The 15 Absolute Best Animated Series On Netflix In 2018

Only the best animated series, cartoons and anime on Netflix.

the 15 best animated series on netflix in 2018

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Gritty, witty, queer and colourful, the best animated series on Netflix in 2018 aren’t just for kids. They’re fun, adult, real and therapeutic.

Over the last few years, the streaming service has expanded into Japanese animation and commissioned programs from some of pop culture’s best and biggest creators.

Netflix announced it would spend $8 billion on creating enough exclusive content to make its library 50 percent original in 2018. The results have been some amazing animated series on the platform.

With all that in mind, we’ve got a LOT of content to choose from: but here are the 15 best Netflix original animated series from this year.

15. Devilman Crybaby

Devilman Crybaby will be remembered as the moment when Netflix took its ambitious plans to expand into anime seriously.

After reuniting with his best friend who warns of a future where demons rise up and take over the world, anxious teen Akira is transformed into a part-devil part-human, possessing barbarically superhuman powers and the weight of the world as he struggles to maintain his own humanity.

With a blood-pumping soundtrack and wild freeform animation style by The Night is Short, Walk on Girl anime director Masaaki Yuasa, Devilman Crybaby is injected with gory action, religious symbolism, and heaps of sex. It’s incredibly entertaining.

14. Disenchantment

After tackling the absurd future of New New York City and the present day of Springfield, Simpsons and Futurama creator Matt Groening began a crass fantasy black-comedy about the misadventures of a half-elf, rebellious teen princess and her pet demon.

The series boasts a stellar cast including Abbi Jacobson, Eric Andre, John DiMaggio, Billy West and Matt Berry. The first ten episodes ended on a huge cliffhanger but more episodes are planned each year until 2021.

13. Hilda

Hilda is an incredibly relaxing, beautifully drawn show, full of wonder, charm and childish fun.

Based on the graphic novel of the same name by Luke Pearson, the British-Canadian cartoon is about a curious young girl who moves from a vast forest of elves, giants and trolls to a busy metropolis.

If you enjoy the small town antics of Gravity Falls and Twin Peaks, the monster of the week formula of The X-Files, and the slice of life episodes of Steven Universe, you’ll absolutely love Hilda.

12. The Hollow

A multi-genre young adult adventure about three teens trapped in a mysterious realm of portals, puzzles and monsters.

The series takes inspiration from traditional spooky horror, riddles and mythology, with episodes about the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, a minotaur’s labyrinth and an island populated by mutant spider-people.

11. Aggretsuko

A wild anime comedy about the people, culture and pressures of corporate life in Japan.

25-year-old office worker Retsuko is exhausted with the overwhelming and overworking demands of her lazy boss and annoying coworkers, but by night, unleashes her pent up rage in secret: singing death metal at a karaoke bar.

10. The Dragon Prince

The Dragon Prince is a great new fantasy animated series by the creators of Avatar: The Last Airbender, filled with the same goofy charm and action.

Long ago, humans and elves lived in magical harmony —  but as per usual, humans got greedy and began harvesting magical creatures for ingredients for a new secret magic, dividing the world into chaos and war.

After two young princes and a Scottish-accented elf assassin uncover a secret that could restore balance to the world, they join forces and set out on a journey to deliver an egg of the Dragon Prince to its rightful home.

9. Castlevania

Castlevania is the best video-game adaptation to date.

Set in Eastern Europe and inspired by both Japanimation and Ayami Kojima’s art in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Castlevania follows the last surviving member of the disgraced Belmont clan of vampire hunters, a powerful nomadic mage and the son of Dracula, on their quest to defeat his corrupt blood-sucking dad and his undead army.

The series delivers drama, gore and cynically-charged wit, in a world which creator Adi Shankar has plans to include in a video-game animated multiverse, involving adaptations of Devil May Cry and Assassin’s Creed.

8. She-Ra & The Princesses of Power

An almost entirely female cast of Saturday morning cartoon fun from the creator of Nimona and Lumberjanes, Noelle Stevenson.

