BGK’s Top 10 Animes for Newbies.

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I guess you could say, I’ve always been an avid anime fan.  I’ve been watching anime since I can remember, and until my late teens, I didn’t even have a clue it was something different or special.  Over the years, I’ve amassed a collection of some of my favorite series; and as a collector, I like to share my collections with others that would appreciate it.  Thus I began this list, a list to narrow down to just 10 anime titles I think every new anime fan should watch.  I’ll start with number 10 and work my way to 1, so let’s get started shall we.

10. Hunter X Hunter (1999 & 2011)


Hunter X Hunter’s anime and manga are both still ongoing, with no current timetable of its actual finish.  Hunter X Hunter was created by Yoshihiro Togashi, this is his third successful manga to be published, along with Yu Yu Hakusho, and Level E.  While I have enjoyed both of those, I put Hunter X Hunter at just a bit higher level.  The manga has already received two anime adaptations, with the second being the betterment of the two, although I will say the original adaptation has a few parts I think were handled better.  The storyline to this show just grabs you from the get-go, and the character development is spot on,  I find myself sometimes just sitting down to watch 1 random episode and 5 hours later, I haven’t moved.   Hunter X Hunter is also a good example of the Shonen genre, which is known for its action and is usually targeted at young males. (Other titles in this genre I recommend are Dragonball, One Piece, Naruto & Bleach)

9. Fruits Baskets (2001)


Fruits Baskets is an anime that can be enjoyed by all; male, female, young, or old.  It also represents the harem genre, although this would be considered reverse harem as it is 1 girl with multiple love interests (although it’s not your typical reverse harem, it still falls in that genre).  The story is about a teenage girl who’s mother tragically dies, and in order to stay in school, she must work, and live in a tent, after being discovered a family allows her to move in, all while trying to hide the family secret.  I won’t say more than that, but the show has action, magic, and love.  The characters are all wonderfully done, and the storyline makes you feel for each character, even when some of them are total wankers.  (Other titles in the Harem genre I recommend are Hakuouki, Tenchi Muyo, & Ahh My Goddess)


8. Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995)


I really debated on whether or not to include Evangelion,  I have a sorta love/hate relationship with this anime.  One one hand it’s a brilliant anime with a great storyline, on the other hand, the main character is super whiney, and the ending makes you want to kill yourself (although the second ending is better, it’s still horrible).  With that said, any list really isn’t complete without Neon Genesis Evangelion, and that same love/hate relationship myself and many others have with the show, is exactly why it needs to be on this list.  It’s also hard to place this anime genre-wise,  yes it definitely has mechs, but this is not a typical mecha anime, its more of a psychological thriller with sci-fi back drop, closest thing I can even really compare it to is the movie Event Horizon, although there is more brain fudgery going on in Evangelion than there ever was in Event Horizon. Just watch it, and judge for yourself (Other titles I’ll recommend like Evangelion are Serial Experiments Lain, & Gantz)


7. Mobile Suit Gundam Wing (1995)


While writing this article, I had thought about including the original Mobile Suit Gundam in this list,  while I love the show, and will highly recommend it, when it comes to Gundam or Mecha anime, in general, no other series besides Gundam Wing will receive my praise.  The storyline, the characters, the tension, Gundam Wing just got it all right.  You feel sorry for these pilots as they are really brainwashed, but you also see them as the heroes they rightfully are.  Gundam Wing is also the first in the Gundam series where the art really got it down, in the original series the mechs could seem clunky and even strange at times in the way they were drawn, but Gundam Wing gave us mechs that were war machines, and looked and felt that way.  (Other Titles I’ll recommend like Gundam Wing are  Mobile Suit Gundam, Gurren Lagann, & Code Geass)


6. Trigun (1998)


Trigun is one of those series that you’ll watch over and over again, it has comedy,  sorrow, science fiction, and even a western theme feel to it.  I’ve watched this series an untold amount of times to date, and I’ll probably end up watching it again in the future.  One of the strange things about Trigun is how popular it is in the United States compared to Japan.  While not universally panned in Japan, Japanese audiences just didn’t take to Trigun the way American audiences did.  The Story revolves around a man known as the humanoid typhoon and his misadventures on an alien world populated by humans who became stranded on the planet after a series of events I won’t give away.  There is an overall reaching story throughout the series, but it doesn’t start until half of the series is over, and I won’t give any of that away, just go watch it.  (Other series like Trigun I’d recommend are Gungrave, Space Dandy, & Gun X Sword)


