So, you’re trying to introduce some friends to your anime hobby, but they’re not too sure about watching Japanese cartoons. They might be turned off by bright hair colors, high-pitched voices, random chibi yelling, or even giant robots piloted by teenagers. They’re looking for something a bit closer to home: something more familiar to the traditional media they’ve grown up with. But…what do you recommend? I mean, Sword Art Online isn’t quite traditional, is it? And no one wants to just watch Pokemon all day, especially with Pikachu’s seeming inability to defeat any random level 3 Pokemon they meet in a new region. So what do you do? That’s where this list comes in, and without further ado I present to you my Top Five Anime for Non-Anime Fans!

  1. Attack on Titan

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I’ll admit, this one really depends on the person. Some people won’t like the violence, some will eschew the premise, but I think that at more than a few of us have used Attack on Titan as a gateway anime for that one friend who’d never get into anime otherwise. The distinctively European look and style of the world makes it more easily understood by those who aren’t into anime, and the combat-heavy plot is easy for new viewers to understand: the Titans are giants that want to eat people, and the people fight against them.  Simple to understand with an overall epic feel that hearkens back to classic works of fiction, despite not having the deepest plot, Attack on Titan is definitely an anime to consider for your more action/adventure oriented friends.

  1. Shingeki no Bahamut Genesis

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The name of this anime (which translates to “Rage of Bahamut” in English) is very similar to the Japanese name for Attack on Titan, which is Shingeki no Kyojin, so be careful when looking it up so that you don’t just find Attack on Titan again. This is a fantasy series, detailing the events of an age-old struggle between the forces of light, darkness, and the monster Bahamut who was sealed away with the God Key, a powerful relic split in two halves. Or at least it was, until a woman steals it. The series is an epic fantasy, complete with angels, demons, gods and demigods, dragons, holy swords, and a completely rocking OP that just makes you wanna headbang. The art style is distinctly European-inspired, just as Attack on Titan is, but with a more medieval flair, and it definitely has references to Greek and Roman mythology. Each of the characters is unique and memorable, ranging from a cheerful rouge with an afro mullet to a dishonored knight to a zombie girl with an umbrella. No, I’m not making that last one up. It’s definitely a story for those looking for something close to the fantasy genre they’ve grown to love, and it’s worth looking into for those who are interested in a fun adventure romp with a surprisingly good ending.

 

  1. Silver Spoon.

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Sometimes you’re not looking for an epic battle or a long adventure. Sometimes you just wanna live a normal life. Sometimes you just wanna farm. Or, something like that. Silver Spoon is a slice-of-life anime about just that: farming. Hachiken is a junior in high school who transfers to the Ezonoo Agricultural School, and the series follows him as he learns to take care of animals, take care of crops, and make friends. It starts off like a typical “city-kid-learns-from-the-country-kids” story, but it’s surprisingly deep, and it’ll keep you hooked the entire way through. As it was written by the same mind behind the much-beloved Fullmetal Alchemist series, it’s a very well put-together story. The characters interact in very natural ways, and the events they undergo make the show very relatable for viewers of all ages, whether you’re in high school or not. It’s a very good show for those looking for a more relaxed show, yet one that has an engaging plot with a good mix of fun, friendship, and comedy.

  1. One-Punch Man

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Yeah, if you’ve been reading my reviews lately, this shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. One-Punch Man is a show that is hilarious on the exterior, with a surprising amount of depth packed behind its action scenes. Focusing on Saitama, a self-professing “hero for fun”, as he takes on huge monsters, cyborgs, and ninja, the show is very reminiscent of old Saturday morning cartoons. You’ll see crazy superpowers, insanely awesome battles, and over-the-top villains, an each of these helps make the story shine. It also offers some surprisngily good commentary on the superhero genre as a whole, and provides some good insight into the use of power and the search for self-identity. If you’re a fan of superhero action, you’ll like One-Punch Man.

  1. Steins;Gate

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If you know me at all (or at least notice my profile picture) you should’ve seen this one coming. Out of the around 34 anime series I’ve seen, Steins;Gate is the best anime I’ve seen, hands-down. Everything about it is nearly perfect, from the plot structure and development, to the character interactions and individual development, to the progression of the plot and just…just…UGH! Just everything about Steins;Gate is great! Which makes me wonder why I haven’t talked about it on the blog until now…well, now I’ve got an excuse to rewatch all 25 episodes again! But seriously, the story starts off slow, but when it gets going it really pulls you into it. The main premise of time travel might start off a bit confusing, but it clears up quickly and is surprisingly deep for an anime. The characters are where the series really shines: each of them is well-developed and adds a unique flavor to the story. As a mix of slice-of-life and sci-fi with a few elements of romance thrown in, Steins;Gate is an amazing anime that is good for about anyone who’s unsure about anime, but wants something interesting and new.

 

(Credit for featured image goes to OmaruIndustries on deviantArt!)

I'm a student who loves God and manages to balance school, games, books, anime, and Asian culture while staying slightly sane.
  • Charles/TWWK

    I would especially second Silver Spoon – it’s such a unique and engaging work that fully demonstrates many of anime/manga’s best qualities while avoiding the strange qualities of the medium which, while attracting fans to anime, often function as a turn-off for first timers.

    • Exactly. Lots of people hear “anime” and think “oh, you mean those cartoons with the crazy rainbow-haired girls?”, and they think it’s all stupid. I have several friends myself who just won’t get into anime because of the stereotypes. But shows like Silver Spoon bypass those stereotypes in a way that’s familiar to Westerners and yet unique, making it really accessible. 🙂