Hey guys, I guess I've put this off long enough. People often ask me what kind of anime I like.
I would start by saying I don't actually like Gun Girl, Moe
and Magical Girl shows like comic Ronnie does.
What I really like is light-hearted slice-of-life comedy. I tend to avoid sci-fi/magic/fantasy unless it's really light on those elements. My tastes really begin and end there, but thankfully, there are a lot of shows that cater to me.
As a youngster, I watched all anime. It started of course with Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball, but then I went on to harder stuff like Trigun, Tenchi Muyo, and even Love Hina (the latter of which actually made me dislike anime for a long time. I thought I was bored with anime, but actually I just hate harem.)
Some years later, Fullmetal Alchemist came out. This is definitely not my kind of show nowadays (with tragedy and magic galore), but it got me interested in anime again. It's definitely a testament to Arakawa Hiromu's talents. If you don't know about Fullmetal Alchemist, there were two versions of the show. The first version (Fullmetal Alchemist) was faithful to the original manga until it caught up with and passed Arakawa's production schedule. At this point, the anime staff made up the second half of the series, which did not match the future manga. Then they made an entirely different show, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood which was faithful to the series from start to finish. If you're curious, no they did not reuse anything. It was a completely new series. People argue over which was the best. Me, I like both equally, and I'm glad I don't have a preference. It means I love two great shows.
This kind of (but not really) got me back into anime. It opened me up to a suggestion from a friend. "Welcome to the NHK" she said. You'll like it, she said!
Well, I'm a stubborn person. I rarely take recommendations to heart. But I took a chance, and man that show threw me for a loop. (I'll have a list of my favorite shows and whether I recommend them at the bottom of this post, so you don't have to write that down now.) It's about a shut-in (known as a hikkikomori) who lives off his parent's money as a NEET (Not in Employment, Education or Training). He spends his days cooped up in his little Japanese apartment, having to listen to his neighbor blasting the same anime theme song over and over. Long story short, it's a fairly piercing depiction of a social outcast, and is based loosely on the life of the author.
This was when I learned anime didn't have to be all about fighting and magic and fantasy. It can be about people's lives, and be fairly realistic. You don't see nearly as much of that in western cartoons. (Maybe that's why I like King of the Hill so much). I got hooked on slice-of-life, and delved deeper.
I moved on to Azumanga Daioh. Boy, what a snoozer... I thought at first. Then, when I pushed about halfway through the series, it clicked for me. Once you get to know and love the characters, you really understand the show and how fun it is, or at least I did. It was a lighthearted and funny depiction of high school. (My first of many, but the best of any.) This remains one of my favorite shows. If you haven't gotten more than a few episodes in, keep trying!
Now I tend to wade through tons of anime (lots of high school stuff because there's just so much of it) and found early on that there's a weird phenomenon with these types of shows. Starting around 2001, they splintered off into your Pantsu shows, where they liberally reveal lady's undergarments for reasons, and your Magical Skirt where they work at all costs to prevent the revelation of undergarments, even if the skirt is distorted in weird fashions. (Note that underwear can still be shown in a Magical Skirt show, but it will not be worn by a person unless there's fabric between the underwear and the skin.) Before 2001, panties appeared when and how they wished. The quality of the show might dictate how often and whether or not it was gratuitous, but it wasn't quite as prolific an issue as it is today. These rules don't apply 100% of the time, but they tend to be the a huge factor in slice-of-life shows. I believe barbie doll anatomy began around this time as well.
All that said, I definitely prefer Magical Skirt, because I'm here to enjoy a show, not have them try and elicit a response out of me by showing me drawings of underwear on high schoolers or worse.
So, that's kind of a history on my anime hobby. Here's some shows I like and why I like them. Many of them you can see on Crunchyroll or Hulu, some you may have to buy the DVD, but some you may just have to torrent or watch on a shady website. Try and get them the good way first, though!
