Table of Contents
- 1 ) Fruits Basket (2019-21)
- 2) Sailor Moon (1992)
- 3) Sonny Boy (2021)
- 4) Cowboy Bebop (1998)
- 5) The Case Study of Vanitas (2021 - )
- 6) Death Parade (2015)
- 7) InuYasha (2000)
- 8) Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba (2019 -)
- 9) Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (2009)
- 10) Rurouni Kenshin (1996)
- 11) One Piece (1999 - )
- 12) Attack on Titan (2013-22)
- 13) The Promised Neverland (2019-21)
- 14) One-Punch Man (2015-19)
- 15) Kimi Ni Todoke (2009-11)
- 16) Mushishi (2014)
- 17) Ouran High School Host Club (2006)
- 18) Food Wars! (2015- )
- 19) Assassination Classroom (2015-6)
- 20) Steins; Gate (2011)
While not the first platform that comes to an anime fan's mind, Hulu is becoming a force to be reckoned with when it comes to its anime library. More and more completed and ongoing series make it there, dubbed or with English subtitles, so even if you prefer more conventional platforms to Crunchyroll or Funimation, you're largely covered. In no particular order, here are some of the best anime on Hulu right now:
1) Fruits Basket (2019-21)
Opinions very much vary about the 2001 adaptation of Fruits Basket, which came out when Takaya Natsuki’s manga was still ongoing. In comparison, the three-season anime that first hit our screens in 2019 gave fans everything they needed. The moving finale aired last summer, and a Special about Tohru’s parents is also going to be adapted.
There’s little point in summarizing the show about the homeless, orphan girl who realizes her new housemates transform into animals when hugged. Not only because the main plot threads are very well-known, but, mainly, because the show is about so much more. It is not about crude comedy, as the main premise might suggest, although it’s really funny times. It isn’t about romance or about a love triangle, although there are plenty of couples to root for.
What makes Fruits Basket so worth watching, is, first and foremost, its healing energy. The ensemble cast consists of very different individuals, all of whom have suffered some sort of trauma, usually within their own family. The show is very optimistic about the possibility of recovery, but not naively so. Rather, it is honest about the ways intergenerational trauma changes others irrevocably, and about the fact that creating copying mechanisms and trusting others again is a slow procedure. The characters’ backstories and present pain occasionally make the show a bit difficult to watch, but Fruits Basket is all about the little things that make life just a tiny bit better. If you give it a chance, it’ll give you tears, laughter, and plenty of characters to love.
2) Sailor Moon (1992)
Sailor Moon isn’t the first magical girl anime, and it definitely wasn’t the last. Countless similar works pay homage to it, either directly, by featuring female empowerment and mixing shojo aesthetics with shonen tropes. Others, like Madoka Magika, draw from the magical girl genre to completely deconstruct it. In any case, the influence of Sailor Moon is undeniable. In any case, it’s the first work that comes to mind when thinking of magical girls.
Once again, there’s no need to summarise the story of Usagi Tsukino and her friend group – normal schoolgirls by day, transformed magical warriors by night – as they fight evil. In fact, Sailor Moon is one of the shows that prove simple good vs. evil formulas can work. From the unforgettable 90s aesthetics to the themes of friendship and empowerment, Sailor Moon is worth binging, as even the fillers provide some character development.
3) Sonny Boy (2021)
If you want an anime to challenge you, as well as entertain you, one of Hulu’s newest additions might be for you. Sonny Boy sounds like an isekai, but only if you go no further than the blurb: a group of high-schoolers gets transported into another dimension where they must survive supernatural horrors.
But this is nothing like your typical isekai. I would describe Sonny Boy as “Jules Verne’s Two Years Vacation meets Battle Royale, but with alternative dimensions.” A lot of the time, you will need to watch and rewatch to even get an idea of what is going on. Most often, you won’t be sure even then. It isn’t completely, 100% absurd, but it gets close.
That being said, don’t let the confusion keep you from giving Sonny Boy a chance. It’s surprisingly digestible and fun to watch. It isn’t one for definitive answers, but perhaps it doesn’t need them. The interesting characters, Mizuho’s cats, and the unforgettable, sentient setting, make it an experience worth trying.
4) Cowboy Bebop (1998)
One of the oldest additions in this list, Cowboy Bebop is a must-watch classic. If you haven’t tried it yet, you have all the more reason to do so, what with the Netflix live-action. Nowadays, combining a space opera with Western elements isn’t unheard of, but even now, the 1998 anime stands out due to its masterful use of this blend. Add the excellent music and the noir storytelling, and you have an anime like no other.
