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The 6 Best Gateway Anime For Getting Your Friends Hooked

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Getting your friends into anime can be tough. Programs like Adult Swim on Cartoon Network have helped anime gain mainstream exposure, but the episodes are often out of order and confusing to new viewers. If you're ready to sit your friends down for their first anime, consider what other genres they like and try one of these established series.

Cowboy Bebop


This show follows space-bound bounty hunters. There is very little that you need to explain to your viewer about this premise. They don't need any prior knowledge about Japanese culture or anime tropes. The show is very character-driven, with only 27 episodes and a single movie.

Death Note


Anti-heroes are all over TV today. From Breaking Bad to The Walking Dead, modern audiences love watching good people do bad things. Death Note is the quintessential cat-and-mouse anime, holding all the suspense viewers expect from modern television. With 37 episodes that grow perpetually darker, you might want to have happier anime ready to pick the viewer back up after this roller coaster.

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood


If your friends are already into fantasy, action movies and video games, Fullmetal Alchemist’s tight storyline and continuing plot might be just the thing to hook them. With 64 episodes in total, viewers will require a bit of patience to absorb all the lore to become properly invested.

Neon Genesis Evangelion


Few anime hooks viewers in as little time as Evangelion. The beautifully animated robots and the giant angels they battle are a must-see. While extremely absorbing over its 26 episode run, Evangelion can get pretty strange for new viewers. Anime convention attendants at Momocon recommend showing your friends the first few episodes of Evangelion to showcase how cool anime can be, then moving on to another series.

Princess Mononoke


Hayao Miyazaki’s first big hit stateside has since been overshadowed by more recent, heavily promoted movies like Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle and Ponyo. For fantasy and action fans, Princess Mononoke is the perfect first anime with many recognizable English voice actors.

Samurai Champloo

This mix of a 1700s samurai period setting and modern hip hop aesthetics helps bridge the culture shock some viewers might have when first watching anime. With 26 episodes and an extremely linear plot, Samurai Champloo opens the door for other more period-heavy anime like Rurouni Kenshin.

The most important part of sharing passions with friends, whether it's new music or movies or anime, is to let them get into it at their own pace. Loan them your anime rather than watching it over their shoulder. Once they are on board, you can truly start the viewing parties.

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