I certainly wouldn’t be the first, nor the best to write this post, but I think I’ve got a solid basis to, so I’ll tackle it. Keep in mind I’m not saying there’s a set order you should explore anime, or that some are more difficult to follow than others, just trying to make the ride, initially, as free from jarring changes as possible.
A friend asked about “The Big 3”, which is, arguably, what many in the U.S. think of when somebody mentions anime. His three were:
- Battle of The Planets (aka G-Force)
Now, as a kid, I watched all three of these. I actually tried to carefully follow Robotech, but I had other childhood pursuits (i.e. video games) to occupy my time. I each case, and why these 3 are important, the series named above are “Americanized” versions of some classic anime. What do I mean by that? It means there was not just translation, but usually, (and notably in the case of Robotech), heavy editing of, and shortening sometimes (Robotech vs Macross, for example) the original storyline.
It is to Robotech what Avatar: The Last Airbender is to M. Night Shamalan’s The last Airbender (rough analogy since the more recent movie had no translation to do.) One is great, and the other…we’ll…not so good. They have the same story, however, sorta. If you say you like Robotech, to a fan of anime, you’ll either get a frown of dismay, or an understanding nod and recommendation to go see Macross. So, I’ll be the latter: go see Macross. It really is a good story. It’s best to see it as it was meant to be; in its original form (sorry you’ll have to become a good reader of dubs or learn Japanese.)
I liked the lions and the vehicles (lol at me if you want.) AND I’LL FORM THE HEAD! This one’s special because it was a combo effort between a Japanese and American team to adapt two animes, Beast King Go-Lion and Armored Fleet Dairugger XV. That’s why it felt like two different series to most of us who watched it. I didn’t learn that for quite a few years. I actually haven’t watched the originals yet. Someday, I will.
Battle of The Planets
took me a sec to realize he meant the Americanized version of Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, which, aka Battle of the Planets (one of my favorites as a kid!) As with Macross, this may be a bit of an odd sensation to watch the original since there will be some differences. I must confess, I need to take a look at this one again too.
There’s a lot (LOT) of great anime you might have heard of, but should see if you like those 3. They are key ones, for sure. Just see the original Japanese versions, please. Here’s a few that you might also hear commonly, in case you want a good foundation:
- Neon Genesis Evangelion (or Eva, for short) – Considered a classic by many. If you like giant robots defending Earth, this one should be on your list.
- Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya) – I admit I would not have seen this when I did if it weren’t for the popularity of it’s ending song, Hare Hare Yukai. Check it out, if you haven’t already, and keep in mind the series is actually very good:
- Golden Boy
- Love Hina
– It’s short, but still a fun ride (lol). I was pleasantly surprised, and this is also an example of good ecchi anime (possibly NSFW, but not too raunchy at all.)
– Another good anime that kinda turned my on to the “harem” anime genre.
If you’ve heard of Bleach or Naruto, then I strongly urge you to still give them a shot. Both have their ups and downs, but there’s some really good plotlines in both. They’re popular (might be a good or bad thing), but they do deserve credit for having good production quality. In case I didn’t mention it before, see them subbed. Crunchyroll has both and that is good quality subbing.
This is by no means a definitive guide to anime. I’m not entirely sure one exists, but I hope that’s OK. I like to explore a bit, although I’ll be pretty busy in my favorite genres for quite a while I think. Hopefully, I won’t be alone in my exploration.