17 votes

Anime: Where to start?

I have Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Showtime. Possibly Disney+ soon too, but I'm guessing Disney doesn't do a ton of anime (other than Spirited Away? Does that count?).

I'm looking for a good anime show to start watching - I'm brand new to the medium. I've seen guides here and there, but there are so. many. options. so I've had decision paralysis choosing which to watch first.

I guess I'm looking for a bingeable show that's funny and has feel-good characters, but I'm not set on anything specifically. Some, but not a ton, action would be good too I guess. I'm also fine starting off with a lesser-known show if there's a good one!

Thanks in advance!

Edit: Thanks to whoever moved this to ~anime - didn't know it was a thing! It's been a while since I've been on Tildes so I forgot exactly how it worked.

24 comments

  1. [4]
    PetitPrince
    Link
    Mushishi is a collection of fairy-like Japanese tales. it has a strong environmental vibe to it and is overall very soothing. It's charming and is a perfect show to chill out in during a rainy...

    Mushishi is a collection of fairy-like Japanese tales. it has a strong environmental vibe to it and is overall very soothing. It's charming and is a perfect show to chill out in during a rainy weekend. Except for Cowboy Bebop, I recommend this one over all else.

    Fullmetal Alchemist has one of the finest equilibrium of action, comedy and plot. Both series are great. The first one outpaced the manga it was an adaptation of, and went into a separate continuity with the original authors input - basically, an anti-Game of Thrones. The second one is more faithful to the manga.

    Any movie by Mamoru Hosada. He likes to explore the theme of familial relationship and his movies and generally light-hearted, but some has more heavy too (without being bleak). My favorite is Summer Wars; which is really a summer movie.

    Satoshi Kon is known for mind bending works (he often question subjective reality and our perception of it), but one of his more light hearted works is Tokyo Godfathers, which is pretty much a Christmas movie which centers on a group of homeless people having to take care of a baby on Christmas eve.

    Samurai Champloo is directed by the same guy who did Cowboy Bebop (Shinchiro Watanabe). So while Cowboy Bebob was "bounty hunters in space with jazz", Samurai Champloo is "samurai in Japan with hip-hop". It's not as legendary as Cowboy Bebop but still very very good.

    Lastly, Tvtropes has a good "anime essential" list but please don't click on any link as Tvtropes will ruin your life as they say it themselves.

    9 votes
    1. SkewedSideburn
      Link Parent
      After all this time I am still searching for something like Mushishi. The closest I've found were Haibane Renmei and the original Kino no Tabi, but even they did not exactly evoke the same feeling

      After all this time I am still searching for something like Mushishi. The closest I've found were Haibane Renmei and the original Kino no Tabi, but even they did not exactly evoke the same feeling

      4 votes
    2. [2]
      mrbig
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      This depends a lot on your attitude. When I entered film school I was pretty annoying for a while. I saw patterns on everything, it was hard to turn off the analytical mode and just enjoy movies....

      TV Tropes Will Ruin Your Life

      This depends a lot on your attitude. When I entered film school I was pretty annoying for a while. I saw patterns on everything, it was hard to turn off the analytical mode and just enjoy movies. With time I became able to enjoy movies on both registers at the same time, analytical and "emotional" - for lack of a better word. My enjoyment of movies greatly increased. Probably because I also had training on how to make movies, which made me appreciate and respect how difficult it is to make even the more mundane stuff. Not everyone can write Legally Blonde, and you better believe there are sophisticated techniques in the acting of Reese Witherspoon.

      This very link presents a good answer to the problem:

      Tropes Are Tools, not clichés. They are plot devices and progressions (similar to but more defined than literary devices) that have been around for a long time because they work, and there's no inherent loss of complexity through the use of them (most of the time).

      4 votes
      1. PetitPrince
        Link Parent
        Ah, I was thinking about the trap-like browsing-behavior as exemplified by the XKCD comic instead of the literary-analyse-any-and-everything. For reference: https://xkcd.com/609/

        Ah, I was thinking about the trap-like browsing-behavior as exemplified by the XKCD comic instead of the literary-analyse-any-and-everything. For reference: https://xkcd.com/609/

        2 votes
  2. [4]
    Autoxidation
    Link
    I would highly recommend watching this, along with Princess Mononoke.

