Tag: Beginner

Anime for Beginners II

Anime for Beginners II

Introduction

Today I’m bringing back Anime for Beginners due to popular demand. This is the (now) series in which I list five anime I think are suited for those just starting off on their anime watching journey. To find out what the first five series I recommended are, go check out the original post.

So, before we begin, what counts as an anime suited for beginners? For the sake of these posts, I define these as anime which can be viewed, enjoyed, and understood with little to no prior knowledge of anime. They also cover fairly general interest genres so they can appeal to a wide audience.

As with the original list, I’ll again be skipping the long-running shounen series like Naruto and One Piece, because I don’t really think they need any introduction. However, the original list was still full of shounen anime, so this time around I’ll be including more variety (although shounen is pretty general interest and easy to understand).

1. Little Witch Academia

Little Witch Academia anime series poster
Little Witch Academia

First up we have Little Witch Academia, which is an original anime created by Studio Trigger. If you’re not familiar with the name Trigger, then now’s the time to get acquainted. All you really need to know about Trigger is that they’re constantly saving the medium of anime (or so the meme goes).

But, while I won’t say that all anime by Trigger are beginner anime, the great thing about them is that they tend to only reference past Trigger and Gainax series. And, since Little Witch Academia isn’t their bread and butter, the mecha genre, it comes with less references than some of their other work.

In fact, the only reference in Little Witch Academia I can think of off the top of my head is to Gurren Lagann, which you should be familiar with from my first Anime for Beginners post. But, studios and references aside, what is Little Witch Academia?

It’s a fantasy series which is basically like if you made an anime version of Harry Potter and then turned it into a comedy. This series follows the misadventures of “muggle”-born Akko Kagari and her roommates, Sucy and Lotte, as they attend a prestigious academy for witches.

And, one of the great things about Little Witch Academia for anime beginners is that it’s found on Netflix, which it seems most people have access too. There’s also a movie, Little Witch Academia: The Enchanted Parade, for anyone looking for more content after finishing the 25 episodes currently available.

Unfortunately, I’m not convinced the series will ever be finished due to the death of the screenwriter, but we can hope.

2. Sailor Moon Crystal

Sailor Moon Crystal anime series cover art
Sailor Moon Crystal

Next up we have another female-led anime in the form of the legendary Sailor Moon. Specifically, I’ve chosen Sailor Moon Crystal because it’s a new reboot of the series which follows the manga more closely than previous adaptions, which means it looks nice and has no filler.

While Sailor Moon wasn’t the first anime in the magical girl genre, it essentially redefined the genre in its image. But, don’t let the fact that it’s a shoujo anime about magical girls turn you off from watching it. Sailor Moon is one of the defining series of the entire anime medium.

And, what’s really great about Sailor Moon is that it doesn’t really make references to other series, but is instead the series everything else references. You can find Sailor Moon references in anime across all genres, and even in a lot of Western media as well, and that’s one of the biggest reasons to watch the series.

However, unlike some of the other defining anime which are constantly referenced, like Neon Genesis Evangelion or JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Sailor Moon has a much lower barrier to entry. While those series are targeted towards people already in the anime community, Sailor Moon is much more of a general interest series.

Also, I should mention that there are currently three seasons of Sailor Moon Crystal, and while the first is mainly episodic, the second and third seasons really go all in on the plot. The third season specifically is one of my favorite pieces of anime ever.

There’s a reason Sailor Moon is considered a timeless classic, and it’s not just because it’s about the power of friendship.

3. One Punch Man

One Punch Man anime series cover art
One Punch Man

The first action anime of this list is One Punch Man, a superhero parody series with a second season coming out soon. Basically, if you’re a fan of superheroes, whether they be from Marvel/DC or My Hero Academia, I think you’ll probably like seeing One Punch Man’s take on the genre.

The series follows a regular guy named Saitama who gets bored with his mundane everyday life and decides to become a superhero because it was his childhood dream. However, after training, it turns out that he’s become too powerful and is able to defeat any enemy in just one punch.

