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So, you want to start watching anime but you don’t know where to start? Few can blame you. Anime is a rising medium in the entertainment industry. In fact, it’s so widespread, chances are you’ve been exposed to anime without realizing it. Many kids in the 90’s watched DragonBallZ and Saiilor Moon without knowing it was anime they were watching. Pokemon served as a very common gateway as well and it shows how much anime can seep into someone’s life without them realizing it. So, what you want to do is start watching anime to the extent that hardcore fans watch, watch anime knowing it is anime, and watch anime being able to compare and contrast it to American animation or other animated shows of its type. What Is Anime? First off: What is anime? Anime is, put simply, Japanese animation. It is when a Japanese artist animates things into a storyline, basically like any other cartoon movie but Japanese style. Don’t go calling anime cartoon though. Cartoon has become synonymous with American animation and anime is too distinct to be called a cartoon. Strictly speaking, and to please fans, the two are different. As said, without knowing, you may have been exposed to such animation a while ago. You know popular games like Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts. If you are familiar with and have played these games, you have definitely been exposed to anime, at least to a limited extent. Now we’ve established that you have been exposed to anime, we can continue. Anime is split between different types. What happens is there are different target audiences for anime and then there are different genres. The target audiences are Kodomo, Shonen, Shojou, and Seinen. What does this mean? Well, Kodomo is for young kids, Seinen is anime for older people, Shojou is anime for teenage girls and Shonen is anime for teenage boys and is the most widely loved anime among its audience and dominates the anime industry. Doesn’t this all mean that most anime is for kids, then? No! Because unlike most other mediums of entertainment, the demographic is then split between different genres, some of which are more widely accepted, and there lies the reason why anime is so popular. What are genres? Genres are actually universally used terms to refer to what kind of story you’re about to get into: Adventure, romance, angst, sports, tragedy, drama, comedy, family, crime, etc… are all genres. Harry Potter is of the fantasy genre, Twilight is romance, Gulliver’s Travels is Adventure, and CSI is crime. Anime is included in this as well as games and any other form of entertainment. This is where you start trying to decide which anime to get into, which anime to follow and which fandom to get involved in. In the anime community, there are widely accepted ‘gateway anime’ to introduce to people just starting out. We won’t go into all that, though. Gateway Anime are generally the popular ones like Naruto and One Piece. Since we just established that different genres are for different people, someone may not necessarily like those two. Another natural part of Anime people need to remember is that it is naturally Japanese. Being Japanese, most Anime are Japanese spoken and many times, one will have to rely on subtitles. This is where the distinction between subs and dubs come in. Dubs are Anime that were given an English dub, meaning it is spoken in English. Subs are Anime that are Japanese spoken with English subtitles. Subs vs. dubs are a factor in choosing Anime, because many people simply prefer laying back and watching and listening without relying on reading subtitles. However, for a starter, this guide recommends going into dubs but be open to going subbed eventually or the choices are limited. GateWay To Anime If you’re in the mood for an adventure with different themes like maturation, characterization, and bits of tragedy, Naruto and One Piece is for you. If you prefer a lighter science fiction adventure, Cowboy Bebop is a nice anime to get into. Forget space, maybe you want a light adventure on land where each episode is a self-contained story, maybe Kino’s Journey is the best choice. Or, perhaps you’re more of a dark fantasy type with major elements of tragedy, in which case Attack on Titan is perfect. Do you like the drama of philosophy, war and conspiracy? Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is for you by far, and Code Geass for those who want a war of smarts and attrition at once. Maybe you hate adventure. What if you prefer the serious stuff like crime and investigation? Death Note is the better choice. Or perhaps you want Thriller, in which case Another is the perfect anime to start with. Perhaps someone doesn’t want any serious stuff and they prefer romance. Well, Chuunibyou, Love and Other Delusions is a good romantic anime to start with. Or perhaps you prefer Historical fiction in which case Black Butler is the way to go. Or maybe you just want comedy, and prefer watching Ouran High School Host Club which has comedic themes ranging from romance and sexuality to regular high school drama. Going into these particular romances like Ouran and Chuunibyou leads you to the Slice of Life category. A Slice of Life is exactly what it sounds like, a bit of ordinary life. Most Slice of Life anime follows the mold of the aforementioned anime. Most of them take place in High school since, let’s face it, who wants a Slice off an ordinary working man’s life? It’s so much less interesting than the romantically fueled High School setting, not to mention it would bore the teenage target audience to death. Deciding what anime to get into can be difficult. The gateway makes or breaks a person’s interest most of the time because first impressions mean almost everything. It is because of this a lot of anime fans think up “Gateway Anime” to use in their missionary work to convert so many others outside their fandom. Anime just has that charm to it, an appeal in its Animation only animation experts can truly pinpoint. Since not all of us are experts with every genre of anime out there, we look for universal gateways, gateways most people would like. That is naturally the easiest path. From there, things start getting interesting and passionate all at once. This is where the major anime series, let alone movies, start coming in. What’s this? Aren’t movies for more hardcore anime fans? Nope. Some anime movies, namely Hayao Miyazaki movies, are the best movies to start your anime watching experience. For some, they are exactly what you need to start. Like Disney is what started your animation experience as a child, Hayao Miyazaki is exactly like that. Anyways, what was the point of naming a bunch of anime and not going into them? Why the heck would anyone trust a stranger online over what anime is good or bad? Much better to trust your friends, right? Well, this is why it is prudent to go through each and every anime mentioned, explain the plot and why it is a good gateway into the wider anime world. This guide will name specific gateways into a specific genre, and it will name some generally accepted universal gateways that everyone can enjoy. A long time ago, back in the nineties, anime like Dragonball Z, Sailor Moon, Pokemon, and Cowboy Bebop took the west by storm. They broke out of their original country of Japan and appealed to western audiences. Dragonball started as a series before developing into Dragonball Z, and that set the stage for the formula that Shonen is known for in shows like Naruto, Bleach, One Piece, Fairy Tail, and Cardcaptor Sakura alcheas well as Shaman King. Shows like Dragonball and Naruto are originally manga, (Japanese comic) and were serialized as such in magazines before being adapted. If you’re more of a comic reader, choosing a manga might be a better start than going straight into visual Anime. Anime is part of Japanese culture now, and being part of Japanese culture, it is not unusual for just about anyone to watch it. Some Anime try to appeal directly to a western audience. In fact, looking at how some main characters like Naruto from Naruto look western in look is a direct example of how it may try to appeal to an outside audience. All these anime are now regarded as nostalgic pieces of history. The way a nineties Disney fan would view The Little Mermaid, the same holds true to an anime lover who looks back and knows how it all began. Such an extensive history of anime will only continue to grow and expand. So, without further ado, here goes the anime guide. Reference: the-artifice