[Multimedia] Top ten anime shows for beginners

Jujutsu+Kaisens+protagonist%2C+Nobara+Kugisaki%2C+using+her+cursed+technique+to+fight+off+evil+spirits.+Photo+courtesy+of+MAPPA+Studios

Jujutsu Kaisen’s protagonist, Nobara Kugisaki, using her cursed technique to fight off evil spirits. Photo courtesy of MAPPA Studios

Anime, all hand-drawn and computer generated animation originating in Japan, has been gaining more and more traction recently as people internationally have grown to love the genre. However, it can be pretty daunting just starting out, as anime is not your typical form of entertainment and this media has been airing for decades. There are hundreds of shows out there, but to start, here are ten beginner anime shows to watch as you immerse yourself in this expansive and interesting world.

Nana

“Nana,” an emotional drama produced in 2006, has an interesting art style as well as unique characters that really tug on your heart strings. Written and illustrated by Ai Yazawa and produced by Madhouse Studio, this show follows two girls both named Nana who, by chance, met on a train to Tokyo while trying to make a life for themselves in the city.

Surprisingly, the two girls got along very well even though they are polar opposites. The first Nana moved to Tokyo to pursue her dream of becoming a singer with her punk style of performing. The second Nana, nicknamed Hachi, is moving to be closer with her boyfriend, who has been studying there for one year.

Despite being unlikely friends, watchers will see them grow over 47 episodes in unexpected and heartbreaking ways. While the premise might come off as sappy and cliche to some, the anime will show you in depth exactly what it means to be human.

However, it is not this heavy all the time. Along with making watchers cry, the characters have good senses of humor that really bring them to life, as well as make your sides hurt. Between Hachi’s tendency to fall in love too easily and Nana’s unexpected charm, their interactions are not only believable, but also entertaining to watch.

It also happens to be a convenient time to start this anime. As of 2021, the show is being reproduced with the new manga chapters in much higher definition. Still, it is highly recommended to watch the original instead of just waiting for the reboot, as there is nothing quite like it.

Haikyuu!!

When asking a seasoned anime watcher their first anime show, there is a high likelihood they will mention “Haikyuu!!” If a beginner wants to start off with an easy to watch anime that has both a great sub and dub, then “Haikyuu!!” is definitely a great option to consider.

According to Game Rant, “Haikyuu!!” is ranked the number one best sports anime of all time, and for good reason. Based on a manga written by Haruichi Furudate and later adapted into an anime produced by Production I.G., the show quickly rose in popularity after its debut in 2014. Since then, it has animated four successful seasons, three of which already have a dubbed English voiceover.

The show follows protagonist Hinata Shoyo on his journey to becoming the best male volleyball player around the world. However, coming in at about 5’3, this is made increasingly difficult for Hinata as he cannot seem to compete in a sport that calls for taller players.

However, in his first and last middle school tournament in which his team is disqualified in the first round, he meets Kageyama Tobio, a commanding, controlling volleyball genius. The disqualification leads to Hinata’s enemy: Kageyama and his team winning.

As Hinata is accepted into Karasuno High School, a once volleyball powerhouse but now reduced to a team with no coach, he discovers that Kageyama has also decided to attend this school. The two meet again, much to their surprise, and are forced to work together in order to achieve their common goal: winning.

Throughout the show, you watch as the two former enemies grow together, and come to love their teammates as well. The relationships between the members of the team are extremely dynamic, but also humorous, making it a very easy show to fall in love with.

“Haikyuu!!” is a show that will make the watcher torn between rooting for the opposing team or the protagonist. With its well-done writing, “Haikyuu!!” is a must-watch for any beginner anime watcher.

Neon Genesis Evangelion

There is no way to make it in the anime world without at least having heard of “Neon Genesis Evangelion.” This brilliant show written by Hideaki Anno, follows Shinji Ikari as he struggles in a post-apocalyptic world.

With an older art style due to its production in the 90s, the visuals are considered more appealing to many viewers.

