Looking for something to watch? In the glut of the streaming era, where everything and anything can be viewed at the simple click of a button, it can feel overwhelming trying to find a new show to binge over a three-day weekend. Thankfully, anime is here to save the day, especially when you want to get lost in another strange world.
Being one of the most common genres across anime, fantasy shows can seem like a tell me a dozen, but there are several that end up making an impression on audiences. Many of these shows are among the best in transporting audiences to another world, and they are all on Netflix right now for viewers to experience.
Set in a world of anthropomorphic animals to Zootopia, Beastars follows a wolf named Legoshi as he traverses through high school while also dealing with the aftermath of the murder of a recent student by a predator. The catch? He’s also in love with a rabbit, and predator/prey relationships are considered taboo.
From its unique and beautiful CG animation and in-depth worldbuilding, Beastars also manages to have complex characterization and dense plotting that will keep you on the edge of your seat. It’s more than just a drama about talking animals; it’s a mystery-thriller that will constantly keep you guessing where it will go next.
‘BNA (Brand New Animal)’
Brought to us by the wonderful team at Trigger, BNAor Brand New Animal follows a world where humans co-exist with beings known as Beastmen, who face persecution due to their ability to transform. The story itself focuses on Michiru, a high school girl who is suddenly able to transform into a tanuki following a blood transfusion.
The neon-infused cyberpunk setting and the vibrant, detailed animation give BNA an energy unlike anything else. And with a small-scale, personal story that spans 12 episodes, it’s a quick watch that’s ultimately unforgettable.
‘Children of the Whales’
One of the most unique fantasy worlds found in anime, Children of the Whales is set in a universe where everybody lives on top of a floating island called a “Mud Whale.” One of these people is a boy named Chakuro, who is Marked — someone who can move things with his mind at the cost of a shorter lifespan.
To say more would ruin the fun, as Children of the Whales prides itself on unpredictability. Even beyond the one-of-a-kind premise, the show also has a solid emotional core between Chakuro and its female lead Lykos, which gives Children of the Whales its emotional pull.
‘Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba’
Set at the turn of the century in Japan in an era where modern technology clashes with the old ways: demons exist, and it’s up to the slayers to stop them. Following a boy named Tanjiro, whose family was killed by demons, he becomes a slayer in hopes of one day curing his demon-afflicted sister of him.
demon slayer is mainly known for its incredible action sequences, which it has in spades. But it’s also got a solid emotional core between its two leads, and as the cast of the show grows and grows, you start to get attached to everybody no matter what side of the conflict they are a part of.
‘Little Witch Academy’
Another fantasy series brought to us by the geniuses at Trigger, Little Witch Academia, is a light and fluffy time that should appeal to the Harry Potter enthusiasts of the world. Following a young witch who goes to school for her de ella magic, the show has a perfect tone for young and older audiences, making it a great show for family viewing.
It’s also just a great time, with likeable characters and stellar animation to bolster it forward. And once you get to the end of its 24-episode run, you’ll be clamoring for a second season to spend more time in this world like any great fantasy series.
‘Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic’
In what can be only described as “Aladdin meets anime,” Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic is a shonen-style retelling of 1001 Arabian Nights with all the characters to boot. The story follows both Alibaba and Aladdin, who are dungeon crawlers and get wrapped up in events far bigger than they initially intended.
With great action scenes and fantastic fantasy worldbuilding at its core, magic is a fun popcorn anime that also has a good amount of depth. Its unique take on classic legends is sure to appeal to history buffs, and it tends to skew closer to the legends in terms of characterization.
‘Record of Grancrest War’
In a world populated by Chaos, a war has broken out between two nations. Theo, a lord and crest holder, joins up with a mage named Siluca to try and bring a diplomatic solution to the two warring nations – which may not be possible as demons control much of the strings.
Record of Grancrest War is a grand story spanning dozens of characters and interpersonal conflicts. It very much feels like a “record” of a war since long ago – less of a singular story and more of a history textbook of this fantasy world come to life. It can be dry, for sure, but its detailed lore and great action sequences will not be missed.
One of the most popular anime of the early 2000s, shaman-king got the reboot treatment in 2021 with updated animation and a storyline that more closely aligns with the source material. At 52 episodes, it’s a perfect length for those looking for a longer show but doesn’t want to commit to something like one piece or Naruto.
Following Yoh Asakura’s journey to become the shaman king, the series has high-octane battles, dozens of likable characters, and one of the most compelling hero-villain dynamics in anime, thanks to Hao Asakura, Yoh’s brother. This family dynamic gives Shaman King a uniqueness among anime that has yet to be replicated.
‘Sirius the Jaeger’
Set in the 1930s, the series follows a group of vampire hunters named Jaegers searching for a group of vampires who escaped to Japan. One of these hunters is Sirius, a werewolf who harbors a grudge against vampires for possibly killing his family from him.
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With its gory action sequences and great music, Sirius the Jaeger is one of the best pieces of popcorn entertainment one can think of. And at a breezy 12 episodes, it doesn’t overstay its welcome and manages to be fun from start to finish.
‘The Seven Deadly Sins’
Set in a medieval-style fantasy world, the story follows Elizabeth as she works with Meliodas, a former knight of Britannia, to reunite his comrades — the Seven Deadly Sins — and put a stop to the demon that framed them for a crime they didn’t ‘t commit.
Outside of the excellent fantasy setting that is reminiscent of Dungeons and Dragons and Lord of the Rings, it’s also a great action show with some stunning action sequences. The show loses a bit of its luster as it goes on and gets more complicated storywise, but it ends on a high note, and its central leads’ chemistry is enough to carry it through.
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