Anime often gets a bad rap these days and it’s not entirely undeserved. In a medium filled with brooding loners and semi-incestual romance, you have to be careful what to watch. But there’s gold in this swamp; you just have to look for it.
If you mention that you enjoy anime to someone these days, you’re likely to get one of three responses. “Cool! Yeah, I’m really enjoying Blue Exorcist!” or “Uh…that’s nice.” or “Huh. Yeah, I watched DBZ when I was younger…” You’re either really into it, don’t care for it or are roughly indifferent to it all. While I’m unlikely to change your mind if you truly despise this style of animation, if you’re unsure how you feel or are looking to check out something more than Attack on Titan or the latest (or last) Miyazaki film, I’ve listed ten different series below, along with my thoughts on why they are worthy of your attention. After each series, I’ll tell you whether I prefer the English dub or the subtitled version, if you can watch it online, and provide an Amazon link, if you’d like to purchase it.
While I’ve put this list in no particular order, I’d have to say that Black Lagoon is most likely my favorite anime I’ve yet seen. Currently airing on Cartoon Network’s revived Toonami block of programming, Black Lagoon is a Tarantino and John Woo inspired crime drama. An unassuming young salaryman, Rokuro Okajima (commonly called “Rock”) gets taken hostage by a group of for-hire smugglers and criminals known as The Lagoon Company. Through Rock, we are introduced to the city and culture of Roanapur, a fictional town in Thailand which is so corrupt, that it makes Gotham City look like Care-a-lot. Multiple factions hire Lagoon to do dirty jobs, including Hotel Moscow (An offshoot Russian Mafia, made up of ex-Soviet paratroopers) and Mr Chang’s Sun Yee On Triad. Chow-Yun Fat could probably sue.
The Lagoon company itself is also made up of great personalities. The gruff, but calm ex-military leader Dutch, lazy computer/hacker specialist Benny and Revy, the focus of the show, a dual-wielding gun-woman who takes sadistic glee in slaughtering her foes. And we haven’t even talked about the villains, from the Terminator-style maid Roberta and the sociopathic Romanian preteen killers of the second season.
Dub or Sub?:I implore you to watch the series dubbed. The actors are perfectly cast and the copious cursing rivals any Hollywood action movie. Most of these people are supposed to be speaking English anyway.
Online Availability: The entire series can be seen subbed on Hulu, but as I said, I find the dub highly preferable. But, the first four dubbed episodes are available. Give them a shot. And if you like it? Check the link below.
Buy on Amazon
Few series can get away with the incredible excess that Hellsing Ultimate builds itself upon. While the original Hellsing anime altered the story drastically halfway through, the Ultimate OVA series has been able to capture Kouta Hirano’s gloriously gory vision in all of its cackling madness. Hellsing’s story is actually relatively simple. After defeating Dracula, Abraham Van Helsing created the Hellsing Organization, a paramilitary group to protect the United Kingdom from supernatural and demonic threats of all kind, though they primarily deal with…you guessed it, vampires.
And how do they fight these monsters? Why with another monster of course. Alucard is a genetically engineered monstrosity who “works” for Hellsing. The only one who can come close to controlling him is Integra Hellsing, the current head of the family and a fascinating and powerful character in her own right. Watching Alucard wreak havoc upon anyone and everyone who gets in his way is a wonder to behold. He is more or less unstoppable, which would normally be an annoying character trait, but here you just want to see what he does next.
Other characters, both good, evil and somewhere in between, pepper the series with interesting ideas and displays of power. Seras Victoria is a recently turned British police officer who becomes the audience surrogate for a while, learning about her new vampiric powers, while remaining appropriately scared of them. Walter, the Hellsing butler, is something of a murderous Alfred Pennyworth, wielding razor sharp wires with deadly finesse. Also, being a Protestant Christian organization, Hellsing frequently butts heads with the Vatican, specifically their monster-killing counterparts, Section XIII: Iscariot. Yes, the Vatican has a vampire-exterminating para-military group named after Judas Iscariot. Don’t even try to tell me that’s not an amazing concept.
Dub or Sub?: As with the previous entry, I can’t imagine not watching this show dubbed. 90% of the series takes place in the U.K. It just fits. And the cast is fantastic.
Online Availability: You’re in luck. Hellsing Ultimate 1-8, dub and sub, can be seen on Hulu and Youtube. 9-10 have yet to be dubbed, but can be found subbed on Youtube if you look around.
