Being someone who’s new to watching Anime, I have decided to base this article on how I dived into the medium, and my thoughts about the experience. With that said, if you are an avid anime fan, then my views will definitely not be the same as yours, so it’s okay to stop reading right here! However, for anybody who has ever wondered whether they should give anime a chance, I will describe the story of how I found new interest in watching anime.
My first two anime were Death Note and Attack on Titan, which were both anime I had heard about repeatedly that were neither Dragonball Z or Avatar (I understand these aren’t considered ‘real’ anime, but they were the only shows I knew about). Why did I watch them? First of all, I was always interested in finding out what made anime so interesting for so many of my friends, since I had only watched American TV shows before. Secondly, these two anime were two of the most well-recognized anime in North America. Lastly, and most importantly, I knew beforehand that these shows wouldn’t require the viewing of a bajillion episodes before seeing their final credits roll.
Titans in Attack on Titan can be over 10m tall, and the only effective weapons that the humans have are blades.
These two shows were interesting in different ways: Death Note revolved around a character named Light Yagami who discovers a book called the Death Note, which possessed the ability to take the life of any person’s name who is written in it, to which Light uses as a method of eliminating criminals. Attack on Titan describes a dystopian world where the last survivors of the human population live in a small district encircled by a towering wall, protecting them from human-eating giants dwelling outside. These shows were actually very intriguing, and I felt the reason they worked well was because the fantasy aspects of the shows (the Death Note from Death Note and the titans from Attack on Titan) fused well with the artistic nature of anime cinematography to create an effect of imagination and creativity that cannot be grasped in the same manner by American TV shows where real actors and actresses are present. My most memorable moments from these shows were the action sequences from Attack on Titan, which looked absolutely stunning and exhilarating in its art style, where blades hacking and slashing at speeds not possible in real life definitely added to the immense feeling of adrenaline pulsing through the characters during these segments. Unfortunately though, despite the extremely satisfying battles, this show — along with Death Note — were partially ruined for me due to the tendency of the characters having very long dialogues, where some episodes in both shows seemed to explain even the simplest matters in the longest way possible and made me want to stop watching in both cases. This point was something I brought up to a friend one day, and this was how I found out another form of anime that I wish I had come across sooner.
Battles in Attack on Titan are unpredictable due to the unpredictable nature of the Titans themselves.
The bite-sized anime. No, this is not a technical term for these shows, but it is my way of describing animes that are around 12 episodes in length. Needing only about 4 hours to finish watching one, the bite-sized anime I’ve seen have all continually delivered an experience that I wish would last longer, and never was there one episode that seemed excessive. The first one I watched was a recommendation from a friend given after discussing my thoughts about Attack on Titan having long dialogues, and it was called Ping Pong the Animation. Ping Pong the Animation is a show to behold in all respects. The story is simple yet captivating, and describes the different character’s reasons and motives for playing ping pong, and the art style will surely be unlike anything you have seen before. The art style resembles the drawings of an elementary school student, but surprisingly starts to rub off on its viewers after just the first episode. Just watch the trailer and you will not believe that an art style like this exists. But this 11 episode ping pong show actually captivated me throughout every episode, and when I came upon the final episode all too fast, it left me with a feeling of imagination that I was sure I had last experienced only during my childhood days. This effect on the viewer that is very hard to come across in a non-anime show, and it is possible because of the art style and heroic themes that are present in Ping Pong the Animation. After this, I was craving another exhilarating anime, which led me to get more recommendations and eventually watching The Tatami Galaxy and Baccano!.
The quirky art-style of Ping Pong the Animation produces an effect of charm that other anime do not have.
Just like the first, I consumed these bite-sized shows in just a few days and was left craving for more, and this is a feeling I didn’t get from Death Note and Attack on Titan. In essence, I’ve developed a new-found joy in short anime!
Coming from a person who has watched a total of five anime shows, I can certainly say that watching the shorter anime have been much more exhilarating than watching the longer 20-30 episode shows. The shorter length shows I have seen have all provide an endless amount of twists on simple ideas to keep it surprising and captivating with each episode, and have thus far been successful in making it nearly impossible for me to stop in the middle of the show and watch later. So my advice to all individuals who have asked the questions, “What is a good anime to watch?” and “What makes anime special?”, I would highly suggest a short length anime such as the ones I’ve mentioned above. In just about 4 hours, these shows will demonstrate through varying art styles and jubilant characters the extraordinary creativity that only an anime can achieve.