The anime transports as to the late 21st century – quite far off yet, but not as far as it was when it first aired – where a group of bounty hunters known as “Cowboys” help keep peace in the galaxy. If you like action and humor, there’s no excuse not to give it a chance!
5) The Case Study of Vanitas (2021 - )
Another one of Hulu’s newest additions, The Case Study of Vanitas aired during summer 2021. Anything that happens, from battles to everyday moments, looks incredibly beautiful and well designed. Pair that with morally grey characters you will probably end up rooting for, and you have one of the best Summer 2021 anime.
The show unfolds in an alternative Paris, where vampires suffer the corruption of their true name and the unnatural bloodlust that comes with it. Noe, a young vampire, is looking for the book of Vanitas, a rumored cursed grimoire associated with this corruption. To his surprise, he finds said book in the hands of a human who has taken the name Vanitas for himself. A self-proclaimed vampire doctor, Vanitas uses the book to cure, rather than curse vampires. But what for?
Thus begins Noe’s journey with a man he can’t stand, but can’t help being intrigued by. But Noe’s narration begins with dark undertones the anime has only begun to explore: at the end of their joint journey, Vanitas died by his hand.
6) Death Parade (2015)
If you would like something more palatable than Sonny Boy, with catchy aesthetics and a fun atmosphere, which still makes you think, give Death Parade a chance. The show welcomes us to the Quindecim bar and introduces us to its employees. But behind the façade of a bar, lies something else entirely.
In fact, the bar is the place where souls go after death. Through games, that usually culminate in grand revelations, the patrons’ who are already dead, have a chance to determine the fate of their souls. The owner of the bar, Decim, is an arbiter of life, and quite sure of his judgments until a mysterious guest causes him to question his previously held certainties.
7) InuYasha (2000)
Lately, the isekai genre has become oversaturated. Too many purposeless adults, typically but not always male, will die and get transported to a magical world where they’ll go from losers – in whose eyes anyway?– to overpowered heroes living the most cliched self-insert fanfiction.
InuYasha came before the trope became so overdone as to be featured in at least two or three anime per season, successfully or less so. It follows a young girl who doesn’t die but gets transported five centuries into the past, a period filled with violence, but also magic. From there on, she enlists the help of Inuyasha, a dog demon/human hybrid, and together they go on a quest to keep the shards of a wish-fulfilling jewel from falling into the wrong hands.
This is not your typical 12-episode anime. It’s run for over 100 episodes, so you have to be patient with it. But the amazing characters and the basic but interesting plotline will make it tempting to watch.
8) Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba (2019 -)
Whether shonen tropes are your cup of tea or not, Demon Slayer is considered the cool thing to watch right now, so it’s worth giving it a try. With an abundance of merch going on wherever you go, the story of Tanjiro and his cursed sister, Nezuko, who try to make their way into the world as the sole survivors of a demon attack is literally everywhere.
While the story falls into familiar narrative structures, it has won the hearts of so many people for a reason, so it’s worth giving a try, particularly since it’s so accessible.
9) Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (2009)
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is on many best anime lists, but it could not be missing from this one. Ranked #1 on the popular anime database MyAnimeList, it has arguably earned his throne. The story of alchemist brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric as they try to undo the effects of a taboo action they committed years ago.
What makes Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood so unique is the world it has created; vaster than you could ever imagine when you start watching it as just another shonen. The brothers start off as two individuals battling with their personal painful story, only to be complicated in a world-altering scheme that could destroy everything they’ve ever known. The characters they meet along the way only make it all more interesting, funny, and occasionally heart-wrenching.
10) Rurouni Kenshin (1996)
If you want to become familiar with works that changed the anime action scene but are wary of huge titles such as Naruto and One Piece, Rurouni Kenshin is a classic you might want to try.
Set in the 11th year of Japan’s Meiji period, the anime follows Himura Kenshin, a former legendary assassin. To atone for his previous sins, Kenshin becomes a sword protector of the people of Japan, with the vow never to take another life again. Along the way, he meets a woman named Kaoru who offers him a place in her dojo. There, he meets many friends, as well as enemies.
11) One Piece (1999 - )
One Piece is a huge time commitment, with its run spanning over more than twenty years. But there's a reason why it's so enduring, and, thankfully, platforms like Hulu allow you to take your time to explore the show's intriguing world.
The series follows a young man known as Monkey D. Luffy, who, along with his crew, embarks on a journey from the East Blue Sea to find mythical treasure known as One Piece, and proclaim himself the King of the Pirates.
12) Attack on Titan (2013-22)
Attack on Titan is another show that hardly needs an introduction. Whether or not you're a fan, you have probably heard of the last remaining members of human society, who live barricaded behind three concentric walls to guard themselves against Titans.
