It can get overwhelming when you decide to start watching anime. There are so many options, and with some series, you may start having doubts once you look at how long they can be. We’ll help you choose the best ones to start without committing all your free time to finishing Naruto or One Piece.
If you are not into fantasy, adventure, and action, you might feel like anime is not for you, but that’s not necessarily the case. There are many, many different types of anime, ranging from comedies to lesbian love stories. This is not a ranking, as viewers have different tastes, it’s only a list of anime you can choose to watch. And we’ve gone ahead and presented a diverse selection of options for all sorts of newcomers.
Anime series tend to be made in 2D. They normally have smooth animation, unique fighting scenes, and different use of angles. Every anime episode, aside from rare exceptions, is around 23 minutes long, counting the intro and ending themes.
You might recognize some of the anime listed here and you’ll see why they are famous. Here are the 10 best anime series for beginners:
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (2009-2010)
This anime is one of the best ones to start since it’s only 64 episodes and is considered one of the best anime of all time. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood explores the idea of alchemy and the equal trade rule during the journey of two brothers who went too far by performing human transmutation.
After losing their mother, Edward and Alphonse Elric try to use alchemy to bring her back. The human transmutation doesn’t go as, planned and Alphonse loses his physical body while Ed wakes up without his left leg. Edward then trades his right arm in return for his brother’s soul, which is fixed on a suit of armor.
Their journey begins as Edward joins the army in order to look for the Philosopher’s Stone to bring their bodies back. But as they search for it, they get involved in a war bigger than they expected.
You’ll see action, comedy, and drama in Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. The amazing worldbuilding is a great example of this anime series’ uniquely popular appeal. You’ll fall in love with the characters and be surprised by the intricate plot involving war, revenge, family, and incredible plot twists.
You can watch Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood on several streaming services, such as Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, FunimationNow, and Crunchyroll. The series is complete, so you’ll have the complete experience without having to wait for the next season.
Death Note (2006-2007)
If you prefer a mental battle instead of a physical one, Death Note is for you. You’ll accompany Light Yagami, a bored high school student who found a mysterious notebook named Death Note. If you write a name in the notebook, the person with that name dies instantly.
Light demonstrates his incredible intelligence by becoming a death god of justice, killing criminals without suffering any consequences. That is, until a man who is only known by the name of L, considered the best detective in the world, starts investigating the murders.
Death Note is a tense and dramatic battle of strategies between Light and L. It addresses subjects such as the limits of justice in just 37 episodes. You’ll see a common characteristic of anime of dramatizing ordinary actions, such as writing, walking, and even eating chips.
The complete series of Death Note is also available to watch on several streaming platforms, such as Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, FunimationNow, and Crunchyroll.
Anime is not only about action and fighting. Orange is an example of a delicate anime involving romance, friendship, and understanding others.
Naho Takamiya receives a strange letter on the first day of her sophomore year of high school. However, it’s from herself from 10 years in the future. After several events described in the letter take place, she believes the letter is real and becomes worried since her letter reveals a version of herself full of regret in the future. So, what can she do in the present to change that? And why does the letter say to pay attention to the new transfer student Kakeru Naruse?
You’ll see the answers to these questions across13 episodes full of emotion and drama. Orange is available on Crunchyroll and VRV. We recommend you watch the anime instead of the movie Orange: Mirai, which just recaps the anime series.
Tokyo Ghoul (2014)
If you enjoy heavy topics, horror, and gore elements, Tokyo Ghoul might be the best option out of this list. This anime is completely different from the previously mentioned ones, as it features a psychological horror plot with characters inserted in a supernatural and dystopian environment.
Tokyo Ghoul follows the city of Tokyo, which is a merciless city occupied by bloodthirsty creatures called “ghouls.” These creatures look like humans and blend in with society to prey on them. The anime follows Ken Kaneki, who goes on a date with Rize Kamishiro. Rize turns out to be a ghoul and attacks Kaneki, but dies before eating him whole. Kaneki’s life begins to change after that event, as he becomes half-ghoul and half-human. He has to learn how to balance his human life with his new ghoul needs. How will he deal with his paradoxical existence?
The incredible animation and storytelling will blow you away in just 12 episodes. Tokyo Ghoul is available to stream on Funimation Now and Hulu.
