10 best animated series for someone looking to jump into anime

Every year hundreds of new anime series are produced. Interest in the anime is overtaken by generalizations of the genre or narrow selection making its way to American audiences

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Outside of stereotypes, there is an endless amount of genres specific to anime. With hundreds of animated series, several shows stand out as being a “must see” for beginners. Some shows make anime more accessible and showcase their special qualities.

ten Samurai Champloo remixes samurai storytelling with endless flair

Samurai Champloo Hip Hop References

Cowboy Bebop is Shinichiro Watanabe’s most popular series. Watanabe captures comparable energy in Samurai Champloo, a glorious hybrid of eclectic sensibilities that embraces samurai staples instead of Cowboy Bebop’s galactic backdrop. Samurai Champloo brings together an adorable trio of individuals who embark on an incredible quest full of action and monotony on a small scale. Samurai Champloo applies a hip hop mentality to combat sequences that make the show and the characters feel like such distinct individuals. Samurai Champloo is a perfect example of how anime doesn’t have to be one-dimensional.

9 FLCL uses the power of anime to unbox puberty and adolescence

Haruko Smashing With Guitar In FLCL

Growing up is not easy. This is why coming of age stories are so powerful. Anime is the perfect way to take something as universal as a teenage years and extrapolate it in a dizzying battle for life or death with ridiculously powerful individuals. FLCL is the perfect example of how to juxtapose the normality of life with chaos. Naota’s struggle, as well as the way he slowly comes out of his shell after meeting Haruko, highlights the power of anime. FLCL is only six episodes and doesn’t waste a single minute in this special growing up story.

8 Mobile Suit Gundam is the perfect introduction to sci-fi storytelling

Anime Mobile Suit Gundam Amuro Ray RX-78-2 Gundam Destroys Zaku

The mecha genre is another dense area that the anime can navigate. There are a lot of iconic series that make up the genre, but Mobile Suit Gundam has largely dominated the field through decades of storytelling and dozens of interconnected series, films and video games that expand the Gundam universe.

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Gundam gradually worked in several timelines, but the original story of the universal century which feeds the first series is truly exceptional. Mobile Suit Gundam Approaches galactic politics, rambling underdogs, and gigantic robot battles with delicate care. This makes the dense material appear accessible and rooted in sci-fi staples.

seven Pop Team Epic is an absurd comedy anyone can enjoy

There are some extremely funny gag anime series that reach hilarious heights that seem impossible with other forms of animation. Some gag anime series can be too isolated with their credentials and are difficult to follow without a thorough knowledge of Japanese pop culture.

Pop epic team is a quick exception that puts just as much American pop culture in his sights like anything else. The chaotic comedy works with meme-like energy and has found its way onto Adult Swim. This is exactly the weird style of content that the programming block is proud of.

6 Death Parade uses storytelling of atypical anthologies to explore the human condition

Tatsumi (Death Parade)

Sometimes the length of an animated series or a complex narrative is the most deterrent. Death parade works like an unconventional study that uses mundane recreational activities like high stakes competitions with everlasting consequences. Death parade does a great job of examining the different walks of life that find themselves in this fatalistic situation, but it also offers a stimulating and unique portrayal of purgatory.

5 My Hero Academia Adopts Superhero Culture To Boost Its Shonen Instinct

Anime My Hero Academia Infinite 100% Deku Eri Attack

Superhero and comic book adaptations have never been so popular, so it’s only natural that some anime series are turning to this genre for inspiration. My hero university is a highly intelligent hybrid of superhero archetypes and shonen sensibilities. The series carefully tells the origin story of Izuku “Deku” Midoriya, along with dozens of his friends, as they become the country’s next generation of professional heroes.

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My hero university is guilty of some prevalent shonen conventions, but its spotlight on superheroes and villains is enough to attract an illiterate anime audience.

4 Nana is a realistic tale of the pains of aging

Anime Babe

Nana is almost too authentic for its own good. The series is watching two young adults, both named Nana, who are trying to take control of their twenties, gain their independence and learn what they want out of life. This level of personal storytelling makes Nana deeply special and something everyone can enjoy.

3 The Great Pretender is a superlative heist story that would excel in any medium

Makoto, Laurent, Abigail and Cynthia from Great Pretender

There is no such thing as a well executed heist. Movies and TV series that capture the tense energy and meticulous planning that are essential to this style of storytelling can often achieve magical results. Visually, The great suitor is utterly gorgeous and uses color in an inspired way while showcasing smart, serialized scam schemes that never disappoint. The great suitor is pure happiness for any fan of crime dramas and heist stories.

2 Escaflowne’s vision is an Isekai series summed up with all the basics

Anime has countless isekai, fantasy, and action series, many of which reinforce stereotypes rather than innovate. Escaflowne’s vision is a series from the 90s which takes up many familiar ideas, but is able to synthesize them into something truly unique. Teenage Hitomi is taken to a fantasy world where dragons, robots and a royal rivalry are all in play, not to mention realizing her role as a central figure in this strange new universe. With only 26 episodes, Escaflowne is very manageable and offers something new to the anime that is familiar, but also distinctly different.

1 Hunter X Hunter thrives, rather than stumbles, thanks to Shonen stereotypes

Gon unleashes all of his Nen in Hunter X Hunter

An exhaustive shonen streak can be a red flag for people new to anime or hesitant to take the plunge. Some people don’t have time for hundreds of episodes of content. Lots of shonen sets are bloated and bogged down with filler, but Hunter x hunter is one of the most successful and creative series of its kind. Hunter x hunter has just under 150 episodes and triumphs where other shonen series have failed since each of its story arcs avoid repeating patterns. The series deserves a greater level of respect.

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