Get ready for a loooooong list of stuff. Most of the stuff on this list is classified as Shojo Anime, meaning it’s marketed towards a younger, female audience. And when I started watching these things, I expected a lot of platonic love and friendships, but I got SO much more.
1. My Little Monster – This is another one available on Netflix. Why is it on Netflix without an English dub… no clue, but let me tell you, this is 100% worth your time and the hassle of subtitles. The heroine is a tiny girl with a no-filtered attitude. She has no fucks to give about what other people think and she’s so brave. I loved watching her. If I thought she was cool, I really liked the male protagonist. He’s socially awkward and is blissfully unaware of his weirdness. He is also oddly protective of the leading lady and keeps a pet chicken at school. I’m not sure I can do justice to this relationship, you just have to see it. The supporting cast isn’t bad, but the big standouts are the leading lady and her hard-to-manage man.
2. My Teen Romantic Comedy Snafu – I expected a romantic comedy out of this one. I did not get that. Instead, I got a really great dynamic cast of characters and a main protagonist who reminded me of John Cusack in Say Anything so much that I kept watching just to read his lines and find out what he was going to say next. Two girls, one guy. Expect cockblocking and love triangles…or not because these three are very protective of the friendship they have. The show is worth watching solely because of Hachiman and what he might think next. “Is this a morning after scene?” This is a good show that left me wanting to see the next season. I remember being sad when it was over because I didn’t have any more to watch.
3. ***Monthly Girls Nozaki-kun – This is an anime that isn’t afraid to step outside of itself and have a little fun. The volume is turned up really high on most of the characters and they are all enjoyable to watch. It’s hard to pick a favorite. I was heavily invested in the side stories as well as the main story line here, and this anime made me smile over and over. The female lead is really smart and talented. Her friend is nothing like what I expected from a typical female sidekick in an anime. You simply have to see her to understand. Halfway through the show I realized no one was really getting together, and I didn’t care because it was so clever and fun to watch. Put this on your list if you like to laugh and smile.
4. Ouran Highschool Host Club – This is on Netflix with really good voice dub acting. I am listing this here, but I’m not sure it’s a romance. It’s more goofy than anything. The characters are all very distinctive and very loud. Some of the scenes I had to watch twice because they pack so many jokes into each frame. This one isn’t for people who don’t enjoy humor and an anime that constantly makes fun of itself and challenges stereotypes as much as it embraces them. Also, twins.
5. Say I Love You – I confess I was more interested in the stronger, side characters than the leads in this. The girl wasn’t all that interesting and how many times can you withdraw into your shell and push a guy away before it gets old? Also the main love interest was mediocre for me. The best thing about him was that he was good looking and slightly perverted. That is to say, he says perverted things and you figure out really fast that he isn’t a virgin. That just isn’t enough to keep me watching though, and I would have stopped if it weren’t for a few of the side characters. I have yet to find another anime that skirts the edges of tackling an eating disorder. Both friends of the main character had body issues and were self-conscious. Both dealt with those issues in different ways. I kept hoping to see them every episode instead of the main characters who I felt were stagnated over the same trust issues all season long. I will say this, the characters were all very grounded and seemed far more real than I was used seeing in other shows. This one was interesting for sure, but an acquired taste.
6. Kimi ni Todoke: From Me to You – This anime was a guilty pleasure because it was so cute. The main character looks just like the girl from “The Ring” and everyone is always afraid of her. To boot, she is pretty innocent and it makes things awkward. I honestly thought she could have gone through the show slowly becoming more emotionally mature without the assistance of her love interest, but he was pretty special himself. In fact, I don’t think people like him exist in the real world. Thank you for setting the bar too high shojo anime…girls everywhere will come to resent you for it. The best part about this show were the supporting characters. Especially the leading character’s friends. One was girly girl who didn’t think she deserved to be loved and the other was a tomboy who didn’t know where to start in terms of her emotions. I wanted to see so much more of them. Even the antagonist roles were interesting, in fact even more so, in this one. I enjoyed this. Other people might not, but that’s not my problem.
