Anime Underground

19 Anime That Almost Everyone Starts With 

Erin McCann
Updated October 10, 2018 66.5k votes 9.4k voters 138.9k views 18 items

List Rules Vote up the anime you probably watched within your first month of being an otaku.

Every anime fan has a starter anime, that first series that really inspired them to keep watching. For many fans, their introduction into the genre probably falls on this anime for beginners list. Many viewers move on to other, more underrated anime after completing these series, but other casual fans may not. The traits that make for a perfect beginners anime include series with broad appeal, an easy to follow storyline, and basic themes such as good versus evil. Concepts that require a better understanding of Japanese culture and a saturation of fan-service moments may turn new viewers off, and are not generally good anime for new fans. 

Accessible anime also employ nostalgia, whether you grew up watching something on this list, or – in the case of a long running series – have followed it for a long time. And don't think a true anime lover can't be a fan of one of these anime new fans enjoy. You may have graduated from school and moved on, after all, but you probably wouldn't go back and blow it up. And if you're tempted, you should probably watch less anime.

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Naruto is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 19 Anime That Almost Everyone Starts With
Photo:  Studio Pierrot

Naruto and its sequel series, Naruto Shippuden, features a basic storyline that moves in a virtual straight line, making it easy for newbies to follow. The broad appeal of Naruto is also credited to its vast array of characters, overused battle tropes, and the ability of the main character to power up in any situation because he has faith in himself.

More advanced fans may have long since tired of the endlessly repeating themes of friendship, hard work, and the pain of loneliness. It also doesn't help when an anime series is almost 50% filler episodes, the majority of which are like receiving an unnecessary shuriken to the face.

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Fullmetal Alchemist is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 19 Anime That Almost Everyone Starts With
Photo:  Fullmetal Alchemist

Immediately accessible to some due to its Western-style setting, Fullmetal Alchemist features an epic journey storyline and an unusual conflict that grabs the viewers' attention. It also includes easily understandable themes of family, accountability, and the moral conflict of using superior power to help others versus harming them. In addition to action and adventure, there are plenty of comedic and emotional moments to appeal to a broad range of viewers.

More mature anime fans may be turned off by the series diverging into its own world though, and may prefer Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, a closer adaptation of the manga. 

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Dragon Ball Z is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 19 Anime That Almost Everyone Starts With
Photo:  Toei Animation

Epic battles and powerful characters drew many fans to Dragon Ball Z and its predecessor, Dragon Ball, and the escalation of threats kept them watching. The easily accessible plot hinges on the basic concept of good versus evil, as well as friendship, beating impossible odds through hard work, and a good dose of risque humor. These elements made Dragon Ball one of the first anime series to catch on in the West.

For many fans, it's a big dose of nostalgia. But the animation (especially in the earlier episodes) verges on unwatchable, storylines are repeated and stretched to the breaking point, and cheesy dialog runs rampant. More advanced fans, therefore, journey on to less... loud-yet-bland pastures.  

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Fairy Tail
Fairy Tail is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 19 Anime That Almost Everyone Starts With
Photo: TXN

Often criticized as a One Piece rip-off, Fairy Tail employs a repetitive story structure of introducing new characters, conflict, fight, new powers gained/revealed, and resolution. The series also features a massive cast of characters, each with their own unique powers but a singular personality trait.

Adventure, comedy, and emotional drama – as well as an obvious rivalry between fire and ice – are all included, making the series purposely accessible to the lowest common denominator. Epic battles, unbreakable heroes, and concepts such as loyalty to your friends are regurgitated again and again. Honestly, if you know what you're doing, there is better magic elsewhere.

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