The anime’s massive popularity might come as a shock to some. However, the anime has been capturing the attention of many viewers for a long time, decades before its gradual rise in the West (no doubt due to Adult Swim and Toonami on Cartoon Network). There is no specific age limit for watching cartoons, so we are seeing a growing cartoon fanbase with no demographic restrictions, with almost all newcomers being caught up in this unique form of cartooning.
Anime makes the impossible possible and turns fantasies into captivating and thrilling stories. From ninjas who can perform incredible jutsus to pirate adventures and some bizarre monsters, anime have spectacular stories and characters that are often far removed from the real thing. As the world gets darker and people grow more desperate, audiences are increasingly turning to fantasy – whether it’s superhero movies, sci-fi shows or horror, or even period dramas, which tacitly admit that looking back in the past is easier than imagining it. any possible future. All of these things provide an escape from the horrible present moment, and anime is more conducive to that escape than arguably any other visual medium. The concept of adult cartoons is simply heartwarming.
Updated October 14, 2022: If you want to check out the anime but don’t know where to start, or if you’re just a fan of the classics and want to see how they rank here, take a look at these awesome anime series that are perfect for newcomers.
It’s no surprise that the demand for anime keeps on increasing. Stories, no matter how long (and some have hundreds of episodes), always capture the hearts of viewers when anime is done well. What is quite fascinating in this kind of cartoons is that there is always something for everyone; it is not solely focused on Japanese culture, nor is it only aimed at teenagers, children, or single adults.
Anime movies of all kinds have become incredibly acclaimed (thanks in large part to Studio Ghibli and their films like Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke), but great anime also includes series that have been inspired by various other genres, companies and cultures, some of which have been able to influence the whole world. If you are just starting out and want to watch anime, here are some of the best TV shows that have received great reviews and ratings in the anime world.
8/8 Naruto & Naruto: Shippuden
Naruto is one of the most popular anime of all time. It is based on Masashi Kishimoto’s hit manga series and follows the story of a boy named Naruto Uzumaki. One of the main reasons why fans have become attached to this anime is because of Naruto’s character and personality. Kishimoto created a loyal, helpful, generous and honest character, but also sometimes stupid at the same time. Naruto’s good nature is what expands the story of how he saves the whole village, while his not-so-intelligent nature adds humor to the series.
This specific anime contains the perfect amount of adventure, friendship, comedy, and romance that influenced the culture in funny and sometimes weird ways. Naruto: Shippuden continues the story by focusing on Naruto’s teenage years. So, we get to see the young boy grow up to be a hero in a series that might not be as iconic as the original Naruto but offers great backstory.
7/8 Jujutsu Kaisen
Released in 2020, Jujutsu Kaisen instantly rose to fame and became a huge hit among anime lovers, perhaps even due to its similarity to Naruto. Similar to Kishimoto’s story, Jujutsu Kaisen revolved around a protagonist with a “curse” trapped within their body. Other similarities include the main characters’ special powers, a three-person team, and a mentor with eyes hidden by a mask.
Although he does it well, there seem to be certain characteristics that make Jujutsu Kaisen stand out from the rest. It has a unique setting and an interesting, dark narrative conveyed by great humor, so even those who watch anime regularly will likely find something exciting and new here. Its popularity led to the story continuing through the release of season two in 2023, as well as the incredibly successful and massively anticipated 2022 anime film, Jujutsu Kaisen 0.
6/8 One Piece
One Piece is an anime that debuted in 1999 and has since been held in various incarnations while amassing a large fan base. One Piece centers on a pirate crew called “Straw Hat Pirates”, with the protagonist, Monkey D. Luffy, aiming to acquire the ultimate treasure and be the next Pirate King.
The anime is based on the manga series by Eiichiro Oda, but it was as an anime that the story became a timeless “piece”. One Piece has the ability to give the viewer an incredible moment with its superb soundtrack, coming-of-age themes, action, vibrant animation and emotional encounters, leading to a highly successful feature film in the United States. United. Netflix is developing a live-action series of One Piece, which is the only proof of its influential nature, and I hope Netflix’s live-action failure Cowboy Bebop won’t deter anyone from checking it out. After all, the previews Netflix has given are amazing.
