6 Anime for People Who Don’t Like Anime

6 Anime You Should Give A ChanceNot usually an anime fan?  Maybe when you were younger you used to watch some dubbed anime on TV, but you feel like you outgrew it.  Maybe you never quite got what the big deal was. Maybe you believe that anime is not for real Japanese study. Maybe you think anime is only about giant robots battles, 100s of episodes that go nowhere, pointless slap stick, empty fan service, villains of the day, and sparkling pretty boys.

While each of those areas can be their own kind of fun, they can detract if they’re overdone.  Never fear though. There are plenty of shows which defy these pitfalls.  Anime is so varied; there really is something for everyone.  Here are 6 anime that you need to give a chance.

6.  Read or Die OVA      アール・オー・ディー ザ   (3 Episodes)
Japanese level:

read or die ovaGenre: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Sci-Fi, Super Power

Story: Meet Yomiko Readman, Tokyo’s most beloved book store customer.   The 読 of her name is read and the 子 is child.  As her name suggests, the written word is the nearest and dearest thing to her heart.   She also happens to be employed by the British Library as an agent, code named “The Paper.”

When out shopping, Readman manages to lay her hands on an ultra rare German book, “die Unsterbliche Liebe” (or “The Immortal Beloved”). No sooner does Readman pick up the book then she is attacked by a super human, but she is able to fend him off using her ability to manipulate paper.

We then travel to the British Library HQ and learn more about her world.  A library team is sent off to investigate an attack on the US Library of Congress, which happened simultaneously as the attack on Readman. All is not well however as there is a traitor in their midst–what will The Paper do when she finds out?

Why you should give this anime a chance:

ROD packs quite a punch in its 90 minutes run time.  It deftly carries off a really good spy flick with a good mix of sci-fi.  The sound track adds to the whiz-bang feel and keeps the mood light and the audience on the edge of their seats.  While character design could be more refined, the action sequences more than make up and end with some creative solutions.

On the main library team, there is Readman with her ability to manipulate paper into almost any shape, Ms. Deep, the fem fetal, who can become incorporeal, and Drake, who is an ace gunman.  We see some nice characters arcs and avoid any pure fan service.  Mostly you should watch this OVA, if you are looking for a good way to spend an evening.  Treat it like a movie and watch it in one shot, I promise you will be in for a good ride.

5.  Read or Die TV  アール・オー・ディー ザ・ティーヴィー
Japanese level:

read or die

Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Sci-Fi, Super Power

Story: Nenene Sumiregawa is a popular writer in Tokyo, but has been in a depressive rut.  Her writer’s block is caused because her best friend and teacher, Yomiko Read (The Paper), has been missing for 5 years.  Nenene has sworn never to write again until her sensei reads her last book.  On a trip to Hong Kong, Nenene is introduced to 3 guides: Michelle, Maggie and Anita, who work for Dokusensha, a Chinese publishing company.  There is more than what meets the eye to both parties.

Nenene’s hotel gets bombed and subsequently she gets held hostage at a news conference.  The trio turns out to be “The Paper Sisters” and possess similar powers as Readman, while less powerful they have more specialization.

They save her and end up becoming Nenene’s body guards in Tokyo.  The series progresses with the struggles of daily life and odd collection of events that are encircling our heroines as they are drawn farther into an ongoing war between the British Library and Dokusensha.  Will they find The Paper and what will they do when they learn the truth?

Why you should give this anime a chance:

Warning: Before watching ROD the TV series, you need to watch ROD OVA or you will be missing out.) 

While its OVA is most like a good spy flick, the TV show is more like a mystery that continues to twist on itself with false passages and intrigue before reaching its crescendo.  The story is slow building, but the interesting personality combinations of the sisters and Nenene keep the audience engaged.  The beginning of the story has a lot of humor and builds into darker drama towards the end in a very Trigun way.

The action sequences remain great, combing tactics and stunts.  It is really hard to describe how awesome it is to see paper used a battle medium.  The youngest sister attacks close range using papers as knifes, the middle sister can create paper creatures, and the oldest fights with a paper weapons: sword and bow.  What really anchors this series best, however, are the endearing characters.  They will make you care and hold your breath as battle ensues and you come to find out just what is at stake.

4. Monster (モンスター)
Japanese level:☆☆☆

Monster Anime
Genere: Psychological, Thriller, Mystery, Horror, Police

Story: Kenozo Tenma has every reason to be happy.  He is young, brilliant, an accomplished surgeon, on the fast track to social success, and has a beautiful fiancée.  The doctor, however, is anything but happy.  He is increasingly dissatisfied with the biased and tiered service of his hospital believing it is a mark against his ethics as a doctor.  Tenma is looking for any chance to reaffirm his own morality and prove to the world, but mostly himself, that good can overcome.

His chance comes quickly as two patients are admitted: the first to come is a young twin boy named Johan, with a gunshot to his head. The second one is the Mayor Roedecker.  The doctor decides to work on saving the boy against his hospital’s wishes.  The boy lives and the mayor dies.

