My name is Allyn, and I’m an anime “newbie.” Until recently, my only anime experience included Studio Ghibli’ and a single episode of Sailor Moon...and also Avatar: The Last Airbender, but I’m learning there’s some debate regarding that being an anime (?). Now before getting into my anime adventure, you should know that...I work at Right Stuf Anime. Yep. I landed a job at an anime company without having really watched any anime. So here we go...
When I accepted my job at Right Stuf, I was assured that I didn’t have to be an anime expert—many of us aren’t. My main goal was to have an open mind to a genre that I hadn’t explored yet. Honestly, I was ready for anything but then I realized that there are genres upon genres of anime. I had no idea where to start. People around the office would be talking about Gundam, and I’d just be thinking, “What is a gun ham?” I had some catching up to do. Luckily, the Right Stuf team is full of some of the best coworkers I’ve ever had. In an attempt to help me narrow down my search, they created a spreadsheet for me titled “Allyn’s Neverending List of Show Recommendations.”
I started my “anime adventure” with Aggretsuko, and it was a great choice. I love that red panda. Retsuko is dealing with a lot of stress in her day-to-day life and uses her super ragin’ death metal vocals to manage her stress. It’s lighthearted and, as I’ve referred to it, a “buffer,” meaning that it’s the kind of show you watch after viewing something else that is emotionally taxing (see A Silent Voice). Not a show I would watch everyday, but a great choice when I’m needing some good feels. Rating: 10/10
2. A Silent Voice
After talking with my co-worker, Jake, about having watched Spirited Away and Kiki’s Delivery Service, he recommended I watch A Silent Voice. He warned me that I would definitely “get all the feels” if I watched it, so of course I had to watch it. I experienced a lot of emotions all at once, and then I cried a little, and then I cried a little more. I’m not usually the type of person to cry at a movie or show, but A Silent Voice could make even the toughest person cry. It was emotional, and whether or not you’ve experienced bullying, or watched someone close to you deal with a bully, the film really does a great job of helping you relate to the characters. Rating: 10/10
3. Vinland Saga
I’d been keeping an eye on the top trending anime shows for awhile and Vinland Saga kept showing up in the top ten. When it reached number one, I had to give it a try (it is also listed in the spreadsheet my co-workers made). This is a show that I think could push me into the action subgenre. Vikings are fascinating, and the battle sequences are probably some of the most artistic I’ve seen. I was impressed. Rating: (9/10)
4. One Punch Man
Wow. Just wow. I loved this show. The main character, Saitama, decides to become the world’s best superhero when he comes across a naive little butt-chinned boy about to get squashed by a giant crab—and from that day on, he destroys every enemy with a single punch. This is the most underrated way to explain the plotline because this is not a simple show, the main character is not a simple guy, and the “one punch” plot is not as simple as it seems. Saitama fulfills his desire to save the world but finds that his true passion lies in the pure challenge of a fight when good overcomes evil. I think it’s safe to say I’ll be watching this show regularly. Rating: 10/10
If anyone else is stumbling through the world of anime and wondering what to watch next, maybe the list will help you too. Please keep in mind, I only watched one to three episodes of each show, and my ratings are only based off of my first impression. Also note that each show/movie has a different mood to it. In my opinion, Aggretsuko and One Punch Man would be shows that are more uplifting and contribute some action and humor, whereas A Silent Voice and Vinland Saga are a bit heavier and have complex plots. I like to have a variety of shows/movies to choose from that can fit the mood I’m in. To summarize, I think these first four were able to help me figure out what types of shows to look for next time. Only 40-some recommendations to go!