8 Anime Series That Are Perfect For Beginners

This list of anime is filled with 8 series that are perfect for beginners. Whether you're looking for a fitting starting point in all that anime has to offer, or you're thinking about which to recommend to a friend, this selection is one for you.

8 anime series that are perfect for beginners cover

Thanks to a boom in legal streaming options, anime has become more accessible than ever to fans old and new. However, with its own vast variety of genres for all ages, the medium is as abundant with shows to choose from as mainstream television itself. Among those many genres; action, comedy, fantasy, sci-fi, horror, and more; there are plenty regarded throughout the years as masterpieces. Nevertheless, not all anime is suited for beginners.

If you’re planning on showing off the wonders of anime to a friend and hopeful convert, starting them off with a series too slow or convoluted can put them off altogether. Whether you’re planning to start someone you know on the right path, or you’re curious enough to peek into what this glorious new world of animation has to offer, here’s 8 anime series that are perfect for beginners. These not only include some of the most popular anime, but some of the most underrated anime as well.

Attack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyojin)

While this list isn’t necessarily a ranking, this dark-fantasy shonen is the quickest to demonstrate what anime can be compared to a complete newcomer’s misconceptions. As soon as one might hear “iSn’T ANiMe foR KidS?!”, this is the definitive go-to for quelling those narrow-minded delusions with just a single episode. 

Attack on Titan Season 1

Attack on Titan Season 1

Attack on Titan is set in a world where the only remaining fraction of humanity is sheltered in a massive, walled-off city. Why? Because the rest were devoured to extinction by giant, man-like, man-eating monsters known as Titans. Life within the walls has been peaceful long enough that the danger of the Titans has become almost a myth. That is, until where the series starts. For the first time in 100 years, the hulking monsters break through the walls. Friends, flattened by rubble. Loved ones, eaten alive by the towering demons they nearly forgot how to fear. From there on, you’ll follow young soldier, Eren Yeager, as he and his comrades learn how to fight such god-like behemoths, truly taking back humanity’s long-lost freedom. 

As an action-heavy, post-apocalyptic anime, Attack on Titan’s a perfect introduction because of its similarities as to what beginners might be used to – all whilst refusing to beat around the bush. Where some series take a while to get going, AoT metaphorically punches you in the face within the first 10 minutes – making you feel the grim reality of its world from the get-go, at the same time hooking your curiosity. Hurling straight into the action, it’s instantly as gripping as any top-tier mainstream film or series. Meanwhile, its mature but exciting premise is entirely unique to the medium. It’s a rare combination that makes it a must-watch for even the most basic “normie”. 

Attack on Titan - OFFICIAL English Subtitled Trailer 3

On the other hand, its emphasis on violence and dark fantasy isn’t gratuitous either. Rather than gore for the sake of gore, all of Attack on Titan’s bloody spectacles all feed into the show’s well-written dual emphasis of a story, that of a quest for both vengeance and answers. As the series progresses, the mysteries of that universe’s key questions become more enthralling as you go. Where did the Titans come from? Will Eren ever stop yelling? What IS in the basement? 

The manga recently ended its 11-year run, with the final episodes of the anime incoming. Even before seeing the series’ end, the narrative’s big reveals are so captivating, it’ll make you look back at the first episodes entirely different – making rewatches an absolute must.

Where to Watch This Anime for Beginners – Subbed or Dubbed?

Attack on Titan is available to watch now via Crunchyroll and Funimation.

The subbed version is definitely better, but the English dub in this case really had its actors put their heart into it. So, either’s fine.

My Hero Academia (Boku no Hero Academia)

The one-sentence pitch: X-Men in reverse. 

This superhero anime is set in a world where 80% of the population is born with well, superpowers. In My Hero Academia though, these extraordinary abilities are known as Quirks. Sadly, protagonist Izuku Midoriya is Quirkless, a regular human being in a society where all he wants to be is a hero like those he looks up to. With the help of his lifelong role model, All Might, Japan’s greatest hero – who’s also basically a personality fusion of Superman and Goku – we’re taken along young Midoriya’s journey to join an elite hero school. Eventually, he strives to fully overcome his insecurities to become the greatest symbol of peace. 

