Anime is an interesting beast to tackle as not every body watches or enjoys but nearly everyone on the internet has an opinion on. So that makes the task of recommending anime to beginners and incredibly daunting task. Many people either love anime and are die-hard fans like myself or people who don’t watch any and like to make fun of those who do.
If you aren’t interested in watching anime but are still reading this post, then I highly suggest watching Digibro’s analytical post about the appeal of anime. And for those of you who do like anime watch it anyway and then watch all his other stuff cause its great.
tl;dr: anime is incredibly varied and creative with shows from all over the spectrum but I think I have narrowed down some of my favourite anime into a list of ones that a good for beginners
One thing I want to get out of the way first is the type of shows I like. I am typically drawn to action shows. Most commonly the Shonen genre popular exams being Bleach, Naruto, Dragon Ball Z and One Piece. But I do watch other shows too. For example on this list I have a series of shorts (a show who’s run time is typically 3-5 minutes as apposed to the typical 22-25 minutes), a horror show, two romance anime and a thriller so there is something here for everyone. For the most part it doesn’t really matter what order these are in but for the first two I think it would be good idea for these come first.
Studio Ghibli has earned a reputation amongst anime fans and others as one of the pinnacles of the medium. All of there films being amazing easily deserving a 8.5+. With the exception of a few they’re typically not action heavy. They all are story and character based. The graphics in all are visually impressive and each tells a compelling story that will stay with you.
Many of these films are aimed at younger audiences but don’t let that discourage you. Studio Ghibli will provide you with hours upon hours of entertainment.
An undisputed classic in anime, Cowboy Bebop follows the bounty hunters who live on the Bebop space ship. Bebop is one of the few shows that is recommended even by non-anime fans fans and for good reason. It’s at first episodic nature allows you to take your time and go at your own pace through it but once the story starts kicking it your instantly drawn in and compelled to watch the rest.
Cowboy Bebop has a bit everything which is one of the reasons it appeals to so many. It’s got action, adventure, interesting characters & scenarios, a great story, and music. Oh dear lord the music. Even if a space western doesn’t appeal to you I highly recommend you just look up the soundtrack to this show it is seriously great.
If you aren’t completely sold on anime yet. Cowboy Bebop will help you decide. It’s not crazy but introduces you to enough anime centric elements for you to generally expect what’s going to come in future series.
Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood
I’m sure that at this stage many of you are at least passingly familiar with shows like One Piece, Naruto, Bleach or DBZ and may be aware of the heavy stigma around them for being insanely long. If you liked the idea of a slightly longer action heavy story like the aforementioned but felt that several hundred episodes was a bit to much and that the quality would probably dip anyway then Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood is the place for you.
In 2003 studio Bones decided to adapt Hiromu Arakawa’s Fullmetal Alchemist series into an anime. As is often the case with these types of shoes the manga is also being made at the same time as the anime so the show would either have to slow down to a crawl or invent its own story. Bones chose the latter. Today the show has incredibly mixed opinions some people saying it’s as good as Brotherhood and many saying that the original was total dog shit.
But in 2009 Bones decided to readapt FMA but this time with out dicking around. What resulted is what many, myself included, to be the pinnacle of the Shonen genre. Having evolved into it’s final form. The show was not only great in it’s own right with a gripping story, amazing characters and sky high production values, but kicked off a trend that has been getting rather popular in the form of anime re-adaptations, Shows like One Piece, Hunter x Hunter, Jojo’s Bizarre adventure and DBZ have all been fully remade.
FMA Brotherhood is almost universally praised being one of the highest rated shows on MyAnimeList, It has a great dub, the voices of which suit the characters perfectly. FMA can also be found on Netflix for your convenience.
Hunter x Hunter
Did you like FMA but wanted a bit more action and structured fights? Did you want a deep system and slightly complex system with checks and balances for the abilities system as apposed to the the basically magic of FMA? Then Hunter x Hunter is the place for you.
I won’t go to deep into it because I have a full review planned but just know that while FMA didn’t really feel like a typical shonen. Hunter x Hunter does. In the best of ways. It has similar themes and character archetypes, structured fights and a great story. For fans of the Shonen genre it’s a must watch. But I also think it is good for beginners as it serves as a good introduction to the genre.
Plus the dub is currently airing, so it’s a great time to get into the series