Anime has seen a surge into the mainstream on the international stage over the past decade, with it now being much more readily available around the world. Last year’s theatrical release of the Demon Slayer: Mugen Train and this year’s Jujutsu Kaisen 0 – and above all the madness about them attack on Titan TV series – are proof of this, and their successes bode well for the medium’s global standing in the future.
Therefore, aside from anime-specific ones like Crunchyroll, some of the mainstream streaming platforms have acquired whatever they can to bring fans to their services. And as confusing as the medium can be for those looking in from the outside in — understandably depending on which series you’re talking about — many of these shows offer a wide variety of genres and premises to appeal to the uninitiated.
attack on Titan
For many new fans, Hajime Isayamas attack on Titan was her first anime when viewers from all over the world joined its TV anime adaptation in 2013. attack on Titan has a European-inspired setting in which a population of humans live trapped in a vast city-state, shielded from the rest of the world because of the imposing menace these monstrous, man-eating titans roam.
Thanks to Wit Studio (seasons 1-3) and MAPPA (season 4), the series combines sophisticated animation, action and art styles with an alluring mystery at its core. Likewise, the story brings with it an equally compelling level of political intrigue and drama, much like HBO game of Thrones uses it with its dark fantasy setting. The second part of the fourth season – the final season – has just wrapped, and the studio has confirmed a third will air in 2023.
attack on Titan is currently available to stream on Hulu.
As for the classics Cowboy Bebop probably ranks at the top. It’s also the rare anime that’s also an original story, with a manga adaptation coming later. Cowboy Bebop is stylish and deep at the same time, with the anime functioning as western, sci-fi, and noir at the same time. The series follows bounty hunters Spike, Jet, Fay, Ed and their corgi Ein as they travel the galaxy only taking jobs to make ends meet as mankind’s greed has finally managed to make the earth nearly uninhabitable .
bebop also takes to heart its jazzy vibe, which is part of what inspires the slick character designs. Through this emotionally engaging cast of traumatized misfits, fans will also explore themes of loneliness, depression and existentialism, all wrapped up in an anthology-style season that spans 26 episodes of Western movie action.
Cowboy Bebop can be streamed on both Netflix and Hulu.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
Hiromu Arakawas Fullmetal Alchemist still stands for many seasoned fans as one of the greatest manga and anime ever created. brotherhood is the second anime adaptation since the original from the early 2000s bypassed the story of the manga and had to take an original route. This anime is still solid on its own, but the 2010s reboot was critically acclaimed for its modern animation, faithfulness to the source material, and one of the medium’s most satisfying stories from start to finish.
The story revolves around Edward and Alphonse Elric, who work as government-sanctioned battle alchemists, with the latter’s soul becoming bound to armor after the two attempt to revive their mother when he was a boy using forbidden alchemy. What follows is a beautiful and at times heartbreaking globetrotting adventure full of compelling supporting characters through an inventive steampunk dark fantasy world and impressive world-building. To this day, it remains a shonen that few others in its genre can match.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood can be streamed on Hulu and HBO Max.
Admittedly, shonen manga and anime are a dime a dozen, as some fans could read or watch two separate series and feel like they’ve experienced the same story twice. Recycling tropics can sometimes feel outrageous, namely Jujutsu Kaisen certainly uses recognizable genre conventions, it makes the best of what’s established. Jujutsu Kaisen takes the best of series like Naruto and bleaching while shedding the fat that held her down as the scripture began to exceed her salutation, and she also throws in a pinch of Tokyo Ghoul-like horror for good measure.
Its premise is modern Japan, where sorcerers learn and train to fight curses – demonic entities that manifest through people’s negative emotions. Following protagonist Yuji with Megumi, Nobara and Gojo is a Naruto-like group, however, the result of combining all of these elements is a refreshingly bold, sophisticated-looking anime with a consistently likeable and substantial cast of characters, from main character to supporting character. The aforementioned Jujutsu Kaisen 0 Prequel movie makes it as convenient as ever, with either it or the series being great starting points.
Jujutsu Kaisen can be streamed on HBO Max.
