Your journey into the world of anime has started, but where do you begin? Which series do you watch and which sites do you have to visit?
Knowing where to begin can be a very long journey when you enter the world of anime and/or manga. There are so many sites to visit and so many series to watch it’s difficult to find a starting point. I want to take you through a few steps that can help you build your way through all the sites and series to have a confident start.
The amount of anime can be overwhelming, therefore I want to give several recommendations that can be picked up by newcomers. I want to avoid hardcore material such Fate/Zero or genres that border on Ecchi as those cannot be appreciated by everybody. Not everybody will agree with me on this list and frequent readers will perhaps consider this is a familiar list, but this is a personal selection that I believe is a great introduction.
One of the best romance series in anime in which two teenagers try to conquer the love of their lives. They work together to accomplish their goals and hilarious moments are sure to arise. Toradora has a sweet mix between innocent romance, drama and humor that could be appreciated by viewer who likes romance series.
Ao no Exorcist is a great introduction to the shounen genre. Where Bleach is a show with a lot episodes and filler material, Ao no Exorcist goes to the core of the shounen genre, wrapping fast paced action and romance into a strong package. It delivers a great story centering around the son of Satan who tries to become an exorcist and typical shounen tropes such as a heroic main character and young romance.
As much of a hype machine I am for Angel Beats, the undeniable fact remains that this is a very strong series that tells a story about teenagers that cope with the fact that they’ve died. In purgatory they take on the fight against God, aiming to punish him for the terrible lives they’ve led. It explores the purpose and fulfillment of life in a very interesting manner.
Perhaps one of the most emotional anime series out there. A story about a girl who died at an early age and the impact of her loss on her environment. Her friends all cope differently with her death. She returns as a ghost that can only be seen by one of her friends. An emotional story is bound to unwind.
A production by studio Ghibli is always a safe bet. In Arrietty we follow ‘little people’ and their adventures while living among ordinary humans. The soundtrack and visual style is outstanding. The divers characters shape the story and create a metaphor for the dominance and arrogance of humans.
There are a lot of different styles out there, but to get a more abstract, yet engaging show, Madoka Magica sure knows how to deliver. A story about magical girls who get caught up in a greater plot and try to fight their way through. The dialogue is great and the character development is praiseworthy.
Clannad is an emotional and humorous slice of life series with great character development. This show is a great introduction to newcomers as Clannad explores typical anime humor, slice of life pacing, teenage romance and character development. The visual style is neatly set together and the main cast creates a credible setting for the viewer.
I really enjoyed Ikoku Meiro no Croisée. It was one of the better slice of life series where there was great attention to historical detail. The series introduces the viewer to a late 19th century Paris with a great visual style. The story follows a Japanese girl who discovers the live and habits in a foreign country. The slow pace will adjust you to the slice of life genre.
It doesn’t end with watching anime. You can track your progress, share your opinion and discover more anime on MyAnimeList. A great site where you can create your own little profile and track your anime and manga. The recommendations section can alert you of series that would otherwise go unnoticed.
Anime blogging is popular and lively. You can interact with the writers and followers on the blogs. I’ve featured some blogs on my site such as Anime Anemoscope, Otaku Lounge, YuriNation and others. They give their personal take on anime and many more. Part of enjoying anime is sharing your enthusiasm with others.
I can imagine that when watching anime, you might have an interest in developments in anime, but also in manga and Japanese culture. Sites such as Danny Choo give a glimpse in the world of Japan. The site also features a lot of pictures of scenery around Japan with Tokyo in particular.
If you want a spiced up version of anime news you should visit Seventhstyle where news is accompanied with commentary from the writer.
If you would like to discover more music ranging from JPop to Cpop, you should drop by JpopAsia. The latest Asian celebrity news is featured along with the latest tracks from various charts in Japan, Korea and China.
Mangafox or Batoto are great sites to read manga. You can buy manga in online stores such as The Bookdepository, but not all manga is translated and sites where translations are uploaded give an alternative. Yet to support your favorite manga authors you could buy the originals.
Pixiv is an outstanding source for great Asian orientated artwork. In comparison to DeviantArt, Pixiv features more manga/anime-esque artwork. There are many, many beautiful works out there. Which can also be seen in The Pixiv Almanac Vol. 01.
It doesn’t end with the aforementioned, you can also gear up with some merchandise such as figures, calendars, art books and much more.
JBox gives you the possibility to buy stuff such as calendars, but also lunchboxes, shirts, magazines and other related Japanese goods. Parkablogs delivers many reviews of art books and links to buy the reviewed art books are given with the articles. Good Smile Company and Archonia are great sites to buy figures. Figures are often times expensive and delivery costs can add up, yet a true collector will always go the extra mile.