No matter what fake memes of Hayao Miyazaki tell you, anime was in fact, not a mistake. The lush, inventive, and often psychedelic art form has garnered fans all around the world, and now thanks to Netflix, the subs vs. dubs debate can finally end. The streamer not only has a deep well of anime classics to dive into, but Netflix is also producing new sagas of its own, which are frankly weirder and wilder than the classics.
But in case you're a total noob, fear not, TV Guide sorted the overwhelming anime sections and picked out the best of the best — even for beginner levels. Sit back, relax, and hope senpai notices you.
What it's about: A boy with a powerful magical being trapped inside of him trains to become an elite ninja while striving to be worthy of leading his village like his father. Like any childhood dream, growing up complicates the matter and leaves Naruto searching for more than just success.
You should watch if: You love action-driven storylines where a solo journey turns into an ensemble drama. Naruto is a high-octane experience made up of traditional hallmarks of great anime and is a great place to start if you're new to the genre.
Little Witch Academia
What it's about: A non-magical girl enrolls in Luna Nova Magical Academy and has to figure out a way to catch up to her classmates, convince the modern world that magic still has a purpose, and figure out a way to reverse the rapid drain of magic on Earth.
You should watch if: You love a plucky optimist fighting against all odds with sheer will of force and a smile. The whimsical animation is the cherry on top.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
What it's about: In a world where alchemy, aka the power to transmute one object into another, reigns supreme, Edward Alric will stop at nothing to return the spirit of his brother Alphonse to his body which was taken in a dark transmutation circle that Ed used to attempt to resurrect their mother. On the way they manage to find a new family, stop a global war, and defeat the homonculi.
You should watch if: You're a fantasy fan who loves intense world-building and science that's basically magic. The series will take you to highs and lows you'll never expect, so make sure you have tissues ready and don't be surprised to find yourself yelling at your TV.
Attack on Titan
What it's about: What's left of humanity hides in walled cities that are frequently overrun by Titans, and their only defense is a highly trained Survey Corps which turns military brats into skilled Titan killers. However, their latest, most promising recruit has a dark secret that's about to undo everything humanity knows about Titans.
You should watch if: You love layered conspiracy theories that uncover the negligence and misdeeds of the very institutions we trust to protect us. Also if you love to cry. This is one of those anime where none of your faves are safe.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica
What it's about: In exchange for one wish, a teenage girl is given magical powers in order to fight witches. You should watch if: You love a magical girl transformation. Also time travel. And alternate universes.
What it's about: A young boy who is often bullied for his love of nerdy games solves a Millenium puzzle which unlocks a spirit that loves to gamble and helps Yugi defeat his tormentors through a series of challenges called the Shadow Games.
You should watch if: You want to start with an anime classic that actively challenges you to guess the answer before the hero. Yu-gi-oh! was not only a famous manga and then anime, but also a popular trading card game that dominated millennials' middle school experiences.
Flavors of Youth
What it's about: This movie is widely considered one of the best in the anime genre. Three interwoven stories about three different people in three different cities build into a powerful rumination on life, love, and the bittersweet way failure turns into resilience.
You should watch if: You love arthouse or indie movies that are all about diving deep into the heart of character and celebrating their imperfections. Flavors of Youth feels like the emotional core of Hayao Miyazaki set in realistic and recognizable worlds.
Pokemon Sun and Moon
What it's about: The resurgence of Pokemon in the last few years is no surprise to anyone who lived through the first wave of Pokemon mania. Along with the new games, the anime have relaunched as well, one of the most popular on Netflix being Pokemon Sun and Moon. Ash and Pikachu arrive at the island of Alola and enroll in Pokemon School to continue his quest to become a Pokemon master.
You should watch if: You've played Pokemon at anytime in the last two years. A light, frothy, and fun anime series geared towards kids, the show is a worthwhile watch for anyone who wants to see new stories from a beloved world.
What it's about: Humankind has been forced to flee below ground as massive earthquakes, Beastmen, and their robots terrorize the surface world. Sick of being condemned to live and die underground, two teenagers set out to reestablish contact with the surface and try to broker peace.
You should watch if: You want a story about how one friendship can change the world. Also if you like to watch stuff blow up and kids fighting giant mechas.
One Punch Man
What it's about: A man whose punches are so powerful they can defeat any beast or villain that threatens the survival of humans. Saitama is unlike any other hero though. While the rest of Hero Association defends the world out of a sense of right and wrong, Saitama simply gets into fights with bigger, stronger opponents for the fun of it.
You should watch if: You enjoy action-adventure and want to watch a young boy learn to make real connections in the world and trust the people around him.
What it's about: In an alternate future version of New York — now called Neo Yokio — a young, irresponsible socialite is tasked with protecting the city and all its gloriously vain denizens from demons just itching to possess famous works of art and powerful celebrities.
You should watch if: You're in the mood for a bizarre, trippy journey that's more concerned with questioning the morality of people than tying up loose plot points. The main character is voiced by Jaden Smith.
What it's about: What's a 25 year-old, single, red panda to do when her overbearing office job has pushed her to the very edge? Scream her heart out during death metal karaoke of course.
You should watch if: You're sick and tired of being sick and tired. Aggretsuko is a perfect lil placebo to pop when everything around seems terrible and you just need wallow for 15 minutes.
What it's about: A disgraced monster hunter, a half-human vampire and the last in a long line of magicians team up to defeat Dracula, who has gone mad and declared war on humans in retribution for killing his human wife.
You should watch if: You're in the mood for deep belly laughs. Despite the many explosive fight scenes in this show, the real reason the show is considered a gem is because of the "love to hate you" attitude of the main trio and the sarcastic, delightful humor that's packed into every scene.