5. Lupin 3: The Castle of Cagliostro (1979)
The movie: After a casino heist goes wrong, landing them with elaborate forged notes, gentleman thief Arsène Lupin 3 and his long-time accomplice target the source of the counterfeit cash. What starts as a petty revenge heist evolves into a dashing adventure when Lupin rescues Clarisse, a young woman being hunted by Count Cagliostro, and is swept into a quest to find an ancient treasure. Despite its 1979 vintage, this brilliantly animated outing blends comedy, action, and heart into one timeless crime caper.
Why it's worth a watch: The debut theatrical work from legendary Hayao Miyazaki, Cagliostro remains a hallmark of the director's talent and stands as one of the finest Lupin 3 outings of all time.
4. Your Lie in April
Region: UK, US, Can
The show: After piano prodigy Kōsei Arima loses his mother, he shuts himself off from music, sinking into a grey depression. Years later, he meets Kaori Miyazono, a violin virtuoso whose passion for performance reignites his own. But Kaori's joyous personality masks a secret sickness, and as the pair grow closer, Kōsei has to face losing another important woman from his life. A surprisingly mature approach to young love, with a lyrical and positive view on life even in its saddest moments.
Why it's worth a watch: A beautiful romance and an emotional rollercoaster, this slice of life series tugs at the heartstrings throughout. However, moments of sadness are alleviated by the gorgeous animation of appropriately brilliant use of music. Just have tissues to hand when you watch.
3. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
Region: UK, US, Can
The show: When Edward and Alphonse Elric try to use forbidden alchemy to bring their mother back from the dead, it costs Ed an arm and a leg – literally. Poor Al gets it even worse though, his body stripped away and his soul bonded to a hollow suit of armour. Seeking the legendary Philosopher's Stone to put things right, the Elric brothers find themselves drawn into a conspiracy that engulfs nations, a brewing war, and the secrets of their own family's past. A complete adaptation of Hiromu Arakawa's beloved manga, Brotherhood is the definitive Fullmetal Alchemist viewing experience, with 65 episodes to delve deeply into the story.
Why it's worth a watch: The original series, which crafted its own ending distinct from the manga, is also available on Netflix, and well worth a look in its own right, but Brotherhood delivers a true, unadulterated adaptation of Arakawa's vision.
2. Devilman Crybaby
The show: Your typical superhero origin story might involve radioactive insects or being rocketed to Earth from an alien world. Devilman is no standard superhero though – Akira Fudo gains his supernatural abilities when his long-lost 'friend' Ryo drags him to a Satanic orgy and bonds the demon Amon to his soul. Luckily, Akira's pure heart is able to tame Amon's power, using it to stem the tide of ancient demons returning to claim the Earth as their own – but Ryo's machinations to empower Akira hide an even darker secret. Modernising the original 1972 series, Devilman Crybaby is a twisted subversion of the superhero, one as likely to delve into biblical lore as it is to take the body horror of puberty's onset to some gruesome metaphorical extremes. Not for the faint-hearted, but absolutely unmissable.
Why it's worth a watch: Creator Go Nagai's dark hero has been animated before, but never like this. Helmed by Masaaki Yuasa, the auteur director behind The Night is Short, Walk on Girl, and Lu Over the Wall, this Netflix Original offers a hyper-kinetic and visually stunning take on the demonic tale, along with the first ever accurate adaptation of the original manga's shocking ending.
1. Violet Evergarden
The show: In the wake of a devastating war, former weapon Violet now works as an 'Auto Memory Doll', a travelling muse of sorts, helping those unable to write or express their emotions to tell their stories – sometimes even their last ones. Driven by her former commander's own mysterious final words, Violet's own story may prove the most important, even affecting the fate of the recovering world. Based on the award-winning illustrated novels by Kana Akatsuki and Akiko Takase, this is a deeply reflective look at the cost of war, what it takes to rebuild, and what it means to be human.
Why it's worth a watch: Meticulously animated, sombre, and with a melancholic air, this is a beautiful and emotionally driven series, exploring themes both political and personal with a skill some live action dramas could only dream of.