Top Best Anime for People Looking to Get Into Anime
Image Source: Bones

Top 20 Best Anime to Get Newbies Hooked on Anime

Are you sure you want to open Pandora's Box of Anime?

Despite its popularity, anime can be difficult to approach given the hundreds and thousands of options, from shows to movies. Asking your anime-loving friends isn’t helpful as they’re likely to suggest very long shows like Naruto or One Piece. Those are fine choices, but let’s start off small, shall we?

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Below you’ll find some of the best anime for beginners. Genres range from drama to fantasy, so you’ll have no problem picking one that fits your interests. We’ve even tossed in some western anime as there are a handful you don’t want to miss.

Top 20 Best Anime For Newcomers

20. One-Punch Man

best anime for newcomers, one punch man
Image Source: Madhouse

Anyone else feeling superhero fatigue? Well, then we’ve got an anime for you: One-Punch Man. It’s brimming with comedy, usually aimed towards making fun of superhero clichés and tropes. Even if you don’t know the context, it’s still just as funny, most of which comes from Saitama (the Caped Baldy) and his deadpan delivery. It’s not just one of the best anime for newcomers, but also perfect for watching with friends!

19. Blood of Zeus

best anime for newcomers, blood of zeus
Image Source: Netflix

It’s kind of surprising Greek mythology doesn’t have more of a presence in anime. Inspired by, sure, but few use it as a foundation. Thankfully, Blood of Zeus sticks its fingers into the breadth of Greek mythology and crafts a high-octane story with gore and violence wrapped in anime flair. If you love mythology, this show is for you, but keep in mind it does take some creative liberty with the source material.

18. Mirai

best anime for newcomers, mirai
Image Source: Studio Chizu

Kids usually experience the birth of a new sibling in one of two ways: a lot of jealousy or fascination. Mirai deals with the former and all the complicated feelings that come with it in a rather magical, yet thoughtful way. The movie expertly captures what I would call “kid logic” in a very convincing way, giving the characters a wonderful level of authenticity and depth.

17. Trigun

best anime for newcomers, vash in trigun
Image Source: Madhouse

Vash the Stampede’s journey to save lives without killing, all while trying to remember his past, is both deep and oddly funny. The poor guy just can’t catch a break. The superb animation and excellent gunfights in Trigun make for a nice starting point for newcomers.

16. The Boondocks

best anime for newcomers, the boondocks
Image Source: Adult Swim

I know very few anime that are as thought-provoking as The Boondocks. We’re talking about topics of racism (internalized and outspoken), stereotypes, Black culture, politics, and more, which is done through the filter of satire. It isn’t afraid to let scenes simmer either rather than diffuse the situation with humor.

To give you an idea of what to expect, the show focuses on the Freemans, a black family that live in a predominantly white suburban neighborhood. And yes, it does get as bad as you can imagine.

15. Akira

best anime for newcomers, akira
Image Source: Tokyo Movie Shinsha

Akira is the perfect amalgamation of science fiction, cyberpunk, and dystopia. If you love films like Blade Runner, you owe it yourself to try this movie out. For starters, it touches on some really heavy themes, like fascism, comradery, and humanity’s lack of care in the face of technological advancement, just to name a few.

14. Castlevania

best anime for newcomers, castlevania
Image Source: Netflix

Blood of Zeus isn’t the only banger that Netflix has — there’s also Castlevania. It follows Trevor Belmont, the last surviving member of an ancient family of monster hunters, on his quest to kill the most powerful vampire ever: Dracula. It’s got grotesque monsters, vampires, violence, magic, and awesome fight scenes, on top of a well-executed story and charismatic characters.

The best part is that you don’t have to be familiar with the Castlevania series to enjoy the show!

13. Sailor Moon Crystal

best anime for newcomers, sailor moon crystal
Image Source: Toei Animation

Sailor Moon Crystal is a pretty easy anime to follow: a group of high-school girls become super heroes to stop the powers of evil. Crystal is an updated version of the anime that is much more enjoyable than the original run. That said, you should give the original series a watch at least once just for the opening theme song.

12. Avatar: The Last Airbender

best anime for newcomers, avatar the last airbender
Image Source: Nickelodeon

Avatar: The Last Airbender has a bit of everything—elemental bending (basically magic), martial arts, political intrigue, the power of friendship, and one of the best character arcs in anime. It follows Aang (and co.) as he journeys to master all four elements: Fire, Air, Earth, and Water. You see, Aang is the Avatar, the only person who can control more than one element, and it’s his duty to keep all four nations at peace.

11. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

best anime for newcomers, fullmetal alchemist brotherhood
Image Source: Bones

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is deep, maybe too deep depending on how you want to start your dive into anime. But there aren’t many stories that rival this one, nor are there many series with better fight scenes.

10. Samurai Champloo

best anime for newcomers, samurai champloo
Image Source: Manglobe

What starts as an act to save a waitress becomes a huge fight that leads to an unexpected adventure. There’s no sci-fi or high fantasy here, but that doesn’t mean Samurai Champloo can’t stand up with the best that anime has to offer. The series is only 26 episodes long, perfect for an anime newcomer to digest over a short period and see if the genre is for them.