She-Ra & the Princesses of Power is a Dreamworks reboot of the 1980s spin-off to He-Man: Defender of the Universe. It follows Adora, a teen orphan who, after encountering a magical sword, is transformed into the legendary warrior She-Ra, destined to unite a rebellion of princesses against an evil empire.

She-Ra has an extremely wholesome focus on empowering young girls and the importance of friendships, much in the same way as the Sailor Scouts did many moons ago.

7. Final Space

Produced by Conan O’Brien, Final Space is a space opera comedy-drama about an astronaut and his pudgy ball-shaped planet-destroying sidekick, Mooncake, as they journey through space in search of the end of the universe.

Much like Rick and Morty, on the surface the show appears to be an episodic series of gags and unrelated jokes, but it evolves into a serious adventure with a deeper plot, such as when an intergalactic commander tries to claim Mooncake’s power for his own.

6. Big Mouth

An adult, foul-mouthed cartoon about teenagers experiencing puberty and the outrageously rebellious hormone-monsters that haunt them.

With a cast including Nick Kroll, Jordan Peele, Gina Rodriguez, John Mulaney, Fred Armisen, and Maya Rudolph, Big Mouth has a mouthful of crude yet very funny hot-takes on adolescence.

From talking pubic hairs, to slut-shaming, to a clan of British wizards who appear from the shadows at night to shame those with erections, and rapidly changing mood swings visualised through shotgun-wielding monsters — high school can be tough, yo.

5. Voltron: Legendary Defender

Another Dreamworks reboot of an 80s classic, Voltron is a love letter to anime, fandom culture and cartoons.

After fleeing their space cadet base on Earth, five rebellious teens learn they have the power to use mechanic lion spaceships that combine into a humanoid warrior, and must use them to defend the universe from evil.

Made by Studio Mir the Seoul-based studio behind The Legend of Korra and Boondocks, Voltron has a similar tonal and artistic energy that fans will enjoy, and there’s still enough time to binge the first seven seasons, before the final is released on December 14.

4. Super Drags

Super Drags is a Brazilian-made hyper-gay NSFW fusion of queer humour, Powerpuff Girls and RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Three gay department store workers lead double lives as superhero drag queens, defending the queer world from an evil queen and conservative politicians. The series stars Drag Race alumni Trixie Mattel, Shangela, Ginger Minj and Willam, meaning that I guess you could say the Drag Race girls finally came to Brazil.

3. Violet Evergarden

A beautifully animated and emotional anime drama about a former child-soldier working at a ghostwriter service agency.

After the war leaves her scarred and emotionless with mechanical arm replacements, Violet Evergarden takes a job at a letter writing service to try and better understand herself and the past.

What follows is a series of episodic journeys into human emotion as she visits clients and learns about the languages of love and kinds of affection people have for one another, and tries to fit into society.

2. Bojack Horseman

Bojack Horseman is the kind of the series you need to watch when you’re depressed, eating the remains of a bag of shredded cheese in the fridge at 2am.

The way it tackles real issues through the perspective of anthropomorphic celebrity personalities is deeply therapeutic, and weirdly the kind of representation we need in pop culture. In the new season, the series tackles reconnecting with your heritage, coming out to your family as asexual, and balancing work commitments with raising a child.

Oh  — and some of the best commentary and discussion of depression on television. But also it’s really funny!

1. Batman Ninja

Okay so this one isn’t *technically* a Netflix original or series, but the idea of it is so wild that we just can’t not include it.

Batman Ninja follows Batman and a variety of classic Bat-fam and foes in a Sengoku era Japanese-inspired world. With character designs by Afro Samurai creator Takashi Okazaki and the team of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, the film is an incredibly stylistic 3D animated love letter to anime, shoguns, Gundam and Batman.

Julian Rizzo-Smith is a friendly neighbourhood queer freelance writer reporting on pop culture, games and entertainment.  You can find him sharing his freshly hot takes and puns on pop culture, queer discourse and general geek things on Twitter @retawes.