Anime is a genre that’s as broad and diverse as it is captivating. Blending modern and traditional, realism and fantasy, discover our must-see Anime recommendations.
Not everyone gets it, and for that we are thankful. As popular as Anime is, it’s still relatively contained within certain communities. Obviously, it’s immensely popular in Japan among youth and adults, but it’s slowly growing in reach, with Google showing 10M – 100M keyword searches globally for ‘Anime’ every month. Despite this, there’s no denying that the unique style, tone and often complex storylines are simply too abstract for most of the modern world to comprehend, let alone enjoy. But we digress, this is ultimately a good thing. Anime is one of those special types of productions that flourishes because it hasn’t been influenced by Western culture, or yet tainted by mainstream media.
However, don’t be fooled into thinking you can just hop online and start streaming the first Anime you find, because the Japanese art form is broader and more diverse than you can imagine, covering all genres and even obscure sub-genres you didn’t know existed. So where do you begin as a young Anime enthusiast at the beginning of the road? Or even as someone with a few Anime under your belt looking for a solid recommendation? We wrote this article with you in mind, to introduce you to some of the best Anime of all time with amazing storylines, mind-bending plot twists and stunning animation.
Must Watch Anime Before You Die
Shingeki No Kyojin (Attack On Titan)
As with all good Anime, Attack On Titan is based off the original Manga series which began in 2009. When the Anime was released in 2013, the world couldn’t get enough of it. I mean, who doesn’t like 100 feet tall man-eating titans? These Titans first appeared 100 years ago, and despite not needing humans as a food source, they began ruthlessly killing and eating them anyway. The story revolves around Eren Jaeger, a young boy who is part of one of the last remaining communities that found safety by building giant Titan-proof walls 100 years ago. In this stronghold, there are three layers of walls, with the poorest occupying the outer walls, and the wealthy and privileged occupying the inner walls.
With peace reigning ever since they were built, they are now threatened for the first time when a colossal Titan shows up (the biggest ever seen) and kicks a hole right through the outer wall. With the fate of humanity hanging in the balance, Eren and his friends join an elite military force of Titan killers with one agenda, to eliminate every last Titan. Eren’s motivations go beyond just survival. It’s a personal grudge, and his emotions lead to a story that is epic and touching, with sinister overtones and crazy twists.
Who are these Titans? Where did they come from and why do they devour humans for fun? There’s only one way to find out. Watching Attack On Titan will keep you in a constant state of tension, making it impossible to put it away.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
This is considered a classic in the Anime world, and there’s no way we can skip past it. Brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric live in a world of Alchemy, which is bound by the laws of equivalent exchange. “In order for something to be obtained, something of value must be lost”. Ed and Al find this out the hard way when they try to use alchemy to bring their deceased mother back to life. For this, they pay a terrible price, with Edward losing an arm and Alphonse losing his entire body. In a final moment of desperation, Ed sacrifices his right arm in order to attach his younger brothers soul to a suit of armor, allowing him to remain in the realm of the living. Despite their losses, the resurrection still failed.
The two brothers must now set out on a journey to retrieve the Philosopher’s stone, which is claimed to have the power to overcome Equivalent Exchange. They head out in hopes that they can use this mystic relic to restore them both to their original bodies. However, they get caught up in a nationwide conspiracy, facing great evils while simultaneously discovering dark secrets about their family and country.
Bursting at the seams with magic, mythical creatures, and epic battles, Fullmetal Alchemist is a touching tale of morality, family, and philosophy that’s sure to jerk a few tears. The soundtrack is as epic as they come too. If you haven’t done so already, watch FMA: Brotherhood right now here for free.
Kimi No Na Wa (Your Name)
When a comet falls for the first time in 1000 years, it brings with it a supernatural phenomenon that connects two unlikely people in different places at different times. An endearing Japanese tale of love, the animated movie Kimi No Na Wa takes place between Tokyo and rural Japan and took the world by storm after it’s release in 2016. Mitsuha and Taki start to experience the strange phenomenon of swapping bodies when they dream at night. When they start to realize what’s happening, they begin communicating by leaving notes for each other during the swaps.
Naturally, they fall in love, and Taki goes on a journey to try and meet Mitsuha but is met by a dramatic turn of events that deeply impact each other’s lives, weaving them into a fabric held together by fate and circumstance. A heart-wrenching tale with state of the art animation and emotional soundtrack, Kimi No Na Wa combines the idea of a distant and hopeless love with celestial elements of time travel that will leave you speechless. With a 97 percent review on Rotten Tomatoes and 5 stars on many other forums, this is not one to miss.
The bottom line
This is certainly only scratching the surface of some of the best Anime out there, but these are the best places to start. Magic, adventure, philosophy, morality and raw emotions, the above-listed Anime embodies them all in a highly digestible format that is guaranteed to have you hooked within the first five minutes. For free Anime streaming services, check out GoGoAnime boasting an impressive collection of some of the finest Japan has to offer. Enjoy!