Best 2021 Drama Anime on Hulu – From Platinum End to The Case Study of Vanitas

WARNING: The following article contains brief discussion of suicide and self-harm.

Any longstanding fan of anime will adamantly insist the medium is not just meant for kids. Unlike the majority of western animation until recently, anime encompasses many mature and gut-wrenching plotlines that keep their viewers on the edge. Focusing on the interpersonal dynamics and startling developments between characters, drama is one of the most popular elements that anime brings to the table. For those whose streaming platform of choice is Hulu, here is a guide to some of the most heart-pounding, mind-boggling or tear-jerking shows the service has to offer.

Platinum End

Platinum End Mirai Nasse Wings

From the creators of Death NotePlatinum End is another hard-hitting thriller that deals with humans given otherworldly powers. Following years of despair and abuse, Mirai Kakehashi attempts to take his own life by jumping off a building. Before he hits the ground, he is rescued by an angel named Nasse, who takes him under her protection.

Shortly after, Nasse grants Mirai supernatural abilities and informs him of a competition to become God. Mirai becomes one of 13 candidates qualified to take the place of the current God who is retiring in 999 days. While he uses his wits to advance, many of the other contestants resort to deadly force to claim victory. Aside from the unending suspense that builds with each episode, Platinum End raises questions about justice, morality and what it means to live a good life.

Season 1 of Platinum End remains ongoing and is available to watch on Hulu.

Demon Slayer: Mugen Train

Demon Slayer The Movie Mugen Train

Picking up from Season 1 of the anime, the seven-episode Demon Slayer: Mugen Train entry available on Hulu is the expanded television edition of the recent smash hit film. Tanjiro Kamado, his sister Nezuko and their allies, Zenitsu Agatsuma and Hashibira Inosuke embark on a journey on the mysterious Mugen Train to provide backup for their superior, Kyoujirou Rengoku.

As the group investigate the threats that lurk aboard the locomotive, they are confronted with their deepest desires and have their missions challenged. Mugen Train strikes at the core of what it means to seek revenge and honor those who have died, while presenting heart-wrenching development for old and new characters alike. Though the arc requires familiarity with Demon Slayer thus far, both its theatrical and serialized versions deserve the acclaim they've received as one of the medium's greatest hits.

The Demon Slayer: Mugen Train arc is available now to stream on Hulu.

How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom

The cast of Realist Hero ready for battle

When Kazuya Souma is summoned to be the hero of another world, he quickly changes the trajectory of his adventure by taking the throne and restructuring the country from the ground up. While recruiting skilled vassals and expanding his influence, Kazuya's sociological expertise proves to be just what was needed to bring peace to the land.

Rather than focusing on the high-octane action and fantastical spectacle that many other isekai use as their center points, How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom focuses on the political intrigue that comes with running a nation. Players of management and strategy games or readers of sprawling fantasy epics will find themselves immersed in the complex inner workings of the setting built up throughout the series.

All 13 episodes of How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom can be streamed on Hulu.

Sonny Boy

Nagara and his class find themselves stuck in a parallel world in Sonny Boy

Sonny Boy is a slow-burn suspense anime with unique visuals that takes an introspective look at the human psyche. After being transported along with their school building to a parallel dimension, Nagara and his classmates attempt to find a way home. Though the students have been gifted supernatural abilities, the rising tensions between them quickly become the biggest threat to their safety and return.

For fans of anime similar to the Monogatari series with stream-of-consciousness dialogue and a mentally bewildering tone, the abstract stylings of MADHOUSE Studio's latest drama will satisfy that niche perfectly. Sonny Boy's pacing and mystery pull the viewer in in such a way that leaves them just as bewildered as the characters themselves with each revelation.

All 12 episodes of Sonny Boy are available to stream on Hulu.

The Case Study of Vanitas

Vanitas tries to cure vampires from aggression

For a fantastical twist on vampire stories, The Case Study of Vanitas thrives on plot twists and mystique. In a setting where vampires can be driven to deadly aggression by illness, Noé Archiviste embarks on a mission to Paris to decipher the legendary Book of Vanitas and find the solution to the plague besetting his kind. His search leads him to an erratic young man by the name of Vanitas, a human who claims to have the ability to cure vampires of their ailments.

While Noé is unsure of Vanitas's trustworthiness, his drive to help others like himself forces him into an uneasy partnership with the unpredictable enigma. Combining steampunk and gothic horror aesthetics, The Case Study of Vanitas is an exciting ride for lovers of eerie anime. The volatile nature of its central characters will have fans questioning their motivations at every turn.

The Case Study of Vanitas Season 1 is available to stream on Hulu.

For more information on the warning signs and prevention of suicide, click here. If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). If you live outside the U.S., click here for a list of international hotlines.

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