While this may seem great from an outside perspective, the issue is that since every fight is so easy, it’s no fun. And, what’s the point of being a superhero if you can’t even have fun while doing it?

As someone who hates needlessly overpowered protagonists as well as the superhero genre in general, I can safely say that I still found One Punch Man immensely enjoyable. The fact that it’s a parody series does wonders, much like how the best isekai anime is KonoSuba, a parody of isekai anime.

Also, the fact that this series is ranked #45 and is the fifth most popular anime on MAL should hint towards the fact that it’s loved by a lot of people. I don’t really think you can get much more general interest than an action/comedy show about superheroes right now.

4. Laid-Back Camp

Laid-Back Camp anime series cover art
Laid-Back Camp

Laid-Back Camp is the most recent anime on this list, only coming out at the beginning of 2018. There’s a subgenre of anime colloquially referred to as “cute girls doing cute things,” and Laid-Back Camp would be a branch of that subgenre, “cute girls do comfy things.”

There were a lot of really good anime to come out during the Winter 2018 season, but if I had to pick one that anime beginners should watch, it would be Laid-Back Camp. Since it’s a slice of life series, there’s not really an overarching plot, and so it’s not something you have to get all that invested in in order to enjoy.

The series mainly follows two girls, Nadeshiko, the standard female protagonist, and Rin, the best girl and queen of “comf.” Together, and also separate, they enjoy camping outdoors in the Winter, when the campsites are nice and quiet.

But for a series about girls outside in the cold, it’s surprisingly warm. The character designs, mixture of cool and warm colors, and generous amounts of hot food, all work together to make this one of the coziest anime you’ll ever watch.

If you like cute girls, and you like seeing those cute girls doing comfy things, then you’ll like this anime. That’s all there is to it. So bundle up and stay indoors, because you can now go outside vicariously through Nadeshiko and Rin.

5. Cowboy Bebop

Cowboy Bebop anime series cover art
Cowboy Bebop

The final entry on this list had to be Cowboy Bebop. Honestly, I’m kind of surprised I didn’t add this into the first post on Anime for Beginners, but it’s here now so that doesn’t matter anymore.

In the West, there are few anime which are as beloved as Cowboy Bebop. And, while I don’t think it’s quite as amazing as people like to make it out to be, there’s no doubt that it’s a good anime that plays into what Western audiences love, space and cowboys (because this is the 1960s).

But, while the subject matter may be what draws a lot of viewers in at first, it’s really the characters that make them stick around. As a mostly episodic series, Cowboy Bebop has to have good characters in order to stay interesting, and boy does it deliver.

And, if you’re a dub kind of person, which many anime beginners are, then you’ll be glad to know that the English dub of Cowboy Bebop is actually considered better than the original Japanese version. I’ve only watched it in Japanese, so I wouldn’t know, but that seems to be the general consensus.

As far as dubs go for the other four series on this list, I’m not sure if any of them are dubbed except maybe Little Witch Academia, but all five series from my first Anime for Beginners post are dubbed.

If you were to pick one series from this list to watch first, my suggestion would be Cowboy Bebop. It’s 26 episodes long, but since it’s mainly episodic you can take as many breaks between episodes as you want and watch at your own pace. However, it’s also easy to binge if that’s your thing.

Conclusion

And, there you have it, five more anime recommendations for beginners. If I ever end up making an Anime for Beginners III, it’ll be in the far future. Instead, I think I want to make Intermediate Anime and Anime for Experts lists first, which would build on the series and subjects covered in these beginner posts.

So, your homework is to watch all 10 series featured across both my Anime for Beginners posts before my Intermediate Anime post comes out, because I’ll be assuming you have. And, as always, just because I’ve labeled these series as for “beginners” doesn’t mean more “advanced” anime viewers should skip over them.

If you enjoyed today’s post, then let me know by clicking the like button ❤ down below. And, if you’re looking for any more anime recommendations, you can always tweet @DoubleSama and I’ll be happy to answer (especially if you’re following me).

