Top 10 Original Netflix Animes

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By Sage Clark, Reporter

In the past years, Netflix has decided to dip their toes into the wide world of anime with little success. The live-action Death Note adaptation still makes me cringe to this day but in recent times, some have renewed Netflix’s image. From manga adaptations to brand new stories, Netflix has a few hits under their belt.

Devilman Crybaby (2018)

Topping this list of is one of the most beautifully devastating series I’ve experienced, and despite this, I would sell my soul to watch it again for the first time. The characters are so amazingly developed and thought out that you can’t help but sympathize with them and feel their own anguish, despite their literal lack of humanity. Each episode is well spaced out so that the story moves along just quick enough to keep you hooked, but doesn’t rush truly important key points in the plot and take away from the art. It took me a minute to get used to the unique style because I had never really seen anything like it, but I ended up becoming enthralled because of it by the end. Although this series covers some very dark material and there’s a good chance it will make you cry, it’s definitely a must-watch.

Violet Evergarden (2018)

Rightfully ranked 2nd is the 2018 cinematic masterpiece, Violet Evergarden. This Netflix Original takes place in the early 20th century, following the narrative of a seemingly emotionless girl who’d been desensitized fighting brutally in the first World War. It details her journey in reconciling her own depth of emotion through working as a personal writer, ironically tasked with turning others’ strong emotions into ink and a piece of paper. Indubitably, the best aspect of this show is the breathtaking modernized animation style that flows so well with the time period and setting. The attention to detail which the animators employed in order to capture Violet, the main heroine, is captivating to watch. In addition, Violet’s growth and development throughout the storyline is noteworthy and makes this show that much more satisfying to watch. If you’re looking for an anime on the shorter side that’s still high quality, Violet Evergarden not only contains an intriguing plot and compelling characters, but is also easy to finish.

Castlevania (2017)

One of the most underrated productions on Netflix is none other than Castlevania: a diamond in the rough in the world of terribly rancid vampire anime. Inspired by the medieval dark fantasy cliche of Count Dracula, this show takes depth to a whole other level with themes of totalitarianism and the destruction that follows to maintain order. The show itself has insanely impressive quality, especially the high frame-rate fight scenes and fluid movement each character possesses. A word to the wise would be to avoid watching Castlevania if you have a weak stomach, considering the graphic and dark content of many scenes. I would not recommend this to a new anime watcher, but it’s an alluring suggestion for someone who’s had more experience with these types of shows.

The Great Pretender (2020)

The Great Pretender is also incredibly underrated and needs more attention, so I’m putting it in the top five. As one of the only two comedies in this ranking, that statement says enough in itself, considering how hard it is for me to get into a comedic series. However, this show was weirdly captivating in a sense that it never really slowed down plot-wise. The ball was constantly rolling, where the show, which takes place in Japan, follows a heist and scheme plot where an infamous swindler gets played at their own game. It’s truly a shame that this series is trapped in Netflix jail, but if you’re looking for a comedy with good characters and intriguing plot, you know where to find it.

The Disastrous Life of Saiki K. (2018)

When first watching The Disastrous Life of Saiki K., I honestly wasn’t expecting it to be as entertaining as it was. The seemingly stereotypical storyline of a protagonist born with incredible abilities became completely warped by the Saiki’s dry and sarcastic personality and view on life as he knows it. On top of this, almost every side character has intriguing characteristics and unique flaws that keep the ball rolling. Unlike number four on this list, this sitcom is a charming recommendation for a starter anime considering how humorously captivating it is as well as how relatable and humanistic the characters can be.

Blue Period (2021)

Next is a newer anime, freshly adapted from manga, which has undoubtedly earned its place in the series that should fall somewhere on every anime watcher’s “I’ll get to it sometime” list. I’m not usually a fan of the tortured ‘popular’ kid archetype, however I’ll make an acception for this slightly more psychological genre. It’s difficult not to be allured by the surreal experiences Yatora Yaguchi takes on after becoming seemingly stuck in life without purpose. Despite his talents and abundance of admirers, he’s unmotivated to find his true purpose in life. The progression and character development shown in Blue Period is something worthwhile and not all fluff either.

Dorohedoro (2020)

Placing seventh is an odd but astounding production based on the Japanese anthology written by Q Hayashida; Dorohedoro. The translation of the title directly means “mud sludge” which, to be fair, is fitting to the plot of a reptile man mutation, disfigured by magic and distraught by the lack of memories from his past. Before you comment, yes I’m aware this is sounding increasingly similar to a certain 2000’s kid classic tv show about nunchuck wielding turtles in the sewer. Nonetheless, taking in this show is a breath of fresh air compared to some of the more repeated troupes seen time and time again throughout the more mainstream productions.

Children of the Whales (2017)

Just barely surpassing Komi Can’t Communicate would have to be Children of the Whales, whose prepossessing style and distinctive characters resonated with me whilst enjoying the show. This anecdote depicts a group of isolated islanders who wield magic, only to be exploited to the outside world. Children of the Whales was fascinating to start because I wanted to see where it would lead me through the twists and turns it proposed accordingly. Although I feel like the ending could have come off a bit stronger than it was, the journey of the main character Chakuro made up for any mishaps the ending caused. I found that this anime’s melancholic tone was almost refreshing and more realistic than most of the other fantasy dramas I’ve watched, making it one of my favorite shorter animes.

Komi Can’t Communicate (2021)

Being the only Slice of Life series on the ranking and a personal favorite; Komi Can’t Communicate was obligatory to be included. Following the storyline of a high school protagonist who had gained attention as a result of her good looks, Komi struggles to even speak to those around her as a result of her intense social anxiety. Because her worry-ridden mind has been affecting her life more than she had wished, she makes it a new personal goal to gain 100 friends through some sort of interaction, which serves to be a struggle understatedly. The screening itself was a very sweet and comedic piece to watch, not to mention easy to finish in one sitting.

Magi: Adventure of Sinbad (2016)

Lastly, this series is a spin-off anime that wasn’t completely butchered by the animation studios which earns it automatic brownie points. Adventure of Sinbad revolves around the mysterious past of one of the supporting characters in Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic, which aired in 2012 as another anime adaptation of the manga by Netflix. Throughout the show, we gain more insight into the details of how the Magi multiverse turns as well as understanding Sinbad, the main heroes expedition to becoming the heavily influential figure we know him to be in the future. Overall, I enjoyed the mix of comedy and action that the anime provided, however I do wish that they would have continued the show with another season instead of leaving too many loose ends.

Netflix may have a bad reputation for their questionable anime adaptations, however I believe that if you look hard enough, you can find a few gems worth watching. Overall, I feel that there has been great improvement since Netflix’s first animation to their latest. This in itself is promising, so I can’t wait to see what they produce next.