Almost Otaku: What Anime Would You Show Friends?

Topic started by No_name_here on June 20, 2010. Last post by MrKlorox 4 years, 6 months ago.
Post by No_name_here (856 posts) See mini bio Level 11
 Oh Keneda, they just didn't understand you.
 Oh Keneda, they just didn't understand you.
One thing I’ve been thinking about while writing these Beginner’s Guides is that old chestnut every fan thinks about. What’s the anime that’s most accessible for the non-fan? The title that’s a “gateway drug” to hook somebody right off the street who’s never watched a second of Japanese animation before?

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  

Post by Count_Zero (344 posts) See mini bio Level 20
For an audience that was entirely new to anime? I'd pick titles that share common grown with western TV series, films and other genres that they liked. Let me provide a few examples
  • Patlabor - Hill Street Blues & Barney Miller (Cop Sitcom and Procedural Drama) with giant robots.
  • Universal Century Mobile Suit Gundam, or maybe Votoms (though I can't say because I haven't seen all of it ) - War Movie with Giant Robots. 
  • Nanoha - Superhero series but with magical girls (and some kind of creepy fanservice in season 1). 
  • Cowboy Bebop - Buddy cop-er-Bounty Hunter show In Space! 
  • Ah! My Goddess - Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie.
  • Record of Lodoss War - Lord of the Rings
  • Desert Punk - Mad Max meets Deadpool.
  • Captain Harlock - Star Wars meets Jules Verne with Captain Nemo as the protagonist.
  • Negima - the Carry On films meet Harry Potter (that's the best I've got)
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (both seasons) - 24 meets Blade Runner.
  • Lupin III - The Ocean's 11 crew takes on near Carmen Sandiego grade targets (i.e. stealing the box office take from the World Cup).

These are a few examples - I could go on a little longer, if you want.
Post by sotyfan16 (1,341 posts) See mini bio Level 20

Gateway, huh? Well obviously you want to introduce an anime that is easy on the eyes and the mind since all the things that make anime great would be too much for a non-anime watcher to take. My first anime was DBZ but hell I thought it was just another cartoon. I'd say the introduce anime to someone you have to pick one that suits their tastes. Hence I got a few friends to watch Afro Samurai because of the music, voice acting, and story. 
Some of my intro to anime picks: 
Black Lagoon 

Tenchi Muyo 
I choose these as their stories are pretty simple and straight forward and there is something for everyone. I also find it easier to get people to watch if the anime is adult in nature (cussing, violent, etc.).

Post by FoxxFireArt (2,649 posts) See mini bio Level 25
I would personally stay away anything that is really too long or awkward. I don't know if I would go with Evangelion. Good series, but that ending tends to piss people off. I wouldn't want a Pavlovian reaction to anime.FLCL would be a good choice. It's short, wild, and fun. That's the first impression you want to give.
Cowboy Bebop would be a good series. 

I know it's counter intuitive to my statement about staying away form long series, but I'd like friends to watch One Piece. I wouldn't suggest they start from the beginning. I'd probably show them certain episodes that are a lot of fun. Possibly the Thriller Bark Arc. That was a lot of fun. Too bad it's not being played on FUNimation right now. It will be a while for that to come there..

Black Lagoon would probably appeal to my friends. The gun-totting, hot girl.
I actually think my mother would be interested in Ghost in the Shell S.A.C. That series plays out a lot like a Tom Clancy novel. I really love the Detective Conan series, but I'm a sucker for detective series.

I think the best solution would be to go with some anime based movies as primer. They are often stand alone and are relatively short. One Piece has some great movies. I'm itching to see One Piece: Strong World.
Detective Conan has some good movies. The third is one of my favorites.
I certainly think I'd try to keep friends away from some of the more a Hentai series. Those can get really freaky and very disturbing. I've read some hentai mangas. There have been a few I've liked. Normally, the kind where things are more humorous, story driven, and lighthearted. 
Post by Nightwolf (114 posts) See mini bio Level 13
I would have to pick. 
1. the Dragon Ball series.   
2. the Naruto series.  

