Yes that is right! Anime is not just for children, any respectable adult (or otherwise) can enjoy it too and if I’m honest, there are some anime series which should just be left to us adults.
Like most things, anime is yet another art form to be appreciated by everyone, yes it has its flaws such as the unrealistic features or physics but that is part of the fun, it serves as another escape from any boring reality, just like a good book does. Anime dives us into colourful, crazy worlds that we may never imagine ourselves, such as demon death bringers with magical note pads, a world where giants have taken over and the human population is decimated or even a world where technology has advanced to allow us to actually ENTER a role playing game. These are just a few of the delights I want to talk about.
Luckily anime is now accessible to all through streaming sites such as Netflix, you can find a fun and diverse list of series’ and films to satisfy even the most serious anime fan or any newcomer to anime.
Now let us take a look at my personal top five anime series:
**POSSIBLE SPOILERS**(I’ve tried really hard not to)
Knights of Sidonia/Sidonia No Kishi: This is an absolute favourite of mine and I would actually rank it the number one show on Netflix, including all the american dramas. How can I do this show justice in mere words? It’s an action packed, sci-fi/mecha anime, post apocalyptic to boot. Humans have fled Earth after an attack from aliens called gauna, who destroyed the Earth and have been battling ever since. Humans now inhabit a ship/rock combo called Sidonia that has been developed to cater to the human species every need, while the humans have evolved to have less need. The protagonist is Nagate Tanikaze who has been living underground in Sidonia since he was a child, the reason for this is explained much later in the series. The Knights of Sidonia themselves are a group of trained guardians who battle the gauna in mechanical Gardes trying to pierce the gauna’s weak spots. One of the best bits about this series is the introduction of a third gender, the genderless who can choose their own gender as they grow up, one of humans new evolutionary tricks. For me this was something new and different from many other animes, especially those that focus very much on male and female relations. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of blush worthy, awkward moments for the characters, this is still anime! Expect the usual love triangle, plenty of fight scenes, mystery, gore, and most of all an amazing anime style.
I would genuinely rate this anime top of the list and recommend to everyone! It might not be the best anime to start off with but I’ll get to that.
Psycho Pass: Second on my list is the exciting Psycho Pass, for you crime and thriller lovers this is a perfect start out anime! It is by no means a weak or ‘soft’ anime but it works more like any other crime series on TV so if you’re new to anime, you can slightly forget you’re watching a cartoon. This series follows Akane Tsunemori in a dystopian Japan, Akane works as an inspector for Japans Public Safety Bureau’s Crime Investigation Division (quite the mouthful), they use Enforcers and a weapon called a Dominator to help them capture their targets. The targets are people who have shown dangerous mental levels on their psycho pass, the state monitors everyones psycho pass to pre-empt any crime and treats people for their mental unease. This is a brilliant concept of treating an ‘unhealthy’ mind but combined with the suffocation of the totalitarian state. I think this is a great first anime for anyone.
Attack on Titan/Shingeki no Kyojin: This is probably the longest series out of my list but it is worth it. The story revolves around a post apocalyptic world where the human race is down to a few hundred, living behind a series of giant walls to hide from the Titans who have an insatiable appetite for humans. The story follows Eren Yaeger, adopted sister Mikasa Ackerman, and friend Armin Arlert after an attack on their home town within the outermost wall. This is a very gory anime, I will not lie, there is a lot of screaming, horror and gore, just try and stick with it! It actually gets to a point where the gore is just funny, in true anime tradition, it is over the top and ridiculous but this is a world where giant scary creatures eat humans for fun! It can be very long winded, there is a lot to explain and understand but the character development is just perfect, you see characters grow from innocence to hardened soldier and sometimes back again. To tell the truth, there was a point mid-way where I got slightly bored but this doesn’t make it any less of a good anime, there are some bits that drag on but it does keep the viewer in suspense, seeming to imitate the suspense of living in a world where you can be eaten at any moment.
This list is definitely NOT for children!
Tokyo Ghoul: More gore!! Yes this is yet another anime that I would recommend viewers keep children far away from! Tokyo Ghoul is a story based in Tokyo, funnily enough, and it follows demon like creatures called ghouls who feed on humans but look like ordinary people. The story follows Ken Kaneki who encounters a ghoul unknowingly and becomes her victim…but things do not go to plan and Kaneki is forced into the secret ghoul society to help him cope. *TRYING NOT TO POST SPOILERS BUT IT’S HARD*
This is a really enjoyable anime, I can’t stress this enough, like those above it has a great storyline and characters that are captivating, most importantly: strong female characters!! That is probably what I have forgotten to mention, all of the anime I’ve listed so far has really well done, strong female characters that kick butt! Yet let me repeat: so much gore! Of course it’s animated so it’s hardly like seeing a horror film level of gore, and just like Attack on Titan, it can get a bit ridiculous but this is a typical charming occurrence within anime.
Sword Art Online/SAO: Last but not least, we have Sword Art Online. This is the sweetest anime in my list, it is also the least gory…in fact I can’t think of any gore off the top of my head! Our protagonist this time is a young man called Kirito, who is one of the beta testers for a new type of RPG called Sword Art Online, but it is not an ordinary RPG, this is a VRMMORPG(Virtual Reality Massively Mulitiplayer Online Role Playing Game(mouthful again!)) and uses a “nerve gear” to work. Unfortunately something goes ‘wrong’ on the official release date, it turns out the creator of SAO and nerve gear had other ideas for his new game and traps all the players within the SAO virtual world. The story follows the adventures of Kirito in this virtual world where he learns lessons he never would have in the real world, especially not at his age. It’s really sweet, it’s funny and pretty light hearted watching but no less enjoyable than the others (unless you have a blood lust, in that case, give this one a miss? I promise there’s great fight scenes).
What I’ve forgotten to mention is the anime on my list were all manga series before they made their TV debuts so feel free to catch up on the manga versions, I’m trying to build up my manga collection from all of these! It’s worth mentioning that the art for anime is beautiful, the colours are always vivid and the detailing can be mind blowing, even more so in the manga. For example, the art style of Knights of Sidonia is incredible, you really get a feel for the post apocalyptic existence, the Gardes look top spec, the suits the characters wear are equipped for everything and Sidonia looks battle worn in places. No detail is spared! The only time you’ll have limited detailing in anime is when the story is focusing on a certain character or when they use chibi to emphasise particularly funny or silly scenes.
Now of course these are not the only great anime series on Netflix, I’ve not even watched all on my list! These are just a few of my favourites that I think people should give a go if you’re not sure about anime or just because they’re great shows. If you didn’t like any of these (or even if you did) there’s still plenty more like Kill La Kill which is a really over the top anime or Black Butler which is set in Victorian England or Death Note but I’m sure you’ve heard about that one already! I’m currently watching Fairy Tail, a funny anime about magic in a place called Fiore, it’s reminiscent of SAO but without the whole ‘trapped in a game’ situation.
P.S I have time to kill so feel free to recommend anime to me! I will watch anything! I even enjoyed Love Hina which is one hell of a soppy anime but sadly not on netflix but I do recommend it.
P.S.S I am aware of the feminist issues surrounding a lot of anime, such as the over sexualisation of female characters but that’s a whole other post and the ones I’ve listed have powerful female characters. I bet if I watched Love Hina now it’d annoy my feminist self, it’s been 12 years since I last saw it and a lot has changed since I was 14!
P.S.S.S THE MUSIC IS AWESOME:
Psycho Pass: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-4SVb8ZoIU
Attack on Titan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfuZqGvruug
Knights of Sidonia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mZKO2ol9Zs