If your entertainment life has been dominated by American fanfare, you have a legion of shows around the world waiting to enlighten you. Netflix caters to everyone in their selection of animes, whether young or old, noob or aficionado. This list of six takes baby steps into the new, exciting world of anime. Use it wisely.
Let’s start with blood. The bloodiest. Namely, Jack the Ripper. If The Ripper was the bloodiest, what does that make those who killed him? Soul Eater follows an academy of students as they clean up the world by devouring evil souls. It belongs on this list because characters explain everything, you will never get lost. It is not the best anime on the market, but it is a good place to start due to its lighthearted nature and fun action scenes.
Most of us geeks have a thing for comics, video games, or television. However, we are a varied and proud culture. I spend time delving into all of the above, but also cars. I know car enthusiasts who count themselves amongst the heartiest of nerds. If you fancy yourself the car-lover variant of geek, start your anime journey with Initial D. While a bit dated and slow to start, Initial D pumps out all the 91-octane jargon you could want, from the Rotary Brothers slinging around turns in their FDs to the Speed Stars drifting their coveted S13s. If you understood that sentence, watch this show.
Digimon, digital monsters, Digimon are the champions… of Japanese entertainment for the youngins. A roundabout answer to the widely successful Pokemon, Digimon follows a group of kids into a digital world where monsters exist; a virtual reality of sorts. Each episode entangles the good Digimon against evil ones, supports a moral and reveals more information on each character. It fits the common kid formula precisely for all those looking to implant the anime seed early. Remember: “Get your parent’s permission before going online,” or you may end up in a digital world.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
Fullmetal Alchemist has a franchise of shows. I recommend you start with Brotherhood as it throws you into the world of alchemy immediately. It is one of those “you-learn-best-as-you-play” shows. It makes a point to exaggerate substantial information so you recognize it later. Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood’s protagonists, Edward Elric (the Fullmetal Alchemist) and his brother Alphonse, try to reclaim their bodies, which were mutilated during an alchemical experiment gone awry. In doing so, they serve the government weeding out rogue alchemists. Edward and Alphonse have a purely caring brotherly relationship, a delight to watch.
Don’t let the title fool you, only one gun matters, and it rarely triggers. Trigun makes an excellent debut anime because it has a simple premise familiar to everyone: Westerns. On a side note, typical Western genres were derived from Japanese Samurai films, but Trigun takes the Americanized approach with guns blazing, rough language and light-hearted fun. The show’s principle character, Vash the Stampede, has a $$60,000,000,000 (double-dollar) price on his head. Watch him make friends and minced-meat of all the bounty hunters that try to claim that reward, and hope you stand with the first category, not the second.
One action packed season of sword fights, character conflicts, and well-traveled humor. The protagonist, Fuu, acts before she thinks, often accidentally pitting her samurai pseudo-bodyguards, Jin and Mugen, against immense odds. Luckily, Jin and Mugen carry the skill and foresight to handle their foes. Mugen fights recklessly, throwing himself into situations with abandon, knowing he will emerge the victor every time. Jin portrays the traditional calm, cool, collected samurai masking his talents in humility. The conflicting attitudes, easy to follow through-line, and 26-episode count make this anime a perfect starting point.