In addition to possessing an intimidating library of live-action TV and cinema, Netflix has also invested in some fantastic anime series that you'd be mad to overlook.
The selection of anime pales in comparison to some of the streaming site's more popular categories, but its select acquisitions have been shrewd choices. Dedicated anime sites such as Crunchyroll require users to sift through a catalogue of questionable shows to reach the gems; Netflix's collection is, on average, of a much higher standard. Whether you're a Breaking Bad fanatic or go nuts for Battlestar Galactica, there's almost certainly an anime out there that's also right up your street.
Psycho Pass is a luscious fusion of Blade Runner, 1984, and Minority Report. In the not so distant future an insular Japan has closed its borders and handed over governance to a technocratic regime overseen by the mysterious 'Sibyl System'. All important decisions are handed over to Sibyl, which decides where people work, how they are rewarded, and most importantly, whether they are a danger to society by reading their 'psycho pass'. Distressing thoughts can see citizens locked up permanently, or worse, executed on the spot.
The series follows Inspector Akane Tsunemori, a member of the government division that is charged with seeking out and neutralising criminals and threats to the common mental health. Philosophical conundrums abound as Tsunemori grapples with forces all claiming to be the lesser evil. The perfect choice for those seeking a sophisticated sci-fi dystopia to get lost in.
Sword Art Online
This manga-turned-anime is about to reach peak relevance as we approach the dawn of VR.
Sword Art Online is the story of a virtual reality MMORPG that takes a sour turn. As the revolutionary game launches, its excited throngs of players discover, much to their dismay, that they are trapped inside the game and that anyone attempting to leave Sword Art Online will immediately have their brains scrambled. To make matters worse, anyone whose health bar drops to zero will suffer the same treatment. The only option for escape is to complete all 100 levels of the gargantuan MMO.
As you might expect it all goes a bit Lord of the Flies as the players' primal instincts take over. An exceedingly strong opening half is slightly marred by Sword Art Online's more curious narrative meanderings in its latter segment, but it's worth watching all the same. Characterisation and art style score highly, as does the show's depiction of societal breakdown among the trapped denizens of the MMO.
They look like you, they sound like you, but with one key difference: their only sustenance is human flesh. In this bloody anime series humans live alongside ghouls in Tokyo's bustling districts, but the latter must keep their identities secret for fear of capture and death at the hands of the Commission of Counter Ghoul (CCG).
Given it's unpalletable subject matter, Tokyo Ghoul is a surprisingly sensitive anime that often finds itself preoccupied with the psychological torment of its central character, Kaneki. This unlucky sod finds himself forced to enter ghoul society after an inter-species organ transplant leaves him half human, half abomination and desperate to devour the body of his fellow man. There are flavours of Neon Genesis Evangelion here, as well as the recent smash hit, Parasyte, and the whole affair is handled with an equally delicate touch.
Netflix has only made one series available, but there is also a second on offer at Funimation for anyone who thinks the series is too ghoul for school.
Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood
What's the worst thing you've ever done? Burnt the toast? Failed to record Strictly Come Dancing? Whatever it is, it's probably insignificant in comparison to the defining sin of Edward Elric, whose attempts to revive his dead mother result in the complete disembodiment of his little brother and the loss of his right arm. So begins the pennant journey of Edward and Alphonse, who seek the return of their lost bodies in Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood.
This sprawling series is one of the largest anime available on Netflix, standing at 64 episodes. Don't be mistaken though, the quality here is as plentiful as the quantity - the series is regularly ranked as one of the top ten anime ever created.