As important entry points into a new medium, gateway anime are of prime importance in an otaku’s journey. Anime (and by extension, manga) as a genre of storytelling began to emerge in the 1900s and while often emerging to be their own unique thing, this unique Japanese medium still (sometimes) derives inspired by comic books and animated films.
Nonetheless, to prevent oneself from being overwhelmed by the sheer amount of anime and manga that gets churned out each month, it’s best to pick a starting point. If someone has come across this list because they are one of those people – do not worry, the following recommendations are just what newbies need. This list is specifically curated to dip one’s toes into the breadth of genres and styles that are characteristic and even characterize anime.
For veteran who have been in the community for a long but just needs some recommendations for a friend, this list has got them covered as well!
Blue Lock and 9 other best gateway anime series that are guaranteed to make one fall in love with the medium
Death Note for the thriller-lovers
Death Note is a good debut series and will probably always be remembered as an iconic anime series that everyone who loves anime must watch. Death Note has a compelling conflict, and the show deftly sets up an intriguing chess match between two characters very early on. The end effect is a series that is tremendously addictive and but also very easy to get into for people unfamiliar with Japanese culture —the ideal gateway.
The relationship between L and Light is fascinating and never loses its allure. It is heartbreaking and interesting to see Light transform from a self-assured scholar to a crazed, virtue-signaling narcissist. This is a play fit for a Greek theatre.
Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood has a brilliant power system
Alchemy is a unique power system that occupies a unique place between science and magic, which blurs the line between science fiction and fantasy. Often compared to chemistry in a nascent stage before it came to pass in the modern age, alchemy in the real, medieval world was hardly as cool that was portrayed in this series.
Despite the brilliant battles, breathtaking visuals, awesome powers and creatures, Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood actually features a heart-warming story that delves into the consequence of over-reaching. Edward and Alphonso go on a journey that would take them against the gods of their world, all as they attempt to save themselves, recover their body parts and understand the scary truth behind their world. This serves as a great gateway as it is not uniquely Japanese or attuned to Oriental culture but features a historical insight into the crusades from a fictional stand point.
Dr. Stone is a unique premise featuring hope in a post-apocalypse
When Senku and his muscular companion Taiju awaken to find that humanity has been petrified, they use their skills to reconstruct society. When Senku, a scientific prodigy, and his muscular companion Taiju awaken to find humanity has been petrified, they use their skills to restore civilization.
Despite having an intriguing premise, the series gets stronger as it goes along and is a good introduction to well-known anime clichés for the novice. It also has enough originality to satisfy viewers who have grown bored of seeing the same themes and tropes over and over again. We have the overbearing hero with broccoli-like hair and brilliance, the strong woman, the mad psychopath, and more. In the series’ futuristic setting, when humanity has been petrified, these clichés are utilised while giving them a unique twist.
Assassination Classroom draws people with a bizarre premise but wins them with heart
An octopus-like monster who wears a suit and has the power to destroy the world, but unable to defeat him in any way, the government has to entertain his single demand – that he be allowed to teach a classroom full of rejects and misfits in an elite private school. If this sounds bizarre, it is true, but it is so much more, and as the government officials and spies try to coax the students into being assassins for killing their teacher, their personalities capture the comic sense and the audience’s hearts.
People need not understand anime and its history, or even its unique aspects to get into this bizarre storyline. Korosensei, Nagisa, Karma, and the unique cast of exaggerated yet weirdly relatable characters are sure to give viewers a great time while tugging on one’s heartstrings along the way.
Pokemon is for everyone who loves cute animals with power
The Pokemon anime, which is based on the video game series, was many kids’ first to anime outside of Japan. Although it is undoubtedly geared for small children, adults can still appreciate the charming creatures and humour. Although there are many episodes, the first season is an excellent place to start because the spectator may discover Pokemon alongside the main character.
Many people’s childhoods included episodes of the Pokemon television series. Pokemon is obviously geared towards kids, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing since the camaraderie between Ash and his Pokemon, the varied flora found throughout the regions, and the funny chemistry between Team Rocket will appeal to people of all ages.
Dragon Ball Z teaches its viewers to get better
Dragon Ball Z is one of the more simplistic yet easy-to-get-into anime with epic fights that make use of – or rather define and had given rise to – the shonen formula. The anime has cool power-ups, universe-bending rules and a protagonist that does not give up even in death.
All that makes sense for a person just getting into anime, who only has to plunge deeper into this medium to taste the brilliant writing of more nuanced shonen after experiencing the one that gave rise to it all, the godfather of modern shonen anime.
Blue Lock makes soccer epic for non-watchers of the sport
If anyone has ever participated in competitive sports (at any level, really), they will be able to relate to and sympathise with many of the characters better. It will be difficult to genuinely enjoy what makes each character tick and just shrug it off as unpalatable unless they have really experienced a competitive environment.
The characters appeal to people from all walks of life who are trying to improve themselves, whether it be Barou’s inhuman drive, Reo’s desire to emerge from his parents’ shadow, Nagi’s curious attempts to overcome his laziness, Bachira’s love for his sport, Shidou’s ambition to be the best, Rin’s capacity to balance family and play, Chigiri’s hesitation, or Isagi’s brilliant coming-of-age strategizing self.
Demon Slayer has a brilliant animation and gives insight into Japanese culture
Since its debut, Demon Slayer has received recognition for being a superb action shonen. The show’s production team, Ufotable, did an outstanding job fusing computer-generated imagery with themes drawn from traditional Japanese folklore and art to create a stunning and immersive experience.
Demon Slayer is not complicated to understand, especially if someone is unfamiliar with the legend that inspired it, despite the fact that it is deeply steeped in Japanese culture. The show is founded on fairly straightforward, universal goals like “protecting one’s family” or “defeating evil,” but because the sister of the main character is transformed, these goals—either “protecting one’s family” or “defeating evil”—pose problems for us as a society. No matter the viewer’s background, this makes it a very easy show to relate to and become committed in.
Fruits Basket is good if someone loves heart-warming romance
Shoujo anime, which is primarily geared towards female audiences and focuses on romantic or personal relationships, is a dominant force in the sector. In the multitude of available anime, it can be challenging to choose just one as a potential entry point. However, one that is presently in its final season and a great introduction to the shoujo genre is currently airing. Fruits Basket is that anime.
As a matter of fact, it had an anime in 2001 that wrapped up before the manga, and it was so well-liked that it was decided to create a reimagined programme that goes on from there. There are many developing intimate interactions as the romance progresses nicely slowly. However, it is not overly syrupy because there is a lot of drama and horror based on the paranormal bonds many of the characters are caught in.
Your Lie in April will devastate the viewers while making them fall in love with this medium
The love triangle between Kousei, Tsubaki, and Kaori is a typical occurrence in real life, as is the loss of a loved one, which frequently has a profound emotional impact. It enlivens the viewer’s hope. One of the reasons so many people can relate to Kousei is the possibility that the person they love might return their love but is simply too terrified to express it.
Every musician wants to be like Kaori, who gives the song her personal touch. We’re left wondering how she went from being a plain girl to a stunning, captivating young woman. The music and pictures really convey the beauty and deeper significance to individuals who dislike or are unfamiliar with classical music. We all desire a fantastic ride, and here is a wonderful example of one.