Getting into anime can be kinda tricky. So let’s recommend some stuff for our first post in #theAnimangaFestival!
The Best Place To Start?
I love stories. Truly. It’s pretty much the thing that gives me the most joy in life. Storytelling. Also the most stress, arguably, but that’s beside the point. But when people ask me my favorite types of stories… Well… I love Action. And Romance. And Comedy. And Drama. And Mystery. And Fantasy. And Science Fiction. And all these things. How could I possibly tell you just one-… oh. Well, it might not be all that difficult, at all. My favorite genre is, without exception, Adventure. And yet I’ve somehow managed to run this site for three years and not talk proper about an adventure series once. But the reason is simple. While other genre combinations are certainly plenty viable and can be awesome, Adventure is the one that, to me, just has the most natural synergy with every other genre. You can fit literally anything into an adventure story and it’ll work.
Want a little Romance in your adventure? Spice & Wolf. How about some Comedy? Golden Kamuy. Action? Basically Shounen Jump in a nutshell. The best adventures find ways to sprinkle in a little bit of everything, like Hunter x Hunter or Dragon Ball. But everyone talks about those. And that is why I’m making the subject of the day Magi! Honestly it’s actually perfect, I think, for beginners. Because the adventure genre as a whole is great for beginners in any medium and what is Magi but the quintessential adventure? It has a little bit of almost everything I just listed off but doesn’t go too crazy as to run the risk of overwhelming people like the other two Shounen examples I mentioned, a second ago. It also basically hits, with pinpoint accuracy a lot of the “standard anime fare.” The typical tropes you’ll wind up seeing. You know the ones.
At its core, the Adventure genre is all about having fun (or dramatic) experiences and discovering new things. And as stories are (generally) about characters and the evolution of characters, the discoveries made along the way in any adventure can easily reflect the discoveries made about the characters, themselves, by the characters, themselves. It’s just one of the things that makes the genre so great and one of the things that makes Magi such a solid series, overall. That understanding of adventure being as much about self-discovery as literal discovery!
I began (and continue) my own anime adventure with Pokemon. As I’ve said, even if it’s entirely a matter of sentimentality, Pokemon is my favorite franchise. Period. But the point I’m trying to make with that statement is that I am heavily biased! I’ve also talked about how I took a pretty lengthy break from anime for a while and got back into it in college with Date A Live. So my journey’s been pretty all over the place. But because of that, there are plenty of other series I’d be more than happy to recommend for beginners!
Little Witch Academia is a series by Studio Trigger that’s definitely not their flashiest or deepest. But it’s still pretty airtight, the animation is fantastic and the story’s pretty cozy. Just to prep them for the balls-to-the-wall lunacy of things like Kill la Kill.
My Hero Academia is… well… yeah. If nothing else, the first and second seasons pretty much go through just about the full gamut when it comes from what to expect out of a Shounen and the character work is stellar, across the board. But there’s also Nanatsu no Taizai for something more fantasy-based than superhero-oriented. And for something sort of in the middle, falling into the Supernatural genre, Noragami is veeery possibly my favorite Shounen but might be a little advanced for a newbie.
Kenja no Mago is actually a fairly recent anime to grace the small screen. And while it certainly isn’t winning any awards, I would definitely recommend it to a newbie that wants to get into the Isekai genre. It’s fun, it covers all the important bases, it’s a pretty breezy watch before diving into stuff like Overlord, Re:Zero, or Rising of the Shield Hero. An older example that may not have particularly aged well in its entirety would be Familiar of Zero, though. From what I recall, it was pretty fun if you didn’t take it too seriously.
Kimi ni Todoke and Maid-sama are likewise both pretty sweet and good starting points (I think) for getting into Romance. Particularly of the Shoujo variety. They’re not especially complicated and the drama doesn’t soar to the heights of something like Toradora (which is not a Shoujo, but still). There’s also Karakai Jouzu no Takagi San for a cute romantic comedy all about puppy love! And if you wanted something more mature (not like that), there’s Net-juu no Susume and Wotakoi. All great examples.
There are tons of others, but I’ll settle on that list for now. Keep things short and all. Well… relatively.
Oh. I talked a lot again, didn’t I? Whoops. Well, now I’m really curious to know what everyone else would recommend. Let me know, down below! And don’t forget to check out #theAnimangaFestival on Twitter so you can see what awesome series the other participants are talking about! Keep up the Awesome!
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