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The Gateway to Anime: 6 Must-Watch Shows for Newcomers

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Boston chapter.

If you’re new to anime and looking for some great shows to start with, then you’ve come to the right place! I’ve got you covered. In this article, I’ll introduce you to six top picks that will make you laugh, cry, and cheer. These shows are perfect for beginners. and don’t worry, you won’t find Naruto on the list.

Before we dive into the main event, let me cover some basics and need-to-know information. Anime has a wide range of categories and genres, and in this article, I’ll focus on four specific main genres you should be aware of. The other generic genres, such as romance, fantasy, comedy, etc., can follow behind any of these categories.

The first genre is Shoujo, which is aimed at young girls. Shoujo anime tends to be character-driven and often features romance and drama. Some examples of Shoujo anime include Sailor Moon and Ouran High School Host Club.

The second genre is Shonen, which is aimed at young boys. Shonen anime is action-packed and often features battles and adventure. Some popular Shonen anime include Naruto and Dragon Ball Z.

The third genre is Seinein, aimed at teen boys and adult men. Seinein anime tends to be darker and more mature in terms of theme than Shonen anime. Some examples of Seinein anime include Attack on Titan and Tokyo Ghoul.

The fourth genre is Josei, aimed at teen girls and adult women. Josei anime often deals with more severe and realistic themes and tends to be way more character-driven than plot-driven. Some popular Josei anime include Nana and Paradise Kiss.

The anime shows presented can be a mix of these four genres based on their message.

Now, let’s discuss Dub vs. Sub and whether you have to watch anime in Japanese. The answer is no. Many streaming services offer English voice-overs so that you can watch without subtitles. This is referred to as the Dub version of anime. However, some fans prefer to watch anime in its original Japanese version with English subtitles or subtitles for other languages. This is referred to as the Sub version in anime.

When it comes to where you can watch anime, there are many options available. Some free services include Crunchyroll, the only decent free streaming service, in my opinion, and various other sites that I warn come with very annoying pop-up ads. Subscription services include Crunchyroll, Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video. All the shows I mention below can be found on Crunchyroll.

And finally, the moment you’ve been waiting for. Here are my top six picks for must-watch anime shows for beginners:

1. The Apothecary Diaries—This historical/mystery anime follows a teenage girl who was kidnapped and forced to work as a lowly servant in the emperor’s palace. There, she catches the attention of an eunuch after using her medical knowledge to solve the death of a newborn prince’s death. Together, they investigate and solve the ongoing mysteries that seem to be planted around every corner of the palace. The anime has scandal, betrayal, and various storylines that all connect to each other. Of course, we can not forget the slow-burn romance budding between the servant apothecary girl and the eunuch with secrets you did not see coming.

2. Frienen: Beyond Journey’s End—This fantasy anime follows an elf on her journey to find spells after her great adventure of defeating the demon king ended decades ago. Now, she takes on two apprentices of her old friends and leads them on a new journey of dealing with loss, finding strength, and understanding not to take human life for granted. The anime beautifully highlights the importance of friendship and connection.

3. A Sign of Affection—This romance anime follows a deaf college student who falls in love with a classmate. It is one of the more ordinary and slightly relatable anime that takes the audience from a sweet encounter on the train to a blossoming relationship. It is a more fast-paced romance rather than a slow-burn romance, but you will still be kicking your feet up in the air routing for these two!

4. Erased—This thriller anime follows a man who travels back in time to prevent not only the death of his mother but also his classmates’ deaths from 18 years ago. The anime is eery and suspenseful and will have your heart racing as the main character races against the clock. It will have you questioning who you can trust.

5. Death Parade – This psychological anime takes place in a mysterious bar where the dead are judged based on their actions in life. You know the saying, “Life isn’t fair,” well, neither is death. In order to make those judgments, the dead are forced to play games that bring out their true nature and secrets are revealed. The anime discusses greed, jealousy, despair, hope, sacrifice, and love in an enchanting way that will make you doubt what you know about death.

6. Buddy Daddies – This comedy anime follows two assassins for hire who accidentally become the caregivers of a four-year-old girl who is the daughter of the man they assassinated…It’s messy, I know. But trust me, you will not be disappointed with this graphic yet wholesome anime that deals with identity, grief, loyalty, and chosen family. 

These shows will captivate you, keep you entertained, and make you come back for more. So go ahead and dive in, and welcome to the world of anime!

Bianca Fanfan

U Mass Boston '24

Bianca Fanfan is a junior at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She is a member of Her Campus at the Umass Boston chapter. She is an English Major with a Concentration in Creative Writing, and a Minor in Cinema Studies. She is also a member of the mentoring organization, My Sister's Keeper at Umass Boston. She enjoys being a part of communities that strengthen her leadership and writing skills. She has experience working with children at camp centers and the elderly in nursing homes. She believes that everyone deserves to have their own stories told no matter their age. As an English major, she really enjoy writing poetry and short stories. In her free time, she loves listening to music, and watching, (more like analyzing) movies. Discussing anything anime related with friends, and reading mystery thrillers. As well as attending her many family orientated events.