When you’ve been single for awhile, it might start to feel like love isn’t real. It becomes this mythical thing, like Santa Claus or Outlaw Star getting a second season. Much like those things, love is something you sometimes just have to believe in.
Even when you can’t see it or feel it, there’s still some part of us that knows love is real.
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Whatever your reason for no longer believing, be it a bad breakup, being busy with life or just plain-old long-term singleness, I’ve been there. No judgment. When you’re ready is up to you, but in the meantime, here are some anime series to help you believe in love again.
Kimi ni Todoke -From Me to You-
A modern romance packaged as a slice-of-life, Kimi ni Todoke -From Me to You- follows Sawako Kuronuma, a shy girl with a reputation for being evil. Why? Well, that’s because her name and physical appearance resemble Sadako from The Ring.
But things take a turn when the most popular boy in school, Shota Kazehaya, develops a crush on her, surprising everyone. Our adorable couple overcomes harsh high-schooler drama and the trepidations of being a teen, and they end up representing a healthy and natural relationship!
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The two of them openly communicate each other’s feelings, spend time together, trust in one another and learn to see the best in themselves even when times get tough. As viewers, we get to watch this love blossom as they find their authentic selves.
We often think romance has to be this grand spectacle, and if it’s not, then it isn’t real. Love is what we define it as, but sometimes the best love is simple.
Watch Kimi ni Todoke -From Me to You- on Funimation!
This romantic comedy is about the unlucky and ditzy Kotoko Aihara, who has finally built up the courage to confess her love to the super bright and famous Naoki Irie.
As you might imagine, he dismisses her love and, to her surprise, her new home is then destroyed by a mild earthquake. Lucky for her, her father’s close friend takes them in. Except, well, that friend happens to be the father of the boy who turned her down.
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Their love then follows a cat-and-mouse trope, as Naoki is often suppressing his feeling for Kotoko. Naoki is athletic, good-looking and speaks multiple languages, but he can’t help but feel captured by the klutzy Kotoko as his affection grows over time.
Throughout the series, you see these two let go of their facades to reveal who they truly are, and their relationship goes from friendship to beyond! You may have a picturesque view of true love, but what if it’s actually totally different? Will you turn that person away or open your heart to who could be the love of your life?
Watch ItaKiss on Funimation!
The Stranger by the Shore
The Stranger by the Shore is a beautiful film about the love you just cannot forget. Shun Hashimoto is a novelist living in Okinawa after being disowned by his family for coming out. He soon meets a stranger, Mio Chibana, who is living with relatives after the death of his parents.
The two quickly find themselves enjoying each other’s company, and a friendship blooms. As their relationship begins to change, Mio drops a bombshell: He’s moving, but he promises to stay in contact with Shun.
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Three years pass, and Mio returns to the love he can’t forget, and his confession to Shun changes everything. Throughout the film, you see the pair grapple with what a “normal” relationship is and what defines “normal” love.
Many things shape our ideas of love, like society, family, tradition or religion. But you are ultimately the one who defines what your love looks and feels like. It might be tough without the support of family, but when you believe in love, it’s your version and no one else’s.
Watch The Stranger by the Shore on Funimation!
Emma: A Victorian Romance
In a moment of emotional honesty, I do enjoy a grand love story, one with an exciting courtship and the page-turning feel of a romantic novel.
Emma: A Victorian Romance has all of that and more. Set in Victorian London at the end of the 19th century, it’s the story of a housemaid, Emma, and member of the gentry, William Jones, falling in love. However, William’s family disapproves of his relationship with someone of the lower classes. So, Emma goes on her way, hoping to forget her love.
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Fate being the funny one, the two reunite under odd circumstances. William is engaged to a woman of equal status, but finding Emma again makes him question everything. Does he accept his destiny as the heir of the Jones family or go after the love of his life?
This series is a romance that will have you itching for each episode and, of course, crying at the end. There is something about knowing that the love you found is the one you fought for, and a love where both parties understand without a doubt “this is the person I choose.”
However, just like this couple, love with passion comes with obstacles, and you may get burned. But if this is the love you believe in, you fight for it because the happy ending is earned, not given.