My Hero Academia Season 1

My Hero Academia Season 1

Without a doubt, My Hero Academia’s biggest draw to anime newcomers is its comparisons with Marvel films. In fact, the manga’s writer, Kōhei Horikoshi, has cited American film and comic properties like Spider-Man, X-Men, and even Star Wars among his inspirations. In tone and scope, that’s definitely felt as the series progresses. As we see more of My Hero’s world, we’re exposed to more larger-than-life personalities, with intriguing yet awesome powers you might have never even conceived within the confines of fiction.

Where the true difference lies between MHA and its Western counterparts, however, is its heart. While much of the show is lighthearted, littered with feel-good moments, the various traumas that many of these characters go through, and the mental struggles that come with them, feel ever-present. Tied with the many fights against dark, twisted villains, and sometimes even each other, each heroic feat also feels like a triumph in their own personal arc. Anyone looking for a change from the MCU hero formula will definitely find something brilliantly new in what My Hero Academia has to offer.

My Hero Academia - Season One - Coming Soon

Where to Watch This Anime for Beginners – Subbed or Dubbed?

 

My Hero Academia is currently available to watch via Netflix, Crunchyroll, and Funimation.

Subbed. A thousand times, subbed. MHA’s difference between its English-subbed and dubbed versions of an anime really shows how performance can impact the final product. In this case, the Japanese voice actors bring talent that ranges from powerfully passionate to emotionally poetic – fitting both the delicate character moments as well as the action. In the dub’s case, many of the series’ key moments bring an essence of pure cringe.

Death Note

A true classic for the psychological thriller, supernatural fans out there. Light Yagami, an intellectually gifted and popular high school student, is secretly disgusted with the rotten state of society. After stumbling upon a mysterious notebook called the “Death Note”, Light discovers he can supernaturally kill anyone whose name he writes in its pages.

Light Yagami (left) and L (right)

Light Yagami (left) and L (right)

Soon, the teen genius under the alias of “Kira”, begins a crusade to murder every criminal in the world, creating a new one in his image as its new God. Also centering around the efforts of the Japanese police and mysterious detective, L, to find and apprehend the new vigilante, the ultimate game of cat and mouse ensues. 

With such a simple premise lies one of the most intricate and gripping stories in anime. Bringing to the table timeless questions about the definition of justice, Death Note will either challenge or reinforce your worldview about murder and vigilantism, making it easy to side with either argument. In its killer vs detective frame of storytelling, the role of protagonist and antagonist entirely depends on your perspective.

Death Note | OFFICIAL TRAILER

 

It’s far too easy to go into specifics without giving too much away to newcomers, as keeping the revelations a surprise for that first watch is essential. Nevertheless, this profound tale mixing the supernatural with tactical one-upmanship remains to be one for the ages. All in all, Death Note has been an anime staple for years, and that fact will only continue.

Death Note is available to stream via Hulu.

Despite its anime adaptation airing in the times of English voice-actor quality being 50-50, Death Note is strong across the board for both sub and dub. Watch whichever depending on your preference.

Food Wars!: Shokugeki No Soma

Imagine one of the cooking shows you might’ve watched in the last few years. Now, imagine that show’s actually good. Food Wars follows diner chef, Soma Yukihira Soma, whose cooking talents get him into the most elite school in the world. This 5-star academy, Totsuki Saryo Culinary Institute is as rigorous as it is incredible, with only less than 10% of students graduating each year.

Soma and his Gotcha Pork Roast

Soma and his Gotcha Pork Roast

With each episode, Food Wars serves up new challenges in both the stakes of its school’s challenges and cooking battles between its students. With an engaging story at hand, we’re simultaneously treated to educational and mouthwatering demonstrations of unique dishes, along with new twists to old ones you’ll want to try yourself. 

A garlic mash potato, red wine-infused pork roast. Chaliapin steak bowl. Curry rissotto omurice. Lemon curd semifreddo. Food Wars presents us with so many dishes and more than often whet our appetites far better than live-action cooking programmes. The cherry on top of Food Wars’ charm is its style and execution. Compared to other culinary shows, not only are lessons behind each dish and ingredient explained in far more detail, but it’s far more concise and entertaining – with a sprinkle of comedy to boot.

