Anime used to be a niche genre that a lot of people didn’t like. It got a bit of a bad name and people generally thought it was a bit weird. But in the last couple of years, it’s become more mainstream. Studio Ghibli kick started people’s interest in anime with movies like Ponyo that were overdubbed in English using famous actors and released over here. People started to realize that some of the most incredible stories, driven by innovative animation styles make for some great shows. They’ve even started adapting a lot of the shows into live action movies (with mixed results).
This renewed interest in anime has seen a lot of it added to streaming sites like Netflix or Amazon Prime Video. If you’ve only seen a couple of anime movies, or you’ve never watched it at all, there’s so much good stuff out there to explore. However, some of it isn’t so great. To help you find a good starting point, here is a list of some of the best anime shows of all time.
Cowboy Bebop is the perfect example of why anime is so great. It blends completely disparate styles and crazy storylines driven by strong characters, and even though it shouldn’t work, it really does. The show follows two space cowboys as they travel around the galaxy, trying to scrape a living as bounty hunters. There is some great action in there, as well as a bit of comedy to lighten it up. The soundtrack takes a lot of inspiration from jazz which could easily have ended up being off putting, but it doesn’t. It’s a well-rounded show built on a very unique idea and you can find it all on Netflix.
Blue exorcist is more of a conventional anime than stuff like Cowboy Bebop if conventional is the right word. It follows the story of Rin, the son of Satan. After witnessing the death of his friend, he ignores the advice of his guardian and draws his sword from its scabbard. This releases his demonic powers and he transforms. He decides to take his new powers and use them to defeat Satan. You can watch Blue Exorcist online if you’re interested in a more typical anime series that is heavy on the mythology and religious aspects.
Death Note is one of the most famous anime series out there and it’s recently been made into a live action movie on Netflix (the reviews aren’t great and the concept doesn’t really transfer well). Death Note follows Light Yagami, a high school student and aspiring detective. He comes to possess a supernatural notebook which kills any person whose name he writes inside. This amazingly interesting plot is typical of anime series and it’s a must watch for anybody that is looking to get into it. I’d probably give the live action movie a miss though, it just doesn’t work.
The world of anime is pretty weird and wonderful and it can be a little scary, but these 3 shows are a great introduction to the genre.