I first got into anime with Dragon Ball Z in 1998. Soon after, our local PBS affiliate broadcast Urusei Yatsura and Neon Genesis Evangelion, which sealed the deal. (Tip from my experience: the fastest way to get an eleven-year-old kid into anime is to show them Eva. It won't endear you to their parents much, though.)
My top five series:
- Monogatari series
- Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai
As you can probably see, I like moe and slice of life shows. Other favorites are Haruhi Suzumiya, Fate/Stay Night, everything else by Key (Kanon, Little Busters, Angel Beats), and Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii wake ga Nai (which was in my top five until the ending of Series 2). I also like some shoujo, especially CLAMP's work, Fruits Basket, Honey and Clover, Gakuen Alice, and Maria-sama ga Miteru.
I don't mind some of the big, popular shows, like Attack on Titan, but I really enjoy small, quiet series with great art, a low-key atmosphere, and a unique aesthetic. A lot of these aren't widely appreciated, but here are some to check out if you're looking for something new.
- GA: Geijutsuka Art Design Class: Moe slice of life along the lines of K-On, but with fine arts instead of music. Clever, creative, and charming.
- Shoulder-a-Coffin Kuro: From the same manga-ka as GA, a dark, fairy tale-like series.
- Ikoku Meiro no Croisée: Slice of life that follows a young Japanese girl in 19th Century Paris. Beautiful art.
- Bungaku Shoujo: A series of light novels available in English. Have a shoujo feel to them. The stories incorporate heavy references to classical literature, both Japanese and Western. Also adapted to anime. (The main heroine, Touko Amano, is voiced by Kana Hanazawa—that might be enough reason by itself to watch the anime.)
- Haibane Renmei: A beautiful slice-of-afterlife fantasy from Yoshitoshi ABe, best known for Serial Experiments Lain.
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