I feel like I’m allowed to speak on this topic at this point after watching anime for like… 18+ years. Back in middle school and early high school I was sprinting home to catch my favorite shows on Toonami. I didn’t even know that it was classified as anime at the time. Shows like Dragon Ball Z, OG Dragon Ball, Digimon, Pokemon, Yu Yu Hakusho, Ruroni Kenshin, Sailor Moon, were all airing on TV back then. Now I’m getting all nostalgic and up in my feels remembering those times, dang it!
Anyways! Since then, I’ve seen hundreds of different anime, and I do think that some of them would be much better than others to show a first time anime watcher. If you’re interested here’s myanimelist, it has most of what I’ve seen it’s probably just missing a dozen or so anime.
If you are part of the anime world or someone you know is, you’ve probably heard of Chainsaw Man. In my experience it’s always best to show anime noobs something with a lot of shock value, action, maybe some comedy, and a fast paced storyline. This isn’t going to be the case for everyone, but from what I’ve seen it’s best to not show them something super dialogue heavy. Chainsaw Man has even the most hardened anime veterans saying “wtf” out loud at certain moments. It’s rare these days to get a new anime that is able to live up to its hype, but Chainsaw Man accomplishes it. I’m confident that this anime would interest at least 68% (I have no basis for this claim) if they were to give it a real shot.
The concept of a dude having chainsaws coming out of his arms and head is just as cool as it sounds. The art style is also sure to catch the eyes of even a novice in the sport of anime. Chainsaw Man was produced by MAPPA, the same studio who did Ju Jutsu Kaisen and has a good reputation. From episode one the anime leaves you needing to see what happens next and is a great choice for number three on this list.
I always recommend that new anime watchers watch Death Note. There’s a good reason that Death Note is such a mainstream anime, it’s amazing and there’s nothing else out there like it. The concept behind the story is unique and captivating; notebook with the power to end life simply by writing their name in it. One of the main reasons that I recommend this so highly is because of the prolonged battle between the main character (Light) and his arch nemesis (L). These two are such amazing characters and you’re dying to see who comes out on top. The show also does such an amazing job at blindsiding you with curve-balls that you never could’ve seen coming. Death Note should not be written off (heh) as a mainstream anime that is not worth watching because it very much IS worth it.
I’ve seen quite a few people recommend FMAB to newcomers and they’re right to do so, it’s a perfect anime for a noobie. It’s not as fast paced as the previous two, but it’s the perfect mix of action and storytelling in my opinion. It’ll show someone that anime really isn’t just all flashy colors and people punching and kicking each other. Fullmetal Alchemist has a top notch and deep storyline that sucks you in without much effort. It also contains sad elements that will showcase that anime can turn you into a teary-eyed softie.
In addition to being lighthearted a lot of the time, Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood also has quite dark undertones. The anime just has such a large range of vibes (as the kids say these days), which is absolutely perfect for someone who knows nothing about anime. They’ll see what anime can really be about and it’ll remove any false preconceived notions they may have had about anime beforehand.
I really hope this list has helped someone out there in the world. More and more people are getting into anime these days and it’s no longer something that’ll get you beat up or shoved into a locker (for the most part). I even talk about it with colleagues as a grown man, and bosses. One of these days everyone is going to watch anime. Thank you for reading!