Earlier today there was a discussion on Twitter about anime that are required viewing for anime fans. Some usual suspects got thrown around (Eva, Haruhi, Cowboy Bebop), and some other colorful choices made were brought up (Code Geass, FLCL).
I was actually in the middle of typing my own list (a very mecha list, mind you) when I was struck with realization. This could work for a tight and niche genre, but anime in general is very wide and diverse. An anime fan could be a fan of a set of shows far different from another’s, yet both would still count as anime fans.
Furthermore, such lists tend to be divisive–either you’ve seen this show, or you haven’t. With the words “required viewing”, the latter is implied to be a negative. But does that hold true absolutely? How would Gunbuster be of any interest to a galgame adaptation fan? And if you try to make a list that would cater to every kind of fan, you’ll only end up alienating everyone.
If this were just about being a fan and watching anime to enjoy one’s own time, consulting these lists would be mildly accurate at best, and harmful at worst. You’re bound to find good shows, but are they good for you?
I guess the bottom line here is watch what you enjoy and like. The classics, the masterpieces, the “required viewings”, they will come to you naturally. As long as you have fun with anime, you’re bound to run into them sooner or later, once you’re ready for them. You probably won’t even need to look for them! If someone’s going to think negatively of you, then that’s their problem. Who’s enjoying themselves?
Maybe we could rephrase the list into “anime that worked very well for me, which I think are hallmarks of the medium and every fan who hasn’t seen them should remedy ASAP”, but that might be too long.
Yep, too long.