If you have no idea where to start, start here.
Netflix users joke all the time about spending more time in the menu screen than actually watching stuff, and that same problem extends to every other streaming service out there. Choosing from so many options is overwhelming to say the least!
Crunchyroll is a terrific streaming service for anime fans, but it’s good to have a roadmap. This list of the best offerings includes both classic must-watch series and some offbeat picks as well, so we hope it’ll help you spend less time in the menu and more time getting your otaku on.
The best anime on Crunchyroll
1) Cowboy Bebop
We’d like to assume every anime fan has seen Cowboy Bebop by now, but since it came out in 2001, a younger generation of fans may have missed it. This postapocalyptic series focuses on a gang of bounty hunters called Cowboys who are out to catch criminals. With an unforgettable soundtrack by composer Yoko Kanno and characters with rich, unexpected backstories, Cowboy Bebop is a fulfilling watch, earning it a spot among some of the most treasured anime of all time. Watch it here.
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2) One Piece
The main thing that keeps newer fans from getting into One Piece is its daunting length. The manga has been ongoing since 1997, and the series is nearing the 800-episode mark. Even so, One Piece is not to be missed. Monkey D. Luffy’s quest to become the king of pirates comes to life as he befriends those he meets along the way. Even if you don’t plan to watch the series, the movies are great too and require much less of a time commitment. Watch it here.
3) Mob Psycho 100
If you enjoy all things supernatural, Mob Psycho 100 will make you very happy. Shigeo Kageyama, known as “Mob,” is a middle-school student with intense ESP who works part-time at a psychic business. He wishes to hold back his emotions, but when they reach “level 100,” something happens to Mob that’s hard to explain. Originally a webcomic created by ONE, the artist behind One-Punch Man, Mob Psycho 100 is equal parts weird and wonderful. Watch it here.
School romance shows are a dime a dozen in the anime world, but Orange is a true standout. Set around a high-school girl named Naho who receives a letter in the mail from her future self, Orange’s rich character development and careful timing unroll a truly touching story that will genuinely move you. Adapted from a manga, there’s also a wonderful live-action version of Orange that is also well worth seeing too. Watch it here.
5) Chi’s Sweet Home
We’ve mentioned Chi’s Sweet Home before in our best short anime roundup, but we had to give it another nod for being one of the most delightful shows out there. After Chi is separated from her mother and siblings, she finds a new home with a human family. The show is very simple—and very short at three minutes an episode—so it’s not a big time investment, and it’s precious every step of the way. Watch it here.
6) Your Lie in April
When Kousei Arima’s mother passes away, the genius pianist is left unable to play a single note because of his grief. But when he meets violinist Kaori Miyazono, he rediscovers his will to live. If you’ve seen Nodame Cantabile, you’re definitely going to recognize the dynamic here, but it’s a delightful watch for any fan of music anime, romance, or both. Watch it here.
7) Great Teacher Onizuka—The Animation
When ex-gang member Eikichi Onizuka decides his new goal in life is to become a high-school teacher so he can be around young, pretty girls, he goes to Holy Forest Academy to pursue that dream. Instead, he’s assigned a class of delinquents, which seems like a bad thing… but it turns out to be much more valuable than Onizuka’s fantasy ever was. A classic manga-turned-anime, the series has been beloved ever since the manga was first released in 1997. Watching Onizuka connect to his students and get to know who they really are under all their problems is a true joy. Watch it here.
8) 91 Days
Prohibition and the Mafia are the cornerstones of 91 Days, which tells the story of a young boy seeking revenge after his parents are killed by key members of the underworld. Strewn with intrigue and drama, it’s a dark story with many players that should satisfy any viewer who loves a bit of suspense. Watch it here.
9) Yuri on Ice
Yuri on Ice is a sports anime romcom about figure skaters, and was one of the biggest anime shows of 2016. It stars a talented but socially anxious Japanese skater named Yuri Katsuki, who ends up being coached by his childhood idol Victor Nikiforov, a glamorous Russian champion. Fans love this show for its combination of figure skating expertise and a well-written male/male romance, and season 2 is already on the way. —Gavia Baker-Whitelaw
Editor’s note: This article is regularly updated for relevance.
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