The classics are great for a reason. They’re always going to be watchable, accessible, and enjoyable. In many cases, there are more than enough episodes to keep you busy for a long, long, long, long, long time. Looking at you, Naruto.
For those that want to venture from the norm and take that next step into eternal weebdom by checking out some new shows—I’m here for you. I’ve got a few really strong suggestions for your next anime.
If You Like Pokémon...
One of the most iconic and recognizable media franchises of all time, Pokémon changed the world with its debut of the first video games 25 years ago.
Whether you grew up with it as a kid like I did or you’re jumping into it via the new games—it’s definitely worth a watch or re-watch. But for those who have done that and are ready for something more...
I know this is another classic, but oddly enough, there aren’t a lot of bold and unique choices out there when it comes to things that are similar to Pokémon. It was shōnen with a unique take on the genre.
While both were incredibly successful card games they both also share the traditional shōnen narrative of “good guy needs to keep getting stronger to defeat the ultimate bad guy.” This time it’s with a deck of cards and some virtual monsters. I’m normally not a stickler for subs vs dubs, but some of the voice casting choices they made in this are a little weird—specifically making Joey Wheeler sound like he never left Brooklyn a day in his life. A truly great show with a standout mini-arc called ‘Dungeon Dice Masters’, I was obsessed with this show as a kid and it followed up on my Pokémon love.
If You Like My Hero Academia...
An eastern take on western superheroes, maybe? School children with powers? Pretty common lately. This show just checks so many boxes and executes on a lot of tropes so perfectly. No wonder why it’s been white-hot for five seasons. We’re at the beginning of the new season now but hey, you can watch two shows at once, right? Sure you can!
...Try Hunter X Hunter
This show might not be just one of the best animes of all time, it genuinely might be one of the best shows of all time, period.
As most of the anime on here have, it’s full of all the traditional shōnen tropes but the character development and the relationships are why this show soars. Complex villains, emotional endings—it’s the perfect show. If you can watch the emotional drama of the Chimera Ant arc without shedding any tears, I’ll give you a free badge to New York Comic Con.*
If You Like Naruto...
Alright, raise your hand if you’ve watched every episode of Naruto—yes, even all the filler. To the couple hundred of you, bravo. I admire your dedication.
A true classic of the anime world, Naruto has done a great deal in moving past the idea of being anime, and for a whole generation, it was the show that played after school—right along with One Piece and Avatar: The Last Airbender. While I’m sure most of you are still working through the show, if you’ve finished it and are looking for something new, I’ve got a great suggestion.
...Try Yu Yu Hakusho
For those in their mid-to-late 20s, this show shouldn’t come as a surprise to you. For the young guns that may have missed the boat, this is far and wide one of my favorite animes, and next to Dragon Ball Z and .hack//Sign was my introduction to anime. The main connection here is in the main characters and their delinquent, bratty behavior that they eventually work out of, or at least grow out of. There are adventures, great fights, and I have to say the Tournament Saga is one of the slowest, most brooding arcs in anime that I could ever imagine. It’s flawless.