Getting Started in Anime

And now a few words about opening the door to one of the most general audience cult favorite media you’ll ever find. In other words, anime is hot, gang, and the hunger for it must be fed. So why not by you?


How to Get into Anime
by Cecilia D’Anastasio

So you want to get into anime. Buckle in. From outside, it looks like a big, scary and potentially fatal undertaking. And that’s because it is.

Anime is a medium that contains all the dazzling peaks and deep, deep troughs of human imagination. When it’s good, it’s brain-bending sci-fi plots, mirthful belly laughs, involuntary squees and tears upon heartbreaking tears. And when it’s bad, you’ll find yourself head-in-hands, bemoaning the garbage race that is humanity.

Getting into anime is all about avoiding the caltrops and finding the glistening, gold nuggets. And there are lots of them.

Your Mindset

There is so much god damn anime. And if you know anything about anime culture, it’s that its fans are, often, mega-fans. Anime fandom can be intimidating for newcomers. “Oh, you’ve seen this obscure anime? Well, have you watched this one?”, “Have you seen every episode?”, etc., are questions that maladjusted people ask. Not everyone is like that. Ignore those people.

Watch what you like. Stop watching what you don’t like, even if otaku tell you it’s “foundational” or “classic.” You have limited free time. Don’t spend it all binging on Evangelion if, by episode 12, you’re screaming, “Shinji: Get in the fucking robot.”

Also: anime is a medium, not a genre—so unlike sci-fi movies or romantic comedies, you simply can’t consume (or enjoy) it all. Sure, there are “anime” tropes like adorable magical pets, high-school transfer love stories and fifteen-episode boss battles, but these are not guiding principles. Think of anime the same way you think of “cartoons.” You might like Adventure Time, but not Invader ZimSteven Universe but not Tiny Toons. A cartoon can cover any topic in any tone, so there are extreme differences between shows. The same goes for anime. The main difference is that anime is specifically produced in Japan and bound by some artistic similarities, like large eyes and pointy chins.

What to start with

First, let’s talk what not to start withThe most popular shows, like Dragon Ball Z and Naruto and Sailor Moon, are, a little counter-intuitively, not great places to begin your anime journey. They’re long. They’re a lore-heavy. And they’re kids’ shows for a reason. I won’t throw shade on everyone’s favorite nostalgic programming, but I will say that immediately interesting anime for adults is super easy to find (and is often better-written).

When it comes to where to dip your toes in, it really depends on what you like. Movies by Studio Ghibli are good palate-teasers. Most approach the heights of style and beauty that anime can harness: wind-swept panoramas, a bath house for the spirits, a cat bus, two warrior princesses who fight climate change. For our Ghibli recommendations, check out this post. Personally, I recommend Nausicaa and My Neighbor Totoro. (For my top picks for anime movies that aren’t Studio Ghibli, check this post). I have found, however, that first-time anime viewers will often just watch more Ghibli movies without venturing into the larger world of anime. And we don’t want that!

I try to recommend shorter series without gratuitous anime in-jokes, alienating fan service or an intended audience below the age of 13. I will gladly break one of those rules for exceptional shows. And there are many. Below are my top beginner’s recommendations for each major anime genre along with one-sentence descriptions and reasons why I think they’re great. (They’re all series.)….

Read it all at Kotaku.Com