Which Anime Should You Watch Next?
1. One Piece
One Piece is an ongoing Japanese anime that, like most anime, began as a manga series. This anime in particular has been broadcasting since 1999. The story itself follows a boy named Monkey D. Luffy as he aspires to become the "king of the pirates" during the great pirate era. Luffy gathers a crew of nine pirates as he travels the seas, going on amazing adventures and standing up for what he believe in while pursing his dream.
Pros: One great pro of this show, in my opinion, is its art-style. Despite being created a number of years ago, it's difficult to tell from the early episodes that the show first aired in 1999. Keeping this in mind, the animations are amazing.
In addition to this, One Piece does a great job of intermixing serious messages with humor that will have you falling out of your seat. This anime will have you crying tears of laughter and tears of sorrow all in the same episode. As someone who adamantly makes a point of trying not to cry, I have ended multiple episodes with tears running down my cheeks. The feelings the characters have for each other creates a sense of family that will have you creating emotional bonds right along with them.
All of the creativity and imagination that went into this story only makes the show that much more interesting. It's really exciting to see what happens in all of the different story arcs because, most of the time, it's something you never would've expected. In this show, I've seen everything from islands floating in the sky to lands full of tall animals and trees. I'm always excited to see what the writer will come up with next.
The concept of the government being corrupt is a fairly realistic idea. In One Piece, the pirates are all supposed to be bad--I mean, what else do you think when you hear the word "pirate"--but Luffy's crew is nothing like what you might expect. When you watch One Piece, you will find yourself rooting for the pirates and hating the "World Government". This topic relates a lot to the way the world works today. Often times a group of people might be labeled as bad when really they are not all bad; They just share different ideals.
The writer's inclusion of devil fruits makes for a limitless number of special powers. This writer is constantly creating powers I never would have thought could be any good and turning them into this massive force to be reckoned with. That's right. You WILL learn to respect the giraffe (if you don't understand this, watch One Piece).
Cons: Some of the arcs can really drag on and, in my opinion, should have been shortened. When five minutes spans the course of three episodes, you now you're taking it too far.
Some of the characters in One Piece--primarily the bad ones--look pretty crazy. I love One Piece, but there have been a few characters where I thought to myself: This writer is trying too hard to be unique. However, if you can get past some of the more eccentric characters, you will really enjoy this show.
2. Fairy Tail
Fairy Tail is a newer anime, based on the manga by Hiro Mashima, and has been airing since 2008. Despite what the description of this show might say, Fairy Tail followed a boy named Natsu Dragneel (as opposed to Lucy Heartfilia). Natsu is the member of a power guild, Fairy Tail, and practices the lost dragon slayer magic. The who premise of Fairy Tail is somewhat similar to One Piece in that Natsu and his guild mates of Fairy Tail are constantly standing up for what they believe is right and fighting against the wrongs of the world.
Pros: Fairy Tail has a number of incredibly powerful messages to share about what it means to be a family. It doesn't always have to mean that you are related by blood. The bonds the characters in this show share will bring you to tears when you see how far they are willing to go to protect the people they care about.
This writer has done an excellent job of coming up with astounding plot twists and various types of magics that will have you stumped at first. I'll bet you wouldn't expect the power to control plants to be a very impressive magic power. Prepare to be proven wrong.
The desire to know Natsu's past will keep you constantly thinking as you get more and more hints throughout the series. The whole secret behind the existence of dragon slayers is exciting, and the writer does a great job of keeping it a secret, despite the number of hints that have been dropped along the way.
Some of the fight scenes are pretty epic. Personally, I have watched the Grand Magic Game fight between Natsu and someone-who-shall-not-be-named almost a dozen times. The animations and art style just keep on getting better and, for the most part, the fights are not drawn out.
Cons: Fairy Tail is full of humor, but sometimes I feel like there is too much of it, which can make it hard to take certain episodes seriously. I am not sure whether this has more to do with the changes made to the anime or the writer himself, but there are a number of scenes that would have been full of emotion had they not ended with comic relief. Comic relief is good when put in the right place, but too much can be upsetting at times.
Two words: fan service. Hiro Mashima put WAY too much fan service in his manga. I get that men are running the world in Japan, but there is such a thing as too much. At times it can feel as though all of the fan service is cheapening the show itself, which is a shame because the show is amazing. Whatever you do, do NOT watch the OVAs or the filler.
