The Anime Primer
What Anime Should I Watch Now?

World-Wide Web edition
Edited by Rob Kelk
Based on the work of Bruce Carlson & Steve Pearl

30 September 2008

This is intended for English-speaking fans who are new to anime, and looking for some suggestions of what to watch next. While this list concentrates on North American releases of anime, there is some information about the availability of translated anime in other parts of the world mentioned as well.

Additions and corrections to this information are welcome; please e-mail them to < robkelk -atsign- gmail -period- com >.

This Primer is mirrored at

Important Note to Parents
Credits and Legal Notes
How to Find Anime
Why would an anime not be on this list?
Other Recommendations
The List Maintainer's Current Favourites
Capsule Descriptions of Anime: # A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Important Note to Parents

While some of the entries in the Primer have Parental Advisory notes, it is not safe to assume that the shows described without advisories are safe for young children. These movies and television shows are made in Japan, to that country's standards of what is and is not suitable as children's entertainment. Those standards might not match your home's standards.

Also, many of these shows were not intended to be children's entertainment at all. (For example, Chobits, REC, and Zipang, amongst many other anime listed here, were intended for college-aged audiences.)

If you intend to let your children watch any of the shows reviewed in the Anime Primer, please view them yourself beforehand.

For a more in-depth discussion of this matter, please see Gilles Poitras' Parental Content in Anime and Manga page.

Credits and Legal Notes

This is a webpage based on a monthly Usenet posting intended for those who are new to anime, and looking for some suggestions of what to watch next. This article can be freely distributed for non-commercial use, as long as all credits and notices remain intact. If this is used in any publication, including APAs & CD-ROM Collections, copies must be sent to:

The estate of Steve Pearl
PO Box 11044
New Brunswick, NJ 08906-1044


Rob Kelk
(contact FAQ maintainer for address)

Please send all additions, corrections, and comments to Rob Kelk, < robkelk -atsign- gmail -period- com >.

Contributors to this FAQ

Past Maintainers:

Bruce Carlson
Steve Pearl

Current Maintainer:

Rob Kelk
    < robkelk -atsign- gmail -period- com >


C Andersen
Dave Baranyi
Jack Bohn
Gerardo Campos
Ben Cantrick
Robin Casady
Anand Chelian
Bobby Clark
laurie cubbison
David Damerell
Scott Delahunt
Stéphane Dumas
Abraham Evangelista
Michael Falkner
Scott Fujimoto
Shawn Granger
Bruce Grubb
Arthur Hansen
Jeanne Hedge
Andrew Hollingbury
Matt ("Kosher Pickle") Huber
Brad Jackson
Nicholas A. ("QuestionMark") Jalowick
Derek Janssen
        Catherine ("Fish Eye no Miko") Johnson
Chris ("Chika") Johnson
Rob Kelk
Andrew Kieswetter
Cathy Krusberg
Paul Lepant
Ray Li
Michael Lo
D B Malmquist
Bill Martin
Rob Maxwell
Chris Meadows
Chris ("Blade") McNeil
Dave Menard
Karl Merris
Hanno Mueller
Galen Musbach
Travers Naran
Mark L. Neidengard
H ("Aje RavenStar") Newcomb
Justin Palmer
Kyle Thomas Pope
Jorge A Pratt
bobbie sellers
        David Simmons
Charlie Smith
Robert Sneddon
Andrew V. Tupkalo
Terrence Walker
Austin Watkins
David Watson
Ansgar "59cobalt" Wiechers
D.Eric Wilson
Phil Yff
"Akodo Bob"
"Antaeus Feldspar"
"Captain Nerd"
"Dot Warner"
"Hana no Kaitou"
"Royal Orange"
"Slithy Tove"
"Sultan Of Swing"

If there is no credit given for an entry, then it was inherited from the original list maintained by Bruce Carlson & Steve Pearl. (Currently, only five entries do not have attributions: Legend of Galactic Heroes, Locke the Superman, Time Stranger, Votoms, and Windaria.)

Most, if not all, of the company names mentioned in this document are trademarks or registered trademarks of the respective companies. No challenge to their trademark status is intended by their mention in this document.

All images in the Anime Primer are copyright their respective creators or licencees, and are used under Fair Use (review) provisions of the Copyright Act. All reviews in the Anime Primer are copyright their respective authors, and are used with permission. The compilation copyright for the Anime Primer is held by Rob Kelk.

How to Find Anime

Anime programs come in three flavors: TV shows, Movies, and Original Animation Video (OAV or OVA - what North American studios call "direct to video"). In general, movies have the best animation quality, while TV shows use less motion, and OAVs vary widely between those. Also, newer shows tend to have better animation than older shows do, since the state of the art has advanced. But animation quality is rarely an indicator of how good an anime is.

The vast majority of Japanese animation is only available in Japanese, of course. Sturgeon's Law ("90% of everything is crap") also applies to anime, so the professionals and fans translating anime into English tend to work with the 10% that isn't.

