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Five Modern Animes Every New Fan Should Watch

Updated on July 7, 2013

There's nothing wrong with getting into a hobby for the very first time. For every hobby we have that we consider ourselves somewhat knowledgeable of, there was a time when it was all new to us. I had yet another horrible "I'm aging" moment yesterday evening, when I counted up the years that I've been watching anime. It's been fourteen years. I've been watching fourteen years, and there's still dozens or hundreds of shows that I haven't gotten around to seeing yet. And when I thought about that, I thought: Wow. For any new fan, it's going to be the same -- except there's going to be even more shows that they are unfamiliar with.

Part of me is glad that I had a chance to grow up with so many great shows like Yu Yu Hakusho, Dragon Ball, and Ruroni Kenshin. But part of me also wishes I hadn't seen them: so that I'd have the opportunity to watch them fresh, for the first time. I almost wrote about that, originally -- anime that I feel nostalgic towards. In fact, don't be surprised if such an article shows up in the future. For now, though, I've decided to hold back on the 90s. Instead, I've decided to talk about some modern shows that every new anime fan should watch. If all goes well, we can be nostalgic about these shows together, ten years from now.



I personally consider Claymore to be one of the finest action-adventure animes of all time. In fact, depending on how you define that genre -- since genres are a pretty messy way of dividing things -- I'd venture to say it is very best. The balls-to-the-wall action along with a fascinating establishment of lore, in this medieval fantasy anime, are not what cause it to stand out thoug. What causes Claymore to stand out is the extreme grit of the series. I can't think of many shows that are this brutal, and then give you absolutely zero comedic relief. The action scenesd in Claymore are intsense, violent, and bloody. And when you think you're going to get a break, it enters flashback mode, where you learn a new reason to feel bad for a character. The desparity is used to bash you over the head for twenty-six straight episodes. But when it's done, you'll pick your jaw off the floor, and ask: Please, sir, may I have another?

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya | Source

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

Haruhui Suzumiya took a lot of people by surprise. They were expecting something light, something fluffy, and something easy to digest. They got... well, about one and a half of those things. Haruhui Suzumiya is bundled as what might be described as a "highschool anime." All of the tropes and cliches are there, and to be honest they're pulled off well. The characters are likable, and the humor is dead-on. This is an example of a show that just makes me happy. It's a show that I can put on as background noise, and I'll suddenly just feel more comfortable with life. Oh yeah, it also has a complicated time travel story which is told non-chronologically, and its sprinkled with bits of hard science-fiction. If you haven't watched it yet, and you haven't seen for yourself how masterfully this has been pulled off, just know that it makes its way onto this list by being great -- not just by being weird.

Death Note
Death Note | Source

Death Note

When I was a kid, I had an active imagination. I spent countless hours daydreaming about flying through the sky like Goku, or about leaving home to become a Pokémon trainer. Both of these dreams kind of faded over time. I still dream about what it would be like to have a Death Note though. A notebook that causes whoever's name is in it to die? Sign me up for that. It's actually a pretty simple concept though, in theory. There are lots of ways to do a show built on this concept, and have that show be garbage. The strength of this series comes from its writing. The chess match that takes place between genius detective and prodigy serial killer is truly something special. The manipulation, scheming, and general awesomeness of Light Yagami garnered him a lot of fans. After watching the show, many of these fans were then forced to ask themselves "Wait, was I just rooting for a mass murderer?" The answer is: yes. And you probably will too.

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

I've actually already done a detailed review of this series, which you can read here. But the shorter version is basically that Fullmetal Alchemist is one of the best shounen animes of all time. In fact, according to it ranks as the number one most enjoyed anime series, period. This is not too surprising considering its large cast of likable characters, its excellent storyline, its exciting action sequences, and the fact that it all looks and sounds great. Part of the reason its included on this list though (aside from just being really good) is that its so accessible. Brotherhood is pretty much the opposite side of the action coin that Claymore is. It contains lots of humor, and it's just really full of life. Plus: alchemy is pretty damn cool.

Samurai Champloo
Samurai Champloo | Source

Samurai Champloo

Samurai Champloo is bizarre, really. It didn't strike me as such while I was watching it, and if I were to throw an episode on now, I probably wouldn't think about that again until it was over. But it was. The combination of Edo Japan and hip-hop culture, complete with "gangster" thugs, breakdancing ronin, and yakuza who tag with spray paint is absolutely ridiculous. You know what else it is? It's awesome. The juxtaposition of actual historic events with the journey of the main characters is pretty cool, and you just take all of the glaring anachronisms at face value. Samurai Champloo absolutely oozes style. It first aired in 2004, so it's beginning to lose its status as a "modern anime" but I really wanted to include it.


