Anime. It’s a word that can sometimes confound those who aren’t familiar with the animation style. What makes anime anime, exactly? Isn’t it just cartoons about a bunch of high school kids in supernatural situations? Why are they yelling all the time, or being perverts, or turning into weird, pint-sized, cutesy versions of themselves? And I’ve heard a lot about tentacles … is it safe for my kids? These are all valid questions and criticisms of anime’s many and varied tropes, but you’d be missing out on decades worth of quality characters, stories, and style by avoiding anime entirely. So, to better guide you into the awesome world of anime, we’ve put together a handy list of selected TV series and movies for newcomers to check out. And since anime spans a wide age range–you don’t want the kiddos watching Ninja Scroll, after all–we’ve included a breakdown of our suggestions by age to better ease your transition.
A heads up to the anime aficionados out there looking for deep cuts or non-traditional suggestions: Remember that this is a beginner’s guide, so we’re not going to be throwing folks into the deep end of the iconic, fan-favorite series Neon Genesis Evangelion, the insanity that is JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, or coming-of-age mind-benders like FLCL. Additionally, in an effort not to overwhelm newbies with dozens of suggestions, we’ve limited selections to three TV series and three movies per age range; apologies up front if your favorites didn’t make the list. However, feel free to suggest your favorite beginner anime series and movies in the comments below!
And if you’ve already seen these suggestions and/or want to branch out on your own anime adventure, be sure to check out Crunchyroll and Funimation–and may I suggest VRV, your cost-effective, one-stop shop for these offerings and more–along with anime offerings streaming on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon. There’s a whole wide world of anime out there, so let’s get started with some easy entry points for newcomers!