths of horror.

Unfortunately, not all of the Ito stories that the anime chooses to adapt are winners, but the series’ unsettling art design still helps the weaker tales carry a strong punch. With any justice a second season of this will soon be announced to terrify anime fans well into 2019.

Anime Hulu Jojo's Bizarre Adventure

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure

Available on: Adult Swim, Crunchyroll, Hulu, Yahoo View!

Hirohiko Araki’s Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure is one of Japan’s most prestigious and beloved franchises. Araki began work on the Jojo series back in the ‘80s, but it’s only been in more recent years that Jojo fever has caught on in North America. The series spans the multi-generational saga of the Joestar family, with each new series/saga in the franchise tackling a new “Jojo” throughout the lineage. This allows Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure to span a huge amount of content and the series can change its goal, location, and protagonists with each new series.

The third and fourth chapters in the series, Stardust Crusaders and Diamond is Unbreakable have been the most successful and compelling stories in the ongoing Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure saga. The series all feature unforgettable characters (with even more unforgettable outfits), but also some of the most creative fight sequences you’ll come across thanks to the spirit-like “Stands” that dominate the series.

Ad – content continues below

Magic powers are one thing, but the way in which some of these Stands operate will truly leave you surprised. Jojo has an uncanny ability to mix slice of life anime with breakneck action sequences and inspired serialized storytelling. The entirety of the series may be too long and intimidating for newcomers to jump in, but Diamond is Unbreakable is easily the most accessible of the seasons and an easy place to jump in for the uninitiated Jojo fans.

Best Anime Streaming - Jojo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind

Available on: Crunchyroll (Sub only), Adult Swim (Dub only)

If you haven’t already jumped on the JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure train then it’s finally the time to make the plunge, especially with it turning into a mainstay on Adult Swim’s Toonami block and more seasons hitting Netflix. It honestly feels like “JoJo” should be a genre on its own. The latest season, Golden Wind, moves the story to Italy and focuses on Giorno Giovanna as he infiltrates a dangerous gang with hopes to reform it from the inside out. Golden Wind’s story goes to much crazier places than mere gang reform and it makes for one of the most surprising and satisfying seasons of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. The characters are memorable, their stands and special abilities don’t disappoint, and the animation and music continues to play by their own rules. Watch this “torture dance” and you’ll instantly be hooked. 

Netflix Anime - Kakegurui - Compulsive Gambler

Kakegurui – Compulsive Gambler

Available on: Netflix

Kakegurui – Compulsive Gambler is the best anime about gambling that you’ll ever watch, but it’s also so much more than that. Yumeko Jabami transfers to Hyakkaou Private Academy, an institution that’s full of the children of Japan’s wealthiest and most influential. Accordingly, it’s also become a hotbed for extreme gambling that runs a toxic underground culture at the school. The losers are turned into slaves and “house pets” of the winners and that’s just the beginning. Yumeko is special because she simply wants to gamble for the thrill and rush that it provides her, not because she seeks any financial gain or to dominate the student campus. Her unique fascination with how the school’s culture works catapults her to the top of the campus, but Yumeko’s proficiency at gambling isn’t why this show it’s great, but rather it’s how exaggerated her excitement and love for the act becomes.

Each episode sees a character gamble their entire savings and livelihood for some spontaneous wager. Yumeko is an incredibly meek and reserved girl, but she does a complete 180 whenever she gets in the vicinity of gambling and experiences tantric full body orgasms. It’s not just that her entire attitude changes, but it’s like she becomes a demon. Her eyes take on an evil glow, the pitch of her voice drops, and she becomes otherworldly. Yumeko’s behavior is incredible, but the way in which the show’s animation and style also loses control during these moments is incredible. Kakegurui handles something as basic as rock, paper, scissors, or a hand of poker, but also covers more extreme games, like Russian Roulette, where actual lives are on the line.

This anime turns something normal into something insane and treats gambling like it’s a fight between superheroes. It embraces an absolutely demented point of view that elevates this madness to something mandatory for fans of the extreme. Just watch the show’s opening credits and tell yourself that you don’t want to see more. With a second season on the way soon, now’s the perfect time to check out this insane anime.

Best Anime Streaming - Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!

Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!

