Satoru Fujinuma has never quite understood why he possesses the “Revival” ability, which sends him back in time a few seconds before disaster is about to strike. His confusion and distress only grows when, after finding his mother dead in his apartment, he is transported 18 years into the past. It’s 1988, and Satoru is back in elementary school. He soon realizes that a kidnapping case from that year that led to the death of his classmate may be connected to his mother’s killing—and attempts to prevent the two events. The stakes are high in both timelines, which only adds to the suspense of this murder mystery. But more than the whodunnit and time travel elements, Erased draws the viewer in with its depiction of a character who is initially closed off in life but slowly finds purpose through friendship and family.
It doesn’t take long to realize that Food Wars!: Shokugeki no Soma is strangely sexual. After eating any dish, the characters have sudden erotic responses that often include bursting free from their clothes for no reason. But don’t let the foodgasms deter you from this delightful coming-of-age story, which features some of the most stunning cooking animation and mouth-watering food imagery in anime. Soma Yukihira is a talented teenage cook who long dreamed of running his father’s diner one day, but is suddenly sent to a cutthroat culinary academy where students regularly face expulsion for mediocracy. Unfazed, Soma sets out to become the top of the school. Most characters have a unique cooking identity whether it’s a specialty in a cultural cuisine or a distinct approach to food (think molecular gastronomy or medicinal cooking) adding immense range to a thoroughly enjoyable show.
Ask anyone well-versed in anime for a recommendation, and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood will likely be one of their first suggestions. Lucky for us, all 64 episodes of this adventure classic are on Netflix. The story follows brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric, who trained in alchemy starting from a young age with the goal of bringing their mother back to life. There’s just one problem: “human transmutation” is taboo in alchemy and comes with a high cost. When the Elrics failed to revive their mother, they also lost parts of their bodies with Alphonse’s entirely disappearing and Edward saving his younger brother’s life only by attaching Alphonse’s soul to a suit of armor. Together, the brothers set out on a journey to restore themselves to their original human forms. In addition to its suspenseful plot and elaborate world-building, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood excels in creating a large cast of characters who each play a significant role in their emotional quest.
Japanese con artist Makoto Edamura was quite confident in his swindling skills that is, until he met Laurent Thierry. After being duped by the French swindler, Edamura is determined to prove his reputation as “Japan’s top scammer” and joins Laurent in his heists. The first target: a Hollywood director who is actually a mafia boss controlling the West Coast’s drug industry. With a striking attention to detail while illustrating the cities Edamura traverses from Los Angeles to Singapore to London—Great Pretender boasts stunning aesthetics along with its twisty plot. By juxtaposing the deeds of the scammers and the scammed, the series also prompts the viewer to consider if either party is on a higher moral ground.