There was a time when anime wasn’t exactly the most popular form of media out there – at least where I grew up. That time is coming to an end. If you’re new to anime and have some serious fear of missing out, have a look at this list. Here are some of the best anime for beginners.
Cowboy Bebop is a classic that all anime fans should watch at least once, beginner or not. It’s a space Western that focuses on a group of outlaws aboard the spaceship Bebop.
The crew includes two bounty hunters, a computer whiz, a genetically engineered hyper-intelligent Corgi, and more. Think Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy in anime form, and you’re on the right track.
The show has action, drama, comedy, and a jazzy soundtrack that you won’t soon forget. It’s even getting a live-action adaptation in the future.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is another show that most consider being a must-watch anime for beginners and veterans alike. Like Cowboy Bebop, it contains a mix of lighthearted, action-filled, and serious moments that drive the plot forward.
Two brothers named Edward and Alphonse are on a journey with one goal – to get their original bodies back. After committing a taboo in the world of alchemy, Ed lost two limbs, and Al paid an even greater price.
The pair go on an adventure full of loss, friendship, and mysteriously magical science to regain the normal lives they once had.
Death Note completes this little trio of anime that beginners should definitely watch early on. It’s a supernatural thriller that’s often one of the first titles out of someone’s mouth when they get asked to recommend an anime.
The show follows the story of a brilliant high schooler named Light Yagami. One day, Light finds a notebook that allows the owner to kill any person whose name gets written inside.
This notebook is a Death Note, and Light’s life changes drastically once he decides to test it out. Once he realizes the extent of the notebook’s power, there’s no turning back.
Shifting gears completely, Toradora! is a romantic comedy that evolves into so much more as the episodes go by. By the end of the show, you’ll be insanely invested in the lives of each of the main cast members.
The story starts with Taiga Aisaka and Ryuji Takasu crossing paths through unexpected circumstances. They quickly find out that they each have a crush on each other’s best friend.
They agree to help each other out, but of course, things don’t go exactly as planned. If you’re looking a funny, yet surprisingly deep rom-com, Toradora! is the anime for you, beginner or not.
Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions!
Keeping to the same genre, Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions! is another romantic comedy that’s deeper than it originally lets on.
Many kids go through that phase of having overactive imaginations, and it can lead to things like imaginary friends, or even believing that otherworldly magic is real.
Rikka Takanashi is still in that phase of her life, while Yuuta Togashi cringes every time that phase of his life gets brought up again. The main cast struggles with the reality of what it means to grow up, dealing with all the humor, drama, and awkwardness that comes their way.
Your Lie in April
This is the last romance, I promise. Your Lie in April is an anime that needs to be watched by anyone who enjoys the genre even slightly. And it’s different from the previous two in that it deals with some darker themes.
Your Lie in April’s main focus is the connection between pianist prodigy Kousei Arima and a violinist he meets by chance, named Kaori Miyazono.
Kousei no longer feels passionate about music, thanks largely to his relationship with his mother and her untimely passing.
Despite this, his interactions with the cheery Kaori help breathe life back into everything that he does, and it’s a beautiful thing to see.
We’re taking another hard left, landing us in the psychological drama genre. Death Parade is the shortest anime on this list thus far, and it’s a perfect one for beginners to binge in their free time.
When you die, is your soul headed for reincarnation, or a bottomless void? In this show, a bartender named Decim decides. He judges those who have recently died, as they’re sent to his Quindecim bar to play games for their souls.
As they play, the patrons will find out more about themselves and their pasts, revealing their true natures. Don’t let the show’s catchy opening fool you, this is a bit of a creepy one that you won’t be able to put down once you start it.
Psycho-Pass is another one in the same genre as Death Parade, but with a lot more sci-fi elements. It’s all about futuristic law enforcement.
In this world, Japan has introduced the Sibyl System, which is a system that analyzes each citizen to determine whether or not they’re a threat based on their mental state.
The system is used to find criminal intent to prevent crimes before they happen, often with the use of lethal force. But what happens if the Sibyl System isn’t always 100% accurate? You’ll need to watch to find out.
