Have you been wanting to get into anime, but aren’t exactly sure where to start? Well, we here at J-14 have you covered! We broke down the best shows that all fans can agree on. Keep reading to uncover our favorite animes for beginners.

When talking about first-time animes to watch, we couldn’t not start with Avatar: The Last Airbender.

This legendary series, created by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko had a wave of resurgence during the 2021 Covid-19 pandemic. Originally airing in February 2005, the anime is set in a fictional world where certain people can control the elements: water, earth, wind and fire.

The series follows the adventures of Aang, a young boy who has the power to bend all elements and is the only one that can bring balance to the world.

Avatar: The Last Airbender differentiates itself from other popular animes due to the fact that it isn’t based on a manga. ICYDK, manga is an umbrella term that covers a wide variety of comics or graphic novels that are produced in Japan.

This has sparked much debate on whether or not the series should be classified as an anime since it was created in the United States. No matter which opinion you may hold, many agree that it’s still a great animated show!

When speaking about the process of creating the original storyline, Bryan shared where he got his inspiration from in a Youtube interview posted in February 2023.

“We wanted to create a story that we hoped would have a shelf life. You’re not just being entertained and distracted for 22 minutes. Let’s not have that reset button. Let’s let the characters grow. Let’s have an arc.”

He elaborated, “I’ve always described Avatar as an homage, a love letter to Japanese anime. But we were always conscious that we weren’t trying to pass it off as a counterfeit. I didn’t want to just copy what we were seeing and what we thought was cool.”

Despite the hit series being an original story, Bryan and Michael made sure to stick to the all too familiar rules that most animes follow.

The co-creator explained in the same video, “There’s this great [Hayao] Miyazaki rule: everything you do at Studio Ghibli, even if it’s going to end up 3D, has to start as a handmade piece of art. And for me, I mostly did landscape oil painting. I love that stuff.”

He continued, “So one of the biggest reasons for co-creating Avatar was a chance to do cool background paintings. Epic landscapes. Actually, all of Avatar, almost all the storyboards, were drawn on paper.”

We’re hoping Avatar: The Last Airbender has piqued your interest to learn about other popular animes. Keep reading to find out which other series we think are great for beginners. 

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