I know this blog has been pretty much about politics but as with everyone else I am sick of it since the election and have moved to a subject that I like a lot...anime.
My Girlfriend first came in saying that she really didn't like anime and J-Pop generalizing due to a bad first experience. Anime is such a broad form but for people to like it there has to be a good first experience or it can end up depriving them of a wonderful experience.
Speaking of Generalizing, like with most things different anime appeals to different people so please keep the person you are introducing in mind before showing one of these.
Studio Ghibli:I know this isn't a single movie or series but I fell that with only a small difference here and there really isn't any one of their projects that is far too weird or cartoony. Ghibli is especially good if the person enjoys disney animated films and if you show multiple movies you can do a slow move up the spectrum to introduce people to more and more adult oriented movies. Probably the most appropriate one to start with would be Spirited away or Kiki's Delivery Service.
Afro Samurai: This one was actually close to the other list of what anime not to introduce someone to but I thought about it an this is a good one for those who are really into action films. Those people who like movies such as Pulp Fiction or Kill Bill will likely enjoy this series. It is very violent and over the top but is americanized with the american and japanese cooperation. If you have someone that really like Samuel L. Jackson this series can also be great for them.
Clannad: This is based off of a video game oddly enough but it is also one of the few school girl anime that I would show to a newcomer. It is a very serious and sad movie with an enlightened ending. There is a series that also goes by the same name but it has parts in it that are cartoony using japanese humor that can be lost on an american just getting used to anime. The movie plays it straight as a high school romance that ends sadly. This is good for people that like Romantic dramas.
Cowboy Bebop: This is an excellent series for bridging the gaps that many people feel are between live action and anime series. It is a great sci-fi action series with a wonderful score that ensnares most who watch it. If your friend enjoyed star wars or high paced action series this series should be a home run. There are some strange characters but luckily here they are introduced after the viewer has been drawn in.
Eden of the East: This is a series that has been fairly successful in the United States. It is very intense and the plot is very complex but for americans that love to follow action dramas like 24 will find this series very entertaining. It is one that I find more appropriate than Ghost in the Shell which is more familiar to american audiences but I believe is harder to understand. Eden of the east is a great dramatic thrill ride for most people.
5 Centimeters Per Second: This is a great movie for people to get into anime if they have a love of good film. This is a sad series of short films following a love that cannot last. This is beautifully animated and makes for great first time viewing if the person you are showing this to likes romantic Dramas.
Fruits Basket: This one is a bit harder to swallow than others on the list as it has a lot of quirky japanese humor to it. If you can get the person past this point you find at the core a very deep and well rounded series that involves deep emotion for the characters and the viewer alike. If the person enjoys cute romantic comedies mixed with a little fantasy then this may still be the one to use.
Maison Ikkoku: This is a lovely series and has been tested several times in the past to good results. Like Kimagure Orange road this is a romantic comedy but relies more on the quirky aspects of the neighbors than the strange powers of a protagonist. This series has three issues that might bring trouble to first time viewers. The First is the humor value is more present and is something that many are not able to grasp yet there are quite a few that have gone beyond this. The second is that this has similar issues to Kimagure Orange Road in that you can get frustrated at the slowness of the development of the relationship between the two main characters. The Last is the length of the series. This series lasted for a few years in japan so you need to prepare yourself for quite a ride (96 episodes worth). If you can get past these three you are left with one of the best written romantic comedies out there.
Millennium Actress: This is a film that is very much up an the alley of a person that enjoys a good dramatic and artistic film. It has aspects that may be difficult too follow for most so it is not recommended for any but followers of artistic drama. This movie can be utilized after an introduction to anime is made to most other individuals that enjoy a good dramatic film.
Perfect Blue: This is a wonderful thriller that I would recommend to any tho enjoy crime thrillers with a little psychological horror thrown in. This movie has a good dub cast and even has a slight intro to the poppy japanese music without burying you in it like other series might. The movie might be harder for people with the preconceived notion that animation is only for children but luckily that generation is getting older and there are fewer who believe this these days.
Read or Die OVA: This is as if you crossed James Bond and Super Heroes. This is an excellent series with great animation a good amount of action and story to boot. This series itself can bring in many action film junkies and can include those who are not into a lot of blood and gore. The TV series has more aspects that might detract from the interest of initial viewers but if you hook them with this series the TV series might be a great next step.
Record of Lodoss War: This is a series that was created by a role playing group and is perfect for those who were into fantasy role playing or fantasy movies with elves and dragons. For many who loved lord of the rings this may be a good introduction for them as it involves a lot less cartoony comedic moments and tends to follow a straight story line.
Rumiko Takahashi Anthology: This is a mixed bag but that can make it a good thing. It is well written and covers the anime spectrum quite well. To people who are more open this can be used to introduce them to many different types including weird comedic and dramatic. This is not one to show an individual who is resistant to anime as there are aspects in the comedy and strange ones that would turn them off.
Tokyo Godfathers: This is a great holiday film incorporating the spirit of love and giving during the holiday season. This like most of the film artist's work was well crafted story wise. Many first time people may be turned off by it not being a children's film but usually can be drawn into the main story with the themes being very general and easy to understand.
Vampire Knight: A nod to people who enjoy vampire romance dramas. We have a mix of vampires, Vampire Hunters and High schoolers. The story can be light at times but never gets out of control with the humor and for the most part keeps to the straight romance and complex plot devices. For those who liked Twilight or Maybe True Blood. I would however put the writing quality a full hand above Twilight.
At first try and keep it to the dubbing unless you have someone that is used to watching a lot of subbed films and are used to hearing foreign languages as the high voices can be a bit of a turn off.
Make sure you know the person. Just like you really shouldn't generalize anime as being all the same thing you shouldn't generalize for people as well. What works for one may not work for another. Make sure you understand their tastes before going in. Remember: there is an anime for almost any interest so don't give up.
Lastly for any who think I left some off please feel free to add to the list just make sure you justify your reasons for making it first time viewing.