His genre series, aimed at older audiences, don’t take the spotlight, but Makoto Yukimura’s Viking epic does Vinland saga put a respectable stamp on the medium of 2019 attack on Titan The animators at Wit Studio have done a superb job of bringing Yukimura’s work to life in a painterly manner, supported by a deeply personal story of vengeance blinded by such vengeful ambition, and an intriguing level of self-reflection across the lead cast.
It could be good timing with Robert Eggers The Northman Release this month, since Vinland sagas story is similar (at the beginning) as young Thorfinn Karlsefni’s life is consumed by hateful vengeance when his reformed father is murdered. The series explores a diverse cast of characters with ambiguous moral orientations, their motives, and their respective inner turmoils, against an interesting political-dramatic backdrop.
Vinland saga can be streamed on Amazon Prime Video, a second season is in the pipeline.
From creator/director Shinichiro Watanabe — by Cowboy Bebop Fame – Another acclaimed one-season series comes in the form of Samurai Champloo. While the former was a sci-fi western, the latter is set during Edo period Japan and revolves around two ronin named Mugen and Jin who intertwine with each other and Fuu’s journey. How with bebopThe series is mostly episodic, with certain episodes reaching their climax Champloo‘s greater plot.
Watanabe created this series as a tightly focused character study of the main trio, similar to his previous anime, and also delves into insightful explorations of themes – such as elaborating one’s identity, accepting death, and sensitive social issues surrounding marginalized minorities – through the lens of a stylish setting for historical fiction. Samurai Champloo adopts modern hip-hop as the basis for the atmosphere and tone of the series, making it a worthy continuation of his work on bebop.
Samurai Champloo can be streamed on Hulu.
It’s the most overlooked anime here, but this original story – once again from the talented Wit Studio – is worthy work that deserves more recognition. Great Pretender is especially good for new anime fans since its two seasons (so far, at least) are about as long as bebop or Champloo.
However, it also offers a story and cast of characters that are equal parts palatable and impressively intimate for newcomers, and well worth investing in. The art style and color palette is also a sight to behold, with colors that are beautifully vibrant and too like heist adventures in which the characters and storyline are embedded. The arcs are separated by the crew’s jobs, with each storyline having some meaningful, down-to-earth subplots that humanize the main characters.
Great Pretender is available on Netflix.
JoJo’s bizarre adventure
It’s simultaneously one of the most flashy and compelling animes out there, like Hirohiko Araki’s long-running JoJo’s bizarre adventure Manga has exploded into the mainstream since its anime adaptation debut. The series balances intense action with a farcical, pop culture-inspired campiness and compelling style, culminating in a delightfully chaotic formula that sounds like it shouldn’t work on paper.
JoJos follows the lineage of the Joestar bloodline back to 18th-century England and on through the 20th and 21st centuries, with a new setting and protagonist leading a new cast against supernatural foes each season. It’s almost like an anthology but rewards those who start with the first part phantom blood. Now is a good time for audiences to jump right in and ride the wave of hype Rocky Oceanthe next chapter of the manga series is finally animated.
Fans can update themselves JoJo’s bizarre adventure on Netflix, with parts 1-4 (or seasons 1-3) also available on Hulu.
Though it recalls the action, Stein’s gate stands out as a sci-fi themed mystery thriller. The series was based on a video game of the same name and eventually became a modern anime classic. Stein’s gate begins as a slice-of-life-style tale centered on an eccentric and selfish scientist and his group of friends.
However, a darker mystery surrounding an evil corporate entity begins to be unraveled when the group accidentally discovers time travel. It’s a perfect way to catch the audience off guard and turn the story into a gripping thriller that really makes you care, empathize and fear for the safety and future of the characters.
Stein’s gate is available on Hulu.
on its surface, Gurren Lagann looks like bombastic mech action anime. While it certainly has its fair share of jaw-dropping action, the story and its characters are surprisingly more than superficial. Gurren Lagann his story begins small with young Simon and Kamina in a post-apocalyptic world ruled by Mechas. However, the stakes gradually increase as world building progresses and expands far beyond the planet.
At the heart of the series is the characters’ deep emotional bond with one another, making it one of the most emotional modern anime classics. The flashy mechs are just vehicles for this inspiring and at times heartbreaking human tale of sheer willpower.
Gurren Lagann is available on Netflix and Hulu.