PenguinDust (Level 13)

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Under-suggested shows for the anime novice (nothing too deep here)

I've been meaning to compile a list of shows I'd recommend to people new to anime, but I wanted to include titles that aren't the norms. Everyone will say the same shows all the time, Cowboy Bebop, Code Geass, Death Note, Baccano, Ghost in the Shell, etc... and there is good reason for that since they're all exceptional. But, once you've seen those, what else is there that might be entertaining like them? So, this is a list of often under-represented shows that I think someone new to anime will enjoy. They aren't too artsy or deep nor are they too sexy or mundane (no slice-of-life). Just action-packed fun. I wanted to create a list of shows that I would have really liked back when I was new to the art-form. Not everything on my personal favorites list will be here and vice-versa.

Like most of my lists, this one will grow over time. (l'll fill in better blurbs about each one later)

1. Katanagatari

This show was awesome all the way through. Lots of dialogue with lots of characterization. No short amount of action, but it's not overwhelming either. It didn't wrap up as I had hope however I wasn't dissatisfied by the conclusion. Similar to Xam'd Lost Memories, I have nothing bad to say about this show. The art and backgrounds are exemplary. Like Xam'd this show should be on my favorites list and might still make it there one day. A must see for anime fans, I think. So much dialogue. So many entertaining conversations.

2. Tenchi Muyo! War on Geminar

Isekai no Seikishi Monogatari is one of these best harem adventures I've seen. The early part of the series is largely devoid of standard action and instead focuses on creating interesting characters. The second half ramps things up and provides a few surprises along the way. The end is never too much in question, but I felt satisfied just the same. I look forward to see the show again someday.

3. Xam'd: Lost Memories

I don't have anything negative to say about this one. It's great and it kept me completely enthralled through the whole thing. I respect it and would highly recommend it. This should be on everyone's "seen it" list.

4. Gun X Sword

Very Outlaw Star like with a touch of Tri-gun. Completely awesome. An especially good giant mech adventure set on an old-west style planet. A drifter saves a farm girl from bandits and the two head off to find her captured brother. It's a road-anime for the better part of it and it has a satisfying climax.

5. Hyper Police

An under appreciated series in my opinion. Granted, it's not too deep, but it has a lot of good characters and it's fun. The most remarkable thing about it, is one of the main characters meets someone, has children, gets married and the series doesn't end at that point. The lives of the characters continue to develop and change radically which isn't something you usually see in anime. I really liked this one.

6. History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi

Really good show about a boy who trains under 7 martial arts master simultaneously and woos the busty granddaughter of the dojo's leader. The main protagonist is a pretty nice guy lacking many of the cliche problems other anime heroes do. I am debating moving this one to my "favorites" list.

7. Nabari no Ou

Pretty good Naruto-like ninja series set in modern Japan. Much more serious than Naruto though and the ninjitsus are more reasonable in power. The main character is about as indecisive as Shinji Ikari (NGE). The story is crazy, obviously, but it works well within its universe.

8. Irresponsible Captain Tylor

A comedic space adventure finds a lazy military recruit suddenly captain of his own starship during an intergalactic war. Quite possibly the luckiest man in the universe, things work out for him even though he constantly shirks his duty despite the protests of his loyal crew. Very enjoyable with a touch of melancholy near the end.

9. Blue Seed

Entertaining adventure story with a strong romance element added. A high school girl from an old bloodline is raise to be the last defense Japan has against the returning monsters of folklore. With a government sanctioned team and a super-powered protector, she seeks to save Japan from the threats. Full of action with a variety of characters keep it moving at a good pace. Ending is a bit metaphysical, but it works.

10. Blue Exorcist

I really enjoyed this one and it took me back to what I used to seek in anime. I reminded me a bit of Black Cat, Beelzebub and Demon King Daimao; shows about shadowy organizations and the children of the underworld on Earth. A nice mix of comedy and action in a modern-magic setting. On some levels it also reminds me of A Certain Magical/Scientific Index/Railgun and on others Soul Eater which included modern religion as elements of their mythology. I really liked the characters and the pacing of the story. There were plenty of questions and a lot of answers evenly revealed as it progressed. It was a bit "shonen" at the end, but I felt very satisfied when it was over. The OVA about the cat was a nice bonus, too.

11. Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan: Demon Capital

This is the second season, but I'd suggest seeing the first season, too since it sets up all the characters in play. I chose to highlight the second season on this list because it's much more in the vein of the other shows above. The Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan franchise is a fun, action-packed adventure with some slight romantic comedy elements. In the first season, those aspects are more up-front, but in the second season (Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan-Demon Capital) the action is front-and-center. They wisely downplay the romantic lead from the first series (Kana) for the two other girls who are much more interesting (Yuki and Yuna). The series has a lot of life to it as the teenage would-be demon lord balances his ties to the human world with his family responsibilities. The end is a bit shonen heavy. Hell, even the music swells in a very cliche manner, but it's still a good ride. Word to the wise though, it sets up for a third season.

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