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Best Netflix anime shows and movies in August 2021

Best Netflix Anime: Violet Evergarden, Demon Slayer- Kimetsu No Yaiba and Yasuke
(Image credit: Netflix)

Whether you’re a connoisseur looking to find more of the best Netflix anime, or curious about the genre but not sure where to begin, we've got you covered. Rest assured that Netflix’s selection of anime movies and series has something for everyone. 

In fact, the Netflix anime collection is so extensive that you’re unlikely to run out of choices to stream from the comfort of your couch for a long time to come. From comedy to fantasy to good old fashioned samurai adventures, you’re sure to find a great watch. No wonder Netflix is one of the best streaming services.

Some of our picks include the must-watch Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba, the adorable family series Rilakkuma and Kaoru and the Jaden Smith-led, anime-”inspired” Neo Yokio. Here are some of the best Netflix anime movies and series available to stream now.

The best Netflix anime right now

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba

Best Netflix Anime: Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba

(Image credit: Netflix)

Koyoharu Gotouge's manga-turned-anime series is all about Tanjiro Kamado, a teenager who's desperate to become a demon slayer after the horrid creatures kill his family and turn his sister into one of them. Set in Taishō-era Japan, the siblings look for a way to cure Nezuko's curse and get in over their heads with a secret society known as the Demon Slayer Corps. There's a tinge of darkness here and a whole lot of action, making this easily one of the best Netflix anime shows. Also, after you're done, check out our guide for how to watch Demon Slayer: Mugen Train, the movie-length sequel.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 88%
Cast: Natsuki Hanae, Akari Kito, Hiro Shimono, Yoshitsugu Matsuoka, Takahiro Sakurai
Director: Haruo Sotozaki
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Beastars

Best Netflix Anime: Beastars

(Image credit: Netflix)

There's no shortage of anime featuring anthropomorphic animals, but Beastars is definitely one of the best. The series illustrates the divide between the carnivorous and herbivorous among them, and puts them all at Cherryton Academy where they have normal young people drama. That is, of course, until Tem the alpaca is murdered and devoured, and their entire world is upended. While it may not sound particularly exciting, the fact that Beastars has won multiple awards including the 2018 Manga Taishō and the New Creator Prize at the Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize, among others, should tell you just how good it really is. 

Rotten Tomatoes score: 85%
Cast: Chikahiro Kobayashi, Sakaya Senbongi, Yuki Ono, Atsumi Tanezaki, Junya Enoki
Director: Shin'ichi Matsumi
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Great Pretender

Best Netflix Anime: Great Pretender

(Image credit: Netflix)

With plenty of action as well as its fair share of LOL-worthy moments, The Great Pretender is easily one of the most clever and fun anime releases in the last few years. Consisting of two seasons, the show focuses on Makoto Edamura, a swindler — the best in Japan, apparently — who suddenly meets his match when he tries to pull a con on Laurent Thierry, a crook who knows a few tricks of his own. While not all of the twists and turns are particularly surprising, they’re totally enjoyable to watch.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 100%
Cast: Chiaki Kobayashi, Junichi Suawbe, Natsumi Fujiwara, Mie Sonozaki
Director: Hiro Kaburabi
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Violet Evergarden

Best Netflix Anime: Violet Evergarden

(Image credit: Netflix)

Kana Akatsuki’s light novel series Violet Evergarden was a massive hit, so it's no surprise that it was adapted into anime form. The single-season drama follows Violet Evergarden, a young garden who got caught up in the bloodshed of the Great War. Now that the war is over, she must search for a new purpose in life and a new understanding of who she is. It's a beautiful journey both in terms of the story and the animation, and well-worth digging into.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 100%
Cast: Yui Ishikawa, Takehito Koyasu, Daisuke Namikawa, Aya Endo, Minori Chihara, Koki Uchiyama
Director: Haruka Fujita
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Rilakkuma and Kaoru

Best Netflix Anime: Rilakkuma and Kaoru

(Image credit: Netflix)

This 2019 stop-motion animation is definitely a family affair, with teddy bears and yellow chick's as the series' main characters. Rilakkuma loves eating and sleeping as well as mooching off his friend Korilakkuma, with whom he lives. Koaru, their roommate, has a pet chick named Kiiroitori that is Rilakkuma's polar opposite in that he loves working hard and cleaning up after himself. This is, without a doubt, one of the most adorable series ever - even for adults.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 100%
Cast: Mikako Tabe, Soki Matsumoto, Takayuki Yamada
Director: Masahito Kobayashi
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Kakegurui

Best Netflix Anime: Kakegurui

(Image credit: Netflix)

Adapted from Homura Kawamoto and Toru Naomura's manga series of the same name, Kakegurui centers on the goings-on at Hyakkaou Private Academy, one of the most prestigious schools in Japan that's only for the rich. However, instead of having actual staff, the school is run by the Student Council whose hierarchy is based on gambling. It's a somewhat bizarre premise that somehow ends up being extremely thrilling to watch.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 76%
Cast: Saori Hayami, Miyuki Sawashiro, Mariya Ise, Tatsuya Tokutake, Minami Tanaka
Director: Tsutomu Hanabusa
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Toradora!