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NBC’s Hannibal has become one of my new favorite television shows. It’s a fascinating reboot, with a darkly beautiful sense of style and some of the most stomach-churning gore you’ll ever see on network television. Psycho-Pass debuted long before Hannibal, but you can definitely see traces of its DNA in this gruesome cop thriller. In a futuristic Japan, society is governed by the Sibyl System, an intelligent network which can supposedly analyze a person’s penchant for committing violent crime. Any great surge of emotion or change in your life could cloud your “Psycho-Pass”, resulting in either your detainment or immediate execution. A division of the police force, called Unit One, employs “latent criminals” called Enforcers, people that have been judged by Sibyl to have the capacity for violent crime, to hunt even more dangerous offenders.
They are watched over by Inspectors, such as series protagonist Akane. Through her, we meet the other Enforcers, who are a great group of characters, both charming and human, yet also frightening. The society is also delightfully unsettling. To keep citizens calm, police robots use cutesy hologram characters to disguise themselves. And the murders? Oh my, the murders. Let me just say one word: Plastination. Yeah, Dr. Lecter would be proud.
Dub or Sub?: Psycho-Pass has just recently been dubbed. I originally watched the series subbed and greatly enjoyed it. I’ve see a few dub clips and they’re…fine. But as nearly every character is Japanese anyway, I’d go with the sub.
Online Availability: Psycho-Pass is on Hulu! You may be noticing a trend here. Full series subbed, first four episodes dubbed.
Buy on Amazon
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
Let’s take a break from depression and horror for a bit, shall we? Which is not to say that FMA doesn’t have some of that, but it’s a far more optimistic and adventurous series. Some may know the original FMA series, which premiered on Adult Swim in 2004. I watched that series to the very end, including the sequel film, and I can quite honestly say it’s where my love of anime really began to bloom. But, à la the original Hellsing, it diverged from the manga’s story a little less than halfway through. It actually ended up crafting a great tale of its own, but Brotherhood faithfully adapts all of Hiromu Arakawa’s original story. And I have to say, I consider it the superior version.
For those who have never seen either series, FMA tells the story of the Elric brothers, two boys who attempt to resurrect their dead mother through the power of alchemy, which (shocker!) ends going horribly wrong. One of them loses his arm and leg, the other loses his whole body, ending up only as a soul entwined to a suit of armor. They then search for the Philosopher’s Stone, a mythical alchemic artifact which could restore their form and attempt to atone for their apparent sins. It’s an incredible tale, well worthy of the attention of anyone who loves a great epic yarn. Along the way, the boys meet great characters, both hilarious and terrifying; all the way from soldiers of the state army to a group of powerful Homunculi, with world shaking plans. Just go ahead and watch it. It never fails to make me smile.
Dub or Sub?: When I saw the first FMA anime on Adult Swim, it was dubbed and that dub cast stuck with me. But the Japanese cast is also superb. Romi Park is an incredible Ed. I lean towards the dub out of personal preference, but you honestly can’t go wrong here.
Online Availability: And here’s where Hulu screws us. Only the first four episodes and the last twelve episodes are available subbed. The first four are there dubbed. But don’t despair! It’s Netflix to the rescue, with nearly the whole series available dubbed. You can then watch the last handful subbed on Hulu. But if you want the entire series dubbed, you’ll need to buy the blu-ray.
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I should state right off the bat that Summer Wars is a film, not an episodic series. But this works to its advantage, allowing it to tell a contained story about a rampaging computer program, which threatens to unleash nuclear devastation. But that’s really not the heart of the film. It’s really about the power of family, something all of can likely relate to. Sometimes you love them, sometimes you hate them, but they’ll always be a part of you. Summer Wars tells the story of the incredibly large Jinnouchi family, who have come together in an extended family reunion during the summer. Granddaughter Natsuki has promised her grandmother that she would be able to meet her fiancé before she died, so she enlists the help of Kenji Koiso, a mild-mannered math student, to pretend to be her boyfriend for a week.
Over the course of the film they grow closer, while also fending off the advances of Love Machine, a devious AI which has taken control of OZ; essentially an astronomically complex Second Life-style MMO, which is hooked into every facet of world society. It’s a beautiful film, with some truly astounding animation within the computer world. The dubbing is also pitch perfect, with Michael Sinterniklaas voicing Kenji, who you may know better as Dean Venture from The Venture Brothers. It’s damned cliche to say, but Summer Wars is heartwarming film. By the end, the entire world is pitching in to stop Love Machine.
It’s almost like we’re all one big family.
Ugh. Yeah. Sorry. That was too much.
