If you’re not a newbie to the anime world but definitely wanna gain that veteran status, this is the perfect guide for you!
Author’s Note: This article is 100% spoiler free. A majority of the anime listed can be streamed for free on services like Crunchyroll or Funimation, and some can be found on paid services like Netflix or HULU.
Whether you’re an avid cartoon lover looking to expand your horizons, or you’re still obsessed with classics like Sailor Moon, Pokémon, and Yu-Gi-Oh!, the anime world has always been in your field of vision in one way or another.
You’re not as new to the game as someone just starting out, but you know that you’re not as well versed as some of your friends, nevertheless, that shouldn’t stop you from exploring this worthwhile genre!
From personal lessons I’ve learned over the years, to crap I’ve realized takes time getting used to, here’s a list of shit you should know before diving into Anime!
1. The Dub vs Sub war is eternal. Choose your side wisely.
All of the anime widely shown on American television (Dragon Ball, One Piece, Sailor Moon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Naruto, etc.) has been translated from the original Japanese language into English, this is a concept known as Dubbing. Regardless of what anime you end up watching, a majority of the time (but not always) you’ll have the option to either watch your show in the English Dub or watch it in Japanese with the English subtitles (Sub).
If you think this is an insignificant preference in which you can choose either and move on with your day then you are sorely mistaken my friend.
Although it’s easier to listen to things in English, you have to remember that anime isn’t the same as American cartoons.
When you have a show fitted for, and geared towards, the Japanese language, the art style, mannerisms, and emotional range within the writing is all designed to support that. Compared to English, the Japanese language is more vocally expressive, thus the Japanese VAs (voice actors) are able to bring an intensity that amplifies the stunning visuals and emotional scenes.
Much of this passion is lost when anime are translated into English, especially since many English VAs don’t put in the effort to pronounce names and titles correctly.
For example: The name Izuku Midoriya, pronounced: Ee-zu-koo Mih-tho-ri-ya in Japanese, would become the accent-less Eye-zoo-koo Mi-door-iya in English.
I won’t lie, at first reading subtitles quickly and watching the show can be difficult to do at the same time, but trust me, you’ll get used to it! So used to it in fact, that not only have I started reading the subtitles faster than they can speak, I’ve started picking up bits and pieces of the language (further encouraging me to look past my own culture and appreciate others)!
The choice to watch things in Dub or Sub is up to you, but I urge you to think about how much you’ll be missing out if you only watch things for the sake of convenience.
2. Anime is not a cartoon, BE AWARE OF THE DIFFERENT GENRES!
Do yourself a favor and keep this in mind, the genres in American cartoons aren't quite the same as the ones in anime. Sure you have the basic themes like romance, comedy, and action, but there are also a shit ton of sub genres you need to consider as well.
If your anime is action oriented, is it high fantasy or Sci-fi? Are dark themes and/or heavy gore involved? For example: Attack on Titan, The Promised Neverland, Tokyo Ghoul etc.
Or is the action you seek more along the lines of the slice of life genre (a genre that is 100% wholesome and light hearted) like sports anime? For example: Haikyu!!, Kuroko no Basuke, Sk8: The Infinity, Free! Iwatobi Swimming Club etc.
Maybe you want something that has fantasy elements, isn’t insanely gorey and has a great plot with well rounded characters? For example: My Hero Academia, One Piece, Hunter X Hunter, Bungo Stray Dogs etc.
Or is something short and quick more your speed? For example: Erased, Balance: Unlimited, The Great Pretender, Blue Exorcist etc.
There are hundreds of different genre mashups you may encounter, and the more anime you watch the more you’ll understand what you’re into and what you’re not.
So until then, read the tags, verify what you’re being recommended (either with a quick google search or by asking your friends), and tread carefully!
3. The Manga System
You know how movies are sometimes based on books? Well with anime that’s almost always the case. I can’t think of a single anime off the top of my head that didn’t have a manga that went with it. Now it’s important to note two things, the first is that you are not required to read the manga.
I went for years not reading or buying any of the books related to my favorite shows because A. I was broke, and B. there are a lot!
On average a single volume in America is around $10 USD, but when a series has 20 books or more? Yeah that’s gonna take a bit more commitment.
There are definitely bonus features that come with investing in a manga series like personal thoughts from the author on character designs, extra artwork, and a few additional scenes/small background moments that might not make the final cut in the show!
Again, not required for enjoyment however, if you don’t read the manga then second thing I’ll note is to watch out for the manga readers.
Part of being in a fandom is making funny videos, hysterical incorrect quote memes, and a shit ton of other things, but you can’t always assume the content in your fandom will be spoiler free. If you’re up to date on the anime and are confused on how people know things that haven't happened yet, it’s because they read the manga.
Just like a book needs to be released before the movie, all printed manga volumes are released months in advance, and real time online access to chapters (which are released weekly and can be found on websites like Viz Media) are released even earlier than that.
So if reading manga isn’t on the table yet, try to make sure all your content is spoiler free!
4. Don’t judge an anime by its fandom.
Time for me to be one hundred percent transparent, many of the younger generation of anime watchers are extremely toxic.
For those that treat anime as the next bandwagon trend, many of them don’t give this genre the credit it deserves. From overlooking character development, to ignoring a show just because it has a slow burn, these kinds of fans are enough to turn anyone off from getting involved in a new show.
So here’s my final piece of advice, stay out of the fan drama and just watch whatever looks cool to you.
Don’t join the endless twitter wars, block out all the toxic shippers and ship whatever makes you happy (whether it’s gay, straight, poly etc.) support your fellow small businesses and cash in on their hot anime merch and just vibe.
Anime is a whole world of enjoyment, artistic exploration, and way of seeing the world. It’s not a phase or another place of useless aggression.
Don’t let that small group of toxic fans ruin what is no doubt going to be a great show.
Just let this experience be for you, and the people who see it the same will find you.
To always staying on that good weeb shit,