10 Best Anime for Beginners To Watch

August 27, 2021 | Benjamin Carpenter

Anime has grown significantly in popularity in recent years. From the in-depth character development to the compelling storylines, there is something unique and magical about anime that American audiences have become attracted to. When you are looking for anime to start with, it may seem like a daunting task because there are so many different titles to choose from. Choose the wrong anime and it might leave a bad taste in your mouth.

This guide will help you if you’re a total novice to anime and want to get into it. Or if you’ve already started watching anime and would like more recommendations for what you should watch next. Regardless of your experience level, this blog post will help you discover the best starter anime for you. First, let’s start by defining what anime is.

Anime is defined as an animation that originates in Japan. Japanese animation has a distinct style that separates itself from any other type of animation which has led to the creation of the genre called anime. Anime has inspired how animation is created all around the world and there are elements that you’ll find in anime that you won’t find anywhere else. Here are the 10 best anime for beginners to start their journey.

 

10 Best Starter Anime

10. Demon Slayer: Kimestu no Yaiba

Demon Slayer: Kimestu no Yaiba is one of the most popular mangas and anime in recent years. The manga began in 2019 and came to an end in 2020 while the anime series began airing in 2019. There is only one season currently available with the second season looking to be released in 2021. The series follows Tanjiro Kamado as he embarks upon a perilous journey to find a cure for his cursed sister and avenge his slain family. Demon Slayer has everything you love about anime. Great action, a lot of heart, and characters you want to root for.

 

Where To Watch Demon Slayer

Netflix
Hulu

 

9. Attack on Titan

Attack on Titan is highly imaginative and enthralling to watch. However, this anime is not for the faint of heart. This is one of the more graphic and disturbing anime on our list and once you learn the premise, you’ll understand why. Attack on Titan is set in a world in ruins where Eren Yeager is determined to fight back against man-eating giants that threaten to destroy the entire human race. The stakes are high in this anime and the bloodshed is even higher. Attack on Titan is a thrill ride and a great watch for any adult newcomers to anime.

 

Where to Watch Attack on Titan

Netflix
Hulu
Tubi

8. My Hero Academia

In a change of pace, this anime is light-hearted, hopeful, and an all-around fun time. My Hero Academia is basically the anime version of the X-men. The anime series is set in a world where some are born with powers or as they call them “quirks” and others aren’t. Of course, people with quirks can lead a life of crime or be a hero and we follow the heroes. My Hero Academia is about Izuku Midoriya, a hero fanatic that enrolls in a prestigious hero school without any powers of his own. My Hero has the perfect blend of strategy, intriguing characters, and explosive fight scenes.

 

Where To Watch My Hero Academia

Hulu

7. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

While the first anime adaptation of Fullmetal Alchemist was decent, the 2nd anime adaptation, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is one of the most popular anime of all time. Both anime adaptations are based on the Fullmetal Alchemist manga but Brotherhood is the more faithful adaptation. The anime series follows two brothers who perform a prohibited ritual in an attempt to revive their dead mother which results in both brother’s getting scarred and disfigured bodies. In order to change their bodies back to the way they were before, the brothers are forced to battle nefarious forces to retrieve the magical philosopher’s stone. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood manages to balance the humor targeted to children with the mature themes that everyone can relate to.

 

Where To Watch Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

Netflix
Hulu

6. Princess Mononoke

One of the classic anime movies that came out of Studio Ghibli, Princess Mononoke is a must watch for anyone getting into anime. It’s a truly immersive experience that is both tragic and heartwarming. The movie is about a young man named Ashitaka, who gets caught up in the middle of a war between forest gods and a mining colony while looking for a cure to his curse. The story is complex and unlike the other anime on this list, there isn’t a clear villain in the story but the message about protecting the environment sticks with you for weeks after.

 

Where To Watch Princess Mononoke

HBO Max

5. Naruto

Known for its intense action and fantastic world-building, Naruto is an iconic anime that is great to watch if you are interested in anime at all. The story follows Naruto Uzumaki, an adolescent ninja who dreams of becoming the Hokage, the leader of his village. However, his journey to become Hokage proves difficult as he’s faced with challenges from his masters, enemies, and the demon inside of him. Naruto is one of the best starter anime as it has all of the elements that attract viewers to anime, including action, drama, and child-like humor. If you like Naruto, then you’ll want to continue onto Naruto: Shippuden, the sequel series to Naruto.

 

Where To Watch Naruto

Netflix
Hulu
Tubi
Pluto TV

4. Dragon Ball Z

If you haven’t heard of Dragon Ball Z, then you must’ve been living in isolation for the last couple decades. Dragon Ball Z may be the most popular anime in existence. The entire series follows Son Goku, a fighter with a monkey tail, as he searches for the dragon balls and becomes one of the best fighters in the universe. Thanks to the Dragon Ball manga and anime series’ influence, fighting/martial arts anime grew in popularity around the world. Dragon Ball Z is perfect for any fan of martial arts or super heroes.

 

Where To Watch Dragon Ball Z

Funimation

3. Death Note

This anime series is one of the most unique series out there. Death Note hits the ground running with a simple premise that evolves into one of the most complex psychological battles you’ll see in anime. The series follows Light Yagami, an intelligent high school student who is determined to eliminate all criminals after discovering a notebook capable of killing anyone whose name is written into it. The subject matter is dark but the personalities of the main protagonist and antagonist are enough to make Death Note one of the most entertaining anime for beginners out there.

 

Where To Watch Death Note

Netflix
Hulu
HBO Max

2. One Piece

The One Piece anime began in 1999 and is still currently running today. One Piece stands as one of Japan’s most influential anime ever created. The series is about Monkey D. Luffy who wants to be the new king of the pirates and sails with his crew to find the world’s ultimate treasure, One Piece. The anime series has over 800 episodes which makes it a perfect series to binge-watch until completion.

 

Where To Watch One Piece

Hulu
Tubi (Seasons 1 and 2)
Netflix

1. Spirited Away

Spirited Away is different than anything you’ve ever seen before. The anime movie was created by Hayao Miyazaki, co-founder of Studio Ghibli, and won an Oscar for Best Animated Feature. The movie centers around a 10-year old girl who, after being discouraged by her family’s move to the suburbs, discovers an alternate reality of gods and demons that change humans into beasts. Spirited Away is imaginative, immersive, and has a completely unique story. These qualities make it the best starter anime for beginners to watch.

 

Where To Watch Spirited Away

HBO Max

 

This is just the beginning…

These 10 best starter anime are a great introduction into anime culture. If you find yourself wanting to watch more anime after watching one of the following listings, you don’t have to worry because there are a lot more anime titles to choose from. There are even different genres you can choose from based on what starter anime you liked best. For example, if you like My Hero Academia, then Hunter x Hunter (available on Netflix) may also be an anime you should check out. The world of anime is enormous and this is just the beginning.

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