Dub or Sub?: As I said, the English voice cast is top-notch. Everybody puts their all into some truly emotional scenes. But the film is very Japanese. The card game of Hanafuda is an integral plot point. So this remains a toss-up.
Online Availability: I’m sorry to say, based on my Google searches, Summer Wars does not appear to be available for free online in an “official” capacity. But uh…at the time of this writing…you might search Youtube and find something.
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Getting back into some action now, Baccano! is probably the strangest series on this list. I mean it’s got a damn exclamation point in the title, which translates to “ruckus” or “turmoil” in Italian. Roughly set in the early 1930’s, Baccano! follows an extensive list of characters and connections, some essential to the overall plot, while others exist primarily on the sidelines. It’s a wild ride and trying to describe to the full story here would be an effort in futility and would also spoil some major plot points. Suffice to say, everyone from a young mafioso, to a group of ineffectual robbers and a sadistic hit man cross paths with magical forces beyond their understanding. Also, you just can’t beat the jazzy opening song.
The series jumps around time with each arc, but each group of episodes connects to the previous one. The show is also contains a delightful example of what I call “Anime Western Names”, which range from the believable (Keith Gandor), to the weird (Chane Laforet), to the utterly absurd (Szilard Quates). Overall, it’s delightfully underrated little show, with a sense of mysticism that few other series pull off. But if that’s not your cup of tea, there’s also Ladd Russo.
Ladd fucking Russo.
Dub or Sub?: Here we have another series where nearly everyone is Western in some capacity. These people are supposed to be speaking English, so it just sounds good to hear it.
Online Availability: Baccano’s obscure enough that Hulu doesn’t really bother to limit it. Every episode, dub and sub, is available to watch. Which is good, as the blu-ray release appears to be out of print. Going for over a hundred dollars on Amazon.
Buy on Amazon
Cowboy Bebop is not on this list, as it’s such an obvious choice and I wanted to shed light on some lesser known series. By all means, if you haven’t seen Shinichiro Watanabe’s jazz-influenced sci-fi classic, get on that. And watch it dubbed if you can. But while Bebop is nearly a household name, Samurai Champloo, from the same director doesn’t get nearly as much love for its hip-hop & samurai story. The series opens with a fantastic statement of intent. “This work of fiction is not an accurate historical portrayal. Like you care. Now shut up and enjoy the show.”When your show includes a beatboxing samurai and the first game of baseball between Americans and samurai, you kind of need a disclaimer.
But especially as the series goes on, it becomes progressively more serious in tone, dealing with Christian persecution and the age of the samurai ending. It’s almost like Red Dead Redemption in tone, but with katanas rather than rifles. I haven’t even mentioned the characters, such as Mugen, a rude and nihilistic vagabond who lives only to eat and fight. Jin, a refined, taciturn samurai who is running from his past. And Fuu, a teenage girl who recruits the pair of them to help her search for “a samurai who smells of sunflowers”. Combined with terrific animation (especially in the frequent swordfights) a brilliant hip-hop soundtrack and great dub, Samurai Champloo is well-worth your attention.
Dub or Sub?: As usual, I saw the dub first. I love it. Lots of returning voices from Bebop and several new ones. But with series set in Japan, especially old Japan, I won’t blame you if you want an extra bit of authenticity.
Online Availability: All of it, dub and sub, is on Hulu and Netflix. Get cracking.
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Somewhere deep down, we all kinda enjoy being scared. Well, not if you’re in actual danger, but horror movies? Haunted houses? Nothing beats that rush of adrenalin or sense of creeping dread. Another delivers this feeling in spades. In 1972, a very popular high school student named Misaki died unexpectedly. The rest of the class was so stunned and broken by the loss, that they collectively decided to pretend that Misaki was still alive, with even the teacher continuing to ask the empty desk questions. When they took their graduation photo, his image appeared on the developed film. Decades later, fifteen-year old Koichi transfers to a neighboring high school and meets a girl named Mei Misaki. But no one else in the class will even acknowledge her. You may think she’s a ghost, but it’s nowhere near that simple.
Much of the series is psychologically creepy, with an especially original concept of “ignoring” someone, which would be too spoiler-y to get into. As the series continues and the deaths pile up, the full scope of the horror is slowly revealed. Horror anime is hard to come by, with truly good series being even rarer. Another stands out from the pack, being a perfect Halloween season choice for someone who likes goosebumps and gore in equal measure.
Dub or Sub?: While there is a recent dub available, I’ve never seen it. I watched the whole thing subbed. Being in a foreign language adds to the creepiness, however subtly, in my opinion.