Food Wars Season 1 - Official Trailer

 

So, with each episode, you come away with more knowledge you can take to your own stints in the kitchen. Then, there’s the best part: visual metaphors. Every act in a chef’s performance, right down to the slicing and dicing, is carried out like it’s part of an action fantasy film, so you’re never bored as your thrown into their perspective, as to how one perceives their own cooking – whilst waiting for the judges to finally get some grub. If a dish turns out to be the best thing ever to be put in one’s mouth, it’s apparently incredible enough to explode their clothes off. That’s anime visual presentation for you right there, and it never gets old. Food Wars: Shokugeki no Soma is the best cooking anime you can watch.

Where to Watch This Anime for Beginners – Subbed or Dubbed?

Food Wars: Shokugeki no Soma is available to stream on Netflix and Crunchyroll.

Despite a decent effort from the English voice cast in this cast, watching Food Wars with the original dub is still the best way to enjoy the show. The Japanese cast does far better in capturing each character’s zany personalities.

Demon Slayer: Kimsetsu no Yaiba

The dark fantasy, martial arts anime that’s been so impactful, it ended up trending on “normie” Twitter for a day.

Set in a world inhabited by demons, the kind-hearted Tanjiro Kamado returns to his mountain home to find his family massacred. All who remains is one of his sisters, Nezuko, who has been turned into a demon herself. Joining the Demon Slayer Corps, Tanjiro sets out to kill the monster that murdered his loved ones and find a way to turn his sister back into a human. 

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Season 1

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Season 1

With such an approachable plot, Demon Slayer is a classic tale of good and evil – with much under the surface to find once you get into it. The premise has parallels to many you might have seen before, but its Kimetsu no Yaiba’s characters are what set them apart. Tanjiro, a morally pure and devoted brother, manages to maintain his bright and positive disposition despite the horrifying enemies they’re up against. Refusing to give up in the continuous face of death, still putting others before himself, it’s so easy to see ourselves in the character – or rather, who we’d want ourselves to be in the daily struggles of our own lives. 

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Trailer 1

 

Ufotable, the studio behind the anime adaptation, is renowned for crafting exquisite animation sequences in a vivid art style, and this particular series is its pièce de résistance. Paired with an awe-inspiring soundtrack, Demon Slayer is a treat for the senses, with its simple yet powerful story at the centre.

Where to Watch This Anime for Beginners – Subbed or Dubbed?

Demon Slayer: Kimsetsu no Yaiba is available to watch via Netflix, Crunchyroll, and Funimation.

This is a massive recommendation to keep your watch of Demon Slayer a sub-exclusive. It’s once again evident that the English actors have tried their best. Still, compared to the over-the-top passion from the Japanese actors that’s needed for this kind of anime, the English version’s impact is undercut with slightly cringy performances.

Erased (Boku dake ga inai Machi)

As a short mystery science fiction thriller, Erased was one of the most, and in a way still is, underrated anime out there since its airing in 2016. 

Satoru Fujinuma, an indifferent 29-year-old manga artist working as a pizza delivery man. A chain of events has him discover he possesses “Revival”, an ability to go 18 years back in time to the body of this 11-year-old self. All whilst retaining his adult consciousness. Realising he’s returned to the period right before multiple childhood friends were murdered, Sataoru has to use his knowledge of the past and present to find the culprit and stop the tragedies from ever happening.

A determined Satoru Fujinuma

A determined Satoru Fujinuma

Among the beginner’s anime on this list, Erased is the most personal and hard-hitting, striking on multiple fronts. One is in its grittier elements, being an exclusive take on the whodunit genre. The other is in Satoru’s reconnection with his life as a child during his search for answers. His current life of failed dreams and mediocrity made him detached and emotionally cold. It takes becoming a kid again, where life was so much simpler, rediscovering the joys and wonders that come with those early years, to reignite that spark. A revelation we can all relate to. This regular hero fighting with nothing but physical abilities as a child and his adult wits, all to save innocents he couldn’t bring himself to do so before, is as emotionally captivating as it is heart-wrenching.

Where to Watch This Anime for Beginners – Subbed or Dubbed?

Erased is available to stream over on Netflix, Crunchyroll, and Hulu

The original Japanese dub is slightly better. Although, the quality of the English dub is almost as good as they get. In that case, either will do.

One Punch Man (Season 1)

You’ve probably enjoyed plenty of superhero shows and films already, but this one right here’s one of anime’s most definitive entries for blended action and comedy. 