Finally, I’d like to thank HeavyROMAN for supporting DoubleSama.com at the Heika tier this month. To learn more about becoming a supporter and the benefits you get, check out Patreon.com/DoubleSama.

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Anime for Beginners

Anime for Beginners

Introduction

Today we’ll be taking a look at five anime I think are great for those who are just getting into anime. While not all of these are the best anime (some are), I felt that they were all great introductions into the medium.

Since this post is targeted towards anime beginners, I’ll mainly be talking about why each one is a good starting point, and I’ll be skipping over what I actually rated them because I feel these anime each have something important to give regardless of their ratings.

However, even if you aren’t an anime beginner, I’d suggest watching at least most of these series if you haven’t seen them simply because some of them are pretty important for the current anime climate. I’ll get into that more as we go through each one.

Sword Art Online

Sword Art Online anime cover art featuring Kirito and Asuna
Sword Art Online Cover Art

Sword Art Online isn’t the best anime and I have some fairly strong opinions about it, but it’s an important anime for a couple of reasons. First, it’s the third most popular anime on MAL (popularity is based on how many people have seen it, not how highly it’s rated).

Because so many people have seen Sword Art Online (SAO), it’s become something of a shared experience for many in the community. You can say something is like or unlike SAO and everyone else in the anime community will generally understand what you mean without explanation.

Basically, SAO is a good baseline to use for many comparisons simply because so many people already know it. However, maybe you don’t see yourself ever discussing anime and so you feel this doesn’t apply to you.

If that’s the case, consider this: due to SAO’s popularity, there are dozens of anime which have come out since then (and at least one per season) which were influenced by it. I think it’s fair to say that it’s the most influential recent anime, for better or worse. This alone is enough reason to watch it.

Finally, there’s the fact that SAO is a pretty easy anime for many people to get into. While I’d say even anime veterans should watch it for the previous two reasons, this final one is specifically for newcomers.

SAO involves both fantasy and games, and due to this it appeals to a wide audience. The content is also easy to understand without any real prerequisites. Unfortunately for anime veterans, you’ve seen better series than this one so it probably won’t have the same effect on you.

If it turns out SAO is your kind of anime, good news, there’s about a million other similar anime known as “isekai.”

Death Note

Death Note anime DVD cover art featuring Light Yagami and L
Death Note DVD Cover Art

Death Note is the most popular anime on MAL (which surprises me for some reason), but it’s also a bit better than SAO. While SAO was a gaming, fantasy anime, Death Note is a supernatural, psychological, crime anime.

Although I think that this series is more plot hole than plot, that doesn’t really matter if you’re watching the series for the first time near the beginning of your anime watching career. It’s an enjoyable watch regardless of how much the plot doesn’t really make sense.

As the number one most popular anime, this series is important to watch simply because everyone else has seen it, just like with SAO. However, despite being more popular, it’s not as influential (it’s still influential).

Really, I think Death Note is a great example of how anime doesn’t always have to be some colorful fantasy. It can be dark, graphic, and tell a compelling story (even if the story doesn’t hold up upon later inspection).

If you end up liking Death Note, there are plenty of other anime I’d recommend such as Psycho-Pass, Devilman: Crybaby, Parasyte -the maxim-, and The Future Diary to name a few.

Fullmetal Alchemist

Fullmetal Alchemist anime cover art featuring Edward and Alphonse Elric
Fullmetal Alchemist Cover Art

Fullmetal Alchemist is both objectively and subjectively the best anime on this list. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is the highest rated anime on MAL as well as the fourth most popular, so just by those stats you know it’s good.

However, I suggest that everyone, not only anime beginners, start by watching the original Fullmetal Alchemist before Brotherhood. Brotherhood isn’t a sequel, it’s a different story which diverges from the original around episode 10 if I remember correctly.

And, while Brotherhood is widely considered to be the better version (I agree it has better art/animation since it’s newer and also has better OP/ED songs), Brotherhood assumes that the viewer has already watched the original (which I prefer due to it’s darker plot).

