Hello and welcome to Project Nitsuj. Anime has a wide variety. There’s an anime out there for everyone to watch and like. From action to romance, sports to mecha, magic to science, horror to comedy, and fanservice to fanservice I’m sure you’ll more than likely find an anime to your liking. But still with so many animes out and you being new to anime you have to wonder what animes should you start off watching? Watching a good anime will only get you interested in anime but watching a bad anime will only get you less interested in anime. So in order to help first time anime watchers or people trying to get their friends, family members, boyfriends, or girlfriends into anime I’ve compiled a list of 11 animes I would recommend to first time viewers. Why top 11? Because just like someone else I too like to go one step beyond. Now before we begin I laid down a few ground rules when I made this. Rule 1, no animes that I consider mainstream are on this list. That means you won’t be seeing animes like Dragonball Z, One Piece, Naruto, Sailor Moon, or FMA on this list. One of the goals of Project Nitsuj is to promote lesser known anime that are either good or bad in the hopes that it will increase viewership of that particular anime. Mainstream anime doesn’t need my help, it’s already popular and everyone knows about them so putting them on this list would be pointless. Rule 2, I won’t list animes that I’ve already reviewed. Why? Because I’ve already reviewed them. I’ve already given my thoughts on them and told you which animes you should or shouldn’t watch and trust me there were a lot of animes I’ve reviewed and wanted to put on this list. But like I said I’ve already reviewed them and promoting them again would be stupid and unfair to other animes that deserve to be promoted. Alright, now that’s out of the way these are the top 11 animes I recommend to people.
#11. Hunter x Hunter (2011)
Based off the popular manga by Togashi Yoshihiro Hunter x Hunter is an anime series that surprisingly doesn’t have a large fanbase and it’s a shame because this is one of those long series that’s managing to do everything right so far. The anime focuses on a kid name Gon who wants to be a professional Hunter in the hopes of finding his dad. On his journey he meets and befriends other people wanting to be Hunters as well for their own reasons and after their meeting we get adventure after adventure of these guys traveling the world in the hopes of making their dreams come true. Now I’ve only recently started watching this anime which is why it’s so low on the list but the one thing I’ve noticed that makes this series standout for me is the writing. This series has got to be one of the best written animes I’ve seen in a long time. The depth and flow of the story so far has been great, the characters are funny, memorable, awesome, funny, and the shift in tone from light-hearted to dark is done amazingly well. From what I’ve read this series covers six arcs each one a different variety from survival, martial art tournament, a crime thriller, and more so I’m very excited to see where the series goes. This series gives off that classic shonen vibe that we’ve been missing in anime for years bringing us back to the golden age of shonen when all you needed was good characters and a good story to keep everyone’s attention. I don’t know why this series isn’t as popular as a lot of mainstream shonen animes out there but it needs to be. If you’re looking for a shonen series that’s not too mainstream and has excellent writing and characters definitely give this anime a watch. I don’t regret it and neither will you.
If you’re into the black arms market, guns, and trading this anime for you. In the world of Jormungand money dominates and the world is ruled by people who have become monsters. The anime focuses on a young boy named Jonah a child soldier just trying to survive in the world where one day he joins up with a group of mercenaries and their leader Koko who seeks to establish deals in order to seek her ultimate goal which is world peace. The anime is just cool and fun to watch. Because Koko is an arms dealer we get taken to numerous locations which are all very well animated and the anime does a good job at showing or giving people an idea of how the arms market works, the dangers they encounter, and how you adapt to them. This anime has two things that really help it shine. One is the spectacular gunfight scenes this anime has. As you would expect deals never work out the way the group plans and when that happens they let their guns do the talking for them. The gunfights in this anime are amazing and blow you away. Some of them being even better than those gunfight scenes you see in Hollywood movies. The second thing that makes this anime work are its two main characters. Jonah is a pretty badass character. He’s a child soldier who’s known nothing but war his whole life. Even though he doesn’t talk much because of past drama the guy still presses on and doesn’t whine or complain about it like some other characters I know. Koko the leader of the mercenaries is one of the most unique anime characters I’ve met. She is one of those people who you are just drawn to. You would follow this person to ends of the Earth and willingly die for her because she’s that good of a leader and worth dying for. She pretty much represents the ideal freedom that all of the characters desire in this anime because she’s a person who once she puts her mind something she can be pretty much do anything she wants. She sees how corrupt and messed up the world is and is trying to fix it from the inside out. The rest of the cast is also good and funny but it’s Jonah and Koko who really make this anime for me personally along with the amazing gunfight scenes. If you’re looking for an anime that’s simple action with great characters, and a dark setting with an easy to follow story line than this anime is for you.
