10 anime shows to watch if you’re new to the genre
The anime has been around for decades, charming genre enthusiasts with whimsical Studio Ghibli flicks and keeping them on the edge of their seats with high-octane action streaks. For a while, the fandom around the anime was considered a niche in the United States, but in recent years the genre has exploded in popularity. The anime’s boom doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon, so if you haven’t gotten on board yet, now is the perfect time. However, it can be quite intimidating to find the right anime to check out if you don’t know where to start, so here are some anime show recommendations for beginners that will help you get started with the fandom:
In America, the term anime is used to refer to any animated media originating in Japan. Obviously, that’s a pretty broad definition, but over the years distinct attributes have emerged that help characterize a show or movie as distinctly anime. While there is no singular anime art style, the characters often have colorful and unmistakable hairstyles and incredibly expressive reactions. The genre also varies widely under the anime umbrella, but the two most well-known subsets are the action-packed fantasy animes and the calming animes. Chances are, even if you don’t watch anime yourself, you’ve heard of some of the popular titles and know someone who is interested in them. Having said that, it is high time you joined the club.
1. Demon slayer
Combining gorgeous animation, extremely inventive action sequences, and vibrant humor, it’s no wonder Demon slayer is one of the most popular animated series around. The series is about a young boy named Tanjiro who trains to become a demon slayer after his sister Nezuko turns into a demon. In the world of the series, demons and demon slayers can wield powerful elemental and mystical powers, which elevate the fight scenes to flashy and creative new levels. Demon slayer is available to stream on Netflix.
2. My hero university
If you love the Marvel movies, you will probably be obsessed with the hugely popular animated series My hero university. The show takes place in a world where almost everyone has a unique power, known as Alter, with some Alter being more powerful and useful than others. Due to the existence of these abilities, villains and superheroes have appeared. Despite being born without a Quirk, Izuku Midoriya has always idolized heroes, and he finally gets his wish to become one when his favorite hero All Might hands him his Quirk. With her newfound power, Midoriya enrolls in a hero school full of powerful classmates to learn how to take down villains. My hero university is available to stream on Hulu.
3. Death threat
An iconic animated series full of existential questions and wild twists, Death threat is a great watch for anyone looking for a more cerebral and engaging experience while enjoying a lot of whimsy and action. In the two-part series, high school student Light Yagami discovers a black notebook that can kill anyone whose name is written on it. This “Death Note” comes with a unique set of rules and a supernatural spirit named Ryuk to offer advice. Throughout the show, Light uses and abuses his newfound power over life and death to seek justice, revenge, and protection, with dire consequences. Death threat is available to stream on Netflix.
4. Sailor moon
Throughout its journey in the 90s, Sailor moon was one of the most popular animated series in the world and helped introduce the genre to many American fans. The magical anime centers around a schoolgirl named Usagi Tsukino who gains the power to transform into her evil alter ego, Sailor Moon. Alongside a group of other girls who have unlocked their sailor form, she battles dark supernatural forces that threaten humanity. Sailor moon is available to stream on Hulu.
5. Yuri on ice
If romantic dramas or sports movies are more your speed, then Yuri on ice is a great way to get into the anime. The buzzy series chronicles the journey of disgraced figure skater Yuri Katsuki to rebuild his athletic career. The show is packed with great ice skating routines and also has an engaging romance at the core as Yuri gets closer and closer to his new trainer, Victor. Yuri on ice is available in streaming on Funimation.
6. Fullmetal Alchemist
An anime classic filled with intense action, colorful characters and fascinating lore, Fullmetal Alchemist presents a world in which people trained in alchemy can create almost anything they want, but must offer something of equal value to do so. After an unsuccessful alchemical attempt to bring back their deceased mother cost brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric the loss of body parts, they set out in search of a Mythic Stone that can restore what they lost. Along the way, they meet other powerful alchemists and face off against mysterious dark beings known as Homunculi. Fullmetal Alchemist is available to stream on Netflix.
7. Cowboy Bebop
A first anime success, Cowboy Bebop is a space western that chronicles the intergalactic adventures of a group of bounty hunters undertaking various dangerous jobs across the solar system. It’s a great show to watch if you’re a fan of Star wars, Firefly, or other similar, planetary stories. Each new episode finds distant leader Spike, former cop Jet, and persuasive crook Faye tackling a new mission to various planets that have been colonized since Earth became uninhabitable. Cowboy Bebop is available to stream on Hulu.
8. Neon Genesis Evangelion
Often touted as one of the most iconic animated series, Neon Genesis Evangelion It is as much about giant robot fights as it is about complex human emotions. The series follows teenager Shinji as he embarks on a military program to bond with an enormous mechanical suit and fight the increasingly appearing Angels, a destructive race of otherworldly monsters. It becomes much more complicated than a simple good versus evil scenario, as Shinji learns more about the Evangelion and Angels program. Neon Genesis Evangelion is available to stream on Netflix.
9. Basket of fruits
If you are someone who loves everything about the zodiac, Basket of fruits could be a great way to jump into the anime. The new iteration of the hit series kicks off with an orphan girl named Tohru moving in with the Soma family and learning their strange secret: Every family member is possessed by the spirit of one of the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac. The curse forces them to transform into their animal counterpart under specific conditions, and Tohru takes it upon himself to try to free them. Basket of fruits is available to stream on Hulu.
ten. Avatar: The Last Airbender
OK, OK … technically, Avatar: The Last Airbender isn’t really an anime since it was premiered in the United States, but it can still serve as a great introduction to the anime because it takes so much inspiration from the genre. The three-season Nickelodeon series has attracted huge fandom thanks to its compelling world-building and endlessly satisfying character arcs. Set in a world where members of four different realms control the elements of fire, water, earth and air respectively, only the legendary Avatar can master all four elements. When the Avatar returns as an immature child named Aang after disappearing for a century, he sets out to harness the elements and defeat the oppressive Fire Lord. Avatar: The Last Airbender is available to stream on Netflix.