Humanity's fight against the Titans is tense and heartbreaking to watch, and later seasons bring revelations and plot twists you'd never have seen coming.
13) The Promised Neverland (2019-21)
The Promised Neverland focuses on a group of orphan children led by a girl named Emma, who come up with a master plan to escape their orphanage after discovering the sinister secret her foster mother had been hiding from them. The show features an amazing friendship between the main character and two of the boys she grew up with, as well as clever mind games and a truly terrifying villain with a well-written backstory.
The Promised Neverland is an interesting case due to the big quality difference between its two seasons. While Season 1 was faithful to the manga it's based on, the second season all but derailed the anime. This, however, somehow manages not to take away the awesome experience that is Season 1, so it's definitely worth streaming, even if only to go on with the manga afterward.
14) One-Punch Man (2015-19)
Superhero franchises are often considered a Western comic and animation business. Shows like One-Punch Man show that this doesn't have to be the case! Add some existentialism and subversion to the mix, and you get a very funny, enjoyable premise.
One-Punch Man follows a hero that cannot be defeated - as should be any hero's goal, right? As it turns out, the main character of One-Punch Man is sick of beating everyone with a single punch, and he would much rather fight against a worthy opponent for once!
15) Kimi Ni Todoke (2009-11)
Shonen anime tend to be emphasized more than shojo in any platform, but, thankfully, Hulu has its fair share of shojo works as well. Kimi Ni Todoke is the story of Sawako Kuronuma, who is teased due to her resemblance to the infamous, creepy character of Sadako from The Ring. Due to this, her classmates think that she's frightening or mean, even though her sweet, mild manners suggest the exact opposite.
The anime focuses on Sawako's encounter with Shouta Kazehaya, the most popular boy in her class, and how interacting with each other changes both for the better.
16) Mushishi (2014)
If you are interested in action that's a bit on the psychological side, with a mellow, dreamy pace, Mushishi is an oasis among the many action works that get a bit repetitive after a while. This beautiful supernatural anime follows Ginko, a man who roams the world hunting mushi. These creatures are amoral beings that can be found anywhere and take any form, occasionally causing trouble to those they affect.
Ginko, who is known as Mushi-shi, a mushi specialist, so to speak, is called to resolve these problems, study mushi, and perhaps realized what they are and why they exist.
17) Ouran High School Host Club (2006)
Ouran High School Host Club both subverts tropes associated with other school anime and shaped the school anime that followed.
The Studio Bones show follows Haruhi, a scholarship student in an elite school who, unlike her popular classmates, has no social status. When she accidentally finds herself in the spaces of an all-male elite club and accidentally breaks a precious artifact, she finds herself in serious debt. To pay the boys back, she starts serving as a host alongside them, which becomes possible due to her masculine appearance. This is a very funny show with quirky characters and wholesome relationships - highly recommended for fans of school anime!
18) Food Wars! (2015- )
We've seen highly competitive sports anime as well as works focusing on art competitions, such as Blue Period. Of course, food shouldn't be missing from the competitive slice of life anime sphere, especially considering how many anime, from Studio Ghibli, and not only make food appear extremely attractive!
The story unfolds in Totsuki Saryo Culinary Institute, a Tokyo-based elite culinary school. But this isn't just a show about characters living out their chef dreams. Food and recipes are a currency in the culinary school, and there's a lot to be determined by one's performance in competitions known as Food Wars! If you love cooking, this anime is for you!
Related: 10 Best Shows on Funimation to Watch
19) Assassination Classroom (2015-6)
If you love school comedies, you definitely need to check out Assassination Classroom. The anime follows a mysterious tentacled creature who has cut a slice off the moon, and promises to do the same to earth soon unless humans manage to stop him!
The only ones who stand a chance are no other than his students; for reasons no one understands he has asked to teach a class of misfits with low grades, knowing full-well that they'll do anything to assassinate him. Complicating matters is the fact that he's fast enough to go abroad during his break and be back for the next class. Not only that; he's also the best teacher the children ever had. This is an incredibly funny work, with a quirky, original premise that works better than you'd ever imagine!
20) Steins; Gate (2011)
Steins; Gate has been one of the top-rated anime on MyAnimeList for more than a decade now, and most fans would agree that it deserves the hype. Based on a legendary visual novel of the same name, the show follows Rintaro Okabe, a self-proclaimed mad scientist, and his friends, Mayuri Shiina and Hashida Itaru as they try to unlock the mysteries of time travel.
While the concept of time travel is by no means new or groundbreaking, it's done exceptionally well in Steins; Gate, and, combined with intriguing plot and strong character arcs, it makes for a memorable viewing experience.