    (other than Spirited Away? Does that count?).

    I would highly recommend watching this, along with Princess Mononoke.

    6 votes
    1. [3]
      mcluk
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Haha, I have watched Spirited Away actually! Need to see it again (it was 5 years ago), but I loved it at the time! Will absolutely give it a rewatch sometime soon.

      Haha, I have watched Spirited Away actually! Need to see it again (it was 5 years ago), but I loved it at the time! Will absolutely give it a rewatch sometime soon.

      2 votes
      1. [2]
        Grzmot
        Link Parent
        Any of the Studio Ghibli movies are highly recommendable. Howl's moving castle, Kiki's Delivery Service, and of course My Neighbour Totoro. You can literally go through Hayayo Myazaki's...

        Any of the Studio Ghibli movies are highly recommendable. Howl's moving castle, Kiki's Delivery Service, and of course My Neighbour Totoro. You can literally go through Hayayo Myazaki's filmography and just watch every movie in order, the man is a legend.

        2 votes
        1. cfabbro
          Link Parent
          With one exception... from an old comment of mine on it:

          Any of the Studio Ghibli movies are highly recommendable.

          With one exception... from an old comment of mine on it:

          Heh, if you think Totoro and the like are sad... ever seen Grave of the Fireflies? It's not melancholic and pensive, it's downright soul crushingly depressing. It genuinely took me a week to mentally recover from after watching it. However, despite that, it's still an incredible movie that everyone should see at least once, as the message it conveys is incredibly important IMO.

          1 vote
  3. [4]
    nicke
    Link
    Can't really think of any comedy anime shows on those sites, but here are some isekai (person gets transferred to another world) on Crunchyroll. You can watch everything(?) free with ads. That...

    Can't really think of any comedy anime shows on those sites, but here are some isekai (person gets transferred to another world) on Crunchyroll. You can watch everything(?) free with ads.

    That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime
    Pretty fun isekai fantasy adventure anime. It is ongoing, I think the next season is planned for this fall.
    https://www.crunchyroll.com/that-time-i-got-reincarnated-as-a-slime

    Dr. STONE
    Also an isekai, and really good. Ongoing as well.
    https://www.crunchyroll.com/dr-stone

    Konosuba
    Basically a parody of the isekai genre. Awesome characthers though.
    https://www.crunchyroll.com/konosuba-gods-blessing-on-this-wonderful-world

    Overlord
    Wouldn't say that this is a comedy, but it has it's moments.
    https://www.crunchyroll.com/overlord

    As for Spirited Away, that definitely counts. You can't go wrong with any of the Studio Ghibli movies.

    I just saw the other day that Netflix has Death Note, Cowboy Bebop, Erased and Ghost in the Shell stand alone complex. All awesome shows, but not really "fun" except Cowboy Bebop.

    Edit:
    Hinamatsuri
    About a girl who gets adopted by a Yakuza member. Fun, some action and about 12 episodes. Great show!
    https://www.crunchyroll.com/hinamatsuri

    4 votes
    1. [2]
      PetitPrince
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Cowboy Bebop is my favorite anime of all time, and still holds up more than twenty tears later on all front (animation, story, music). And if you have watched the live action ghost in the shell...

      Cowboy Bebop is my favorite anime of all time, and still holds up more than twenty tears later on all front (animation, story, music).

      And if you have watched the live action ghost in the shell movie, please forget it. The anime (both films and series) are on another whole level than this hollywood bastardization.
      Oh and there's three several continuities that mostly unrelated in tone:

      • the manga: OG material by Masamune Shirow, often goofy
      • the movies by Mamoru Oshii: introspective and philosophical. Legendary movies, but I find the second one difficult to comprehend
      • the series (Stand Alone COMPLEX or SAC) : more accessible than Oshii's interpretation of the universe (it's mostly a police procedural), but explore more thoroughly the societal impact of technology. Probably one of the greatest anime of all time. I cannot comment on the last 3D season but a friend of mine say it has surprisingly good story despite the terrible terrible graphics.
      • the other series (Arise). Sort of a reboot /prequel, not as good as GITS SAC but has its good moment too.
      6 votes
      1. nicke
        Link Parent
        It really is a pretty perfect show! I've watched it twice, and I'll probably watch it again soon.