7. Ao Haru Ride: Blue Spring Ride – Initially I quit watching this anime because the girl was eating her feelings in the first episode. It seemed like something I didn’t want to see. But I got curious and went back. I’m glad I did. The main characters in this story were a pleasure to watch. They had these moments that were so honest and natural, I got sucked in. They weren’t perfect people and they had issues to deal with, especially her love interest who had some very real emotional pain. I won’t lie. I’d like to see more of it.
8. My Love Story – This is “Mad About You” but in anime and in high school. It moves slowly and sweetly, but you hardly notice because of all the funny stuff that goes on. Oh how I love Takeo’s enthusiasm. It’s infectious. Every episode is fun to watch.
9. Brothers Conflict – This is a reverse harem. I have no idea why I watched all of it.
That’s a lie. I know why, I just don’t want to say it. I kept thinking I felt sorry for the mom of those 13 boys because that was 11 births. Also, the two oldest guys were a lawyer and pediatrician. They both should have been married. At no time should all 13 of them have been chasing after their new step-sister. Being totally honest, it wasn’t great, but there were twins so…
10. Nana – Another Netflix anime and the voice acting is FIRST RATE. This anime deals with adult characters and more mature themes. It’s about two girls with the same name who become roommates in Tokyo. They are very different and deal with different problems. The girly Nana reminds me of Charlotte from Sex and The City with her spoiled little girl moments and her obsession with being in love. I seriously wanted to strangle her at times
all the time. Having said that, I really did like her. I couldn’t stop watching this one until I had finished it, so it destroyed my life for a couple of weeks and made me cry like a damn baby. Watch this if you hate yourself and love emotional angst.
11. Wolf Girl and Black Prince – I disliked this anime so much I forgot I watched it. Seriously, this is what it’s like to be in an abusive relationship folks. I should never have tried to watch this as one of the first anime’s in this genre. It left me questioning a lot of things. Whatever happened to self respect? I never got it. If a guy isn’t making you happy, leave him and find another guy. It’s not hard. Just because a guy is hot isn’t an excuse for sticking around when you are being treated badly. I hated this anime. Watch it if you like to roll your eyes.
12. DMMD, Dramatical Murder (Yaoi?)– This isn’t romance, not the way it’s laid out, but I’m listing it at the top of the boy’s love stuff because of where it came from. It’s based off a video game where the main character can pursue different relationships through the course of gameplay. No one actually hooks up in the show and the story itself was pretty interesting. It wasn’t until I found some of the drama CD stuff as well as some of the video game footage that I realized I had never seen anything like this before. You can look it up yourself if you are curious. It’s interesting.
13. Love Stage (Yaoi)- I wish there had been more to this anime, as in a second season. It was enjoyable. A guy who looks very much like a girl -when he dresses like one- ends up struggling with the fact that another guy has fallen for him…thinking he was a girl. Go figure. I like the boundaries it pushes because the main love interest is forced to deal with those feelings after learning the truth. I think they call this “trap anime” but I’m not sure. I liked it.
14. Sekai Ichi Hatsukoi (Yaoi) (World’s Greatest First Love) – This is by the same author who writes Junjou Romantica. The characters are really well developed and not one of them is flawless. I have my favorite of course. Takano is perfection and Tori is pretty amazing too. The main protagonist is my least favorite character, but he’s still pretty cool to watch and has his own issues that have nothing to do with love and everything to do with the standing up and being your own man. This is a show about adults in an adult world doing adult things like working too hard and having sex. It’s worth your time!
15. ***Junjou Romantica (Yaoi)- I own this on DVD now. I hadn’t bought a DVD in three years, but I needed to own this. It’s in my top three all time favorite shows, not just anime, but all time favorite things I can watch again and again. There are really three stories being told here. The Romantica, The Egotist, and The Terrorist. I loved them all, but the Egotist had me crying real tears because of how good all the raw emotion was. The main protagonist has real issues to face, especially in learning about himself and what he really wants. His love interest is a moody, emotional, jealous, controlling, anti-social author who would surely die of starvation or worse if Misaki wasn’t there to manage his life. In short, Usagi was pretty awesome and the ways Misaki has to deal with him were a joy to watch. This was not a show about sex, though there was a bit of that. This was a show about relationships between people who love each other even through imperfections. I read a scathing review online about this recently calling this girl-porn. I am perfectly okay with that. One thing it did point out was the characters are failing to grow at a reasonable rate, I am guessing that’s because they want to stretch the story out as long as possible. Again, I have zero issues with any of this. I love these couples and these stories. I’m glad they aren’t perfect. Keep it coming. I’ll keep buying it. All of it. F@#$ everyone else.
