Movies are easy: Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Toy Story 3. Anime, on the other hand, like to get creative with their naming schemes. That’s how we ended up with titles like K-on!!, Sailor Moon R, and Appleseed Ex Machina. So, which anime have the most confusing naming schemes, and more importantly, how do you even watch them? Well, let’s find out!
Neon Genesis Evangelion
We’ll start with a classic mecha series: Evangelion. This one’s easy enough: just watch the original series, then follow up with the End of Evangelion movie.
Here’s where it gets tricky: if you can’t justify all that time, you can also watch the abridged movie versions. The fourth and final movie is set to release in 2020 but until then, here’s the chronological order:
Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone.
Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance.
Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo.
Fate is a series about partnering up with various historical figures in a country-spanning battle-royale. However, it’s more than a little unclear where to start since there are so many series and spinoffs. Here’s how to watch:
Fate/Stay Night (season one)
Fate/Zero (a prequel – but too complicated to start with)
Fate/Unlimited Blade Works
Fate/Kaleid Liner Prism Illya (a card-game based spinoff)
Fate/Prototype (a concept one-shot for Fate/Stay Night. Entirely skippable)
Fate/Apocrypha (Fate/Zero but in an alternate universe)
Fate/Grand Order: First Order (mobile game adaptation)
There aren’t many shows as stylish or as well-loved as the Bakemonogatari series. One look at those complex titles, however, and you’d be forgiving for giving it a miss! Don’t worry, here’s a simple breakdown of the best order to watch in:
Bakemonogatari (season one – 15 episodes)
Nisemonogatari (season one, part two – 11 episodes)
Nekomonogatari: Kuro (season one, part three – 4 episodes)
Monogatari Second Season (22 episodes)
Hanamonogatari (season two, part two: 5 episodes)
Tsukimonogatari (season 3 – 4 episodes)
Owarimonogatari (season 3, part two – 12 episodes)
Koyomimonogatari (season 3, part three – 12 episodes)
Ghost in the Shell
With the release of the new Ghost in the Shell adaptation, more and more people are getting into the source material. There’s a lot of ground to cover, though, and we’ll explain how below.
Ghost in the Shell (original movie from 1995)
GITS: Stand Alone Complex (season one) or the abridged version, GITS: The Laughing Man
GITS: SAC 2nd GIG (season two) or the abridged version, GITS: Individual Eleven
Ghost in the Shell: Innocence (movie)
Ghost in the Shell: Arise (prequel movie series) or the anime version, GITS: Arise – Alternative Architecture
If you’re unsure where to start with a particular series, try asking for advice on anime forums. Usually, existing fans are more than happy to point you in the right direction, especially if you’re new to anime as a whole.