Available on: Crunchyroll (Sub only)

Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! looks at a bunch of misfit high schoolers who form an anime club together with the hopes of creating their own anime. There’s a simple honesty in this show that makes Eizouken! almost feel autobiographical in some ways, but whether you’re an artist or not it’s still hard to not love this series. The premise here isn’t anything revelatory, but the real draw here is that Masaaki Yuasa is the one responsible for this show. Everything that Yuasa touches is animated bliss and this series continues to illustrate why he’s such a groundbreaking and ambitious director. Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! weaves back and forth between typical animation, rougher sketch-based images, and elegant watercolors as it uses these different mediums to reflect the depth and passion that goes into illustration and animation. It’s easily one of the most beautiful anime of the year.

Netflix Anime - Kill la Kill

Kill la Kill

Available on: Netflix, Hulu

Mashing together a bunch of things that shouldn’t work, but do, based on sheer will alone, Kill la Kill is the best sort of crazy. Pulling from a lot of different anime, the series follows Ryuko, who has just transferred to the Honnouji Academy after the death of her father. At this Academy, everyone wears certain quasi-sentient uniforms that imbue them with superpowers due to the “Life Fibers” that they’re made from. Ryuko seeks to take down the Academy’s villainous headmistress, while getting vengeance for her father and finding the owner of the other half of the Scissor Blade that she wields.

That’s a lot to juggle but Kill la Kill balances it all well while also building real excitement as Ryuko slowly gets close to her end goal. The series’ animation may not be the most elegant, but that doesn’t stop it from attempting some really ambitious battle set pieces, not to mention some of the transformations that go on in this show are just bonkers. You wouldn’t think that clothing and fighting would go together so well but after Kill la Kill you’ll never want to separate the two.

Anime Amazon Kokoku

Kokkoku: Moment by Moment

Available on: Amazon Prime Video

Kokkoku: Moment by Moment is a bleak, surreal mystery that plays with time and space in a way that feels fresh and exciting. Juri Yukawa is your typical underachieving teenager who’s failed to find her calling. Kokkoku quickly pulls the rug out from under the viewer and transforms this slice of life anime into something substantially trippier. Juri’s brother and nephew get kidnapped by a cult and Juri’s uncle reveals that their family has the power to stop time, which is exactly what they’re going to do to save them.

It’s fascinating to watch Juri learn more of the secrets about her lineage as well as her own unique powers. When Juri and her grandfather freeze time, this frozen world is called Stasis, but there are also terrible monsters that lurk in Stasis that prey on those who stay in there for too long. Kokkokucreates such a rich, fully formed story with a deep history to it, but it also initially keeps the audience in the dark to simulate the same overwhelming experience that Juri is going through. Kokkoku slowly parses out answers as Juri and her grandfather become more entwined in the world of Stasis. It’s such an engrossing story that’s so much bigger than the characters and what they’re caught up in.

Best Streaming Anime Laughing Salesman

Laughing Salesman

Available on: Crunchyroll

Fozuko Moguro is a traveling salesman, but not just any type of ordinary salesman. He deals in human souls. Mr. Moguro views the world’s population is sad, lonely individuals and he’s more than willing to give them a helping hand—for a price. Mr. Moguro promises solutions to all of the problems and shortcomings of the people that he encounters, but there’s always some sort of major caveat involved and there’s a situation where anyone actually gets out on top. Moguro is a monkey’s paw personified or he might even be Satan himself.

Even though it’s obvious that every story will end in doom, the show is incredibly addictive and works as a bizarre, unusual take on the typical anthology format. It’s like if The Twilight Zone was done purely as character studies and driven by ego. It’s a damning portrait of humanity just as much as it is an entertaining piece of storytelling. Each episode packs two stories into one installment and this show is much more effective when it can quickly fire off morality plays. Unfortunately the original Laughing Salesman from the ’90s, which has over 100 episodes, isn’t streaming anywhere, but hopefully Mr. Moguro will show up at some streaming services door and make them an enticing deal that they can’t refuse…

Best Streaming Anime Little Witch Academia

Little Witch Academia

Available on: Netflix, Adult Swim, Crunchyroll, FunimationNow, Hulu

Trigger is one of those animation studios that whenever they take on a new project, it’s something that you want to put on your radar, regardless of its topic, because it’s going to end up being one of the most beautifully animated anime of the year. Little Witch Academia started off as a film (and a sequel), but the property has seen such popularity that a television series exploring the world of Luna Nova was made a priority. Little Witch Academia follows Akko Kagari, a witch superfan who is excited to be enrolling in the esteemed Luna Nova Magical Academy. Not only that, but Akko comes from a non-magical background making her enrollment at Luna Nova a bit of a double-edged sword.