I'll try to roughly put these in the order of how much I enjoy them. Shows with a * next to them are "must watch by everyone". Keep in mind, these are opinions, so don't feel like I'm personally attacking you if I don't like the show you like. Enjoy whatever you want however you want. I know I'm a bit odd! Also, I'm sorry if any of these has some weird, gross or unpleasant moment. It's been a while since I've seen a lot of these, and I sometimes go "Yeugh, I forgot that show had THAT scene in it."
*Welcome to the NHK - A fairly emotional, but not scary or tragic show about a shut-in.
Azumanga Daioh - A class of high school girls just being funny. Lots of fun, with funny characters.
*Princess Jellyfish - A nerd girl lives with a bunch of other nerd girls until she meets her Pygmalion. It's a very sweet and extremely funny show.
*Usagi Drop - A bachelor adopts his grandfather's illegitimate child. It's a touching and funny show.
*Nichijou - A very wacky, absurd comedy. It's very fun.
Arakawa Under The Bridge - A really fun show about a bunch of crazy homeless people. There's a bit of absurdity/supernatural to it.
Space Brothers - An emotional, but slow-paced show about two space-bound brothers. The younger brother has become an astronaut, but can the older, more awkward brother do it?
Toradora! - I can't help but love the main characters in this show. I just think they're adorable, both the guy with the mean eyes yet soft heart and the girl who is a textbook case of tsundere.
Polar Bear Cafe - A bunch of realistically drawn animals who talk, living their daily lives among humans. Pretty much sells itself.
Comic Party - The first season is a hilarious and touching slice-of-life about a guy who wants to draw doujinshi (fan-made) manga. The second season is poo poo made by a different production company and writers.
I! My! Me! Strawberry Eggs - There's a bit of gratuitous underwear in this one. But it's also from 2001, so it still kind of gets a pass on that. It's a funny and touching show about cross-dressing to get a job. It feels a little pandering at times, but I was willing to overlook it this time.
Hanamaru Kindergarten - A fresh-out-of-college guy teaches at a kindergarten and has a crush on another teacher. The show also focuses on 3 children in particular, and is pretty fun.
Fullmetal Alchemist - After a failed attempt to revive their dead mother with alchemy, Ed and Al are on a quest to recover Al's body lost in the transmutation. Action packed, but also respites from the action that are just as engaging.
Genshiken - A bunch of nerds hang out in a college club for anime/manga. Eventually a cool guy comes in who also loves the stuff, but his tough girlfriend can't figure out why he'd bother. For the most part, it's a fairly realistic depiction of nerdiness.
Petopeto-San - Monsters who look like humans live among us. It's about a monster girl who, if she touches someone's skin, they stick to her, because her species is black-widow-like. One unwilling boy ends up stuck to her on more than one occasion.
Kimi Ni Todoke - Did you want an introduction into shoujo romance anime? This is where you start. It has a unique art style that may be off-putting at first, but it set the standard for shoujo romance.
Aishiteruze Baby - If Kimi Ni Todoke appealed to you, this is a very similar shoujo show, but from a teenage guy's perspective - a playboy who has been appointed to care for a preschool-age child. (Have you seen "I like corm?" It's from that.)
Lovely Complex - About an overly tall red-headed girl and a diminishingly short boy who find that maybe they have feelings for each other. It's a much more accessible and fun shoujo romance than Kimi Ni Todoke.
Working!! - An entertaining slice-of-life about working in a family restaurant. At first it seemed like a harem, but it wasn't (just lots of girls). Fun to watch.
Hanasaku Iroha - A girl is forced to live with her grandmother in a Japanese traditional inn and work there. It's fine. It's fine.
Hayate The Combat Butler - The first two seasons are a funny twist on the harem plot. It's a much more enjoyable show if you've seen lots of anime. A debt-ridden guy is forced to become a butler for a kid who's in love with him. In fact, many girls fall in love with him, but he's 100% oblivious in every possible way, giving zero progress to any of his chasers, and I think that's why I like it.
The Gokusen - A Yakuza heiress is the teacher at a rough-and-tumble all-boy's school. It's lots of fun. I recommend the manga as well.
Eden of the East - A slightly futuristic show about... stuff. It would take too much to explain it here. Either way, I enjoy it.
