Decided to update my old post, because analysis paralysis has rendered me incapable of picking something to watch. If you’re looking for streaming anime I’d suggest Crunchyroll, even the free subscription has a fairly solid selection. There’s also Funimation and Neon Alley which have smaller but solid selections. These services also have simulcast stuff from the current season of anime in Japan. (Of course what I actually recommend is tweaking your media player setup to a ridiculously anal level and then only watching 1080p 10bit BD re-encodes). But for those of you who already have a Netflix subscription and want to know what to watch here is my (super brief) opinion on the anime available.
Well actually before that, the selection of anime on the EU version of Netflix is sort of terrible. Probably best to VPN it up and use the US one. That aside. Even worse the selection has actually got worse since the last time I checked it out. If it’s not listed then a) I don’t think its worth watching, b) I assume you’ve seen it (e.g. Ghost in the Shell) or c) I missed it.
Appleseed Alpha – ** – This is ok, Appleseed these days feels like something out of time but with no particularly redeeming features for being trapped in the “classic” 90’s anime aesthetic.
Arpeggio of Blue Steel – ** – Waifu pickings are slim on Netflix so you could try to salve your broken heart with this. I wouldn’t though. The anime adaptation is workmanlike and you lose a lot of interesting world building and tactics from the manga.
Attack on Titan – **** – While the pacing is all over the place due to budgetary issues this is a fun dark adventure piece with some really great action sequences and an intriguing setting.
Black Butler – **** – A spooky episodic series set in Victorian London that combines black humour and supernatural mystery to good effect.
Blood Lad – *** – Short and fun, not to be that guy (and I will be entry after entry) but the manga is significantly better
Blue Exorcist – ** – Feel’s bad giving this two stars but the anime adaptation looses all the grit that really makes the manga. Maybe give it an episode or two to see if you like the setting then switch to the manga, no, actually just start with the manga
Death Note – ** – Wildly over-rated, entertaining but ultimately disappointing
Digimon Fusion – * – Quite possibly the worst Digimon series
Fairy Tail – ** – Standard shonen adventure fare. The anime adaptation sanitises the manga to the point where I feel it loses its charm
Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood – ***** – A much more faithful adaptation of the manga and one of the best shonen adventure series out there
Gurren Lagann – ***** – I absolutely love this anime. It’s both a love song to and the epitome off super robot anime. Constantly upbeat, exciting and dramatic.
Highschool of the Dead – *** – Heavy on action, gore and fan service. A very genre savvy zombie survival piece (I fucking hate zombie stuff these days and I still really enjoyed this)
Hunter X Hunter – ** – One of the classics of both manga and anime Hunter X Hunter is an enjoyable story which gets progressively darker and weirder as it progresses. The current anime adaptation takes a lot of that out which I think hurts it.
The irregular at magic high school – * – This if fucking terrible. Forcing myself to sit through the entire thing is the low point of my anime viewing existence.
Kill La Kill – ** – I don’t think its bad, I do think it’s extremely boring. From the creative team behind Gurren Lagann it fails to capture any of the magic. One of the literal handful of series I couldn’t finish
Knights of Sidonia – *** – I really like the setting but the manga was extremely dry. The anime adaptation “jazzes it up”. Though it can be a little ponderous.
Kotoura-San – *** – I enjoyed this, a nice romantic comedy with the occasional bit of pathos. I am a sucker for stories involving the problems having psychic powers could cause though.
Mushi-Shi – ***** – One of the more beautiful and hauntingly ethereal pieces of entertainment out there. Very mellow but very much worth watching
My Little Monster – *** – I really liked this, it’s a nice romantic comedy. With one big proviso, the anime adaptation only covers roughly the first half of the story and there’s no sequel in sight (the manga is finished though). So keep that in mind.
Psycho-Pass – ***** – Time for some copy and paste magic. Why you should watch it: Because its great. The end. Oh? Not good enough? Give me another go, Because I say you should? What? Still not happy? You picky fucker. You should watch it because it’s an excellent mixture of cyberpunk and noir aesthetics with an intriguing mystery, sprinkled liberally with visceral action, interpersonal drama and even the occasional bit of police work. I enjoyed it because it poses the kind of questions that are at the heart of good cyberpunk fiction and it poses them in a fairly neutral way that doesn’t try to guide you to or force any answer. At a shallower level it also looks really nice and is pretty up there in terms of tv anime animation quality. It also can be pretty disturbing at times, some of the stuff the serial killers get up to is, well, messed up. This evokes the cyberpunk work of Philip K Dick more so than other cyberpunk luminaries, its much more Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep than it is Neuromancer (well to be honest its more of a bridge between the two). Perhaps best of all it takes what at first appear to be obvious uninspired plot twists and does something new and sort of wonderful with them.
Samurai Flamenco – *** – The first half of this is basically an anime version of Kick Ass. Now I don’t like Kick Ass but I did like this. Then things change. Which could either kick the series up a notch for you or ruin it.
Space Dandy – ** – Hype ruined this show. Its not bad, it’s just, well, sort of mediocre. However, if you like what it’s doing you’ll likely love it. I suppose its one of those love it or hate it shows.
Steins;Gate – ***** – This deserves to be watched just for having a cohesive story involving time travel, bananas and microwaves. This is ultimately a scientific love story and I really enjoyed it.
Sword Art Online – *** – Spawner of seemingly endless imitators while certainly not the first “Yo you stuck in a virtual world motherfucker!” series it is probably the most successful. It’s a fun action story which uses its setting as a backdrop as opposed to an element of the series (like Log Horizon masterfully does). There’s a big shift half way through the series, I liked it, lots of people hate it. Still worth watching for the first half anyway.
Tokyo Ghoul – ** – Solid enough B movie horror action dressed up with some ersatz intellectualism. The manga is much better. Though the plot for the second series of this is paced much better than the manga.
Vampire Knight – * – I actually like quite a few shoujo series. But this is just bad. That’s not even accurate, it’s actually ok to good for a lot of it. But fuck me, the ending. Dont do it to yourself.
Yu-Gi-Oh! – *** – The original YuGiOh is actually one of the best merchandising tie in shows. Disappointed to see this isn’t the current remaster. Also English audio only and I hate the dub.