Have you always wanted to watch anime? Here are 5 anime series you can see as a beginner
Animes are essentially Japanese-style animations that have been around since the early 20th century- but it wasn’t until the 1960s and 70s that it entered a modern age and started to look like what we see now. Astro Boy (1963) is an early example of that era, and one that even Indian audiences recognize because of the series’ modern reboots.
It was the 1990s that saw the rise in the popularity of anime worldwide with the release of genre-defining and highly influential animes like the iconic movie Akira (1988) and series Dragon Ball Z (1989-1996) and Cowboy Bebop (1998).
Popular for their lightning-fast fight scenes, surprisingly deep (and sometimes haunting) themes, and unfathomable storylines filled with plot twists, it is interesting to note that anime is still comparatively new to the Indian audience- even though most of us grew up watching Dragon Ball Z and Beyblade.
It is extremely difficult to select the best animes series to watch- especially since there are around 10,000 of them in existence. However, narrowing them down on the basis of popular appeal, critical acclaim, graphic quality, plotline and story structure, we present to you our pick of the 5 Anime series for beginners to watch.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (2009-2010)
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is the second anime adaptation of the manga series of the same name. It is considered by a lot of anime fans worldwide to not just be the better version; but to be the best anime of all time too.
The plot follows teenager Edward Elric as he searches for a way to restore his brother Al’s body, as well as his own limbs. Meanwhile the military government and supernatural forces keep a close eye on the alchemist brothers, as they slowly make progress. FMAB will make you laugh with its rich characters, then excite you with mindless, yet extremely-well choreographed action for a minute, before punching you in the stomach the very next second with some truly horrifying plot-twists.
Its biggest plus point is that it has a very satisfactory ending- something most anime series somehow end up sacrificing. If you are just starting to watch animes, FMAB should be on the top of your list. Also look out for the quirky and ambitious prince Lin Yao, as well as the over-friendly Maes Hughes.
Produced by Bones studio, the series is available for viewers on Netflix.
Attack on Titan (2013- )
AoT is the kind of anime that you will love and cherish for a long time, but you will hate it just as much. The first two seasons steadily build up a brilliantly-crafted world where humanity is restricted inside three concentric walls after they are attacked by giant creatures called Titans. After 100 years of peace, the Titans return and breach the outer wall- and in the carnage that follows Eren Yeager loses something very precious to him. The series follows his journey for revenge as he joins the Survey Corps to wipe out the monstrous Titans.
That is the plot for the series- at least on the surface. The real plot is far deeper and darker than anyone could imagine. The serious creator Hajime Isayama is a dark genius- he definitely wants Aot fans to weep. But he is a genius because you will definitely get hooked after the first episode.
If you are ready for brilliant action, blood and gore, mind-bending plot-twists and gut-wrenching parallels that are made to the real world in the series- watch it (although we suggest watching it after you have enjoyed 5-6 anime series; it requires some taste). We already predict that after watching AoT you will be shouting “Tatakae!”, “Sasageyo” and “Eren Yeager” all day- that is, when you are not busy ruminating our place in the world and crying over our destructive instincts that lead us a people to war and violence.
The first three seasons were produced by WIT studios before MAPPA took over for the final season. Unfortunately, AoT is not available for viewers in India yet, so it can’t be viewed here *legally.
Naruto (2002-07; 2007-17)
The only reason Naruto didn’t top this list is because the other two have higher ratings- but Naruto is a very good example of animes that are both critically-acclaimed as well as enjoy worldwide popularity and that’s why it features in ‘5 anime series for beginners to watch’.
One of the most iconic anime series of all time, Naruto covers the story of Naruto Uzumaki, a teenage ninja who is always looking for acceptance and praise, as well as the opportunity to become Hokage, the village’s leader and strongest ninja.
The real pleasure of watching Naruto comes from watching the side characters and their story arcs and development. The world-building in Naruto is what makes it so special- apart from the fact that the series features some of the most iconic fight scenes of all time. The only catch is that the whole series has some 700 episodes- so watch it only if you are willing to invest that much time into it. But yes, it definitely is worth your time.
Produced by Pierrot and TV Tokyo, the series is currently available on Netflix.
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Dragon Ball Z (1989-1996)
In our list of ‘5 Anime Series for Beginners to Watch’, Dragon Ball Z is by far the most popular anime in this list. It’s so popular in India that some people don’t even realize that it is an anime series. If you are one of those people who grew up watching DBZ on TV, there is no need to tell you why you should watch it again. But for the uninitiated, here is the plot-
Set five years after the happenings of the first anime series, Goku is now a young adult with a son- Gohan. His story is followed- as well as the story arcs of his enemies Vegeta, Frieza and Piccolo among others- as Goku battles through some heavy-duty action sequences in a bid to defend Earth from aliens, robots, and monsters.
Comparatively, there is nothing much DBZ has to offer in terms of storyline- it’s the action that really counts. After all, some of the most powerful entities in the anime world are from the Dragon Ball universe. So, if you are up for some light-hearted anime, watch DBZ. But don’t be fooled into thinking there are no emotional moments at all; the characters are so well written you will definitely get attached to them. And just imagine if some of them were to die (not a spoiler). The series is available for you to watch on Netflix.
Death Note (2006)
Death Note is yet another iconic series which is very popular among anime viewers. It follows the story of Light Yagami, a brilliant student, who chances upon a supernatural notebook that allows him to kill people just by writing their name onto it. Light is convinced that this is the only way to end crime in the world- but is he right, or is he just another delusional psychopath?
Death Note relies on its story and its countless plot twists to keep the viewers enchanted. However, there is a significant dip in quality from the second part of the series (you will be able to since guess when), which is why it is 5th on this list.
Essentially, it’s a crime thriller, but what makes it even more special is its two lead characters- Light Yagami, the vigilante criminal, and ‘L’, the vigilante detective. Their sheer genius is brilliantly captured through their unpredictable moves in the cat-and-mouse game of chess both of them play as they hunt down each other. Watch the series, just for Light and L-kun fighting it out, at first for kicks, and later on for their lives, in this brilliantly crafted anime series produced by the legendary Madhouse Productions, and is available for streaming on Netflix.