3. One Piece.
Post by sickVisionz (4,311 posts) See mini bio Level 24
I'd pick Naruto, Outlaw Star, Death Note, Cowboy Bebop or Samurai Champloo.  Those are shows that got me and all of my friends into anime so I figure one of them would probably work on others. 
If it was a female who like romance, I'd show her Nana. 
The article suggests against Eva but my mother actually got into anime by me giving her Eva.  But it was a specific case.  She's a minister and she was going through issues with her mother that were similar to Shinji's issues with her father.  Almost any anime will probably work if you pick something that's super fine-tuned to a persons' interests, history and current trials and tribulations in life.
Post by daotherkenji (48 posts) See mini bio Level 4
The first show I show a friend would be action that not to complicated or a comedy. 
1. Gurren lagann-lots of action and comedy and good animation.
2. School rumble-comedy translates extremely well with lots of ppl.
3. Cowboy Bebop-My fav show but its a little violent and some strong language 
4. Any Gundam show could fit here.
5. Skip beat-its a great show and its not what most ppl expect from anime in general. 
The biggest issue i always have is the ppl assume that all anime is extremely violent or is perverted. By showing them so shows that were written for their own demographic they might be surprised and enjoy the show. My friend recommend naruto but at the time i into transformers so if he had said hey check out this (insert giant robot show) i would have been on anime maybe a year or two earlier( i do love ninjas now)  . Case and point my own sisters 
 I actually got my sisters hooked by showing them Gundam 00. I thinks it was easy to relate to this show since it was a) new and in hd so it really was a pretty show b) the story was good c) plenty of action. After 00 we watched Seed and some of Destiny, but they ran out of gas I guess those shows were to long. But then I discovered School rumble and from there its been about 3 years and we watch something every night.  I know what to show them so that they wont be lost. Like the told me Haruhi was too much for them. 
Post by JD (46 posts) See mini bio Level 4
 I think several of the examples given by people are bad.  Akira was beautiful but had a muddled story.  For whatever reason, Patlabor just isn't popular here (I say this as one of it's fans, I have the US LEs and JP Blu-Rays, all of CPM's discs, etc).  Votoms is good, but way too old school for an introduction.  I wouldn't start with anything longer than say 13 episodes, better that it is a movie or a very short OVA-type release.  Having said that, Cowboy Bebop might be the best one to try, each episode stands alone reasonably well.  I had used Macross Plus and El Hazard in the past. Dragon Ball anything is just too long, same with Gundam or most of the other shows already running on Cartoon Network.
Post by Kris (130 posts) See mini bio Level 7
The Ghibli films are very accessible.   
FLCL is a good series to show people who are already interested, and already like crazy geeky things. 
My mother likes Cowboy Bebop, so I'd say that's an excellent gateway show. 
The Makoto Shinkai films are good for first timers as well. 
A lot of the people I hang out with are Dungeons and Dragons players, so a series like Record of Lodoss War would be perfect for them (it was one of my first series as well).   
You could go for something really easy, and pick a show like Naruto or Dragon Ball...something that's very recognizable in America that people might not realize is a Japanese cartoon.  I wouldn't, because I'm not going to try to pull someone in with something I don't even like, but it's easier than some random thing they've never heard of. 
Some of you guys are picking horrible shows if you're planning on inducting someone totally new to anime.  Especially if they're not into similar hobbies.  Akira?  Hellsing?  Come on guys, you have to ease them in.  I don't know if Afro Samurai would work either.  If I showed someone Afro Samurai as their first anime, and that is what got them in...I wouldn't expect them to like most of what I consider excellent shows.  For the record, I hated Afro Samurai, so that does fall into the category of shows I mentioned above.     
Post by Ryuku_Ryosake (58 posts) See mini bio Level 6
As said before Cowboy Bebop is definitely one of the best choices. I will also say that I think FLCL is a very good first choice. However it would have a percentage of making someone love anime or hate it. It is simply a story about a boy coming of age. Which I'm sure most males would figure out. If they like the series for all it's craziness. Then you have broken them of their fear of the weird. Also it's short which is a bonus.
Also whenever Tatami Galaxy comes out as a dub I would recommend that. I find it to be something akin to a Judd Apatow comedy. It's not that many levels of crazy above it. It's about a loser kid trying to find love in college but his jerk friend sidetracks him and gets him into all kinds of crazy shenanigans. The twist of this being that each episode follows a different parallel universe. So each episode is fairly self contained.
Also Rebuild of Evangelion might not be a bad choice depending on how it wraps up. All the greatness of Eva condensed and probably without the rage inducing ending. Also it's in glorious HD which would help newcomers to watch it.
Post by Dream (8,313 posts) See mini bio Level 21
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I'd also be in agreement that it might be a good idea to start off a person's interest in anime with something similar to Western genres. Studio Ghibli films and Cowboy Bebop would be very accessible gateway titles. FLCL and Evangelion would confuse new fans more than entertain and depending on the viewer, folks being first introduced to Akira might get the impression all anime is just like it in terms of violent content. I'd also stray as far away from moe and fan service heavy titles as possible when introducing anime to someone new.
Post by N15PCA (611 posts) See mini bio Level 13
Great Question.  Since everyone has cover the basics here.  I'll go in a different direction.  I  also put some shows for boys as well.
Peach Girl.  It just like Degrassi but a hole lot better. 
Boys Over Flowers.   Another great teen drama about a girl going to rich private school when her family is very poor. 
His and Her Circumstances.  I think Gainax best work.   Very detailed life for kids going to high school. 
Revolutionary Girl Utena.  This one you should show to people that like shows with deeper meetings to them. 
Golgo 13 TV show.  This is just pure fun and allot great action. 
Rose of Versailles.  I know this one is an old show, but it's pretty good look about what going on right before the French Revolution. 
Gunsmith Cats.  Fast cars, guns and hot women in chi town.  What else do you need. 
Ninja Scroll the movie.  Great fighting and sword play at it's best. 