Hunter x Hunter (2011-2014)
Hunter x Hunter is the best option on this list if you are willing to watch a longer anime. This series has amazing characters and outstanding worldbuilding. Hunters are extraordinary people who search the world for rare treasures, creatures, and food that no one else can get. Gon Freecss, a 12-year-old kid, is determined to become a Hunter and find his father.
On his journey, he meets Killua, Kurapika, and Leorio, his new friend group for the Hunter exam. Each of them has their own objectives, but Gon captivates them to work together. This anime features several iconic characters that will blow your mind with how unique their personalities, values, and goals are.
Hunter x Hunter isn’t just a good beginner’s pick, it’s also one of the most praised anime of all time. It has 148 episodes featuring a well-rounded story with drama, comedy, action, fantasy, superpowers, and incredible characters and monsters. Even though the manga hasn’t ended, the anime had a final episode that matched the manga and still gave viewers closure.
You can watch Hunter x Hunter on several streaming platforms, such as Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, Funimation Now, and Crunchyroll.
Sports anime are immensely popular, and Haikyuu is a great example of a well-done series. This show follows the Karasuno High School volleyball team’s players during matches and training.
The highlight of Haikyuu lies in the outstanding animation and dramatization of volleyball strategies. The matches will make you cheer as if you were on a real court. It’s hard not to become a fan of volleyball after watching this anime. The series is well researched too, and accurately reflects real competitive volleyball; it’s interesting to recognize the strategies in the anime in real-life matches like those that happened during the Olympics in Japan.
Haikyuu is currently in its fourth season with 25 episodes in total. You can watch them on Netflix, Hulu, Crunchyroll, VRV, and HIDIVE.
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba (2019-)
Demon Slayer is set in the Taisho era of Japan (1912-1929). The story tells Tanjirou and Nezuko Kamado’s journey. After selling charcoal in the city, Tanjirou arrives late at his home and finds that his whole family was slaughtered by a demon while he was away. The only survivor was his sister Nezuko, but she was transformed into a demon as well.
Nezuko, however, refuses to eat humans. Tanjirou then joins the Demon Slayer Corps to protect the ones he loves while searching for the demon who transformed Nezuko to turn her back into a human.
This anime takes animation to another level. The fantasy elements are beautiful and the fighting scenes are incredibly smooth. It became one of the most popular anime of 2021 and for good reason. And the story isn’t overshadowed by the animation.
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba is still on its first season and has a lot to offer. You can watch it on several platforms such as Netflix, Funimation Now, Hulu, and Crunchyroll.
Attack on Titan (2013-)
Attack on Titan is set a hundred years ago when humans were nearly exterminated by Titans, a humanoid creature that eats humans. The few humans who survived created a city protected by several levels of extremely high walls.
One day, a Colossal Titan attacked the city, forever changing protagonists Eren’s and Mikasa’s lives. They swore to take down every Titan alive and revenge their lost loved ones and all mankind.
The jaw-dropping animation and interesting story explain the success of Attack on Titan around the world. The action, drama, and fantasy elements weave together a heart-pounding anime complete with amazing characters.
This anime series currently has 75 episodes with the final batch yet to come. You can stream it on several platforms such as Netflix, Funimation Now, Hulu, Crunchyroll, and VRV.
Yuri!!! on Ice (2016)
For those who are tired of heteronormative romances, Yuri!!! on Ice is a sports anime that also depicts a romance between two men. But that’s not the main focus of the story. The Japanese figure skater Yuri Katsuki competes with a Russian prodigy skater, also named Yuri, to get picked by a skating champion to be coached.
This anime was praised for the way it showcases anxiety in sports and received positive reviews from professional real-life figure skaters. You can expect beautiful animation and skating choreography with more diversity than your average anime series.
Yuri!!! on Ice has only 12 episodes and you can stream them on Funimation Now and Crunchyroll.
Bloom Into You (2018)
If you are interested in a romance-focused anime with more diversity, you can watch Bloom Into You, a sweet love story about Yuu Koito and Touka Nanami, two high school girls who fall for one another.
Yuu is always reading romance manga, but when a classmate confesses his feelings, she feels nothing. She becomes confused until she meets Nanami. Will her romance story finally begin?
The animation has a special charm to it and the story will warm your heart as any high school romance would. Yuri anime is still very scarce and hard to find, even compared to Yaoi anime. However, Bloom Into You is considered one of the best Yuri series for a reason, and it’s a must-watch for queer anime fans.
Bloom Into You has 13 episodes and is only available to stream on HIDIVE, Spectrum On Demand, and VRV.