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Animes Like This One: How to Find Similar Anime
I am a master anime finder. I am very familiar with the difficulty of finding animes like the ones I enjoy, and after working for streaming anime websites and moderating their chatrooms for years I know many others are always in need of help searching for animes like [insert their chosen anime]. At first finding good anime is easy, but sooner or later the number of popular easily found similar anime series you enjoy is going to dwindle. Many anime fans begin to think they have, “seen all the good series.” While it is true there are a finite number of animes it is unlikely you have seen every anime you would like; past a certain point they just become increasingly difficult to find. Being a veteran of many days spent scouring the internet for a series I might like has taught me many methods and rules of thumb for tracking down that perfect anime that I shall now share with all of you.
Forums and Chatrooms: asking “What is a good anime to watch?” in forums or chatrooms is typically a waste of time. Well meaning but none the less unhelpful anime fans will shout whatever show they happen to like; you’ll likely have seen or decided not to watch all of whatever is suggested. Chatboxes and forums can be helpful however if you include a list of shows you like such as, “I am looking for an anime similar to Clannad or Fruits Basket. Any suggestions would be appreciated.” Suggestions such as this will save you from reading through the responses of 18,000 12-14 year olds who insist that Bleach and Naruto are the only anime anyone could ever like.
Look at the art: Similar anime will likely have similar animation styles as the way characters are drawn defiantly influences the tone and feel of the story. A Gundam fan may see the title of SD Gundam and think it is worth looking into, however inspection of the artwork will reveal characters and mobile suits are drawn as chibi; obviously this is for little children. Similarly a girl looking for that particular brand of anime about dreamy guys will know Vampire Knight is what they are looking for after viewing a picture of the male characters only once. If you see a picture of an anime that looks like it might fit your taste investigate it.
Genera is a poor way to search: With a few exceptions such as harem, yuri, shounen ai, and echi anime that are listed under the same genera often have little or nothing in common. If you look at genera Patlabor, Astro-boy, and Neon Genesis Evangelion are all sci-fi mecha series but they don’t really have much in common. This is why all the automated anime matching programs I have seen prove to be largely unhelpful. Similarly don’t rule a series out because it is listed as belonging to a certain genera. Many people do not like mecha series but if they skip Full Metal Panic because it has mecha they will miss one of the greatest high school romance/comedies ever made. Those who automatically discount series with mecha will also miss Tengen Toppa Guren Lagen, which frankly caters to people who don’t like mecha.
Creators: If you really enjoyed a particular anime look to see if its creator(s) have made other shows. This method will lead Eureka Seven fans to Last Exile and Xam’d shows they are also likely to enjoy. Similarly many English speakers have seen and loved Inuyasha but have not seen 3x3 Eyes an OVA by the same writer that shares much of what has made Inuyasha popular. This method seldom leads you astray.
Number of Episodes: If you like long series where characters power up and fight progressively longer foes all series with 50+ episodes are a good bet. Similarly if you hate repetitive series any series over 52 episodes will likely not appeal to you. This is a rule of thumb however.
Length of Episodes: Shows with runtimes under 20-25 minutes are usually comedies such as Azumanga Daioh.
Don’t read too much into the name of the series: Pumpkin Scissors sounds like a show for kiddies; its not. Anyone who dismisses Pumpkin Scissors based solely on it’s name will miss a series about a soldier who fights tanks 1 on 1. Similarly many jump to the conclusion that Full Metal Alchemist and Full Metal Panic are related; they are not.
Sequels/Alternate Universes: Many series have sequels, spin-offs, and remakes but you may not be able to find all of them by simply looking for shows with similar names. Most will be able to find the sequel series to Banner of the Stars, but may miss Crest of the Stars. Similarly a spinoff series may have a name that is only slightly different so the anime searcher must carefully follow up any series with a name that differs even slightly. El-Hazard for example has several very different spin-offs and remakes with easily confused names. Similarly you may not realize that there are at least 3 Tenchi Muyo series.
Don’t Discount Series with low scores on websites: If popularity was a good indicator of series quality Naruto would be the greatest anime ever made and Beck would be terrible. Beck is excellent but most who go around anime sites voting on series will say it sucks.