Temma loses everything, yet he makes his peace; he had made the only moral choice. Nine years later, there are rumors of a Monster stalking the city leaving dead bodies in its wake.  Temma soon comes face-to-face with this monster as one of his current patients is being held at gun point.  Three things happen: first Tenma’s patient is killed, second the monster turns out to be Johan, and third Johan thanks Tenma for saving his life and allowing all of this to happen, but not to worry because Tenma is the only person he will not kill.

Why you should give this anime a chance:

Monster is hard to describe in one word or phrase.  The show is captivating and demands the full attention of its audience.  The show does horror very well in both terms of atmosphere and suspense.  The foreshadowing is breathtaking and rewards re-watching.  Viewers have been known to take notes and even make flow charts.

Although this show represents a huge time commitment, it gives back many times over.  This show rewards deep thinkers and those who thrive on taking time to dissect plot and motive.  (This anime could well have gone on the philosophical anime list.)  The pacing keeps you guessing and even until the last few minutes of the show the audience does not fully understand all that is at work.

This anime is just solid on so many levels and even among its naysayers, everyone can agree it was painstaking made and well executed.

3. Ano Hana  ( あの日見た花の名前を僕達はまだ知らない)
Japanese level:☆☆☆

Screen Shot 2013-06-21 at 5.32.58 PM
Genre: Slice of life, Friendship, Coming of age, Grief

Story: This story follows a group of six childhood best friends.  One of their friends, Meiko or “Mena” tragically dies in an accident.  Following this sad event, the friends drift apart as they grow up.  Ten years later, Jinta Yadomi, the former group leader, has become withdrawn from the world.

One summer day, he meets the ghost of Mena and she asks him to grant her one last wish, so that she can move on.  However, she cannot recall what it was.  Jinta gathers his old friends together.  Buried feelings and conflicts arise as they try to help Mena move on.

Why you should give this anime a chance:

What is most striking about Ano Hana is its realism.  Not in the sense that there are no fantastical elements, but rather in that the characters are less “idolized” or “stereotyped” than your typical anime characters.

Our main cast is a group of childhood friends that suffered a huge tragedy and grew apart.  Everyone has their flaws and way to deal with grief. The anime is a slow paced character study with several well-earned dramatic/emotional climaxes.  It is made in much the way a drama would be: with great attention paid to music, costume, and camera angle.

The thematic choices are not light: how relationships are made/broken, death, regret, and grief, but it never dwells or bashes you over the head with them.  Watching this anime is like having a glimpse into the real personal lives of these young adults in a very intimate way.   Give the original opening a watch and see if it does not grab your heart.

Our characters are pictured in their teenage lives and overlaid on them are scenes from their childhood.  The scenes depict real child behavior and show without words what they meant to each other.  The opening sold the show to me instantly creating its nostalgic feeling, hope of recompense, and a need to see how it ends.

2. RahXephon (ラーゼフォン)
Japanese level:☆☆☆

rahxephonGenre: Action, Mystery, Drama, Mecha, Music, Romance, Sci-Fi

Story: Back in the year 2012, the unthinkable occurred. Humanity learned that it was not alone.  The aliens turned out to be enemies and destroyed most of human civilization.  Tokyo was the only city spared.

Now in 2015, Tokyo is beset by attacks from an outside group.  Kamina Ayato is a high school student and gets caught up in the battle.  With the help of his mysterious friend Reika, he is able to awaken a giant mecha called RahXephon. Ayato is able to break free of the city limits of Tokyo using the RahXephon.  Once outside the city, he learns that his life has been a lie.

The year really is 2027 and the battles with the aliens known as MU are still happening.  Ayato is thrown into a world where much is expected of him, but he is mistrusted.  Can he find a reason to fight?  Can he even discover what is real and what is not?  What is his place in this new, unasked for world?

Why you should give this anime a chance:

What does RahXephon have?  The story has an epic kick off with an invasion of Tokyo, stunningly beautiful animation, original robot designs, well-paced actions sequences, a cast of related characters, and a great musical score.  This show is so much more however.

Saying that RahXephon is complex is a giant understatement. The plot has been called thick as “tar” by some.  A huge portion of your brain cells will be required to fully enjoy this story.  This is one for the contemplative viewer.  Plot twists abound and will keep you feeling off-balance for most of the series which parallels Ayoto very well.

They are many layers to this show and it is often advised to watch multiple times, because there is so much to take in.  The first time through just sit back and enjoy the ride.  To wrap up, the only real complaint against it is that some say it is too much like Neon Gensis Evangelion.  The shows are certainly a part of a similar inspiration, but their reactions, design, and growth are distinct.  If you like Eva then you will like RahXephon.  I personally ascribe to the camp that “RahXephon is Eva done right.”

