We outline the top anime available to stream at your fingertips as well as the best places to find it all!
This is a 4th part! Enjoy reading!
My Hero Academia
Available on: Adult Swim, Crunchyroll, FunimationNow, Hulu, Yahoo View!
My Hero Academia is set within a well-defined universe where a good deal of people are born with latent superpowers known as “Quirks” that become activated after a matter of time. The series follows Izuku Midoriya, a quirk-less child who is more obsessed with superheroes than anyone else, in spite of his own normal status. However, everything changes for Izuku when the world’s greatest superhero, All Might, gives his own quirk over to Izuku in a rare act that forever ties the two together.
With Izuku still trying to understand and master the abilities of his new quirk, he finds himself enrolled in U.A. High School which becomes a training ground for all of the newest superheroes in training. My Hero Academia might skew younger a little in its tone, but it has an infectious energy that’s built upon having a strong (huge) cast of characters and an addictive narrative that sees these heroes-in-training trying to brave the trials of school.
There’s something so soothing about clearly established battles of Good Vs. Evil and My Hero Academia excels at painting these extremes in such exciting, new lights. The fight scenes are also on a whole other level. Just taking a glimpse of the superpowers on display in this show should give you an indication that this is far from some X-Men rip-off. This series isn’t going anywhere though and if Funimation didn’t have Dragon Ball Super on their hands, My Hero Academia would be the other big hit that they’d be banking on. They’ve only scratched the surface with the superpowers of this one.
Neon Genesis Evangelion
Available on: Netflix
There are dozens of worthwhile giant mecha anime out there, but Neon Genesis Evangelion is the Godfather of the genre in many ways. The series became notorious for its avant-garde deconstruction of the mech genre and the psychologically delicate areas that the series pushes its subject matter and characters. The series follows the basic setup of a select chosen few needing to pilot Evangelion suits in order to fight the invading “Angels” and prevent another Armageddon. Many series follow a similar mold, but Evangelion holds its characters in darkness and doesn’t relent. It’s no secret that the series’ director, Hideaki Anno, suffered from severe depression while working on the series and that’s all beautifully up on the screen in a way that only David Lynch gets close to recreating anywhere else. So yes, Neon Genesis Evangelion is full of stunning animation, beautifully choreographed battles, and an electric soundtrack, but it will also force you to reckon with the human condition in a way that so few other series can achieve.
Neon Genesis Evangelion isn’t perfect, but it’s earned its notorious reputation and absolutely deserves to be seen. It’s been years since the anime has legally been available in the United States, so Netflix securing the streaming rights for the spring is kind of a huge deal for the anime community. It’s just a shame that their plan seems to be to re-dub the series, since the original dub is almost as legendary as the anime itself at this point.
Available on: Amazon Prime
Okay you guys, Onara Gorou isn’t freaking Shakespeare, but it’s a supremely weird series that looks at the antics of Gorou, “the most admirable of farts.” Gorou attempts to help out individuals (all while connected to the human that’s producing him) and every moment of this show elicits questions that you’re not even sure that you want the answers.
Onara Gorou almost feels like the early seasons of South Park where this crudely presented idea looks juvenile at its surface layer, but there’s something more intelligent going on underneath. Make no mistake, Onara Gorou isn’t a smart series, but it’s unrepentantly silly and it will make you laugh and question the laws of nature in a way that more shows should. How did you live your life without having this show and its nightmarish ending theme in your world!?
Available on: : Adult Swim, Hulu, Netflix, Yahoo View!
One-Punch Man is overblown action in the best possible way. The series is about Saitama, the eponymous "One-Punch Man", a superhero that is so powerful that he kills all of his enemies in one punch. Because of this lack of a challenge, Saitama has developed a blasé look on life as he searches for someone stronger than him. The fact that this extremely overpowered person looks like this is the perfect unassuming icing on the cake.
It's encouraging to see how well One-Punch Man nails the action and humor that it goes for, and it's funny that in a year that has seen people clamoring for (and receiving) more Dragon Ball, this is the series that seems to be satisfying most of these people's desires for overblown, God-level battles (the work done in the first season finale is truly a sight to behold in both animation and fighting).
On the other extreme of this, the series is also very interested in the hierarchy of these superheroes, designating them classes, rules and restrictions, and through this we get a number of delightful ancillary low-level heroes that kind of out-Venture Bros the Venture Bros. Here you're getting such absurd fighters like Tank Top Vegetarian, Superalloy Darkshine, Handsomely Masked Sweet Mask, Metal Bat, Pri-Pri-Prisoner, Spring Mustache, and License-less Rider, who is simply a cyclist who uses his bike as a weapon. I dare you to watch that theme song and not want to give this adrenaline shot a peak.
Available on: Crunchyroll, FunimationNow, Hulu, Netflix
Overlord is the very best kind of wish fulfillment series where a slacker loser suddenly becomes the all-powerful ruler of a magical land. This isn’t exactly an original premise, but Overlord puts so much detail and love into its universe. In the year 2126, the most popular MMORPG is a title called “YGGDRASIL.” But when the game announces that it’s shutting down its servers, one stubborn player named Momonga decides to stay in the game. After “YGGDRASIL” shuts down, Momonga learns that the virtual world has rebuilt itself into something new and because he didn’t log out, he’s actually entered this world and turned into his avatar, a skeleton wizard.
