For the most part, my friends know I’m an otaku, that I am obsessed with anime and have an addiction that no rehab could hope to cure. Of these friends, there are a couple who hate on my love, claiming the shows must be hentai, childish or over 9,000. In short, they go to the stereotypes and general misconceptions to make their verdict, rather than watching some series.
Well, you uninformed haters, these shows are for you. 😘
Live Action Lookalikes / Adaptions
This is the series I reach for most when recommending to normies, and there’s a couple of reasons why. The first is that Cowboy Bebop aired on adultswim in the United States, and was put into the same ‘adult’ categories as Futurama, Robot Chicken and Family Guy, which are considered largely approachable. The second is “Space Cowboys”. A lot of my friends have been big fans of Firefly, many describing it simply as “Cowboys in Space”. I was beyond excited to watch, only to be disappointed because the series didn’t hold a candle to the true and original Space Cowboy, Spike. Add to that the absolutely iconic soundtrack and dry humor? Delicious.
Ghost in the Shell
Remember when Scarlett Johansson starred in that film? Yeah, it was based off a kick-ass anime. Futuristic thriller that’ll give you Blade Runner vibes. Ghost in the Shell mixes man and machine in an effort to pose tough questions concerning what makes us human.
Deep Themes / Seinen
Do I even need to write anything here? Probably not. FMA and FMAB are legends in the anime community. Its ranking as the best anime of all time is rarely disputed, and this is one of the first shows people try out if they’re series about giving anime a fair shot. Its elegant storytelling, stunning characterization and believable world building all contribute to the series’ success.
A vastly underrated series in the world of anime, Baccano! does a great job of blending multiple themes and tones. A bit raunchy, a bit gory, the series hops about from different times and places, but is in no means unrelated or disorganized. It’s got a 91-days feel to it.
Attack on Titan
Similarly, horror/thriller picks with a lot of gore and death are solid choices, as they go completely against the shounen tropes people use as the standard for all anime. AOT’s first season shows a commitment to realism with a fearless treatment of its characters.
Death Note: Season One
Like the evil protagonist, such as venom? Then you’ll like Death Note. Filled with a goth/metal feels, this series is harsh and gritty. You won’t find any comedy here. That being said, I only recommend season one, as I’ve got major gripes with season two.
One Punch Man
Finally, if you can’t subvert the tropes, you might as well make fun of those tropes. OPM shatters the scafollding upon which shounen and superhero series stand. Its animation’s duality encapsulates its humor and wit, the fine line of being a part of and making fun of, these tropes.
Kill La Kill
Similarly, Kill La Kill subverts the oversexualized nature of anime. Some claim it is nothing more than fanservice, but to do so is to ignore all of the sarcasm in the series— Everything from the outfits to the characters are aimed to tease the genre and fashion industry.
That’s all for today!
Watch on, annieme-niac,
Ghost in the Shell (1995) has one of the most well made, cinematic, and atmospheric montages in film. All film. This would be one of my recommended picks if you are trying to show off that anime is beautifully made, and has serious depth in tone and meaning.
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Thanks for this list ! I use to organise showing anime in Southampton on the big cinema screen, but I never managed to catch up with everything that goes out, so this is very helpful ! Purely personally speaking, I would include early woks by Makoto Shinkai such as ”Garden of Words’ or ‘5 Centimetres per Second’ (I was a bit disappointed by ‘Your Name’ – possibly my expectations were unrealistically high). .Anyway, you know so much more than me about anime, so I very much welcome your suggestions, particularly those I haven’t seen yet. Oh and congratulations on your birthday ! 😉
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Hi Andy, thanks for your comment!
Garden of Words is beautifully animated. The rain in particular is stunning. Its soundtrack is also incredible! ‘5 Centimeters per Second’ makes a poignant observation about youth, maturing and regret or missed opportunities. If you like it, I recommend ‘The Place Promised in Our Early Days’!
I agree that ‘Your Name’ was disappointing. To be fair, my expectations were definitely unrealistic. It was by no means bad, but it is slightly overrated, and certainly shouldn’t hold the title of second best anime. Friends of mine insisted I would cry when I watched it, but honestly, I found it underwhelming and largely predictable.
A good way of finding information about anime is on MAL (myanimelist.net), which has a large database of anime and manga. If you create a profile, you’re also able to create a list including things you are have watched, are watching or plan to watch. You can check mine out here, though, admittedly it’s not entirely up to date: https://myanimelist.net/profile/anniemeaddict
Also, feel free to check out my Hall of Fame. It lists all of the anime I’ve rated 5/5!