Earlier today, I recalled this conversation I had with someone at my job last summer. He was asking me about anime, and before long I realized that he really didn't know much about it, because I had to explain to him that anime isn't a genre, it's a medium, and that it can take on any genre just as well as live action. And I began thinking, what would be the ideal list of anime to introduce to someone who has never actually watched any, or whose only impression of anime is stuff like Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh, DBZ, etc.?
Out of the anime I've watched, this would be my list. Keep in mind that my goal here is to prove that anime isn't just about schoolgirls, ninjas, and giant robots. I've organized it in a dinner menu format just for fun. I'm also leaving out anime movies, or else the list would be taken up entirely by Studio Ghibli.
Why not, let's start off with a true piece of art. Beautiful visuals, atmospheric music, relaxed and episodic. But this is only the beginning.
Salad: Haibane Renmei
Then we have something quiet, surreal, and mysterious, with some spirituality mixed in. Still not convinced? Then let's try...
Main Dish: Monster
74 episodes of suspense thriller! Take that! Drama, mystery, psychological horror...if this were made in live action, it would be on HBO.
Side Dish: Victorian Romance Emma
And to prove that anime can take on any genre, let's throw in a Victorian romance!
Dessert: Princess Tutu
Just because something is "made for kids" doesn't mean it can't be smart, dark, and tell a good story.
If said person has watched all this and is still not convinced, he/she must be blind, deaf, and have no sense of taste. (Also, Monster and Emma seriously need to be licensed over here so I could use this list in real life. T__T)
Of course, different people have different tastes. My list is targeting adults with a "sophisticated" taste, but a few of the above choices would put some people to sleep. So here are alternatives:
-Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
I'm not into this kind of sci-fi, so I haven't seen a lot of it myself, but it would work for other people.
Anime that takes on classic literature!
-Cowboy Bebop/Samurai Champloo
Fun characters, action, good music...I don't think I need to explain this one.
For fans of zombie movies and bloody fight scenes.
-Kino no Tabi/Now and Then, Here and There/Fantastic Children
To prove that just because it has childish-looking character designs/has children as the protagonists doesn't mean the story can't be dark, depressing, and thought-provoking.
-Honey and Clover/Nodame Cantabile/NANA
I'm not a big fan of slice of life either, but again, these would work for others.
I had to think hard to recall comedy anime that don't get most of their humor from referencing other anime. And no, I'm not putting any harem anime here.
That's only out of everything I've seen, though. I'd be interested in seeing what other people would choose for their own lists. :D