As brutal as the streaming wars have become, Netflix is still hanging in there and holding its own with a steady stream of original films and series tailor-made to keep us all entertained. While the content must flow, Netflix’s front page still only does a so-so job of actually letting you know about all the solid stuff the streamer has to offer. So we’ve put together a little list of some highlights that are worth checking out whenever, but especially during the holiday season when you’re at home and just looking for something to watch.
Based on Capcom’s game series by the same name, studio Sublimation and director Shinya Sugai’s new Onimusha series follows a fictionalized version of legendary swordsman Musashi Miyamoto (Akio Otsuka) as he embarks on a journey across Edo-period Japan to rid the country of a growing demonic threat.
Netflix’s Onimusha keeps its direct references to the games’ lore light, and its story feels much more like a fantastical dramatization of the real Miyamoto’s life than a faithful adaptation of the games. But if you’re into flashy, animated, period pieces that temper their historical accuracy with heavy doses of gory action and magical mystery, Onimusha might be up your alley.
Like Onimusha, studio Blue Spirit’s Blue Eye Samurai from co-creators Michael Green and Amber Noizumi is set during Japan’s Edo period. It chronicles the journey of a solemn warrior on a mission to bring peace to the country by mowing down hordes of dark-hearted villains.
But whereas Onimusha’s demons are quite literal, Blue Eye Samurai pits its lethal heroine against monsters who are all-too-human and more accepted by society than she could ever hope to be. Blue Eye Samurai definitely leans into tropes of the genre, and its story takes a couple of episodes to really kick into gear. But the show’s animated action is gorgeous, and there’s a consistent strength in its lead cast’s performances that bring these characters to life in a fantastic way.
Set over three decades after Junichi Sato’s original anime adaptation of Shigeru Mizuki’s manga Akuma-kun, Toei Animation’s new revival of the series is something of a family story that focuses on different generations of magical child prodigies working together to save the world from supernatural threats. Though they appear to be ordinary kids, both Shingo (Alex Cazares) and his adopted son Ichirō Umoregi (Michael Johnston) are part of a long line of powerful demon summoners referred to as “Akuma Kun” who are only born once every 10,000 years.