After a traumatic event several years before Shinji was born, the world has become wary of beings they call “Angels,” who were behind the event. This is ironic as angels in reality symbolize peace and innocence. Over the years, the government created a special branch called the Natural Endogenous Respiration Vessel, or NERV, to deal with these creatures in preparation of the possibility that a similar catastrophe might occur, which was commanded by Shinji’s father.

Sure enough, the year Shinji turned 14 there was yet another Angel attack. NERV had been working on a secret project for the past ten years to produce robots called Evangelions, which were finally prepared during this Angel attack. However, these EVAs needed pilots- small pilots.

Shinji was called in as a last resort to deal with this issue and was forced to pilot an EVA for the very first time. The rest of the series follows Shinji and his attempts at trying to stay alive, and at times, not attempting at all. Viewers will meet other pilots, angels, generals and more in this action-packed thriller.

However, it certainly is not all action. Halfway through the 24 episode series, it seems to delve into the more psychological aspect of the show. The infamous ending left many watchers in shock due to the mind tricks and borderline nightmare-inducing images and themes.

Nevertheless, in order to watch the ending, you must begin with episode one. I promise you will not regret it.

Attack on Titan

“Attack on Titan” is an action-packed, dark fantasy anime loved by international audiences of all ages. The show is known for its outstanding writing, world-building, foreshadowing, plot twists and character development.

The story follows Eren Jaeger and his childhood friends Mikasa Ackerman and Armin Arlert, who are all forced to live inside large walls due to the world being overrun by man-eating titans. In their hometown Shiganshina District, which lies on the outermost wall, a titan break-in occurs, leaving devastation for all of humanity in its wake. Following the disaster, the main three make their way into the military, and begin their work toward becoming elite titan-slaughtering soldiers. Eren vows to destroy all the titans and put humanity back in control so that one day they can all see if there truly is a world outside the walls.

Throughout the anime viewers meet interesting characters and witness intriguing plotlines unfold. From world-changing secrets to the mystery of titans, “Attack on Titan” pulls in spectators with its amazing unpredictability and flawless foreshadowing skills.

The “Attack on Titan” series is based on the manga, written and illustrated by Hajime Isayama. The anime has been produced in two separate production studios: seasons one to three were produced by WIT Studio and the final season belongs to MAPPA Studio. Although the anime was released in 2013, “Attack on Titan” skyrocketed in popularity within the past eight years.

This past winter, with the release of “Attack On Titan: The Final Season,” the show gained an immense amount of popularity after trending on popular social media sites, like TikTok and Twitter. The first half of the season was released weekly, while the second part of the final season will begin releasing on January 9th, 2022. Now is a great time to start watching this highly successful action themed anime.

Fruits Basket (2019)

“Fruits Basket” is an emotional, slice-of-life romance anime that will make you both laugh and cry. In this anime, viewers follow the not-so-normal life of Tohru Honda, a kind-hearted highschool girl, who finds a shocking surprise in her neighboring house.

The manga, written and illustrated by Natsuki Takaya, has two anime adaptations with one being made in 2001 and the reboot in 2019. Though both versions are great, this article will be focusing on the reboot because it is more accurate to the source material.

The story starts with Tohru Honda invited into the home of Shigure Sohma after living in a tent pitched on his property. Shigure’s house is where Tohru meets her future friends Yuki and Kyo Sohma. Upon meeting them, Tohru learns that the residents of the house, along with ten other members of the Sohma Clan, are cursed by the animals of the Chinese zodiac, meaning that if they are hugged by someone of the opposite sex, they will turn into their respective animal.

Throughout three seasons, Tohru helps her new Sohma friends mend the mental scars left by the Sohma Clan and curse, while going on an emotional journey herself. “Fruits Basket” is a heartwarming show, full of love, comedy, drama and plenty of tear-jerking moments. It is sure to keep viewers wanting to see more, as relationships grow and the characters begin to discover their true identities.

“Fruits Basket” is perfect for first-time anime watchers, as it is a finished series and is easy to follow despite the depth of the show. With wonderful voice actors, gorgeous art and an outstanding plot, this anime proves to be one of the best romances and is definitely a must-watch.