The first few arcs which are shared between Brotherhood and the original series are rushed in Brotherhood because of this assumption. That means that if you skip the original series, you’re missing out on half the content of the first arcs and so they don’t hit quite as hard.

Because Brotherhood assumes you’ve seen the original is just one reason to watch the original first, though. Since Brotherhood is longer and takes us to some different regions the original didn’t, it can be seen as a supplement to the original series.

Also, since it looks better, it may be harder to go back to the original once you’ve watched Brotherhood. Personally, I think it’d be a shame if someone missed out on the original series simply because it doesn’t look as crisp as Brotherhood, so I’d like for this to be avoided if possible.

I don’t think Fullmetal Alchemist is quite as influential on other anime as the previous two series I’ve mentioned (although it still has to some extent), but it’s definitely left an impression on the anime community at large.

If you like Fullmetal Alchemist, well, welcome to anime, so does everyone else. I can’t really think of another anime like this one off the top of my head, but that’s also part of the reason it’s so good.

Soul Eater

Soul Eater anime cover art featuring the main characters
Soul Eater Cover Art

Soul Eater is a bit different from the three anime I’ve mentioned so far, however, if I had to pick one I’d say it’s most like Fullmetal Alchemist. It’s a supernatural anime which uses a mixture of action and comedy, and as such is less serious than anything else on this list (possibly even the next entry).

I felt like adding Soul Eater to this list simply because it’s an enjoyable watch with a low barrier to entry. I don’t really think you need to know anything about anime to enjoy any of the series I’ve put on this list, but that’s especially true for Soul Eater.

If you’ve seen any of the big shōnen series such as Naruto, then you may recognize that some characters from Soul Eater act similarly such as Black Star and Naruto, but this series isn’t really making many obscure anime references that matter if you miss them.

I don’t really have much more to say about this series other than it’s enjoyable. Because of that, however, this is the one entry of the list I don’t consider a “must-watch” for any anime veterans who haven’t seen it. I liked it, but you don’t exactly miss out on anything by skipping it.

Gurren Lagann

Gurren Lagann anime cover art featuring some main characters
Gurren Lagann Cover Art

The final series of the list, Gurren Lagann, is also the one with the most history behind it. For any anime beginners out there, you don’t need to know anything about the history of the mecha genre to enjoy this series, but for anime veterans, this series references just about everything that came before it.

You could say that this series is a culmination of everything the mecha genre did up to the point of its release, but as I mentioned, you can still enjoy this series even if every single reference goes over your head. That’s how I originally watched and loved it, but now I can look back and appreciate it even more.

Just to mention one part of the history of Gurren Lagann, it’s an original anime created by Trigger, an animation studio which branched off from Gainax, the studio behind the legendary mecha anime Neon Genesis Evangelion. This alone adds a lot of weight to Gurren Lagann.

Although there’s a somewhat serious plot for the series, Trigger is best at making anime which are completely over the top in both their storytelling and art/animation style. Because of this, everything in the series is exaggerated to epic proportions, but that’s just part of the charm.

If you had to pick just one series from this list to watch, or one you want to start with, I highly recommend Gurren Lagann even though it’s not the highest rated or most popular anime featured here. Despite that, it’s probably the best for pure entertainment value no matter who you are.

Even if you don’t think giant robots are “your thing,” I guarantee you’ll enjoy this series.

Conclusion

For anyone looking to watch any of the five series I’ve mentioned here, you’re in luck! All five of these series are available to stream legally through both Netflix and Crunchyroll (and probably others as well). Because of this, they’re all very easy to access which is a huge plus for any anime.

Finally, if this post gets enough likes (amount TBD), I’ll be sure to write a “Part 2” with five more anime great for beginners. And, if you’d like some recommendations for more “intermediate” or “advanced” viewers, feel free to let me know down in the comments or over on Twitter @DoubleSama.

It’s official, Anime for Beginners II is available now!

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