Do you wonder what the hell is anime and why is it so popular? Feeling bogged down by the overwhelming amount of shows? Look no further for I am here to recommend several starting places to catch up on this trend.

This next part is about the oldies but the goodies: Anime from more than ten years ago.

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Cowboy Bebop

Synopsis: The bounty hunters of the spaceship Bebop travel the solar system in search of money and notoriety. But mostly money.

Why I Recommend It: This show has a lot of things going for it. Episodic, an awesome soundtrack, space cowboys, stylized animation, and a corgi. Outlaws living on the edge both socially and financially. Recommended to anime novices because it is easily accessible and extremely popular.

Death Note

Synopsis: Light Yagami was the perfect student and the perfect son but perfectly bored. Then he discovers a notebook that will kill the person whose name is written inside and he slowly descends into megalomania.

Why I Recommend It: This was the show that everyone was talking about when I was in high school. Even now, it keeps getting remade (the current iteration being a serialized drama in Japan). The anime is the place where it all started: ground zero for a world where the smallest of crimes is punishable by death. I recommend it for the game of cat-and-mouse played by Light and his nemesis L.

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Fullmetal Alchemist

Synopsis: Brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric are hunting for the Philosopher’s Stone, a legend among alchemists, but also the only thing that will restore their bodies and fix their mistakes.

Why I Recommend It: Newcomers to both anime and the Fullmetal Alchemist franchise should start with the first 26 episodes of the 2003 anime. It will be the best thing to ever grace your television. The second half of that series is not as well-written, and its remake Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is a better show overall. However, these first episodes know exactly what they’re doing when they sucker punch you in your emotional gut. So start with them.

Neon Genesis Evangelion

Synopsis: In order to ward off the invading Angels, the organization NERV created several mecha units called Evangelions that are piloted by teenagers whose unhealthy mental states poses the real danger to humanity.

Why I Recommend It: Back in my day, this was the show that inducted you into anime culture. NGE is about more than giant robots fighting aliens, it’s about the mental and physical toll such a battle will take on the child pilot inside the giant robot. It’s about the stress of meeting expectations you cannot meet. It’s about humans falling apart in a post-apocalyptic world when the thing that will save them is a sense of family they won’t allow themselves to feel. If I could write an in-depth analysis of this show for a class in college, I would have done so in a heartbeat. I recommend this show to novices who love picking out double-meanings.

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I know I missed something. Which anime older than 10 years do you recommend to the novice anime watcher? Leave your comments below!

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