Back when I was in middle school, my cousin Jen came over and showed me a videotape one weekend that blew my tiny mind apart. It was Sailor Moon. What I saw in that grainy VHS tape didn’t feel like any cartoon I’d watched previously. And I found myself craving more of its rich characterization, over-the-top action, and its unique art style. It was my first introduction into the weird, wild world of anime. And it led me to discover countless other amazing series over the years. But, nowadays, with so many titles to choose from, where do you start if you’re an anime newbie? Well, today on the Dan Cave, we’re here to help with the very best anime for beginners. Death Note. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. And it gets even worse if you’re a sociopathic high schooler with a god complex and a supernatural notebook that can kill anyone if you write their name inside of it. But that is the basic premise of Death Note. And it delivers a thrilling game of cat and mouse that’ll have you fiendishly binging episode after episode like Jessica Chobot if you let her behind the counter at Starbucks, which we can no longer do, as we’re now banned from most LA locations after the last time. Thanks, Jess, I didn’t want any coffee. Cowboy Bebop. Do you know someone who loves things like Firefly or Guardians of the Galaxy? You know, things that tell really good stories about not so good people in space? Then, Cowboy Bebop is the show for them. At its core, this is the story of a group of bounty hunters gallivanting around the galaxy on their ship, the Bebop. But with killer characters, including a hyper-intelligent corgi, bone crunching battles, and a soundtrack full of jazzy earworms, Cowboy Bebop is much more than just another space adventure. It’s a space adventure where everyone accidentally does psilocybin mushrooms. Ah, that (bleep) episode. Little Witch Academia. If Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them didn’t fill the Harry Potter-shaped hole in your heart or you’re like Rachel Hine and addicted to all things witchy, then Little Witch Academia is for you. It’s a simple, sweet, and spirited story of a young girl attending an academy for witches who winds up in a deadly showdown with a dungeon dwelling dragon. While there’s a TV series about it on the way in 2017, the original short is only 26 minutes long, which equates to roughly 13 Hot Pockets. And don’t lie to me. You are definitely going to eat 13 Hot Pockets in the near future. Which means you can definitely watch Little Witch Academia, too. It’s called multitasking, people, come on. You got two hands. Hajime no Ippo. Everyone loves Rocky, right? I mean, the story of an unlikely hero busting his ass to become a badass boxer. That’s cool, right? Well, Hajime no Ippo’s gonna scratch that same itch, but with 100% less Sylvester Stallone. It tells the story of a shy high schooler, who goes from getting beaten up by bullies to competing to become a world champion boxer. With ferocious fight scenes, a plucky and charismatic hero, and more heart than most Pixar films, Hajime no Ippo will put a smile on your face faster than Conor McGregor can ruin a press conference. And, yes, I know that’s MMA, guys. But boxing’s part of it. It’s mixed in there. Let me have this. Fullmetal Alchemist. As any economics teacher will tell you, nothing in life is free. But, perhaps, the best illustration of this concept is Fullmetal Alchemist, the story of two brothers, Edward and Alphonse, who dabbled in the ancient art of alchemy, which wound up costing Ed an arm and a leg, quite literally. Al, on the other hand wasn’t so lucky. He lost his entire body and now is some sort of weird spirit inhabiting a body of enchanted armor. This show is perfect for anyone who loved the epic scope of a show like Avatar: the Last Airbender, but wanted more violence, more personifications of the seven deadly sins, and more secret Hitlers. And, if there’s one thing we’ve always said Avatar was missing, it was secret Hitlers. Code Geass. What would you do if you had the ability where one time you could issue a command to anyone you saw and they would have to obey it? Well, that’s exactly what happens in Code Geass. When Lelouch, a young exiled prince living in occupied Japan, gains that exact ability. He uses this power called the geass to lead a rebellion against occupying Imperial forces. And the results are explosive. The show has giant mechs, political intrigue, and, weirdly, more Pizza Hut product placement than you can shake a stick at. In other words, it’s better than a meaty p’zone with an extra side of marinara or whatever the (bleep) that pizza base Doctor Moreau reject was. One Punch Man. In a world dominated by superhero movies, One Punch Man is the hero we deserve and the one we need right now. Saitama is a plain-looking guy who just so happens to be so incredibly strong he can defeat any enemy in a single punch. You know, that old chestnut. That old if you wanna know how hard you have to punch to end the universe watch this episode because science chestnut. You know, being that strong sounds great, but it turns out, it can actually be pretty boring. I mean, what’s the point if you can just beat everyone in a single punch? It’s a show that pokes fun not only at superheroes, but at anime itself. The fact that it’s gorgeously animated and this laugh out loud funny is just icing on the incredibly strong, incredibly beefy cake. Princess Mononoke. Everyone loves Disney movies, right? Well, Studio Ghibli’s basically the Disney of Japan. So, it’s the perfect entryway to anime for new fans. While many folks would say Spirited Away is their go-to Ghibli film, I think the environmental fairy tale of Princess Mononoke is a better choice overall. It’s violent without being gratuitous, wondrous without being childish, and packed to the brim with incredible mystical creatures. Hayao Miyazaki’s story of a cursed prince and a girl literally raised by wolves trying to protect forest spirits from human destruction is practically perfect. Plus, it has the kotamas, which are, without a doubt, my favorite Ghibli characters of all times. Sorry, Pom Poko raccoon scrotums, but you lost out. Trigun. West World might be done till 2018, but you can still experience the visceral thrills of the Wild West with a heaping helping of sci-fi in Trigun. The series takes place on the planet Gunsmoke, a dangerous place full of deadly outlaws, superhuman assassins, and a donut munching pacifist gunslinger named Vash the Stampede with retrograde amnesia. While he tries to uncover the mystery of his past, he’s hunted by merciless mercenaries with hilarious names. Case in point, one dude is named Midvalley the Horn Freak and he uses a saxophone to control sound waves to inflict pain in his victims. Usually you have to go to a high school jazz band for that kind of sax-induced torture. But, hey, Trigun gives it up for free. Berserk. Do, do, do, do you have it? Guts. I mean, Berserk sure does in the form of its legendary swordsman slash protagonist. The ultra-violent series moves slower than molasses in a walk-in freezer, but it’s so well done that you probably won’t notice or care. The medieval epic about a young soldier named Gut slowly becoming the leader of a mercenary group is bloody, intense, and highly addictive. In other words, it’s perfect for Game of Thrones fans who are squirming while they wait to unravel the secrets of whether or not Varys is a merman. Dragon Ball Z. This is, perhaps, the ultimate starter anime. Full of epic fight scenes, endless screaming, and badass characters. I’d tell you why exactly you need to watch, but I need to finish charging up. Cavemehameha. And that, my friends, is just a handful of the awesome anime I would recommend for beginners. But there’s so many more. What’s your favorite, though? What would you add to this list? Let me know in the comments below and give me a beginner’s thumbs up wile you’re there. Be sure to like and subscribe or else you might miss next week’s show when we talk about the story of a struggling jazz singer and aspiring actress falling in love and running away from dinosaurs in La La Land Before Time. Until next time, keep on digging. Let’s open up the old mail bag, shall we? @nateb asks, “What characters do you wanna see in the newly announced Marvel Vs Capcom: Infinite?” Great question, Nate. Well, from the Marvel side, I really wanna see Mister Sinister and Luke Cage. And, from the Capcom side… Aw, jeez, I don’t know. A zombie from Dead Rising? Who knows? You know what, I wanna see esports people, like Daigo. @gjmode asks, “Have you learned what strange powers Elijah Wood in For Real used to stay young and have you harvested it yet?” Yes, I have learned what it is. And, yes, I have harvested it, but Jessica Chobot stole it. Thanks, Jess. @scaramouchemusic asks, “What’s the most useless superpower you’d like to have?” I guess it’s be like the ability to give myself jury duty. It’d let me get out of work. And, at the very least, I could spend a couple hours reading a book while I’m trapped in the judicial personification of Craigslist. But, tell me, what useless power would you most like to have? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll see you guys next time.