Best Netflix Anime: Toradora!

(Image credit: Netflix)

Another great anime series based on a popular Japanese light novel series, Toradora! is all about Ryuji Takasu, a high school student who's a softie at heart but whose appearance makes him look much harder and intimidating than he really is. At its heart, Toradora! is a teen drama that explores the ups and downs of what it means to be young and trying to navigate the world around you. There are plenty of heartwarming moments to be had, and some romance too.

Rotten Tomatoes score: N/A
Cast: Rie Kugimiya, Jinji Majima, Yui Horie, Hirofumi Nojima, Eri Kitamura
Director: Tatsuyuki Nagai
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Haikyu!!

Best Netflix Anime: Haikyu!!

(Image credit: Netflix)

Shōyō Hinata has big dreams about becoming a great volleyball player even though his physique is less than ideal for the sport. However, he's also pretty good at it, and after a bit of convincing, he manages to convince some of his friends to join the team so they can have a tournament. Another wonderfully wholesome and lighthearted series focusing on the importance of perseverance and hard work, Haikyu!! is a really uplifting watch. 

Rotten Tomatoes score: 90%
Cast: Hiroshi Kamiya, Kaito Ishikawa, Ayumu Murase, Daisuke Namikawa, Nobuhiko Okamoto
Director: Susumu Mitsunaka
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Ajin: Demi-Human

Best Netflix Anime: Ajin: Demi-Human

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Gamon Sakurai's popular manga was adapted into a two-season series (not to mention a live-action film, but I digress) that's heavy on the supernatural, as many anime series are. Nagai Kei is a student who finds out he's an "Ajin," an immortal human, after he's in a car accident. Another Ajin power is the ability to create "black ghosts"  that can cause serious destruction. The series follows the interaction between Ajins and the government and society at large, illustrating the misunderstandings we all have about those who are different.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 83%
Cast: Mamoru Miyano, Yoshimasa Hosoya, Jun Fukuyama, Hochu Otsuka
Director: Katsuyuki Motohiro
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Heaven's Official Blessing

Best Netflix Anime: Heaven's Official Blessing

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For fans of fantasy and antiquity, Heaven's Official Blessing is a must-watch. The story focuses on Xie Lian, the former Crown Prince of teh Xian Le kingdom who ascended to heaven 800 years ago but was hastily banished back to the living world. The same thing happens twice more in the next eight centuries and Xie Lian is a bit of a joke in the realms because of it. However, his whole life is about to change when he meets a mysterious demon with untold powers. 

Rotten Tomatoes score: N/A
Cast: Jiang Guangtao, Ma Zhengyang, Wen Sen, Hu Liangwei, Huang Ying
Director: Li Haoling
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Aggretsuko

Best Netflix Anime: Aggretsuko

(Image credit: Netflix)

If you're looking for laughs in your anime, Aggretsuko is a great place to start. The eponymous lead character, Retsuko, is a 25-year-old red panda who works in accounting and is hopelessly single. Her favorite pasttime is singing death metal at a local karaoke bar to let out her frustrations at work and in her personal life, and the results are oftne hilarious. There are some real touching moments here and a lot of heart but with plenty of moments of levity to keep things from ever becoming too sappy.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 92%
Cast: Kaolip, Komegumi Koiwasaki, Maki Tsuruta, Sohta Arai, Rina Inoue, Shingo Kato
Director: Rarecho
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Dragon's Dogma

Best Netflix Anime: Dragon's Dogma

(Image credit: Netflix)

This dark fantasy series was based on Capcom's video game of the same name and puts into action Ethan's journey to conquer the dragon that took his heart. Every time he battles a demon, he loses a bit more of his humanity. While playing the video game allowed audiences to forge their own way through the story, the TV series lays the journey out for you and it's an incredible adventure to be on.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 83%
Cast: Greg Chun, Erica Mendez, Cristina Vee, Yuichi Nakamura, Nana Mizuki, Miyuki Sawashiro
Director: Hideaki Itsuno
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Castlevania

Best Netflix anime: Castlevania

(Image credit: Netflix)