A lot of this show is about celebrating the beauty (and responsibility) of magic, but there’s also much charm in the fact that Akko is not good at magic. You’re following a character that struggles to even ride a broom properly, not some pro. Akko also has a good group of varied witch friends to bounce off of with their banter being a fun aspect to the series as well. Little Witch Academia tends to avoid serialization and larger story arcs, which gives the show a nice boost of freedom where every episode is something completely different. One week can be about a dragon. Another about a renegade skeleton looking for his lost love. There’s much less urgency with this show, but it’s such a pleasant, beautiful looking anime that will sneak up on you in other ways.

Best Streaming Anime Lupin the Third

Lupin the Third

Available on: Adult Swim, Crunchyroll, FunimationNow, Hulu

Imagine if James Bond decided to become a master thief and you’ve got Lupin the Third in a nutshell. Lupin III is notorious for being the world’s best thief and whether he’s working a solo mission, or has help from his distinctly talented allies, Jigen, Goemon, and Fujiko, they’re always brilliantly evading capture and blowing the minds of the authorities in the process. Lupin and his gang travel all across the world for their heists across the course of the series and Interpol Inspector Zenigata is always hot on their heels. 

Lupin the Third knows how to expertly blend action, suspense, and comedy to turn each episode into a self-contained mystery while a broader storyline typically plays out in the background of each season.Lupin the Third is an anime that’s actually been running strong since the ‘70s, but Part II and Part IV have aired on Adult Swim and picked up a greater following. The same thing will likely happen with the show’s most recent addition, Part V, which takes its most modern inspiration and sees Lupin deal with many tech- and Internet-based crimes.

Best Streaming Anime Megalo Box

Megalo Box

Available on: Adult Swim, Crunchyroll, Hulu

There need to be more boxing anime out there—plain and simple. Sports anime are a dime a dozen and they can even manage to find a way to make niche activities like fencing, ping pong, and diving exciting (although I’m still waiting for an all-out insane marbles anime). Boxing seems like an area that seems tailor-made for anime when there are so many action series that capitalize on super powered people trading blows. It’s just boxing without the ring. 

Megalo Box is actually an update of the classic anime, Ashita no Joe, in honor of the series’ 50thanniversary. Megalo Box updates the ordinary boxing series with a futuristic setting and the advent that boxers fight with metallic grid-like gear on their shoulders that intensifies the battles. In true badass fashion, the series’ hero, Junk Dog (Joe), fights gear-less. The anime tells the rags to riches story as Junk Dog rises above his nobody status and slows climbs the ranks of the Megalo Boxing rankings. The boxing matches all look incredible and at thirteen episodes, this is an easy series to give a shot.

Best Streaming Anime Mob Psycho 100

Mob Psycho 100

Available on: Adult Swim, Amazon Prime Video, Crunchyroll, FunimationNow, STARZ

Coming hot off the heels of his latest hit series, One-Punch Man, Mob Psycho 100 is also a strong blast of creativity courtesy of the brilliant mind of “One” (if the character animations weren’t also a dead giveaway). Operating much like his other series, Mob Psycho 100 is a frenzy of an anime that is all about shattering expectations and taking an overdone genre and making it feel fresh. Here, a totally normal boy named Mob learns that he’s an incredibly powerful Esper, meaning he wields a great deal of psychic power. Rather than doing something about these powers, Mob lives in fear of them getting out of control and instead tries to suppress his abilities and avoid the spotlight, however, trouble has a certain way of finding him and eking out his potential.

Mob Psycho 100 is a triumph for its unconventional storytelling and great cast of characters, all of which fit somewhere different on the psychic spectrum. Part of the fun here is just determining who actually has psychic powers and who is just full of themselves (and who’s just an evil ghost), but everyone is still painted in an incredibly entertaining light. Plus, much like One-Punch Man, this series offers up some of most gorgeous animation that you’re going to come across. If you’re not marveling at the action scenes or laughing your ass off at its sense of humor, then you’re for sure going to be lost in the hypnotic look of this series. This one will sneak under your skin until you don’t even realize how obsessed you are with it, plus there’s an impressive dub for the series, too.

Best Streaming Anime - Mob Psycho II

Mob Psycho 100 II

Available on: Crunchyroll, Funimation (Sub and Dub), Adult Swim (Dub only)

There’s nothing like a good comeback story and there are few anime that have such incredible turnarounds between seasons as Mob Psycho 100. Mob Psycho 100 II continues to look at the detective-like misadventures as Mob and Reigen try to deal with psychic-related incidents throughout the community. The second season does everything that the first one does even better as it features more engaging cases and it heavily works on developing Mob’s character and looking at his relationships with others. Not only does this improved character work go a long way, but the quality of animation becomes even more stunning. Some of the most beautifully animated sequences to ever bein an anime are contained in Mob Psycho 100 II and it deserves to be seen.