Professionally-translated anime can often be found at large video stores and comic book shops (brick-and-mortar or online). Sometimes, they are also available for individual purchase directly from the translation company. Secondhand copies of anime can also be found for sale on the rec.arts.anime.marketplace newsgroup, or on on-line auction sites.

Fan-subtitled items were historically available as tape-to-tape copies from clubs (see below), individuals, and other volunteer distributors. Nowadays they are usually found online via the various file-sharing peer-to-peer systems in formats designed either for viewing directly on computer screens or for transfer to DVD for playing in DVD players. Since fansubs are "derivative works", they are technically illegal in most countries (so don't get fansubs if you don't want to break the law), but this is largely ignored by the copyright holders as long as nobody makes a profit and anime that have been professionally translated aren't also fan-subtitled. It is beyond the scope of this document to describe how to obtain fansubs.

(There are still some fansub distributors who advertise their DVDs on the World-Wide Web. Be warned, though, that many of these people are taking advantage of other fans' goodwill by selling fansubs at a profit. Worse yet, there are now many people who are selling fansubs for a profit on eBay and other online auction services. You shouldn't pay more for a fansub than you would pay for the blank media, plus postage. Also, some less-scrupulous fansub distributors sell fan-subtitled copies of anime that have also been translated professionally - this is commonly called "bootlegging" in fan circles. The best defence against being caught by one of these distributors is to know what shows have been professionally translated. Read the Grand High License List, then ask on rec.arts.anime.misc if you still aren't sure.)

Most cities of even moderate size have an anime club somewhere. They probably meet periodically and view the latest stuff, and many have a decent video library. A good way to find your local club is to ask at the local stores that sell anime, or to post a question in the rec.arts.anime.fandom newsgroup if your town doesn't have an anime store.

Many science fiction conventions have an anime program in a room someplace these days. An anime convention is probably the best way to sample large amounts of anime at once (if you can tear yourself away from the Guests, panels, and other activities to actually watch the stuff).

Why would an anime not be on this list?

You may have seen an anime that you liked, but isn't on this list. That doesn't mean your taste in anime is bad!

First, this is not a comprehensive list of anime titles (for that, see the Anime News Network encyclopedia of anime), or even a list of all good anime. It it simply a list of shows that people on the anime newsgroups like enough to review and recommend to others. Please keep in mind that tastes vary, and not everyone will think that every anime on this list is good. (You could ask twenty different anime fans what the best anime are, and you'll get twenty different replies.) But we hope that this list will help you find something you think is good.

Also, if the anime you saw and liked has erotic or pornographic content, it shouldn't be listed here. Listings for this type of anime can be found in The Anime Hentai Primer, a companion to this page. The list maintainer chose to split the list in two so that this list could be given to people who should not, or do not wish to, watch erotic or pornographic animation.

If the anime you saw and liked isn't included in either Primer, it's quite possible that we simply haven't seen it yet. If you think we should add a capsule description of a title not on this list, please write the description and send it to Rob Kelk, < robkelk -atsign- gmail -period- com >.

Should you decide to write a capsule description of a good anime title, please also mention who translated the anime. This is especially important when the show is only available fansubbed! (Commercially-translated anime can be purchased in specialty shops, but fansubs are only available from people within the anime fan community. Knowing who translated a show often helps other anime fans find the translations.)

The list maintainer makes a habit of acknowledging all Primer entries received, either through e-mail or by posting to the newsgroup rec.arts.anime.fandom. If you do not receive a reply to your submission after a week, then it probably was not received and you should re-submit your entry.

Other Recommendations

Most of these descriptions are sparse, but we can't really offer more in the monthly Usenet posting of the Primer! However, there are places on the World-Wide Web that offer more in-depth reviews, including reviews of shows that aren't as good as these are.

The List Maintainer's Current Favourites

It's come to my attention that the Anime Primer, while useful, is simply too large to act as an introduction to all anime available now. Also, there are some people on rec.arts.anime.misc who have expressed an interest in knowing what other fans are watching.

This is a list of my top twenty favourite anime titles as of the last time I updated this list: 26 June 2008. The list is subject to change on my whim - it's a list of my favourites, after all, not a list of what's acknowledged as "good".

Taking a riff from David Letterman ... From the home office in Ottawa, here's Rob Kelk's Top Twenty Favourite Anime:

20:   Mahoromatic
19:Dirty Pair
17:Angelic Layer
14:Omishi Magical Theater: Risky Safety
13:Figure 17
12:Princess Tutu
11:Azumanga Daioh
10:   Oh Edo Rocket
9:Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
7:Starship Operators
6:Kaleido Star
5:Sugar, A Tiny Snow Fairy
4:Card Captor Sakura
3:Dennou Coil
1:Porco Rosso

Capsule Descriptions of Anime

#   A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z

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