Anime and Manga: The Ultimate Guide for New Fans


Have you always been curious about anime and manga but never knew where to start? You’ve come to the right place. This is the ultimate guide for new fans looking to dive into these popular Japanese art forms.

We’re going to walk you through all the basics so you can go from newbie to expert in no time. You’ll learn the difference between anime and manga, discover different genres to explore, and find recommendations for must-watch shows and must-read books. By the end of this, you’ll be shouting ‘kawaii!’ and dreaming of visiting Akihabara.

Whether you prefer slice-of-life stories, action-packed adventures, or fantastical worlds, there’s an anime or manga out there for you. The worlds of anime and manga are vast, but don’t feel overwhelmed. With this guide, you’ll feel like a pro in no time and be ready to binge-watch your favorite new shows or get lost in an addictive manga series. So sit back, grab some pocky or ramune, and let your anime and manga adventure begin!

What Is Anime and Manga? Defining the Japanese Art Forms

So, what exactly are anime and manga? Anime refers to animated cartoons, TV shows, and movies produced in Japan. Manga are Japanese comic books and graphic novels. These popular art forms have become a major part of Japanese culture and global pop culture.

Anime is usually based on manga, though some original anime also exist. Anime spans many genres like action-adventure, romance, comedy, horror, and science fiction. Popular anime series and films include Pokémon, Naruto, Attack on Titan, Spirited Away, and Your Name.

Manga also covers a variety of genres and subjects. Many manga series are serialized in anthology magazines targeting different demographic groups like children, teenagers, and adults. Well-known manga include One Piece, Death Note, Fullmetal Alchemist, and Sailor Moon.

Anime and manga have a distinctive artistic style. Characters often have colorful, exaggerated hairstyles and facial features. Panels flow together in creative ways. Stories explore imaginative worlds and stretch the boundaries of reality.

Anime and manga have become global phenomena, gaining dedicated fans worldwide. Many series have been translated into different languages. Big conventions celebrate these art forms, with fans cosplaying as their favorite characters.

If you’re new to the anime and manga scene, there’s a whole universe of exciting stories and characters waiting to be discovered. Dive in and explore these creative, culturally significant art forms from Japan!

History and Origins: When Did Anime and Manga Emerge?

Anime and manga have been around for centuries, but became hugely popular in Japan starting in the mid-20th century.

Anime, short for animation, began in the 1940s. Early anime was influenced by foreign cartoons from Disney, as well as Japanese woodblock art. The first major anime film was Hakujaden in 1958. The 1960s saw the start of many familiar anime series like Astro Boy, which helped popularize the anime art style worldwide.

Manga, Japanese comics, started appearing in the early 1900s but gained mainstream popularity after World War II. The first modern manga was Shin Takarajima by Osamu Tezuka in 1947. Tezuka went on to found Mushi Productions, which produced the first anime series based on manga.

The Golden Age

In the 1970s, anime and manga entered a “golden age.” Series like Space Battleship Yamato and Mobile Suit Gundam established the space opera and mecha genres. The 1980s and 1990s saw the rise of influential films like Akira and Ghost in the Shell. During this time, anime and manga became a major industry and global cultural export.

Anime and manga have now spread around the world, influencing art, film, TV, fashion, and pop culture. They continue to push the boundaries of visual styles, cinematic techniques, and storytelling. Whether you’re a new fan or life-long otaku, there’s a whole universe of imagination and creativity to discover in anime and manga.

Popular Anime Genres: Action, Romance, Sci-Fi and More

The world of anime contains a huge variety of genres, from action-packed mecha shows to sweet romance series. Here are some of the most popular genres and what you can expect from them:


Action anime feature intense fight scenes, chases, and battles. Popular shows like Dragon Ball Z, Attack on Titan, and Fate/Zero fall into this category. The action genre frequently crosses over with sci-fi and fantasy. If you like high-energy, adrenaline-fueled stories, action anime are for you.


Romance anime focus on relationships and matters of the heart. Shows like Toradora!, Clannad, and Fruits Basket center around themes of love and friendship. Romance anime range from comedic to deeply emotional. This genre appeals to viewers who love a good love story.


Science fiction is one of the most popular genres in anime. Shows like Steins;Gate, Psycho-Pass, and Cowboy Bebop explore futuristic technology, space travel, mecha, and dystopian societies. Sci-fi anime attract fans who enjoy mind-bending plots, futuristic settings, and a touch of mystery.


