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Best First Seasons in Animation

LET'S RANK

Hey fans! In this round of let’s rank, we’ll be going over the best first seasons in animation. Sometimes, the first season is the best or most pivotal for an animated show (anime, cartoons, or otherwise). While there are certainly many, many candidates who could qualify for this list, these are just some of the ones that we think fit the best. 

6. Gravity Falls

From left to right: Dipper Pines standing next to his twin sister Mabel Pines, all while she holds Waddles the Pig.

Kicking off this list is Gravity Falls— while it’s not an old show in the slightest, it’s a cartoon that many enjoyed in the early to mid-2010s. Centered around a set of twins staying over at their Great Uncle’s (AKA Gruncle Stan) cabin for the summer in the town of Gravity Falls, the mystery and “weirdness” presented in each episode made it unsurprisingly popular. While the second season was by no means bad (and in many was surpassed the first), it was the first season that truly got people interested. The show was so popular to the point where many lament the series' shortness compared to other famous cartoons of the time.

5. Phineas and Ferb

From left to right: Phineas Flynn sitting next to his brother Ferb Flynn (who is holding a book), all while saying his iconic catch-phrase, “Hey Ferb, I know what we’re gonna do today!”

Okay, come on, most of you reading this should know about this all-time classic in the form of Phineas and Ferb. As of this article, the show is officially past its 15th year anniversary since the premiere back in 2007. While the show is amazing overall, that first season was arguably one of its best (and its most important). With memorable episodes like Rollercoaster, Dude, We’re Getting the Band Back Together, and more, it was what led to a lot of us waiting to hear the iconic phrase, “Hey Ferb, I know what we’re gonna do today!”

4. The Promised Neverland

Two of the show's protagonists standing next to each other as they look on. From left to right: Norman and Emma.

You saw this coming. Season 1 of The Promised Neverland was lauded by many as being one of the best at the time of its release, even up to now. The way that the story unveils itself over the course of its 12 episodes, tearing down its initially wholesome façade to reveal that something sinister is afoot. If you haven’t watched The Promised Neverland, you need to see it NOW. It’s a shame, then, that there is no second season. This statement is factually correct and there is no second season in Ba Sing Sae.  

3. Attack on Titan

Eren Yaeger standing on top of one of the Walls, as the Colossal Titan makes its appearance known.

Attack on Titan (AOT) is another modern classic of an Anime that will go down as many people’s favorite once the rest of the final season releases. However, much of this is thanks to the absolute banger that was Season 1. It was here that we were all introduced to the intriguing and rather macabre world of AOT, from the desperation of the humans of Paradis Island to the Titans themselves. While it is debatable whether it is the best, there is no doubting its importance in establishing the show as a staple for many people’s watchlist. Want proof? Just play the first OP for it- we guarantee you that 9 times out of 10, people will know and it look fondly at the time when the show first came out.

2. Haikyu

From left to right: Tobio Kageyama yelling at Shōyō Hinata in the first episode of the series.

Haikyu? Did FAN EXPO really just rank Haikyu above Attack on Titan? Why, yes, yes we did, and for good reason. While sports Anime are amazing in their own right, action-based Anime like Attack on Titan and its contemporaries absolutely dominate the genre. So, for a volleyball-based Anime to become as popular as it did is extremely notable— after all, it did lead to a big spike in the popularity of the sport in Japan (and to a lesser degree in the rest of the world). We’d definitely recommend the high-flying antics of Haikyu for your watchlist, especially now that there’s multiple seasons for you to enjoy.  

1. One Punch Man

From left to right: A happy Saitama standing next to Genos, his "disciple".

One. Punch. Man. There are both good and bad reasons as to why this is number one on this list. On one hand, there is no denying just how much fun and action-packed the first season of this superhero-centric show was. While OP protagonists can sometimes ruin a show, protagonist Saitama makes the show great because of that. Seeing other characters (both villains and fellow heroes alike) find out about his power is an absolute delight, much of which is because of the awesome animation that this season has. This alone would have placed One Punch Man on this list, but the unfortunate drop in quality with Season 2 cemented its place as number one here.