Post by Papasan (160 posts) See mini bio Level 9
I am a thoughtless, miserly curmudgeon... I don't ever show anime to anyone. I wait for people to discover it on their own, and then claim that I put the idea in their minds SUBLIMINALLY. 
They usually buy it.     



Post by sotyfan16 (1,341 posts) See mini bio Level 20
Hellsing was about the 5th anime I watched when I learned what anime was and I found it to be simple and still have an interesting take on vampires. Again, as for Afro Samurai, I know it is mostly hated in the anime community (to my dismay). But I also stated that the friends I showed it to have only watched that one and that is because of the voice acting, music, and story. I am not saying that Afro is one of the best anime or exactly suitable for introducing people to anime but, again, everyone is different in their viewing purposes.
Post by shels (217 posts) See mini bio Level 19
I was gonna recommend a Makoto Shinkia movie as well, they're great in both plot, visuals and animation, and which better start than this to see what japanese animation has to offer..
Ghibli movies fits in here too,  Future boy conan series likewise, well Miyazaki works in general are a good gateway
Post by Gaff (213 posts) See mini bio Level 11
I think the answer is probably easier than most of us realize. The 40somethings have probably grown up with stuff like Speed Racer, Voltron or Battle of the Planets; 30somethings have stuff like Robotech, Candy Candy or a small series like Dragonball Z; 20somethings have Dragonball Z (yes, it went on for that long) Cowboy Bebop, Pokemon or the whole host of western series inspired by anime. 
Hooking onto someone's precious childhood memories and selling stuff on the back of them may sound like a dick move, but it seems to be working out great for the movie industry. Also, the breadth of the anime genre means that for every real life series or movies there is a rough anime equivalent.
Post by Beard (3 posts) See mini bio Level 3
I am not a huge anime fan (my main problem is finding a way to watch a hole series legally), Personally FLCL, Dragonball: Z, and YuYu Hakusho were all series that made me want to watch more.
Post by RadiantTheLight (733 posts) See mini bio Level 7

Well, when it comes to MANGA then: 
- Akira 
- Death Note 
But anime: 
- Dragon Ball Z 

Post by holyhawk7666 (1 posts) See mini bio Level 2
I'm surprised that no one has mentioned Fullmetal Alchemist yet.  That show is the only reason I even CONSIDER watching anime
Post by LordCraven (46 posts) See mini bio Level 8

Vampire Knight and Blood+ have been really effective in converting Twilight-tards 
Just find out what they're already interested and find a show that fits.
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