Online Availability: Every subbed episode is on Hulu. Keep a light on…
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I saw a trailer for Jormungand at an anime convention (yeah yeah, laugh it up) a few months ago and immediately bought it later that day in the dealer’s room. I was not disappointed in my purchase. It’s a great spiritual successor to Black Lagoon, also featuring awesome gunfights and badass female characters. The creator of Jormungand even created a short crossover manga with both series. But the series also stands on its own. Telling the story of arms dealer Koko Hekmatyar and her group of bodyguards, Jormungand is blindingly “grey” in its morality. There no heroes. There are no villains. We root for Koko because we know her and like her, but she remains a merchant of death, selling to the highest bidder. She claims she does it for “world peace”, some part of a larger plan, but in the meantime she hires a child soldier and does not hesitate to kill anyone in her way.
Jonah, the child soldier in question, is our audience-entrance character and he’s fascinating in his own right. While he despises weapons and weapon dealers, he still joins Koko, becoming entranced by her force of personality. Soon he’s fighting alongside the rest of her crew, from Finnish soldier Valmet, explosives expert Wiley and sarcastic ex-Delta Force operator Lehm, they’re a family of killers and merchants. In between selling weapons, they try to teach Jonah math and history, often to hilarious results. This show has plenty of comedy, which helps offset the very dark premise.
Dub or Sub?: Gotta go with the dub here, for many of the same reasons as Black Lagoon. Koko’s voice actor in Japanese is just too high-pitched for me and you miss out on some great (curse-filled) line translations.
Online Availability: For such a recently released series, Jormungand is surprisingly available. Dub and sub are available in full on Hulu.
Buy on Amazon
Alright, I’m totally cheating for this final entry. Yosuba&! is not an anime and it probably never will be. Creator Kiyohiko Azuma has claimed that the stories are not well suited for anime and while I’m sad I’ll never get to see it in motion, I understand his point. Yotsuba&! is joy on a printed page. If I had my way, I’d pass a law requiring every psychiatrist’s office in the U.S. to keep the first few volumes available for patients. Yotsuba&! is about five-year-old Yotsuba Koiwai and her lackadaisical yet loving father moving into a new town. She soon befriends their new neighbors, the Ayases and their three daughters. From then on, the series is collection of short stories, all about Yotsuba learning something new or having some adventure. From the time she learns what an air conditioner is, to getting a teddy bear, even when she meets a cardboard-robot named Danbo (actually a friend in disguise), the comic radiates an indelible sense of fun.
Perhaps the greatest strength of the manga, is the hilarious facial expressions Azuma gives Yotsuba and the other characters. From stunned shock, to iron-cold defiance, every face is a forum reaction image just waiting to be used. Above all else, Yotsuba&! is a necessary plate cleanser. Sadly, too much of the anime medium can be boiled down to bloody action, cliched romance or up-its-own-ass philosophizing. At the end of the day, sometimes you just want to read about a cute little girl going to a farm and being amazed by what she sees. It’s a beautiful world out there.
Dub or Sub?: Uh…
Online Availability: As a published manga, Yotsuba%! is not available online in any official capacity. But, if you google it and you’re careful on what you click, you might be find what you’re looking for…
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54 thoughts on “10 Animes You Won’t Be Embarrassed To Watch”
Great list 10/10
But how could you not include Kino’s Journey?!
Nice article. I haven’t seen all of these, but I preferred the subbed versions of those that I have. But I’ve studied Japanese for many years so I like to use Japanese voiced anime as practice. In my opinion Death Note would fit into this list perfectly. That would give you an anime that must be watched subbed, the English cast is fine but the English Light and L performances are weaker. The voice work is a very large part of character development in Death Note; the dubbed experience is different enough that I can’t recommend it.
One last thing, the plural of Anime is still Anime, as it’s a Japanese word. Apologies if your spelling was intentional.
Hey, thanks for the comment. Yeah, a lot of my dub choices just come down to personal preference. None of the Japanese VAs are bad by any means.
Death Note was considered, but I felt it was pretty well known at this point. Wanted to shed light (haaaaa) on some lesser known stuff.
Chris asked me if it was Anime or Animes; I told him Anime is plural and singular, but if it looked weird to him, he was free to change it. Evidently he did. 🙂
Aha, yes that makes sense. Odds are everyone has a friend or two that will pressure them into watching Death Note.
I definitely felt like this may have been Chris’ doing, that’s why I added that last sentence.
I feel like I need to mention that the word ‘nice’ may be a stronger compliment here in NZ than it is in other countries. It’s more like saying ‘great article’ etc.