Anime Hulu My Hero Academia

My Hero Academia

Available on: Adult Swim, Crunchyroll, FunimationNow, Hulu, Yahoo View!

My Hero Academia is set within a well-defined universe where a good deal of people are born with latent superpowers known as “Quirks” that become activated after a matter of time. The series follows Izuku Midoriya, a quirk-less child who is more obsessed with superheroes than anyone else, in spite of his own normal status. However, everything changes for Izuku when the world’s greatest superhero, All Might, gives his own quirk over to Izuku in a rare act that forever ties the two together.

With Izuku still trying to understand and master the abilities of his new quirk, he finds himself enrolled in U.A. High School which becomes a training ground for all of the newest superheroes in training. My Hero Academia might skew younger a little in its tone, but it has an infectious energy that’s built upon having a strong (huge) cast of characters and an addictive narrative that sees these heroes-in-training trying to brave the trials of school.

There’s something so soothing about clearly established battles of Good Vs. Evil and My Hero Academia excels at painting these extremes in such exciting, new lights. The fight scenes are also on a whole other level. Just taking a glimpse of the superpowers on display in this show should give you an indication that this is far from some X-Men rip-off. This series isn’t going anywhere though and if Funimation didn’t have Dragon Ball Super on their hands, My Hero Academia would be the other big hit that they’d be banking on. They’ve only scratched the surface with the superpowers of this one.

Anime Amazon Onara Gorou

Onara Gorou

Available on: Amazon Prime Video

Okay you guys, Onara Gorou isn’t freaking Shakespeare, but it’s a supremely weird series that looks at the antics of Gorou, “the most admirable of farts.” Gorou attempts to help out individuals (all while connected to the human that’s producing him) and every moment of this show elicits questions that you’re not even sure that you want the answers.

Onara Gorou almost feels like the early seasons of South Park where this crudely presented idea looks juvenile at its surface layer, but there’s something more intelligent going on underneath. Make no mistake, Onara Gorou isn’t a smart series, but it’s unrepentantly silly and it will make you laugh and question the laws of nature in a way that more shows should. How did you live your life without having this show and its nightmarish ending themein your world!?

Netflix Anime - One-Punch Man

One-Punch Man

Available on: Adult Swim, Hulu, Netflix, Yahoo View!

One-Punch Man is overblown action in the best possible way. The series is about Saitama, the eponymous “One-Punch Man”, a superhero that is so powerful that he kills all of his enemies in one punch. Because of this lack of a challenge, Saitama has developed a blasé look on life as he searches for someone stronger than him. The fact that this extremely overpowered person looks like this is the perfect unassuming icing on the cake.

It’s encouraging to see how well One-Punch Man nails the action and humor that it goes for, and it’s funny that in a year that has seen people clamoring for (and receiving) more Dragon Ball, this is the series that seems to be satisfying most of these people’s desires for overblown, God-level battles (the work done in the first season finale is truly a sight to behold in both animation and fighting).

 On the other extreme of this, the series is also very interested in the hierarchy of these superheroes, designating them classes, rules and restrictions, and through this we get a number of delightful ancillary low-level heroes that kind of out-Venture Bros the Venture Bros. Here you’re getting such absurd fighters like Tank Top Vegetarian, Superalloy Darkshine, Handsomely Masked Sweet Mask, Metal Bat, Pri-Pri-Prisoner, Spring Mustache, and License-less Rider, who is simply a cyclist who uses his bike as a weapon. I dare you to watch that theme song and not want to give this adrenaline shot a peak.

Netflix Anime - Overlord

Overlord

Available on: Crunchyroll, FunimationNow, Hulu

Overlord is the very best kind of wish fulfillment series where a slacker loser suddenly becomes the all-powerful ruler of a magical land. This isn’t exactly an original premise, but Overlord puts so much detail and love into its universe. In the year 2126, the most popular MMORPG is a title called “YGGDRASIL.” But when the game announces that it’s shutting down its servers, one stubborn player named Momonga decides to stay in the game. After “YGGDRASIL” shuts down, Momonga learns that the virtual world has rebuilt itself into something new and because he didn’t log out, he’s actually entered this world and turned into his avatar, a skeleton wizard.

