Top Ten Anime Recommendations on Netflix and Hulu

Here are anime that I would recommend to anyone getting into it for the first time, ranging from various genres and release dates.


This top ten was difficult for me to compile because there is so many great anime I have seen that I want to mention but there are also so many series I have missed or haven’t gotten around to yet. However, restricting it to the two main streaming services I watch anime on helps narrow down a semblance of a top ten list so here it is.

My list is comprised of series that I enjoyed enough to put on this list or anime that impacted me in some way, whether it was back in 2014 when I started seriously watching anime till now in the present.

Not posting anything close to spoilers for any of these anime at all and I will be as general as possible when talking about the synopsis and the characters for each series.

10. Toradora! (Netflix)

A 25-episode (single season) romantic comedy that came out in 2008, Toradora! was one of the first rom-com anime I watched and specifically on Netflix that got me hooked to watch more. It handles teen high school drama really well throughout the series. The plot mostly revolves around the odd pairing of Taiga Aisaka and Ryuuji Takasu. Taiga, aka “Palmtop Tiger,” is an aggressive girl with a small appearance. Ryuuji is a guy who is obsessed with cleaning, but his mean-looking appearance is often judged. Their opposing personalities clash but somehow work in a contrasting relationship. If you are looking for an easy rom-com anime that isn’t too long with a funny cast of characters that handles teen relationships and high school drama in a satisfying way, this is the show to watch.

9. Digimon Adventure 1999 or Digimon: Digital Monsters (Hulu)

I watched the original Digimon more than Pokemon growing up, and even on a rewatch now, Digimon always had a darker storyline and more mature themes within the plot (despite both shows being for kids). That said, I played more of the Pokemon games anyway but both franchises have been successful in different ways that are still relevant today. Just a few years ago when I picked up anime seriously, I decided to go with the original Japanese version on a rewatch for Digimon and it was way better than the English dub (just for the iconic and legendary soundtrack alone).

Even if it is dated today, I still sometimes go back to at least the first season (54 episodes) to relive some nostalgia. I do notice how some plot devices they used back then for the fantasy adventure series, or what is now called “the Isekai anime genre,” are somewhat replicated to even today’s anime (to a certain extent). The basic premise is that seven children at a summer camp are suddenly summoned after strange weather occurs, as they all receive a strange device that takes them to a new world, the digital world.

8. Aggressive Retsuko or Aggretsuko (Netflix)

With four seasons under its belt, and with a 5th season coming in 2023, Aggretsuko seems like a long watch, except each season, is only ten episodes and is a relatively quick binge half a season or two at a time. It’s pretty similar to the movie Zootopia or other Anthropomorphic movies with its basic premise of animals that talk with human traits, but the main plot is centered around a red panda, Retsuko. We follow her as she lives her drab and boring daily life at an office job. A cartoony-like or kids-like show on the surface proposes a few deep questions and themes that pretty much anyone could relate to, as we see Retsuko let go of some of her stress and anger in a unique way in this workplace comedy.

7. Death Note (Both)

This is one of the most well-known anime and whether you end up liking it or not, it pretty much is a must-watch for any anime fan. As a supernatural and psychological thriller, its success is mainly the mystery of the other characters and whether or not they can figure out the truth. This came out in 2007 (single season) and at 37 episodes, it is more of a longer watch compared to the other shows on the list but the character dynamics and the suspense make it intense, for most parts.

The premise of Death Note is interesting enough to keep it going throughout and is worth sticking to the end. Ryuk, the god of death, encounters Light Yagami, a high school prodigy, one day when a book called a death note is picked up by him. Both have similar views on the world that is filled with terrible people, so they decide to deal with it themselves using this book, which has a few rules, as certain people become suspicious of finding the one responsible for what is happening, whether it was justified or not.

6. Akame Ga Kill! (Hulu)

This is more of a guilty pleasure anime and it is controversial for many reasons, reasons I can’t mention due to spoilers, but the ride is action-packed and entertaining, to say the least. It goes through the rare, at least when I watched it back in 2014, “anime only” ending and does not follow the original source material, as it ends in one season (24 episodes). It was one of the first anime I watched that was way darker than I initially thought, as throughout the series it caught me off guard quite a few times.

