Netflix Streamteam: an Anime update

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The last few weeks, I’ve been obsessively watching anime shows. A few Netflix original Anime series came up in my suggestions and I thought, why not.  My youngest sister and my brother love Anime so when I mentioned I had started watching a few, they had a number of suggestions as to which I should start with.

This isn’t the first time I’ve watched Anime, but it’s the first time I’ve actively pursued the genre and I am very, very impressed with the offering that Netflix has, which according to my sister, barely touches the tip of the iceberg, but is a good place to start for those not familiar with it.

Because the starting credits and end credits are so, so ridiculously long, a twenty-five minute anime episode usually ends up only being nineteen minutes long, perfect for middle of the night breastfeeding where I can pack in three episodes. Got my priorities straight and all, so you can imagine how many episodes I’ve whizzed through over the last month. The answer is, many.

This has all lead to my rekindling my love of animation and Anime. So here’s a short lit of what I’ve been watching and would recommend that’s currently streaming on Netflix, and in no particular order of preference.

Death Note

Tagged as the best anime series ever made, it’s definitely at the top of my list if this were a list. Light Yagami, a genius schoolboy, finds a notebook that’s been dropped by a  Shinigami (a god of death) into the human realm. He discovers that writing someone’s name in the notebook after picturing their face in your mind, the person will die within a minute. You can specify the cause of death, time of death and several other rules. He decides to kill all criminals using this power, and that’s where the real fun starts. It brings out a lot of questions on morals, ethics, justice and is gripping from episode one.

All seasons are available on Netflix and you can watch a trailer here.

Attack on Titan

This one had me within the first five minutes. What remains of humanity lives behind high walls, protected from giant humanoid creatures called Titans, who appeared from nowhere a hundred years ago. Episode one begins when a gigantic titan smashes through the wall and lets more through. We follow Eren Jaeger, Mikasa Ackerman and Armin Arlert as they join the fight to eliminate the giants. Saying more would only lead to saying even more, so I won’t. It’s bizarre, thought provoking, funny and really cool. I’m actually considering the survey corps uniform as my next cosplay for MCM comic con next year, I was that blown away.

I got to the end of the first season, and went to find season two when….Noooooooo! there wasnt any! Cue panic, denial, tears, googling, acceptance, withdrawal symptoms. Unfortunately there’s only one season of the show made with a release of season two pegged for April 2017 so fingers crossed Netflix will acquire if at the same time. The waiting is a killer!

You can watch it in Japanese with english subtitles, or with English dubbing. Either is good. click to see a trailer here.

Knights of Sidonia

This is a Netflix exclusive so all seasons will be available as they are made, thankfully. Set in a galaxy future far far away, Humanity has fled earth on various seedships, of which Sidonia is one. Humans have been modified to photosynthesise, cloning is available, Bears can talk…oh, and some strange creatures called Gauna are hunting down humans. We follow Nagate Tanikaze as he joins the pilots that defend Sidonia from the Gauna. Two seasons are available on Netflix.

Again available in English dubbing or Japanese with Subtitles, you can see a trailer here.

Bleach.

Bugged and pestered by my siblings to give this a try, I did. I Love it.

Ichigo Kurosaki is a high school student who can see ghosts. One night his family are attacked by a hollow – a spirit that devours human souls, and a Soul reaper called Rukia shows up to save them. She’s injured during the fight but when she touches Ichigo, he absorbs her powers and takes up her duties to hunt down hollows in her stead. There are 16 seasons and over 250 plus episodes in this show, but only three seasons on Netflix at the moment.

I couldn’t find  good trailer, but this one should give you an idea over here.

Sword Art Online.

This one could happen in real life in the near future. It’s the year 2022 and virtual reality games become so sophisticated that you can immerse yourself into a game completely using  nerve gear, that plugs into your brain to allow total consciousness upload. A new game, Sword art online, is launched and Kazuto Kirigaya is one of the lucky thousands to get to play it first. However, when the players decide to log out, they find no log out button. The creator of the game appears (virtually of course) and tells them the only way to get out of the virtual world is to finish the game. If you get hurt in the game, you suffer in reality, if you die in the game, you die in real life, you cannot be plugged out by someone outside the game, or you will die. All very Matrixy!  Scary stuff.  The players have to find a way to work together so they can all get out alive.