I think this is a great article! I’m gonna go watch Hellsing now, I’ve put it off for too long.
This is a great anime list. Some of my favorites are here: Hellsing Ultimate, Samurai Champloo, Another.
Some other great anime: Lain, Paranoia Agent, Kids on the Slope.
Or the more wacky one: Nichijou, Excel Saga.
Or the most anime, anime ever: Code Geass.
Aw man, now I have to watch Black Lagoon all over again. Great list.
Couple additions, for the sake of it, in the spirit of the list (intelligent writing, not too creepy):
Welcome to the NHK
Eden of the East
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
And of course all of Gainax’s stuff.
NHK is pretty disturbing. Just finished the manga, but man is that good. And not the usual “anime blood and guts” disturbing at all for people put on edge by that statement.. like really psychological “oh god these people exists” kind of way.
Tekkonkinkreet is a favorite of mine 😀
I’d toss paprika on the list, because Satoshi Kon made animated MOVIES… that, and the choice of composer (Suzumu Hirasawa) is always an excellent listen. I’ve got Berserk to thank for that :3
While growing up it was engraved into my mind that anime was for losers and you would be chastised for watching it. Even in my own home my dad banned all anime from ever being watched by my brother and I.
Unfortunately It’s a mentality that I still find hard to shake to this day and am embarrassed to watch most anime. This year I’ve started to break free from that mindset first with video games like Persona 3 and with the first anime, Redline, which I really enjoyed.
I might have to check out some of these if I can bring myself to it.
Redline had some amazing animation, and it had a nice energy to it. Though I personally felt like it went out of the rails at the end and finished in that very “who cares if this makes zero sense, it’s COOL, no???” way that anime often tries to pull. And while in some cases it works, I wasn’t satisfied with it here.
Good list. Happy to see Jormungand and Psycho-Pass (new one coming in Oct.) on here. I’ve seen tons of anime and am clearly a fan of the genre so I’ll keep my recommendations for this comment at only two. The first is Shinsekai Yori (From the New World) which is an extremely well done 25 episode story about a utopian society of psychics in the far future. The writing is great and unlike other shows that are all about leading up to big battle scenes or fan service, it’s main concern is always telling a great story. If you see any promotional art for it you’d be lead to think it’s about some kids going to school but it actually avoids that trope of school kids becoming action heroes as it’s just the setup up for the larger plot. Couldn’t find any preview clips, but here’s my favorite song used in the show: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1LpZ5I8Iks
My other recommendation is really only for people who are familiar with anime. The show is Senyu and the episodes are only about 5 minutes long but they’re filled with tons of great jokes one after another and some great anime slapstick. It does tell a story but that only serves to set up more and more jokes. A moment of Senyu’s constant comedy gold: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uli79ZRvMeM
Although I have to say that One Piece is still my favorite anime. The story is great but above all I just love the characters and the imagination that it always brings. It also never fails to make me bust out laughing. It’s still ongoing but I rewatched the first couple hundred episodes expecting my memories to be better than the actual content but instead thoroughly enjoyed every minute. If you ever watched the 4Kids dubs, then know that they not only rewrote most of the dialogue but also censored everything from making rifles into squirt guns to just completely removing entire objects and people from scenes. One Piece was never an anime meant for kids. It may look childish but it’s really just trying to show you a good time. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rB-2pNWspRo
Also SUBS >>> DUBS. Dubbed voice actors rarely get into their roles as much as the originals and some dubbed voices just don’t fit the characters at all. The character has already been done. Why do they always try to cast someone with a completely different tone of voice?
I’ve watched Summer Wars, and I completely agree with it being in this list, great film, very different from most anime and pretty charming while also having it’s own distinctive flavor.
I’ve yet to watch most else of this list, but I’ve heard a lot of good things from most of these. Regarding FMA: Brotherhood, I remember watching it up around the time they go north to where they meet Alexander’s sister. And i kinda lost interest there. It wasn’t bad at all, but I had also watched the original, and I guess I hadn’t seen so much difference yet, and what I had seen was not overly compelling. I don’t know how the original manga ends, but I was one of those people that actually thought the anime ended pretty well.
I suppose I could give the rest of the series a try eventually though.
Also watched the original Hellsing anime, wasn’t overly impressed with it, but I HAVE heard that Hellsing Ultimate is so much better.
Yeah, I can’t really blame people who saw the whole first FMA anime and just didn’t feel like going through all of Brotherhood. It was a great show, with an ending that stands on it’s own. But the series really kicks into high gear after the Briggs arc. I also find Hohenheim a far more compelling character here.
