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“Desho?” Kagura and Yomi from Ga Rei:Zero

  1. Recommending Anime to your Friends (Part 1)
  2. List of Anime to Recommend to your Friends (Part 2)
  3. Special Anime Recommendations, K-On! and Angel Beats! (Part 3)

Sharing Anime with your friends has multiple benefits; you can talk and discuss before and afterwards what you thought of a particular series, who your favourite characters are and why, and what makes that one particular Anime your favourite. Unfortunately, Anime can be difficult to describe or recommend to your friends; depending on who they are, where they come from, and how much they know about Anime can have heavy influences on their perception and desire. In North America, Anime isn’t as popular as it is in Asia, so naturally people aren’t exposed to it and therefore will not be entertained by it as easily…

I hope this post will offer some help as to how you can invite your friends (in a friendly way) to share your interest. I will be discussing this into two parts: the first will cover the basis of how you can recommend Anime to your friends (or at least how I think I can), and the second will cover the specific starter Anime that is good for all audiences—or at least most audiences.

Haqua from Kami Nomi zo Shiru Sekai (The World God Only Knows)

Getting into the thick of it: my first suggestion may seem obvious, but you need to watch the actual Anime first! A big pitfall people make before watching an Anime is setting expectations for it. Make sure you watch Anime without doing this! It ruins your enjoyment and makes you loathe the rest of the episodes. I had a friend who disliked Infinite Stratos because they watched trailers and previews for it, and it looked promising. He set the bar very high and it turned out to be a disappointment. When I watched it, I was pleasantly surprised by it. I thought nothing of it at first, and at the end I was thrilled to have seen it.

My second suggestion: how do you recommend Anime when there’s just so much out there? ANSWER! *Jiang* The simplest way is to categorize them into genres just like with TV series in North America. Some examples of shows that people like watching are GLEE, Gossip Girls, or The Big Bang Theory. Classifying these we get Drama, Comedy, Music, and Romance. Just like how there are virtually an unlimited amount of TV series to watch, so are there genres to classify them. I could name more genres like Supernatural, Magic, Occult, Sci-Fi, Suspense, Thriller, Action, or Space, and I could even make up genres like “Office”, “Marriage”, “Dormitory”, and so forth. Genres help organize your favourite Anime so that if you like a particular one, you can find similar ones that have the same themes or characteristics.

“What do you mean Genres?” – Yui from K-On!!

Sometimes however, you just can’t classify an Anime. For example, K-On is about cute girls doing cute things. The premise of the Anime focuses on five girls enjoying their youth throughout high-school. They start their own “Light Music” club (which is what K-On means when literally translated), and use that as their foundation for experiencing fun and enjoyable things during their time out of class. Classifying its genres, it would fall under “Slice-of-Life” and “School” I guess, but it’s much more specific than that. “Cute” isn’t really a genre (even though I said pretty much anything can be), but this Anime focuses on that niche of having cute girls run around doing absolutely nothing productive. Despite that, it is arguably the most popular Anime currently in Japan, with two seasons recently finished and a movie that’s due to be released in December 2011.

What I’m trying to get is that sometimes Anime cannot be described, even though it can be classified. This often leads to people who can’t tell you exactly what this or that Anime is about. Subsequently, when you try to recommend an Anime to your friends who aren’t aware of these types of niches or categories, they get confused or turned off from it. It’s best to think about really what is the story and plot of the Anime, and focus on describing that to your friends. Avoid introducing confusing concepts such as Moe (unless they understand it) or fan-service.

“Really? You think I would like that Anime?” – Katsuragi Keima and Kusunoki Kasuga from Kami Nomi zo Shiru Sekai

The third thing to do is think about your friend’s character and personality, and whether they would enjoy watching this series in the first place. Using Infinite Stratos as my example again, it’s typically seen as a guy show, focusing on the male protagonist getting into trouble with multiple girls in his school. That being said, sometimes you have female friends who like that specific kind of genre or niche, and then you know it’s perfectly okay to recommend Anime to them. I recently recommended K-On to a female friend of mine, who loves watching GLEE and similar shows. She was a bit skeptical at first because she’s not really into Anime or the whole “Moe” wave that’s apparent in K-On. However, it turned out she liked it, and it’s because she was a fan of the music and how cute the characters were.

The cast of K-On!!

Lastly and this is very similar to the previous suggestion, is to make sure you think about the way you explain Anime to your friends. I know this sounds ridiculous, but when people say “OMG THIS ANIME IS SOOOO GOOD. YOU HAVE TO WATCH IT,” They don’t realize that they basically said nothing about it. The person on the receiving end will be completely uninterested and most likely shrug it off. Explain to your friends why you liked this Anime. It’s more than just describing what it is about. It could be about how detailed the art is, how much you thought the music fit in perfectly with the series, whether or not you consider it be a dark or heavy Anime, or how you just enjoyed it being light-hearted and completely surreal.

Sometimes, even after reading this you may just have a friend who just can’t be enlightened; that’s perfectly okay! With any sort of hobby, everyone has different tastes and likes different things. Knowing when to back off and be accommodating can be the best option. Just remember to be careful when recommending Anime to people who are thick or dense. Sometimes they just don’t get it even when you spell it out to them letter by letter.

That’s it for my suggestions; hopefully you took something from this post. List of Anime (Part 2) to see actual ones you can recommend to your friends, sorted by Genre! As always, feel free to leave a comment. Dozo.