Anime and all forms of media have always stuck to linear storytelling. Any time an anime or movie for that matter tries to move away from this linear storytelling usually fails. This is mostly because of bad characters, stories, ideas, or poor animation. Good thing Baccano doesn’t have any of that. Baccano is the first anime I’ve seen break away from traditional linear storytelling and pull a complex story with multiple characters and settings successfully. The story of Baccano takes place in the prohibition years of 1930s America. Here we meet and follow a number of individuals who are unrelated to each other. We got thieves, mafia members, scientist, detectives, and alchemist looking for the elixir of immortality. We have a number of individual episodes following these group of characters all of which are done amazingly well. Each character is unique and has their own personality that makes them enjoyable to watch from the hilarious antics of Issac and Miria to the marvelous and sometimes scary performance of the psychopathic Ladd. There’s not a single character in this anime that I didn’t hate and this anime has a pretty big cast of 12 main characters so to see an anime balance out all of these characters and give them enough screentime for us to get to know them is cool. On top of great character the animation in this anime is great to look at. The colors they used in this anime just pop out and come to life. The studio that did this animation was Brain Base (Durarara and Blood Lad) who at the time were a small and not so well-known studio so to see them produce something this amazing was pretty impressive. The music is jazz theme which fits perfectly with the setting of the 1930s America and is enjoyable to listen to from beginning to end. Another thing this anime has going for it is it’s amazing cast of VAs both in the sub and dub. Whichever you decide to watch you’re gonna enjoy the VAs. I think the only complaint I’ve heard about this anime is not enough character development from some people but the lack of character development didn’t really bother me all that much since I was having so much fun watching this anime from beginning to end. While this anime didn’t receive a lot of recognition when it first came out its recently been building up a good fanbase these last few years and is one I highly recommend for people looking for something new to watch and if you want to see how to break away from traditional storytelling correctly than this is the anime you should watch.
#8. Ouran High Host Club
Here’s an anime for you and your boyfriend/girlfriend to enjoy together. The anime focuses on a girl named Haruhi a common girl who thanks to a scholarship goes to a high class school. There she meets the Ouran High Host Club a group of spoiled privileged boys who spend all their time flirting with girls. After an accident Haruhi is forced to join the host club to repay them back and the rest of the anime just focuses on this normal girl with common sense trying to deal with the day to day activities of these spoiled privileged boys who don’t have an ounce of common sense between them. Now this anime is obviously directed at girls with the main character being a girl and having her own reverse harem going on but surprisingly I’ve heard that guys like to watch this anime as well mostly due to three things. One is Haruhi, she’s a well-written character. In fact, if I’m being really honest she’s one of the best female characters I’ve seen an anime. Second, despite romance being a big part of the anime it’s done in a mature way that doesn’t talk down to people or make them feel uncomfortable. Finally, the boys are downright funny. I mean it the members of the Host Club are hilarious with each one being a stereotype of all the shonen boys that girls like. The shota, the prince, the quiet one, the smart one, and of course the twins and their twincest but the funniest one is Tamaki the prince who is funny in the sub but hilarious in the dub thanks to the voicing of Vic Mignogna. He just takes this character up to a whole new level. If you’re looking to get your boyfriend or girlfriend into anime this is the anime I would recommend to you. Girls will love it for its strong female character and hot boys while boys will love it for its comedy and its romantic but not too romantic atmosphere.
