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New to Anime? Here’s a List For You!

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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 UPRM chapter.

As someone who is very picky with shows and movies to watch, I can see how entering the world of Japanese animation can be a bit intimidating for someone or, at least, have it be out of one’s comfort zone. I also vividly remember being teased in middle school for enjoying said shows, which is ridiculous to say the least. But as I grew up, I have only fallen more in love with anime and can wholeheartedly say that, if you aren’t watching some of them, you are missing out on some of the most beautifully told stories in fiction.

I’d say there has been an increased exposure to different anime series through social media thanks to the immense success of recent ones, so maybe you have found yourself curious or intrigued to jump in. Well, I am here to give you that final push. Here is my list of recommendations if you are new to anime and want to update your watchlist.

Avatar: The Last Airbender

“In the darkest times, hope is something you give yourself.”
Although this show isn’t an anime, but anime-inspired, I must add it because it’s simply a beautiful story. Now enjoying a revival through Netflix’s recent live-action adaptation, Avatar takes us into a world divided in four nations: air, water, earth, and fire, with members of each being able to bend their respective elements. The main story is that of Aang, the avatar (only being who can bend all four) and lone survivor of the air nation genocide, and his duty to stop the on-going war protagonized by the fire nation. From the beginning, the show delves into themes such as loss, grief, spirituality, and respect for life. Inclusivity is another area in which the show thrives, with the introduction of characters with disabilities that are never reduced to these, but are shown as fully developed characters who are vital to the story (Toph, you will always be famous).
Here is a fan-made trailer!


“Being a child is not a sin.”
Jujutsu Kaisen has completely taken the world by storm with the release of their second season this past year. Even if you aren’t a watcher, chances are you’ve probably heard one of the countless trends involving the show (the ways in which you talk to me [Suguru]…). I’m here to say the hype is very well deserved. Taking place when the main character, Itadori Yuuji, is suddenly thrown into the world of jujutsu sorcerers vs cursed spirits, the show easily captivates you with its compelling story and amazing fighting sequences.
Here’s the official Crunchyroll trailer.


“Because people don’t have wings, we look for ways to fly.”
It may appear as an ordinary sports anime, but this anime completely took me by surprise. Haikyu!! is a show where you cannot help but love and care for every character, and may even find yourself rooting for the opposite team at times. Centering around Karasuno High School’s volleyball team, the show highlights resilience, hard work, and uses defeat as a motivator to keep growing. While the main character is Hinata Shoyo, the show never shies away from developing many others, teaching us that everyone has a story to tell, their own desires, and dreams. Trust me when I say this show will turn you into a volleyball fan, even if you don’t care for sports. It may also leave you ready to take on the world and accomplish everything you’ve ever wanted to do. Additionally, the international release dates for the most recent Haikyu!! film were just announced, so you are just in time to catch up and go watch the most anticipated match in the series!
Here’s the trailer opening for season 1.

Death note

“I am justice.”
If you enjoy shows that have more of a serious feel, Death Note may be to your liking. The show begins when Light Yagami, a high school student, finds himself in possession of a “death note,” a notebook that grants you the power to end the life of a person whose name you write on it. This was one of the first anime I ever watched, and having a preference for crime, thrillers, and dark undertones, it was right up my alley. It became one of my favorite shows quicky. Dialogue rich and full of mind games, this show is one I personally consider a classic and a must watch.
Enjoy the trailer here!

demon slayer

“Set your heart ablaze.”
Popular since it first aired in 2019, Demon Slayer was many people’s introduction to the world of anime. With its stunning animation, it takes you through the tale of Tanjiro, the survivor of the Kamado family, who becomes a demon slayer with the goal of restoring his sister’s humanity. The story is easy to follow, possesses breathtaking visuals and, with 55 episodes out and a new season starting this June, it is definitely worth watching.
You already know what to do.

hunter x hunter

“You should enjoy the little detours to the fullest. Because that’s where you’ll find things more important than what you want.”
Now this is a classic, and dare I say, a treasure of a show. Hunter x Hunter introduces us to Gon Freecs, a kid whose goal is to become a hunter and find his father who he hasn’t seen since, well, forever (tsk tsk). It has it all: heart to heart moments, action and adventure, tension, and complete and utter heartbreak. The world building is incredible, and the story is absolutely captivating. I began this show after watching a ten second clip of a scene, and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. It has 148 episodes, making it the longest one on this list, so it’s perfect if you want a show that will last you a while, or if you want to binge it in a week (like I did). I love this show and believe everyone should watch it.
You can watch a short trailer for season 1 here.

Before I finish this, may I add that if you are more of a movie person, I recommend to you just about everything Studio Ghibli has to offer. Ponyo, My Neighbor Totoro, and Howl’s Moving Castle are just some movies you can watch if you want to enjoy the beauty that is Hayao Miyazaki’s work. For a small snippet of the magic of Ghibli, you can watch this video, or this one, or this one!

The world of anime has so much to offer. From breathtaking animation to spectacular story-telling, there is something for everyone to love and enjoy. May you fall in love with some of the shows on this list or, at least, may they help you find the ones you will love.


Nol is a recently graduated Industrial Microbiology major who serves as a writer for the UPRM Her Campus chapter. Among her main professional interests are environmental safety and protection as well as microbiological areas such as mycology and overall microbiome analysis. Outside of academics, Nol has a lifelong appreciation for pastries and desserts, baking whenever possible. She enjoys re-watching comfort anime and shows, and has a personal goal of petting as many dogs and cats possible. Overall, Nol hopes to be able to continue to nurture her love and appreciation for both sciences and the arts, and accomplish work that involves these subjects as she believes they are intertwined with each other.