Anime is a huge, genre-spanning medium, and with so many shows coming out each season, it can be difficult for a beginner to know where to begin. Still, everyone has to start somewhere. That’s why we’ve put together a list of five of the best anime to begin with. Take a look!
1. Death Note
Everyone’s heard of Death Note: it’s a phenomenon, and for good reason. This show makes you think a little more than most, and expertly blends philosophical questions with some great cop-vs-serial killer action.
There are none of the standard anime turn-offs here: no fanservice, no robots, no comic relief characters. It’s just a battle of wits and ideals between the show’s anti-hero, Light, and the mysterious detective known only as L.
2. Cowboy Bebop
Another classic, Cowboy Bebop takes major inspiration from jazz, spaghetti westerns, and the golden age of sci-fi. While most episodes work well as stand-alone adventures, there is an over-arching plotline, and we can guarantee the payoff is exquisite.
Cowboy Bebop follows a rag-tag gang of bounty hunters as they scrape a living and explore the galaxy. The animation is gorgeous and fluid, and the framing is second to none, with homages to several major movies from the 20th century. Simply, this one is a must-watch.
3. Your Lie in April
Your Lie in April was the biggest show of 2014 and really helped changed people’s minds about what anime could do. Sure, the premise of the show might sound a little dull, but by exploring the personal feelings and motivations of its characters, Your Lie in April became an absolutely titanic force within the wider anime fandom.
This show chronicles the struggles of a prodigal piano player named Kōsei Arima. His lifetime of practise has isolated him from his friend group, and even at home, things were more than a little rocky. Your Lie in April is a touching, heartfelt show about friendship, aspirations, and what it means to be the best.
4. Log Horizon
While Sword Art Online is often touted as the ultimate beginner’s anime, we recommend Log Horizon instead. It deals with similar topics but in a more realistic way. There’s also no such thing as an overpowered character – each member of the group is specialized in a particular way, just like in most modern MMORPGs.
What if you got stuck in a video game and had to make a life there? Log Horizon raises questions about morality, the nature of society, and the consequences of living in a world where nothing really matters and you don’t need to work in order to survive. It’s a masterpiece, and with two seasons, it’s enough to keep you going for a while.
5. You Choose!
This one’s a bonus round! All of the following are excellent beginner’s anime, so just choose whichever sounds like your kind of thing. We guarantee you’ll find something you like below.
I want to watch something…
A little crazy: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
Funny: Ouran High School Host Club
Emotional: Yuri!!! On ICE
Serious: Attack on Titan
Action-packed: My Hero Academia