Anime has enough monsters, bullets and psychopaths to make you believe there is no good in the world. But sometimes, anime is so beautiful in its portrayal of human emotion that you can't help but feel like there is some good out there. So, to pull at the strings of your heart, here are 10 anime that will make you believe in love.

1) Kids on the Slope

It was the summer of 1966 when honor student Kauro, recently moved to Sasebo, came across hooligan and musical genius Sentaro. It was also then that he first saw Ritsuko, and fell in love. You don’t need a crystal ball to tell you which type of triangle this relationship is headed towards, but what makes Kids on the Slope so unique is that proves the old maxim: love is everywhere. In the music they make as a group, the winds that caress them as they walk down the slope, in the rosary beads Sen wears around his neck--love is everywhere for our protagonists. And when it has you surrounded like that, how long can even a bookworm like Kauro avoid it? If you thought Cowboy Bebop director Shinichirou Watanabe could only handle samurai swords and blazing guns, this anime will change your mind. And touch your heart.

2) Say “I Love You”

Mei was honest, loving, witty, and social. Today, she is shy, reserved, introverted and cold. What happened to her was what destroys many blossoming personalities: an incident in her youth that forever isolated her from her classmates, and made them the object of their disdain. Then, one day, she kicks the most popular boy in her high school, Yamato. Naturally, Yamato would fall in love with her. Sweet, complicated and methodical in its portrayal of burgeoning romance, Say “I Love You” is a demonstration of how, sometimes, our best personality is locked away beneath layers of rejection. And the only one who can steer that inner beauty back to the outside is someone we never even showed that reality to.

3) Wolf Girl and Black Prince

Erika likes to tell really lovely stories about her boyfriend. And who wouldn’t, after all, want to tell stories of a boyfriend that is loving, caring and--oh, yeah--fictional? But one thing Erika doesn’t seem to realize is that, when taking a photograph of a random stranger to show your classmates how perfect your fictional boyfriend is, make sure that random stranger isn’t a sadistic prankster who--oh, yeah--goes to your school. With Erika’s embarrassing secret in hand and her (social) life at his mercy, Kyouya is now free to turn her into his personal bidding machine. That only works, of course, when you don’t fall in love with the girl yourself. An interesting look into how we create cruel personas to mask our true feelings, Wolf Girl and Black Prince shows us that romance can be borne of anything--even lies.

4) Your Lie in April

Einstein had a theory: there are certain sounds, different for every person, that can cause a reaction wherein our heart starts to beat faster. This reaction--you may call it love, inspiration, or divine intervention--is the basis for what we call “touching the heart.” And as musical prodigy Kosei Arima shows, those sounds are frighteningly easy to lose. Kosei lost his instructor--also his mother--and hasn’t been able to even hear, much less play, the piano since. All that changes when, once again, someone plucks at the strings of his heart and he comes across the manic violinist Kaori. Kaori is eccentricity defined, and her music is a reflection of that personality. Does Kaori manage to once again revive Kosei’s passion for the sound of music? The answer to that is the solution to the very difficult question: can love, once lost, be regained?

5) My Little Monster

Shizuku lives only in her books. Haru rarely attends class. Shizuku is a certified nerd without an ounce of emotion. Haru is a classified thug who reacts solely on passion. Shizuku thinks only of the future. Haru lives only for today. And, once in a while, people who think only of the future get their plans thrown incredibly off-track by people who live only for the day. After all, would Shizuku have predicted that Haru--the thug who she was tasked with delivering class notes to--is a loving, gentle soul who struggles with making real friends and is vying for true human contact? And that the supposed human contact will come in the form of a hug from the girl that everyone else deems “dry ice”? As classic in its construction as any story of polar opposites falling in love, My Little Monster shows us that, no matter how far apart we may be in demeanor, we are all the same in our struggle to find someone to share life with.

