Amazon is working hard to keep up with Netflix and Hulu, who are both expanding their anime offerings. As opposed to Netflix and other streaming services, Amazon Prime has a reasonable mix of classics, hidden gems, and brand-new programs and movies that is at least modestly outstanding. Here are Prime’s top current anime offerings.
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1. Akira (1988)
Akira is so well-known that it may not even need an introduction. A cooperation with Supreme is a sure sign of fame. Anime targeting more mature, Westernized audiences took off in the late ’80s, and the number of titles that were affected by it is practically endless today. They were brought to life with technological proficiency that has never been equaled, while also leaving a tremendous thematic and visual impact in the genre. It’s never too late to catch up on this sci-fi classic, set in a post-apocalyptic 2019, and it still feels relevant today. The movie’s legacy was cemented even more when it correctly predicted the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Now you can see it on Amazon.
2. Birdy the Mighty: DECODE (2008)
DECODE is an under-appreciated action series that is incredibly well-executed. A typical high school guy named Tsutomu has a run-in with an extraterrestrial agent named Birdy Cephon Altera in this revival of the 1980s serial. Sadly for him, their meeting ends with Birdy blasting him away while she’s on a mission, forcing the boy and Birdy to occupy the same body while they try to rebuild his own. The show revolves around their oddball relationship, which also happens to be full of epic battles. Escaflowne director Kazuki Akane knows how to stage action such that it appears larger than life, even if the physical scale of a fight is small. His great staging places the action in the context of the surrounding surroundings, making anything seem magnificent. Now you can see it on Amazon.
3. Cowboy Bebop (1998-1999)
Cowboy Bebop is a staple of any serious anime fan’s canon, and with good reason. Bebop, director Shinichiro Watanabe’s most acclaimed work, is a mélange of sci-fi, western, and noir films all nestled under a jazz soundtrack set in the year 2071.. Spike, Jet, Faye, and Ed, the show’s main comic relief and source of lightness, are a ragged crew of space drifters who find themselves in the middle of an intergalactic bounty quest when their memories are erased. When it comes to its visual variety and thematic punch, Cowboy Bebop’s action is by far its most exciting feature. Like the rest of the show, the action scenes are a mash-up of all types of combat, from intense hand-to-hand combat to massive shootouts to thrilling spacecraft conflicts. Cowboy Bebop is a series you’ll remember for a long time because of all the memorable moments. Now you can see it on Amazon.
4. Dororo (2019)
Ishikawa Lord Daigo Kagemitsu of the Ishikawa province forms a contract with 12 demons to save his region and assure a future of wealth and power for his region during Japan’s Warring States period. By doing so, each demon is able to collect on his obligation from his son, who is reduced to nothing but muscle and bone. Years later, the boy has grown up to become an itinerant swordsman named Hyakkimaru with a prosthetic body, sheathed swords for arms, and the extrasensory capacity to “see” demons, having survived his father’s attempts to get rid of him out of shame. Using an orphaned thief named Dororo as a friend, Hyakkimaru sets out to defeat demons, reclaim his humanity, and learn to open up to others at a time of great cruelty in this adaptation of Ozamu Tezuka’s original manga and anime from the late 1960s. Dororo is an anime that is both sorrowful and viscerally violent, produced by Studio MAPPA (Kids on the Slope, Yuri!!! on Ice, Banana Fish) and directed by Kazuhiro Furuhashi (Rurouni Kenshin, Hunter x Hunter ’99, and Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn). Now you can see it on Amazon.
5. Flame of Recca (1997-1998)
Flame of Recca was a popular anime series about youthful ninjas before Naruto. Recca Hanabishi considers himself a modern-day ninja, but in reality, Recca’s days are filled with fights with his fellow high school students. After meeting Yanagi Sakoshita, a former classmate who possesses healing skills, his life takes a dramatic turn for the better. As a result of their encounter, Recca discovers himself to be the sole surviving member of the Hokage clan. Recca also realizes that he has the ability to control fire. He is soon attacked by ninjas who want to take over the Hokage’s power because of these revelations. Flame of Recca follows a well-known action/adventure template, which of course includes a tournament arc. Naruto, Bleach, and other prominent shonen anime would follow Flame of Recca’s example. Now you can see it on Amazon.
6. Grand Blue (2018)
Grand Blue is a bit of a departure from the conventional dramedy: For the first time, it takes place beyond high school. To begin his college career in the best possible way, Iori Kitahara has relocated to his uncle’s scuba diving store in the beach town of Izu. To his dismay, Kitahara is persuaded to become a member of the university’s diving club, a group whose members spend more time binge drinking than learning how to dive. The majority of Grand Blue’s plot revolves around drinking, with Kitahara inadvertently becoming the center of attention. Furthermore, each episode begins with a notice warning viewers against “underage drinking” and “shameful acts,” because the show is so alcoholic. Grand Blue, despite its one-dimensional subject matter, features a cast of colorful, fascinating characters with a strong sense of humor. Some of these guys will be half-naked and drinking beer. Now you can see it on Amazon.
7. Great Teacher Onizuka (1999-2000)
From the mind of manga and anime legend Noriyuki Abe (Yu Yu Hakusho, Bleach), comes a film with an unforgettable lead character. 22-year-old ex-biker gang leader Eikichi Onizuka seeks a new career as a schoolteacher. In order to have sex with high school girls, it’s all right for him to be a teacher! It turns out that Onizuka isn’t as evil as he appears to be on the surface, and his eccentric teaching methods have a positive effect on his students. Onizuka’s students all have their own personal baggage, including bullying, parental neglect, and other traumas that have shaped them into sociopaths. It’s clear throughout the novel that Onizuka’s crazy teaching method helps his students recognize the numerous sorts of compassion, friendship, and familial ties that they’ve been missing in their own lives. When it’s all said and done, GTO may be the craziest anime to bring you to tears. Now you can see it on Amazon.
8. Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress (2016)
Many people in Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress are forced to seek sanctuary within gigantic walls in order to avoid being eaten by horrifying beasts. This may be a rehash, so please don’t continue. Even down to its production studio, Kabaneri shares many parallels with Attack on Titan. Kabaneri was the result of Wit Studio and director Tetsuro Araki taking a vacation from Titans after Season 1 of AoT became a worldwide success. To make up for the lack of cinematic intensity, Kabaneri presents similar moments. Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress is the perfect way to pass the time while you wait for the last season of AoT. Now you can see it on Amazon.
9. Made in Abyss (2017)
The Abyss is a vast chasm that extends to the earth’s core and is home to several ancient monsters and relics. What’s at the bottom of the enormous pit is a mystery to those who live above it. Divers, sometimes known as “White Whistles,” are considered heroes because of their fearlessness and ability to explore the depths of the Abyss. Although she is only a Red Whistle beginner, Riko wishes to follow in the footsteps of her mother, the famed White Whistle Lyza the Annihilator, and discover the depths of the Abyss. Riko’s interest in the pit deepens after a fortuitous encounter with an amnesiac robot kid, known as Reg, who she believes must have originated from deep beneath it. Their trek into the Abyss is fraught with peril as they search for Reg’s memories and find out what lies at its depths. Anime series Made in Abyss has a tendency to toy with your feelings. You can’t help but feel a twinge of sympathy for Riko and Reg as they make their way deeper into the Abyss, but you’re also made aware of the misery that awaits them. There are a plethora of creatures out there eager to rip them apart. To add insult to injury, humans are subject to a number of mental and physical ailments when they return to the surface from the depths of the abyss. This is known as “the bends.” Many of humanity’s finest divers, like Riko’s mother, never return from the Abyss because of this. Even if Riko and Reg’s trip has a sense of completion to it, there is no sense that their lives are being frivolously wasted. Both of these characters have a deep connection to the Abyss, and their journey reveals both the world’s and their own innermost mysteries. Now you can see it on Amazon.
10. Nichijou (2011)
This year, Funimation will release an English adaptation of Nichijou, one of the most surprising and zany slice-of-life comedies out there, which launched in 2011 but has since recovered its popularity. Three high school best friends and an 8-year-old scientist who lives with her robot mother (which she built herself) and a talking cat are the focus of Nichijou, a webtoon. Nichijou’s incredible production values and graphic style allow it to turn even the most mundane of events into something amusing. You want to see a deer fight a high school principal? You’re right, of course! What if an adolescent girl was experiencing a severe mental breakdown while trying to understand the menu at a coffee shop? That’s a little too personal for me. This slice-of-life comedy, like many others, has little in the way of storyline, but it does have an overarching theme. It doesn’t matter if our protagonists are going to school, shopping, or spending time in nature; Nichijou always makes a point of highlighting (and enhancing) the idiosyncrasies of daily life. Now you can see it on Amazon.
11. Samurai Champloo (2004-2005)
Swords replace weapons in Shinichiro Watanabe’s Samurai Champloo, another Shinichiro Watanabe masterpiece. When Fuu’s teahouse is ruined by the antics of a vagabond, Mugen, and the ronin samurai Jin, she ends up enlisting their help in her search for the “samurai who carries sunflowers.” Hip-hop culture has been woven into the fabric of Watanabe’s series, creating an anachronistic image of Edo-era Japan that includes graffiti and beatboxing as well as a riveting soundtrack. Samurai Champloo’s sword bouts are a visual treat. Mugen’s fighting style is like a freestyle: he improvises as he goes along, figuring things out as he goes along. When it comes to fighting techniques, he uses breakdancing and martial arts as well. When it comes to Jin’s merciless efficiency, you’d expect to see anything like that from an actual samurai. Samurai Champloo is a unique entry in the massive samurai subgenre, even if the characters and narrative don’t quite reach the same high notes as Cowboy Bebop. Now you can see it on Amazon.
12. Toradora! (2008-2009)
Romantic comedies like Toradora! follow a fairly predictable formula. Ryuuji is a sweet but intimidating young man who is fed up with people’s misunderstandings of him. When it comes to Taiga, Ryuuji’s younger sister, she is a stunning beauty with a sassy temper. After discovering that their mutual crushes are best friends, they agree to assist each other out in issues of the heart. Despite their initial difficult start, they create a strong link of their own and begin to question who they really want to be with. You can’t help but believe in the chemistry between the two characters when the story makes the (maybe apparent) point. Toradora! is a great choice if you’re looking for a sweet love story. Now you can see it on Amazon.
13. Vinland Saga (2019)
Thorfinn Karlsefni, a famed Icelandic explorer, sets out on a treacherous expedition to get revenge on the man who killed his father in Makoto Yukimura’s classic historical fiction manga series, Vinland Saga. It begins in the year 1002 A.D. and chronicles Thorfinn’s life from childhood to adulthood, showing him transform from a carefree lad into a hardened warrior ready to take on any challenge. The Vikings, a fascinating but little-discussed period of European history, are vividly brought to life in Vinland Saga, a dramatic and engrossing work of fiction. Despite the high-octane action and visually stunning animation, Thorfinn’s father Thors instills in his son the humanist message that everyone is fighting a hard battle and that no one can be considered an enemy. Vinland Saga, which is currently airing on Prime, has already established itself as one of the year’s best anime.