By Fallen189 70 Comments
I see a lot of threads on Giantbomb which often begin with someone asking for an anime recommendation, being ridiculed down to "Anime is for little tiny babys", having a brief interlude with "Your favourite show sucks, shut up", then the thread ends.
I figured that as someone who has seen quite a lot of things over the years, I might be able to come up with some sort of list for people who aren't really into it, but have always been a bit curious as to whether or not they'd like it. I'll say this up front. There's nothing wrong with watching anime. Don't let people tell you that it's bad, or you're a bad person, because it's a question of taste. If someone says they hate you and you're a weeaboo? Kindly say "Okay, sure thing!", and get on with your day, because their enjoyment should never be tied to yours. It's a medium, like games, movies or novels, not a genre, like many people wildly assume. Introductions aside, let's get on with things!
I'll break it down into genres, and attempt to give, in my opinion, the flagships of each respective genre. Please bear in mind, this is personal opinion-things that after watching a LOT, I have come to realise is probably the best of it's respective genre. As always, your mileage may vary!
ComedyComedy is a really hard genre to really recommend any one person a specific thing, regardless of the medium type. Do you like cute moe shenanigans, or more slapstick comedy? It's hard to really quantify what makes a good comedy show, so I have selected-
Cromartie High School
What makes Cro High so incredibly funny is the diverse cast of characters, and wildly varying shenanigans they often get into. Don't get this mixed up with general high school tomfoolery. These aren't your usual adorable little girls discussing chocolate cornets. Cro High is a school for delinquents, and one student, who COULD be considered the protagonist, who is misplaced into this school. Whether it's the mysterious Mechazawa family, the student who is the toughest kid in school but gets motion sickness, or the mind blowing musical number early on, it's hard to watch Cro High without finding something you're not into. Dubbed or subbed, you're in for a treat!
PsychologicalI had a hard time again coming up with this. Trying to balance accessibility for newer people with personal favourites made me change my mind a lot. Do I go with a mindfuck show like Serial Experiments Lain, or a more methodical show like Mushi Shi? In the end, I settled on
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
Now, people might contest the legitimacy of the genre classification here, but I think in terms of a meaningful and thoughtful show, it really exemplifies how well a story can be written that perplexes the audience, and leaves them constantly thinking about not only the story in terms of plot development, but also on a more philosophical level. SAC revolves around the mysterious Section 9, a ghost branch of the government who are investigating the cyber terrorist known only as "The Laughing Man". Featuring incredible character developments, and an afforementioned implicit thought process, SAC is a must watch. Substitute with "Ghost in the Shell" if you're feeling feisty.
Mystery/ExplorationThis is a weird genre to define. I suppose the main focus of the show isn't one specific overarching plotline, or indepth character development. It's more to do with the exploration of a fantastical world, using a sense of magic realism as the driving force of the show. A show in which the world that the show takes place in plays as big of a part as the characters and plot themselves. Naturally, there was only one show I could pick for this.
Mushishi revolves around the bugmaster Ginko, as he travels the world, finding "Mushi" that plague people. The world that Ginko travels, and the people that he meets are the stars of the show, as there is no real focus point throughout the show, other than for the sake of showing a natural and realistic feeling world. Whether Ginko is helping a girl who is infected with a Mushi that takes her eyesight, one who is the source of the entire village rusting over or the man who chases rainbows, Mushi-Shi is a tour-de-force of pure visual and audible splendour. The kind of show where you'd watch 2/3 episodes at a time, and relax with it.
ThrillerThrillers are something in which the focal point of the narrative revolves around some kind of murder, or mysterious intrigue, but in a more real world scenario. A show in which you're on the edge of your seat, and you never want to put it down, always faced with cliffhangers and continuing storylines, like a good book. In light of this analysis, I guess the best thing I can really recommend is
Death Note revolves around Japanese student "Light Yagami", as he discovered a notebook, which when a persons name is written into it, they will die. While this sounds a simple enough concept, the true joy in the narrative is the rise and fall of Yagami as he destroys his own life, and those around him in his rise for power. People will endlessly debate about whether after a certain point, the series detracts in quality, but this isn't the place for that, ignore them. What can be said however, is that Death Note is a powerful thriller in which you always feel just ONE step behind the true nature and intentions of the characters. Naturally, you have the dramatic irony as the viewer, but the revelations as the show goes on are outstanding.
Super large world explodey robotsYeah yeah, I know, giant mecha robots isn't really a genre, but in a way, there's enough shows about them to justify this. Plus, I'm the one writing, so deal with it! How could I pick anything but
Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
If you've seen TTGL, you'd know why it has to be recommended to anyone. TTGL shows the plight of Simon and his blood brother Kamina, as they break free of their oppressive lifestyle, being forced to live underground for fear of the vicious "Beastmen" who live on the earths surface. However, after finding a "Ganmen" robot, they make their way to the surface, where they meet other humans, and begin to rebel against the monstrous beasts. What follows is something that really has to be seen to be believed. Suffice to say, they go from underground, to above ground, to the air, space, universe and beyond. Outstanding visual quality and jaw dropping music are what really set this apart from others in its genre, like Gundam. Not to say the incredibly well established Gundam is inferior to TTGL, but as this is a blog introducing anime as a gateway to people, TTGL is the easier watch. Who the hell do you think I am?
That's it for now! Next time, we'll focus on
- Slice of Life
I guess I'll post this to the forums, but I expect a lot of tomfoolery, and people feverently defending something they've never seen as "Stupid shit". If that's the case, please, if you can help it, try not to post in here. Your negativity only defines your arrogance, so if you don't have anything nice to say, please try another thread. Keep it civil people!