Hellsing Ultimate is the best. Da best. Give it a try. It diverges in the 3rd OVA.
Yeah, Hohenheim did feel a little weird in terms of motivation and personality in the original anime. And again, wasn’t even disliking Brotherhood at all, it certainly had it’s moments, like when Roy devastated one of the homonculi. (I think it was Lust… right) So I do think I owe giving the entire series a try. I guess it also counts that I watched during a period in which I “matured” out of anime as I started to realize how immature and cliché a lot of it was, and that caused me to lose interest on all of it, even though FMA: Brotherhood didn’t fall into most of said clichés.
And yeah, I probably will, I remember that Alucard himself was an amazing character, but the story kinda sucked, specially later, to the point that I no longer remember what happened whatsoever. There was definitely potential in the premise though, so perhaps ultimate will deliver it on it for me ^^
Thanks for this list! I think I’ll also give Black Lagoon and Baccano! a try sooner than later. I had already heard good things about both series, but this list has pushed me to the edge.
The end of Brotherhood was completely video game, in my mind. It was good once it started moving away from the earlier story, but the fight at the end wasn’t nearly as good as the end of the earlier series.
Fuck brotherhood and the manga, the original fma anime was way better.
Im glad Baccanos on here but no code geass or death note or attack on titan, list is fail.
Also whats with all the shooter anime?
So, I enjoyed Code Geass, but it’s chock full of anime tropes. Giant robots, a precocious younger sister and frequent fanservice. It’s not a bad show, but not something I’d recommend to someone who’s turned off by anime cliches.
Death Note is great series and worthy of a place on this list, but it’s pretty well known at this point. Wanted to show off some slightly more obscure stuff.
Again, Attack on Titan is extremely popular. It’s even been talked about on Laser Time! Didn’t feel necessary to bring up. I do love it though.
Uh, I like anime gunfights? And I’d only really say 3 of these are primarily “shooter anime”.
If you want the least anime anime, the Gankustuou: Count of Monte Cristo should be on here.
Or Ergo Proxy….
You are out of your goddamn mind. Brotherhood is 10x better than the original. Some of FMAs best characters don’t even get introduced in the original series. And it lacks that stereotypical “depressing just for the sake of being depressing” ending that 90% of anime seems to have.
Pyscho Pass and Another?
I approve this list. Fantastic work.
Great recs! I’ll be sure to check out some of these. Hope this means even more anime content on LT in the future.
I are sad to see no Evangelion on this list
Evangelion in many ways represents most of the anime clichés that a lot of people abhors nowadays. And the quality of the show itself is highly subjective, since the amateurish philosophical ramblings might resonate with some, but for others it might be just a ton of bullshit.
EVA is such an awful show. It is “shoved in your face” like no other with its philosophy and its other BS. The animation is terrible (but that isn’t the creators fault) and there are so many scenes where, literally, nothing happens; it just hangs on a scene for minutes sometimes, no dialog, no animation, no nothing except some cicadas chirping.
The only good parts happen in the movie, and even then it isn’t really worth watching. I would give the show, at best, a 2/10. It is not worth anyones time at all.
Bullshit and one-sided. It has its flaws and throws its weight around, but it’s by no means a 2. It’s actually a story of broken people in various stages of life, masquerading as a monster-of-the-week giant robot show. Hideaki Anno wrote it while in the throes of a deep depression. It’s kinda like how the ENTIRE Metal Gear series is basically Kojima’s autobiography of his career at Konami, and his relationship with the populous at large.
That said, the guys kind of willfully blew the budget on some episodes, and they look fantastic. Though the look of the final three original episodes is economy grade 1000%, it still fits the surreal subject matter.
Anno didn’t get death threats because his work was shit…. it was his controversial ending, and basically the reveal that the story of the end of the world and giant robots were bullshit, and just vehicles to develop and examine fucked-up characters. Lots of people just wanted a resolution to the end of the world and “story arc,” and told him to go die, as they became so invested in the series. So Anno got pissed and gave them the way things would really go, and what they wanted to see; he beautifully rendered basically everyone on the planet losing their minds and dying horribly. Though excellent, I was ok with the first ending.
Evangelion came out of:
1) a man’s need to give himself therapy (in a society that largely doesn’t believe in seeing a professional for mental health, instead saying those people a”just aren’t working hard enough”)
2) his desire to express his feelings
3) his decision to basically acknowledge his own imbalances, and own up to them publicly (ugly as it gets in some places)
I’d give this guy WAY more credit than Rob Zombie for “House of a Thousand Corpses.” I couldn’t even effectively shut my brain off enough to enjoy that mindless schlock.