#7. Kuruko’s Basketball
I’ve said before I’m not a big fan of sports anime. This is mostly because most sports animes usually don’t focus on the sport itself but instead talk about the sport or the uninteresting and linear characters. That and the first sports anime I watched was Prince of Tennis which featured a very unbelievable main character who was a prick and someone I couldn’t relate to. Kuruko’s Basketball on the other hand is that one sport’s anime that earns my respect. The series focuses on a high school basketball player named Taiga whose goal is to be the number one basketball player in Japan and to do that he wants to see how he stacks up against the Generation of Miracle players. Five players who were said to be the most dominant players in middle school who all went their separate ways when they went to high school and now Taiga wants to face them and see how he stacks up against them. Lucky for him, joining the high school team with him is another player named Tetsuya who was considered the sixth man of the Generation of Miracles team and just like Taiga he wants to measures his skills against all of them and come out on top. The two form an unlikely friendship and vow to be the best players Japan has ever known. For starters I love basketball and this anime focuses on nothing but basketball. The basketball games are exciting. You get swept into them, rooting for the main characters to win and everything. There’s just so much passion and energy put into these games that I can relate to and enjoy. The characters are also great too. I like Tetsuya and Taiga, the two make the perfect team. Taiga is that strong and dominant power forward who’s always pushing himself to the limits and going beyond them, seeking a challenge, and dreams of being the best player there is. He is loud, in control, energetic, and will not be ignored on the court. Tetsuya on the other is that point guard every coach dreams of having. Selfless, fast, smart, great passer, and just like Taiga wants to be the best there is in the world. However unlike Taiga, Tetsuya is small, quiet, stoic, and controls the court from the shadows fooling everyone. While it may seem he doesn’t care deep down he really does care about his team and their goals. This anime wastes no time, by the end of the first episode we establish who are characters are, where they come from, what they’re like, and what they hope to accomplish and by the third episode we have are first basketball game which gives us what we want. Hook shots, dunks, excellent shooting, no dumb fools, and managing to tell its story through the games. The animation is great, the character designs are great, the music pumps you up, and the characters are funny and a joy to watch. If you’re fan of basketball this is an anime I highly recommend to you guys and for you guys out there who don’t like basketball here are a few other good sport animes I think you’ll enjoy.
For fans of boxing we have Hajime no Ippo. For baseball we have Diamond no Ace. Ping Pong the animation is a good coming of age story. The animation might be a little strange, distracting, and offsetting at first but trust me it’s worth checking out. I’ve heard Eyeshield 21 is a decent American football anime. For any bicycle enthusiast out there Yowa no Pedal is the anime for you. Free is a good swimming anime if you can get pass all the yaoi undertones in the show. Haikyuu for anybody who enjoys volleyball. Bamboo Blade is good for anybody interested in kendo. Surprisingly there aren’t that many soccer animes out there but I’ve heard Inazuma Eleven, Area no Kishi, and Ginga e Kickoff are worth checking out. If you like racing there’s Oban Star Racers and Initial D. Baby Steps for anyone who likes tennis. And finally for more basketball greatness there’s Slam Dunk which many people consider to be the predecessor of Kuruko’s Basketball. Now all they need is an anime about MMA fighting and we’re be all set.
