EVANGELION and FLCL are just so far out there, you know they’d be confusing to the novice fan. Hell, they’re confusing even to the experienced viewer. I had a bear of time just writing the guides for them. FLCL, in particular, is a case where I figure you need to already be familiar with the whole host of anime idioms before you can even start to grasp what’s going on. It’s show for somebody’s who’s already been around the bend a few times. Seeing as how VISION OF ESCAFLOWNE was the first series I watched, myself, I was thinking of listing that as a good entry-level title. But, then again, I don’t know, thinking about… the series’ world and its concepts are actually fairly complex. I didn’t have too much problem grasping them, myself, but I’m also coming from the background of somebody who's read stacks and stacks of comics and sci-fi.
I think AKIRA suffers from similar circumstances. I remember watching it as a “digital media” summer program I went to with about forty other kids and not one of them got it. Maybe it was the clown make-up biker gangs, maybe it was the psychotic monster teddy bears, maybe it was the matter-shaping psychokinesis... but the whole thing just went over their heads.
This is going to be the most obvious choice, but my best answer would probably be either CASTLE OF CAGLIOSTRO or PRINCESS MONONOKE. Miyazaki films. No surprise. They just seem like the ones that are closest to the kind of classics you’d see on of those TOP 100 lists that the American Film Institute used to put out every year.
I’m just thinking aloud, here. It’d be nice to eventually get some of my friends watching this stuff. So how about you Anime Vice lunatics start thinking aloud too? Throw out some names here for the most accessible, the most “gateway” anime titles you can think of. Show me up, here.
-- Tom Pinchuk is the writer of UNIMAGINABLE for Arcana Studios and HYBRID BASTARDS! for Archaia. HYBRID BASTARDS! is available here and UNIMAGINABLE is available here for pre-order on Amazon.com.