Rather than panic over this turn of events, Momonga decides to take advantage of his fate and pledges to become the ruler of this new world. Momonga’s journey and development through this new universe is incredible, but the non-playable characters that inhabit this world slowly gain emotions and learn to evolve, too. Overlord has had three seasons to grow and deepen its mythology and it’s turned into the home for some of the most realistic characters in an anime as well. The way in which the series incorporates rules from video games, but also subverts them and strives for something deeper, is another reason why this show is such a treat. It consistently wants to defy expectations and surprise its audience with where Momonga is headed.

Anime Hulu Parasyte

Parasyte –The Maxim-

Available on: Crunchyroll, Hulu

Parasyte: The Maxim hits the ground running and is bonkers from its very first frame. The series revolves around a number of alien parasites that have landed on Earth and start possessing hosts. Shinichi Izumi is a mild-mannered high school student whose life drastically changes when one of these parasites possesses his right hand. This sets Shinichi on a dangerous journey to wipe out the other parasites that have landed on Earth, as well as figure out how to work alongside his new alien host, and if there’s a way to rid himself of this threat. 

Parasyte: The Maxim operates like a superhero series at times as Shinichi acclimates to the new strength and powers that his parasite gives him. The series also navigates tricky moral territory as Shinichi, who’s now a human-alien hybrid, must fight against the aliens that are now part of his biology (think Tokyo Ghoul, but with aliens instead of vampire demons).

The path that Shinichi finds himself on gives the anime a strong narrative drive, but honestly, this is just a beautiful show to watch in motion. The fluid, bewildering effects that Shinichi’s parasitic hand puts to use are ridiculous and it’s just crazy to watch a boy partner up with an alien version of his hand for an entire series. H.P. Lovecraft would give this madness his full stamp of approval.

Best Streaming Anime Ping Pong

Ping Pong the Animation

Available on: Amazon Prime Video, Crunchyroll, FunimationNow

Ping Pong the Animation is perhaps the best example of Masaaki Yuasa’s magic because he’s able to turn table tennis into one of the most gripping, eye-popping animated series that you will ever watch. There is absolutely nothing remarkable about the show’s premise—a high school table tennis player named Smile discovers his potential in the sport and attempts to rise through the ranks—but Ping Pong the Animation would make you think that the fate of the world is at stake.

The anime squeezes an insane amount into its scant eleven episodes, but it makes every one count and you’ll eagerly anticipate each new match. You’ll swear that you didn’t know how the human body moved until you see how Yuasa puts people in motion. It’s proof that he can elevate anything into gold and just how much of a difference animation style makes. Story is always going to be important, but it’s a lot easier to be forgiving of downfalls when insane animation is breaking your brain. Watch this and awaken.

Anime Amazon Pop Team Epic

Pop Team Epic

Available on: Adult Swim, Amazon Prime Video, Crunchyroll, FunimationNow

Pop Team Epic doesn’t give a fuck if you like it or not—in fact it probably hopes that you don’t—and it’s why this manic, insane series is so special. The show is a parody sketch anime that operates with unpredictable, frenetic pacing. Any topic is fair game, but the animation style also radically changes without notice and the series tries to break itself down more than it presents a polished anime. Hell, the end of every episode even presents a “Next Time On…” preview for Hoshiri Girldrop, a fake series that they made up. Just watch the show’s legendary “Hellshake Yano” sequence to get a glimpse of its crazy style and fall in love with it.

If the show’s unleashed attitude wasn’t enough, each episode is basically eleven minutes long and then the following eleven minutes is the same footage that preceded it, but with minor differences. The voice actors will be changed the second time around, animation touches will contrast, but it’s an incredibly bold experiment to play with the audience and their patience. There seems to be an equal split on the people that love and hate the show’s “Bob Team Epic” halves, but they have people’s attention. With Pop Team Epic recently joining the irreverent Adult Swim’s Toonami lineup, the cult series has become more popular than ever.

Anime Amazon Rahxephon

RahXephon

Available on: Amazon Prime Video

In many ways RahXephon may seem like the poor man’s Neon Genesis Evangelion, and while there are ample similarities between the two, RahXephon tells a distinct story that is crazy, contemplative, and awesome in its own way. RahXephon starts as the “boy meets mecha, boy pilots mecha to save the world” start of narrative, but it turns into such a perplexing mash-up of themes and sensibilities. There’s also a delicious ‘70s flavor to the show’s aesthetics that keep it in this weird displaced time that doesn’t feel quite like the past or the future.

Where Evangelion finds its fuel from depression and nihilism, RahXephon turns to the power of music and folklore. The series still operates with all of the staples of a giant mecha action series, but RahXephon strives for more and tries to redefine what the mecha genre can do. The stylized, methodical series is not for everyone, but it should still resonate in a way that’s deeper than the standard robot brawler.

