25 Best Anime for Beginners

List of Best Anime Series for Beginners to Watch First

One-Punch Man

Are you becoming interested in anime and wondering what is a good starter anime for you?

Anime has increased in popularity worldwide lately as more anime series and movies with multilingual subtitles and dubs are distributed to all over the world through lots of video streaming sites such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Crunchyroll, etc.

Many international people watch anime for just enjoying the entertainment contents , learning Japanese and other various reasons.

It is a little difficult to find out what to watch for those who have not watched an anime or liked a few family anime including Studio Ghibli, Pokemon, Doraemon and Sailor Moon when they are children.

Here, I picked out some of the very best anime for beginners, which are popular among both Japanese and international anime fans. Check the selected starter anime list!

1. One Punch Man

One Punch Man (ワンパンマン), one of the most popular anime especially among foreign anime fans, is perfect for anime newcomers. The action and comedy anime is based on the manga which started to be published from 2009 and serialized with over 20 volumes.

The main character superhero named Saitama who never looks cool but can beat any enemy with a single punch. However strong the monsters and villains are, he defeats them with only one punch. What is funny is that he obtains the power by just training hard.

Not only Saitama but other cool and unique characters including his disciple Genos and the expert martial artist Bang are featured on One Punch Man. Enjoy the mixture of Japanese comedy with the American superhero’s essence.

▶️Check 5 Best Anime like One-Punch Man!

2. Naruto

Naruto (ナルト), the famous anime with theme of Ninja, is sometimes looked on as one of the best anime of all time worldwide and best for beginners. Naruto was originally made as a manga that were published from 1999 and completed in 2014 with the 72nd volume.

The anime series also came to the end in 2017, which consists of the first half Naruto (NARUTO -ナルト-) and the second half Naruto: Shippuden (NARUTO -ナルト- 疾風伝).

The story is really simple since the main character Naruto grows up with various Ninja including his fellows, teachers and even opposites. There are powerful battle scenes with the Ninja unique techniques.

▶️Check 5 Best Anime like Naruto!

3. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (鋼の錬金術師 FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST), one of the greatest titles in the 2000s, is perfect for anime beginners. The dark-fantasy anime, originally serialized as a manga series on Monthly Shonen Gangan between 2001 and 2010, was made into two anime adaptions: Fullmetal Alchemist and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. The latter one is recommended to you, since the 64 episodes are wholly based on the manga story.

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is set in Europe in the 19th century focusing on the two alchemists: Edward Elric and his younger brother Alphonse Elric. The talented alchemist brothers try to bring their died mother alive with the alchemy and that ends up in failure. They begin a journey in search of the Philosopher’s Stone to have lost parts of their bodies back, fighting the homunculi with the name of the seven deadly sins.

▶️Check 7 Best Anime like Fullmetal Alchemist!

4. Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End

Where should you start watching anime? The answer to this changes year by year as new anime are released. However, one of the best series for beginners to start with since 2020 is Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End (葬送のフリーレン). This is a universally enjoyable fantasy adventure, with very little in the way of extreme violence or explicit sexual content. It’s also highly popular among global anime fans and has received high praise from experts. The original manga has been serialized since 2020 and is also recommended for those new to manga.

The anime adaptation, which started in 2023, has maintained immense popularity and promises further development in the future, making it a great series to start watching now. The story centers around an elf named Frieren, who, due to her longevity, experiences adventures with various parties comprised of different members with different purposes. The existence of short-lived humans is portrayed very emotionally through her eyes. In addition to this, the anime features the typical elements of adventure stories, such as character growth, powerful battles against enemies, and other fantasy components. It’s truly an anime that transcends all genres and target audiences and comes highly recommended.

5. Attack on Titan

Attack on Titan (進撃の巨人), categorized as action and dark-fantasy, is an ideal anime to start with. It has been welcomed by anime fans all over the world since the first season with 25 main episodes were released in 2013. The fourth season of the anime series, which is the final part, launched in the end of 2020.

It also surprised anime fans with the eccentric theme of titans attacking humans and the shocking drawings. The dark story is filled with mystery, and you will be craving to know why on earth the Titans attack people and where they come from.

