Anime You Needed to Check Out Yesterday

This is a guest post from Justin of Organization Anti-Social Geniuses.

It’s pretty easy to be skeptical of anime nowadays, especially since there seems to be a ton of it out right now, and available in a number of ways. This means you’ll get your fair share of mediocre and forgettable stuff, but hiding within said mediocre and forgettable stuff is some really strong works that you might be able to enjoy. After much debating, I’ve listed 7 anime series you might want to check out, each with their own strengths, and even their advantages (for example, I’ve listed a 5-minute short!). I’ve tried to keep it to fairly recent stuff (think 2011 ish).

Attack on Titan

Attack on Titan

Cast: Marina Inoue, Yui Ishikawa, Yuuki Kaji (JP)
Director: Tetsurō Araki
Lead Companies: Production I.G. (JP); Funimation (US)
Episode Number: 25 + OVA
Genre(s): Action, Fantasy
Based On: Attack on Titan (manga) by Ryō Suzukaze
Wikipedia | Anime News Network | Amazon

Watch it at Crunchyroll or Hulu.

As a avid reader of the manga series, I’ve had my…misgivings about some of the aspects of the anime, most notably in the middle part of this 25 episode adaptation. But there is no denying that this is one of the more creative endeavours compared to what’s out there right now, and with the story of humans trying to defeat large and powerful titans, I would definitely encourage you to check out the anime, and if this type of dark fiction is up your speed, you’ll definitely get a kick out of it.

Hunter x Hunter (2011)

Hunter x Hunter

Cast: Megumi Han, Mariya Ise, Miyuki Sawashiro (JP)
Director: Hiroshi Koujina
Lead Companies: Madhouse (JP)
Episode Number: 94 and Ongoing
Genre(s): Shounen, Action, Adventure
Based On: Hunter x Hunter (manga) by Yoshihiro Togashi
Wikipedia | Anime News Network

Watch it at Crunchyroll.

The one caveat that’ll let you know right off the bat is this may be a slow burn. It takes a decent while before it hits an arc that catapults the series to a level that stands by itself from anything else airing right now. Aside from that, it is one of the longest series on this list, and it’s still ongoing right now. But if length is not an issue, then the first few episodes will determine whether or not Hunter x Hunter will be for keeps. If you can tolerate it’s early pace though, you’ll be rewarded with a richly intense, moving anime with some smart writing and superb fighting, and it will be that one anime where you know you have to tune in every week.

Bunny Drop (Usagi Drop)

Usagi Drop

Cast: Ayu Matsuura, Hiroshi Tsuchida
Director: Kanta Kamei
Key Companies: Production I.G.
Episode Number: 11
Genre(s): Slice of Life, Family Drama
Based On: Usagi Drop (manga) by Yumi Unita
Wikipedia | Anime News Network

Watch it at Crunchyroll.

The Usagi Drop anime is the best anime I’ve ever watched since I started taking anime more seriously in 2011, and so it only makes sense I try and tell you why on this list. It represents what the slice of life medium can be, without putting a person to sleep. It tells a deeply personal story between Rin, a girl abandoned by her mother, and Daikichi, a 30 year old salaryman who decides to take Rin in when no one else in his family would. The stigma is intense, as Rin happens to be the love child of Daikichi’s grandfather — so of course no one would want to be associated with that. However, with Daikichi knowing this isn’t Rin’s fault, he refuses to let her suffer due to the mistake of two people. Still, he finds he doesn’t know what he’s getting into, as parenting is tough business, and he discovers this in a myriad of ways. With this kind of story it sounds like it could be a tough watch, but it was literally a pleasure to watch every week when it aired two summers ago, and was again when I re-watched it all last year. With its pleasant visuals and outstanding music, I believe this is a series you can’t miss out on. Just make sure you stick with the anime though, and, unless you’re willing to brave the elements of cultural differences, avoid the manga until you’ve checked out some more works.

Majestic Prince (Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince)

Majestic Prince

Cast: Hiroki Aiba, Junya Ikeda, Shintarou Asanuma, Youko Hikasa, Tamaki Irie
Director: Keitaro Motonaga
Key Companies: Dogakobo
Episode Number: 24
Genre(s): Seinen, Action, Mecha, Sci-Fi
Based On: Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince (manga) by Rando Ayamine and Hikaru Niijima
Wikipedia | Anime News Network

Watch it at Crunchyroll.

Mecha anime do not have a good reputation for the most part, and in trying to recommend a show that’s not quite over yet (as in, it could end poorly) is pretty risky. But like with AoT I’ll try and get away with it, because if there is anything I can say about Majestic Prince is that it won’t betray your expectations. You’ll know what you’re getting into with this anime, which you can’t safely say about anything else: it’s a story about 5 of the most mediocre pilots in their class, and how, through their triumphs and failures, they manage to grow up to be able to be better at what they do (speaking with people, fighting, etc). There are of course mech battles and whatnot, and generally, you’ll mostly find the episodes to just range from “good” to “great”. You can also mostly name anime that take a nosedive from “good” to “awful”, and I feel you won’t get that with this anime. If you’re willing to take a chance on a mecha anime, then you can go and start with this. This should be a good start.