Now that I mentioned it, I would like to elaborate that the filler should be avoided like the plague. There is a reason that filler is specific to anime. Having fluff in anything--whether it be a TV show or a book--is a bad idea. Personally, I would rather wait for the show than spend a month of my life watching garbage that makes my favorite characters look useless. Of course, some animes do better than others when it comes to filler, but Fairy Tail is the worst I've seen by far. Fairy Tail filler renders all of the strongest characters useless and creates fake enemies with powers that can only be explained as "complete hacks". When your strongest character only knows how to use one move and another character suddenly has a new form that is a "kill all card", you are doing something terribly wrong. However, Fairy Tail non-filler can be pretty epic, so my suggestion would be to just stick with the actual episodes.
3. Death Note
Death Note was one of the first animes I truly watched all the way through. Based on a light novel, this anime is much shorter than One Piece and Fairy Tail, but definitely does not lack in storyline. Death Note follows a high school genius named Light Yagami as he goes up against an equally intelligent, world-famous detective named "L".
Light resents all things evil and feels that the world has become too corrupt, so when he finds the death note--a notebook with the power to kill people--it piques his interest. Light begins writing the names of various criminals in the notebook, which grabs the attention of Interpol and "L", a world-renowned detective who's face has never been seen and name is not known. Death Note is best described as a battle of the brains and an intense debate between right and wrong.
Pros: Death Note is a relatively short anime, so it is not drawn out in any way. Out of all of the animes I have seen, this has been the best paced. I have absolutely no complaints, because each of the episodes was filled with constant action and suspense. There was no fluff or filler.
The plot twists and suspense will have you constantly on the edge of your seat wondering what will happen next and who will overcome. The amount of thought that had to go into this story is amazing to me. This writer has thought of all kinds of things that never would've occurred to me.
This show will absolutely have you taking sides. I, personally, found myself on the side of Light Yagami. As horrible as it sounds, I understood his desire to erase evil from the world. The debate makes this show an interesting one to watch with friends and family. My boyfriend and I were both on the same page but, had we not been, this show would've made for an interesting debate.
Cons: Once you reach a certain point--you'll know when you watch it--the show loses some interest, or at least it did for me. After that, I was not quite as interested. The conclusion left me unsatisfied, because I felt that the reason one side lost was unfair. Then again, that may just be me. All in all, there isn't much to complain about when it comes to Death Note.
4. Blue Exorcist
Blue Exorcist is a newer anime that completed in 2014 and is a similar length to Death Note. This particular story follows Rin Okumara and, to an extent, his twin brother Yukio, who have been raised by a priest. As a teenager, Rin discovers that he is in fact that son of Satan and that he holds the powers of the devil. Born into a world where good and evil are constantly at war with one another, Rin makes it his mission to destroy his father, Satan.
Pros: This show has a powerful message about the faults of making assumptions about someone based on their past/family. Due to the amount of hatred he would receive, Rin is forced to suppress and hide his powers in order to stay safe. Even though Rin is on the side of good, if people saw his blue flames--a sign of the devil's power--they would try to kill him.
Rin is a humorous and light-hearted character who, despite having incredible power, is humble and laid-back. I, for one, really enjoyed watching Rin's character. In fact, right after Natsu (Fairy Tail), Rin is my second favorite anime character of all time.
Watching good and evil clash is epic. Although we do not battle with demons in the literal sense, this show is quite relatable to the world as it is today. As people, we have to constantly battle with the evils of temptation, peer pressure, and even physical evils (criminals, rapists, etc.).
Cons: In my opinion, there are not enough action-y fight scenes. I would have liked to see a lot more action. The story line was great, but I felt that the writer could have done so much more with it. This series was much too short. Other than the length, however, the conclusion itself does leave the opportunity for continuation.
5. Attack on Titan
Attack on Titan is an ongoing anime that will be coming out with new episodes this coming year. The story follows a boy named Eren who lives in a gated off society, constantly in fear of the titans--huge humanoid monsters that eat people. Eren longs to know what is outside of the walls, so he joins the military and trains in hopes of one day killing every last titan. But there is also something about Eren that even he doesn't know, and it changes everything.
Pros: Attack on Titan has a number of plot twists that are quite exciting and full of suspense. The secret about Eren will shock and bewilder you, making you wonder how it could be true. I found this aspect of the show to be incredibly well-done. There is so much mystery behind this show.
This show in particular has great music. I thought the creators did a great job of creating a soundtrack that fit the amount of action this show has to give.
Cons: Some scenes can be a bit bloody, so if you don't like that kind of thing, you may want to avoid Attack on Titan. I, for one, don't feel that it's all that graphic--it's a cartoon, after all--but I have heard people say they do not like it for that reason.
*Warning: may contain spoilers*
Which of these sounds the most interesting to you?
What's a good anime that you have seen that I did NOT include on this list? What do you like about it?