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  • Writer's pictureL.M. Huntwork

How to Choose a New Anime

Updated: Nov 30, 2022

Choosing a new anime to watch can be a very personal decision. When you watch a new show, you may run into your next favorite theme song, character, favorite ship, or the next anime that has you curled on your bed, between your pillows, sobbing uncontrollably. It’s a tough choice with so many popping up and they all look so intriguing with the further modernizing of animation. There are a handful of styles out there, but it’s all getting an overall upgrade.

With the day and age we are in, it’s not like we have endless hours to sit around and binge show after show, either. Our schedules are full and we need to make sure we are not wasting it on something that won’t stick with us or add any meaning, even an addition to the guilty pleasure category is significant.

There are so many things to consider when flipping through the pages on Crunchyroll or Hulu. Many are eye-catching or they flow off the tongue with a snappy title that sticks with you. When you are finally settling down to start a new, possible masterpiece, or a show that you set to compare against other mediocrities, think about the details.

Let me introduce you to my list. The 6 things I look for in a new anime (or manga). Also, keep in mind that some of these are supposed to be used to sort of coexist together. I’ll explain further in the article.

1. Age of Characters

Sometimes, it’s just really nice to sit there and have your own realities or concerns shared with a likable character on screen. Focusing on characters that share your personal struggles is validating. Even if the character is in some fantastical world, the way they take on these new obstacles, might help you be absorbed into this new frame if the characters were similar to your own age. If you are in your late twenties, and there is a show of middle school aged kids taking on dragons, the way they deal with their quests or challenges will most likely be very different. The ensuing frustration of yelling at your computer screen, trying to instruct the character to stop behaving a certain way may get in the way of enjoyment.

Now, the caveat to this is if the storyline is woven with a broader target audience in mind. If these characters are dealing with things that fall into the nostalgic category where there is a coming of age understanding then this would obviously be less of a concern. A great example of this would be K-ON! or the very classic, FLCL. These both deal with the struggles of coming of age and have very youthful outlooks, mixed with a heavy dose of realism and incredible storyline.

All in all, this one has some caveats, based on what story, genre or feel you are really looking for in your next choice. This one is a lighter criterion and is used best when working in line with others on this list.

2. Genre

This one is pretty obvious. Now, I watch a great deal of genres, but you’ll never see me choosing a Mecha anime. If I were to choose one, I’d sort it out with the other 9 points on this list. Sometimes we just really don’t know where our limits are. Maybe, you don’t know that Mecha makes you fall asleep like a cozy koala bear on a widened branch. So, you are going around and looking at what all anime genres have to offer.

For convenience, let me break it down for you, in the most common ones out here.

We all know about the main ones that we use in our movies, tv shows and book:














Slice of Life



Here are some of the lesser known ones, though.

Cyberpunk - A mix of advanced technology and a dystopian society that often focuses on the poverty stricken or “lower” society

Hentai - We won’t get into that on this blog at all, but it’s for the mature audience.

Yuri/Yaoi - Romantic relationship between two women, or two men, respectively.

There are also the four main branches of targeted audience.

Josei - Targeted for adult women.

Shoujo - Targeted for young girls.

Shounen- Targeted for young boys.

Seinen - Targeted for adult men.

Choose your genre carefully, because this is where you’ll be focused on for the next few days of your life, or weeks. If you aren’t really in the mood for a sports anime, but you start one, you’ll be starting up another show and possibly another. Then you are sitting there with five main storylines in your head, getting characters confused, not finishing anything and close to moving on to yet another Netflix Original series. Beware. Don’t fall down the rabbit hole and make sure you’re following along so you can successfully choose your next anime.

3. Setting

Now, this one is massively important. You have chosen your genre, but have you considered all of the possible settings your characters may be in? Are you up for a fantasy set in a school or yet another magical academy? Or are you ready for an adventure that is set in a coffee shop only? These things matter and you have to understand what you are getting yourself into. Consider what the stakes are. Can you truly stomach a Rosario+Vampire 2.0?

There are so many possibilities for this one and you just have to figure out what kind of story you are in the mood for. When you are picking a romance and there is a temple involved, you know you are going to be coming up against a ton of Japanese lore. The stage is space? You are in for lots of technological treats. Some transcend the concept like Cowboy Bebop. This one is not just any space age story, it is a masterpiece of a Western set in the stars. So, just keep in mind that the setting plays a big part in the story and conflicts that may arise.

