5 Series To Watch On Netflix That Will Change The Way You View Adult Animation

Whether you are a long-time fan of adult animation or a newcomer, these series belong on your watchlist.

Adult animation is a genre that is constantly evolving. Many tend to misinterpret the genre as a collection of X-rated cartoons, but it is so much more than that. The shows that come from this category tackle serious, real-life issues that viewers can relate to while utilizing animated characters and comic relief to lighten the mood. The content can indeed be vulgar or risqué at times, but these moments only serve to make the fictional characters seem more real.

Admittedly, I spend a lot of my time watching adult animation. A large percentage of these shows focus on the comedy element and shock factor, which makes for entertaining content. However, there are a handful of shows that take it a step further. They explore human nature and force the viewer to take a look at themselves and evaluate their own experiences.

If you are just now getting into adult animation, here are five shows you will want to start with.

1. Bojack Horseman

Animated series to watch on Netflix
Image Source: Time Magazine

Its dark humor is what drew me in, but the complexity of the characters is what kept me around for the full six seasons. Bojack Horseman follows an aged actor trying to find his place in the world after the rise and fall of his hit sitcom. Though the characters are whimsical and charming, the show uses their design as a buffer for the darker themes that it explores. The series dives headfirst into sensitive topics such as depression, infertility, addiction, and so much more. 

I've watched this show start to finish seven or eight times now, and what fascinates me is how I seem to have a different revelation every time I go through it. Throughout the series, the characters engage in conversations that make the viewer re-evaluate their understanding of what's good and bad, and what leads us to make the decisions we do. This Emmy-nominated animated series is the type of show that changes the way you look at the world and deserves every bit of the recognition it has received.

2. Big Mouth

Animated series to watch on Netflix
Image Source: Time Magazine

A coming of age story with an NSFW twist, Big Mouth will have you cringing one second and laughing uncontrollably the next. The series follows a group of pre-teens from suburban New York as they navigate puberty. Its vulgar, in-your-face style takes some getting used to, but once the shock wears off you'll realize it's worth getting through the initial discomfort. 

What sets this show apart is that it addresses parts of the adolescent experience that society has labeled as taboo — menstruation, contraception, virginity, etc — in a way that is both educational and entertaining. It is unique in the way it gets its point across; it makes the viewer slightly uncomfortable but encourages us to have conversations we should have been having all along

Not only is it educational, but motivational as well. The characters learn important life lessons as the series progresses, such as loving your body and being unapologetic about who you are. Big Mouth is a feel-good show that tests the limits of television with its explicitness and unpredictability. It's a must-watch for sure.

3. Castlevania

Adult animation to watch on Netflix
Image Source: Forbes

This series is not for the faint of heart. Based on a popular Konami game of the same name, Castlevania documents a fierce struggle between humans and creatures of the night. It's witty, gory, and jam-packed with action. The world is enchanting, and the characters are instantly lovable.

It can be difficult to get me to invest time in a new show, but after one episode of this, I was hooked. The most captivating thing about this series is the animation style. Some might be put off by the violence, but the amount of detail the animators put into every single movement makes it hard to look away. The show takes something gruesome like death and makes it beautiful art. 

The auditory elements of a show are just as important as the visuals, and Castlevania does not disappoint in this department. Something that stood out to me immediately was how exceptional the voice acting is. Power and rage ooze from the voices of the more formidable characters, contrasting the feather-soft whispers of others. While the story itself is not something that hasn't been explored before, Castlevania sets itself apart from the competition by appealing to the senses and drawing you in. 

4. The Midnight Gospel

Adult animation to watch on Netflix
Image Source: Netflix

At first glance, the animation style of his show would lead one to think it's light and maybe even silly. On the contrary, The Midnight Gospel follows Clancy, a humanoid content creator, as he conducts podcast-style interviews with beings from different simulated universes. The interviewees are voiced by real-life experts such as Dr. Drew Pinsky and David Nichtern. 

What's captivating about this series is the contrast between the calm, educational conversation that the characters engage in and the chaos that is happening around them. If you were to experience this series by sound alone (like say, putting this on in the background while working on something else), you would think you were listening to a regular podcast. If you were to watch this on mute, you would think you were under the influence of a substance.

Clancy covers a variety of different subjects with his guests, making the series a full learning experience. We attribute more value to shows we can learn something from, making The Midnight Gospel the perfect addition to your adult animation watch list. 

5. Love, Death & Robots

Adult animation to watch on Netflix
Image Source: IndieWire

Earlier, I said many shows under the adult animation umbrella tend to rely on the shock factor. While I wouldn't say this show necessarily relies on it, it is definitely a core component of its structure. Love, Death & Robots is a collection of brief, unrelated episodes of pure madness. From murder to transformation to psychological puzzlers, each 10-15 minute skit demands your attention.

What I appreciate most about this series is its ability to tell the story it needs to tell in such a limited amount of time, and consistently doing it so well. I was never left wanting more, no matter how engrossed I was with the plot of each skit. Every situation comes to a natural conclusion.

The content is not the only thing that varies from episode to episode. They are all done in a different art style, capturing the viewer's attention and keeping it. The show exhibits 2D, 3D, and everything in between. They even sneak in an episode with real actors. The short duration is a plus for those with short attention spans, and before you know it you will look up and have binged the whole thing. 

There are many different factors that go into whether a show is worth watching or not. Everyone is drawn to different elements, but adult animation seems to encompass everything with its diverse selection of shows. Whether you are looking for something laid back or something that will have you on the edge of your seat, these five shows have a little bit of everything. 

Writer, blogger, and content creator from Sunny San Diego. When she isn’t writing, you can find her exploring, eating, and watching Netflix.

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