Gateway drug anime, or “gateway anime” series are the types to keep pulling anime fans back. Or especially to introduce new anime fans to the scene and industry, nonstop.
The term is taken from a gateway drug, which is a type of drug that most people are introduced to before experimenting with other drugs, going down the rabbit hole.
Let’s talk about these types of anime regardless.
- Slice of life.
And others that are relevant.
Best gateway anime shows:
Dragon Ball Z
No matter the hate for this anime, decades later (from fanboys or trolls), this
There are also the
My Hero Academia
Another anime that’s been getting hate since it first aired, despite the overwhelming amount of support it receives. With its 6th season airing, which is dominating, a lot of trolls have been silenced.
The anime is evolved into a bit of a powerhouse, and more importantly, this anime is responsible for being a gateway drug in the
3. Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure
There aren’t too many anime shows that have as many memes as JOJO, and especially memes that are iconic, have been remixed, and more.
The anime started in the 1980s and even though it never reached the mainstream level like the big 3
4. Sailor Moon
Iconic opening theme song,
The sailor scouts are a diverse bunch. Some straight, others who swing a different way, and the personalities are diverse as well
It might not be the flashiest anime series and it’s not meant to be anyway, but its stamp on history is official and so is its appeal to new audiences.
5. Black Clover
Even to this day, it feels like some trolls and elitists continue to hate this anime, but at this stage, the point is proven. Black Clover is here to stay, and is successful enough that it attracts new fans to the industry.
Asta is still a big-mouth protagonist, but that changes nothing.
Hunter x Hunter
I call this the underdog of
It’s a certified underground
Berserk was a certified series before the author sadly passed, but despite that, the franchise continues to live on and has new work planned.
It’s consistently seen as one of the most vile, brutal, savage stories which also offers a good story, relevant aspects that connect to real life, many life lessons, and a ton more.
It’s too certified to dismiss as not being a gateway drug anime.
Fairy Tail is a mixed bag, even to this day. Some complain about its
At the end of the day though
The franchise is the 29th best-selling
9. Maid Sama
Might be considered the biggest Shoujo series out there. The main female mc starts off as a right b*tch, it has to be said. Man-hatnig, literally. But that changes through growth and personal development.
The dynamic between Misaki Ayuzawa and Usui, the troll of the series is entertaining, with even quite a bit to take away from the anime.
Few shoujo can claim to be gateway anime the way Maid Sama is.
Another anime made by J.C. Staff like Maid Sama. It’s also one of the biggest romance series of all time in the anime space.
You have Taiga, the little Tsundere and one of the original 4 Tsundere wonders. Along with Ryuji, the male
Naruto can’t be ignored on a list like this. It’s the anime that started the big 3, or at least one of them. To this day it has a cultural impact unlike many anime can ever claim.
Arguments and controversies are still ongoing because of the new Boruto series, but the original still brings in new fans all the time.
When the pandemic hit, so many anime got delayed and some were even cancelled.
Demon Slayer was a relatively new anime in 2019 before the pandemic, but the pandemic is when the Mugen train movie released, becoming the best-selling anime movie of all time.
The first magical girl series to bring dark energy to the space. I should say the first to TRICK the audience into thinking it will be a
Many more tried to copy it and failed, and this “innovation” is the reason
It gets recommended among anime that lean towards the darker side, all the time.
One of the few sports anime to become a big thing in ways other sports anime just never do (Kuroko No Basket is an exception or Blue Lock).
Haikyuu is a
This chemistry among the other characters is what’s made Haikyuu a genuine mainstream series that attracts fans of both genders to a degree not many other anime have done.
You could call
Not to mention the tropes, cliches (funny ones), and gags that have been used and abused years later.
A guaranteed gateway drug anime.
16. Pretty Cure
The funny thing about this anime is some won’t recognize it, and yet behind the scenes, it has a lot of cultural impact in the magical girl space, and as an anime that continues to bring in new fans to the industry.
It’s the longest-running magical girl series, comparable to a
It’s an OG.
17. Attack On Titan
Since the first season, this anime was set to dominate for years because of the impact it had, and how big the anime became. It feels like a horror, but it’s actually a
The sheer brutality is what drove the anime forward, and the feels that came with it. But then later it got smarter with some of its characters and the anime has become more than just bloodthirsty titans.
Only a fool would deny this anime’s impact on the culture.
Sword Art Online
Hate it or love it, but
The survival aspect of the game, trapped inside VR, this was a new concept and it gave
No Game No Life is another
Even though it hasn’t been out as long as other anime, it has become one of the top selling light novels and most appreciated
RImuru Tempest starts out as a slime, and evolves. This evolution is why the anime is become what it is, why it attracts new audiences, and why the anime is respected in the
The world-building and momentum slowly builds and has become something more than just a cliche series.
One Piece goes without saying. The anime has been running for years without stopping. Not many anime can say that with the level of popularity of
Its consistency is unmatched, and it sells even more than a lot of American comics.
High School DxD
In the more “lewd” space,
Rias Gremory, the red-haired babe of the series is responsible for that as she’s the face of it. And a big part of why the anime is popular.
22. Monster Musume
Another follow-up in the
The anime focuses on snake
You could say it’s responsible for some memes you see in the anime space.
As part of the big 3, it’s only natural to mention
Ichigo Kurosaki and the concept of soul reapers and hollows is a big part of that.
It has some of the slickest, sickest fight scenes any
One of the more original slice of life series from Kyoto Animation, and an anime that pushed the MOE style of anime to the front of the stage.
It has no plot, no focus, just
Easily one of the gateway drug anime in the
26. Redo Of Healer
It has to be said. This is one of those anime most didn’t expect to become a gateway drug anime or an anime that rivals
The anime is more underground but with a mainstream appeal attached to it (controversy and so on).
The anime’s revenge scene, Keyaru’s rise to power, the lengths he’s willing to go, and the anime’s darker elements all play a role in Redo Of Healer’s popularity and ability to be a politically incorrect gateway drug anime.
Classic series. There will never be another like it. A masterpiece in my eyes.
Light Yagami uses the
The suspense is a killer.
28. Code Geass
Another anime known for its brilliance when talking about strategy, tactics, being multiple steps ahead, battle, and outthinking the enemy.
Lelouch gains the power of geass in the face of death and uses it to get what he wants.
In a way, Lelouch is the more sane version of Light Yagami.
Akame Ga Kill
For whatever reason, a lot of
Akame Ga Kill throws those tropes out the window and slices them into pieces. Then gives you the raw, the real, the uncut, and the unforgiving as far as realism goes.
FMA, whether the remade version or the first one that was released, is a
It’s so appreciated and praised, that it always ends up in recommendations or discussions among so-called masterpieces.
All it took is one series, technically, and it’s still doing its thing to this day as a gateway anime.
- Tokyo Ghoul.
- Samurai Champloo.
- Cowboy Bebop.
- Kono Subarashii.
- Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid.
- Black Lagoon.
- No Game No Life.
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