1. Bunny Drop  うさぎドロップ  (一番おすすめアニメ)
Japanese level:☆

bunny drop
Genre: Slice of life, Family, Relationships

Story: Kawachi Daikichi is an ordinary 30 year old guy.  One day he receives word that his grandfather has died.  During the funeral, he meets a young 6 year old girl named Rin.  She is the illegitimate daughter of his grandfather with an unknown mother.

All of the relatives are talking amongst themselves about what to do with this embarrassment and how to mitigate the shame.  Daikichi becomes enraged at their attitude and on the spur of the moment takes over guardianship of Rin.  The story follows as Rin and Daikichi must be learn how to live together.

Why you should give this anime a chance:

Usagi Drop shows that actions have real consequences.  Daikichi makes a very rash decision to adopt a child and things are not picture perfect afterwards.  He soon finds that his life as bachelor is not well suited for a young girl like Rin.  The struggles and adjustments Daikichi has to make are believable and easy to relate to.

As the show progresses, because Daikichi is an adult, the changes are made and he realizes the real weight of his decision.  Rin for her part is very much a child in the way she dresses, acts, plays, and relates.  She is one of the best portrayals of a child I have seen to date.  As she becomes more comfortable with Daikichi, she opens up, challenges, and asks a million questions.  This is a slow building story of how families are made and how we must all adapt in order to live together.

What do you recommend to those resisting jumping into anime pleasure?

Do you have any recommendations for people who don’t normally like anime, are new to anime, or have been long time absent?

Related posts:

The following two tabs change content below.
A writer for Japanese Level up and a 4th Year JET. Has the ability to consume anime and J-dramas at an alarming pace and may be too in love with kanji.


6 Anime for People Who Don’t Like Anime — 13 Comments

  1. Steins;Gate | 2011 | 25 episodes + Movie sequel | Sci-Fi/Thriller

    Summary: Rintaro Okabe is a self-proclaimed “mad scientist” who believes that an international scientific organization named SERN is conspiring to reshape the world according to its own interests. He and his friend Itaru Hashida inadvertently create a gadget able to send messages to the past. The discovery and experimentation of this instrument become the catalyst of fundamental alterations to the present. Okabe is the only one aware of these changes because he possesses a Reading Steiner, the ability to retain the memories from previous experienced timelines. Oblivious of the consequences of their actions, Rintaro and his friends end up creating modifications of grievous proportions. He must then try to find a way to return as close as possible to the original timeline in order to save his precious lab partners.

    Ookami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki | 2012 | Movie | Fantasy/Slice-of-Life

    Summary: The theme of the film is the love between parents and children. The story covers 13 years and begins with a 19-year-old college student named Hana who encounters and falls in “fairy tale-like” love with a “wolf man.” After marrying the wolf man, Hana gives birth and raises two wolf children—an older sister named Yuki who was born on a snowy day, and a younger brother named Ame who was born on a rainy day. The four quietly lived in a corner of a city to conceal the existence of the “wolf children,” but when the wolf man suddenly dies, Hana decides to move to a rural town far removed from the city.

    • Thanks Josh!! I watched ookami kodomo. It was a great flick:D

      I have not watched the movie Sequel of Steins Gate yet…

      I also finished watching Ano Hana and it made me cry a lot at the end:p Thanks Ember Seed:D I will maybe check out Usagi Drop next. Monster trailer is too much horror for me lol… I will stay with Detective Conan.

  2. I’ve seen monster and ano hana and I can vouch for them, they are great! Added the other ones to my “plan to watch” list, that list just keeps growing and growing instead of shrinking down because of lack of time… but one day! One day it shall go down!

    • It is a happy but constant problem with so many good animes and dramas to watch. Good luck with watching your list down! Let me know how it goes.

      • well, im 19 and have watched 94 series but I have 222 in my “Plan to watch” list, which doesn’t include any sequels to things I haven’t watched yet… so I will report back in 20 years, haha

        • 19 and 94 anime series down. You are a viewer after my own heart. 222 is a long list. Remember though that not all anime are created equal and not all will be interesting to you. I like to give a 24 ep shows about 3 eps to convince me to finish them, if it does not then move on. Be picky.

          I would also consider making categories on our list. If the important thing is to finish then watch the shorter animes first and leave the ones with multi-seasons for later on. If it is about quality then try to separate them by current interest.

          I can easily finish a 24 ep anime in a weekend, so I think the minimum you can finish is 48 in a year. I am sure you can watch more, it just depends on your interest and time allowance.

          Also what is the purpose? Are you watching to study Japanese or enjoy?


  3. Great list. One of the things that makes anime so great is the diversity. There literally is something for everyone. I know a lot of people who think all anime is just the generic shounen shows. This is a good introduction into the rest of it.

    I’m actually just getting back into anime, after being through the long stretch of Japanese beginnership where you can’t understand a darn thing they’re saying and I just started watching Usagi Drop. Great show. :)

  4. Sword Art Online is a great one to watch… ppl like me from ALL US. Need good action/romance anime shows to watch the are kind of 2010-2014 if u have any ideas that would be great.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *