In Defense of Gateway Anime

Yes, it’s true

There are a lot of cynical people in the anime community that think you’re a tasteless noob if you just so happen to love a gateway anime. No doubt if you’ve sung praises to:

My Hero Academia

Attack on Titan

One Punch Man

Sword Art Online  (OG, not the new spin-off)

– you’ve been ridiculed for being a “filthy casual” or only capable of enjoying things that are new or action based.

If you think this is a new epidemic, you’d be wrong. These are the same sort of criticisms you’d get for liking:



One Piece

Fairy Tail 


And it’s a real shame. Some fans just think they have better taste than everyone else and refuse to give props where a new show deserves it. Not everyone is like this, of course, but it does seem to be a problem with many.

But why is this?

There seems to be a negative stigma that if it’s considered a gateway anime, it can’t really be that clever or good. But this way of thinking needs to stop.

The shows in the image above have drawn in so many new anime fans, bringing more attention and appreciation to the anime universe as a whole. They all have merit and earned their respect in many regards, being greatly enjoyed and cherished ever since they were released.

None of them are perfect, but perfection doesn’t exist. Anything can be picked to pieces if you really wanted to spend the time to do it.

So what’s the big deal here?

Let’s get straight to the point and discuss why gateway anime deserve our respect, and why zealous anime fans need to chill.

First off, what is a “gateway anime”?

A gateway anime is a popular show that makes it easy for newcomers to get into the anime world. This includes being a show that’s so good it’s often used as an easy way for a current fan to get a friend interested in the medium.

Or at least, this is the definition I’m going by.

Now that we’ve got the definition out of the way, let’s jump on into the rest of the post!

Gateway Anime Are Special

Whoa, whoa, HOLD UP!

Put those pitchforks away and listen for a second.


I’m not saying SAO is a good show, I’m also not going to say it’s trash…  but yes, SAO is an entirely different kind of “special”. No matter what you think of Sword Art Online, it still deserves some respect.

It was able to capture the attention of people who wouldn’t have watched anime otherwise.

And it did it with thousands of people in a very short amount of time!

It was the only show you’d hear about in comments and forums. It didn’t matter if it was good or bad, it took the anime world by storm in a way no other anime had before.

How many shows have been able to do this?

With the internet and video game culture booming at the time, it was rather easy for newcomers to be interested in this show and its concept. Love it or hate it, few shows have done this as effectively as SAO. In fact, Attack on Titan is one of the few I think have, but I Attack on Titan has a bit more merit, so let’s not put it in the same boat.

These gateway anime gain popularity that draws a lot of attention that other shows couldn’t, getting the new generation into our beloved world of anime.

Think of it like taking your kid to Disney World for the very first time. They’re discovering a whole new world and it’s blowing their minds!

If you’re a seasoned anime fan, why are you so bothered by this? 

They’ll find better shows and develop their taste, and even if they don’t, what’s it to you? Let people enjoy what they enjoy, and keep your nose out of their space. Yes, these fandoms can get annoying beyond belief, but if someone just enjoys a show, not claiming it to be the greatest ever made, just let em be 🙂

We can disagree all we want, have discussions and tell our side of the story, but they could be a completely new fan having seen their first or second anime.

No matter how good or bad a gateway show is, it’s still quite an achievement that deserves recognition.

… And besides all that, NOT EVERY GATEWAY ANIME IS BAD.

This leads us to my next point.

Gateway Anime Usually Deserve Their Love… Usually

This may be a surprise, but I used to be pretty hesitant to try the popular anime even if it sounded like something I’d enjoy. But over the years I’ve been trying to break out of that ridiculous mentality because I’d be missing out on SO MANY amazing stories!

Think of the shows everyone was talking about a few years ago (or even currently).

Here they are (well, some of them anyway) broken down to what makes them so good. 

One Punch Man 

 An introspective anime with a main character dealing with depression despite being the most powerful hero in the world. He can defeat any obstacle with one punch but that never makes the show bland or unexciting.