Anime Amazon Re Creators

Re: Creators

Available on: Amazon Prime Video

Re: Creators is extremely awesome in the sense that it delivers sprawling, insane battle sequences, but is also all about the struggles of creation and failing expectations. Sota Mizushino is an avid manga and anime fan and hopes to one day create his own series that finds an audience. Suddenly, characters from all across media—manga, anime, video games— get brought to the real world and Sota somehow becomes the middleman between two factions of creations where the fate of the Earth is at stake.

Re: Creators is far from the typical “lost characters need to get home” narrative and it manages to continually add surprises throughout the season (it also features one of the more creative takes on the “recap episode” that you’ll ever find). The series mixes existentialism with flashy fight scenes and Re: Creators creates something very bold and memorable in the process. It’s a great deconstruction of the medium in general.

Best Streaming Anime Saga of Tanya the Evil

Saga of Tanya the Evil

Available on: Crunchyroll, FunimationNow

Saga of Tanya the Evil is basically one long grudge match between an Atheist and God. In present time, a selfish Atheist Japanese businessman is pushed in front of a passing subway. Before his death, time is stopped by an omnipotent force known as “Being X.” When the businessman refuses to acknowledge Being X as God, he not only transports the man into an alternate magic-friendly version of World War I Europe, he also puts him in the body of a young girl, Tanya Degurechaff. Being X informs Tanya that if she dies of an unnatural death or fails to believe in him, her soul will go to hell for all of the crimes from her previous life. Stuck in this war-torn territory, Tanya joins the military with career advancement on her mind, planning to avoid the front lines of battle as much as possible. In the process, Tanya ends up becoming one of the most enviable, ruthless members of the military and begins changing the shape of history in the process.

The spiritual struggle that Tanya finds herself in as Being X continually tries to manipulate her (he makes it so her gun won’t fire unless she prays to him first) is one thing to love about the show, but the other is the action that goes down in this bizarre world. The military is headed up by mages that basically fly through the air and fire super-powered weapons with the aid of magic. The result of all of this are dazzling aerial battles that give Attack on Titan a run for its money, while mixing magic with history in the most bad-ass way.

Anime Amazon Sagrada Reset

Sagrada Reset

Available on: Amazon Prime Video

Sagrada Reset is set within the town of Sakurada, a special community where everyone that lives there possesses some kind of special ability. Kei Asai, for instance, has an exceptional case of photographic memory to the point that he hasn’t forgotten a single thing that’s happened to him in Sakurada. Kei eventually comes in contact with Misora Haruki, who has the ability to reset time for as far back as three days. This is an exceptional power, but through these resets Kei still retains his memory of the now-deleted time. Accordingly, Kei and Misora team up and use their powers in tandem to help out individuals and solve a much larger mystery that’s afoot in Sakurada.

The dynamic here between Kei and Misora is so loving and beautiful, but the show also creates an interesting world where special abilities are not only common, but monitored by a shady corporate board. One of the biggest joys of the series is watching how various abilities overpower and cancel each other out. Kei and Misora have to put some real quick thinking into play to get out of their problems and this thoughtfulness to the stories is why the idea works so well.

Anime Hulu Samurai Champloo

Samurai Champloo

Available on: Adult Swim (Random Episodes), FunimationNow, Hulu

If you’re sifting through anime, you’re likely going to come across some samurai titles. They’re a staple of the form. Samurai Champloo, unsurprisingly, is exactly that, but also so, so much more. While at its core a simple quest story involving a mysterious beauty, Watanabe’s series is an anachronistic mash-up that reimagines Edo-era Japan into a post-modern hip hop wonderland. Watanabe continues to remix these ideas by literally rewinding episodes or “scratching” them like a record with a DJ-like sensibility as these classical themes get mashed together with current aesthetics.

Just like Watanabe has revamped other classic anime archetypes, even if you’ve never been big on samurai series before, this one is likely to rub you the right way. Part of the fun here is just how successful Samurai Champloo is at creating its tone. It’s really a different way of presenting a narrative, and a smart pairing that deserves more credit. There’s also just something about seeing an elegant sword fight set to a hip-hop soundtrack.

