25 Best Anime Series on Netflix Right Now (2020)

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12. Sword Art Online

Seasons available: 2

Ratings: TV-14 (Sword Art Online), NR (Sword Art Online II)

Languages: Japanese with English and Spanish subtitles (Sword Art Online and II); English dubbed (Sword Art Online only)

For once, figuring out which season to watch first is easy. Sword Art Online II follows Sword Art Online. If only every series made it so simple to tell which is which. Anyways, this is another sci-fi anime, though it uses the conceit of a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game, better known in gaming parlance as an MMORPG, for its settings.

In the not-too-distant future, Sword Art Online is the hottest game out there, and when it’s released, everyone logs in to start playing the game, which incorporates true virtual reality. There’s just one little snag: you can’t leave the game until you win, and if you die, you die in real life as well.

There are multiple arcs within the story, and the second season swaps out the setting entirely for reasons we won’t spoil here. The animation, in particular, is gorgeous. However, reviewers tend to knock the story’s pacing and characterization, along with the romance aspect that’s introduced. Gaming fans might find the first arc, generally praised as the best, an excellent entry point into anime.