2018 was a fantastic year for anime. We had tons of returning shows, lots of amazing newcomers and tons of resurrected classics. But most surprising of all was the rise of a new name in anime streaming. A name that most people are already super familiar with.
While Netflix has had a variety of shows on it over the years, including many different anime, it wasn’t until 2018 that the platform became a name in the industry. And a damn big one at that.
The streaming platform came right out of the gate swinging with a new iteration of a classic manga series: Devilman Crybaby. Quickly gaining popularity for it’s unique and psychedelic visuals, dark and mature storytelling, and killer music, Devilman Crybaby became many people’s favorite show of the year right off the bat. While I did enjoy it, I do think it was marred down by a rushed and unsatisfying ending, which makes it hard for me to recommend.
Luckily, their next show was a hefty step up, at least for me: Aggretsuko. Featuring an adorable chibi animal style (which hides a hideous and depressing monster beneath), this show focused on delivering a very adult and human story. One that painted the struggles of adulthood with the simplistic but effective lens of a children’s show. It’s simple, it’s powerful, and it’s really entertaining. This is one I’d definitely recommend.
Even their returning shows hit the scene with a bang. Seven Deadly Sins returned for a second season of classic Shounen action (although Japan had already had it for quite a while now) and it’s as fun as ever. I’ve already written a full review for that (which you can find here if you’re curious), so I won’t go into much depth. It’s flawed in many ways, but I’d still recommend it.
Also returning (and ending) was Voltron: Legendary Defender, a western remake of the classic anime. Though I can’t really judge this one, as I haven’t finished season seven yet let alone season eight. Though apparantley both of these seasons have sparked controversy amongst the fans for some reason that I’ve completely avoided.
Oh boy I can’t wait to find out what it is.
They also had one of the most drop dead gorgeous shows I’ve ever seen: Violet Evergarden. While this also falls into the category of shows I haven’t finished, I can still say with confidence that the art and animation of this show are so fucking good. If nothing else, this show is a damn treat for the eyes.
Netflix was a great hub for anime last year, and it looks to be continuing that streak. Later this year, the classic series Neon Genesis Evangelion is getting a Netflix release, and the final part in the animated Godzilla trilogy releases a week from the launch of this post. We’re also getting a second season of Aggretsuko, rumors are flying of a new Berserk adaptation a few years from now, and more live action adaptations are coming our way!
Cause we all love those, right? Right?
Okay so they aren’t perfect. Far from it. But if they continue to improve from here, then Netflix could become an even bigger name in the anime industry. One synonymous with high quality and fun shows.
Or they could give us more Neo Yokio. Or Big Mouth. Or maybe another season of Fuller House.
Y’know what, maybe they need more time than I thought.