Introducing Anime to Non-Fans

I'm surprised no-one has mentioned Honneamise, it has the kind of themes you'd associate more with cinema in general but expressed in a manner that can only be achieved through animation, in a similar vein to Akira but obviously with less psychic children.

I do actually think Honneamise is one of those films that people should be obligated to watch.

I would agree to an extent with Ayase's point about anime in general though. I think the surface level of anime is probably easily enough accessed but beyond that, the kind of people it appeals to are probably going to be slightly abnormal. But that's no different from any other medium, there's always someone who wants to push the limits and go further, I just think "hardcore" fans are more prolific or noticeable in anime because the entry requirements are higher.

For a start, you have to overcome social conditioning as Maes points out and even then there isn't anyone overly pushing it (that's changed a bit now) but unless you know what you're looking for, it's hard to really know where to begin. You stumbled about for a bit before finding your feet. Where as with tv, you have everybody from co-workers to radio hosts talking about shows like Breaking Bad or the Wire, so you don't have to figure anything out, you already have "taste makers" ready to guide you from point to point.

Most people just want to be entertained for five minutes rather than being challenged in anyway, so when you have to "work" to find the entertainment you seek, I think it inherently turns off that kind of general audience. Anime just seems to alien or time consuming to really break into but Breaking Bad? Well most people are talking about, so you already know what it is and what it's about and it largely draws on American pop culture (if any, rather than obscure references to Japanese values that don't translate), so it's far easier to plug and play.


Karamatsu Boy
These are all good points; if your goal is just to show someone a cartoon they'll probably like which happens to have been made in Japan, there are a number of options they'll probably enjoy well enough. If your goal is to actually get them interested in anime, you have to rely on some adventurous drive from the new viewer and drop them in closer to the deep end.

As for what they'd like, it's going to be all over the place. My mum liked Fushigi Yuugi, a series I would probably never naturally recommend to any newcomer because it's a shoujo romance adventure with a high episode count and a ton of anime-specific references. Plus the whole China theme and general cribbage from Asian legends people in the west don't really know. She also watched it in Japanese with subs even though she barely knows any Japanese because she doesn't like redubbed films any more than I do - that makes her a rather unusual initiate. I was most pleased that she ended up with a crush on one of the male characters, a first for her when it comes to cartoons. We don't watch anime together any more as we live apart but I think now she's made it through her shoujo initiation she's primed for anything.

My dad has no real interest in anime at all but he borrowed Ghost In The Shell from one of his friends behind my back one day (???) and secretly watched it on his own. He enjoyed it. I can't imagine him sitting through Death Note or anything widely regarded as good without squirming, though. I'd really like The Tatami Galaxy to get a rerelease so I can make him watch that, as I think he'd enjoy it a lot.

ilmaestro said:
Rui said:
I don't really have any non-anime-watching friends.
I want to turn this into some sort of North Korea PR meme.

On the point about Ghibli films, I agree that it would be difficult to use them as a starting point, unless you were to continue recommending that they watch either Ghibli or Madhouse produced films. Reason being, not necessarily because they are at the top of a lot of people's top anime lists, but because when I've watched them, they give me quite a different feel as to when i watch a TV anime (generally speaking). i do, however, think that the more popular titles should be ones to get people into - preferably the shorter shows and it helps if they are indeed popular because then it's more likely that they would have heard the title of the show somewhere before and it will be easy to find others whom can back you up and say 'yeah that's really good'.

Also, it's important to bear in mind what they like in general - if they like shows that are more grounded, it makes sense that they will prefer more grounded anime, that are possibly darker and with a bit more depth to them. if, however, they are fans of fiction/fantasy then of course it would make sense that they would probably like fantasy anime.

i showed my Dad Attack on Titan, Code Geass and Death Note and he enjoyed them - once I get the BDs with the dub, i shall also show him Parasyte and Tokyo Ghoul. Aside from enjoying these myself, i know that my Dad would appreciate these kind of shows. He is a big fan of adult humour so I shall be showing him Prison School once the BDs are out - with this show i will make him watch with subs though, because it's way funnier.

My mum, on the other hand, likes soap operas and crime dramas etc. so I hope to, at some point, show her Psycho-Pass because I feel that even though it's technically sci-fi, the show relies more upon the detective/police side of things rather than the tech of the future, aside from of course the enforcers and some other equipment.
ayase said:
Does anyone actually "like anime" though? Not a trick question (and perfect for taking out of context) and I know it's what brings us all together here at AUKN, but I imagine there are certain examples of anime each of us can't stand. Yeah, we like anime, but #NotAllAnime.
I thought about this for a while, as I agree it's a good question. I decided that yes, I definitely do. I love way opening sequences are just as much a part of a show as anything else, I love the excitement of new shows starting every three months, I love following which shows my favorite seiyuu are being cast in, and a whole host of other things about the industry. I also think that one of the reasons I don't "like" all anime is because I care enough to have an opinion.
Like I say, it wasn't a trick question. I know we're all fans of anime here, perhaps a better way to phrase it is that I think it's unlikely you're going to turn someone who already has developed tastes of their own into a fan of anime. You might get them to watch some anime. They might even enjoy it. But they're probably not going to enjoy all (like you say, they would have literally no taste if they liked everything) or even most of it. I don't think I would even say I enjoy "most" anime despite being interested in voice actors and creators and having an interest in the industry in general.

Do people pick up fandoms later in life? What prompts them to do so? Would you even want to try and make somebody who doesn't already like the things that you like like those things? Why? These are more meta questions that are probably beyond the scope of the OP.
Its a tough job, but I have found fight scenes to work best. That way people get interested in a few fights. And they experience the first time awkward, inappropriate, moment for themselves.