6) School Rumble

Imagine the following scenario: you love your classmate. He, unfortunately, is moving abroad. You decide to confess your feelings in a letter. You forget to sign your name. You try to break the ice by pretending to struggle with your studies. You get so many others trying to help you that you can’t even talk to him. You suggest biking to school together. Your crush decides to bike along. You both are left breathless by how quick that first guy pedals his bike. This small scenario is a microcosm of protagonist Tenma’s life: every time she tries to get close to the one she loves, something goes wrong. If your love life has never been through this parallel, you are in the minority. Proof that good intentions for seeking love almost always results in bumbling mistakes, School Rumble is that rare breed of ensemble cast anime that manages to incorporate many characters without losing its focus. And its focus, of course, is the buffoonery of a sweet girl who means well. Isn’t that a perfect metaphor for most good intentions?

7) Kimi Ni Todoke

Sawako looks like Sadako, the protagonist from the horror classic, The Ring. Because of that (actually, more likely because of how awful teenagers are), that makes Sawako the object of derision and suspicion. A girl who looks like a horror movie character must be awful. Never mind that our protagonist is a sweet girl who only wants to make friends. But rewards come to the kind and patient, and Sawako’s reward is that she gets the ultimate social uplift, courtesy of the dreamy Kazehaya. Naturally, however, whenever the world starts to see a formerly bullied creature rise and gain self-respect, they try to interfere. And, when it comes to love stories, interference usually means heartbreak. A worldwide sensation that has won the art form fans across the globe and age spectrum, Kimi Ni Todoke is a brilliant work of romance that deftly mixes love, comedy and teenage anger into one beautiful narrative.

8) Nodame Cantabile

And while we are on the subject of international sensations, it would be a sour note to leave out Nodame Cantabile, the story that proves like few others how perfectly love and music go hand in hand. Shinichi is an arrogant musical genius who dreams of someday graduating from the academy and becoming a famed conductor. Shinichi, however, also happens to have phobias that deaden his will and make travel impossible. Shinichi also seems incredibly wary and annoyed by Megumi Noda, AKA Nodame, the eccentric piano student who couldn’t clean her room if her highly musical life depended on it. A testament to the ability of music transcending differences in personality, this anime was remade in countless adaptations across Asia, and plays like a perfectly written composition that fans just cannot stop listening to.

9) Fruits Basket

Tohru Honda, our bumbling teenager who is equal parts adorable and insufferable, has a problem: she’s homeless and the only place she manages to find belongs to a family that is cursed to transform into an animal of the Chinese Zodiac the second they come into contact with someone of the opposite sex. That is really all you need to anticipate some of the ridiculous hijinks that our homeless heroine will find herself in. And if it isn’t as deep as some of the anime on this list, Fruits Basket is still unique in that it represents the culmination of a geeky view of romance. Love, here, isn’t that complicated. But what this show manages, that most romance shows don’t often indulge in, is to create an environment where love can be fun and, at times, not particularly deep. And, in that, it is likely closer than most other anime to finding that storied land of “Love Fail” that we have all spent at least one summer in.

10) Honey and Clover

Yuta, Takumi and Shinobu live in the same apartment. They all attend the same art school, eat the same food, and breathe the same air. Yet, they are all headed down different paths in life. Yuta loves his professor’s adoptive daughter, who is the definition of innocence defined. Yuta is also struggling with juggling his art duties and his responsibilities towards his single mom. Takumi loves the woman he works for, an old friend of his professor’s. Takumi’s employer is also a widow, struggling from the lasting effects of the accident that changed her life. Shinobu is an art genius who lands into trouble mere mortals cannot comprehend. He is the object of affection for Hagu, the aforementioned adoptive daughter. Takumi’s employer also has a complicated relationship with his professor, who feels that he should perhaps accept more responsibility in her life. Takumi also has a strange relationship with another member of their crew, pottery student Ayumi, who just hates Shinobu. She really, really hates him. And if all that sounds difficult to follow, that is what this show demonstrates perfectly: love is complicated. So complicated, in fact, that Yuta one day gets on his bicycle and keeps cycling away. And as he rides away, we find ourselves asking, just as he does: what am I trying to escape? What am I trying to reach?


Cheese in the Trap

Starring Kim Go Eun and Park Hae Jin

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So what other anime make you believe there is someone out there, or remind you of the one you have? Sound off in the comments below! And for all your anime needs, be sure to follow Dramafever on Twitter!