Jujutsu Kaisen

For viewers who enjoy high-energy action shows, “Jujutsu Kaisen” is the perfect fit. The story follows protagonist Yuji Itadori, a highschool boy who accidentally becomes the vessel of an extremely dangerous cursed spirit, as he becomes a jujutsu sorcerer.

After his afterschool club removed a talisman from a rotting finger, known as Sukuna’s finger, cursed spirits become attracted to Itadori’s highschool and begin to attack. In order to protect his friends, Itadori ends up eating the finger and becomes the vessel for Sukuna, one of the most dangerous cursed spirits. At first, it is believed that Itadori would have to immediately be exorcised, but after Itadori is able to control his body despite the spirits intrusion, it is decided that he will become a jujutsu sorcerer and eat the rest of Sukuna’s fingers.

To become a jujutsu sorcerer, or a person who rids cursed spirits, Itadori is brought to Tokyo Jujutsu High by his mentor Satoru Gojo and becomes a first year student, along with Megumi Fushiguro and Nobara Kugisaki. Together, the trio of classmates go on missions to exorcise spirits near Tokyo, using their cursed, fighting techniques to defeat enemies, which makes room for the anime to have iconic battle sequences.

The manga is written and illustrated by Gege Akutami and produced by Studio MAPPA. As of now, there is only one season with 24 episodes that was released in October 2020.

“Jujutsu Kaisen” is a great fit for action lovers that even includes comedic flair and pop culture references. With powerful characters, an intriguing story and wonderful animation, this anime is a great way to get into the genre. “Jujutsu Kaisen” will have a movie releasing in United States theaters next year in the spring called “Jujutsu Kaisen 0: The Movie,” so now is the perfect time to start watching the anime in anticipation of the new release.

Death Note

“Death Note” is a physiological thriller anime that will have you on the edge of your seat. Viewers follow the main anti-hero protagonist Light Yagami nefariously scheme to rule the world with his newfound power delivered by a notebook.

The anime is based on the manga version, written by Tsugumi Ohba with illustrations by Takeshi Obata; the anime went through production with Madhouse Studio. “Death Note” has been out for nearly 15 years, as it was released on Tuesday, Oct. 3 2006.

The main premise of the anime is about Light Yagami, a high school-aged boy who one day ponders upon a supernatural notebook, called the “Death Note,” which has fallen from the gods of death, otherwise known as Shinigami. The notebook allows its users to end the life of any person in the world by writing down their name. After confirming the reality of the notebook’s power, Light decides to use it as a mass weapon to wipe out criminals and create a utopia where law-abiding citizens can live peacefully.

Over the span of 37 episodes, viewers watch as Light evades law enforcement, led by the hero antagonist “L,” in order to create his perfect world. The two face off in a battle of intellect, as they attempt to reveal each other’s identities.

Throughout the anime, you will be captivated by the tragic storyline, as Light Yagami commits heinous crimes against humanity. The anime takes up the not-so traditional theme of good versus evil, and leaves viewers with brain-picking questions as they take a deeper dive into what really defines ethical morals.

Along with its engaging storyline, “Death Note” offers spectacular voice acting, both in English and Japanese, and incredible art that makes the story feel life-like. “Death Note” is also one closed season, making it perfect for those who hate cliffhangers.

Horimiya

If you have been looking for an-easy going, romantic anime on this list, you are in luck. With its light plot and straightforward storyline, “Horimiya” is perfect for anime beginners.

The manga, originally called “Hori-san to Miyamura-kun,” was written and illustrated by Hiroki Adachi, under the pseudonym Hero. It received an anime adaptation, which made it titled “Horimiya” through CloverWorks. The anime is a new generation shonen, as it began releasing on Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021.