Attack on Titan are such popular worldwide partly because the unique characters including Eren Yeager, Mikasa Ackerman and the other Survey Corps members who fight against the strange gigantic creatures.

▶️Check 5 Best Anime like Attack on Titan!

6. Cowboy Bebop

As one of the most popular anime that are loved by foreign people, you cannot miss Cowboy Bebop (カウボーイビバップ). The action sci-fi anime with just one season (26 episodes) is easy to watch until the end.

The setting of the anime is the space in 2071, where the bounty hunters including Spike Spiegel and Jet Black combat against criminals. It consists of a variety of genres such as action, suspense, comedy, cyberpunk, etc. and entertaining background musics including jazz, blues, rock and so on.

▶️Check 5 Best Anime like Cowboy Bebop!

7. Dragon Ball

For the legendary action anime in Japan Dragon Ball (ドラゴンボール), many anime fans agree with the one you should start to watch anime with. It was famous as a Weekly Shonen Jump manga written by Akira Toriyama at first, but the anime adaption has got popular since the late 1980s.

The worldly famous anime is divided into some parts with different titles: Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, Dragon Ball Super, and so on. The 2nd part Dragon Ball Z is the most popular all over the world, where the story starts when the main character Goku has grown up. Goku and many unique characters fight powerful battles using their techniques like Kamehameha.

▶️Check 5 Best Anime like Dragon Ball!

▶️Here is also the list of Dragon Ball Movies!

8. Oshi no Ko

Making a grand entrance in 2023, Oshi no Ko (推しの子) stands as the next generation’s blockbuster anime, shedding light on modern entertainment, primarily focusing on idols. The manga, which began serialization in 2020, was already a hit. However, the anime adaptation’s high-quality animation has skyrocketed its global popularity. The catchy opening song Idol by Yoasobi plays a significant role in its immense success. Interestingly, an English-translated version of the track is also available. It’s no surprise that many have delved into the world of manga and anime, thanks to Oshi no Ko.

I want to avoid spoilers, so I’ll keep the synopsis to a minimum. The story begins focusing on the beautiful idol star, Ai Hoshino. While she keeps it a secret from the public, she breaks the idol taboo by falling in love with someone and giving birth to a child. As the narrative unfolds with significant events, it transforms into a mix of daily life and suspense, shifting its focus to Ai’s twin children, Aqua and Ruby.

9. Pokémon

Pokémon, which is known as Pocket Monster (ポケットモンスター) in Japan, is now one of the most popular anime among both kids and adults around the world. It has been loved in Japan since the first video game of Pokémon was released in 1996, and the anime adaption started to be aired in 1997.

The young boy Satoshi travels all over the world with the adorable Pikachu and other his Pokémons. You can enjoy not only the intense battle scenes but also drama between humans and Pokemon.

▶️Check 5 Best Anime Series like Pokémon!

10. Sword Art Online

Sword Art Online (ソードアート・オンライン), which is abbreviated to SAO, is one of the symbols of the modern Japanese anime. The science fiction and adventure anime is based on the popular light novel written by Reki Kawahara.

There are three major seasons so far in the Sword Art Online anime series,  and what you should do first is watching the first part with the 14 episodes.

The setting is 2022 when the advanced VR online game called Sword Art Online is invented, and all 10,000 players including the main character Kirito log in the game. However, the players notice it is impossible to log out and get back to the real world. If a player dies in the MMORPG world, he/she also dies in the real world.

▶️Check 5 Best Anime like Sword Art Online!

<<Extra Selections>>

If you find yourself immersed in these anime and become a fan, how about planning a trip to Japan themed around anime? For starters, please consider using these bucket list ideas as a reference.

▶️10 Best Anime Spots in Japan

▶️30 Best Things to Do in Japan

11. One Piece

There is no reason why anime fans don’t recommend for you to watch One Piece (ワンピース) as a starter except its too long story, which is a positive thing for the fans who hope it will not come to the end forever.

One Piece, based on the manga series that finally reached the 100th volume in September, 2021, is looked on as best of the best anime and manga all over the world of all time by many anime fans. This is the story of pirates, which unfolds with the adventures of the main character Monkey D. Luffy and his crews. He sails around globe in search of the ultimate treasure called “One Piece”, battling with powerful opposites.