#6. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
Before Panty and Stocking and Kill La Kill were the mindfucks of crazy animes TTGL was blowing our minds. The anime takes place in an alternate future where mankind lives underground thanks to these creatures known as Beastmen. However Kamina and his soul brother Simon find a robot and together with Yoko a hot girl carrying a gun and wearing an even hotter outfit wage war against the Beastmen in an effort to free mankind from living underground. This anime was pretty revolutionary when it first came out. The animation was amazing unlike anything we’ve seen before. It is crazy but at the same time so amazing. The anime is basically a mecha/adventure with a coming age main character who starts off as this weak and timid boy but through the process of the series becomes a man who leads the human race to victory. That’s what this anime is gonna do to you when you watch it. It turns boys into men. There are so many memorable moments and lines in this anime that people still repeat to this day and the ideas and thoughts presented in this anime leave a lasting impression on your soul. This anime isn’t about strategy, thinking smart, or trying to be the best at something, this is about one’s will power to overcome the impossible. That rush and excitement you get when you feel you’ve been back into corner and everything seems impossible you just say fuck it and go all out giving it your best, coming out on top at the end, and feeling like a new man. This is one of the few mecha animes out there that I can honestly say I enjoyed from beginning to end. It was epic, had great characters who were well developed, and an excellent story that kept your attention. The anime may not have ended on a happy note but it ended on the note that left you satisfied and if you ever decide to watch one mecha series in your life this is the one I highly recommend watching.
#5. Kino’s Journey
How does one describe Kino’s Journey? Well for starters it’s a journey. It’s an anime that centers around a girl named Kino, her talking motorcycle, and their various interactions with the world and the people in it as they travel. I really don’t know how to describe this anime, it’s one of those animes that just sucks you in. If I had to compare it to another anime I compare it to Jing: The King of Bandits. Both animes are similar in that they both focus on the characters and their interactions with the world around them. Both of these animes have deep undertone themes about reality that viewers can relate to and have deep and meaningful discussions about. Both Kino and Jing are great leads who you can relate to and have comic relief partners that get you to laugh. Both worlds are artistic and each episode is a self-contained story which could easily stand alone as a series of its own. The only real difference is Jing’s world is more fictional where Kino’s world is more realistic and takes place in a real world setting. If I had to say which one I enjoyed watching the most I would have to say Kino’s Journey. Just like I said before the anime just sucks you in with its writing and its undertone themes about human nature and philosophy. Music that sets the mood for the anime and surprisingly good action scenes that you wouldn’t expect to take place in an anime like this. Another plus is that you really don’t need to dig too deeply into the story of the anime to really enjoy it. Just watch the first episode and you’ll instantly be sucked into this series. If you’re looking for an anime that’s deep, meaningful, and something you can get sucked into real quickly this anime is for you.
This is a romance anime done correctly. The anime focuses on two people who each have a crush on each other’s best friend and agree to help set each other out with their crushes and in the process develop feelings for each other. As I said before this is a romance anime done correctly. The characters are all unique, their interactions and chemistry with each other was a joy to watch. They’re all relatable thanks to the anime going in-depth about their character where we see both their strong points and weak points. The story gets rid of all those clichés you see in all sorts of harem and romance animes that drags the story down and makes the characters look dumb and out of character. In this anime all the characters are in character, they all have a reason and motive for what they do and how they acted. The anime even manages to catch me by surprise with its unpredictable love story the first time I watched it. I honestly didn’t expect these characters to get together in the anime but by the end I was happy that the main couple got together and was cheering for them all the way. This was a romance anime I really did enjoy and is one both guys and girls will enjoy watching.