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    • Benoitsmidget profile image

      Benoitsmidget 5 years ago from Boston

      I think you are aging wonderfully! Another great hub even if I don't watch Anime.

    • emmaspeaks profile image

      emmaspeaks 5 years ago from Kansas City

      Yay! Great picks. I've seen all of those except Haruhi. I've been told that it is a must watch and is not at all what I am probably expecting, so, okay, I'm gonna do it. I recently watched, don't laugh, Princess Tutu because a friend recommended it and it was exactly what I expected, even though he promised it wouldn't be. I think he played a trick on me. Oh well, I'll add it to the hundreds of anime I've already seen. Great hub!

    • StephanieBCrosby profile image

      Stephanie Bradberry 5 years ago from New Jersey

      I agree with emmaspeaks that you have some good picks. I have never seen the second listed though. If you extend this hub or make another list, may I recommend, Chromed Shelled Regios and Darker Than Black, just to get started!

    • profile image

      Phoebe Pike 5 years ago

      I've seen all of these animes... they are pretty good.

    • hecate-horus profile image

      hecate-horus 5 years ago from Rowland Woods

      Thanks for the suggestions! I'm just getting into Anime...I just finished "High School of the Dead" and it was ok. I love that kid show "Avatar", but I'm not sure that counts as a "true" Anime?

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco

      Of all these, I have only properly watched Samurai Champloo, which is fantastic (and has AMAZING music!!!). I'm going to have to buckle down and watch Death Note (loved the Manga) and these other series. Thanks for the fantastic recommendations!

    • Chris Qu profile image

      Chris Qu 5 years ago

      I love that this hub stimulated a lot of people to come and post their thoughts. :D

      Darker Than Black narrowly missed being on this list. Perhaps if I had extended it to six entries!

      Avatar is not an anime, since it wasn't produced in Japan, but there's definitely strong influences there. And I agree. Good show!

      I'll admit, also. I'm pretty open minded about things. I never got into the whole "be uber macho" attitude that a lot of guys have. But even still... I don't think Princess Tutu is for me. ^_^;

    • M. T. Dremer profile image

      M. T. Dremer 5 years ago from United States

      I'm still pretty new to anime. I could probably count the ones I've watched on one hand. But I recently saw claymore and I would agree with you that it's one of the best. I've also had death note recommended to me, so I'm definitely going to check out this list. Thanks!

    • Willsummerdreamer profile image

      Will English. 4 years ago from Marietta, Georgia.

      Good picks, though I personally would have put Cowboy Bebop in there somewhere lol. I need to finish Claymore at some point though. Anyway, good stuff over all.

    • David Trujillo profile image

      David Trujillo Uribe 4 years ago from Medellin, Colombia

      I have watches more DC Animations than anime, but with this list I´m thinking of getting back on track.

    • RachaelLefler profile image

      Rachael Lefler 4 years ago from Illinois

      Great article! I think you're one of the best anime writers I've seen on Hubpages (you know, after me, of course). I think Claymore is a rising star of the anime world. I just hope they get to making more anime episodes because the manga continues the story a lot more and I wish those parts of the manga would be included in the anime somehow. I wrote about that in my Claymore review.

    • Chris Qu profile image

      Chris Qu 3 years ago

      Willsummerdreamer, I'm glad you liked the picks. You'll find no disrespect for Bebop coming from me. It's certainly a high quality show. And I apologize for being so late with my reply, but I also hope you got back into Claymore. It's so good!

      David, good luck with your adventures in anime. I'm definitely an anime guy first and foremost, but I love animation in general. I recently watched Justice League: Doom, and thought it was quite good.

      Rachael, your comment is much appreciated! I know you're really a prolific author on the topic of anime here. I've read your Claymore review, and found it pretty interesting. When I have my thoughts together, I'll probably comment on it. Transhumanism is really not an "off the top of my head" kind of subect for me... ^^;

    • Benoitsmidget profile image

      Benoitsmidget 3 years ago from Boston

      You still have an active imagination! Loved this Hub. Very interesting and very well written.

    • SomeEldarGuy profile image

      Alex 3 years ago

      Some very good choices, nice hub. Even though I don't like the Haruhi series, I can understand why it's so popular, and Death Note is Death Note, no problems there ^.^ I'd stretch to put Toaru Majutsu no Index into my 5 top must-see animes, but I'll hold that thought until I've seen Claymore.

    • Hikapo profile image

      Seet 3 years ago from California

      Good list! I have watched 4 out of the 5.

      NUMBA ONE Teresa! :D

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