Completely agree. Evangelion is overhyped garbage.
Honestly, if you’re gonna watch a version of Evangelion, watch the recent movies. The old series has aged EXTREMELY POORLY and as my nigga Falcon said, it now represents everything fat Americans hate about Anime.
Also I hate anime, so that recommendation has that added weight. And Attack on Titan rules too.
Good list Sameal. I want to rub your tummy like the Buddha belly it is.
So Yotsuba&! is where all that 4chan stuff comes from. Nice to know!
I got to see Summer Wars in a theater a couple years ago and it was incredible.
Wow, great article, I’m going to check out Another today!
But I’m going to be embarrassed anyway, I mean come on, it’s still anime we’re talking about here.
More like “10 Anime Series of High Quality Most of Which are Super Friendly to Western Audiences and Aren’t Fucking Cowboy Bebop and Trigun”.
I can’t disagree with any of the list though, lots of good stuff there and the only thing I haven’t seen is Jormungand which is on my backlog. People who hate anime need to remember that it’s a medium with various genres and though many series may share some annoying tropes, it’s silly to disregard everything because of the awful “cute girls doing cute things in highschool” bullshit that dominates the market right now. Roughly 90% of anime is garbage but that just makes it easier to pick out what’s worth your time.
Look, I love Naruto, but it’s reputation alone makes it something people would be embarrassed to watch.
Eh not a bad anime list, didn’t like Summer Wars and Another is more comedy than horror, but everything else is good.
Also you don’t need to pluralize anime as animes, just say anime.
Another is a horror. There honestly isn’t too much comedy in it. And just saw Summer Wars…. bro, if you didn’t like that, you might not have a heart that pumps blood :\
This reminds me of when I saw the Animatrix with some friends, and two of them burst out laughing at the dudes sledgehammering a robot woman to death while she plead for her life. To me, that’s like reading a math book and finding the concept of 1+1=2 utterly absurd, and possibly beneath you.
Good list, but pretty standard fair. It doesn’t really go deeper than the surface level I don’t think.
I’m not saying I’m the biggest anime fan, but there are definitely some great ones out there that are deeper than “the normal”. Such as JoJos Bizzare Adventure. Not really too crazy of an anime/manga, big dudes using their big muscles to fight, some supernatural stuff (like using the power of breathing or stands) and absolutely HILARIOUS lines/dialog/etc.
Though this is definitely a good list to get started with.
Also pretty surprised not to see Attack On Titan on here. Though I guess that is more well known of an anime.
The focal point here is “you won’t be embarrassed to watch.” Basically, He’s going for things that aren’t really the standard anime fare, and “big dudes with big muscles fighting with supernatural powers?” Man. Yeah. That’s unique.
He’s going more for original theatrical releases that just HAPPEN to be animé, and things that might mimic real life live-action shows/movies/procedurals rather than super run-of-the-mill otaku-bait. I’d almost put Stein’s;Gate on this list, but it’s too slow for impatient people, and some of Okabe’s bombast could easily be a turn-off for people not used to digesting caricatures.
Real happy to see Black Lagoon, front and center XD
Saint Seiya will always be my favorite at least 😀
I think that your list is really good, and almost all of them are friendly to the western viewer who doesn’t like Anime. However, I’d personally swap out Another, because that show really isn’t as good as you make it out to be. If you want to switch it out for horror, You could always try Higurashi no Naka Koro Ni or something like Deadman Wonderland. Both of these shows get supremely uncomfortable, though Higurashi is done with stark contrast between Moe fun and torture. Deadman is gore and pain brought to a ridiculous level. More importantly though, an show like Evangelion should be on this list, because that show is similar to what airs now with anime, but BETTER.
Also, you have Summer Wars as your movie of choice. I think it is a great movie. But I think a better pick would be Redline or Akira. Redline because you might never see a better animated movie than this. Akira because it is the thing that got so many people to watch Anime, and it really does hold up even today. Just don’t watch the terrible dub.
Note his choice to stay with things that are somewhat current. Eva is going to be 20 years old next year, and Akira’s what? Like 27?
As for Another, no, it may not be particularly “great,” but it’s different. It’s close to a Final Destination type of feel. Higurashi and things of that nature…. I know so many love it, but it’s honestly just this disturbing Japanese media trend of cute kids murdering each other (I wonder if it just so happens to explode in popularity following the 4-chan adoption of “Nevada-tan,” 12-year-old murderer).
It’s not “for adults.” It’s blood porn for shock value, and people that totally get off on shit like Fan-Goria magazine.