Best Streaming Anime - Sarazanmai

Sarazanmai

Available on: Funimation (Sub and Dub), Crunchyroll (Sub only)

Sarazanmai is truly hard to explain. It’s an anime about young boys who figure out their sexuality, while they also grapple with complex psychological issues, all while the entire thing is filtered through fantastical, absurdist nonsense. That’s to say nothing of the fact that these boys also suffer from a curse that turns them into kappas in a very cosmically karmic way. Sarazanmai has a tendency to feel like some drug-fueled fever dream, but it’s actually one of the deepest and most poignant anime of last season. Sarazanmai is also an anime that comes from Kunihiko Ikuhara, a creator who’s known for pushing boundaries in very strange ways. Sarazanmai defies conventions at every turn, but the show’s incorporation of bizarre elements into this coming of age story makes it one of the biggest wild cards in years and utterly gorgeous. It also has as an even bigger fascination with butts than Tina Belcher.

Best Anime Streaming - Science Fell in Love, So I Tried to Prove It

Science Fell in Love, So I Tried to Prove It 

Available on: Crunchyroll (Sub and Dub) 

Science Fell in Love, So I Tried to Prove It is a love story between two incredibly dry scientists who get more out of scientific formulas than they do from human interactions. However, their worlds are rocked when evidence suggests that they’re in love with each other. It reduces relationships and romance to empirical evidence, hypotheses, and statistics. It’s an incredibly unusual way to deconstruct something like love, but these characters are so well defined in their staunch scientific natures that it’s the perfect juxtaposition of extremes. Science Fell in Love, So I Tried to Prove It isn’t just a unique spin on romance anime, but it’s also incredibly funny and properly understands how to get the most comedy out of the absurdity of the show’s premise.

Anime Hulu Shimoneta

Shimoneta: A Boring World Where the Concept of Dirty Jokes Doesn’t Exist

Available on: FunimationNow, Hulu

The series’ introduction (and even its lengthy title) gives you a pretty good idea of what’s going on here. In a world where pornography, lewd language, and even crude humor are made illegal, a certain group of freedom fighters try to insert sexuality back into the world. This mash-up of Bradbury with bawdy humor turns out to be an ingenious pairing. You’d have no idea that flashy terrorist acts involving nude photos raining down on the population could not only be so hilarious, but also saying something poignant at the same time.

There’s some exceptionally smart, informed humor coming out of this show (even their heavy “censorship” towards their language and gratuitousness is very funny while also servicing the story) and a delicious What If? scenario like nothing else. It’s also just nice to see the rampant sexuality that can so often dominate anime being portrayed in such an empowering light, too.

Anime Hulu Space Dandy

Space Dandy

Available on: Adult Swim (Random Episodes), FunimationNow, Hulu

This might be the greatest television show that I’ve ever seen—not just anime, but television, as a whole. The incredibly complex show has one of the simplest premises as the series follows a bounty hunter, Dandy, and his unusual crew on the hunt for rare alien species. Masterminded by Shinichiro Watanabe (a name that will pop up a lot here), each episode takes Dandy and company to a different planet, ostensibly making it a new show each time. One episode it’s a zombie story, the next a romantic comedy, and then an intergalactic dance competition. Another installment is focused entirely on the idea of a robot trying to learn and comprehend how to love. The show’s narrator is just as much a character on the program as any of the actual cast.

Space Dandy goes the extra mile by having a different art director and character designer in use for each planet they visit, giving the locations and their inhabitants all a distinctly unique look. On top of that, the animation and music is just a gorgeous, psychedelic avalanche for the senses. It’s over-the-top aesthetic is very much something to get excited about. When combining that with truly avant-garde, unpredictable storytelling, Space Dandy becomes a series like no other. It demands watching and refuses defining.

Best Streaming Anime Tatami Galaxy

Tatami Galaxy

Available on: Crunchyroll, FunimationNow

I’m going to rave a lot about Masaaki Yuasa because he’s just that damn amazing and groundbreaking. Even if the storyline in Tatami Galaxy was utter trash it would still be worth watching for Yuasa’s one of a kind animation style, but this series actually tells a rather profound story. The series centers around an unnamed protagonist who’s a freshman at college and is hungry for a “rose-colored campus life” of wonders. Each episode sees the character join a different campus club (tennis club, film club, cycling club…) and explores the disastrous, hilarious results of this decision and how reality doesn’t meet expectation. However, what’s great about this show is that each episode literally rewinds through time back to the beginning so that in the next episode a different club can be chosen. 

The series explores the similarities and differences that take place based on these decisions and it’s a creative take on parallel universes and the hand of fate. Then Yuasa also goes and breaks every rule that exists for animation and delivers such an orgasmic display of color and movement. At only eleven episodes, how can you really refuse such an anime?