High School Rumble - A pretty funny show about a delinquent who's in love with a girl, but the girl is in love with the king of dorks. Unfortunately, the ending kind of spoiled the rest of the show for me, but your mileage may vary.
Mahoraba ~Heartful Days~ - A show about a guy who moves into his family's old-style apartment complex with some interesting characters. I liked this one quite a bit, but it has an old art style that may turn some people off.
Tsuritama - It's about an alien who is trying to get the main character to fish for him. It's a pretty funny show, probably more suited to younger audiences, but I think people of all ages can enjoy it.
Binb? Shimai Monogatari - A high school girl and her elementary-school sister are abandoned by their father, and they have to live on their own. A very sweet show.
Ramen Fighter Miki - A very funny show about Miki, the daughter of a ramen shop owner. Miki is very loud and likes to get into fights, even fist fights with her mother. Her rival is the baker across the street. This show made me guffaw more than once.
Maico 2010 - A 1998 anime that takes place entirely in one radio studio booth. They receive an unfinished android who is to be the on-air personality. Lots of humor and emotion in this one.
Honey & Clover - If you want to experience every emotion, this is for you. It's about an art college, and there are people, I don't know. Love, life, etc.
Ouran High School Host Club - A girl who people think is a boy gets recruited to being a male host for wealthy girls. It's pretty funny.
Yakitate! Japan - It's kind of a sports anime, but about bread-making. I enjoyed it at first, but the show became sillier than I would have liked, so I haven't seen the whole thing.
K-On - People are passionate about this show. It's about 4 (and later 5) high school girls in the Keionbu (light music club). It's easy to watch, but it doesn't really have a plot. However, I understand why people like it.
Steins; Gate - It's one of my favorite plot points. "We invented time travel in our apartment on accident." But I would have liked it more if the science had been a bit different. I'm big into time travel in general, so I'm picky about that sort of thing.
Sound of the Sky - Military K-On. Some people say it's not, but I really really feel like it is.
Haruhi Suzumiya - It's okay. I like it. It's about a girl (Haruhi) who really wants there to be aliens and espers and time travelers, so her wish comes true. You really want to watch it all from start to finish, ending with the movie. (I watched it in chronological order instead of TV-aired order. Some prefer the latter) When you get to the endless 8, watch the first 2 episodes and the last episode. The middle 5 are pointless.
Alice Academy - Somewhat entertaining show about a magical school. Kind of like an anime Harry Potter. I find the manga to be unreadable though. (Lots of style, but hard to follow)
Angel Beats - A show about the limbo between death and heaven. It can be really really sad, so be prepared for that.
Kannagi - I don't remember much about this one. A guy carves a wooden figure of a goddess, and she comes to life and lives with him. It's not as creepy as it sounds. I remember enjoying it.
Hyakko - A fairly standard high-school slice-of-life. It's fine if you're bored.
Lucky Star - It's funnier if you've watched Haruhi first. The art style is surprisingly different from most anime. Everyone got big ol' heads. I don't think I like it as much as everyone else does, but that's okay.
Chobits - Nah.
Hand Maid May - A bit less weird/pandering than Chobits (but with similar themes). I didn't mind this show too much, but it was still a bit eh.
Ghost Stories - A kid's show about ghost hunting. I thought it was funny once in a while, but mostly I watched because I was bored. There's an English dub that changes all the dialogue Shin-Chan style, so keep that in mind.
Shakugan No Shana - Watchable, but somewhat forgettable. It's about a girl who... something, I don't remember. Demons? Sure.
Myself; Yourself - I actually don't like this show, but I thought I'd mention it. It contains more drama per square inch than any other show on TV. I don't know why I watched all of it. Even the ending is kind of depressing.
Oreimo - I figured I should include this show. The title is a bit misleading (I can't believe my sister is this cute) which, in the context of the show, means more "Why is she being nice to me" than the alternative. That said, I still find it just a tiny bit pandering, and even though I watched it all, I came away with the conclusion that I don't really care for it. (Update: Don't watch it.)
That's about all, I suppose. Happy hunting!