        It really is a pretty perfect show!
        I've watched it twice, and I'll probably watch it again soon.

        1 vote
    2. mrbig
      Link Parent
      Great suggestions. You're in for a treat, OP.

      Great suggestions. You're in for a treat, OP.

      2 votes
  4. skybrian
    Link
    Before watching a series I would recommend watching all of Studio Ghibli's movies. (They made Spirited Away.) I haven't seen anything else quite as good.

    Before watching a series I would recommend watching all of Studio Ghibli's movies. (They made Spirited Away.) I haven't seen anything else quite as good.

    3 votes
  5. mrbig
    (edited )
    Link
    I recommend Jojo's Bizarre Adventure. Also the first Dragonball (the one where Goku is still a kid).

    I recommend Jojo's Bizarre Adventure. Also the first Dragonball (the one where Goku is still a kid).

    2 votes
  6. stickman
    Link
    Shows: Serial Experiments Lain - You need to watch all the episodes to understand and even then nothing guarantees that you will understand. I needed to watch a few videos after watching the...

    Shows:
    Serial Experiments Lain - You need to watch all the episodes to understand and even then nothing guarantees that you will understand. I needed to watch a few videos after watching the entire show. Only start making some sense on 7 ep. You will need a lot of patience and curiosity.

    Sword Art Online - My favourite anime, season 1 is the best by far. Not for everyone. I would say if you watch the first ep and don't like you can stop. This anime have it all.

    Erased - Very very good. I really recommend this one, probably you can stop watching if you don't like the first and second ep.

    Films:
    Your name - if you like romance, not a normal romance though, really recommend this one

    A silent voice - Character development, mental health

    2 votes
  7. Pistos
    (edited )
    Link
    I think it would help you find good stuff if you narrowed things (to start with, anyway) to a certain demographic. If you don't know their general meanings yet, look up the terms seinen, shounen,...

    I think it would help you find good stuff if you narrowed things (to start with, anyway) to a certain demographic. If you don't know their general meanings yet, look up the terms seinen, shounen, josei, shoujo. I say this because something that a pre-teen finds funny might not be what a 30-something finds amusing, and vice versa, even though both would be considered "comedy".

    After that, you can browse genres, such as the checkbox grid at https://www.crunchyroll.com/en-gb/videos/anime/genres . If you say

    looking for a bingeable show that's funny and has feel-good characters [...] Some, but not a ton, action would be good too

    then you can begin by filtering with the Comedy and Action checkboxes, and possibly narrow more with Slice of Life, or whatever else strikes your fancy. Of course, popularity or ratings on anime sites (like Crunchyroll) can help guide you to the well-known and well-liked stuff.

    2 votes
  8. herson
    (edited )
    Link
    I won't say to you "watch this anime", just watch what you want, but I can give you some advices: Try to avoid series with more than 100+ episodes if you consider yourself a beginner (mostly...

    I won't say to you "watch this anime", just watch what you want, but I can give you some advices:

    • Try to avoid series with more than 100+ episodes if you consider yourself a beginner (mostly because, you can watch several 12 or 26 episodes series in that time).
    • If you don't like a series, just don't watch it, even if it's considered as one of the best animes ever (just watch the things you enjoy, it's a hobby, not a checklist).
    • If you like a series but it's too slow and you want to move faster, read the manga, also mangas are generally better.
    • All movies by Studio Ghibli, Mamoru Hosoda and Makoto Shinkai are good. Give them a try, but don't force yourself to watch all of them.
    • and this one is completely subjective, but I personally believe that 80's anime has aged better than 90's. Most of the series I like are from the 2000's tho.
    2 votes
  9. culturedleftfoot
    Link
    You may have already come across it, but Lukeatlook maintains what's pretty much the definitive anime recommendation guide. There's a more up-to-date version but I think the first is more useful...

    You may have already come across it, but Lukeatlook maintains what's pretty much the definitive anime recommendation guide. There's a more up-to-date version but I think the first is more useful here since it's a flowchart.

