Anime can seem like a daunting medium to get into. With so much variety when it comes to genre, style and storytelling, it can be difficult to know just where to start. However, the following five shows have been selected as the perfect 'starter' anime, meaning they're very easy to engage in no matter how much anime you've watched before. More than that, these anime are all based on popular Netflix originals, so it's easier to tell from your pre-existing tastes which show might be right for you. So while the wait is on for those Netflix series to return, these anime might just help with that hiatus itch and provide another binge-worthy favorite in the meantime.
Stranger Things: Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress/Another
If Stanger Things' action in particular was appealing, Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress is a pulse-pounding zombie series where people have been forced to live inside stations and only travel by reinforced train to protect themselves from kabane, which are ultra-strong, fast and deadly zombies. The existence of kabaneri -- those who were bitten but didn't turn feral -- might be humanity's best hope, but only if humans can bring themselves to trust the kabaneri in their midst.
If the government plot was your favorite part of Stranger Things, then Another is an excellent anime full of twists and turns and nobody left to trust. Koichi is a transfer student back in the town where he was born, but he has unknowingly placed himself into the center of a town secret that involves a Final Destination series of unfortunate deaths -- all the way back to a death in 1972 that has plagued the school ever since.
The Witcher: Golden Kamuy/Dororo
Golden Kamuy is the story of war veteran Saichi and his quest to find the treasure of the Ainu people. He is joined by Aspira, an Ainu girl who is out for revenge. Golden Kamuy is rich in world-building, which fans of The Witcher will enjoy, as well as featuring a band of merry misfits and an uneasy alliance with another group where broken promises and backstabbing are inevitable.
Dororo starts on a grimmer premise. A lord makes a promise with demons in exchange for a prosperous land; his newborn son is born without skin or eyes or any of his limbs, and then is cast out into the river to die. The lord prospers, but his son Hyakkimaru is taken in by a man who makes prosthetics and sends Hyakkimaru out to battle the demons who took his body. With each defeat, he regains a part that was lost, and his father's pact with the demons grows weaker. It is on this journey that the titular child Dororo appears to help Hyakkimaru on his way.
Alice in Borderland: Death Note/Psycho Pass
Like Netflix's Alice in Borderland, these two anime have a high body count and can be highly disturbing. Death Note has a simple premise: what if a human gained the ability to kill almost anyone they wanted, simply by writing their name in a book? When A Death God named Ryuk gets bored and drops his Death Note to the Earth, where Light Yagami happens to find it. Light sets a plan to right the world and become its new ruler by killing all wrong-doers, but when he comes under suspicion, it's a slippery slope between killing evil humans and people who simply get in his way.
Psycho-Pass portrays a world where everyone knows their place. The Sybil System ensures everyone is in the correct job based on test scores and remains safe through the psycho-pass system, which evaluates threats to society before crimes can be committed. Akane is assigned to be an Inspector who works to apprehend those whose psycho-pass makes them a danger. However, a series of brutal crimes reveals a single individual is operating behind the scenes without fear of the Sybil System, and it's only by breaking out of the system herself that she has a chance of catching them.
The Umbrella Academy: Charlotte/Terror in Resonance
Enjoy interesting characters and a unique premise in your shows? Charlotte is an anime about teenagers with superhuman abilities who work to protect those with superpowers both from hurting others and from society at large. With talents such as possession, cloaking and telekinesis, the characters are fun to watch in action but stay grounded with real-world consequences for their powers. Charlotte is fast-paced and begins to add elements of conspiracy and secret organizations as the show progresses, perfect for those who enjoy the way The Umbrella Academy drops you right into the middle of a story with a whole new truth to uncover.
Terror in Resonance is also a fantastic choice for The Umbrella Academy fans, with intriguing characters and secrets galore. Lisa is living a miserable life, bullied at school and harassed at home. When she's trapped in a building that's just been blown up, Lisa is given the decision to die or to jump into the arms of the terrorists responsible. Recognizing the chance to escape from her life, Lisa follows the terrorist duo Sphinx as they continue their game of taunting the police. The clues as to why Sphinx are doing this are out there -- if only a single person cares to put the pieces together.
Shadow and Bone: Princess Principal/Black Butler
Princess Principal and Black Butler are both period dramas to appeal to the aesthetic of Shadow and Bone, and both contain just a little magic. Princess Principal features a London that has been divided into the Kingdom and the Commonwealth, with military production increasing on both sides. Commonwealth spies now attend the Queen's Mayfaire school to pass information along. A plan to replace the Kingdom princess goes awry, however, when Princess Charlotte offers to be a spy for the Commonwealth herself -- as long as it will help her become the queen.
Black Butler takes place in the late 1800s as young Ciel Phantomhive performs his duty as the Queen's watchdog, investigating London's underbelly and taking care of matters of concern to the crown. By rights, the title should still belong to Ciel's father, but the family home was burned down three years prior, Ciel was abducted and his parents murdered. While enduring horrific assault by his abductors, a case of black magic went wrong and allowed Ciel to make a contract with the demon in place of his captors. The demon will serve Ciel until he avenges his parents, but then Ciel's soul is forfeit. Until then, the demon puts on a front as as butler and accompanies Ciel on all manner of investigations into the criminal and the supernatural.
Though getting into anime can certainly seem difficult, these shows based on popular Netflix originals give a solid idea of what kind of show you might be interested in watching. So whether you're an an avid anime fan or complete newcomer, this list should help you find your next great show, based on your own Netflix history.