Anime has become a popular storytelling medium over the years. Are you interested in watching anime but don’t know where to start? Below is a list of my top five anime recommendations for beginners.
1. The Promised Neverland
I went into this anime with zero knowledge of what it was about, and I was pleasantly surprised by the end of it. Without spoiling anything, The Promised Neverland is a story about three children at an orphanage who discover a dark secret about the outside world and must do their best to save themselves and the other children at the orphanage from a terrible fate. Despite the protagonists being eleven years old, this story is complex. It’s interesting to see the well-thought-out strategies implemented by the main characters as they wage an intellectual battle with the adults around them. And yet, despite the intelligence of the protagonists, the story does an excellent job of making the viewer wonder whether or not they will succeed in the end. After all, the main characters are quite young and lack information and resources, making them somewhat helpless in the grand scheme of things. In addition, the mystery of the outside world that the protagonists will need to face is one that will keep you up at night. Will they be able to conquer the obstacles that await them outside the orphanage, if they even make it to that point? All in all, this story will definitely have you hooked as you wait to see whether or not our young heroes are able to save the day in the end.
2. Attack on Titan
Attack on Titan is a story that is definitely not for the faint of heart, due to how dark and gruesome it can get. The series is filled with both hope and despair as we follow three young protagonists who are determined to fight the titans outside of the walls of their civilization in order to save humanity. The titans are giants who devour humans, seemingly operating without rhyme or reason. The titans are perhaps the most terrifying antagonistic force that you’ll ever come across in a story, making you sympathize with the characters who suffer from the fear that they induce and the suffering that they have caused. What makes this story interesting is that it seems impossible for the characters to defeat the titans. At times, the characters feel utterly hopeless because they believe there is no hope and that humanity is doomed. But seeing the characters come out of these low moments and turn out victorious in the end is always awe-inspiring. There are also plenty of mysteries to unravel throughout the series, the biggest mysteries having to do with both the titans and the humans. Watch this anime if you like action, mystery, and deep stories about saving the world from what seems like a hopeless fate.
3. Death Note
Death Note is a show with a thrilling and unique concept. The story follows a high school student named Light Yagami who finds a notebook called the Death Note one day. He soon discovers that he has the power to end someone’s life by simply writing his or her name in the notebook. I love the idea of this supernatural notebook shaking up this modern-day setting, where no one believes in magic and would not suspect that fantastical elements are the cause of the mysterious deaths happening in Japan. Mixing fantasy elements with a contemporary setting like the one we all live in makes for a compelling plot. In addition, the rivalry between Light and L, a famous detective tasked with tracking down Light, will keep you entertained for hours. Both Light and L are clever and strategic, and it’s impossible for the viewer to predict who will come out on top as they consistently outsmart and evade each other. They are both dynamic characters with contradictions within their personalities. Light is a model student with a god complex, while L is an intelligent detective with sometimes questionable methods of finding answers to his questions. Overall, you will definitely be on the edge of your seat as you watch this detective anime with a supernatural twist.
4. Your Lie in April
Your Lie in April is an emotional anime that follows the story of Kousei, a fourteen-year-old piano prodigy who can no longer bring himself to play the piano after the trauma he has experienced. Then, one day he meets a talented violinist named Kaori who asks him to be her accompanist at her violin competition. Firstly, the animation is top-notch and does a lot to help tell the story. The intensity of the colors in each scene reflect Kousei’s mood, with dark colors representing his depression and vivid colors representing his mood brightening. In addition, even though I know very little about music, it’s easy to feel connected to the passion that the main characters feel for music. Music is their purpose and makes them feel alive. Kaori emphasizes at one point that she is driven to perform for her audience. All of this reminds me of the passion I have for writing, and it may remind you of your creative endeavors as well. Lastly, seeing the emotional journey that Kousei goes through as he learns to love music again is inspiring. He struggles through anxious moments as he comes to terms with his past and remembers why he plays music. You wouldn’t think that an ordinary contemporary story would have you addicted and constantly waiting to see what happens next, but Your Lie in April certainly manages to do just that.
5. Hunter x Hunter (2011)
Lastly, I want to recommend my personal favorite anime, which is the 2011 version (there’s also a 1999 version) of Hunter x Hunter. Hunter x Hunter is about a twelve-year-old boy named Gon who sets out to become a hunter in order to track down his father. At first, this anime may seem to be targeted towards children, with a happy-go-lucky child protagonist and plenty of humor. However, as the episodes progress, you’ll soon find that there is more to Hunter x Hunter than meets the eye. The characters are complex and layered, with protagonists displaying malicious traits and antagonists demonstrating a more human side to them at times. Gon, for example, has a peculiar sense of morality. He often does his best to fight against those he believes to be immoral, and yet, he has no qualms with his best friend, Killua, having violent tendencies. The series also becomes darker and darker as it goes on, while still managing to evoke a sense of childlike wonder. The world is not kind to Gon and Killua, but they still find ways to have fun and see events from an innocent perspective. Your eyes will be glued to the screen as you become attached to Gon and his friends and anxiously wait to see what adventures they go on next.
There you have it! That was a list of some of my favorite anime shows, and hopefully each one will take you on a rollercoaster of emotions as you immerse yourself in their fictional worlds.