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A beginner’s guide to Anime

Inspired by the classic video game series, Castlevania is a dark medieval fantasy following the last surviving member of the disgraced Belmont clan. Picture: Netflix

Inspired by the classic video game series, Castlevania is a dark medieval fantasy following the last surviving member of the disgraced Belmont clan. Picture: Netflix

Published Nov 22, 2018


If you’ve always wanted to get into Anime and didn’t know where to start then this is for you.

Anime is a global phenomenon that has captivated fans across the world with its vivid imagery, engaging, and often quirky, characters and fantastical worlds where nothing seems impossible. 

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The possibilities are endless in the Anime universe and there is a story for almost every topic under the sun. Unsurprisingly, Anime fans are amongst the most loyal in the world.

What is Anime?

In essence, Anime is the term used to describe animated series and movies from Japan. These animations have a unique and distinct style that differs from most cartoons.  

While the history of Anime can be traced back to the early 20th century, it was only in the 1980s that it gained mainstream popularity in Japan. Today, Anime is such a global phenomenon that nearly 90% of Anime-viewing on Netflix already happens outside of Japan.

From rampaging monsters to epic battles to college romance, there is something for everyone in the world of Anime.

Where to start

Anime is not a genre, it is an art style that encompasses several genres from Sci-Fi to Romance. Approach Anime as you would any movie or series. If you are a fan of Action then pick an Anime that’s in that genre. If you like Comedy then that’s where you should start.

Ease yourself in

Hardcore fans of Anime, or Otaku, as they call themselves to, will likely recommend classics such as Bleach or Dragonball-Z. However, as counterintuitive as it may sound, ignore this advice. Purely because the classics usually have deeply intertwined storylines and the aforementioned ‘in-references’ that may be lost on a newcomer. Plus, most of the classics span over several seasons with multiple spin-offs and can have hundreds of episodes, which makes it daunting for someone new to Anime.

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Pick something which is easily digestable. Watch a feature with a shorter running time or fewer episodes like "Castlevania" or "The Seven Deadly Sins". If you’re a fan of movies, then start off with something like Batman Ninja or Flavors of Youth. Once you have a grasp of Anime then you can explore the hundreds of classics and originals on Netflix.

Be patient

Most Anime have long, complex storylines with fascinating characters who evolve with the narrative as the series progresses. Watch at least a few episodes before you decide whether you like Anime or not. Patience is key, but once you get the hang of it, Anime is perfect for binge-watching.

Be prepared for a change in pace

Some quirks of Anime can appear strange to a newbie. While there could be thrilling action for one episode, not much might happen for the next five. It’s also not uncommon for a fight sequence to span several episodes. The longest ever fight sequence in an Anime series, Goku vs Frieza in Dragon Ball-Z, spanned 19 episodes and over 3.5 hours of screen time!

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Understand and appreciate the story-telling style of Anime and you’ll soon begin to enjoy it.

Explore more

Once you’ve dipped your toes you’ll find it easier to explore other titles in your preferred genre. Netflix has a vast collection of Anime spanning several genres. For an Anime newcomer, we recommend you check out our exhaustive catalogue of classics and originals.

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