Tired and bored of sitting at home? Well, sitting at home is a dream job for otakus, and in this article, I shall show you a glimpse of the world of anime! For many years anime was a local product for Japan, with a distinct look and feel with not just an artwork but storytelling, but also with themes and concepts. But over the last forty years, it has attracted millions of fans over the world and many being translated into many languages.
So what is anime?
In layman’s terms anime refers to animation, although it is not an abbreviation or a short form of the word “animation”. To a Japanese viewer, anime is just cartoon regardless if it is from Japan or not, but outside of Japan the term refers to animation made in Japan, or you can say any show whose characters’ go
That’s the character Aqua from Konosuba, by the way. But this is just the start. By the time you get fully accustomed to anime, Senpai will surely notice you!
So what makes anime special?
Many weebs/weeaboos (anime nerds basically) would say that it is different. Anime is different from most American cartoons like Batman and Spider-Man.
These differences show up in many ways including the artwork, storytelling, material and even cultural nuances depicted by the characters.
Anime art styles can range from being flamboyant like in Samurai Champloo and Cowboy Bebop, to being simple and direct in shows like Azumanga Daioh! or Nichijou. Anime’s distinctive style has a way of making everything look fresh and new. Even with a basic art style, the show can be visually striking.
It doesn’t stop there! Anime has amazing storylines too. Some anime have only a dozen or so episodes, while others have hundreds, like Naruto, and One Piece (which has over 900 episodes and counting). However, the best anime, irrespective of the length, involves an emotional attachment with the viewer.
The best part about anime, however, is its huge variety of genres.
For fans of science fiction, Steins Gate or Cowboy Bebop would be perfect, rom-com fans would like Oregairu or Fruits Basket while crime-fighting lovers will enjoy Death Note. There are many more genres, like Shonen, Seinen or Josei. Not only that, but one can also get an intimate look into Japan’s history, language and culture, by watching anime like Dororo or Mushishi. You may even start loving the opening and closing themes of anime. Some of my personal favourites are that of Tokyo Ghoul, Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood, Hyouka, and Vinland Saga.
Subbed or Dubbed?
Anime comes in two formats: dubbed and subbed (subtitled). Subbed anime plays the original Japanese vocals with English subtitles whereas a dubbed anime features an English speaking cast of voice over actors working from a translated script.
Some people prefer subbed as they feel it gives a more authentic feel to the anime, while others prefer dubbed because of the convenience.
Popular anime have both versions available. The choice is yours, and honestly, it doesn’t matter, both are great and fun to watch!
Where to stream anime?
You can stream anime free on many websites like 9anime or kissanime. Netflix also has some anime, although you may find the dubbing or subtitles different than the original. There are other streaming services like Crunchyroll and Funimation but they are not yet introduced in India.
Where to Start?
Confused about where to start and what to watch? Well, it’s better to start with classics like Cowboy Bebop, any one of the action anime: Attack on Titan, Naruto, Bleach, Dragon Ball and Death Note of course! Here are a few of my favourites:
Cowboy Bebop: Based on the worldwide phenomenon from Sunrise Inc., Cowboy Bebop is the jazz-inspired, genre-bending story of Spike Spiegel, Jet Black, Faye Valentine, and Radical Ed: a ragtag crew of bounty hunters on the run from their pasts as they hunt down the solar system’s most dangerous criminals. They’ll even save the world… for the right price.
Attack on Titan: Humans are nearly exterminated by giant creatures called Titans. Titans are typically several stories tall, seem to have no intelligence, devour human beings and, worst of all, seem to do it for pleasure rather than as a food source. A small percentage of humanity survived by walling themselves in a city protected by extremely high walls, even taller than the biggest of titans. Flash forward to the present and the city has not seen a titan in over 100 years, wreaking havoc. The story follows teenage boy Eren and his foster sister Mikasa, who vow to take revenge.
Code Geass Lelouch of the Rebellion: The Holy Empire of Britannia conquered the country known as Japan and now call it Area 11. Its residents lost their rights to self-govern and are now called Elevens. The Empire uses powerfully destructive robotic weapons called Knightmares to ensure control, but someone is about to stand up against it. Lelouch, the black prince, has endless ambition and uses the power of the Geass to build a world based on his ideals. Suzaku Kururugi, the white knight, aspires to justice and strives to live an honest and fair life.
Death Note: Yagami Light is an ace student with great prospects, who’s bored out of his mind. One day he finds the “Death Note”, a notebook from the realm of the Death Gods, with the power to kill people in any way he desires. With the Death Note in hand, Light decides to create his perfect world, without crime or criminals. However, when criminals start dropping dead one by one, the authorities send the legendary detective L to track down the killer, and a battle of wits, deception and logic ensues.
Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood: Edward and Alphonse Elric are two brothers living in a world where the practice of alchemy flourishes. After their mother passes away, the brothers work together to try and bring her back using alchemy, but without success. Their failure results in Edward losing his left leg and right arm, while Alphonse loses his entire body and has his soul attached to a suit of armour. Years later, they join the military for the opportunity to locate the Philosopher’s Stone – the one thing that is capable of restoring their bodies.
Hunter x Hunter: Hunter x Hunter is the story of Gon Freecss. He’s a young boy who discovers that his thought to be dead father is in fact alive! Not only is he alive, but he is also a famous Hunter, a professional traveller who specializes in finding rare treasures, exploring unidentified lands, and hunting down dangerous individuals. In order to find and meet with his father after many years, Gon then decides to become a Hunter himself.
One-Punch Man: One-Punch Man tells the story of Saitama, a superhero who can defeat any opponent with a single punch but seeks to find a worthy opponent after growing bored by a lack of challenge in his fight against evil.
Toradora: Ryuuji Takasu is a gentle high school student with a love for housework; but in contrast to his kind nature, he has an intimidating face that often gets him labelled as a delinquent. On the other hand is Taiga Aisaka, a small, doll-like student, who is anything but a cute and fragile girl. Equipped with a wooden katana and feisty personality, Taiga is known throughout the school as the “Palmtop Tiger. One day, an embarrassing mistake causes the two students to cross paths. Toradora is a romantic comedy that follows this odd duo as they embark on a quest to help each other with their respective crushes, forming an unlikely alliance in the process.
The list can go on and on, you can check out this ultimate anime recommendation flowchart for beginners!
So what are you watching first?