Trash is like camp as a concept. You have a hard time describing it, but you know it when you see it. This is why over the last few months I have been having this weird realization; Netflix has a lot of trashy anime on its servers and many of them, especially the “Netflix Original” series, are pretty fun. They are far from masterpieces, in many ways some are actually pretty bad, but they bring a trashy charm to them that makes them watchable unlike other merely bad anime.
They are appealing in the strange way that they make you question your taste, do you actually have good taste at all? The answer... perhaps? As a lot of people pretend to have a refined palate, only the finest anime shall cross your eyes. However, we know this is not the case, sometimes you want something dumb, over the top, easy to digest, and just have a good time with. If that is the case these anime might just be for you.
Fate/Extra: Last Encore
Netflix has a pretty good relationship with the Fate franchise. Being the primary distribution online of uFotables classic Fate/Zero, the beautiful Fate Stay/Night: Unlimited Blade Works, and A1 Pictures out there but still enjoyable Fate Apocrypha. However, with Fate/Extra: Last Encore the series went a little overboard.
While beautiful in an artistic sense Fate/Extra makes little sense. At all. Even to somebody who follows the Fate franchise, Extra is difficult to get into. Furthermore, the plot is bananas involving a fight on the moon and the series is shameless with some of the most blatant fanservice yet.
For all that though it is still a pretty fun watch... or perhaps because of it. This series does not care. At only 13 episodes long it is also the shortest Fate on Netflix, making for an easy and quick watch.
Funny enough its layout which is difficult to follow makes it ideal to binge and laugh at or watch while doing other things. Which is advise I give people to do with the other titles on this list, like playing video games, or washing dishes. As you never really care enough about the story to pay too much attention. If you just enjoy the pretty pictures and the insane spectacle of a mystical pirate ship doing battle with a magic lightsaber you will be fine.
The moment I turned on this anime I knew I was either going to be laughing or crying. They were the only two options available, within minutes I decided upon laughter. As while the 3D animation rivals Berserk at points the insane spirit of Kengan Ashura remains alive and well in this animes grotesque form.
How do I know this? Because within the first five minutes a man is driven to f*** because of fighting. Yes, that is how this anime chooses to explain the ecstasy of battle: f***ing. From there never once does the anime think it would be a good idea to press the breaks and perhaps readjust a little. As the trash keeps coming.
Dozens and dozens of characters introduced for little reason, a human missile turned colour commentator (WHAT THE F***!), a really odd focus on the male body and how it moves, and not one but two characters sexually obsessed with the main character. Again, because watching him fight drives people to f***. All the while interspersed with some actually pretty entertaining and insane fight scenes that surpasses even Baki. If this is for you, there are worse uses of your time. There are also better uses.
Knights of Sidonia S2
Knights of Sidonia Season 1 was a huge hit for Netflix and likely convinced the streaming giant to keep going down the rabbit hole that is anime. A decision that has led to this list being necessary. It is without a doubt one of the most original and engaging mecha anime in a long time and remains a favourite of mine on the platform. The same cannot be said of its radically different second season.
The second season of Knights of Sidonia had a lot of what made the first great: stylish mecha action, a banger of an opening, and a decent amount of intrigue. However, what shifted was while all that was still present it became much less prominent. Being replaced by what can only be described as a love triangle between two humans and a tentacle.
What is even more bizarre is the tentacle was given a lot of traditional moe elements. Being extremely innocent and of course infatuated with the main character. Although not sexual in any way (there is no manly fighting to get the libido revved up after all) the shift in tone from military sci-fi to your standard issue romantic comedy (with a tentacle) was jarring. Luckily, for the series it was still Knights of Sidonia so it remains watchable, it is just not surprising there has not been a third season since.
The reason this list exists in the first place. Ever since watching Baki for the first time I have being struggling to really place it. Is it good or is it trash? I really enjoyed it, it is easy to watch, and goes all in on its premise its kinda hard not to respect its vigour. At the same time it is objectively trash. How? Well I cannot really put into words why its trash, it just is. I then realized that while it is trash, its entertainment value cannot be understated. It might even be good because it is so trashy. It is Crème de la Crap the pièce de résistance of trash. It is Baki.
Unlike Kengan Ashura which Netflix clearly wanted to be another Baki, it is not held back by an unfortunate design choice. As its animation is actually fitting to the series. Not great or technically marvellous, it does its job. Especially great in movement, which grants the fights a kinetic feel that makes them pop out at you. The designs of the fighters while grotesque conveys the vision of the mangaka and his love for the human body and how fighters can modify it for maximum ability.
Baki is also REALLY trashy. Having an extended sex scene resulting in our main hero Baki Hanma receiving a power boost, yup f***ing once again plays a central role in one of these animes “plots”. The central characters are patently insane, many are multiple time murders and the majority are sociopaths at least, they make Goku from Dragon Ball look levelheaded in his love for battle.
But because of all these things it becomes clear Baki is holding nothing back. It is what it is and proud of it. If you don’t like it, who cares Baki sure does not. It is this I don’t give a f*** attitude that is kind of respectable. It knows what it is and who it is for and because of that I kind of love Baki.
As I said above I have a hard time describing what trash is, just I know it when I see it. These series are all certifiable trashy but watchable at the least, especially if you like the genre they represent. While I would have a hard time recommending them to just anyone if you like my, slightly tongue in cheek, descriptions check them out. They hold nothing back and are entertaining because of it.