This action fantasy revolves heavily around superpowers and is quite dark compared to how vivid the art and animation are, as I liked the character designs and the world-building. This anime deals with corruption in the Empire and a country kid Tatsumi, who encounters Night Raid, a band of assassins that want to get rid of the said evil. He is then recruited to join Night Raid and their group of seven killers, all with different types of powers. Our main character is a young boy from a remote village who goes to the Capital to make money for his home but finds out about the cruel government.

Also, the first opening (Skyreach– Sora Amamiya, who also voices for Akame) for this anime is essentially what got me to want to play way more bass/drums than before, along with starting my interest in listening to anime music (J-Pop and J-Rock) in general. Most of the anime on this list have great openings, but I had to highlight this one cause of how much it impacted me. Also visually, the opening is eye-opening itself.

5. Demon Slayer (Season 1 on Netflix, Season 1-2 on Hulu)

Probably the most famous and popular anime since 2019, when the first season came out, Demon Slayer is the go-to recommendation for anyone that wants to get into anime for the first time. It is easy to get into and is the peak of historical action fantasy with a godly animation studio behind it, Ufotable. This series kinda does everything well and even though the plot isn’t too complex, that is sometimes a good thing as the fights are the main focus with character development and world-building adding onto it. We follow the main character, Tanjiro Kamado, who wants to become a demon slayer after a tragedy occurs and his sister, Nezuko, becomes a demon.

The first season is 26 episodes, and they turned the next arc into a movie called “Infinity Train.” I won’t speak too much about the movie but it is a must-see after the first season since it goes right into the next arc and season two picks up after the movie or the “Infinity Train” arc ends. I wrote about it in another article here: “Demon Slayer: Infinity Train is My Most Anticipated Movie of 2021.” The “Infinity Train” arc is essentially 7 episodes that they made into a movie, as it can be considered the first half of season two. But in terms of seasons, the second season aired last winter with 11 episodes (so 18 episodes total for season two) as the “Entertainment District Arc” and the third season is incoming most likely next year sometime or the year after that.

4. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (Hulu)

Among many anime circles and niches, this one is most likely the highest rated on consensus. Brotherhood is a remake of the original Fullmetal Alchemist, except for most, it is a better overall show than the original. FMAB is one season but it is 64 episodes, so the journey is longer than the other ones on this list, but after a while, it did hook me. I do have to admit, even though this came out in 2009, I watched and finished it about a year or two ago so I was pretty late on this. However, even though for some reason it took some time before I got into it, it was well worth watching the whole thing. What I have to say as this excelled as a drama for a fantasy action-adventure series that involves the military.

The storytelling is what makes this show one of the best and the character development for the major players sells the show, which is darker than I thought going in. The main characters, Edward and Alphonse Elric are traumatized after an alchemy experiment gone wrong and go on a quest to reverse their fate, while stumbling upon a massive government conspiracy and ending up fighting for the truth. Some say it is the best anime of all time and even though I’m not of that opinion, it certainly is one of the better shows the anime medium has to offer.

3. Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion (Season 1 on Hulu, Season 1-2 on Netflix)

Code Geass is another dark military-type anime, except it is one of the few anime originals that blew up back in the day (aired in 2006). I also saw this a few years ago, as seasons one and two are both 25 episodes. This is also considered one of the best anime to come out, as this mecha, sci-fi, and super-powered-based school anime has all the action you would want and all the drama as well. It is like a huge mind game when you are watching this show, as the plot is more complex than some of the other shows on this list. Even with a complicated setup, it took me way less time to get into compared to some of the other anime on this list, like FMAB, due to fewer lulls throughout the story.

Our main character, Lelouch Lamperouge, is an exiled prince of the Holy Empire of Britannia and gains powers thanks to a mysterious girl named C.C. Due to certain circumstances, he seeks revenge on Britannia and becomes a masked individual known as Zero among Japan’s rebels in Area 11 (was Japan before Britannia took over). The top four on this list all have an insane amount of twists and turns along with the last two anime I will talk about, but Code Geass just stands out as strategic like Death Note, but it might hold up better throughout the whole show. Even though I am ranking these shows, I still consider all of them to be very close in rating and would recommend most of them as must-watch anime.