Check out the trailer here.

Samurai Flamenco

This one is fun! Masayoshi Hazama is a supermodel who is trying to become a superhero in his spare time, dressing up and becoming the vigilante ‘Samurai Flamenco’. He has no fighting skills, no powers, but he’s determined to make it.

I couldn’t find a decent trailer, but it’s really worth a try because it’s just so off the wall and fun. It’s in Japanese only, with English subtitles, which in my opinion makes it even funnier.

Elfen Lied 

This was a strange one. At only 13 episodes though, it’s an easy watch. Lucy is a Diclonius, a horned human with two invisible telekinetic arms who has been kept in a government institution and studied for most of her life. The first episode sees her escape from it, decapitating, eviscerating ( all very graphically) and causing general mayhem, as she does. She suffers a head injury during the escape, that causes a split personality to develop – a child-like, non-verbal girl who is later known as Myu. In this child-like state, she is taken in by two college students while the government continue to look for her.

The strangest thing I found, was the ecclesiastical music in the opening credits – very unlike any anime I’d seen to date…not that I’ve seen many. ahem.

Check out the trailer here.

Mushi Shi

I really liked this one. Each episode is standalone, making it easy to dip in and out as it suits you. It follows the travels of Ginko. a Mushi-shi or Mushi Master, travels around Japan investigating instances where Mushi have come into contact with humans. Mushi are very basic lifeforms that have supernatural powers and cannot be perceived by most humans.

Beautifully animated, slow-paced, it’s really worth a watch. Both the Manga (comic book) and the series have won many awards in it’s native Japan.

Check out the trailer here.

Black Lagoon.

This one is set in our timeframe and is very…erm…grown up. . Rokurou Okajima is on a ship, taking a business trip when it’s taken over by mercenary pirates and he’s taken as a bargaining chip. He realises he lives a dull existence back in his native Japan, and decides to join his captors instead, as you do. Featuring a badass anti-heroine and the first black person I’ve seen in all the anime I’ve been watching, there are lots and lots of guns, explosions, swearing and not one supernatural element. Great soundtrack too.

Check out the trailer here.

Aldnoah zero

Humans emigrated to Mars at some point in the past and established the VERS empire, that are technologically more advanced than we are on earth. In 1999, there was a fight between them and us that resulted in the moon exploding and destroying the hypergate that allowed the martians to establish their empire. It’s now years later and the Empire strikes back declares war on Earth after their princess is involved in an assassination attempt on a peace trip to Earth.

I’m only on the third episode, but it looks interesting. Check out the trailer here.

Blue exorcist

Again, I’ve only watched two episodes of this series and it’s in the same animation line as Bleach. It centres around Rin Okumura, who believes he’s an ordinary human and finds out he’s actually the son of the devil. The devil wants to take over the human realm, but Rin, raised by a priest who he believed was his father and who is killed by satan, decides to train as an exorcist and help the fight against the demons.

Targeted more at teens but still a good watch. Check out the trailer here.

Psycho-pass

And last but up there with the top Anime shows I’ve seen, is Psycho-pass.

Set in Japan in the twenty second century, crime has taken a dramatic change. Each human is assigned a psycho-pass, which is a reading of their psychological state and the probability that they will commit a crime, by the Sibyl system. Depending on how high this probability is, you can be arrested, or killed, before you’ve even committed the crime. Handy, but scary.  We follow Akane Tsunemori as she joins the criminal investigation division (CID) as an investigator. She starts to discover that the Sibyl system is not always perfect and her sense of justice begins to waver.

Very grown up with questions about where technology can lead us, how much we trust it, how criminals can be made/created/cometo being, I found it a fascinating watch and a glimpse into a potentially real future.

Check out the trailer here.

There are lots, lots more I could write about but this would be pages long at that stage, so I hope this is a good introduction if you do decide to take the leap into the world of Anime. Just to add that all the shows above have age restrictions you should comply with as they are not for children below fourteen.

Others you could try that were recommended to me are:

Black butler

Tokyo Ghoul

Fairy Tail

Kuromukuro

Code Geass

and many more, all currently streaming on Netflix….enjoy!

Disclosure: As a member of the Netflix stream team, I was provided with an Appletv and one year’s free subscription to Netflix and will post regular reviews in return. However, all opinions are and will continue to be my own.

 

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