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19 Anime That Almost Everyone Starts With

Updated October 10, 2018 65.3k votes 9.6k voters 140.7k views18 items

List RulesVote 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.

Be sure to check out the best InuYasha quotes and the best Rurouni Kenshin quotes.

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  • 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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  • 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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  • 3

    Fairy Tail

    Fairy Tail
    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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  • Bleach
    Photo: Studio Pierrot

    The vast variety of characters in Bleach ensures there's a likeable person/creature/spirit for everyone, even if they only have one personality trait. A human teen character serves as the relatable center, and embodies the tired trope of achieving seemingly unlimited power in the face of any challenge or villain with weird hair. Anime newbies find the simple storyline easy to understand – even with divergent filler episodes – and enjoy the entertaining balance of action, adventure, and comedy.

    Advanced fans, however, may tire of the overused battle tropes and constant reminders that we can all succeed at anything if we really want it (as long as we're willing to train hard enough with our monkey-snake swords).

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