Rather than panic over this turn of events, Momonga decides to take advantage of his fate and pledges to become the ruler of this new world. Momonga’s journey and development through this new universe is incredible, but the non-playable characters that inhabit this world slowly gain emotions and learn to evolve, too. Overlord has had three seasons to grow and deepen its mythology and it’s turned into the home for some of the most realistic characters in an anime as well. The way in which the series incorporates rules from video games, but also subverts them and strives for something deeper, is another reason why this show is such a treat. It consistently wants to defy expectations and surprise its audience with where Momonga is headed.
Parasyte –The Maxim-
Available on: Crunchyroll, Hulu
Parasyte: The Maxim hits the ground running and is bonkers from its very first frame. The series revolves around a number of alien parasites that have landed on Earth and start possessing hosts. Shinichi Izumi is a mild-mannered high school student whose life drastically changes when one of these parasites possesses his right hand. This sets Shinichi on a dangerous journey to wipe out the other parasites that have landed on Earth, as well as figure out how to work alongside his new alien host, and if there's a way to rid himself of this threat.
Parasyte: The Maxim operates like a superhero series at times as Shinichi acclimates to the new strength and powers that his parasite gives him. The series also navigates tricky moral territory as Shinichi, who's now a human-alien hybrid, must fight against the aliens that are now part of his biology (think Tokyo Ghoul, but with aliens instead of vampire demons).
The path that Shinichi finds himself on gives the anime a strong narrative drive, but honestly, this is just a beautiful show to watch in motion. The fluid, bewildering effects that Shinichi's parasitic hand puts to use are ridiculous and it's just crazy to watch a boy partner up with an alien version of his hand for an entire series. H.P. Lovecraft would give this madness his full stamp of approval.
Ping Pong the Animation
Available on Amazon Prime, Crunchyroll, FunimationNow
Ping Pong the Animation is perhaps the best example of Masaaki Yuasa’s magic because he’s able to turn table tennis into one of the most gripping, eye-popping animated series that you will ever watch. There is absolutely nothing remarkable about the show’s premise—a high school table tennis player named Smile discovers his potential in the sport and attempts to rise through the ranks—but Ping Pong the Animation would make you think that the fate of the world is at stake.
The anime squeezes an insane amount into its scant eleven episodes, but it makes every one count and you’ll eagerly anticipate each new match. You’ll swear that you didn’t know how the human body moved until you see how Yuasa puts people in motion. It’s proof that he can elevate anything into gold and just how much of a difference animation style makes. Story is always going to be important, but it’s a lot easier to be forgiving of downfalls when insane animation is breaking your brain. Watch this and awaken.
Pop Team Epic
Available on: Adult Swim, Amazon Prime Video, Crunchyroll, FunimationNow
Pop Team Epic doesn’t give a fuck if you like it or not—in fact it probably hopes that you don’t—and it’s why this manic, insane series is so special. The show is a parody sketch anime that operates with unpredictable, frenetic pacing. Any topic is fair game, but the animation style also radically changes without notice and the series tries to break itself down more than it presents a polished anime. Hell, the end of every episode even presents a “Next Time On…” preview for Hoshiri Girldrop, a fake series that they made up. Just watch the show’s legendary “Hellshake Yano” sequence to get a glimpse of its crazy style and fall in love with it.
If the show’s unleashed attitude wasn’t enough, each episode is basically eleven minutes long and then the following eleven minutes is the same footage that preceded it, but with minor differences. The voice actors will be changed the second time around, animation touches will contrast, but it’s an incredibly bold experiment to play with the audience and their patience. There seems to be an equal split on the people that love and hate the show’s “Bob Team Epic” halves, but they have people’s attention. With Pop Team Epic recently joining the irreverent Adult Swim’s Toonami lineup, the cult series has become more popular than ever.
Available on: Amazon Prime
In many ways RahXephon may seem like the poor man’s Neon Genesis Evangelion, and while there are ample similarities between the two, RahXephon tells a distinct story that is crazy, contemplative, and awesome in its own way. RahXephon starts as the “boy meets mecha, boy pilots mecha to save the world” start of narrative, but it turns into such a perplexing mash-up of themes and sensibilities. There’s also a delicious ‘70s flavor to the show’s aesthetics that keep it in this weird displaced time that doesn’t feel quite like the past or the future.
Where Evangelion finds its fuel from depression and nihilism, RahXephon turns to the power of music and folklore. The series still operates with all of the staples of a giant mecha action series, but RahXephon strives for more and tries to redefine what the mecha genre can do. The stylized, methodical series is not for everyone, but it should still resonate in a way that’s deeper than the standard robot brawler.
Available on: Amazon Prime
Re: Creators is extremely awesome in the sense that it delivers sprawling, insane battle sequences, but is also all about the struggles of creation and failing expectations. Sota Mizushino is an avid manga and anime fan and hopes to one day create his own series that finds an audience. Suddenly, characters from all across media—manga, anime, video games— get brought to the real world and Sota somehow becomes the middleman between two factions of creations where the fate of the Earth is at stake.
Re: Creators is far from the typical “lost characters need to get home” narrative and it manages to continually add surprises throughout the season (it also features one of the more creative takes on the “recap episode” that you’ll ever find). The series mixes existentialism with flashy fight scenes and Re: Creators creates something very bold and memorable in the process. It’s a great deconstruction of the medium in general.
That's it for today! The next part will be the last one, so don't miss the next part!