9. Kiki’s Delivery Service

best anime for newcomers, kikis delivery service
Image Source: Studio Ghibli

You can’t make a list of the best anime without calling attention to Studio Ghibli. The studio’s track record is pristine, like Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro. Those are great and worth a watch, but Kiki’s Delivery Service is a much better transitional film, especially if you’re watching with kids coming into their own adolescence. It’s a coming of age tale, sprinkled with a bit of magic to mask valuable life lessons, like independence and overcoming self-doubt.

8. Cowboy Bebop

best anime for newcomers, cowboy bebop
Image Source: Sunrise

Cowboy Bebop has a great mix of drama and science fiction with a coat of space western. The premise is simple: a band of bounty hunters travel through space catching criminals, dealing with deadly rivals, and generally getting themselves into trouble. Sounds fun, right? It is, but also rather dark and somber at times.

The bad news is that it’s only 26 episodes. On the flip side, Cowboy Bebop never overstays its welcome and has a definitive ending. Just keep a box of tissues nearby for the inevitable cryfest.

7. Perfect Blue

best anime for newcomers, perfect blue
Image Source: Madhouse

How about something psychological? Yes, anime can be quite dramatic given the medium, and Perfect Blue is a shining example. It centers on Mimi Kirigoe, a popstar hoping to break into the acting industry, and when she’s given a shot it leads to horrifying situations that may be diffiult to watch for some viewers. Keep in mind Perfect Blue is rated R for “animated sequences of violence and nudity, and for brief language.” You’ve been warned!

6. Dragon Ball

best anime for newcomers, dragon ball
Image Source: Toei Animation

Even people who are remotely familiar with anime know of Dragon Ball or, at the very least, Dragon Ball Z. The series as a whole is certainly up there as one of the most popular anime of all time and for good reason: well-choreographed fights, amazing abilities, stellar animation, and anime’s most iconic heroes.

But where do you start? As usual, it’s best to start at the beginning, with Dragon Ball. You could start with Dragon Ball Z (or Kai, which is just DBZ with some fluff removed) as some context of the previous series is shared, like what it means to be a Saiyan. However, by watching Dragon Ball first, all of the context is known and the events that unfold in DBZ are far more impactful.

5. Lupin III

best anime for newcomers, lupin the third
Image Source: Toho

Lupin the Third follows a master thief through some seriously hilarious situations. It’s noticeably older animation-wise, but definitely a great entry point. There are a lot of parts and movies, but the good news is you can start just about anywhere, unlike Dragon Ball. If you want to start where it all began, seek out Lupin III: Part 1.

4. Cyberpunk: Edgerunners

best anime for newcomers, cyberpunk edgerunners
Image Source: Studio Trigger

While Cyberpunk: Edgerunners and Cyberpunk 2077 share the same universe, you don’t need the context of the game to understand the anime. David, the main character, is unique to the anime, which is only 10 episodes long at about 25 minutes a piece. The episode lengths alone make it a lot easier to get invested in David’s rather emotional story as an edgerunner.

3. Yu Yu Hakusho

best anime for newcomers, yu yu hakusho
Image Source: Studio Pierrot

Criminal, miscreant, thug—no matter which definition you use, they all apply to Yusuke Urameshi. At least that’s what most people think of him, which makes it all the more surprising when he sacrifices himself to save a child. This starts a domino effect, leading to Yusuke accepting a job as a spirit detective where he’ll be tasked with solving casing related to everything supernatural, from spirits to demons. Quite the one-eighty for a good-for-nothing punk!

2. Ghost in the Shell

best anime for newcomers, ghost in the shell
Image Source: Production I.G.

Ghost in the Shell blurs the line between man and machine, and is deeply concerned with the relationship between humanity and technology. The main character, Major Motoko Kusanagi, is almost all machine aside from her brain and spinal chord. Would you consider her human or machine?

If you’re interested in philosophy or love deeply thoughtful movies, I can’t recommend Ghost in the Shell enough. Few movies have such engrossing atmosphere, that the backgrounds are telling a story just as much as what’s happening in the foreground.

1. Junji Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales of the Macabre

best anime for newcomers, junji ito maniac
Image Source: Netflix, Studio Deen

Killer balloons, the appearance of a strange sea creature, hair mysteriously growing in the attic—if you love horror stories, there’s no better anime than Junji Ito Maniac, and boy do they get weird! While I would highly suggest reading the manga in this case, you can watch the anime until the books arrive.

Take your pick, folks; there’s no wrong answer. As always, we highly encourage inviting a few friends over, especially if said friends are also on the fence about anime. The more, the merrier!

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Brady Klinger-Meyers
Brady is a Freelance Writer at Twinfinite. Though he's been at the site for only a year, Brady has been covering video games, and the industry itself, for the past three years. He focuses on new releases, Diablo 4, Roblox, and every RPG he can get his hands on. When Brady isn't focused on gaming, he's toiling away on another short story.