There are Devil Fruits in the world of One Piece, which grant a superpower to those who eat one while the fruits unable them to swim. In addition to the fight scenes, it represents human drama such as strong bonds with friends and family, their negative pasts and social issues in the real world.

▶️Check 5 Best Anime like One Piece!

▶️Here is also the list of One Piece Movies!

12. Haikyu!!

Sports anime have always been a popular genre, but this volleyball-centered series stands out as a recent masterpiece. Haikyu!! (ハイキュー!!) is accessible and enjoyable for anyone, regardless of their familiarity with the sport. It masterfully blends slice-of-life, coming-of-age, and action elements, making it a perfect gateway for newcomers to explore other anime genres. Spanning four seasons since its debut in 2014, fans will be delighted to know that a final chapter is already in the works. This anime is an ideal starting point for beginners seeking a taste of diverse anime storytelling.

Haikyu!! follows the passionate Shoyo Hinata, who is determined to become a volleyball star despite his short stature. After suffering a crushing defeat in middle school by the “King of the Court” Tobio Kageyama, Hinata joins Karasuno High School’s volleyball team, only to discover that Kageyama is now his teammate. Together, they work to overcome their differences and lead their team to the national championships, facing formidable opponents and learning valuable lessons about teamwork and perseverance.

13. Kaguya-sama: Love Is War

Romantic comedy is one of the most popular anime trends not only in Japan but worldwide, and Kaguya-sama: Love Is War (かぐや様は告らせたい〜天才たちの恋愛頭脳戦〜) is a perfect romantic-comedy anime for beginners. There are three seasons containing 37 episodes airing from 2019 to 2022, the following part Kaguya-sama: Love Is War – The First Kiss That Never Ends was first released in the end of 2022.

Kaguya-sama: Love Is War presents the peaceful and funny story of the student council of Shuchiin Academy. Its president Miyuki Shirogane and vice president Kaguya Shinomiya like each other but are too proud to tell their love. They fight various mind games attempting to make each other confess his/her love.

▶️Check 5 Best Anime like Kaguya-Sama: Love Is War!

14. Violet Evergarden

As one of the modern masterpieces made by Kyoto Animation, Violet Evergarden (ヴァイオレット・エヴァーガーデン) has been watched by a large number of anime lovers. The moving drama anime is known as a popular anime series that many beginners has started watching anime with. It was released with 13 episodes on Netflix in 2018, followed by two anime movies in 2019 and 2020.

Set in a fictional world inspired by modern Europe, it centers on a young girl named Violet Evergarden, who used to be known as a weapon in the last great war. The story begins when she starts working as an Auto Memory Doll, a kind of ghostwriter for those who cannot write. The emotionless girl is recovering her human feelings through the job.

▶️Check 5 Best Anime like Violet Evergarden!

15. Spy x Family

A action, comedy manga and anime series Spy x Family has been popular on Shonen Jump+ since its serialization started in 2019 and its anime adaptation aired in 2022. The anime series and its iconic cute character Anya have attracted not only anime fans but also those are not especially interested in the pop culture lately. It has been announced that the second season will come in 2023.

The spy-themed anime depicts both serious and funny episodes, set in a fictional country Ostania, which conflicts with its neighbor Westalis. It centers on Loid Forger, a spy from Westalis. To curb war and keep the peace, he forms a fake family with the skilled assassin wife Yor and the psychic girl Anna.

16. Jujutsu Kaisen

In the last decade, dark fantasy adventure has emerged as one of the most popular genres, and leading this trend is Jujutsu Kaisen (呪術廻戦). Originating as a manga serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump, the series has achieved success in its manga, anime, and film adaptations. The first season aired from 2020 to 2021, followed by the major hit movie Jujutsu Kaisen 0. Season 2 commenced in 2023. It’s an incredibly hot anime right now, making it a perfect series for newcomers to dive into.

Jujutsu Kaisen revolves around Yuji Itadori, a high school student who, despite his incredible physical abilities, leads a fairly normal life. However, his world is turned upside down when he consumes a cursed finger to save his friends from malevolent curses. As a result, he becomes entangled in the world of Jujutsu sorcerers, especially after joining Tokyo Metropolitan Curse High School, where he learns to combat curses and confronts the dark realities of the Jujutsu world.

17. Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury

The Mobile Suit Gundam series, an immense franchise since 1979, has often seemed intimidating for anime newcomers due to its rich lore and history. However, the 2022-2023 series, Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury (機動戦士ガンダム 水星の魔女), can be heralded as the most beginner-friendly Gundam series to date. It boasts a unique standalone nature, allowing viewers to enjoy it without any knowledge of the previous installations. Beyond just the thrilling robot action, the anime also delves deep into the human dramas of its teenage characters, offering a rich viewing experience.

In the vast artificial residential facility of space, the Asticassia School of Technology, a girl named Suletta Mercury transfers in from the remote region of Mercury. The school’s students engage daily in duels using robots called Mobile Suits to clarify their ranks and standings. Suletta has the ability to pilot a special Mobile Suit called Gundam, and the story begins when she takes on a duel on behalf of another main character, a girl named Miorine Rembran.

18. No Game No Life

No Game No Life (ノーゲーム・ノーライフ) is a good starter anime series that consists of 12 episodes broadcasted in 2014, categorized as fantasy and science fiction. It is adapted from the original light novel series written by Yuu Kamiya that has been published since 2012. The anime series and the first anime movie No Game No Life: Zero in 2017 were made by Madhouse.

No Game No Life centers on genius gamer siblings: a 18-year-old boy Sora and his 11-year-old sister-in-law named Shiro. The stay-at-home gamers are suddenly sent to another world and fight agains other species through various bizarre games with their highest gaming skills as a representative of human beings.

19. Bleach

Bleach is one of the most famous anime series all over the globe that is adapted from Weekly Shonen Jump’s manga series as well as Naruto and One Piece. Its original manga, which was serialized between 2001 and 2016, was made into the first anime series in 2004. After 366 episodes concluded in 2012, the final part started airing as Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War from 2022.

Categorized as action and adventure, Bleach revolves around a high school protagonist Ichigo Kurosaki. With the power of the Soul Reapers, the Samurai-themed hero fights against the evil Hollows and other Soul Reapers. There are cool Samurai characters and their powerful techniques in Bleach.

▶️Check 5 Best Anime like Bleach!

20. Samurai Champloo

Samurai Champloo (サムライチャンプルー) is one of the most recommended anime series to the anime beginners overseas. The Samurai-themed adevnture anime is directed by Shinichiro Watanabe who is known as an anime director of the popular title Cowboy Bebop. It was broadcased in 2004 consisting of 26 episodes. It was also adapted into two volumes of a manga series in the same year.

The setting of Samurai Champloo is Japan in the Edo period (1603-1868) with traditional Japanese culture mixed with the modern words and fashion. It tells the story of a young girl Fuu traveling with two Samurai characters named Mugen and Jin in search of the samurai who smells of a sunflower.

21. Demon Slayer: Kimestu no Yaiba

Demon Slayer: Kimestu no Yaiba (鬼滅の刃) is one of the most popular manga and anime in the recent years. The original manga was serialized on Weekly Shonen Jump from 2016, and it came to an end in 2020. In 2019, the first season of the anime adaption was aired with 26 episodes, and the sequel Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train (劇場版 鬼滅の刃 無限列車編) came on the screen in October, 2020. The second season of the anime series with a subhead Entertainment District Arc aired in the end of 2021, followed by the third season in the spring of 2023.

The setting is the fictional Japan in the early 20th century where humans and demons exist in the same society. The action adventure anime centers on demon slayers who look like Samurai including the protagonist Tanjiro Kamado. It depicts moving dramas of both the humans and demons that are originally born as a human being as well as exciting battle scenes.

▶️Check 5 Best Anime like Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba!

22. Yuri On Ice

Yuri On Ice (ユーリ!!! on ICE), made as an anime at the beginning and aired with 12 episodes in 2016, is one of the few anime that don’t have the original manga. The sports-themed anime focuses on figure slating.

Yuri On Ice has attracted not only anime fans but also people who like watching figure skating competitions. The figure skating performances in the anime are choreographed by a professional Japanese figure skating choreographer.

