For better or worse, I’ve met most of my friends through anime in one way or another. It’s an interesting subculture, and when you meet someone in the world outside of Shonen Jump with a sticker of your waifu on their computer, it’s pretty easy to form friendships. For those who have yet to jump into anime, though, it can be intimidating; there are shows that don’t seem to end, fiercely passionate fan bases, and for many American fans, the language barrier.
Despite the initial challenges, I’m a firm believer in the power of a good storyline. When you find your show, all that matters is the story; subtitles or English-dubbed audio becomes secondary.
My first recommendation for everyone is Ouran High School Host Club. Based on the manga by Bisco Hatori, Ouran tells the story of Haruhi Fujioka, an honor student at Ouran High School, as she works to pay off her ¥8,000,000 debt to the host club. Consisting of five boys, the host club offers date-like appointments for female students. Ouran is the anime equivalent of a romantic comedy–called a shojo–and, accordingly, there’s a kawaii love story told within the twenty-six episodes.
Soul Eater is another cute anime, but it falls into the category of shonen, or action. This series revolves around a group of students enrolled in Death Meister Academy, run by Death himself. Students who can transform into weapons are paired with weapon meisters to wield them and fight against evil. The protagonists are Soul Eater Evans and Maka Albarn, a young weapon and meister team looking to graduate by capturing 99 souls and one witch soul. Their plans are soon complicated, making the plot that much more captivating.
For more intense action, One Punch Man is the way to go. Newly adapted to anime form, this series follows Saitama, an overpowered everyman who can defeat any enemy in a single punch. Bored with his immense strength, Saitama is always looking for someone who can defeat him. One Punch Man is an awesome shonen that I would recommend to anyone looking for an action-packed, funny story with lovable and dynamic characters.
Breaking into anime can feel difficult, but I support every endeavor to explore this amazing style of animation. There’s an anime for everyone–you just have to start watching.