Anime like film has a genre or genres that they fall under. Look at it this way, there’s something for everyone! Whether it’s romance, comedy, a slice of life, blood, gore, or a heartfelt coming of age there is something for you. Here is just a few classics to get you started.
Okay maybe they don’t all transcend genre but we can tell you that these are well-loved and easier to digest. Anime fans and non-anime fans can find something to love. While quirky in their own ways it’s a good opportunity to slowly introduce yourself to the “weirder” but also the more emotional side of anime. The anime listed below are shorter making them easily and quickly binge-able for those on a busy schedule.
Known as a classic and one of the only anime where anime fans and critics agree it’s good. A western set in space we follow Spike Spigel and his buddy Jet as they roam the galaxy as bounty hunters meeting friends as well as enemies along the way. We get to learn more about each character as the series goes on.
Ouran High School Host Club
This one is for the more open to anything. It’s a cute slice of life about accepting yourself as you are, we follow Haruhi Fujioka as she starts a private school for rich people. There she meets a group called the Host Club and things spiral from there. With a slew of lovable characters, this is a fun and quirky anime that we highly recommend.
Edgy in a soft way. The art style is wicked and sharp but the story is of bonds and friendship. Follow Maka Albarn a Meister at DWMA Academy where she trains with her weapon Soul Evans. Yes, weapon. In this world, humans can be born with the ability to transform into some form of weapon. This is all to eradicate the world of demons or Kishin souls all while reporting to Lord Death. Fun and full of laughs it’s an anime worth adoration.
The opening song will make you get up and dance. Catchy tunes aside this will be a bit darker than you think (or maybe not since you read the title). Follow Decim as he decides whether people go to heaven or hell with games. There’s more than meets the eye though as we delve deeper into who lives in purgatory and the mysteries surrounding his lovely assistant this anime will leave its mark.
Everyone LOVES a good romantic comedy. Taiga and Ryuji have crushes on each others’ best friend. Both labeled delinquents this anime breaks gender roles and makes you laugh at the hilarity that ensues. Taiga is a tsundere clutz and Ryuji is too shy to even introduce himself.
If you’re a lover of the arts and entertainment these are for you. Anime is an art form and takes years of practice to get good. Starting in 1917 anime blossomed to what we know it as today. Where there is art there are artists and where there are artists there is an observation of the human condition.
The only movie on this list but a necessary choice. If you love films or find yourself over-analyzing every little detail on screen Akira is a film you need to see. Set in a post-apocalyptic cyberpunk world the year is 2019. This movie is all about fast bikes and telekinesis. Hailed as one of the greats this film is based on a manga of the same name. If you want to know the true ending though you’ll have to pick up a book.
Your Lie in April
A stunningly colorful work of art this anime combines two of the most amazing things: music and art. The most stand out part of this series is the piano scenes. The creators of this anime took the time to motion capture every song played in this series and animate it. Each song, if you look at their fingers, is on the correct note.
Cry Your Eyes Out
Everyone needs a good cry, it helps balance out your brain and release all the tension you’ve been holding. There are a lot of anime that will have moments where you might tears up but these have the sole purpose to pull at your heartstrings. The pay off might not be right away but by the end, if you’re not a sobbing mess… we will be concerned.
Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day
Our personal favorite is about a group of friends who’ve grown apart. Jun the leader of this band of misfits kids has grown quiet and reserved while the others have moved on with their life. At least until Jun starts seeing the ghost of their dead friend. Now he has to gather his estranged friends once more to figure out just what exactly is holding Minma back. It’s a very cute anime show plenty of flashbacks of their childhood along side the growing pains of growing up.
Ever wonder what purgatory is like? Well, look no further than this anime. The story centers around a guy who doesn’t know how or when he died. Most of this takes place in a high school purgatory with high school-age kids. As you learn more about each of these characters you come to find out how they died.
This anime is about a class of high school delinquents that get a chance to become assassins. An alien comes in and takes over as their teacher. Their new alien teacher strikes up a deal with the government, only these kids can kill him. Each day passes and the kids try to kill him, but not before he can teach them a thing or two. A story about building confidence and lots of humor along the way. Based on the opening you might not think this will be sad, don’t worry, just keep watching.
Parasyte the maxim
An amazing opening, this anime is pretty weird. Imagine if your hand were sentient and trying to either kill you or escape. Amazing thought right? Well look no further. Watch the scenes play out as our protagonist acquires a parasite and not just any parasite but an inhuman alien parasite.
Do not, we repeat, do not watch this unless gore is truly your thing. This anime is disturbing on so many levels but we are including it on this list for those of you who have a secret (or not so secret) love of blood and gore. Now the acts depicted are not super graphic but they are creepy to watch. This is the story of a girl named Lucy and a boy named Kouta. Lucy is a Diclonius which is a creature that has invisible arms protruding out of their back. She has been locked away under heavy experimentation and escapes. Find out what happens when these two meet.
Extra Lightning Round! Advanced starters
If you’re up for a long epic saga of triumph and failure these are the shows for you. They are long and have been running for quite a while. The only reason these are considered advanced is for their length alone. Those of you who have more time on their hands or want a longer watch here you go.
If you love a show and get to the end, check if there is a manga for that anime. Manga are comic books read from left to right and a majority of anime is adapted from the manga of the same name.
If it’s your first time watching anything foreign, watching anime in your language, otherwise known as dubbed, is a good route to take. Not all anime is dubbed but once you come to enjoy the quirkier aspects of foreign entertainment you can try reading subtitles.
We hope you enjoyed that epic rundown of anime for newbs! Now you can’t say you’re a newb anymore. Here’s to many years of watching anime and maybe one day picking up some manga. Please don’t ever let the length or an anime scare you. It’s a story worth telling, the length of the run just shows it’s universal draw. Don’t look down on shorter anime either. Those are usually the sweetest sucker punches!