Ryan Wilson

Animes for Non-Anime Watchers

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Anime. Animu. Those weird Japanese cartoons with all those tentacles. No matter what you call it, there is no denying that the American audience has fully embraced these animations from the Land of the Rising Sun.


Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni


The story
In 1983, Keiichi moves to a seemingly tranquil rural town in Japan with his family. Even though he’s an outsider, his talking skills quickly nets him a group of friends, all of which are girls (stop it, it’s not THAT kind of anime!). Through these new friends, he learns about the town’s annual Watanagashi Festival, a celebration in honor of their local god. What Keiichi doesn’t know is that as of lately, the Watanagashi Festival has been the site of one murder and one disappearing each year.

But how does it appeal to non-anime watchers?
Despite its light beginnings, Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni (‘When the Cicadas Cry’) quickly turns for the dark and disturbing. Viewers are encouraged to try and unravel the mystery along with the increasingly paranoid main characters. Horror fans would be wise not to spoil this one for themselves.


Cowboy Bebop


The story
Spike Spiegel, Jet Black, and Faye Valentine are bounty hunters…in space. Cowboy Bebop follows the trio on their various bounties, occasionally dipping into bits of their past long thought dormant.

But how does it appeal to non-anime watchers?
Cowboy Bebop is probably one of the easiest animes for a non-watcher to jump into. From the moment you hear those horn blasts in the beginning of its intro song “Tank”, you’ll be hooked. In fact, Cowboy Bebop is heavily influenced by American film and very rarely lets its Japanese side out.


Afro Samurai


The story
Think Highlander meets feudal Japanese. Legend has it that the top fighter in the world will gain immense powers. Fighters display their rank in the form of headbands, and can be challenged to the death for their rank at any time. Afro (yes, that’s his real name) is currently the Number 2 fighter in the world, though his journey isn’t for power…it’s for revenge. You see, the current Number 1, Justice, killed Afro’s father, the former Number 1.

But how does it appeal to non-anime watchers?
Three words: Samuel. L. Jackson. Afro Samurai feels like what happens when you mix a samurai revenge story with The Boondocks. The series is also uncut, meaning you get all the Jackson f-bombs you’d expect in a project with his official seal of approval. Oh, and a short 5 episode and 1 movie run helps too.


Cromartie High School

The story

Ummmmmm…

But how does it appeal to non-anime watchers?
Adult Swim watchers would want to take note of Cromartie High School, as it features the same level of absurdity as shows like Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Sealab 2021. In fact, each of its 22 episodes clock in at under 15 minutes, giving you ample time to wonder what the hell you just watched.

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