Beginner's guide: 10 anime series to get you started
MANILA, Philippines – Are you interested in watching anime? A fair warning: It's hard to crawl out of the pit of anime obsession.
True enough, I've been scoffed at several times for being an anime-loving 25-year-old. But you see, many people don't realize just how vast the world of Japanese animation is, and that anime is certainly not "just for kids." In fact, I can tell you plenty of anime series that you wouldn't want the children to see.
Whether you're a hopeless romantic, a frustrated superhero, or a mystery geek, give anime a chance and I'm sure you'll find a series you can enjoy watching.
Don't know where to start in your otaku journey? Try our suggestions here:
For the hopeless romantic
If you're looking for an anime series to tug at your heartstrings, you can start by watching shows in the shoujo genre.
These are shows primarily aimed at a teenage female audience, but boys can enjoy them just the same. If you're looking for something more mature, look for shows under the josei genre.
Kimi ni Todoke
There's actually a Filipino word that perfectly describes this show's theme: torpe.
This series is sure to tickle your heart and remind you of what romance was like back in high school, when we were too old to contain our feelings but also too young to confess. It tells the story of an honest-to-goodness school outcast named Sawako (often called by her friends as Sadako from The Ring) as she learns to communicate her feelings better to the people around her, especially to Kazehaya, the school heartthrob whom she admires.
This series will take you on a journey of love, friendship, and self-discovery – themes that are all trademarks of puberty.
Honey and Clover
Honey and Clover is a light gateway to the josei genre, perfectly capturing the emotional roller coaster that is college life. It tells the story of 5 budding artists as they grow, mature, and discover the joys and frustrations that come with love.
It also explores other issues that many of us can relate to: peer pressure, loneliness, and fear of what the future has in store for us.
Here are other romantic anime you may want to watch:
- Lovely Complex
- Your Lie in April
- Kaichou wa Maid-sama!
Action and adrenaline
If you're looking for action, anime series in the shounen genre are perfect for you.
This genre is filled with enough adventure and fight scenes to keep your adrenaline-craving heart happy and full.
Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood
I'm sure in one way or another, you've already been told that nothing is free in this world. But Full Metal Alchemist takes this saying to a whole new level.
It tells the story of two brothers who are talented alchemists – people with the ability to manipulate and alter matter through a process called transmutation.
Devastated by the untimely death of their mother, Edward and Alphonse Elric commit a taboo by using alchemy to revive her. The ritual fails however, resulting to Edward losing his arm and leg, and Alphonse losing his entire body. Now the Elric brothers set off on a journey to find the Philiosopher's Stone – the key for them to get their normal bodies back.
Attack on Titan
In another world, giant humanoid creatures called Titans suddenly appeared and pushed humanity to the brink of extinction. The few humans left lived within enormous concentric walls. These walls kept them safe for 100 years, until a colossal titan appeared and destroyed one of the 3 walls, allowing other titans to enter and invade the land between the outer and middle wall.
This series tells the story of Eren Yeager, Mikasa Ackerman, and Armin Arlert – all survivors of the deadly titan attack – as they join the Survey Corps, an elite military unit that fights against the titans outside the walls.
If you're feeling dead inside, this show might just lift you up – not because it's a happy story, but because it'll make you feel really lucky to be alive in a titan-free world.
Nail-biting suspense and mystery
Anime is also home to many mind-boggling mystery and suspense stories. If solving puzzles or watching horror movies strikes your fancy, here are two anime series you shouldn't miss:
If you had a notebook with the power to kill people in any way you desire, what would you do?
Death Note tells the story of a young genius named Light who found a notebook owned by a shinigami (death god). Anyone whose name is written on the Death Note will die.
Light, who is frustrated about the "rotten" world he lives in, uses the notebook to rid the world of evil people. His actions start to get the public's attention, and people start to acknowledge his other persona, Kira. Not long after, he also gets the police's attention, and they call for the help of the world's greatest detective, L. Thus begins the battle between the two geniuses. Will L catch Kira or will Kira kill him first?
The Japanese are known for their good horror films, but there are actually really good horror anime series as well. Consider Another, which follows the story of Class 3-3, a class that is said to be cursed. A popular student named Misaki once died in that class many years ago, but the students and teacher – all devastated by the loss – behave like he's still alive. Following his death, a strange yearly phenomenon begins: students and their relatives begin to die in often gruesome ways.
Here are other mystery and suspense anime you may want to watch:
- Tokyo Ghoul
- Steins Gate
- Kuroshitsuji (Black Butler)
Anime for laughs
If you love comedy, anime has a great roster of shows for you. Comedy is a pretty common element in many anime shows. There are plots that are just downright silly, while some weave humor perfectly with romance or action.
One Punch Man
"Having absolute power, is kinda boring."
We all love superheroes because they are strong, righteous, and exciting to watch. But then, what happens when the hero is just too strong – strong enough to crush any enemy with just one punch? That won't be much of a show, would it?
One Punch Man is an awesome comedy show which parodies the whole shonen genre. It features the unusual protagonist Saitama, a bald-headed 25-year-old who is bored to death because he cannot find a villain who can withstand any more than one punch from him.
Unlike most television superheroes, Saitama was not born special, nor did he acquire his power by falling in a toxic vat or by participating in special experiments. He literally got his power through sheer will and harsh physical training.
If there's one word that perfectly describes Gintama series, it's "absurd."
Gintama is one crazy anime series, with main characters who are complete lunatics, doing odd jobs to survive in an alien-invaded feudal Japan (Yes, samurais and aliens in one show!).
Unlike other anime series, Gintama is episodic, which means it's made up of a bunch of loosely connected arcs and episodes instead of having one cohesive storyline. But each episode is a comedy gem with a unique tone and humor, making Gintama an anime series full of silly surprises.
Here are other comedy anime you may want to watch:
- Arakawa Under the Bridge
- School Rumble
- Azumanga Daioh
- Ouran Highschool Host Club
- Daily Lives of Highschool Boys
For the sports fans
You don't need to watch people fighting each other to death to pump up your adrenaline. Sports is also fodder for anime makers, and some sports anime series were made so good that even non-athletic people like me enjoy watching them. Basketball, tennis, football, and soccer – there's an anime series for the world's most popular sports.
Haikyu! tells the story of a volleyball player named Hinata who is struggling with his short height but makes up for it with his superior jumping power. He aims to surpass his rival, volleyball genius Kageyama, who also becomes his teammate in their high school's volleyball team.
Haikyu! does a great job in explaining volleyball well, even to non-athletic viewers. It also has the right hint of comedy, making it enjoyable to watch.
Whether you watch anime or not, if you grew up in the 90s, you've probably heard about Slam Dunk already. Filipinos love basketball, so it's not really a surprise that Slam Dunk became a huge hit here.
Slam Dunk tells the story of Hanamichi Sakuragi, who is infamous for his fire-red hair and his troublemaking ways. Hanamichi, who knows nothing about basketball, joins the Shohoku High's basketball team after a series of events. He eventually learns the ropes of the sport and finds himself going against the best players of his generation.
Here are other sports anime you may want to watch:
- Kuroko's Basketball
- Ace of Diamond (Baseball)
- Yowamushi Pedal (Cycling)
- Eyeshield 21 (American Football)
- Hajime-no Ippo (Boxing)
- Prince of Tennis
There are still many other anime genres to explore, and even more anime series to watch. If you know one that should be on this list, let us know in the comments below! – Rappler.com