Another American animated series that's "anime-influenced," Castlevania became a popular addition to Netflix's roster, not least of which because audiences were likely already familiar with Konami's video game of the same name. Initially planned as a film, it was eventually split up into a four-season TV series comprised of 32 episodes. Castlevania focuses on the battle between Count Vlad Dracula Tepes' army of demons and monster hunter Trevor Belmont and his allies. It's an expansive and detailed series perfect for when you want to dive deep into a different world.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 94%
Cast: Richard Armitage, James Callis, Alejandra Reynoso, Jessica Brown Findlay, Rila Fukushima, Jason Isaacs
Director: Various
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Yasuke

Best Netflix Anime: Yasuke

(Image credit: Netflix)

Originally made as a net anime, Yasuke is a Japanese-American series loosely based on the real-life African warrior of the same name. In history, Yasuke served under Japanese daimyo Oda Nobunaga during the Sengoku period. However, the anime series takes plenty of inspiration from and liberties with the facts, making a samurai fantasy adventure that's jam-packed with action. Oh, and the amazing eletronica artist Flying Lotus did the score for Yasuke, so expect a trippy vibe.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 92%
Cast: LaKeith Stanfield, Takehiro Hira, Maya Tanida, Ian Chen, Gwendoline Yeo
Director: Takeshi Koike
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Hero Mask

Best Netflix Anime: Hero Mask

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This 2018 Netflix original series, written and directed by Hiroyasu Aoki, worked in the opposite way than many others on this list, starting as a TV show which then spawned a manga spin-off. The show itself is set in a fictional version of London where James Blood works for the Capital Police Department. After the station is attacked by a foe James assumed was long gone, he teams up with a prosecution assistant named Sarah Sinclair to find out what on earth is going on. Needless to say, much of what they uncover is not of this world.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 60%
Cast: Yasuyiki Kase, Yuhko Kaida, Junpei Morita, Kentaro Takano, Koki Uchiyama
Director: Hiroyasu Aoki
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Blue Exorcist

Best Netflix Anime: Blue Exorcist

(Image credit: Netflix)

Blue Exorcist focuses on two separate mirror dimensions, one in which humans live (Assiah) and one that is ruled by Satan and inhabited by demons (Gehenna). As you can probably imagine, most assume it's a "ne'er the twain shall meet" situation between the two, but that's not always the case, and when Rin Okumura and his twin Yukio learn that they're sons of Satan, all hell breaks loose - pun totally intended. As Rin trains to become an Exorcist and fight the demons that manage to cross through to Assiah, he learns much more about who he is in the world and where he comes from.

Rotten Tomatoes score: N/A
Cast: Nobuhiko Okamoto, Jun Fukuyama, Kana Hanazawa, Kazuya Nakai, Koji Yusa
Director: Tensai Okamura
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The Legend Of Korra

Best Netflix anime: Legend of Korra

(Image credit: Nickelodeon)

While The Legend of Korra isn't officially an anime, it's obviously and heavily influenced by the genre so it deserves inclusion here. A former Nickelodeon series that functioned as a sequel to Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Legend of Korra is set in the same universe in which some people can manipulate either water, air, earth, or fire. There's plenty of action here but none of the storylines are particularly complicated to understand. However, there are some great lessons here for younger viewers that are well worth watching.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 79%
Cast: Janet Varney, David Faustino, P.J. Byrne, JK Simmons, Dee Bradley Baker
Directors: Joaquim Dos Santos, Ki Hyun Ryu, Colin Heck, Ian Graham
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Neo Yokio

Best Netflix Anime: Neo Yokio

(Image credit: Netflix)

A hybrid American-Japanese series created by Vampire Weekend's Ezra Koenig, it's sometimes hard to reconcile Neo Yokio as a true anime, but for the sake of argument, let's go with it. Neo Yokio is described as the "greatest city in the world" and follows a modern-day alternate timeline New York where Magicians are considered heroes thanks to saving the city from demons. Those Magicians have since been elevated to "Magistocrats," one of whom is Kaz Kaan, our obnoxious but ever-entertaining protagonist. If you want something light-hearted and a bit more entry-level, Neo Yokio is one of the best Netflix anime for you.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 76%
Cast: Jaden Smith, Jason Schwartzman, Richard Ayoade, Jude Law, Susan Sarandon
Directors: Kazuhiro Furuhashi, Junji Nishimura, Anthony Chun
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Jennifer Still

Jennifer is a writer and editor from Brooklyn covering all things entertainment, lifestyle, and tech. She has bylines in Vanity Fair, Business Insider, Glamour, Bon Appetit, Decider, and many more and spends her days writing about all the shows, movies, and music she's obsessed with. She's always fuelled by iced coffee and hates slow walkers.