The Anime Starter Pack

Anime – A lot of people think it’s weird (I know my sorority sisters do). But you are a fearless soul that does what he or she pleases, despite the odd looks that people might give you! As someone who began her anime journey fairly recently, I’ll give you a few suggestions on good shows to start you out.

Bias note: There are plenty of different “genres” of anime out there – drama, romance, comedy, sci-fi, etc. However, I tend to like action and psychological anime more than anything else. That means plenty of fighting, violence, and dark themes without sacrificing a hearty story. My choices below reflect my bias towards this genre. If this isn’t your cup of tea, I encourage you to explore the myriad of other genres to find a good fit!

 Black Lagoon

If you love Tarantino movies, this is the ideal starting place for you. Black Lagoon follows Rokurou Okajima (AKA: Rock) as he transforms from a boring Japanese businessman to a gunslinging pirate of the Black Lagoon mercenary group. In between scenes of epic gun fights, sea-borne torpedo battles, and shady business deals, the show explores human values and morality in a really meaningful, subtle way.

BONUS: The dubbed version is better than the subtitled version, so if you hate reading subtitles this is a great pick. Also, Revy is probably the most badass and dynamic female character I have ever seen in anime thus far (I named my Ponyta after her in Pokemon Go).

Sword Art Online

You enter a virtual reality video game, only to discover that you’re trapped there and can’t “log out” of the world you entered. The only way out? Beat the game.

This is the basic premise of the first arc of SAO, and it hooks you in like nothing else. The main characters are incredibly compelling, the fight scenes are amazingly done, and the show’s tempo is a departure from shows like Black Lagoon – it’s not afraid to take things slow and let things build to a critical mass. You root for the characters and get pretty emotionally invested (Read: I cried at the end of the first arc).

BONUS: The transition into the second arc of the show is a very interesting one, and I’m really pleased with how they managed to keep things fresh. Asuna is also a fantastic female protagonist (I named my Eevee after her in Pokemon Go).  It’s also on Netflix!

Marai Nikki / Future Diary

 This one is kind of a weird when you first watch it, so you’ll have to bear with me, but it’s an incredibly interesting and unique series in my opinion. The best way I can describe this is a Hunger Games-style model: Everyone is out to kill each other, and the last man/woman standing becomes the Lord of Space and Time. What makes things interesting is that you don’t know who

those other people are (other than our male and female mains of the story), and everyone has a means of telling some small facet of the future called Diaries (which usually helps the killing process). The more Diaries one has, the easier time one has in eliminating the other contestants. Catch my drift? Sounds odd, but it’s awesome.

WARNING: There’s a lot of gore and violence in this one – lots of blood. Also heavy on the dark themes, so it’s not exactly a picker-upper/feel-good anime.

Sailor Moon

 I don’t need to do much convincing for this. The ultimate girl-power, kick-butt, flashback-to-childhood series. Not even the least bit strange, just all good vibes and not taking crap from anyone. Unfortunately, I have yet to name anyone on my Pokemon Go team after any of the Sailor Senshis – I have get to catch a Pokemon cool enough.

Further Watching (AKA: Shows on my list that I’m excited to start): Death Note, Attack on Titan, Claymore, Darker Than Black, Psycho-Pass

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