While many of the older generation have been able to discover Japanese animation with the Dorothée club, some have gone through Netflix or other platforms to enter the world of Japanese animation. However, there are countless souls these days and when you know little or nothing about it, it can sometimes be hard to know where to start.
The style that suits your age and personality
Just like the series, anime has many different styles that can more or less suit us depending on our age but also our personality. Shonen? Shojo? Seinen? The topics covered will not be the same depending on the category you choose, here are some indications on them that can guide you (attention, there are also sub-genres but we will not talk about them here):
Shonen : this category is the most popular, it concerns “boys”, there are all the biggest manga and successful anime like One Piece, Naruto, Bleach etc … Mostly full of adventures with many missions that allow heroes (often male) to evolve in its purpose, shonen is a genre through which it is easy to enter the world of anime.
Shojo : this is generally considered to be “girls”, many anime of this genre talk about romance. Unlike shonen, the protagonist is predominantly female. We can mention among the best known Fruit Basket, Vampire Knight or Nana ..
Seinen : The Seinen are aimed at an audience in late adolescence or adulthood. For all genders, it is usually the topics covered that make an anime a seinen. Less Manichaean and often darker than a shonen, there are all kinds, it’s hard not to find what you’re looking for. Berserk, Psycho-pass, Gantz or even Death Parade are examples of seinen.
To start in the world of Japanese animation, nothing prevents you from starting with films, shorter than the series but just as compelling, they could be a good alternative for those who have little time.
Here are 3 films that allow you to enter the world of Japanese animation:
The Enchanted City (2001)
It was obvious to include a Ghibli film in our selection, as well as a film by the famous Hayao Miyazaki, a director who shook an entire generation.
Chihiro’s journey is a perfect blend of poetry, adventure and Asian folklore. Dating back to 2001, the animated film tells the story of Chihiro, a little girl who finds herself with her parents in the spirit world after crossing a giant Tori. She will have to go through a difficult adventure and meet multiple characters to hope to return to the human world, but also to find her parents. One of the strengths of this film is the double reading of her, she can take children on a journey but also adults. To that, we must add Joe’s timeless music.
Your Name (2016)
While Mitsuha hopes to go to Tokyo and escape her traditional family duties, she finds herself in a dream as Taki, a student from Tokyo. At first thinking that it is just a simple dream, she soon realizes that it is reality but above all that Taki, she takes possession of her body too! Follows the adventure of these 2 protagonists to whom everything is opposed, to find each other but also to understand this unrealistic phenomenon.
With its beautifully crafted graphics, Your Name is a nugget of Japanese animation that will touch a large number of viewers with the themes it addresses but also in its art of bringing out emotions.
Perfect Blue (1997)
Being for a more mature audience than the previous films mentioned, Perfect Blue describes the reality of life for Japanese singing idols. Away from the glittery world it claims to be, it is through the eyes of protagonist Mima, a former idol trying to convert to acting, that we discover the harmful aspect of the idols universe in Japan. Undergoing harassment, pressure and betrayal, Mima gradually sinks into paranoia and is no longer able to distinguish right from wrong.
A real slap in the face both in terms of script and animation, Perfect Blue by famed director Satoshi Kon has inspired great films like Black Swan or Requiem for a dream.
The advantage of series and especially anime is that the episodes only last 25 minutes, allowing us to devour multiple episodes at once or simply discover a new job without wasting too much time. The anime of our selection will be short series so as not to scare you at the sight of 1000 episodes, but also voluntarily they will not be among the best known, because it is important to talk about other less appreciated works, but for all this so surprising.
Here are 3 animated series you can get started with in the world of japanimation:
Canceled (12 episodes)
What would happen if you had the chance to go back a few minutes and avoid an accident? This is the power of Satoru, a failed mangaka, forced to deliver pizzas to make a living. However, following a serious accident, he sees himself projected far into the past, at the time of elementary school. It is an opportunity for him to be able to avoid the previous incident but also to solve a serious crime that would have happened 18 years earlier. The anime is a race against time that, thanks to its many twists, knows how to keep us going to the end. We are immediately in solidarity with the protagonist, but also for his story, hoping with all our heart that he can reach his goal before the deadline.
Be careful, the anime sometimes deals with difficult topics like abuse or murder.
Parasyte: the maxim (24 episodes)
Adapted from the manga of the same name, the Parasite anime tells the story of Shinichi, a normal teenager until one night a parasite from outer space sticks to his arm. Having failed to take root in Shinichi’s brain, they will have to live together to survive in a world where parasites that have taken over the human brain threaten to extinguish humanity.
Parasite is a clever mix of adventure and poetry, the question that revolves around the whole anime is: being man the biggest predator, what would happen if another living being came to rule humanity on the path of natural selection?
Terror in Resonance (11 episodes)
When a bomb explodes in the middle of Tokyo, the terrorists are revealed to be 2 teenagers who call themselves Nine and Twelve. Equipped with great intelligence, they create a real game of cat and mouse between themselves and the police, but their real goal is a claim that concerns all of Japan. Throughout this story, Lisa, a young high school woman from Nine and Twelve, finds herself confused. Her current life is miserable both in private and at school, this will push her to tie her fate to these 2 terrorists.
Unlike the other 2 anime mentioned, everything that happens in Terror in Resonance is realistic, enough to please viewers who don’t like the supernatural. Remember that actions have consequences, but also criticize the secrets and corruption that some governments may have towards their people.
Whether it’s a movie or a series, getting started in the world of animation can’t be easy if you don’t know a lot about it. We hope to have been able to guide you in your choices so that, perhaps, you will discover a passion for the world of Japanese animation!
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