    Personally, I'd recommend The Tatami Galaxy and The Eccentric Family, which I know are both on Netflix but I can't confirm exactly which territories at the moment. Noragami would also probably fit your bill, it's more fun than it has any right to be.

    I watched all of those subtitled, so I can't vouch for the quality of their English dubs.

    2 votes
  10. nothis
    Link
    If you're in Europe, you're in luck: Netflix just got all the Ghibli movies and I'd consider them mandatory viewing. No idea how to best get them in the US, currently. Other essential movies...

    If you're in Europe, you're in luck: Netflix just got all the Ghibli movies and I'd consider them mandatory viewing. No idea how to best get them in the US, currently.

    Other essential movies include Ghost in the Shell and Akira, maybe Paprika or some weirder ones (Mindgame?).

    For shows, do watch Cowboy Bebop! IMO the best tv show anime.

    If you can stomach full-on teenage mecha sci-fi anime, Netflix also just got Neon Genesis Evangelion. It's bizarre and very 90s, a weird mix between trashy and awkward attempts at philosophy... but it's a classic "anime"-anime show.

    1 vote
  11. [4]
    moocow1452
    Link
    First off, don't. Anime is bad for you. Now that I got that out of the way, Because.Moe is great for your situation because you can plug in a title and it will tell you where it's streaming. Note...

    First off, don't. Anime is bad for you.

    Now that I got that out of the way, Because.Moe is great for your situation because you can plug in a title and it will tell you where it's streaming. Note that for your purposes, most of the stuff that is on Funimation is probably on Hulu as well, only a couple things are exclusive to one or the other.

    As far as recommendations go, Anime Feminist has their top 25 of the decade that was released and all of these are incredible picks with a good handle on the Anime Bullshit that has been known to crop up.

    1 vote
    1. [3]
      intuxikated
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      That's the first time I saw someone saying this on the internet. Due to the shear popularity of anime on the internet I tried to watch one, I started with Neon Genesis Evangelion (the series)....

      First off, don't. Anime is bad for you.

      That's the first time I saw someone saying this on the internet. Due to the shear popularity of anime on the internet I tried to watch one, I started with Neon Genesis Evangelion (the series). Though I liked the story and flow of the show I was putoff by the 2D characters. where I live, animation movies are not popular, infact I've never met anyone who watches anime outside internet, so that might be the reason. I find it hard to empathize or relate to 2D characters, ofcourse it's not the case always I really enjoyed The little Prince.

      Sorry, I got a little side tracked there. Why did you say anime is bad for them?

      1 vote
      1. [2]
        moocow1452
        Link Parent
        I was being a bit facetious, in that Anime is a time consuming and sometimes expensive hobby that is centered around the creators and fandom of a pulp medium where poor quality repetitive material...

        I was being a bit facetious, in that Anime is a time consuming and sometimes expensive hobby that is centered around the creators and fandom of a pulp medium where poor quality repetitive material is shoveled out for profit, but with the added exoticness and tropes of being centered around a different culture where things are done differently, insulating the idea that it's unlike any other medium in the world, when it just panders first and foremost to the sensabilities of a different audience. It's a very Anime thing to hate on the people consuming Anime as trash gremlins with no taste, and I probably should have made that more clear upfront.

        3 votes
        1. culturedleftfoot
          Link Parent
          At the same time, if you're willing to have a sense of nuance while being critical, there is definite validity to the notion that anime enthusiasts broadly (again, I emphasize, broadly) have...

          At the same time, if you're willing to have a sense of nuance while being critical, there is definite validity to the notion that anime enthusiasts broadly (again, I emphasize, broadly) have underdeveloped tastes... which is to be expected, I guess, when the audience demographics skew young.

          You could make the argument that it's just as true for consumers of mainstream Western/US entertainment as well, but that doesn't make things any better, honestly.

          2 votes
  12. monado
    Link
    Depends what you're into, I like romcoms so I'd watch something like Toradora. If you like action I heard Attack on Titan was pretty good. I got into anime from all the marketing toys/franchises...

    Depends what you're into, I like romcoms so I'd watch something like Toradora. If you like action I heard Attack on Titan was pretty good. I got into anime from all the marketing toys/franchises nonsense in the early 2010s (Pokémon, Beyblade) etc.

    1 vote