So, how do you get into anime? You’ve heard about some shows, maybe been to a geek convention and had your interest piqued, maybe a friend told you about the shows that they watch, and you’re thinking about watching some. But you’ve heard that there’s some…less-than-savory shows out there, and so you want to avoid the bad and go for the good. But where do you start?
The first and best place to start is to identify what you’re looking for. What types of entertainment do you like? What are your favorite movies, books, and television programs? Anime has something for everyone, but the trick is to find a show that fits with you. So look for something familiar: if you like slice-of-life type shows you might like Usagi Drop, while someone who enjoys action/adventure might enjoy a show like Berserk. Your personal preferences and convictions will play a large part in deciding what you will and will not watch, so finding something that is close to what you already know will make it easier to get into. Recommendations from friends can be your best ally in this journey, as those who know you personally will know the types of entertainment that you enjoy, and can recommend anime accordingly.
After you’ve determined a genre, it’s time to look for shows. There are many online resources you can use: websites like MyAnimeList have extensive reviews about pretty much every anime out there, and since the reviews are viewer-generated you can get a pretty good feel for the show. Reviews are especially helpful for determining the flavor of show a particular studio is known for: a studio that makes a show in one genre that you enjoy might make another show in a totally different genre that you might like as well, for example, Aniplex, a studio that has worked on shows like Puella Magi Madoka Magica, a magical girl anime, and shows like Working!!!, a slice-of-life comedy anime. News sites can also add options to your tables, as information on new shows as they release can help you determine if they’re worth your time or not.
Some questions that help when determining what shows you might want to watch are:
- Do I like plot-heavy stories or action oriented stories?
- Do I like stories set in high school?
- Am I okay with the occasional swear word, or would I like something cleaner?
- Have I watched any superhero movies?
- What kind of protagonist do I identify with?
And to wrap this whole thing up, I’ll end with some recommendations for newcomers to anime. This list will continue to grow as the site grows, so don’t be surprised if you find a new series here from time to time.
- Usagi Drop
Target Audience: People who enjoy warm, homey stories
Synopsis: Usagi Drop is a show centering around the relationship between a man and his adopted daughter. After finding out that his deceased grandfather had a child out of wedlock, Dakichi is the only family member available that can care for the girl, a 6-year-old named Rin. The show takes its time to show the growing relationship between Rin and Daikichi, and it has many heartwarming moments. A good anime for those looking for a less conventional “love story”, and one more focused on fatherly love and the challenges that come with parenthood.
- Gundam Build Fighters
Genre: Mecha, Sci-fi, Children’s
Target Audience: People who enjoy action and fun shows
Synopsis: Gundam Build Fighters is a good entry-level mech show that doesn’t revolve around war, unlike most mech shows. It involves the main characters building and battling plastic models based off the mecha from the many Gundam series, and it’s a really fun and interesting show, despite being made with kids in mind. There are a lot of characters introduced over the two seasons, a lot of action, a good amount of comedy, and while not the deepest show, the character interactions really bring out the charm and joy of the series. A good show for those wanting to make a foray into mecha without the overall dark tones that war shows bring.
- The Devil is a Part-Timer!
Genre: Supernatural, Comedy
Target Audience: People who enjoy fantasy stories, people who enjoy comedy, and those who love to partake of both.
Synopsis: In the world of Ente Isla, a war broke out between the forces of the Dark Lord Satan and the human armies led by the Hero Emilia. After being driven back into his fortress, the Dark Lord escapes via a portal between worlds, and ends up on Earth in the form of a human. As he cannot use his magic, he and his General Alsiel make it their plan to work to conquer the human government from the bottom: working at his local MgRonalds. The show doesn’t take itself too seriously, and this works in its favor as more characters and situations are introduced, and while it Is very entertaining, it has an interesting plot that pulls you in. A good show for those wanting a nice mix of comedy, action, and fantasy.
- Plastic Memories
Genre: Romance, Sci-fi
Target Audience: People who enjoy slower paced stories with a good amount of character development
Synopsis: Plastic Memories is an anime set in a world where robotic technology has advanced to the point where robots are nearly indistinguishable from humans; the main difference being that these robots, Giftias, have a lifespan of nine years. The show focuses on the relationship between Tsukasa, a novice in the Terminal Service Department that retrieves Giftias who are near their expiration date, as Isla, a Giftia who has more to her than immediately meets the eye. The show is geared more towards the kind of audience who enjoys romance than sci-fi, and the tone of the show lends itself to more focus on the character’s interactions, which brings out the best of the show. All in all, if you enjoy interesting characters and a cute romance, you’ll enjoy this show.
- Sword Art Online
Genre: Sci-fi, Action, Adventure, Romance
Target Audience: People who like action and adventure, with a light dash of character development. Really, if you enjoy stories that get better over time.
Synopsis: I’m sure everyone knows this by now, but Sword Art Online is a story about a group of gamers who become trapped in a virtual world thanks to the Nervegeear, a device that takes the wearers brainwaves and uses them to control a virtual avatar. The show focuses on the main character Kirito as he fights his way through the world of Aincrad, trying to beat the game and escape. Sword Art Online is kind of hard to recommend, as it is a hit-or-miss show for everyone: ether you’ll love it and want more, or you’ll hate it and not want to watch any anime. All in all, it’s a beginner’s anime, and if you enjoy a story that does get better over time, has a good amount of fantasy and fun, then you’ll enjoy Sword Art Online.
Now obviously, I couldn’t have listed every series that is good for a beginner to start with, but I do hope that the few you see here give you a few titles to work with and a nice starting point to begin your foray into the wide world of anime. Leave a comment below if you have any questions or suggestions, and as always: God bless, and happy watching.