The Best Anime on Amazon Prime

Dive into Amazon's anime library.

kabaneri of the iron fortress
'Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress' | Wit Studio
'Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress' | Wit Studio

With Netflix and Hulu ramping up their anime coverage, Amazon is doing its best to keep up. Though Amazon Prime doesn't have the same reputation for its anime catalog as its counterparts, the streaming service has developed a respectable mix of classics, hidden gems, and brand-new series and movies that's low-key impressive in its own right. Here are the best anime Prime has to offer right now.

TMS Entertainment

Akira (1988)

Akira is ingrained in pop culture to the point of perhaps needing no introduction. (When you're famous enough to get a Supreme collaboration...) It was largely responsible for the boom of anime aimed towards more adult, Westernized audiences in the late '80s, and the list of titles, anime and otherwise, influenced by it is seemingly never-ending. Kaneda and his biker gang's misadventures in Neo-Tokyo were brought to life with a technical mastery that has hardly been matched, while also leaving a massive thematic and aesthetic imprint in the genre. If you never got around to watching this sci-fi masterpiece, there's no better time than now—set in a post-apocalyptic 2019, Akira still feels prescient. Somehow, it even managed to predict Tokyo's 2020 Olympics, further adding to the movie's legacy.
Watch it now on Amazon

banana fish anime

Banana Fish (2018)

Based on the 1980s manga of the same name and updated to suit the present day, Banana Fish is a profoundly melancholy anime that oscillates between relationship building and violent gang warfare. Ash Lynx, a 17-year-old New York City gang leader, falls in with young Japanese photographer Eiji Okumura, working to unravel the conspiracy behind "Banana Fish," a weaponized drug coveted by criminals and government officials alike. The series never pulls its punches, balancing its complex narrative with tender moments between Ash and Eiji that only make its tragic elements hurt twice as bad.
Watch it now on Amazon

blade of the immortal
Amazon Prime Video

Blade of the Immortal (2017)

Blade of the Immortal, Amazon's first original anime series and a remake of the 2008 series, is not fucking around. The opening minutes of this violent Tokugawa-era revenge tale features the flaying of human body parts—severed arms, legs, a whole human split into chunks—and the remainder of the episodes are no less graphic. Following the 16-year-old Rin and her hired bodyguard Manji, an infamous swordsman cursed with immortality, the series bounces between tone poem reminiscent of cerebral '90s anime (like Serial Experiments Lain) and samurai stories (like Samurai Champloo and Ninja Scroll), and is animated like a Satoshi Kon property, as Rin tests the limits of her desire for vengeance for her dead family against the ruthlessness of the world. There's at least one bloody battle, maybe against a sociopath who sews the stuffed busts of women he kills on his shoulders, per episode—buckle up for the gory ride.
Watch it now on Amazon


Dororo (2019)

In the midst of a terrible plague at the height of Japan’s Warring States period, Lord Daigo Kagemitsu of the Ishikawa province makes a pact with 12 demons in order to save his region and secure a path towards a future of wealth and power for his region. In exchange, each of the demons collect on Kagemitsu's debt by taking body parts from his newly born son—his limbs, his eyes, his tongue, his skin—until the baby is rendered into a horrifying testament to his father's sins, a newborn that's only exposed muscle and bones. Years later, the boy, having survived his father's attempts to get rid of him out of shame, grows up to become an itinerant swordsman named Hyakkimaru with a prosthetic body, sheathed swords for arms, and the extrasensory ability to "see" demons. Adapted from Ozamu Tezuka’s original manga and anime from the late ‘60s, Dororo tells the story of Hyakkimaru’s quest to slay demons, regain his humanity, and learn to open up to other people in a time of immense cruelty with the help of his companion, an orphaned thief by the name of Dororo.
Watch it now on Amazon

elfen lied

Elfen Lied (2004)

Elfen Lied, both heartbreaking and terrifying, explores a series of events that occur after experiments are performed on the Diclonius, a mutated human born with telekinetic powers and horns. The star of the show, Lucy, has a dual personality that means she can either use phantom hands to murder everyone in her immediate surroundings or win hearts over as the adorable, unassuming Nyu, her alter ego. This bloody odyssey is certainly not for the faint of heart, but its heartrending tale will leave you gasping for breath by the time it finally lets up. 
Watch it now on Amazon

evangelion movies
Amazon Prime Video

Evangelion movies (2007, 2009, 2012, 2021)

What originally started as a way to blow out and rewrite the ending of his legendary anime series, sticking it to whiny fans in the process, Neon Genesis Evangelion's follow-up films ended up becoming touchstones themselves, expanding on the world originally envisioned by creator Hideaki Anno. While they're not considered canon to hardcore fans, the movies—Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone, Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance, Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo, and Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time, which put a final pin in the series—introduce new characters and give old characters new fates, all while stuffing Shinji back in the big robot one more time.
Watch it now on Amazon

flame of recca
VIZ Media

Flame of Recca (1997–1998)

Before Naruto became the preeminent anime about young ninjas, there was Flame of Recca. Recca Hanabishi fancies himself a modern-day ninja; in actuality, Recca mostly spends his days getting into skirmishes with other high schoolers. His fortunes change when he runs into Yanagi Sakoshita, a classmate of his who has healing powers. Their encounter sets off a chain of events that eventually leads to Recca finding out that he is the last surviving member of the Hokage clan. What's more, Recca discovers he has the power to control fire. These revelations soon make him the target of attacks from enemy ninjas who hope to acquire the power of the Hokage. Flame of Recca follows a tried-and-true action/adventure formula, which, of course, includes the inevitable tournament arc. However, it deserves credit for setting a template that Naruto and other popular shōnen anime would go on to follow. 
Watch it now on Amazon

ghost stories

Ghost Stories (2000–2001)

Ghost Stories is a supernatural series that has its share of lighthearted events, but many of its demons are downright spooky. It tells the tale of Satsuki Miyanoshita, who's just moved with her father and brother to the place where her now-deceased mother was born. She meets a few intriguing schoolmates after heading over to the abandoned school building right across from the facility in use. Once there, it's revealed that Satsuki's mother was actually responsible for sealing away some of the ghosts who were previously haunting the town in her youth. With the help of her new friends, Satsuki must seal the ghosts back up or face new hauntings nearly every single day of the week.
Watch it now on Amazon

grand blue

Grand Blue Dreaming (2018)

Grand Blue Dreaming is a tad different from your typical slice-of-life comedy: For once, it adopts a post-high school setting. Iori Kitahara is gearing up his freshman year of college, moving to his uncle's scuba diving shop at the seaside town of Izu with hopes of embarking on his ideal college journey. However, Kitahara gets roped into joining the diving club, whose members do way more binge drinking than actual diving, and his life soon turns into a perennial bender—you know, college stuff! A majority of the bits in Grand Blue is centered around drinking, specifically how Kitahara always seems to inadvertently become the life of the party. In fact, the show is so boozy that each episode is led with a disclaimer denouncing "underage drinking" and "shameful acts." Despite the one-dimensional subject matter, Grand Blue has eccentric, entertaining characters and solid comedic timing. Expect to also see a ton of half-naked dudes pounding beers. 
Watch it now on Amazon

Studio Pierrot

Great Teacher Onizuka (1999–2000)

Directed by industry titan Noriyuki Abe (Yu Yu Hakusho, Bleach), Great Teacher Onizuka has one of the most memorable anime protagonists of the early aughts. Eikichi Onizuka is a 22-year-old reformed bike gang leader who finds a new calling in life as a teacher. OK, fine, he just wants to be a teacher so he can hit on high school girls. Despite his gross initial motives, Onizuka has a good heart, and he actually does make a positive impact on his students in his own weird, harebrained way. Speaking of his students, they all carry their own share of baggage; bullying, parental neglect, and other past trauma have turned Onizuka's class into budding sociopaths. As the story progresses, it becomes apparent that Onizuka's outrageous teaching style helps his students realize the various forms of compassion, friendship, and familial bonds missing in their respective lives. At the end of the day, GTO might end up being the weirdest anime that makes you cry.  
Watch it now on Amazon

Wit Studio

Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress (2016)

In Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress, most of humanity must take refuge within massive walls to protect themselves against horrific creatures who eat humans. Stop us if you’ve heard this one before. Kabaneri has its fair share of similarities with Attack on Titan, even down its production studio. After Season 1 of AoT became a worldwide phenomenon, Wit Studio—as well as director Tetsurō Araki and much of his staff—took a break from Titans to make Kabaneri. Because of this, Kabaneri delivers much of the same moments of tension you get from its studio counterpart. If you're craving thrilling, edge-of-your-seat action as you wait for the final season of AoT, Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress will do the trick.
Watch it now on Amazon

land of the lustrous

Land of the Lustrous (2017)

In this modern myth, a group of genderless humanoid gems fight off the attacks of hostile Lunarians that attempt to abduct them to turn their remains into jewelry. It's a joyfully original concept from author Haruko Ichikawa, and getting further into the series reveals that they were very thorough in building out the world: From the countless mineralogy points that tie into the series to the fact that the characters wear black outfits in an allusion to mourning, as loss is deeply ingrained into their lives, it all feels like a cohesive setting despite being totally alien. Land of the Lustrous follows the misadventures of the immediately charming Phosphophyllite, the youngest and most brittle of gem, which isn't great in such ruthless settings. Through her eyes, the show deals with loss and questions what constitutes the sense of self. The tragedy has an uncanny ability to turn hilarious, even after shattering your dear ones and your heart while it was at it.
Watch it now on Amazon

lupin the 3rd part 1
Tokyo Movie Shinsha

Lupin the 3rd Part 1 (1972)

The anime that kicked off a seemingly never-ending franchise of anime series, movies, and crossover events, Lupin the 3rd is a must-watch for any anime fan interested in the early hits of the genre. Following the gentleman thief Arsène Lupin and his many heisty exploits with his troupe of treasure bandits, the series instantly comes crashing through the screen in the opening credits, setting the fun, freewheeling tone of the adventures to come for the next five decades.
Watch on Amazon via Freevee

made in abyss
Kinema Citrus

Made in Abyss (2017)

The Abyss is a gigantic chasm that stretches into the depths of the earth, riddled with creatures and artifacts from long ago. For those living on the surface, how that huge pit came to be and what lies at the bottom remains anyone's guess. Those who explore the Abyss, known as divers, are considered heroes, especially White Whistles, a ranking reserved for the most talented and fearless of the bunch. Despite being a novice Red Whistle, young Riko aspires to be like her mother—legendary White Whistle Lyza the Annihilator—and explore the furthest reaches of the Abyss. After a chance encounter with an amnesiac robot boy, Riko's fascination with that giant pit grows as she’s certain this robot, known as Reg, must come from deep within it. The two set out on a dangerous journey into the Abyss to recover Reg's memories and see what's at the bottom of that hole for themselves.
Watch it now on Amazon

pet anime
Geno Studio

Pet (2020)

Pet is a real mindscrew, in more ways than one. Based on Ranjō Miyake's manga of the same name, the series follows Tsukasa and Hitomi, two empaths with the ability to delve inside the minds of others and manipulate their memories and perceptions. Employed by a shadowy organization known simply as "The Company," the pair are tasked with using their abilities to cover up crimes, assassinations, and commit all sorts of unsavory acts, more often than not at the expense of innocent lives and their own fractured psyches. The dialogue can be frustratingly obtuse at times, with crucial terms like "peaks" and "valleys" thrown out of left field with little if any formal explanation, and the initial episodes can be a bit hard to follow with regard to what is being seen or perceived by whom at any given moment. Hang in there, though—it's a story that gradually makes more sense the longer it goes on and rewards the closer you pay attention. And barring even that, it's still worth a watch for the psychedelic visuals alone. Think of it as a more freakish take on Christopher Nolan's Inception by way of Philip K. Dick's Ubik.
Watch it now on Amazon


Toradora! (2008–2009)

Toradora! presents a fairly standard set-up when it comes to romantic comedies. Ryuuji is a kind yet fierce-looking boy, frustrated by all the people who misunderstand him. Taiga, on the other hand, is an attractive and ferocious girl with a poor first impression of Ryuuji. Once they find out that each other's crushes are their respective best friends, though, they make a deal for mutual help in love matters. They develop a strong bond of their own to the point of questioning who they actually want to be with as they grow more comfortable with each other after their rocky start. When the narrative makes the (maybe obvious) point that the two have great chemistry, you immediately believe it. If you’re in the mood for a tale of a charming relationship, Toradora! is an excellent choice.
Watch it now on Amazon

vinland saga
Wit Studio

Vinland Saga (2019– )

Adapted from Makoto Yukimura's popular historical fiction manga series, Vinland Saga tells the journey of Thorfinn Karlsefni, a legendary Icelandic explorer as he embarks on a perilous quest to avenge the death of his father. Initially set in the year 1002 AD, the series follows Thorfinn's story from childhood to adulthood, maturing from a lighthearted boy into a harsh, relentless warrior until finally leaving to colonize North America alongside Leif Erikson and the Vikings. Drawing elements from real-life historical accounts, Vinland Saga is an intense and captivating fictionalized depiction of a fascinating chapter of European history. Beneath the heart-pounding action and impressive animation pulses a resolutely humanist theme of anti-violence and pro-human decency, with Thorfinn's father Thors imparting him with the life lesson that every human being is fighting a hard battle and that no one is truly his enemy.
Watch it now on Amazon

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