5/8 Hunter x Hunter
“Hunters” are elite professionals who search for treasure or hunt down lawless criminals, exploring dangerous parts of the world with a thrilling Indiana Jones-like adventure. Hunter x Hunter protagonist Gon Freecss discovers that his father was one of these legendary hunters and becomes determined to be one himself and find his father along the way. Based on Yoshihiro Togashi’s best-selling Manga series, this anime transports us to a different and vividly animated world.
However, what makes Hunter x Hunter so in demand is its ability to consider “the idea of growing with skill and complexity”, to quote Inverse. Different from the anime version of 1999, this particular and much better anime show started in 2011 and deepened the storytelling of the manga to ensure that the themes are explored with great care, creating one of the greatest anime transition to adulthood of all time.
4/8 Attack on Titan
Attack on Titan is a relatively shorter anime series, although there’s still a lot to discover. The series takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where humans try to survive behind walls. This dark fantasy revolves around three protagonists named Eren Jaeger, Mikasa Ackerman, and Armin Arlert, who fight against the massive Titans. Attack on Titan is definitely unique due to its approach to a more scientific story, with incredible animation and a distinctly serious tone. It serves up an epic tale that includes spooky adventures and remains one of the most imaginative and mature anime series in recent years.
3/8 Dragon Ball Z
Based on one of 16th century China’s most important literary pieces, Journey to the West, Akira Toriyama created the Manga Dragon Ball series, and the rest is history. Dragon Ball Z took the reins of the manga series while taking the world by storm, premiering on American television over 25 years ago and forever changing the history of animation. Focusing on an adult Goku and his son, Gohan, Dragon Ball Z has been considered one of the OG animes since popularizing the medium and introducing it to international audiences; if people watch anime, Dragon Ball Z is partly to blame.
This particular series is still very popular even though it has gone through different iterations, even influencing popular fashion brands like Adidas. In 2015, the Dragon Ball series arrived with Dragon Ball Super, and when 2021 Comic-Con released some highly anticipated information about the new Dragon Ball Super movie, the world was reminded of how popular Dragon Ball still was. The fact that an anime that started in 1986 but is still influencing viewers is enough evidence to indicate its remarkable nature, and if anyone is going to watch an anime, that’s always a good place to start.
2/8 Serial Experiments Lain
Universal / Sony Crunchyroll
To really get a glimpse of anime’s true artistry and intellectual potential, it’s definitely worth taking a look at the work of Yoshitoshi ABe. A dark intellectual whose character designs and themes probe the saddest parts of the human condition, investigating anti-social behavior, technology, and urban city life, ABe consistently helps create some of the best anime around (Texhnolyze, Welcome to the NHK, Housing Complex C, RErideD: Time Jumping Derrida, Haibane Renmei). His first major anime is perhaps his best, or at least his most ominous and prophetic.
Serial Experiments Lain may have been published in 1998, but it seems disturbingly foresighted in its depiction of youth lost to technology, and the hypnotic allure of the internet and a digital life. The 13-episode series follows Lain Iwakura, a young girl living in the suburbs, who becomes increasingly withdrawn and unhinged as she becomes more involved with her computer. An experimental anime focused on technology, adolescence, and the darkness lurking in reality itself, Serial Experiments Lain is a masterpiece that even non-animated viewers should seek out. “Serial Experiments Lain predicted the age of the Internet,” according to Study Breaks, and it’s honestly hard to argue otherwise.
1/8 Cowboy Bebop
Sony Pictures Japan
Cowboy Bebop may be the best place for a newcomer to anime for a variety of reasons. While it might not have the lasting influence and endless amount of material that the Dragon Ball franchise has, that’s arguably a point in Cowboy Bebop’s favor – it’s standalone, with just 26 episodes and a movie, so it’s not an overwhelming daunting series to begin with. And unlike Serial Experiments Lain, Cowboy Bebop is downright fun and fun.
Additionally, it incorporates various elements from different cultures which might make it easier for anyone new to anime, as it is less grounded in Japanese anime and culture than many other shows. Using westerns, jazz, samurai, crime shows, film noir and many other elements, Cowboy Bebop is a perfect amalgamation of ideas and influences that is endlessly cool, delightfully fun, beautifully animated and musically impressive. This is probably the best introduction to the staggering potential of the anime format.