Comedy anime aim to make you laugh. Gintama, The Disastrous Life of Saiki K., and Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun feature slapstick humor, witty jokes, eccentric characters, and amusing situations. Comedy anime provide laughs and an upbeat, feel-good tone.

Anime genres are diverse, covering everything from supernatural adventures to slice-of-life school stories. No matter your tastes or mood, there’s an anime genre for you. Dive in and discover your new favorites!

Iconic Anime Series and Manga to Get You Started

Some of the most iconic and beloved anime series and manga are perfect for newcomers to dive into. Once you start watching or reading some of these classics, you’ll be hooked.


This long-running anime series follows the journey of Naruto Uzumaki, a teenage ninja in training. Watch Naruto develop his skills and search for recognition in his village. Full of action, humor and heart, Naruto is considered a modern classic for good reason.

One Punch Man

This popular anime comedy series chronicles the life of Saitama, a superhero who can defeat any villain with just one punch. However, his extreme strength has made him bored and unfulfilled. Follow Saitama’s humorous adventures as he searches for a worthy opponent. One Punch Man is a hilarious satire of common superhero tropes.

Fullmetal Alchemist

In this fantasy adventure anime, brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric search for the legendary Philosopher’s Stone. They hope to use its power to restore their bodies after a failed alchemical experiment. Full of mystery, drama and clever twists, Fullmetal Alchemist is a must-watch for any anime fan.

Demon Slayer

Set in a world filled with demons and demon slayers, this anime follows Tanjiro Kamado as he works to avenge his family and turn his sister back into a human after she was turned into a demon. Prepare for dazzling sword fights, richly drawn characters, and a compelling story of love and courage against all odds.

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (manga)

This long-running manga series follows the strange adventures of the Joestar family over multiple generations. Combining elements of fantasy, action and supernatural horror with a totally unique art style, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is considered an iconic work that helped to popularize the shonen genre. New readers will be drawn into its weird and wacky world.

With so many amazing series to dive into, you’ll be an anime and manga expert in no time! Let the binge-watching and reading begin.

Tips for New Fans: Where to Watch, Read, and Engage With Anime/Manga

Once you’ve discovered the world of anime and manga, the next step is figuring out how to dive in. Here are some tips to get you started:

Find a streaming service.

Sites like Crunchyroll and Funimation stream popular anime series and make it easy to binge-watch. Many offer free trials so you can test a few out. These services also have apps for watching on the go.

Check your local library.

More and more libraries now offer a selection of anime DVDs and manga books you can borrow for free. This is a great way to explore different titles without commitment. Some libraries even host anime screenings and clubs.

Look for live events.

Many cities host anime conventions, screenings, and meetups. This is a chance to watch anime on the big screen, buy merchandise, meet voice actors, and connect with other fans. Even if there’s not an official event near you, search online for “anime screenings” or “anime meetups” in your area. Local comic shops or colleges may host their own small gatherings.

Take a class.

Some colleges offer elective courses on anime, manga, and Japanese culture. These classes provide an in-depth exploration of popular works as well as the opportunity to discuss them with other passionate fans and experts. They cover both the historical and cultural context of these media.

Start with the classics.

Some essential anime series for beginners include Cowboy Bebop, Death Note, Attack on Titan, and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. For manga, try Death Note, Naruto, Fruits Basket, or One Piece. These popular works represent different genres like action, sci-fi, fantasy, and slice-of-life – so you can find what you enjoy!

Anime and manga have so much to offer. With streaming, events, education, and recommendations, you’ll be on your way to becoming an expert fan in no time! Take your time exploring and have fun with it.


So there you have it, a crash course in the wonderful worlds of anime and manga. While the subjects are broad, this primer has given you the basics to get started. Now the only thing left to do is dive in and start watching some anime or reading some manga.

Find some genres or stories that spark your interest. Get lost in imaginative worlds and follow unforgettable characters. Debate controversial plot twists and theories with other fans online. Cosplay as your favorite characters.

Learn some Japanese phrases to impress your friends. The possibilities for adventure are endless. You’ve only just begun to discover the joy that is anime and manga. So what are you waiting for? Your new obsession is calling. It’s time to geek out!

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