We all have that one friend who “doesn’t get” anime or thinks it’s “cartoons for kids.” Perhaps this curated list of not-too-weird shows might help ease them into our bizarre world.
Attack on Titan
Attack on Titan is probably the most universally-liked anime of this decade, and for understandable reasons. The show is fast-paced and grabs the viewer’s attention. The dark plot and unique animation squash any preconceived notions of anime being a kids’ genre. The vast variety of characters offer interesting dynamics and lots of opportunity for self-insert. Overall, as many of normie friends summarize, Attack on Titan is just really, really cool.
Fullmetal Alchemist/Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
Fullmetal Alchemist has a perfect combination of incredible world-building, quirky anime humor, and classic anime pacing, making it a great segue into anime. It has all the tropes of anime without being too anime, while also tugging on the heartstrings in a way I’ve yet to experience from American television. One of my friends recently announced his plans to screen FMA:B nonstop on the communal flat screen until his roommates got passively addicted. I think it worked.
Clever, dark, and with just a touch of macabre, Death Note has a lot of the qualities that have become popular in mainstream fantasy or mystery television, such as BBC Sherlock, Stranger Things, etc., so it’s no surprise that Death Note attracts a lot of unexpecting fans. For those who like psychological thrillers and don’t mind a lack of action, Death Note is a great pick.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Despite its cute aesthetic and deceptive first episodes, Madoka boasts unexpected depth that can entice even the most magical girl-adverse viewer. Madoka is the perfect modern magical girl anime for the novice anime watcher–beautiful animation, crazy plot twists, badass fight scenes, and lots of love and friendship (albeit with with dark undertones). Although many seasoned anime fans may think of Sailor Moon as the quintessential magical girl anime, we may be affected by our nostalgia goggles; many friends I’ve showed it to find it “too boring.”
For the casual anime fan, sitting down for a standard length movie is much less intimidating than sitting down to binge a 12-episode anime. Any Miyazaki film is sure to appeal to a broad audience, but less mainstream titles by such as Your Name, Patema Inverted, Paprika, Ghost in the Shell, and the Evangelion movie series are also potential crowd pleasers.
Proceed With Caution:
Overtly pervy shows–think Kill la Kill, Highschool of the Dead, or No Game No Life–might startle people not used to the fanservicey nuances of anime. Slice-of-life shows (such as K-ON!) might be a bit too “normal”. Additionally, although your favorite anime might have a non-linear plot (Durarara!!, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya), it might be a little too confusing for some people. Only one way to find out…