There’s no doubt about it, anime has become more mainstream within the last five years. Michael B. Jordan pronounced himself an anime fan and Kim Kardashian has said that an anime character inspired her pink hair. Also, Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video now have a ton of streaming options for anime. Maybe all this publicity has sparked your interest a bit. But where do you start? There’s a ton of shows and, trust me, a lot of them are not good. But, there’s another issue. What if you want to watch good anime that is relatable to your current taste? I’ve compiled a list of anime with great animation, an awesome soundtrack, likable characters, and an interesting story that can be enjoyed by a broad audience. I’ll try to keep my responses short and I will only post shows that are available on legal streaming sites.
1) Cowboy Bepop
Some of you may have heard of Cowboy Bepop. It was the first show that had ever aired on Adult Swim which created a generation of anime fans. The show is about a Bounty hunter, Spike, and his crew. There’s Jet, the father figure of the group. Faye, the vixen who’s a convict with the mysterious past. Ed, the quirky kid genius, and Ein, an intelligent, and adorable, corgi. This show has STYLE. The animation looks amazing even though it aired 20 years ago. It is truly a revolutionary show and a favorite among even the most seasoned anime watchers.
Available on: Hulu
2) Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (FMA: B)
Maybe you’ve watched the original Fullmetal Alchemist (FMA) in middle school. If you haven’t, it’s about two brothers who are alchemists. Without spoilers, they conduct an alchemy experiment gone wrong and deal with debilitating and traumatic results. The original FMA diverted from the source content about 25 episodes in and FMA: B is the remake with more updated animation and the source content ending. So many shows, anime or American, have lackluster endings. In FMA: B, EVERYTHING is tied together. There are no loose ends and the final arc is so satisfying, shocking, well written, and pleasing.
Available on: Netflix
3) My Hero Academia (MHA)
This show is huge right now and the whole anime community is obsessed with it. It focuses on a boy named Deku who lives without superpowers in a world where everyone has them. Deku’s dream is to become a superhero and he admires the symbol of peace: All Might. One day, Deku gets to meet his idol and it changes his life forever. This show has everything from great action scenes to some of the most lovable characters. There’s also great character development and growth. Some moments are hilarious while others are quite touching. Also, part of MHA’s hype is being able to talk about it with people!
Available on: Hulu
Alright, next on the list is one of my personal favorites. This show is about two girls that share the same name: Nana. One of the girls is very feminine, talkative, and naive. The other is a punk, sings in a band, and is blunt. Because of a random series of events they end up moving in together. They deal with issues such as relationships, sex, career paths, and self-identity. This show pulled at my heartstrings immensely. The characters are so real and relatable, plus they wear the most awesome outfits. This show is catered towards a female audience, so if you like dramatic girl power shows, give it a go!
Available on: Amazon Prime Video
5) Natsume Yujinchou
Alright, this show might not be for everyone, but it's just amazing. The other four shows have an Americanized vibe to them, but this one is heavily influenced by Japanese folklore. The main character, Natsume, has been passed from family member to family member after his parents’ death. He can see spirits, or "Yokai", which others cannot. Because of this, many people find him weird and are creeped out. As the show continues, we see Natsume living with a generous family, making friends, and coming to terms with his power. If you have ever felt alone, sad, or anxious, PUT THIS SHOW ON. It is truly wonderful and always calms me down.
Available on: Crunchyroll (It’s free without subscription)