By Ashley Hagstrom

Anime is a japanese style of animated film, popular around the world for its creative storylines and beautiful animation. For beginners, trying to find a good anime to ease their way into its culture can be challenging. Due to the abundance of anime across multiple genres, it can be hard to figure out what is right for you and even where you should start. To help, I’ve listed five anime of various genres that are perfect for a beginner. Each anime is finished, and I have listed where they can be streamed, as well as if they have Japanese audio with English subtitles (subbed) or English audio (dubbed).

“Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood”
Dubbed and Subbed
Available on: Hulu

In the world of alchemy, to obtain something, something of equal value must be lost. What is the worth of a human soul? Edward and Alphonse Elric hoped to resurrect their mother when they attempted human transmutation, but they failed and still had to pay a price. Ed lost an arm and a leg and Al awoke to discover his soul transferred into a suit of armor. There’s only one way the Elrics can restore what they lost: the Philosopher’s Stone. Sinful abominations, both unnatural and human, will attempt to keep them from their redemption, but the Elrics will do anything to have their bodies back. This anime is one of the most well-renowned, as well as being my first anime. The story takes on some darker themes, but the characters are very quirky, which helps lighten up the overall tone. It is definitely a great choice for a beginner.

“Little Witch Academia”
Dubbed and Subbed
Available on: Netflix

In a time when magic is on the decline within society, Atsuko Kagari enters Luna Nova Academy in order to accomplish her dream of becoming a witch like her idol, Shiny Chariot, a famous witch who disappeared many years ago. On the start of her journey, Atsuko meets Lotte Yanson and Sucy Manbavaran. Atsuko soon discovers she has a serious disadvantage compared to the other girls because she doesn’t seem to have any magic power at all. Having found an item that once belonged to Chariot, Atsuko must discover how to activate and properly use the mysterious Shiny Rod, as she hopes it can help find out what has truly happened to Chariot. This anime is a fun twist on the classic magical girl trope. What I love about this anime is that there is power in laughter, and how nothing is impossible with friends by your side, which is truly magical.

“Psycho-Pass”
Dubbed and Subbed
Available on: Hulu

Justice, and the enforcement of it, has changed. This is due to the Sibyl System, a program that can determine the threat level of each citizen by examining their mental state for signs of criminal intent, also known as their Psycho-Pass. Inspectors uphold the law by subjugating anyone, harboring the slightest ill will. With them are Enforcers, inspectors that have become latent criminals, granted limited freedom in exchange for carrying out their Inspectors’ dirty work. Enter Akane Tsunemori, a young woman with an honest desire to uphold justice. However, as she works with Enforcer Shinya Kougami, she learns that the Sibyl System is not as perfect as it seems. With learning the flaws of her society, Akane wrestles with the question of what justice truly is, and whether it can be upheld through the use of a system that may already be corrupt. This anime is definitely the darkest on this list, as it’s almost like a crime show. It will leave you questioning what is justice and how it is enforced.

“Sword Art Online”
Dubbed and Subbed
Available on: Netflix and Hulu

What if you were trapped in a video game, and if you died in the game, you died IRL, better known as “in real life.” Welcome to “Sword Art Online,” a fantasy sword-fighting MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) that has trapped over 500 players. The only way out: reach the 100th floor of the game’s tower and defeat the final boss. Will the Black Swordsman Kirito and Lightning Flash Asuna be able to defeat the final boss and go home, or will they die trying? This anime is for any sci-fi fans out there, as you will definitely get your fill of sword fights and boss battles. What I really like about this anime is the relationship between Kirito and Asuna and how it evolves within the virtual world.

“Assassination Classroom”
Dubbed and Subbed
Available on: Hulu

The students of class 3-E are assassins and their target is their teacher. Though when your teacher blows up the moon and claims he will do the same to Earth, it’s not going to be easy, especially if he’s able to regenerate and fly at speeds of up to Mach 20. Did I mention that he looks like a giant octopus? The misfits of 3-E soon find that the strange, tentacled beast is more than just indomitable—he is the best teacher they have ever had.

Okay, so this anime is probably the weirdest one on this list, but don’t let that discourage you. You get to witness many awesome action scenes, as well as repeating hilarious gags. Though a little odd, this anime has pulled on my heart strings in almost every direction, in the way only the students of class 3-E can.

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