Beginner's Guide

Anime: A Beginner’s Guide Chapter 5: Finding A Starting Point

By this point, you should be ready to start looking into finding a title to enjoy. Still, it might be overwhelming to even consider where to begin with hundreds of titles out there, most of which being terrible, or laden with so many obscure inside jokes that they seem like they’re written in another language (well, they are, but…). I could take the easy way out, and just list off the shows I started with, but that would be a disservice to you, dear reader. Instead, I’d like to begin outlining just what to look for as you start off.

Start With What You Like

If action's your speed, go with action! Don't watch what you hate!

This is the first, yet most important point. Don’t go nuts and try to force yourself into something you might hate, just because you want to be different. Everyone has an idea of what they enjoy and dislike from the get go. And, typically, people that try to go against the grain end up burning out before too long.

If you like action flicks, stick with action shows, like Black Lagoon or Cowboy Bebop. If your preference is comedy, stick with that. After all, there’s plenty of material out there, and lots of time to experiment as you get more familiar with the hobby.

Don’t Dive Too Deep, Too Fast

Otaku pander shows are new fan kryptonite.

Most of the conception of anime being “weird” comes from people diving straight into shows that many would deem “otaku pander.” Seriously, if I had a nickel for every fan that tried to convince their friends that shows like The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya or Genshiken, which rely heavily on prior knowledge of other anime titles are good starting points, I’d be able to retire. The problem with this approach is that these friendly fans mean well, but they tend to forget that shows of this sort rely heavily on a knowledge of other anime titles, conventions and stereotypes to really appeal to the viewer. And, if you’re starting out, you simply don’t have that baseline to work with.

Take it easy, and go at your own pace. You’ll enjoy the hobby more if you have fun with what you’re doing.

Ignore the Hardcore Fans… to an Extent

Screw the haters. These shows are popular for a reason.

Hardcore anime fans are a great resource for show recommendations as you get accustomed to the hobby. However, there are a ton of shows that tend to be hate-bait. Titles like Dragon Ball Z, Naruto, or Bleach tend to have huge followings, but at the same time, there are dozens, if not hundreds of fans that would gladly put these shows down as abominations, or “shames to anime.” Of course, at any given time, it also seems as if half of the subculture hates your favorite show at any given time, with certain exceptions. Frankly, these people are either full of crap, or so insecure in their tastes that they refuse to acknowledge that a show they dislike can be enjoyable to others. But these special individuals will be discussed at length in an upcoming chapter.

Frankly, these shows are popular for a reason. Their long length, continuous action, and not-too-alienating plots. They’re easy to pick up on, even hundreds of episodes in, and provide a consistently fun experience to newcomers and long-time viewers. If this is your thing, go for it. Ignore the people that hate, and just have fun with your new hobby.

Previous: A Brief Dictionary of Jargon and Fan Terms
Next: A Brief Primer

About the author

Samantha Ferreira

Samantha Ferreira is Anime Herald’s founder and editor-in-chief. A Rhode Island native, Samantha has been an anime fan since 1992, and an active member of the anime press since 2002, when she began working as a reviewer for Anime Dream. She launched Anime Herald in 2010, and continues to oversee its operations to this day. Outside of journalism, Samantha actively studies the history of the North American anime fandom and industry, with a particular focus on the 2000s anime boom and bust. She’s a huge fan of all things Sakura Wars, and maintains series fansite Combat Revue Review when she has free time available. When not in the Anime Herald Discord, Samantha can typically be found on Bluesky.

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