Popular streaming service Netflix has become a go-to place for anime fans who want to binge-watch entire seasons of their favorite shows. Easy access and a stable video player, combined with a generous content library make it a great place to binge-watch some of your favorites. Not to mention, there’s the ever-growing amount of Netflix original anime.
In the past few years, Netflix has become involved in anime production and many of the series they’ve been involved with have become quite popular. While in the past Netflix differentiated between “originals” and “exclusives”, today it just uses the NSeries tag for all of them.
This list includes content Netflix considers to be “original anime”. It’s not meant to be a list of the best Netflix original anime, but instead a fun guide for the most bingeworthy Netflix original anime. So, if you have a few hours available, check out the list and dive straight in.
Dorohedoro is among the best Netflix original anime. Based on a manga by Q Hayashida, this dark fantasy story received an anime adaptation by studio MAPPA in the Winter of 2020.
Set in the Hole, a city where sorcerers come to practice magic on unsuspecting bystanders, the story follows Caiman. Caiman lost his memory before the events of the story, and is trying to find a sorcerer who cursed him – he has a lizard head, but a human body. His friend Nikaido is helping him, but a sorcerer named En keeps getting in their way.
Caiman has an unorthodox method of investigating, which leads him to realize that there is a man residing inside his throat, one only sorcerers can see. As he struggles to find out the truth, he meets various people and learns more about his allies. However, En and his lackeys aren’t idly sitting by, and even Nikaido has a dark secret…
Now, the animation in Dorohedoro is a bit unusual – you’ve probably seen people complaining about it. The CGI can look a little weird at times, especially if you’re used to the traditional anime styles, but it doesn’t take away from the anime in the least. It blends in seamlessly most of the time, and it’s mostly noticeable during fight scenes.
The music score, on the other hand, is absolutely amazing. It was produced by (K)NoW_NAME, a Japanese music unit that specializes in ani-songs. It’s worth pointing out that they did both the OST, as well as opening and ending themes. The anime has six ending themes, complete with their own animation sequences and they’re top-notch. Even if you don’t watch the anime, do give the OST and the ED albums a listen.
The appeal of Dorohedoro
Q Hayashida has managed to create an interesting world setting, complete with a great storyline and intriguing characters. Dorohedoro has some amazingly unique character designs, unlike what you usually see in manga, and anime really manages to capture that.
Characters are well written, even the villains are enigmatic and interesting. Everyone from En, Noi, Shin to Nikaido, and Caiman has their own motives and goals they try to fulfill. En is the typical evil mastermind, but he’s not at all unlikeable. Noi and Shin follow his orders, but they are not blind servants and they both have their own morals they adhere to. Nikaido carries her own burden so that she doesn’t worry Caiman, but he doesn’t care, and just wants to support her.
Sadly, there’s been no announcement for season 2 yet. But you can watch season 1 and the OVA episode on Netflix.
KyoAni’s Violet Evergarden is a drama anime, based on a light novel by Kana Akatsuki. While there is an overarching plot, the series is mainly episodic. Violet was a child soldier, living her life as a weapon on the battlefield until she met Gilbert. Gilbert gave her a name, and a purpose, but he is now gone. Violet has to learn how to live on her own.
Initially sent to the Evergarden residence, she manages to secure a job as an Auto Memory Doll. She helps others put their feelings into words, by writing letters for them. However, she herself doesn’t understand emotions and that is something she will have to learn. Surrounded by friends and people who care for her, Violet begins to learn how to live on her own.
Every episode of Violet Evergarden introduces new characters, people who hire Memory Dolls. Even though there’s a lot of them, all of them are unique and bring something new to the series. The episodic atmosphere of the anime gives it an almost slice-of-life feel, but some of the stories are quite dark and sad. Expect a lot of emotional moments, especially in the second half.
KyoAni’s most beautiful legacy
Violet Evergarden is probably not the top Kyoto Animation creation for most fans, but given the events that followed, it will probably always hold a special place. The art style, the emotional storytelling, music, and the effort that the staff put in resulted in a truly beautiful anime. Since the overarching theme of the series is overcoming loss, most of us will now associate it with one of the darkest events in recent anime history – not in a negative sense, but instead as a beautiful memory and a sign of hope.
The first season of Violet Evergarden aired in 2018 and was followed by a BD/DVD special side-story. A spin-off movie, Violet Evergarden: Eternity and the Auto Memory Doll premiered in August of 2019, only a month after the arson attack. The movie featured a list of those killed in the attack and was directed by Haruka Fujita (who also directed season 1). The second movie, titled simply Violet Evergarden: The Movie was delayed twice – the first time due to production issues caused by the arson attack, and then because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It premiered in September of 2020.
You can watch the entire series, as well as the special and the first movie on Netflix.
The Way of the Househusband
The Way of the Househusband is a recent anime by J.C.Staff, based on a manga by Kousuke Oono. You’ve probably spotted it, seeing as it aired earlier this season. You also probably saw the outrage over the animation style – which was very comic-book-like. However, don’t let get in your way of watching this amazing comedy, slice-of-life anime.
Each episode is made out of smaller segments, each of which tells a story about a different event. There’s no overarching plot, anime is entirely episodic and each story is entertaining and self-sufficient. Kenjiro Tsuda stars as Tatsu, a former yakuza boss, known as The Immortal Dragon. However, he abandoned the yakuza life after he got married, and is now a househusband. His days consist out of exterminating grime and dust, cooking, walking the dog, and shopping. Tatsu tries hard to be a supportive husband to his wife and makes many friends along the way, that is when he doesn’t scare them away with his glare.
The unusual animation style is easily forgotten, once you actually see the plot. The story absolutely carries this anime, it’s funny, light-hearted and entertaining. The Way of the Househusband will charm you, just give it a chance.
Season 2 has already been announced, so hurry up and catch up on Netflix. It only has 5 episodes, and they’re 16 minutes long on average, making the anime perfect for binge-watching.