What is a good beginner anime series for someone who has never seen any before?

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Answered by: Katrina, An Expert in the Anime 101 Category
So you want to get into anime. You see it everywhere nowadays: television, movie theatres, social media, etc. There is definitely a feeling of constant hype in the genre, and you want to be a part of it. Excellent! But where do you start? Follow this beginner anime series guide to determine the best one for you!

First, ask yourself this question: what kind of shows do you generally like to watch? Anime graciously provides a wide array of sub-genres to choose from. Everything from big mecha fights and booby-licious girls in scantily clad and outrageous outfits to deep, compelling stories that are plot or character driven and gay superheroes are available for your viewing pleasure. The possibilities are virtually endless.

Next, consider the type of life you lead. Are you always on the go and just looking for something to watch an episode at a time? Or are you looking for something to marathon on your next day off? Anime episodes are generally shown in thirty-minute blocks, as per a typical sitcom on a major television network. Furthermore, depending on the series, you could be investing your time in an anime that is well over a hundred episodes. Since you are a beginner, an anime of that caliber isn’t recommended. (It falls under the same caliber as someone telling you to watch “Lost” after nine seasons has already aired).

Finally, take another look deep down in your soul. Are you the type of person that prefers the original of a song, or are you someone that doesn’t mind a remix or cover? From my own experience, I found that I like both, depending on various factors. Something that you will learn very quickly in the anime universe are the terms “sub” and “dub”. “Sub” is short for “sub-titled”, which means that the audio (voices and music) are in Japanese, but there are English subtitles on the bottom of the screen. “Dub”, on the other hand, is shorthand for “dubbed”, which means that English-speaking actors do the voiceovers, so there is no need for subtitles. If you don’t mind reading while watching a show or are a stickler for original content, then I highly recommend the sub-titled versions. If not, dubbed versions are available for many shows.

Let’s assume first that you are someone that likes an action packed, dramatic show. In this case, I recommend Attack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyojin). With only one animated season to date and twenty-four episodes of constantly moving plot and character development, this is a good one for those that are interested in the story and don’t mind a little gore. (By a little, I mean a lot. This show is not for the squeamish).

If this sounds like your kind of show, but you’re looking for something lengthier, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is a sixty-for episode long series that will have you hooked from the beginning. This one isn’t as brutally gory, but there are some instances where you might grimace and advert your eyes. Also, bring a box of tissues and your sense of humor.

Do you like robots? Yeah, you do! Do you like scantily dressed women? Of course! If you do, then I highly suggest Cross Ange. This is a newer series that is currently sitting at twenty-five episodes and is filled with action and cat fights. This is a good beginner anime as it combines many of the anime stereotypes and will allow you to really explore what you would like to see more of in the future.

So you’re not into too much action, and robots aren’t really your thing. Perhaps you just want something fun to help you unwind and won’t wrap you up in a deep plot. Perfect! There is definitely plenty of that in anime! Free! and its follow-up Free!: Eternal Summer will provide you with a non-complex story and quirky characters that were more or less made out of male eye-candy. There are only a grand total of twenty-six episodes between both seasons, so this one is ideal for a couple of episodes a night or binge watching. Another great anime that falls into this category is Ouran High School Host Club.( It was one of the first animes I watched as an adult, and it really gave me an idea of what I liked in a story).

It takes a little research and self-exploration to pick the best beginner anime series for you. With as many sub-genres as anime offers, it’s easy to get turned off because you don’t pick one that speaks to you. Once you find it, however, it will change your life and give you more of an appreciation for animation and storytelling.

Happy hunting!

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