A good visual novel to read, Kanon is set around high school student Aizawa Yuuichi, who returns to his old hometown after a leave of absence and lives with is aunt and cousin. The primary focus of the story is memories, especially upon the past in which Yuuichi used to live in this town. Whenever Yuuichi attempts to befriend some of the classmates in his school as well as other people he happens to bump into by chance, Yuuichi supernatural and surreal things begin to occur. As his relationship with each heroine develops more, the mystical events become more prominent. In his mind, Yuuichi believes he is the cause of this, but his heart locks the key points that enable him to understand what is going on and why the girls are suffering so much.
A sweet romance anime, Kimi ni Todoke follows the eyes of Kuronuma Sawako, a kind, gentle, and thoughtful person; however, because she is socially-awkward, many people find her to be scary and weird. Sawako develops an admiration for Kazehaya Shouta, whom she believes is out-going and attracts many smiles. Throughout the show, Sawako tries to create friends and fight off the social barriers that blocks her from the remainder of her classmates. With the help of Shouta and her newly found friends, Yano and Yoshida, Sawako was able to open up to everyone, and they responded on a happy note. The struggle for her to make friends along with finding and falling in love is noteworthy and enjoyable to follow.
The story follows the life of Shichiri Tasuke, a high school student with a father who loves to travel and occasionally brings him antiques via main from his travels. With one of the antiques, Tasuke accidentally calls out a moon spirit named Shaorin, who claims that she must protect him from any troubles. Things get out of hand as Shaorin misunderstands various daily actions in school and accidentally causes a mess with her spirits. From here, not only does Tasuka have to teach her the norms of the current society, but also brings her to school after the wishes of many of his classmates, causing more randomness in his life. The story portrays a cute romance comedy between a human and a spirit along with several of their friends and comrades, both spirit and human, as they continue living their lives in an unstable high school setting.
7. Usagi Drop
The story follows the life of Kawachi Daikichi, a single, hard-working man who came to a funeral one day for his grandfather. During the funeral, it has been told that his grandfather had a child, Rin, whom does not have a place to stay. Because none of his relatives wish to take her in, Daikichi decides to take her in for himself. During Rin’s stay, Daikichi learns what it is to be a guardian and tries to understand, with the help of his co-workers and family members who are mothers and fathers, how it is to have one’s life be mixed with the life of a small child. The interactions between Daikichi and Rin were very cute and inspiring to watch, which is why it is among one of my favorites. With Rin being rather a mature child for her age, it would be nice to have a daughter like her in the future.
Probably one of the best anime in terms of transition of art style and dialogie from a visual novel, ef ~a fairy tale of the two~ follows the eyes of four male protagonists. The story is based on the relationships that each male has with respect to their female counterparts. Upon trying to figure out what it is they wish to do to what must be done, each male and female tries to conquer their own turmoils with their own desire. Whether it be finding love while secretly working as a manga artist, creating the best footage possible, allowing one to obtain their dream, or risking a medical operation with a low chance of curing an illness, each man manages to find genuine love from girls willing to stand by their side.
Shortened to AnoHana, the story revolves around six good friends until one of whom was most loved by all dies in an accident. The story is set ten years after the event, when each of the remaining members live their lives by their own. The connections that the six shared from before slowly started to dwindle as guilt, confusion, and personal desire start gnawing at what was in front of them the entire time. For me, what made this anime stand out was the transition between what was bright during the past to what was dull in the present. Their innocence to what they wish to believe were realistic from beginning to end.
This is probably one of the few, possibly only, show that I can mostly fully relate to my very own life. Nana focuses on the lives of two young women who are coincidentally named Nana, coincidentally are of the same age (20), coincidentally got on the same train on the same car and going to the same destination, and, on the next few days, coincidentally checked out the same room in the same apartment that is coincidentally numbered 707 (nana means “seven” in japanese). Nana Osaki is a punk singer aspiring to become big in the music world with possibly her own band. While she could have gone with her boyfriend and played in the same new band as him, her wish to become a renowned singer overrides the thought of simply being his girlfriend, despite the fact that the two love each other deeply. Nana Komatsu is a kind-spirited, happy-go-lucky young woman who has a bad habit of falling in love at first sight. Despite being heavily reliant on other people, the aura around her is fun and gentle, as everyone around her is slowly attracted to her childish, yet pure nature. It is something I would recommend for many to watch.
One of the most peaceful series that I have ever seen, and probably one of the only things that I would truly wish to look forward to if and if it indeed comes true, Aria is set in a futuristic world where Mars has turned into a pure water planet. The story follows the lives of three girls, each aspiring to become an undine, one who ferries people around and gives them a tour of the city while bringing them to their destination. Mizunashi Akari is a kind, sweet girl full of smiles and in awe of almost everything she sees. Aika S. Granzchesta is a rather prideful girl, but behind her facade lies a delicate heart and a desired friend one can have. Alice Carroll is the young genius who may know her craft well but doubts herself more-so than she should. In a utopian setting with three girls who connect with each other well, one cannot help but to sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride for themselves.
A beautiful story with perfect music and elaborate backgrounds, Ai Yori Aoshi focuses on the life of Hanabishi Kaoru, a university student who was supposed to inherit a powerful financial business but left/was exiled due to harsh treatment from his grandfather. Kaoru attempts to live life on his own, even if he does not have a set future in mind. Sakuraba Aoi, daughter of a wealthy powerful industry with a business relationship with the Hanabishi’s, enters his life. Despite having an arranged marriage with Kaoru, Aoi has genuinely loved Kaoru ever since their first few encounters as children. Kaoru and Aoi begin to spend their lives together, but Kaoru still holds the trauma that befell him in the past. As their love grew, they try to break away from their family ties and attempt to live their life peacefully by themselves along with their close friends. It is a very touching romance story that shows that their strong bond and love can overcome any future fate that awaited them.
If there is any anime that has put me in emotional swings from left to right and made me cry, it would be this one. A highly-moving story/visual novel, Clannad revolves around a high school student, Okazaki Tomoyo, trying to figure out a meaning to live after his life becomes a mess, boring, and unfulfilled. Along the way up a cherry-blossomed slope to school, he sees a girl, all alone, talking to herself. After a brief, yet meaningful conversation between the two, the two stories entwine to become a remarkable journey filled with love, determination, despair, and hope. Along the way are several other heroines and supporting characters that add on to this beautiful story on what it means to be a family.