In the best anime that Hulu has to offer, high-schoolers struggle to survive a zombie apocalypse, teenagers fight giant humanoid cannibals, and another teenager gets turned into a regular-sized humanoid cannibal. So yeah there’s a lot of blood and cannibalism happening. To top it all off are three of the indisputably greatest anime of all time — and none of them have people eating each other.
Despite the rise of independent streaming platforms exclusively dedicated to anime — like Funimation and Crunchyroll — Hulu retains some of the greatest anime ever, albeit with commercial breaks.
Sure, you can also watch some widely beloved classics (namely: Bleach, Naruto, Sword Art Online, One Punch Man, and Death Note) on Hulu, but you’re far better off catching them without ads on Netflix.
But it’s also worth noting that if you’re not springing for one of those anime streaming platforms, Hulu is hands down the best place to watch Attack on Titan, as it gets Season 2 episodes as they air, which Netflix might never have.
Outside of that, here are the nine best anime you can watch on Hulu right now:
9. High School of the Dead
Though sickly disturbing and downright perverted for much of its runtime High School of the Dead offers some good, (un)clean fun throughout its 12 episodes. Takashi Komuro was already having the worst day ever when a zombie outbreak threw everything into chaos. The girl he’s in love with is dating his best friend, that is, until he becomes a zombie. In the apocalypse, things start to look of for Takashi, especially when his small group of survivors is populated mostly by beautiful women.
All of the music and zombie action is absolutely fantastic, but High School of the Dead is overburdened by its premise that creates a “harem anime,” which tends to get a little perverted in its camera work and plot structure. Look up the term if you have to, but if you know what a harem is, you can probably guess what the deal is here.
8. Tokyo Ghoul
The persecuted and widely hunted society of superpowered humanoid cannibals — called Ghouls — is far removed from the life of young Ken Kaneki in Tokyo Ghoul. That is, until his date with the beautiful Rize takes a turn for the worse, and she tries to make a meal out of him. After a violent accident nearly kills them both, doctors save Kaneki’s life by transferring some of Rize’s ghoul organs into his body. The process transforms Kaneki into a ghoul himself, and as he deals with a growing hunger for human meat, he also has to figure out how much of his humanity he wants to — or even can — cling to.
There’s a live-action film version of Tokyo Ghoul due out July 29, 2017 in Japan.
7. Attack on Titan
In Attack on Titan, what’s left of mankind resides behind a series of layered Walls that prevent giant, humanoid cannibals called Titans from devouring them all. The series focuses mainly on a small group of teenagers, Eren Yeager in particular, in the endless war against the Titans. During a particularly gruesome attack, Eren accidentally discovers that he has the ability to transform into a considerably powerful Titan himself, and it changes the war forever.
Attack on Titan is one of the most brutal anime around right now, and fans are about as ravenous as the Titans themselves as Season 2 continues on.
6. Darker Than Black
Darker Than Black follows a brutal anti-hero that hunts down other people with special abilities like his own. After a massive celestial event blots out the sky and gives random humans special abilities like manipulation of gravity or matter, the police force of Tokyo tries to control the ensuing chaos.
Based on a video game by the same name, Steins;Gate is a surrealistic, oftentimes maddening experience to watch. Mad scientist Rintaro Okabe runs Future Gadget Laboratory, where he accidentally develops a cell phone-operated microwave oven that can send messages into the past, therefore changing the present. Things quickly get out of control, especially after he attracts the global attention of SERN (a major organization with time-travel interests) and also discovers he can essentially send his consciousness back through time as well. What unfolds is a truly insane overlapping of timelines that fans of time-travel dynamics will love.
4. Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex
Hulu has a lot of Ghost in the Shell to choose from. In addition to the anime film that started it all, the cyberpunk anime great has the Standalone Complex series along with the following movies: Individual Eleven, The Laughing Man, and Solid State Society. Especially with the recently released live-action adaptation that was met with mixed reviews, Hulu has all the palette cleansers you might want.
In its many iterations, Ghost in the Shell follows the members of Public Security Section 9, a special-operations task-force. Many of the characters, like the protagonist Major Motoko Kusanagi, have cybernetic parts or other technological enhancements. In the Major’s case, her entire consciousness exists in a cyberbrain, and her body is literally a shell for what’s basically the ghost of who she once was.
3. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
Alchemy is a mystical science of transmutation that behaves a lot like magic in the universe of Fullmetal Alchemist. Whereas the original 2003 anime outpaced and diverged from the manga the shows are based on, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood offers a more direct adaptation of the manga. In both its anime forms, Fullmetal Alchemist tells the widely beloved adventure of the Elric brothers.
After their mother dies and they tries to resurrect her using forbidden alchemy, Alphonse loses his physical body and his soul winds up bonded to an empty suit of armor. Edward loses an arm and leg. The two embark on a quest to cooperate with the government in the hopes of finding the mythical Philosopher’s Stone that might be able to restore their bodies for good.
It’s a great watch, and a better alternative to the already-despised live-action adaptation coming.
In this dramatic and comical Western, Vash the Stampede is a figure with a mythical reputation far more menacing than his goofy personality lets on. Sure, he’s got a $$60,000,000,000 bounty on his head, but that doesn’t stop him from trying to play nice and make friends wherever he can, toting the phrase “Love and peace!” as often as possible. At the start of Trigun, Vash is an enigma, but over time you begin to see a darker personal history unfold. Think David Tennant or Matt Smith’s version of the Doctor on Doctor Who but in a spaghetti Western: a veneer of silliness hiding a great deal of personal trauma forced to engage in plenty of duels and gunfights.
1. Cowboy Bebop
This jazzy cyber- and steam-punk space Western is widely beloved as one of the greatest anime of all time. With a recently announced live-action TV treatment coming, there’s never been a time to pick it up for the first time or revisit the show that probably got you into anime.
Widely regarded as something of a “gateway drug” to anime — particularly to Western audiences — Cowboy Bebop chronicles the adventures of a ragtag crew of bounty hunters aboard the spaceship Bebop in the year 2071. Earth has become uninhabitable and colonies of humans have sprung up across the solar system and beyond. A colorful cast of characters makes for a solid blend of lighthearted comedy with thundering action as the crew hunts down criminals. If it weren’t for Cowboy Bebop, shows like Firefly or Dark Matter might never have come to be.