5. Cowboy Bebop (1998)


Cowboy Bebop is a series I’d be seriously surprised if it’s not on anyone’s Top 10 list of anything anime.  The series is a little mixture of many genres set in a futuristic setting revolving around the planets in our solar system.  It’s probably one of the first series I ever truly committed to, I had always had a love of anime, but you have to get a bit older before you can truly watch a show and enjoy it for all its glory.  Cowboy Bebop was one of those shows for me, first coming out while I was still attending High School and in the relative new days of the internet, I was turned on to Cowboy Bebop from the old days of the anime translations groups in the forums and IRC Channels.  Once I got turned on to this series, though, it was love at first sight and continues to be until this day. Bebop is a series about Space Cowboys (a term you will hear a lot in the show) which are basically bounty Hunters roaming the planets in our solar system looking for that big score.  The show revolves around 5 main characters (1 of which is a dog) and the group’s hunts and personal adventures, some of which are not so nice.  This one while not my top spot on the list, just because it’s not as historical as some of the anime’s coming up, would hit my top spot as a personal favorite.  If you watch just one series off this list, let it be Cowboy Bebop.   (Other anime I’d recommend like Cowboy Bebop are Space Dandy, Samurai Champloo, & Coyote Ragtime Show)


4. Robotech (1985)


Robotech is a series that spans 3 generations, taking place at a different time from for each new season.  In actuality Robotech is the product of 3 different series recut and redubbed to create one overarching storyline.  Each series that makes up the 3 seasons of the show, were pretty much dead in the water at the time.  Harmony Gold and Robotech creator Carl Macek created a very successful series out of 3 failed ones (Super Dimension Fortress Macross, Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross, & Genesis Climber Mospeada).  Now I know what many of you are thinking right now. Macross a failure I think not, well you are wrong.  When Macross (The Series that makes up season 1 of Robotech, The Macross Saga) was actually a failure when it released in japan, because of Robotech the original series was rejuvenated and became as popular or more popular than Robotech even. Macross owes it’s continued life to Robotech, without it, Macross would just be another failed series lost in the halls of time.  With that aside, Robotech did something that no other anime had really done, it made a big impact in the United States.  At the time Anime had been pretty much a localized medium to Japan and surround Asian countries, but Robotech brought the North Americans in on this wonderful medias. Although it wasn’t the first Anime series in America, it’s one of the first that is actually thought of as Anime, but as we’ll see with the next 2 Animes on my list,  it took something else to make it was it is now in the North American Market.  (Other Series like Robotech I’d recommend:  if you like Robotech try watching the original series it’s made up of, see which you like better, I’m still a Robotech Man myself but Super Dimension Fortress Macross, Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross, & Genesis Climber Mospeada)


3. Vampire Hunter D (1985)      /       2. Akira (1988)


So # 3 & # 2 I’m going to talk about in tandem, because I don’t think historically you can talk about one and not mention the other.  While both movies are very different, in western civilization they will always have a connection.  In the late 80’s and early 90’s both of these films saw a release in North America.  Anime was in it’s infancy in the States, and while Robotech, Starblazers, & even Astroboy and Gigantor may have introduced the culture to Anime,  over 99% of the population still just considered them Cartoons for kids.  Akira and Vampire Hunter D would change this, but it would also make set camps between the films, that still exist to this day.  Basically it’s the eternal struggle we as humans always have, mine is better than yours.  It may not be logical, it may not even be nice, but we all do it.  With these two films, it’s based pretty much on what you saw first, if you first introduction to adult Anime was Akira, well then your in the Akira camp, and shall forever be, you may even like or love Vampire Hunter D, but you will never say it’s better than Akira,  I myself are in the Vampire Hunter D camp, I saw it first, and thus while I think Akira is a wonderful film, Vampire Hunter D is better.  You have no idea how many times this conversation has happened between myself and other anime fans.  The Geekknight crew just happens to be made up of nothing but the Vampire Hunter D camp (for now at least).  Both of these films will always be high on my personal lists of Anime, and if for nothing more than historical value only. If you new to anime, you need to watch both. (Anime like these two I’d recommend are Ghost in the Shell, Appleseed & Grave of the Fireflies)



1. Future Boy Conan (1978)


Many anime fans will have never heard of this series, but they should be watching it.  Future Boy Conan I consider a pivotal anime series not just because of how good it is, but of because of the team that made it.  3 anime legends worked on this series,  Yoshiyuki Tomino the creator of the Gundam franchise, Isao Takahata the Co-Founder of Studio Ghibli & and his partner and one of the most famous anime director/creators of all time Hayao Miyazaki.  If seeing those three names doesn’t make you need to watch this show, I’m not really sure you are an anime fan.  If you put that aside, this series has amazing art, writing, and story, and is based on Alexander Key’s novel The Incredible Tide. Future Boy Conan is a post-apocalyptic anime as seen through the eyes of the young.  They didn’t experience the destruction of Earth for themselves, but they are still hindered by the ones that did; who still seem to want to destroy the planet and it’s peoples completely.  Future Boy Conan also has the same thing going for it all Studio Ghibli movies do, even if you don’t like anime, you’ll probably still like Future Boy Conan. (Other Anime I’d recommend like Future Boy Conan:  Anything Studio Ghibli)

So What did you think of my list, agree, disagree?  Think I’m a loon? Leave comments or e-mail me, let me know what I missed or hit on the head.
By the way, if you like the cropped header image, it’s by an artist named Dinocojv from DeviantArt, Check out his Artwork here