Getting Started in Anime, part three

Yay!! Here we are for the third and final installment of a beginner’s guide to watching anime. In the previous sections I discussed the major categories of shoujo and shounen and some of the major genres that they cover. This time around we’ll take a look at some shows that aim for an older demographic. Seinen and Josei (young men and women respectively) are two different categories, but drawing the lines between which is which can sometimes be difficult as is the division between shounen/ seinen and shoujo/ josei. A title may be labeled Josei

Ristorante Paradiso reminds us not all anime look the same

if it features a slower pace and have more internal conflict than external. Seinen shows may feature grittier action and a world-view where it is difficult to see right and wrong choices (though the titles I have selected are more mild-mannered). At the end I have 5 more recommendations that don’t neatly fit into any category; as always, titles are in italics and links take you to licensed streaming. Many josei titles that were licensed for streaming in America have since moved to DVD/BD only, but sites that sell them should have online trailers. Happy viewing!


  • Antique Bakery is about four men who run a cake shop together.
  • Bartender features the stories of the customers of an extremely talented bartender
  • Kuragehime [HR] (licensed as Jellyfish Princess) nerdy women must band together with a rich cross-dresser to save her quirky retro apartment building
  • Ristorante Paradisio is set in and around a cafe in Rome. A woman related to the owner comes to work with the otherwise exclusively male staff (not a reverse harem, I promise)
  • Nodame Cantabile [HR] the odd couple relationship between an “all heart” pianist weirdo and an “all book” conductor preppy. This show is as charming and lighthearted.
  • Gallery Fake is about a gallery that specializes in forgeries and the gallery owner who was once a curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
  • Usagi Drop [HR] tells the story of a man who is suddenly tasked with raising his aunt, 25 or so years his junior.

Baccano's non-linear storytelling is a masterstroke

  • Baccano! [HR] has a large cast of charcters and uses non-sequential story telling masterfully to unfold the tale of an ill-fated train trip in the American 20′s.
  • Samurai Champloo [HR] imagines what the Japan of the 19th century looks like through the lens of hip hop culture.
  • Beck (licensed as Mongolian Chop Squad) is about a high school boy who desperately wants to join a rock band even though must first learn to play an instrument.
  • Arakawa Under the Bridge asks what happens when a man who refuses to owe anybody anything is rescued by a homeless girl who claims to be from Venus.
  • Eve no Jikan (licensed at Time of Eve) is set in and around a cafe where humans and androids can mingle freely. This is a short series of only 6 episodes.
  • Gintama [HR] what if space aliens had arrived in 1860′s Japan instead of Americans? Gintama is an action/ comedy show that love and skewers anime and video game culture at the same time.

Everything Else:

  • XXXholic [HR] This anime tells the stories of a “wish shop” and the high school boy who comes to work there.
  • Hetalia features the lives of anthropomorphic countries in 5 minute episodes. It explores history (sort of) and national stereotypes.
  • Though often labeled a josei title, Natsume Yuujinchou has something to offer most viewers

  • Natsume Yuujinchou[HR] Youkai are natural spirits/ monsters of Japanese folklore. Natsume has inherited a book that grants power over Youkai by holding their names hostage; he elects instead to return the names.
  • Kino no Tabi is about a young person and a talking motorcycle who are on a journey to various interesting lands.
  • Mushishi [HR] is a collection of stories about a troubleshooter who helps the relationships between people and supernatural lifeforms know as mushi.

OK, I’ll admit a recommendation list that takes three posts to share is still a bit intimidating. Other reviewers might put together a totally different list, and it would be worthwhile to check them out too. I’ve included descriptions of each show to help you pick an choose which ones you might be interested in. So how’d I do? Is there anything missing? Do you disagree with my categorizations? let me know in the comments below.

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