Picking the best anime on Netflix is an exciting yet regrettable project. There are so many amazing anime shows available for streaming that narrowing them down to just a few immediately induces guilt. There are dozens of Japanese animated shows that could easily have been included, from romantic dramas like “Your Lie in April” to action fantasies like “Akame ga Kill!.” Of course, Americans of a certain age will always be nostalgic for the likes of “Naruto,” “Sailor Moon,” “Pokémon,” “One Piece” and “Fullmetal Alchemist.” Fan favorites “Black Butler,” “Blue Exorcist,” “Food Wars,” “Soul Eater” and the dark, dystopian “Promised Neverland” were also major contenders.
In the end, only five out of more than 200 anime could be chosen. Here are the Netflix anime series you should watch, whether you’re a first-timer or an established fan.
“Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba” centers around a young man named Tanjiro Kamado whose entire family is massacred by a bloodthirsty demon. The only exception is his sister, Nezuko, who turns demon herself but still retains a shred of her humanity. In his mission to transform her back into a human, Tanjiro takes up the sword and trains to become a Hashira, a ranking member of the Demon Slayer Corps that hunts the monsters down. After just one season, the franchise came out with their first movie, “Mugen Train,” which smashed box office records in both Japan and the United States. It is officially the highest-grossing anime film in Japan’s history.
Sake Pick: Wakatake “Onikoroshi” Junmai Daiginjo
Tippsy actually offers several varieties of “Demon Slayer” and “Demon Cutter” sake (unrelated to the anime) so you can sit down for an evening of slashing with a perfectly themed drink like Onikoroshi!
Many avid anime watchers began their journey by watching “Death Note,” a show about a young man named Light Yagami who makes a deal with a shinigami, or death god. Any person whose name Light writes in the shinigami’s special notebook will die. At first he uses it to rid the world of murderers and criminals, but once the police and an infamous detective called L hop on his trail, Light’s god complex takes over and he begins killing people to save his own skin. His shinigami companion who guides him in how to use the book is named Ryuk, and he famously loves to scarf down juicy apples while delighting in the destruction.
Sake Pick: Okunomatsu “Tororingo”
Be like Ryuk and help yourself to Okunomatsu “Tororingo,” a junmai sake made with fresh squeezed apple juice.
“Erased” is an incredibly touching murder mystery that focuses on a man named Satoru Fujinuma, who has the exceptional power to go back in time and prevent deaths. When Satoru reverts back to being a child, he knows he has limited time to find and stop the killers of his mother and classmates. It is a heart-wrenching 12-episode series that crystalizes the intense love, sadness and fear felt at the prospect of losing those dearest to us. This dark yet wonderfully sweet show is an anime you should definitely watch.
Sake Pick: Maboroshi “Mystery”
Dim the lights and sit down with a sweet, light and dry, fruit-forward sake that keeps your taste buds guessing.
“Attack on Titan”
Vaguely inspired by WWII, the extremely popular “Attack on Titan” anime is a wartime show about an apocalyptic conflict between humans and a race of mutant monsters known as Titans. Eren Jaeger and his friends enlist in the Survey Corps to join the fight against them, and Eren himself ends up being their secret weapon. Why? Because he is one of the few humans able to transform into a Titan at will. It is a gory, action-packed show about the rise and fall of civilizations, deeply entrenched in existential issues of class and race.
Sake Pick: Otokoyama “Tokubetsu Junmai”
Kampai with full-bodied Otokoyama “Tokubetsu Junmai,” a sake with notes of dark fruit whose name refers to drinking parties samurai would host before going off to war.
It wouldn’t be right to assemble a list of the best anime on Netflix without including the best Netflix original series anime, “Ajin.” Employing an animation style that is more 3D than traditional Japanese animation, “Ajin” tells the story of a school boy who learns he has a sinister power: He can’t die. As he endeavors to outrun people who would exploit him—for instance, a government that would use him as a lab rat or a super soldier—he finds himself being forced to commit suicide over and over just to escape.
Sake Pick: Ginkobai “Hannya Tou”
A dangerously delicious, rich sake with a hint of peppery spice will suit the mood of this anime you should watch ASAP.