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I only got into Japanese anime in 2016 during high school, because previously it had just been Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh dubs on 4Kids.
Since then I've watched 300+ shows and I keep up with seasonals/weeklies as well as anime films when I can!

The very first show I watched was One Punch Man which I'd heard about from my friends who had been watching anime for years.
It turned out to be a really great show to start off since it parodied the stereotypical anime tropes in shounen shows at the time.
There wasn't any part that made me think, "this is so anime".

The next few shows were some of the classics that I knew from my friends and rankings online.

At 64 episodes, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood was a long but really fulfilling adventure through its drama of alchemists and politics.
Although it did get a bit anime at times with their chibi designs, it was pretty compelling as a new anime watcher.
I'd actually played the original FMA DS game as a kid but didn't know anything about the story and characters so it was great to finally understand.

Attack on Titan was another of my first shows that really hit the mark for me.
Since I only knew anime as cute designs and kiddie shows on 4Kids, I didn't expect the darkness and gore of AoT.
It's still one of my favourite shows due to the perfect music, animation, and emotional levels.

Hunter X Hunter at 148 episodes is the longest show I've completely watched, and boy was it good.
I watched it over a period of several months starting right after Attack on Titan and I remember binging something like 12 episodes at a time.
The way they paced it and the amount of intriguing story just kept me watching.
It really shaped my standards for good story and pacing.


Nowadays, my tastes have changed from shounen action-adventure to a more realistic genre called "slice-of-life".
Within this genre, I love the stories that portray people improving their skills, relationships, and life outlooks.
Sometimes this change can happen through conflict, but most of the time it's through interaction and learning from other people.

My number one favourite slice-of-life show of all time, A Place Further Than the Universe, deals with life experience, friendships, and loss among other themes.
Centered around a group of girls who travel to Antartica on a research expedition, it really brings everything to the table.
The central point of the show revolves around open-mindedness to new experiences and ways of thinking.
The theme of traveling to a new location works incredibly well in bringing out each girl's personality and their growth together.
Not only that, this show has been the most impactful in my life, getting me to study abroad in Japan!

Though I thought at first it'd be boring, Non Non Biyori has become one of my top shows of all time.
It's about a group of countryside girls, one of whom moved from Tokyo, who spend their lives contently among rural farms and scenery.
The way the show frames nature and peacefulness makes their lives incredibly admirable/enviable.
They live without the pressure of modern obligations like employment or social media.
Instead, they explore the forests, rivers, and houses of their village, learning some new ideas or lessons as they go along.
It's a great reminder of the natural joy of living that has been hidden by modern society.

See my full anime list here!