A couple of years ago, back in high school, I became fully aware of anime and the culture that surrounds the popular art form. When I was young I had only heard of the term, but never really associated it with shows like Dragon Ball or Sailor Moon. To me those shows were just cartoons that I watched on Cartoon Network early in the mornings. In high school, I had friends who watched anime regularly and who would suggest shows here and there, however I never really took the time to check them out. I simply just preferred live action TV shows and I also felt that reading subtitles took away from my full enjoyment and understanding of what I was watching. Yeah, I was wrong.
Fast forward to 2016. My SO suggested I try to experience anime again and this time with an open mind. We started with Your Name, which also happens to be the fourth highest grossing film of all time in Japan and considered one of the greatest anime films ever made. I instantly fell in love with it. I am still very new to anime but as a movie buff, this film is absolutely wonderful and I still think about it to this day.
After Your Name, I moved on to actual shows. This is where I attempt to get any readers who have not seen an anime before to check out some handpicked shows that I think are amazing.
As an entryway anime the SO recommended, Attack on Titan, and it did not disappoint. Yes, Attack on Titan is extremely popular, but it deserves that recognition. I consider it the Game of Thrones of the anime world. Again, I am new so if your opinion differs, that’s fine! The show is epic and ongoing and there is so much happening and I happen to love most of the characters (Mikasa forever). As you can tell, I’m a fan. Season 2 just ended and it was fucking amazing. Go catch up in time for season 3, which is slated for a 2018 release!
The next anime is a real tearjerker and a show that will make you miss all the qualities of being a kid. Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day is the show that made me cry a lot, almost every episode, seriously. I related with it in the sense that I was a young kid who had a group of friends and we had great times, but all that ended and everyone grew up. The show deals with themes of innocence, grief, regret, and unrequited love all within a group of young high school kids. As I watched the show I kept thinking about the ending quote of the film Stand By Me, which goes “I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?” I highly recommend this show!
Terror in Resonance is phenomenal. The first episode had me hooked. I kept telling my SO that the show reminded me of something that would be on HBO. He did not get that reference. The tone of the show is very serious and feels very realistic in many ways. Honestly, its just really, really good TV. Worth a watch if you want to stay away from the goofy, fantasy centric anime.
My last recommendation is the brilliant Your Lie in April. I will admit this show took me about two episodes to really fall in love. It’s sad and in some ways predictable but it delivers the whole way through. I like to compare it to a Nicholas Sparks/John Green novel that really tugs at your heartstrings. It’s a romantic drama that will make you cry and make you wish you stuck with your piano lessons when you were younger.
As of July 2017, I have completed 7 shows and seen 4 movies. I am still extremely new to the scene and I am taking my time. I have yet to see at least one Studio Ghibli film, so I have a lot of gems to uncover. Before I started watching anime I had been in a TV show rut, nothing was really doing it for me so the change of pace is really nice. I also LOVE the fact that I don’t have to worry about catching up with 7 seasons of a show, 2 of which I will have to suffer through (looking at you American TV shows). Most Anime is short and ends where it needs to end.
Hopefully, I have convinced a few of you to check out some anime and give it a chance. There are really great shows and movies out there that I think people who are used to American TV shows will love and appreciate.