Saturday Suggestion – Top 8 Anime for Beginners

Tomorrow is National Anime Day! I know I’m a day early, but I don’t usually post on Thursdays. Please forgive me and accept my humble offering of my top 8 anime suggestions for beginners. These anime are typical Shoujo and Shounen picks, but don’t let those words intimidate you. Shoujo typically targets a feminine audience with a focus on romance, relationships, and emotions. Shounen typically targets a masculine audience with a focus on action and male protagonists. Despite the target audiences of these two genres, anyone can enjoy either or both. My husband and I are both the latter!

I ask that as you try out these anime on my list or any other anime that you give each one a fair chance, especially if anime is out of your comfort zone. It might be a bit strange or weird at first if you aren’t used to trope characters or reading subtitles or watching “adult” animation, but promise you’ll stick with it for a few episodes to see how you like it. I have varying picks here for those who love romantic comedies, action, superheroes, and even horror. I tried to touch as many genres as I could within my own favorite anime to give you a genuine list to start with. Hopefully you’ll find your gateway anime and become a part of our wonderful community! Now… Let’s get to this list!

1. Ouran High School Host Club

Ouran High School Host Club is one of my favorite romance-comedy anime of all time. OHSHC is an easy anime to dip your toes in if you’re looking for something cute, funny, and on the lighter side. Our main character Haruhi stumbles upon her high school’s host club where a group of cute, wealthy guys entertain female students. The hi-jinks begin when Haruhi is mistaken as being a boy and is roped into becoming a member of the Host Club herself! It’s a super cute, beginner-friendly rom-com that anyone will enjoy. If you want to read my review, you can check that out here!

  • Find it on Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Crunchyroll, Funimation
  • Comedic Romance
  • If you like: romance, cute characters, tropes, multiple love interests

2. Fruits Basket (2019)

Fruits Basket quickly stole my heart, and if you like romance, it’ll steal yours too. A much earlier anime of Fruits Basket is around, but I highly recommend you try the newest anime that premiered in 2019! Out of all the anime on this list, Fruits Basket is probably the easiest to get your hands on and thoroughly enjoy as it stays mostly true to the manga and has 2 (soon to be 3) seasons that so far blend seamlessly. Our main protagonist Tohru Honda stumbles upon the Soma family secret: several family members each carry spirits of the Chinese zodiac. When hugged by the opposite sex, they will turn into their zodiac animal! This is one is also a great rom-com to start your anime journey with!

  • Find it on Hulu, Amazon Prime, Crunchyroll, Funimation
  • Comedic Romance, Slice of Life
  • If you like: romance, the Chinese zodiac, the zodiac in general, feeling the “feels”

3. Ghost Hunt

Everyone loves a good mystery. What happens when Scooby-Doo meets the supernatural? I would like to think you get a show like Ghost Hunt where you are wondering with each episode is this thing supernatural? Or is it someone hiding behind a mask? This short anime is only one season and is typically episodic so each ghost hunt gives you different scenarios and satisfying case closings. This is perfect for someone who wants to dip into a mystery anime to test the waters. If you’re interested in reading my review, you can check it out here!

  • Find it on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Funimation
  • Comedic Mystery
  • If you like: psychological horror, supernatural, a tiny dash of love interest

4. Sword Art Online

Sword Art Online is probably one of the most popular anime on this list and for good reason. SAO blends anime and gaming into an action-packed story complete with romance, bad ass female characters like Asuna, some “feels,” and more. It touches a lot of bases here, making it easy to enjoy, especially if you’re a gamer who has yet to find your gateway anime. And if you love the first season, SAO has 3 seasons so far made up of 90+ episodes and spin-offs/movies. This is a perfect anime to binge if you find yourself wanting more after season 1. I have an older review of the first season here!

  • Find it on Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Crunchyroll, Funimation
  • Fantasy-Action, Romance
  • If you like: romance, gaming, RPGs, adventure

5. Black Butler

The main character of Black Butler Ciel Phantomhive “takes care of” unsettling events for the Queen in Victorian England with the help of Sebastian, his demon butler. Black Butler may be one of the more iffy choices for a first anime; however, the first season is perfect for someone looking to start with something a bit darker and more mature. The second season can be skipped altogether if you would rather stick with the canon story, and/or the contents of season 2 is not your cup of tea as it takes the show’s “darkness” to a whole other level. With that said, Black Butler has beautiful artwork, great music, and will make you wish that you also had a demon butler like Sebastian… You can read my review here!

  • Find it on Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Crunchyroll, Funimation
  • Historical Action, Mystery
  • If you like: dark humor, demons, the supernatural, anti-heroes

6. One Punch Man

I am so behind on One Punch Man, but I knew I had to include it as a beginner anime. The main character isn’t your regular super hero. Saitama is actually rather bored and no longer thrilled with battling villains, because he can take them out with – you guessed it – one punch! He’s also really… eccentric. If you like super hero parodies, I think you’ll love Saitama’s character and enjoy his journey to finding a formidable opponent to bring him the joy he used to feel when battling evil.

  • Find it on Hulu, Netflix, Crunchyroll
  • Comedic Action, Sci-Fi
  • If you like: Marvel, superheroes, parodies

7. Fairy Tale

I went on a huge Fairy Tail kick during the start of the pandemic and self-isolation, and I think it would be a fantastic beginner anime for those that enjoy fantasy and magic. I genuinely love the many of the characters (and there’s several) and the show’s take on magic. Like Lucy for example practices celestial spirit magic meaning she can summon celestial spirits using special keys to do all sorts of things for her (after signing a contract of course). And Erza (one of my favorites!) has the magical ability to swap weapons, armor, and clothing at her will which makes for some of the best fashion I’ve seen in animation.

  • Find it on Hulu, Amazon Prime, Crunchyroll, Funimation
  • Comedic Action, Fantasy
  • If you like: magic, adventure, superheroes, rad character costumes

8. Highschool of the Dead

For my lovers of horror, this is for you: Highschool of the Dead. I loveLOVElove zombie movies and TV shows. Highschool of the Dead is heavy on the action and the horror, making it the perfect mix if that’s your kind of thing. A group of high school students in Japan find that the school has become over run with zombies, and they must find a way out to safety. Once they escape the school, they realize that the city has already been consumed by the dead. With 12 episodes, this one will suck you in but still leave plenty of time to try some other horror anime. And just like most other horror media, there’s lots of mild nudity and big boobies, but we love that around here.

  • Find it on Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Crunchyroll
  • Action-Horror, Apocolyptic
  • If you like: supernatural, zombies, apocalypse or end-of-the-world situations, big boobies

Honorable Mentions

I couldn’t end this post with just my picks so I added a few more here than most people agree can be good anime for beginners.

  • Sailor Moon (subbed if you can)
  • Full Metal Alchemist
  • Noragami
  • Death Note
  • Cowboy Bebop
  • My Love Story!!
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex

What anime do you think could be beginner-friendly? Let me know in the comments!GGHeart_Tiny_WP Logo copy

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