Here’s one more psychological thriller for you, with a bit more horror this time around. Monster tells the story of Dr. Kenzou Tenma, a skilled neurosurgeon.
It starts out with Dr. Tenma in a moral dilemma as his hospital director strongly encourages him to save the life of a famous performer instead of an unknown immigrant worker he was set to operate on.
A few years down the line, after various other tests in morality, Dr. Tenma is able to save the life of a criminal. This act comes back to haunt him, however, as his patient begins to terrorize those around him.
Monster is a dark, thought-provoking anime. It may take some time to get through, but this one is more than worth it.
One-Punch Man is another short anime that beginners should start off with, for multiple reasons. Veering away from the seriousness of Monster, this show has plenty of comedy, amazing animation, and a great premise.
Saitama is a man who can literally win any fight in one punch, and he’s bored of it. What do you do with that much power? Become a hero, of course.
Eventually, Saitama makes it his goal to ascend the ranks of the Hero Association to serve the public, hoping to also find a worthwhile fight in the process.
If you end up enjoying the show, you can revisit Saitama in the series’ recently released fighting game.
My Hero Academia
If you like stories about heroes and heroines, My Hero Academia is the show for you. It’s a motivational, wholesome, and action-packed anime that beginners should consider watching.
In the world of My Hero Academia, individuals with powers knows as “quirks” are important figures in society. Heroes band together to protect quirkless civilians from those who would use their powers for evil.
Like the title implies, this show follows young students with quirks as they train to become full-fledged heroes. Izuku Midoriya is one of those students, despite the fact that he lacks a quirk of his own.
This anime shows his journey as he goes from a powerless kid to a hero that strives to earn the respect of his peers and his mentors.
Samurai Champloo has just about as much action as the previous two entries, but with a little more bloodshed set to a hip-hop infused soundtrack.
Fuu, Mugen, and Jin are our three main characters in this one. Mugen and Jin are two highly skilled wandering samurai, while Fuu is a waitress in need of some help.
She’s in search of a samurai who smells of sunflowers, asking Mugen and Jin to aid her on her journey. The two samurai initially refuse, but after flipping a coin to make this somewhat serious decision, they decide to set out together.
There’s a good amount of violence, humor, and self-discovery that take place as the three characters begin to learn more about one another.
Steins;Gate has a lot less action than the previous three entries, but it’s still a great anime for beginners regardless. It’s a show with a time travel premise that’ll have you hooked from beginning to end.
It follows “mad scientist” Rintarou Okabe as he and his fellow lab members conduct experiments in attempts to create promising inventions. And there’s none more promising than their Phone Microwave.
The lab members soon discover that the microwave can send messages to the past, altering events that have already happened. Things just get more mysterious and chaotic from that point on.
The Promised Neverland
The Promised Neverland is another show full of mysteries that are just waiting to be solved. This anime is a lot more recent, though, having just been released in 2019. It also came to Netflix just this year.
It’s a short show that focuses on a large number of children living in the Grace Field orphanage in the year 2045. They’re all being looked after by one woman, whom they see as their mother.
One day, two of the orphans make a discovery about the truth of the seemingly peaceful house that shakes them to their cores, setting them down a dark path.
That description is intentionally vague, so as not to spoil even a second of the engaging plot. Do yourself a favor and watch this anime, whether you’re a beginner or not.
Haikyuu!! is extremely different from pretty much every other anime on this list in terms of content, but it’s still one that beginners should check out.
It’s a sports anime with high schooler Shouyou Hinata as its main character. As a short guy looking to become the best volleyball player he can be, Hinata has to overcome a number of obstacles.
This one contains a bunch of comedy, inspiration, and a few surprisingly deep moments. It really manages to encapsulate the thrill of being part of a team with your friends at that age, along with all the ups and downs that come with that experience.
There are hundreds of anime to choose from when looking to list some good recommendations. Longer shows with hundreds of episodes were avoided on purpose here since they can be intimidating to newcomers.
If you have any anime suggestions for beginners that weren’t listed, let us know in the comments below!