– This show has excellent comedy, music, and animation. It will give you the feels and make you laugh at the same time.

My Hero Academia

– A basic Shounen premise with an original story that defies expectations and gives us highly enjoyable, and highly developed characters we actually want to see more of.

– The story will suck you in and won’t let you go due to it’s great storytelling. These characters are the stars of the show, feeling more and more like family to you by each passing episode. Very few shows have kept me interested in its characters so consistently. It’s a ride you’ll never want to end.

Attack on Titan

– An original world chocked full of mystery and incredible art with characters doing everything they can to preserve the future of humanity. They spend their efforts unlocking these mysteries while trying not to get eaten by zombie-like giants.  As more seasons come out the deeper the plot gets, leading to a complicated story and political thriller with all kinds of intrigue.

– The music and plot twists will keep you glued to your seat and keep you hyped and engaged. The gravity of humanity’s situation and hopelessness is heavy and feels more real than any other survival show I’ve seen to date.

These are only THREE of the many high-quality gateway anime out there, and they should never be dismissed just because they’re popular and new.

They all have something that makes them stand out and their stories are worth getting sucked into. With so many high-quality shows like these, they should never be dismissed as simply “a gateway anime” only suitable for the newbies.

Be you experienced or completely new to anime, these are shows that deserve a chance 🙂

Why You Guys Need To Chill

As you can imagine, most of the bashing comes from the “elitists” or long-time anime viewers. I’ve often heard people review a new and very popular show saying that –

(Not a direct quote, but paraphrased as a common line of thinking)

“It was clearly meant for the casual viewers and newcomers and has been heavily overrated. If you’ve been watching anime for a while, it’s nothing special so you can ignore it. It appeals to people who don’t know any better and is going after the edgy crowd. But what else can we expect from a gateway anime?”


Ehem, sorry for the momentary loss of professionalism but, WHAT?!

Okay, this is going to be heated. Of course, it wasn’t a real quote but what sickens me is that people actually think like this, that they’re above it, or something. If you search for videos on why a new anime show is popular, they typically mention that it aims for a specific crowd of edgy and rebellious teenagers and the like.

Because of this line of thinking, many of the elitists will simply dismiss a new and popular high-quality show as a gateway anime. True, the new anime shows can sometimes have a bit too much hype, but why is it okay for them to be dismissed as low-quality trash by the more experienced?

So to those of you who think you’re above gateway anime, answer me this:

What was the first show or movie that got you into anime?

Was it:

Cowboy Bebop?


Legend of the Galactic Heroes?

Neon Genesis Evangelion?



My Neighbor Totoro?

Spirited Away?

Princess Mononoke?

Ghost in the Shell?

Ruroni Kenshin?

Hunter x Hunter?


Or any Ghibli film?

… Then shut up about gateway anime!!!

Each of these movies and shows was popular when they came out and most of these got the US audience interested. Pokemon and Dragonball weren’t high-quality shows but they still got you here, didn’t they?

Anime wasn’t well known in America back then, I get it. But by the anime standards at the time, those were popular. Every generation is going to have anime shows like this. Both the good and the bad manage to get people watching anime, and your generation is no exception.

So stop ragging on the new kids when YOU YOURSELF were pulled in with what was popular at the time!

Okay, that’s it. I’m good.

But seriously guys, if this is a huge complaint of yours, just grow up. Because you had to get into anime in a similar fashion. The only difference is that it’s happening faster and more people have a voice with the internet.

Thank you so much for reading!

I hope you all enjoyed this post. I’m probably a bit bias, but this is a subject that gets me riled up. I love anime, old and new, and if they’re good shows they don’t deserve this treatment.

Please let me know what your take on this was. Do you agree with this post? Or do you feel like breaking a violin over my head? 

Leave your opinions in the comments below!




[Originally posted for a client on “Anime and Manga Life”]

I’m a freelancer 😉

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