Lord of the Flies: published in 1954. Literary classic by a Nobel Prize-winner.
Battle Royal: finished in 1996, published in 1999
Higurashi no Naku Ni: game series begings in 2002
School Days: visual novels released on PC in 2005. Coins the popular-in-japan-at-the-time meme “Nice Boat.”
Hunger Games: began with 1st book in 2006. Almost exactly BR, author claims to have never seen or heard of it.
Sure this pops up in a lot of ways and in a lot of countries, but I’ve never seen it mentioned with so much glee as I have with the Japanese products. Shit like Elfen Lied gets praised as “awesome” or “adult” by goons almost SOLELY because it’s “brutal,” or “there’s so much blood.” Nations of damn pre-teens.
Ohh is this the first guest article?! Awesome to see some fan stuff on the site, makes me wonder if I should brush up my writing skills and try to make something up.
anyway awesome list! People sure seem to have some deep opinions on this topic, which probably means we need more animeish stuff on the site ( you hear that chris?) Half of this list is stuff I haven’t watched, Psycho Pass being one that I kind of dismissed as an “eh” series but I guess I should give it a shot.
And I gotta disagree with everyone saying Attack on Titan. That show was waaaaaay too hyped up for its own good. It’s still stuffed with a ton of anime tropes and predictable plot points. I guess it is easy to watch but I don’t think it deserves to be on the list.
More guest articles! Or you know just articles from people who never write anything on the site.
Attack on Titan is better as a manga than a show in my opinion, I wouldn’t agree with it being on the list either.
Though some people don’t understand this isn’t the 10 greatest underrated anime ever list.
Great picks! Mamoru Hosoda is fast becoming one of my favourite directors, period. I watched his Digimon movie a lot when I was little as I had it on VHS and thought it was pretty much the best thing ever. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time has a couple of problems but is still great whilst Summer Wars and his latest film, Wolf Children, are fucking amazing. I saw Wolf Children in the cinema with my family and we were all sobbing by the end. That is a sad, bittersweet film.
Awesome list man! Seen most of these but there are a few I haaven’t like Another and Yotsuba&. Some good suggestions in the comments as well (Mushi-shi is a really good one especially.) I feel like rather than just Samurai Champloo you could really just say “watchable if Shinichiro Watanabe is involved.” Really enjoying what I’ve seen of Space Dandy for the most part, and Cowboy Bebop of course. A few I really like could not be on this list because of how much they play to a few tropes, but subvert them in a clever way. Psycho-Pass was done by the guy who did Madoka Magica, a deconstrution of the magical girl genre (it suprised me because I’m not into the magical girl crap at all). Code Geass involves many tropes and I didn’t like the look of it at first but it turned out to be more interesting than Death Note IMO. Stein’s Gate had a cast of characters that are very tropey at first but end up a lot more interesting than first thought (plus that show is really thrilling in the second half.) Then there’s my love of Gainax. Awesome animation gets me every time and theirs is some of the best (Evangelion original notwithstanding). Of all things Fooly Cooly is my personal number 1, which is sad, because it’s difficult to recommend it to anyone. Most people just find it nonsensical and hard to keep up with, not seeing the underlying brilliance of it…
Ok. I’m done then. Was going to make suggestions but looks like the comments got a lot of the good ones already. Oh yeah, Darker than Black.
Fuck yes for Psycho-Pass and Baccano!
the traffic in this comments section, my god. I’ll follow up ok some of these, thanks for the recommends. Attack On Titan really opened me up to checking out some modern anime, and this helps a lot.
I’ve only seen about half of these(Black Lagoon, Hellsing, FMA, Samurai Champloo), but I completely agree with those four.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is my #1 pick for “thing I’d show to someone who doesn’t know what anime is if you want them to not hate anime”.
It’s got pretty much everything that I think makes anime cool, with none of the stuff that generally makes anime cringeworthy. And it’s considerably less of a bummer than the original series was.
Oh, and Jormangand. I’ve seen that one too.
I find this list too american. Where’s the magical girls and slice of life romances?
As a relatively newcomer to anime, I’ve been on the look-out for something that might peak my interest. Needless to say, this list was helpful. I added Black Lagoon, Psycho-Pass, FMAB, Another and Jormungand on my ever-expanding list of weird/awesome anime.
I now have those 4 + Samurai Champloo, Cowboy Bebop, Hyouka, Saint Oniisan, Hellsing Ultimate and Berserk (on top of Death Note, Steins;Gate, Chobits and One Punch Man which I’ve already seen).