The story follows the main character Yuri Katsuki who is a 23 years old figure skater and his rival Yuri Plisetsky who is a 15 years old promising Russian skater. Human dramas are represented in the whole story while they aim to win the the Figure Skating Grand Prix. The anime movie adaption titled Yuri!!! on Ice the Movie: Ice Adolescence (ユーリ!!! on ICE 劇場版:ICE ADOLESCENCE) was scheduled to be released in 2019 but the release season has been postponed.

23. Erased

Erased (僕だけがいない街) was originally made as manga with 9 volumes between 2012 and 2016 and adapted into an anime with 12 episodes in 2016. It is recommended for those who like novels and comic books with the theme of mystery.

The setting is the fictional Tokyo and Hokkaido in Japan. The main character is Satoru Fujinuma, who is a 29-year-old less successful manga artist. He also has an extraordinary ability known as “Revival” which makes him travel back and forth in time in disregard of his wishes. The story follows him trying to prevent incidents around him from happing with the Revival.

24. My Hero Academia

My Hero Academia (僕のヒーローアカデミア) is a well-known Japanese superhero anime, which is adapted from one of the most popular ongoing manga published on Weekly Shonen Jump from 2014.

The anime is inspired by American comics like Marvel, mixed with the classic Japanese manga plot at the same time. There are a variety of heroes who have supernatural abilities called Quirks to fight against Villains.

My Hero Academia centers on a young boy named Izuku Midoriya, who does not have any Quirks at the first place. His growing-up story with other heroes is depicted in the anime.

▶️Check 5 Best Manga and Anime like My Hero Academia!

25. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

One of the most iconic series of the 2000s, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (涼宮ハルヒの憂鬱) redefined the school-based anime genre. Centered around the eccentric and powerful Haruhi Suzumiya, the series expertly blends slice-of-life, science fiction, and supernatural elements, making it accessible to beginners and offering a window into the vast world of anime genres. This anime is highly regarded by both newcomers to anime and seasoned anime enthusiasts.

High schooler Kyon’s mundane life takes a twist when he encounters the enigmatic Haruhi Suzumiya. Unbeknownst to Kyon, Haruhi possesses the power to change reality. Driven by her desire for the extraordinary, Haruhi forms the SOS Brigade, unknowingly gathering an esper, a time traveler, and an alien. Together, they navigate various misadventures, with Kyon striving to keep Haruhi’s powers in check, lest she inadvertently alters the fabric of existence.

How Beginners Should Choose Which Anime to Watch

What kind of anime is best suited for beginners? In addition to the anime recommended in this article, it is safe to choose those that are globally enjoyed by many people and are undoubtedly popular. Flashy action anime might be easy to understand and enjoy, or tear-jerking dramas may have a universal appeal. However, choosing based on genre can be nonsensical as preferences vary from person to person.

Moreover, anime that doesn’t rely too heavily on the Japanese context is also a point of enjoyment for international audiences. Anime fans may be familiar with Japan’s unique school life and human relationships, but some might be confused by cultural backgrounds in anime that are hard to understand if it’s their first time watching.

Furthermore, anime with a relatively simple story structure and well-established characters with distinct personalities are also important for anime starters.

Considering these points, why not try the anime selected in this article first?

On top of those anime recommended for beginners, there are a large number of anime to watch. It is famous that everyone can enjoy viewing the Studio Ghibli movies and the anime directed by Makoto Shinkai including Your Name and Weathering with You.

Furthermore, you will find your favorite anime on this bucket list with 30 best anime and another list filled with 30 greatest anime movies.

▽Wanna keep up with Japanese trends?▽

▽Check the Best Anime Movies for Beginners!▽

▽Check the Best Anime for Experienced Fans!▽

Great anime make you want to watch any further, and check those lists if you wonder what to watch next. For more info about anime and Japanese pop cultures, check these articles below, too!

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I'm writing by my motto: helping travelers spend their limited time experiencing something priceless in Japan. My articles won't let you down! Living in Tokyo and traveling many popular and hidden sites all over Japan, I deliver well-selected and latest tourist information to you from the perspective of “100% Japanese local”. My specific interests are island hopping, eating countless bowls of ramen, watching anime and reading manga. Enjoy Japan Web Magazine for recommended food spots, hidden gems Japanese Otaku (geek) culture, and everything about Japan :)