The world that hardcore anime-lovers—or otakus, as they are called—paint with their intense discussions on Reddit, obscure memes and GIFs can overwhelm someone mildly curious about it and make them feel like a complete outsider.
The most popular anime tropes that fans swear by aren’t for everybody.
“It all sounds so weird, and hard to keep up with,” my friends often complain.
But since Netflix has actively made Japanese animated shows more mainstream, it’s become harder to ignore, even if it’s just to stay up to date with the latest hashtags.
If you are on the fence but want to dip your toes into this world, this list is for you.
This list deliberately avoids tentpoles of the anime world like One Piece, Dragon Ball Z and Bleach, and ones most recommended like Sword Art Online, Death Note and Attack on Titan. Instead, here are five gateway series to get you started:
1. One-Punch Man
What it’s about: One-PunchMan follows Saitama, who aspired to become a hero on a whim. So he perfected his martial arts and can now knock anyone out with a single punch.
Similar to:Deadpool (or every Hollywood blockbuster ever)
Why you should watch it: We have all been to theatres to watch “event” feature films for some straight-up entertainment. The lack of a good plot hardly gets in the way of enjoying things blow up on the big screen (sometimes in 3D). Now imagine that for every episode of a series, and you get One-Punch Man.
Cliched, predictable AF, where the all-powerful hero always wins. So why watch?
The existential crisis that comes after you’ve achieved your ultimate dream and have nothing to chase after is the central conflict of this show. Suddenly, the superhero isn’t all that different from an office worker who’s so good at his job that everyday life becomes frustratingly boring and meaningless.