4. Appearance of Characters

This one is a little more on the subjective side of the spectrum here. Consider xxxHolic. The animation style takes some getting used to, but once you start that series, I dare you to put it down or never think of those memorable lines again. We also have Paradise Kiss, some of those scenes are absolutely awful, but when you focus on the storyline, you finish it knowing the masterpiece that it is. The animation failings were not enough to push me away or many others. This is, at times, how it goes.

Then we have a show that is just a beautiful canvas of animation, such as Mushi-Shi. This is splendid from every single flow of the shots and movement. There are so many moments where you are allowed to just sit there and absorb the images with awe and some major respect.

Another option with appearance is the difference between Rosario+Vampire and Basilisk. Two very opposing stories but imagine each with the other's styling. A nightmare, right? Basilisk is phenomenal because the characters were not meant to all be attractive and mesmerizing, at least not in the romantic way. They are mesmerizing in their own right, for the amount of imperfections or exaggerated faults in their looks. We get an impactful story that is told with such deeply felt style choices.

This is a big one in my opinion, but it has to be taken into consideration with other factors. And sometimes, you just don’t know until that first episode. Once you start to get a feel for the styling, then make your choice. Perhaps, the sometimes iffy art will be worth it for everything else the anime has to offer you.

5. The Antagonist

I take the role of the antagonist very seriously in a series. I prefer layers as well. There are so many forms of conflict in a story. Do you want your conflict to be psychological? In Welcome to the NHK, the main conflicts dealt with the individuals. Each character had their own personal antagonist that they were dealing with. In Akira, Tetsuo is a vicious apex predator that demands the people around him to make very bold choices in order to take him down. There is a deeper essence to him and also further elements of what the conflicts truly are. You have more than just some villain that is set on destroying the hero.

Another great example of an antagonist is Vincent from Cowboy Bebop. The history that we see from this character is fantastic and gives you so much to think about while you’re hyping up the main character. Maybe even enough to switch sides like in Inuyasha, and how Sesshomaru redeems himself. Or is that just me?

Anyway, let’s say you are in the mood for high school drama to be purely your antagonist. If this is so, then get your cup ready for some brimming tea. Or, are you so busy that you are in need of a purely entertaining and fun story? If so, look for an ever developing show where the antagonist is new and will be beaten at the end of every episode. Stay away from Dragon Ball if that’s what you’re looking at. Fair warning. Unless you want to watch the same fight scene for the next 10 episodes. Maybe, that’s your version of relaxing, and if so, be my guest.

Albeit, you won’t know too much about your antagonist when you read the synopsis, but it normally doesn’t take too long to be introduced to them. The best you can do with this guideline point is to keep it in mind as you are watching and switch it up if you get stuck on something that doesn’t fit.

6. Protagonist

Here is the fun part! Based on what you choose for your genre, it really plays into this, of course. If you are looking for something more seinen and you choose The Breaker (manhwa) to read next then you are in for a main character that fights with pure will. The character arcs in this manhwa are extensive and you can tell that you are in for a treat when the protagonist is being bullied at school in a Martial Arts manhwa. We all know where it’s going, but no one is prepared for how it’s going to take us there.

If you pull up a cyberpunk/action anime and you come face to face with Mardock Scramble, then you are looking at a young heroine that may get the lines blurred at times. This is evident from the trailer and the very first few moments of the movie. Now, if you want fantasy and you pick up something like Fairy Tail, then you know very well you are looking at mostly multiple character storylines and possibly (definitely) some OP scenes.

So, what are you looking for? Someone tough, but has a good arc? Or an anti-hero maybe? There are so many things to look out for and pay attention to. In Rurouni Kenshin, we have a hero that refuses to kill. Is that up your alley? A redeemable ronin?

So, that is my list that I personally go through each time I am allotting time for a new anime or manga. I look at all sorts of aspects and then consider them all together. When I make a choice, I normally stick with it, but sometimes you need to be a few episodes in to really know if it is up your alley.

Stay connected for what is coming next. I am going to break down each genre and give you some recommendations with these criteria in mind.

Loggin' Off.

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