Carrying on with our Anime August theme for the month, I thought I’d take a look at the bountiful amount of anime on Netflix UK. Netflix is a god-send for anime and it’s also a brilliant way to introduce unsuspecting people to anime nice and gently. There’s plenty of choice, meaning you can quash the age-old argument of ‘isn’t all anime just Pokemon/dirty/nerdy/childish?’ etcetc…
With so much choice, where do you start? Here’s my definitive and totally subjective list of the best anime to watch on Netflix UK, whether you’re already a fan or not.
Sophie’s Top Ten:
Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood (Episodes: 64. Perfect for: Everything!)
Full Metal Alchemist is one of my all time favourite shows and I will recommend it to anyone within earshot. Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood is a close adaption of the very popular manga series set in a world ruled by the laws of alchemy. Two brothers, Edward and Elric, attempt to revive their beloved mother but lose their bodies in the process, and embark on a momentous journey to regain what they have lost and discover the secret of the Philsopher’s Stone. This series ticks all of the boxes – complex characters, a gripping plot, monsters, cool fight scenes, smooth animation, great soundtrack, you name it. You’re in for a rollercoaster ride, so keep the tissues handy.
Death Note (Episodes: 37. Perfect for: Watching in the dark at the edge of your seat)
OK, who hasn’t heard of Death Note? This is another cult anime series that I only very recently got around to watching and I am ashamed it took me so long. Genius schoolboy Light Yagami comes into possession of a mysterious notebook and discovers that if he writes a person’s name in the pages, they die. This begins a race against time between Light, who adopts the god-like persona of ‘Kira’, and the mysterious detective known only as L as he tries to track him down. If you want to be shocked and traumatised and question the very nature of mankind, Death Note is for you.
Psycho-Pass (Episodes: 22. Perfect for: Cool, sci-fi shoot-outs)
I already reviewed and raved about Psycho-Pass on the blog here, so I’ll keep this one short. If you like your heroes in Men in Black suits and huge guns, and are quietly worried that the future will be run by machines, watch this one!
Stein’s Gate (Episodes: 25. Perfect for: Time travel fans)
Stein’s Gate is a beautiful animated story about Rintarou Okabe, a self-proclaimed mad scientist, who accidentally creates a time-travelling microwave that can send text messages back into the past. What starts off as a simply funny and silly story evolves into something more complex and emotional, as Okabe and his friends become embroiled in a conspiracy of spies and an ominous organisation that will take over the world in the not-so-distant future.
Gurren Lagann (Episodes: 27. Perfect for: When you want to be blown away)
Gurren Lagann begins with humanity scraping a pitiful living underground. Young Simon and the infinitely cool Kamina discover a mysterious robot while digging through the earth, and are suddenly forced to use it when a monster breaks into their underground city and attacks. Thus begins a fantastic adventure across the desert wasteland, as Simon and Kamina battle against the beastmen to reclaim their home. Honestly, this description doesn’t do the series jutice just because Gurren Lagann’s story grows and evolves into something spectacular as the characters themselves grow up. This is story-telling done right and Gurren Lagann needs to be watched in its entirety to be fully appreciated.
Attack on Titan (Episodes: 25. Perfect for: Testing the guess-who-survives Game of Thrones formula)
I’m fairly certain everyone has heard of Attack on Titan and there’s a million and one reviews of this show already. Yes, this show is very hyped but it is for a very good reason: it’s gripping! As Gurren Lagann begins underground, Attack on Titan begins behind a wall. In an apocalyptic future, the last remnants of humanity live trapped behind great walls separating them from the terrifying giants known as titans outside. One day, a colossal titan appears and knocks the wall down, bringing death and destruction in its wake. One of the thousands of dead is Eren and Mikasa’s mother. Spurned by her death, the two join the survey corps and join what feels like a hopeless fight against the monsters. If you action, fight scenes and gratuitous deaths, this will tie you over nicely until the next season of Game of Thrones!
Terror in Resonance (Episodes: 11. Perfect for: Thrill-seekers)
Two masked teenage boys are reaking havoc on Tokyo with a series of terrorist attacks. As the police grow more and more frustrated with the menaces’ mysterious riddles and what they actually want, a greater threat begins to close in around them. When Mishima Lisa accidentally becomes an accomplice to the two boys, Nine and Twelve, she is dragged into their mission to wake the city from its slumber and puts herself in the line of fire. This is another beautifully-animated series with an intriguing story but is fairly short, so ideal for people who are short of anime-watching time.
Knights of Sidonia (Episodes: 24. Perfect for: When you want to fight aliens in space)
Speaking of space, if you thought Attack on Titan could have been better if it was set somewhere other than on earth, Knights of Sidonia should be on your to-watch list. It has been 1,000 years since the ferocious gauna aliens destroyed the universe and humanity escaped on the spaceship Sidonia, which floats endlessly through space. When the aliens suddenly return, it is up to Tanikaze Nagate to pilot the huge garde robots and lead the fight against them. The animation is one of the things that makes this series stand out the most – it’s more CGI than typical anime. Oh, expect lots of deaths in this series too.
Kill la Kill (Episodes: 24. Perfect for: Drunk pizza parties)
Where do I begin with Kill la Kill? This series is just bat-shit crazy and the lack of clothes anyone wears slightly undermines my argument that anime isn’t just a little pervy, but never mind about that. Ryuuko Matoi is on a mission to find the person who killed her father, ‘the woman with the scissor blades’, and her search brings her to the elite Honnouji Academy where the students wear uniforms that give them super strength. When Ryuuko happens upon a talking school uniform that transforms her into a bondage-like Sailor Moon character, it just gets better from there. Kill la Kill is over the top and completely insane, and what makes it so brilliant is that it knows it’s ridiculous and makes the most of it. You will laugh like a maniac and question your sanity. A lot.
Space Dandy (Episodes: 26. Perfect for: When you need cheering up)
I watched the whole of Space Dandy in two days when I was unwell and unable to move from the sofa. Space Dandy is the perfect medicine – it’s mad, set in space and has some of the most ridiculous characters you’ll find in the Netflix universe. Dandy is a fairly terrible alien bounty hunter travelling through space in the search of rare aliens (and fine ladies) along with a cat-like alien, Meow, and last-century robot, QT. This series makes no sense and has next to no plot, so it’s really making the most with its crazy premise and characters. Consider it the love child of Gurren Lagann and Kill la Kill.
Other series to check out/on Sophie’s ‘to watch’ list:
Mushi-shi: This award-winning anime brings the viewer into a dream-like world where ghostly organisms called Mushi hover on the borders of perception.
Tokyo Ghoul: Tokyo is haunted by ghouls who resemble humans but feast on human flesh. As a ghoul-human hybrid, Ken Kaneki finds himself caught between two different worlds.
Fairy Tail: When four young wizards team up to take jobs across the kingdom, they forge a bond more powerful than any magic and grow stronger with every mission.
Sword Art Online: A video game whizz helps create a new technology that enables players to guide their online avatars with their own bodies – but a dark twist emerges.
Samurai Flamenco: Despite having no superpowers, a male model decides to become the superhero Samurai Flamenco and is joined by a policeman to fight super-criminals.
There’s quite a few series I’ve missed off this list as this is just my own personal selection. Are there any other hidden treasures you’d recommend on Netflix UK? What other series would you like to see on there? What other anime would you recommend in general? Comment below – it’s Anime August!