16. Maid Sama – I put off watching this show for a long time because I misunderstood when it was about. I despise watching weak, uninteresting characters and I assumed that’s what this was. I was so wrong. The female lead is so badass she is almost unreal. If she has a flaw, it’s her inability to embrace the more confusing and intimate feelings that her love interest keeps bringing up. I loved how the show balanced feminism with femininity and never really took itself seriously. It was cute and funny. I’m glad the most interesting characters were the leads. Honorable mention goes to the trans character whom I thought was pretty amazing.
17. Princess Jellyfish – Okay. So as it turns out, FUNimation can make some pretty amazing anime dubs. This one is no exception. it is by far and away the feel good anime of the year for me. There were not many episodes, only 11 that I found, but they were all so cute and sweet that I got a nosebleed watching it. Who knew a bunch of nerdy, adult girls could be so damn entertaining. There is an underlying message of beauty coming from within and accepting the person that you are, not to mention the subtle (kinda) love story going on that I got heavily interested in. I remember being so sad when it was over because I wanted more. Hopefully there are more seasons in the future.
18. Golden Time – What a guilty pleasure this turned out to be. Unfortunately, the best character is the crazy strawberry-haired Koko. No one else really matters, even though it’s supposed to be about Tada Banri and how he lost his memory and if he gets it back will the person he’s become since he lost it die. I think I was supposed to be invested in Banri’s old relationship with Linda, but she didn’t get much screen time and everyone else looked pale standing next to Koko. Seriously, she’s hot, feminine, demanding…reminded of Cher from Legally Blonde. I’d rate her a 9 hot and an 8 crazy on the Hot/ Crazy scale. (Look it up) I love that the characters are more mature here, even though the lack of sex on this college campus is making me question the validity of it all. At least there was plenty of Sakai to go around. Do I recommend this? Hmmm…sure, why not!
19. Yamada’s First Time: B Gata H Kei – Don’t take this the wrong way but…I hated it. I have never rolled my eyes so many times in every single episode. So so stupid. This girl wants to screw 100 guys by the end of high school. That’s great, what a wonderful goal. Here is what you’re doing wrong: EVERYTHING. 1.) Do not choose another virgin for your no strings first time. 2.) Do not back out and play the hard-to-get hot-and-cold game every time you get close. 3.) Guys are easy, so so easy, if the one you are trying to seduce fails, move on. If you really are going to bang 100 dudes, you’re not going to remember names by the end anyway, so you don’t have time to rehash failures. 4.) Your passive aggression is bullshit. Seriously, if I have to see one more passive aggressive, “why hasn’t he asked me out yet.” Blah blah blah inner speech, I am going to vomit. If you are going to be a slut, at least grow a spine. Say what you want. “Go out with me.” or “Let’s have sex.” This was supposed to be funny, and maybe it would have been, but it was so damn immature. I think this was meant to be a lesson to girls that they shouldn’t rush sex? Or maybe that sex is very awkward with the absence of intimacy? Whatever. I didn’t learn anything from this show. Not one thing and it was painful to finish and not because of the total lack of character development. The heroine was vapid and shallow, the hero (protagonist?) was barely passable, and side characters got zero development. In fact, there was lack of characterization across the board. If the show has one redeeming quality, it’s Yamada’s Eros Deity who makes really enthusiastic, dirty jokes. I don’t even know if this is a romance, but I didn’t know where else to put it. If you watch it, skip straight to episode 11, there are nice boobs in it.
20.) Kiss Him Not Me – Yeah ok. I’m a sucker for this kind of storytelling. Nerdy girl becomes hot overnight and suddenly every hot guy (that she already connected with on a platonic level) decides he’s in love. She could handle it better or maybe pick one and let the other four guys go. But why? Then she wouldn’t have what amounts to basically four boyfriends and a girlfriend! You go gurl!