Though some have definitely been of more questionable quality than others, Netflix has undoubtedly become more of a home for anime in recent years. These include pre-existing anime that are also available on other platforms, adaptations of manga and completely original animated movies and shows. Record of Ragnarok is a recent anime adaptation to come exclusively to Netflix, and it fills its tale of gods and mortals with similarly biblical levels of smiting and bloodletting.
Record of Ragnarok is only one of the several incredibly violent battle anime to hit Netflix, and together, they're carving out a niche on the globally popular streaming platform.
Netflix's Notable Violent, Tournament Anime So far
As mentioned, the newest anime on Netflix of this particular niche is Record of Ragnarok, which involves a tournament for mankind's survival that pits some of history's greatest figures against outright gods. The battles themselves are incredibly violent and visceral, befitting the divine and supernatural combatants that engage in fisticuffs, but it's not the first of its kind to hit the streaming service.
Another example of this sort of storytelling was Baki, an original net animation that adapted the classic martial arts manga Baki the Grappler. This series featured fights that weren't over-the-top in their violence so much as they were realistic, showing the true-to-life bumps and bruises that the fighters would sustain in a match.
Likewise, Kengan Ashura was more of a stepping stone to Record of Ragnarok, featuring futuristic boxing battles that left the fighters bruised, beaten and broken. These are all a far cry from shows such as Dragon Ball, where the martial arts are accentuated by wildly superhuman abilities and other such unrealistic elements. They're also far bloodier and more violent than that show, with blood, fists and sometimes even severed limbs flying with reckless abandon. Though this might be too much for the Saturday morning crowd, it certainly stands to gain a few older fans in search of grittier fighting anime fare.
Violent Tournaments Make Netflix's Anime Stand Out
Some of the questionable quality in certain Netflix anime has more than sullied the name of the company as a home for Japanese cartoons. For one, many consider the term "anime on Netflix" to immediately be a misnomer, as many of these shows are simply labeled as such on the platform as a marketing tool despite not being traditional anime. Said shows typically involve copious amounts of less than flattering CGI to bring some of their concepts to life, making fans even less likely to want to check any "original anime" out.
If Netflix instead became known as the home of high stakes, all-out and ultra-violent action anime, namely of the shonen tournament variety, it would help to alleviate some of their less than savory reputation concerning the medium. Given that these battle shows are some of the most talked-about anime from the platform among fans, namely North American fans, good adaptations of these franchises would only help to bring a positive light to Netflix's handling of anime compared to its streaming competitors.
There's also the fact that ultra-violence has become a sort of trend in every other genre and medium, especially among streaming platforms. Ultra-violent superheroes, such as Netflix's Jupiter's Legacy and Amazon Prime's The Boys and Invincible, have all been big hits, helping to keep that genre from becoming stale among the mainstream audience by heightening up the blood and deconstructing stalwart concepts.
Other variations of this trend include the wave of horror shows, both live-action and animated, that have hit big in the past few years. If Netflix were able to tap into the same energy, but with anime, it would easily attract and maintain an audience that might not be fond of more comparatively gentle shows such as Hunter x Hunter or My Hero Academia. Of course, this is all dependent on the anime themselves actually being good, which Netflix will have to be particularly wise and choosy to ensure.