Little Witch Academia

Little Witch Academia

Cast: Fumiko Orisaka, Megumi Han, Michiyo Murase, Youko Hikasa
Director: Yoh Yoshinari
Key Companies: Trigger
Episode Number: 1
Genre(s): Comedy, Fantasy, All Ages
Based On: A young animators project by Anime Mirai
Wikipedia | Anime News Network

Watch it at Crunchyroll.

There’s something to be said for an anime that can at least show off what anime can be if it had a sizable budget for a TV run, and that anime is Little Witch Academia. As part of Anime Mirai, where the Japanese government provides funding to support training animators, this particular title stood out due to its vibrant animation and visuals that rival most anime that have aired recently and are running right now, and its simple story involving a girl who wants to become a witch. Que the Harry Potter comparisons, as that has been thrown about on the interwebs. Still, it does manage to be quite a solid work, and the best part is it’s not a long affair. You’ll have 25 minutes to spare in a day, so you can surely consider watching this when you have the time.

Poyopoyo

Poyopoyo

Cast: Suzuko Mimori, Ikue Ohtani
Director: Akitaro Daichi
Key Companies: Studio DEEN, Dax Production, Mobius Tone
Episode Number: 52
Genre(s): Children, All Ages, Comedy, Slice of Life
Based On: Poyopoyo (manga) by Ruu Tatsuki
Wikipedia | Anime News Network

Watch it at Crunchyroll.

Another short work I’m saying you might want to check out. Yep, I bet you were fooled by the 52 episode length huh? Well, recently there has been a trend of anime being really short. So far one of the best for me is Poyopoyo, and it’s 3 minutes! This is literally just about a ridiculously cute, spherical shaped cat and his interactions with family and the people around him. Nothing more, nothing less. You’ll either be tricked by how the cat is or you’ll be smiling at all the jokes thrown about in 3 minutes. Sounds like an easy work to get used to, and one you should check out.

Summer Wars

Summer Wars

Cast: Nanami Sakuraba), Ryunosuke Kamiki (JP); Brina Palencia, Michael Sinterniklaas (US)
Director: Mamoru Hosoda (JP); Mike McFarland (US)
Key Companies: Madhouse (JP); Funimation (US)
Episode Number: N/A (Film)
Genre(s): Adventure, Comedy, Romance, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Wikipedia | Anime News Network

 You can buy it at Amazon or RightStuf.

Finally, one of my personal favorites is a movie by up and coming director, Mamoru Hosoda. Let’s just say this story involves the use of the internet community OZ, and how it affects literally everything — traffic lights, baseball stadiums, the works!…And how with just one program it can throw everything out of whack with the blink of an eye. Along with an endearing cast of characters (and there is a lot of them) and solid music, this is one of those films you’ll be smiling and jumping for joy when it’s all over, and the journey within the story will be one that you’ll keep in mind for a while.

Your Turn!

So that’s a list of anime I think you should check out, especially if you’re not all that familiar with anime. One more thing I’d like to add to this is this: if you have a certain attachment to a genre (like if you like fantasy or action), go seek out anime with that tag, and you might find something you’ll like. But I digress.

Anyways, I bet there’s a few more out there that deserves a watch, so feel free to share in the comments any suggestions on anime people should check out.

Justin is the Editor-in-Chief of Organization Anti-Social Geniuses, a Japanese Pop Culture blog that covers anime, manga, games, and even life in Japan. When he’s not trying to clear his large backlog, he’s trying to keep up with his favorite sports teams (Nets, Giants, Yankees). You can follow him on Twitter, and you can keep track of his blog by following on Twitter or liking on Facebook

5 responses to “Anime You Needed to Check Out Yesterday

  1. My only suggestion would be Angel Beats! Amazing music, great story, and good humor. Has its strange moments, but it’s definitely near the top of my favorites list.

    • I need to give Angel Beats a re-watch. I remember watching it with my anime club a few years ago and it seemed like something nice, but definitely had its fair share of flaws. Need to refresh my memory of that series…

  2. id suggest the melancholy of haruhi suzumiya, Sword Art Online, Date a live, the world god only knows, psycho pass,accel world,Hataraku Maou-sama!,angel beats and soul eater thats what i could think of from the top of my head my external hard drive is messed up so i couldn’t remember everything i have in there lol

    • Haruhi: I keep meaning to check that out, but I fear it’s now too late though for me to really appreciate it (or so say some people)
      SAO: Ehhh…the writing in SAO soured me off, and then Part 2 arrived. Nah sorry haha
      Date a Live: Ehhh…wasn’t a fan of its first ep. Meant to watch more, but forgot. Based on reactions I’ve seen on twitter though it doesn’t sound like it was any good…
      TWGOK: I like it (as if my avatar didn’t give it away!). I think I’d recommend it if you understand a bit about Visual Novels or have just watched a lot of anime though.
      Psycho Pass: I still need to finish that lol I did like what I watched of it though
      Accel World: I gave up on Ep 12, sorry!
      Maou-sama: I think that’s a safe recommendation actually. Had issues with it, but thought it was a pretty nice series.
      Soul Eater: Keep thinking I need to watch it at some point, but I’ve watched a few eps here and there.

  3. I haven’t really watched too much anime, but I have watched Attack On Titan, which ruled! Other than that I really enjoyed Death Note and Soul eater! I would also recommend Naruto to anyone who is tough enough to catch up on it!

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