Ah anime. How do we love thee let us count the ways. Well if you are just starting to watch anime probably not so much. But don’t worry; here is a list that will help you get started on that journey.
1. Soul Eater
Soul Eater is just a great anime for anyone to start with. You have the main meister/weapon combos for the show who are Maka Albarn/Soul Eater, Death the Kid/Liz and Patty and finally Black Star/Tsubaki. A meister/weapon combo consists of two students from the DWMA (Death Weapon Meister Academy) who work with each other to fight the Keishin who are out to eat the souls of other human beings. The only way a meister/weapon combo can get along is if their soul wave lengths are in sync with each other. What I find to be really cool is that the “weapon” can turn into a weapon at any point, on any part of their body when needed. The ultimate goal for any meister/weapon combo is to become powerful. But that all gets tossed aside once the threat of madness starts to consume the world. The show is set in Death City which is run by no one but Death himself! With this anime you start to get a feel for how things are drawn. They’re the little quirks that make anime’s so much fun to watch like when of the characters start to yell and their head suddenly pops up from their body and snot starts to come from his nose. It’s these quirks that gives you a good start to follow the characters and the aspect that makes the character who they are and gets you drawn into what will happen next in the story.
2. Ouran High School Host Club
Ouran High School Host Club is one of those anime-s that you can just watch over and over again without thinking twice. The main character is Haruhi Fujioka who is a new female student to the Ouran Academy and is mistaken to be a boy. While looking for a quiet place to study she stumbles upon the 3rd music hall and into a host club. For those of you who might not know what a host club is it’s basically a place where females (in this case) can go and enjoy some coffee or tea, while being entertained by male host of their choice or being told what they want to hear during the time period just to make them happy. During the first meeting with the host club, Haruhi knocks over an $80,000 antique vase which is held over her head as a debt to the host club and has to work it back off because she is on a scholarship and is considered to be a commoner, since the school is nothing but rich kids. Unfortunately for Haruhi the only way to pay it off is to become a host which would be a simple task if she was a boy…..but the last time she checked she wasn’t. This anime is also a great intro into 3 of the big named voice actors J. Michael Tatum as Kyoya Otori Todd Haberkorn as Hikaru Hitachiin and Vic Mignogna as Tamaki Suoh Get to know these names. You will be hearing them a lot. With that being said those 3 dynamics along with interactions between the Hitachiin twins and Haruhi, Haruhi and Tamaki (are we seeing a running theme that revolves around Haruhi?)and Haruhi and the other characters is what makes this show so great. Seeing how a group of well taken kids are trying to live in a world that is normal to every day folk and how to interact and have no clue what to do is what makes this show funny. While the drawing is average and you can see how easy it is to relate to the characters. There are no random hair colors or outfits. It’s every day where, with everyday people. It’s also a good starter cosplay.
3. Howl’s Moving Castle
Beautiful drawing….wonderful coloring this is why we love Hayao Miyazaki . Now repeat this with me….We Love Miyazaki…We Love Miyazaki. Once you watch Howl’s Moving Castle you will see why. Out of all the Miyazaki films I found this one to be so easy to follow and so cinematically gorgeous. You meet Sophie, a hatter whose self-esteem is low and whose looks pales in comparison to her sister, or her mother for that fact but she is perfectly happy to live out her days making hats in her dad’s hat shop. That is, until a curse is brought upon her by a witch and she is set on a mission to have it lifted. While trying to have the curse lifted she runs into the greatest wizard Howl and, well, his moving castle. Miyazaki drawing style is so distinct compared to anime shows, and it in that his lines, while nice and fluid, are rounder compared to the straight edges in some animes. This will truly keep you captivated from the start. With big named stars doing the voice acting such as Christian Bale as Howl how could you want to say no?! It’s Batman for God’s sake!
4. Full Metal Panic!
Looking for a taste of Gundam without all the filling? Then look no further! Full Metal Panic! will give you that and so much more. Full Metal Panic! offers you a Gundam typesetting with comedy and antics tossed in for good measure. The series comes about with a teenage girl Kaname Chidori who for the most part, is your typical Japanese teenager with a pretty hot temper. She has a gift that she’s unaware of being able to “whisper” to the big ass machines they use to fight with. Due to this gift, she is hunted down by multiple countries, but a anti-terrorist team is brought in to protect her. Bring in Sousuke Sagara! A guy who is roughly around Kaname’s age, but has no damn clue how to handle in the normal world since all he’s known is the military. Literally….this guy sees no problem bringing in some type of fire arm into the school. The dynamics between these two really makes the show. With the dry humor of Souskue and the roughness from Kaname, it makes it a pleasure to watch these two interact. Now the drawing style for this one is a little rougher than say Ouran Host Club but it’s still enjoyable none the less.
5. Sailor Moon
Sailor Moon is a classic, though it’s hard to say that since it was released back in the ‘90s. This anime is so loved that it has spurred 200 episodes, musicals, movies, video games and of course the manga but that should be a given for any anime. The main character is Serena Tsukino, who when the show first begins, you really want to smack the crap out of her for being a whiney crybaby all the time. But once she finds a talking cat named Luna and hears that she is this Sailor Moon, you will see her go from a whiney crybaby to this strong character. With the help of her faithful Tuxedo Mask and the other Sailor Scouts, who represent the solar system, will destroy all evil….and that means you! The drawing style of this one is very linear. By that I mean the jaw line is literally a point and it has some of the straightest lines I’ve seen. This show along, with DragonBall Z, really brought anime to the mainstream and helped it to where it should be.
There you have it my soon to be otaku’s! Now go forth and frolic in the awesomeness that is Japanese animation! Though, I can already hear it, Stephanie why isn’t BLEACH on there? What about Naruto or One Piece? Don’t get me wrong, I adore BLEACH and Naruto to the point where I cosplay as the characters and have no shame in doing so. One Piece is still up for some debate. With the episode count going into the 300+ and the filler arcs in between the story lines from the manga to the anime, it can be easy to lose interest. But if there is an anime out there that catches your eye….THEN GO WATCH IT! But watcher beware: some of the shows are better in the Japanese with the subtitles vs the English voice over. Example…Sailor Moon is NOT one I can take in Japanese. The voices are too high pitched. Now I can withstand Howl’s Moving Castle in Japanese since all the voices flow nicely together. Don’t let that stop you. Try both English and Japanese . So go and try it….come on……all the cool kids are doing it.
[Written by contributor Stephanie Rivera]