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Okay, you lot. Recommend me some anime!


Remarkably expressive bandages
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I am a latecomer to anime. I resisted it for years, but finally caved in last year and have been watching the odd series here and there when truck stop wi-fi permits.

Here are the things I have watched so far:

Kantai Collection
My Love Story!!
Valkyrie Drive
(don't judge)
Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid
Kemono Friends
Love Live!

I loved Puella Magi Madoka Magica. It was incredible, and I wish I had more grounding in the genre so I could fully appreciate the tropes it was deconstructing. But even with the bare minimum knowledge I have gained from geek osmosis, it was still amazing.

I enjoyed the others, even Valkyrie Drive (though I feel conflicted about that one), with My Love Story!! and Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid being stand-outs there.


Can you think of any other things I might want/need to watch?

James Weatherby

Dour Little Bird
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Cowboy Bebop. Incredible soundtrack, great characters, western/sci fi.
Serial Experiments: Lain. Hard to talk about it too much without spoiling it. Great art and sound design. Trippy.


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Outlaw Star. Like Cowboy Bebop, is about a small group on a spaceship, and despite what pointless wars in the past say is about the only thing they have in common. A lot of fun with an almost pulp-like feel to it. (The main ship to ship combat is the ships have grappler arms and they essentially wrestle.)


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Sadly there aren't a lot of Madokas around; it's iconic for a reason. If you haven't seen it I'd strongly recommend Rebellion, the third movie; the first two are just recaps, but this is new content.

I'd also recommend Sweetness and Lightning pretty easily, because it's the fluffy family stuff that Dragon Maid had plus a bunch of food. Gurren Lagann is great; something of a genre reconstruction, though you don't need to know mecha to enjoy it. I'm not generally a mecha fan, and I still loved it.

Are you wanting older shows at all? Madoka's not exactly new, but it's far from, say, Evangelion or Cowboy Bebop in age.


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Also Kill la Kill. It's probably my favorite show but is, er, again, genre deconstruction.


grievous lack of
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Princess Tutu might provide an interesting contrast to Madoka. It's a magical girl anime played much more straight, while still being high quality in term of storytelling and characters and working on an interesting meta level that is widely different to Madoka. Animation quality is lower though (it's an older anime with less budget lol).
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FLCL is short and excellent. It's about a 12 year old boy growing up in a town where, as he describes it, nothing ever happens. His brother moved to the USA to play baseball, his father runs a barely surviving convenience store and writes articles about Eva, and his brother's girlfriend is just kind of hanging around with the kid to deal. But mostly, it's about growing up in a town with nothing much going on.

Well, except a mysterious company opening a factory in town with no entrance, a crazy woman on a moped slamming into town claiming to be a space cop, government secret agents trying to prevent meteors from destroying the earth while wearing fake eyebrows, and space robots bursting out of the kid's head at random.

But really. Boring place, I swear.
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Shay Guy

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I'll probably be ninja'd on much of this by the time I post it, but what the hell!

First things to come to mind -- other works by the writer of Madoka Magica. There's some stuff that he only had a nominal amount of participation in, mainly so the producers could cash in on his post-Madoka fame, but Psycho-Pass, Fate/Zero, and the movie Expelled from Paradise are the real stuff. Also Thunderbolt Fantasy, but that's not anime -- it's a wuxia puppet show. (And it is a blast.)

If you're interested in going by creators, here's some other worthwhile names:

  • Hayao Miyazaki: The one anime director everyone knows, having directed several of the top-grossing movies of all time in Japan. Most of his movies available on DVD and/or BD in the US. Standouts include The Castle of Cagliostro, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Castle in the Sky, Kiki's Delivery Service, Porco Rosso, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away (the only anime to ever win an Oscar), and a bunch more.
  • Isao Takahata: Miyazaki's colleague at Studio Ghibli. Standouts include Grave of the Fireflies, Only Yesterday, and The Tale of the Princess Kaguya.
  • Satoshi Kon: Died in 2010 and left some great movies behind him, most of which I believe are sadly out of print. Standouts include... well, basically everything he ever made. Perfect Blue, Millennium Actress, Tokyo Godfathers, Paprika, and the TV series Paranoia Agent.
  • Mamoru Hosoda: Has released a solid movie every three years since 2006. Standouts include The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Summer Wars, and Wolf Children.
  • Makoto Shinkai: Burst onto the scene with his one-man half-hour work Voices of a Distant Star back in 2002, made several movies of varying degrees of success afterward, and last year hit the big time with Your Name, the highest-grossing Japanese movie worldwide ever, breaking Spirited Away's record. Comes out on disc later this year probably.
  • Yasuhiro Yoshiura: Cerebral-ish sci-fi. Standouts include Pale Cocoon, Time of Eve, and Patema Inverted.
  • Kunihiko Ikuhara: Let's switch to people who work in TV mainly -- their stuff is more likely to be streaming anyway! Ikuhara directed the legendary Revolutionary Girl Utena in 1997 and has made two more anime in the past decade, Penguindrum and Yurikuma Arashi. Very surreal.
  • Tetsuro Araki: Possibly the most "Hollywood" anime director of the bunch. Standouts include Death Note and Attack on Titan.
  • Sayo Yamamoto: Yuri!!! on Ice! Also a couple of other series before, Michiko & Hatchin and Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine.
  • Hiroyuki Imaishi: Wacky action-comedy dude. Standouts include Gurren Lagann, Kill la Kill, and Space Patrol Luluco.
  • Masaaki Yuasa: Very weird stuff, but in a good way. Standouts include Kaiba, The Tatami Galaxy, and Ping Pong.

Other individual works:

Kaiji is a personal favorite of mine, with both half-year seasons on Crunchyroll. It's about gambling.

Neon Genesis Evangelion is the "otaku" anime, though it's never been legally streamed anywhere. I'd conjecture that the studio is asking some huge price, but you'd think Netflix or Amazon would've gone after it by now.

Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun is a sitcom about a girl finding out the boy she's crazy about is a successful shoujo manga creator.

WATAMOTE is about social anxiety.

Kimi ni Todoke is a shoujo romance that gained popularity for similar reasons to My Love Story -- the characters are really endearing.

Samurai Flamenco is about a guy who wants to be a superhero like the ones he saw on TV as a kid, and it was basically made to be liveblogged and WIWed.

Eureka Seven is about first love and giant surfer robots, and if that doesn't grab your interest I don't know what to tell you.

Ghost in the Shell: Stand-Alone Complex is arguably the best version of one of the most long-running anime franchises out there. Post-cyberpunk counter-terrorism.

...Hey look, a rec list without a single isekai anime!

(EDIT: Surprised I forgot Tutu, Bebop, FLCL, Lain, and Shirobako.)
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Well, that’s just Prime.
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Also Kill la Kill. It's probably my favorite show but is, er, again, genre deconstruction.
I would honestly hold off on Kill la Kill for a minute. I've long described it as a grad-school level anime; not so much that it's too Deep and Complex for 'lesser minds' or anything, but rather that you typically need to be pretty far along in your anime fandom journey to not just bounce right off of Kill la Kill. Its use and critique of fanservice, in particular, really needs you to not only get the omnipresence of that stuff...But be used to it enough that the baseline shit stops being something you pay attention to.

Now, that said, all of this is based on a usual hesitance, a sort of "I don't want to scare them off" thought process. If you're up for going into the deep end of the pool and know what you're getting yourself into, Kill la Kill is absolutely a fantastic series. There's a reason I WIWed it, and fuckin' loved it.

Anyway, as for a recommendation of my own...Following that class-level analogy, I tend to think of Shirobako as kind of the final quiz of the 101 level anime class. It's an anime starring several young women in their 20s who were part of an anime club in high school, managed to put together a rough but super ambitious little short animated film for their big last hurrah project, and each of them went on a journey into the industry proper...Only to find that the challenges of producing "real" anime are nothing like what their project ever prepared them for. The show idealizes the process of creating anime a bit, but it also doesn't exactly make a lot of stuff up out of whole cloth. Its position as an anime about anime, showing the trials of production as well as the reason why people would put themselves through those trials, makes it one that I consider uniquely suited* to taking that next step in the fandom journey.

*There are, admittedly, other good anime about anime, but they tend to focus on one specific part of the process(often voice acting), and don't quite have the all-encompassing nature of Shirobako.
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