The Best Netflix Anime Shows to Binge Watch While High
From 'Neo Yokio' to 'Devilman Crybaby,' there's an anime series for every vibe of stoned.
Netflix’s anime offerings, like its sci-fi, murder mystery, and horror genres, are diverse and plentiful. The streaming platform has made headlines with it’s increasing devotion to Japanese and Japanese-style animation franchises, but it’s seriously too much for a single person to watch. That’s why we’ve done the dirty work of sifting through its dozens of titles to find out which shows are and are not entertaining on drugs.
Anime is great to watch high because there aren’t that many rules, and even the ones that exist are constantly broken. The baked brain is more open to groundbreaking ideas like “What if your clothes were alive?” or “What if the fate of the world was the hands of a bunch of adolescents playing a magical card game invented by ancient Egyptians?” The best anime shows to watch high explore such concepts with chuckle-worthy wit and entrancing visuals.
With that in mind, below is our selection of anime series to watch when fried out the noggin, ordered from most to least chill.
If you have ever had a job you hated, you will love the shit out of watching Aggretsuko stoned. The title is a mashup of the word “aggression” and the main character, Retsuko, who is the ultimate pleasant, hardworking office girl—up until the moment her boss pushes her too far and she erupts into ferocious screamo karaoke. The kawaii style and Retsuko’s constant daydreaming make for pleasant binging, peppered with stoner chuckles every time she goes all Office Space on the mic. Unlike most of the other titles on this list, the biggest villains are sadistic bosses and societal pressure to marry. In a way it's the scariest show on here—despite the whimsical visuals, it's almost too real.
Neo Yokio (2017)
The Jaden Smith-starring Netflix Original about a demon-slaying wizard who values fashion and taste more than shooting lightning from his fingertips is an odd duck. The lifestyles of the rich and famous get a supernatural, technophilic remix as Smith’s Kaz Khan explores a semi-dystopian alternate future version of New York called Neo Yokio. In this world, Manhattan is underwater—but rich people still live there—the Soviet Union still exists, and both magic and robots are common status symbols. Neo Yokio’s veritable charcuterie of celebrity cameos mixed with increasingly surprising plots and striking animation style are the perfect storm for a culture vulture looking for a refined high. Pair with an overpriced vape or some sort of cannabis-infused French cuisine.
If you played the cards or watched the show as a kid, get ready to huff nostalgia when you load up the first season of this 00s anime. For any who have never seen or heard of Yu-Gi-Oh!, it sparked a craze that rivaled Pokemon and got trading cards banned in elementary schools across the country. Today, it’s a nerdier and weirder interest than Nintendo’s pocket monsters, but the first season’s arc is nuts. It’s a battle royale between tweens with trading cards—the fights are visualized with giant hologram machines—culminating in a face-off against a creepy one percent-er with magic powers who kidnapped protagonist Yugi’s grandfather in order to steal his cards, or his soul, or something? It gets kinda wacky there at the end, but by then you should be so stoned that it makes perfect sense.
The Devil Is a Part-Timer (2013)
Imagine the Lord of Darkness were stripped of his powers and stranded in teenager’s body in contemporary Tokyo. What would he do? Kill puppies? Join the Yakuza? In The Devil Is a Part-Timer, his quest for domination leads him to get a part time job at a fast-food joint, where—surprise!—Satan thrives. The idea of an angry young man blending in with society while secretly plotting mass destruction is scarier than ever these days, but for some reason this show pulls it off with charming absurdity. With enough CBD, it’s easy to chill out enough sort of empathize with the embodiment of evil.
Sword Art Online (2012)
In what’s either every gamer’s dream or worst nightmare, a small group of beta-testers get trapped in a cutting-edge virtual reality fantasy game with lethal stakes in the first episode of Sword Art Online. The psychopathic creator offers the players an ultimatum: risk your life to win the game and free everyone, or stay and live in the game forever. It’s a fun thought experiment for people who grew up escaping the daily grind into games like Final Fantasy. What if Final Fantasy…*hits blunt*... were Final Reality?
One Punch Man (2015)
This satirical anti-anime riffs on the trope of invincible heroes who defeat insanely powerful enemies with inexplicable, contrived power-ups. Think the moments in Dragon Ball Z when Goku removes weights from under his shirt and all of a sudden his “power level” rises. It follows Saitama, an idiosyncratic hero known as One Punch Man because he can defeat any adversary with a single strike. In the single season on Netflix, he defeats cyborg gorillas, genetically-modified super creatures, and monsters from the deep, and all-powerful aliens—all while preoccupied with things like a sale at the department store or being liked by his neighbors. The satire wouldn’t work so well if the action wasn’t dope, so get ready for some banger boss battles sprinkled with amazingly awkward stuff to hyuck at.
Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet (2013)
Gundam meets Waterworld in this dystopian twist on giant robot anime. There are all-consuming space aliens that look like plants and mollusks, and apparently, the only way to fight them is with psychedelic lasers and four-dimensional chess-type strategy. The star of Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet is a robot pilot named Ledo who crashes while fighting the bad aliens and lands on an Earth that has been devastated by climate change. There are some interesting moral quandaries to chew on as the spaceman figures out how to handle Earth’s less-advanced society with the overpowering force of his mecha. But the high value here is amazing freaking lasers.
Gurren Lagann (2007)
Another post-apocalyptic robot show, Gurren Lagann is one of the most critically-lauded anime on Netflix, and a Toonami favourite. It’s great to smoke to partly because it’s just great, partly because the robots and aliens fighting Earth’s human survivors are weird-looking as hell, and partly because it ends in some wild shit about the destructive nature of spiral-shaped human DNA.
Kill la Kill (2013)
This 1984-esque anime is just bonkers. Kill la Kill is so 420-friendly that some fans re-animated the intro to star Snoop Dogg. Talking school uniforms give teenagers superpowers, which they use to pass classes and fight for the future of humanity. Naturally, the best way to fight super-clothes is with a sword made from giant sewing shears. Come for the weird textile-based fight scenes, stay for the mindblowing theory about clothing’s impact on the trajectory of human evolution.
Death Note (2006)
The iconic supernatural murder mystery Death Note is probably too complicated to enjoy blazed, except for the type that would enjoy dabbing and making Pepe Sylvia-style org charts. High school overachiever Light Yagami finds a magic book called the Death Note. Anyone whose name is written in the book will die, and Light uses his newfound power in a vicious bid to “fix” society. A modern-day Sherlock Holmes-type figure called “L” immediately begins to hunt Light, and a deathly battle of wits between the two ensues. TBH, just watch this one sober if you’ve never seen it. It’s thrilling, incredibly well-written and as addictive as it is mind-boggling.
Devilman Crybaby (2018)
Truly violent anime can maybe harsh your mellow, but Devilman Crybaby—legendarily mind-bending director Masaaki Yuasa’s bizarre story of a teenage boy possessed by a demon that makes him look like he won puberty—is the exception. While it’s packed with hours of depraved slaughter, Yuasa renders it so inventively that his show is very much worth a THC-infused viewing. If you’ve got the nerves for it.
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This article originally appeared on VICE US.