Anime Recommendations (ft. PDS Anime Lovers)

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Emma Ozdogan, Online Arts Editor

Since quarantine began last March, we’ve all had lots of extra time on our hands. With that additional time, many of us have resorted to spending hours on Tik Tok, or binge-watching new television series. However, another category of shows and movies has grown immensely popular in the U.S.–– Japanese anime. While it was definitely well-known before its recent surge in popularity, anime is any form of Japanese animation, whether it be a standalone film or a thousand-episode series, usually based on Japanese comics known as manga. Anime encompasses a diverse array of genres, from slice-of-life romance to action-packed fantasy, and can be watched in Japanese with subtitles or in another language’s dub. 

Here at PDS, students and teachers alike enjoy anime across a variety of genres and have lots of different recommendations for newcomers, myself included! To begin, I would recommend the show Attack on Titan. Currently one of the most popular series in both the U.S. and Japan, it’s an action-packed, plot-heavy show with well-developed characters, startling plot twists, and intense action sequences, all tied together with flawless animation. However, it definitely runs on the gruesome side, so it’s not for the faint of heart. Some other personal favorites include the romance-drama movies Your Name and A Silent Voice. Although both of these movies deal with serious themes, the latter with topics of bullying and suicide, they both have fulfilling, happy endings that are worth the emotional rollercoaster. 

To further highlight student voices, four juniors pitched in their recommendations. Reflecting on one of her favorite shows, Anshika Virani suggested a critically acclaimed dark fantasy thriller: “If you haven’t already, definitely watch The Promised Neverland Season 1. It’s a great mix of suspense and dystopia. It’s also only 12 episodes long, so you could binge it in one or two days, if you wanted.” Similarly, Sophie Zhang highlighted a crime thriller and an action series: “I recommend Monster, if you are patient and you like good writing. Also, Mob Psycho is funny, entertaining, and has a really cool art style.” Recommending another action series is Yvonne Wang, who strongly endorsed Jujutsu Kaisen: “[It] is my favorite anime so far. I absolutely love every character in it, the plot is great, and I think the animation really adds additional flavor to the original manga. I definitely recommend everyone watch it!” Given that action is one of the most popular genres of anime overall, it comes as no surprise that they seem to be the most-favored genre among PDS students. Following this trend, Samuel Tang recommended two iconic action series but also a well-known romance-drama: “Three of my favorites are Hunter x Hunter, Your Lie in April, and Assassination Classroom. Hunter x Hunter and Assassination Classroom are both filled with exciting action, have likable, deep characters, and make you want to watch more and more episodes. On the other hand, Your Lie in April is much more emotional, with moving music and very real conflicts. If possible, I would recommend watching all three at some point!”

In addition to these student voices and breaking the trend of favoring action-oriented anime, Director of Academic Technology Lauren Ledley suggested a romantic comedy. Having spent several years in Japan learning about the culture and language, she recommended Nodame Cantabile: “I watched [it] for a college class about Tokyo, and I really enjoyed it! The show is based on a manga by the same name, and the protagonists are two students: a serious young man struggling to become an orchestra conductor and an eccentric but gifted young woman who plays concert piano. The characters and plot are entertaining, but I especially love how the series incorporates classical music into each episode. I found some of my favorite pieces thanks to this show!” 

As this myriad of suggestions reflects, PDS students and faculty have plenty of advice for those interested in watching anime or searching for new shows to watch. If the fact that anime is animated discourages you from watching it, know that the stories told through the medium can be just as intricate and engaging as live-action films, as these individuals testify. So, if you find yourself with extra time on your hands, be sure to check out these recommendations!  

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