With more and more anime series streaming on Hulu and Netflix, it's safe to say that the genre is becoming increasingly popular in the United States. But even with this increase in viewers, there are still plenty of people who find the genre difficult to get into.
As with anything you're trying for the first time, it's important to choose the right series to start with. These are just a few that will resonate with those giving anime a try.
1. "Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood"
If you're looking for a compelling plot, well-crafted magic system and lovable characters, "Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood" is the perfect anime to start with. The series follows Edward and Alphonse Elric, two brothers in search of the legendary Philosopher's Stone.
But what starts as an attempt to get Alphonse's body back winds up being a far more dangerous journey. The Elric brothers aren't the only ones seeking the Stone, and the fate of the world may depend on keeping it away from their enemies.
2. "Attack on Titan"
Fans of the dystopian genre are sure to fall head over heels for "Attack on Titan." It's set in a world where humanity resides behind three walls, hidden from the man-eating titans that live on the outside. Of course, the story begins when these titans finally breach the walls that have protected humanity for so many years.
After losing his home and mother to these creatures, Eren Jaeger decides to join the military. Signing up for the Scouts Regiment, he and his friends choose a life of fighting titans and searching for the truth. They're determined to make the land outside the walls inhabitable for humans once more.
"Attack on Titan" is full of action, and it gets pretty political at times. The large cast of characters are all relatable, and they each have secrets that will keep the twists and turns coming.
3. "My Hero Academia"
"My Hero Academia" contains the perfect combination of action and humor to hook any anime newbie. The main character, Izuku, lives in a world where people have superpowers called "quirks." All his life, Izuku has longed for a quirk so that he can become a hero. Unfortunately, life isn't on his side in that regard.
When Izuku meets his idol, All Might, he realizes that being a hero isn't just about having powers. And his entire life changes following that encounter.
Fans of superhero movies and underdog stories are bound to love "My Hero Academia." With characters like Izuku, how could they not?
"Naruto" is one of those huge and intimidating anime series, but it's one that anime fans often start out with. So if you aren't overwhelmed by the number of episodes, it could be the perfect starter series for you.
As you might have guessed, the show follows Naruto as he and his classmates train to become ninjas. But Naruto doesn't want to be any ninja; he wants to be the Hokage, the most powerful in his entire village. Sadly, old prejudices and shocking reveals will make his goal difficult to achieve.
If you enjoy following characters as they grow up and hone their skills, "Naruto" may be a great fit for you. Once you're in far enough, it won't be easy to put down the remote.
5. "One Punch Man"
Comedy fans looking to explore the world of anime should check out "One Punch Man." As the title suggests, the series tells the story of a nonchalant hero who defeats his enemies with just one punch.
Sound ridiculous? It is. And still, you'll find yourself becoming more and more invested in Saitama's struggles (or lack thereof). The writing and humor will hook you, and the characters will keep you hitting play.
And once you finish it, you won't be sorry to have wasted an entire day in front of the television.
6. "Sword Art Online"
With its first season capping at about 24 episodes, "Sword Art Online" falls on the shorter end of anime series. There are several seasons after this one, but you can watch the first without continuing onward.
"Sword Art Online" takes place in 2022, a future in which society has developed virtual reality games so vivid that gamers spend the majority of their lives playing. But thousands of people become trapped in the world of "Sword Art Online" when the game's creator decides that players must beat the game to escape. The worst part? If they die in the game, they die in real life.
The series follows Korito as he learns to master the game and saves a few lives along the way. But how long will he have to endure virtual reality, and will he survive until the game is over? Well, I guess you'll have to pick this up to find out.
7. "Tokyo Ghoul"
11"Tokyo Ghoul" is a bit darker than the other series on this list, but that just makes it more interesting. The series takes place in a world where ghouls lurk among humans, only able to survive by feasting on their flesh.
When Ken Kaneki runs into one of these ghouls, he believes his life is about to end. Instead, a doctor saves him by performing a surgery that leaves him half-human and half-ghoul. As you can imagine, the incident turns his entire life upside down.
And Kaneki must learn to navigate his new life with human morals, ghoulish instincts and a number of powerful enemies after him. If that isn't intense enough to draw you in, I don't know what will.
8. "Akame Ga Kill"
"Akame Ga Kill!" is a lesser known series, but it's suspenseful, political and full of action - basically, everything you could want in a television show, animated or no.
When Tatsumi travels from the country to The Capital, he expects to build a new life for himself. Instead, he becomes unexpectedly wrapped up in a revolution. Falling in with a band of assassins who deem themselves "Night Raid," Tatsumi is forced to acknowledge how corrupt the Empire really is. And then he's given the opportunity to do something about it.
But he soon learns that starting an uprising requires sacrifice on both ends. He'll have to decide how far he's willing to go to fight injustice.
Those seeking contemporary anime should definitely give "Erased" a try. While it does have a supernatural component to it, and a bit of murder mystery too, this series is sure to captivate anyone who watches it.
The story follows Satoru, who comes home to find that his mother was murdered. In order to catch the killer and undo her death, he uses a time travelling ability to return to his childhood. It appears that the deaths of three of his classmates may be linked to his mother's - and Satoru may be able to prevent those too.
Unfortunately, Satoru's success is dependent on how quickly he can discover the murderer's identity. And while doing so could save a number of lives, it could also change the entire course of his own.
The big reveal at the end of "Erased" is reason enough to watch. But if that doesn't convince you, there are also plenty of heartwarming moments and unique characters to occupy any uncertain viewer. Trust me, you'll fall right into this series.
10. "Death Note"
"Death Note" is another anime that falls on the darker end, but it also asks some important questions.
The series follows high school student Light, who discovers a notebook that kills anyone whose name is written in it. Light begins using this Death Note to rid the world of criminals, but in doing so, he becomes a criminal himself. The other half of the series follows the police force investigating the case.
With such a dark protagonist, "Death Note" stands out from a lot of other popular anime shows. That alone is a reason to give it a shot, but its themes and questions of playing god also make this series worthwhile.
A name like "Danganronpa" may intimidate anyone reading this list, but it shouldn't. With a murder mystery, a dash of dystopia and a maniacal teddy bear, you won't want to miss out on this anime.
Here's the gist of this series: A group of high school students believe they're about to begin their career at a prestigious school, only to wake and discover that they've been fooled. Someone trapped them at this school, and the only way to graduate and escape is to kill all of the other students. The last one standing makes it out alive.
Fans of "The Hunger Games" and "Battle Royale" will enjoy this, though it isn't always as dark as it sounds. The entire operation is overseen by a murderous teddy bear - yes, you heard that correctly - who keeps the series humorous despite its darker nature.