“Horimiya” is plentiful with scenes located in the department of cliche romances. It follows Kyoko Hori, a bubbly, popular high school girl, and Izumi Miyamura, an emo, nerdy boy who fall in love after unexpectedly running into each other outside of school. The catch is both characters act completely different outside of their academic environment: Hori, in the absence of her working parents, dresses down and acts as a parent to her younger brother and Miyamura takes on a “bad boy” facade, as he has multiple tattoos and piercings.

The anime will make you giddy with excitement and fill your heart with joy as you witness Hori and Miyamura go through the phases of a relationship. “Horimiya” is also jam-packed with humorous moments giving an airy feel to the story.

“Horimiya” is a short series to watch with only one season containing 13 episodes. A second season will be unlikely, as the storyline ended with no cliffhangers. Its short and closed storyline makes it a perfect start for beginners to be introduced to the world of anime. You can watch both the Japanese version with subtitles, and the English version on Funimation, an anime viewing platform.

Demon Slayer

What beats a story about a teenage warrior travelling to fight demons with his young-demon sister on his back?

“Demon Slayer,” is a dark fantasy anime written by Koyoharu Gotouge. “Demon Slayer ” went through production with Studio Ufotable and was released on Saturday, April 6, 2019. For the two years it has been out, Demon Slayer has gained a lot of traction from fans across the world. The anime’s aesthetically pleasing art style compliments its loveable characters, which adds to the popularity of the show.

The story tracks Tanjiro Kamado, the humble and virtuous protagonist. It begins with him arriving home one day to find that his family has been massacred by a demon, which are supernatural beings that hunt humans. Tanjiro, however, discovers that his younger sister Nezuko is still alive, but in demon form. Tanjiro, in efforts to turn Nezuko back into a human, undergoes difficult training to join the “Demon Slayer Corps,” an old organization that was created to protect humanity from demons.

On his journey to slay demons, Tanjiro meets friends and allies in various locations. With the help of his friends, Tanjiro trains and improves his breathing style, a hidden technique that helps him tremendously in battle. He constantly asks the demons if they know how to change back into human form before murdering them in a desperate attempt to help his sister.

Throughout its 26 episodes, “Demon Slayer” will make you laugh, cry and jump up with excitement. It’s easy-to-follow plot makes this anime perfect for beginners. Currently, there is only one season and a movie, which was released on Tuesday, April 23, 2021. The second season is still in production as fans eagerly await the release in December 2021.

The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.

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“The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.” makes a strong appearance in the comedy department. Considered by many to be one of the funniest anime ever written, the show follows the life of Saiki Kusuo, a high school boy trying to blend in with his classmates in Japan. The catch is, however, Saiki is a powerful psychic and goes through tremendous efforts to conceal his abilities.

“The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.” was created by mangaka Shuichi Aso and produced by J.C. Studio in collaboration with Egg Firm. It was released on Monday, July 4, 2016 and has been popular ever since its debut.

As stated, the basis of the show comes from Saiki’s attempts to hide his psychic abilities from the world, discluding his close family. In order to seemingly live like an average highschool student, Saiki diverts attention from himself by attending school, running errands or partaking in other normal activities. Despite needing to stay distant from others to hide his secret, Saiki hates attraction and appeals to the loner lifestyle. However, he runs into some difficulty when his classmates with colorful personalities drag him away from his everyday life.

The comedical portions of the show is accentuated through some of Saiki’s psychic abilities. For instance, Saiki is able to use telepathy to read the minds of those around him, which reveals some of his classmates’ unexpected inner thoughts. He also has the ability of superstrength, which makes simple tasks, like throwing a baseball in gym class, a challenge. Along with his supernatural abilities, Saiki’s unusually neutral reaction to absurd occurrences adds to the hilarity of the show.

“The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.” has 50 episodes over the span of three seasons. The first season of the show has an English voiceover, but the rest of the seasons are only featured in Japanese with English subtitles. Both the English and the Japanese voice acting are widely appreciated by English speaking fans.

“The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.” does not have a distinct story line; however, it sticks to the persistent theme of Saiki constantly getting caught up with his classmates, regardless of his efforts not to. This allows for beginners to easily get acquainted with anime without a heavy storyline.