One-Punch Man, set in a world of both superbeings and regular folks, focuses on Saitama, a guy who’s just a hero for fun. The twist, though, is that he’s trained himself so hard, he’s surpassed the physical limits of a human being; so much, he went bald. Any opponent he fights is instantly defeated with just one punch, leaving him bored and hungry for a real challenge. However, Saitama’s simple demeanor has him be underestimated, with only a handful knowing his full abilities.

One-Punch Man Season 1

One-Punch Man Season 1

Even after numerous viewings, the bliss that comes from watching One-Punch Man’s first season never ends with both its hilarious satire on the superhero genre – along with the action and animation style that actually surpasses so many of its titles. The joke in its premise, the main hero simply killing its foes instantly, never fails to hit comedic notes perfectly. All of the other heroes in One-Punch Man, characters who you’ll come to love, struggle against its numerous villains in visually stunning action setpieces, as we’re used to in other properties, all being entertaining in their own right. In reality, more often than actually trying to win, it’s all in an effort to buy time until Saitama arrives. So, he can punch a hole in the giant Kaiju-like monster without breaking a sweat – but with a carefree attitude. On paper, it sounds one-note. But, in execution, it gets better every time. 

One Punch Man Official Trailer

 

Madhouse, the studio behind season 1, practically made its finely crafted animation style its own character. Sadly, a studio change for season 2 lowered that quality drastically, deeply lessening the impact from what it was. On other hand, the first season can be enjoyed entirely as its own story. So, if you end up really wanting to see more by the end, the following season’s merely optional. Even better, you could just follow season 1 by reading the manga instead. For beginners especially, it’s the best comedy anime out there.

Where to Watch This Anime for Beginners – Subbed or Dubbed?

One-Punch Man is ready to watch on Netflix, Crunchyroll, and Hulu

In terms of which language to watch it in, subbed all the way. Interestingly though, the English dub still manages to set itself apart in a way that still suits the nature of the show. Nevertheless, the Japanese dub far better compliments One-Punch Man’s comedic elements.

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

Attack on Titan’s a fantastic demonstration of what anime can be. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, meanwhile, is a demonstration of what anime, and entertainment as a whole, can be at its very best. 

In the early 20th century, alchemy, the art of creating, or “transmuting” something in exchange for that of equal value, is widely used in military applications as well as the scientific. The dark fantasy, steampunk adventure follows Edward and Alphonse Elric, two brothers who failed in an attempt to use alchemy to bring their deceased mother back to life. The price: Edward loses both an arm and leg, while Alphonse loses his entire body – his soul bound to an empty suit of armour. The first episode lands us in the middle of their mission to find the Philosopher’s Stone, in hopes of restoring their bodies and finding the answers behind human transmutation.  

The Fullmetal Alchemist: Edward Elric

The Fullmetal Alchemist: Edward Elric

Again, this isn’t necessarily a ranking, but Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is more than deserving of a “save the best for last” spot. Throughout its 64 episodes, FMAB without peer masterfully mixes multiple genres and themes. Despite that, you’re eased into its world before steadily raising the stakes. Outstanding action, heartwarming comedy, intense horror, compelling characters, the fragility and delight of mortality, the intricacies of biology and chemistry, what it means to live and be human. There’s so much, but this faithful adaptation of Hiromu Arakawa’s manga magnificently interweaves all in a seamless organic manner.

What you’re left with is a heavily binge-worthy, emotionally intelligent story that’s so one-of-a-kind, you won’t find anything like it elsewhere. With its many revelations that deepen with each episode, this is another case of “the far less said, the better”. Nonetheless, to put it into the mainstream scope, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is the Godfather of anime – being one of the best series ever made – , merging many elements together for a result far greater than the sum of its parts – ironic, given its emphasis on “equivalent exchange”.

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood - Part 1 on Blu-ray and DVD 5/25/10 - Anime Trailer

Video from mglittergoblin.

Where to Watch This Anime for Beginners – Subbed or Dubbed?

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is available to stream via Funimation and Hulu

A testament to the peak of dubbing at the time, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is the one instance among many where the English version is far superior to the original. The original Japanese dub is still wonderful. In comparison, though, the English version is a very, VERY, unique case of both perfect casting and performances throughout. 

What’s YOUR go-to anime for beginners? Something outside of this list? Feel free to tell us which and why in the comments. 

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