Anime Hulu Trigun

Trigun

Available on: Crunchyroll, FunimationNow, Hulu

As all sorts of flashy new anime hit the scene, there’s something to be said for an action classic from the ‘90s like TrigunVash the Stampede is your mysterious “Man With No Name” gunslinger archetype. The series bills him as one of the most destructive forces in the nation and while he is an impeccable shot and gunfighter, he’s also an incredibly sensitive individual who’d much rather preach the gospel of “love and peace” than empty out his chamber. With an obscene bounty of sixty billion double dollars on Vash’s head, there is never a shortage of assassins and derelicts out there who are looking to take him down.

Trigunoffers incredible gunplay and action set pieces that are amazing to watch, but also highlight Vash’s extreme skills and ability to avoid death, whenever possible. The series only becomes more complex and fascinating when Vash’s spotty past gets explored and he attempts to fill in the blanks surrounding his retrograde amnesia.

Trigun provides an emotional, suspenseful story about a man who wants to reject his violent talents and reclaim his past, but it’s also full of memorable villains and intense weapons that make the show even more impressive. Many chivalrous archetypes have come after Vash the Stampede’s time, but there’s a reason that he’s still such a classic character from anime (there will definitely be someone dressed up at him at the next Comic-Con you attend).

Best Streaming Anime Urahara

Urahara

Available on: Crunchyroll, FunimationNow

Urahara is a strange little serious that is more about style over substance. It follows a group of girls obsessed with Harajuku culture who find themselves in battle against an invasion of aliens who want to steal their adorable culture. It’s a very weird idea that features things like a live-action talking tempura shrimp, but this anime still works even if you have no Harajuku knowledge. In fact, it’s genuinely surprising that this is an anime with a dub counterpart since it seems so intrinsically linked to Japanese culture. Then again, Dagashi Kashi also had a dub and maybe it’s a testament to just how popular Harajuku culture has become in America. Or maybe they’re just that confident in the animation.

When it begins it might feel like Urahara is just Harajuku fan service and “cuteness porn,” but the seriessurprises and whips out a compelling arc by the time that it comes to its conclusion. These plucky characters begin to turn into the very aliens that attack them and some real decisions need to get made. That being said, this isn’t an anime that you come to for its story, this is a show that’s a marvel to look at and every episode takes advantage of that and shows off in a different way. Urahara is far from the deepest series of the year, but it is the most beautiful.

Netflix Anime - Violet Evergarden

Violet Evergarden

Available on: Netflix

Violet Evergarden tells the delicate kind of sci-fi friendly story that would feel at home as the plot in a Phillip K. Dick or Isaac Asimov story. The anime presents a thoughtful spin on the science fiction genre as it attempts to turn the sometimes cold, distant environment into something incredibly emotional and human. Violet Evergarden is an Auto Memory Doll—a person whose purpose revolves around writing letters for others or conveying the emotions that they cannot—and she attempts to find purpose and figure out who she is as she carries out these personal tasks for others.

Violet Evergarden is also a former soldier who’s part robot and she struggles to function after the war is over. The series fluctuates between glimpses of Violet’s PTSD and her various Auto Memory Doll jobs for others. The series adopts a structure that’s almost anthology-like in nature as Violet helps a new individual whose words have gotten away from them. Violet Evergarden’s script can occasionally be wonky and its presentation of gender roles is absolutely problematic, but it’s also one of the most gorgeous shows to come out of Kyoto Animation and its grasp on small-scale storytelling hits such heights.

Best Streaming Anime Yu Yu Hakusho

Yu Yu Hakusho

Available on: FunimationNow, Hulu

Yu Yu Hakusho is a shonen contemporary to the likes of Dragon Ball and even though the series saw a lengthy run on Adult Swim, the spirit-fighting adventures of Yusuke Urameshi never quite caught on the same way that Goku’s journeys did. That being said, now is the perfect time to sit down and binge on all 112 episodes of Yu Yu Hakusho because it’s a great example of a series that knows when to quit, rather than needlessly drag things on and dilute the brand (I’m looking at you, Naruto, Bleach, One Piece…).

Yusuke Urameshi, the show’s hero, gets hit by a car and killed in the show’s opening minutes. After demonstrating a proficiency in the afterlife, he returns to Earth and eventually engages in battle with some truly creative demons. Yusuke and every member of his team offer a unique style to battle and the show makes each of its major arcs feel like the best one and have real stakes.

Daniel Kurland is a published writer, comedian, and critic whose work can be read on Den of Geek, Vulture, Bloody Disgusting, and ScreenRant. Daniel knows that the owls are not what they seem and his perma-neurotic thought process can be followed at @DanielKurlansky.