2. Attack on Titan (Season 1 on Netflix, Seasons 1-4 on Hulu)

Even though I started watching it a year after season one aired in 2013, this was the first anime recommended to me by a friend and as a whole, is one of the most iconic anime franchises. I had never seen anything this dark and gory via anime back in middle school. This also involves the military but in a unique sense, as this show is filled with drama, action, and suspense. AOT also focuses on the art of survival, as the characters have their limits tested to an extreme level. Each season has its own theme revolving around it, while still plot-driven, and the amount of world-building that occurs throughout the series is insane.

The first season is 25 episodes, but it has evolved into something bigger than I would’ve imagined back then when I was first watching it. Along with the reveals of some questions that are asked and answered in some seasons, especially in season two (12 episodes) and season three (split into parts: Part one is 12 episodes, Part two is 10 episodes). The Final Season (split into parts: Part one is 16 episodes, Part two is 12 episodes) finished airing in the Spring of this year, and the third part of the final season should be coming out sometime next year, which should be the grand finale to AOT. 

Storywise, this anime is an actual masterpiece with its progressions of revealing the mysteries of the world and what the characters are going through. Although it was very popular back when it was airing, some hype died since it took a hiatus between seasons, but recently it is back in full force. It most likely is the most well-known anime to a non-anime fan since its stay and hype for the series has been ongoing to this day for almost a decade.

Essentially, humanity is surrounded by three gigantic walls to keep massive man-eating creatures that are human-like called “Titans” out, while we follow a boy named Eren Yeager and his journey as his life is changed forever after a tragedy occurs. While season one is great in its own right, I think it picks up tremendously in the following seasons, unveiling what is real and what is not in a treacherous world. No matter how it ends, I will always respect it as a certified classic and the rollercoaster of emotions this show got out of me.

1. Neon Genesis Evangelion (Netflix)

I think binge-watching this anime was a mistake. Mentally, there is a lot to take in, and for any new anime fan or first-time watcher of this show, you probably need to take more breaks than I did. But do I regret the decision? No, because even an anime that came out before I was born (1995) was able to impress me enough to rank this as the top anime on the list. As an original, even to this day, this anime is more relevant than ever. And while that can sound like high praise, it deserves it as a show that came out more than two decades ago. I watched this a few years ago and to be honest, I sometimes think about what happens in this anime and its iconic scenes.

The Netflix version did change a few things so, in my opinion, I would seek the original if possible on another streaming platform. I watched the Netflix version first because I was not aware and after reading up on the changes, I rewatched the original cause it was that good. Even though some regard this show as the anime blueprint of today and a staple of anime culture, it is controversial in its own right. There is immense symbolism in this and while some people think it means nothing in terms of the plot or comparisons in real life, it really is up to the eye of the beholder. There are many perspectives and viewpoints on this anime, its messages, and meanings of its themes, and the end result of the world and its characters.

It has one season (26 episodes) but there are so many underlying details about the making of this anime and what each episode means that I would research it after you finish the series. It will lead you to a massive rabbit hole of information about Neon Genesis Evangelion or Eva or NGE. It is a mecha psychological (that is a massive understatement) drama with plenty of action and suspense as a sci-fi anime. The way the storytelling is can be considered as Avante Garde, as it experiments with many dark but realistic themes, and its novel impact at the time on the anime medium can’t be downplayed.

There are a few movies that follow up on the anime that can be considered “canon” or relevant to the plot. The order in how you watch it is up for debate, I watched it in order but it didn’t hinder my experience but I would still research that part if you are going in fresh. There are also movies that are retelling of the original series with a few differences but in movie form. I won’t get into that cause that is a whole different world that is too complex for me to explain in words since this article is long enough.

All in all, Neon Genesis Evangelion deserves the top spot on this list cause it really did impact me the most and it is considered by many, including me, to be the most influential piece of anime that the medium has to offer.