Ask an anime fan what they’d recommend to newcomers and older fans will likely say something along the lines of Cowboy Bebop, while younger anime fans will probably say a title along the lines of Naruto or Bleach.
I however, would say Fullmetal Alchemist without missing a beat.
Its no secret that I love Fullmetal Alchemist and while I originally planned to do an Overview of it I didn’t really think there was any point, plenty other talented people in the anime community have already done a brilliant job of that. So instead I want to talk about why I think FMA is a great starting point for those who are interesting in anime or to get people interested in anime.
First off, it’s approachable.
As we’re all well aware anime is full of crazy characters, over-the-top stories and, in some cases, rampant fanservice. For established fans this is just normal, however for a newcomer this could easily be overwhelming. FMA however does not have a lot of that, at least in not as much of a great degree. Its story shares similarities with action and sci-fi films that are more widely known and loved, making it a familiar and comfortable watch.
However on the other hand it’s not watered down or just mindless fluff. Its characters are excellently written and feel alive. You feel their struggles and understand their goals, motivations and actions. FMA explores themes relevant to real life, themes of the effects of war, racism, beliefs and growing up. It shows how hate breeds hate and the damage human vices can cause. Most of all it touches on these themes without seeming preachy or feeling like it’s hitting you over the head with them. It presents them in a way that can be understood and causes the viewer to feel engaged.
It also provides quite a well done set of female cast members, none of which are overly sexualized like some other anime. These ladies are treated as equals in their world, some even holding significant military or government positions.
This is made even more notable as the time period FMA is set in is comparable to the 30s or 40s and yet they have a gender view that by our standard would be fairly modern.
Finally it shows new viewers the masterwork calibre art that anime can be when in the right hands. Studio Bones does an excellent job bringing Hiromu Arakawa’s character and story to life, while both Michiru Oshima and Akira Senju add to that with their musical talents. Add to that excellent voice work and you have a level of production that not many shows can match, especially those with a similar length to FMA.
So overall I feel that FMA manages to present everything there is to love about anime without losing the view in some of its stranger aspects. It’s a show almost anyone can enjoy, regardless of taste, and so that’s why I feel that next time you want to share the medium you love with someone, start with Fullmetal Alchemist. It may just open a whole new world for them.
So what are your thoughts? Do you have any anime you think are good for newcomers?
Feel free to let me know down below!
Until next time mates!