#3. Angel Beats
This is an anime that a lot of people consider to be mainstream but I don’t because I rarely hear anybody talk about it or recommend it. A lot of people say they’ve watched it and say it’s the best anime they’ve ever seen but when I ask them what anime they would recommend to first time watchers of anime they never recommend this anime and it’s a shame because this anime is very good. The anime focuses on a bunch of people who are dead and living in purgatory which is a high school. The school is run by the petite and cute student council president Kanade which students call Angel and fight against her in the hopes that they’ll get answers into why they’re here. But our main character Yuzuru finds himself drawn to Kanade and as he tries to regain his memories and understand Kanade he slowly begins to unravel the mystery of the afterlife and why he and the others are here. This anime brings out so many emotions in you both good and sad as you really do come to love all of these characters and seeing the pain of how they all died so young is enough to bring a tear to anyone’s eye. Yuzuru’s backstory is one of the saddest and most inspiring backstories I’ve ever seen in anime. But the anime isn’t all about sad tales this anime has a lot of funny moments that make you laugh as well as characters who keep you laughing. The funniest character is without a doubt TK who is a side character who just says random things in English. He’s nonsensical, nothing he says makes sense to you, but he’s just so funny and likable. He’s like the anime version of Christopher Walken. The animation and soundtrack for this anime is stunning. This was the best animated anime to come out of 2010 and the music makes the scenes work so well. It sets the mood and conveys the feelings of the characters in the scene. Now with some people calling it the best anime out there you’re probably wondering if I think the same thing? Well the answer to that question is no. Don’t get me wrong the anime is very good but I don’t think it’s as great as a lot of people make it out to be because of its flaws. For starters they never really give us a chance to explore all of the character’s past and it’s bad because a lot of these characters were interesting and I wanted to know more about them. A lot of the characters who everyone likes were brushed off to the side and not explored as much as they needed to be. Because the anime was only 13 episodes they crammed in a lot of stuff that it got confusing at times and rushed passed a lot of other stuff such as character developments and romances. But despite these flaws I still enjoyed the anime for what it was and I think it’s worth checking out for its stunning animation, great soundtrack, and idea about the afterlife and what it could possibly be like.
#2. Urasawa’s Monster
This is the father of psychological animes. If you thought Death Note and Steins; Gate were deep and psychological than you’re gonna love this anime, it makes both these animes look like a child’s story. The anime focuses on a doctor who pretty much has a great life where everything is going his way. One day the doctor is pressured to save the life of either the mayor of his town or a small child. Everyone tells him to save the mayor but because of his morals he performs surgery on the child instead saving the child’s life and forfeiting the mayor’s life. All of a sudden the doctor’s world is turned upside down as everyone he holds close to him begins to die and all the evidence points to the child he saved. Now the doctor seeks to uncover the truth about the child and in turn the fate of the world may depend on his discovery. First off the writing for this anime is phenomenal. The pacing is slow but not too slow in that it captures the audience with great moments of awe, shock, depravity, anticipation, and excitement. The anime does a good job at getting as close to our reality as possible that it’s frightening at times as the anime tackles dark and uncomfortable subjects such as the mind of a sociopath, morality issues regarding the value of human life and the origin of evil and it’s all done in a way that’s mature and doesn’t speak down to its audience. Nothing feels wasted in this anime. Every scene and line of dialogue takes us deeper into the development and character of these characters casting either suspicion or trust on them and you the viewer trying to decide if this is a person I trust or not. In a way it’s similar to great mystery game you don’t know who you can trust, who’s your ally or enemy, and it’s up to you to use your brains and intelligence to solve this mystery with every decision you make having a consequence. Probably the greatest feat of this anime is the characters. Next to the writing the characters are the greatest aspect of this anime with each of them being well written and coming to life. Even the side characters have their moments in the anime along with the main characters. The doctor’s transitions both emotional, physical, and mental lead you through a maze of personal and social morality with you being able to follow the transitions every step of the way. And the antagonist Johan Libert steals the show. If you’ve read my Top 11 scariest anime characters list you will know how much this guy scares me and how great of a villain he is. If you’re looking for any reason to watch this anime, watch it for this guy, he is just a thrill to watch and see. Death Note and Steins; Gate are great psychological animes but if you really wanna see the best psychological anime that explores the human mind and does it in a way you can follow without getting lost or scratching your head than this anime is for you.
And the number anime I recommend for the first time viewers is. . .
No. I can’t do it. It’s so good that it deserves its own review. Guys I hate to do this but you’ll have to tune in next week to see the #1 anime I recommend but until then check out these other animes I recommended you’ll love. Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next time on Project Nitsuj. Next week is gonna be great.
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