Hello dear readers and welcome to a Valentine’s Day special here on Shoot the Rookie. Today I’m hoping to introduce you to the new anime love of your life. Whether today for you is all about roses and chocolates, shunning the world, or anywhere in between, I hope I can at least give you some ideas for anime to watch so come join me to see what I’ve picked!
In all honesty I don’t watch a great deal of romance anime, and even if I did I didn’t want to put together a list that was just romance. That clearly isn’t for everyone. Instead with this post I wanted to acknowledge that love and romance come in many forms and can be beautiful, heartbreaking, funny or just plain silly. Even if you prefer to be alone and have no interest in any human relationships you might just find something in this list you want to watch so lets jump right in. You never know, you might just find the one…
The one for the classic romantics:
Your Name is a modern day classic which is perfect for a Valentine’s Day date night with your significant other. Or, in fact, yourself. Get to know Taki and Mitsuha as they get to know and care for each other despite the vast distance between them and experience an emotional rollercoaster like no other. A beautiful and moving story with likeable characters and enough sci-fi weirdness and drama to offset any hint of sentimentality, I think Your Name is a must watch for all romantics and/or those with a passing interest in film or anime.
The one for the gamers:
Recovery of an MMO Junkie
Our protagonist Moriko has a relatable problem. She has had it with her office job and wants to spend her time chilling out with a beer and playing video games instead. This is going pretty well until she realises she has feelings for someone she met in her favoured MMO and for a variety of reasons she isn’t really sure what to do about this. MMO Junkie is a delightfully entertaining and light slice of life anime that despite having a slightly ridiculous storyline is both hilarious and from-the-heart and if my experience is anything to go by Moriko’s social dilemmas will certainly ring true with some of you.
The one for those who prefer their own company (but don’t mind a talking motorcycle every now and then):
This show is about as far from love and romance as you can get, and depending on how you feel about Valentine’s Day might be just what you’re looking for. Travel across the beautiful world with Kino and her Motorcycle companion and witness a few of the best, but many of the worst things humanity has to offer. You can leave your moral judgement at the door for most of this show and dive right in to why so many of us have grown cynical about humanity through the eyes of a girl who has nothing to lose and little to gain. This show is a cold and compelling experience, entirely devoid of any Valentine’s Day romance but instead built around great storytelling, strength of character and occasional glimpses of humour. Plus some really good fried chicken.
The one for those who feel like a good cry:
I Want to Eat Your Pancreas
Although possibly the saddest thing I’ve ever seen this film works for Valentine’s Day because it is also a pure, sweet, courageous, beautiful story of friendship and love between two unlikely teens. What would you do if you knew you were going to die? Would you live every day like it was your last? What would you do if you accidentally found out that a schoolmate you hardly know has a terminal illness? Would you hide from them, afraid of being hurt, or would you support their every wish and give your all for them? Not easy questions to answer, but you can find out how Haruki and Sakura respond to them in this film which is both infinitely heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time.
The one for those who love teen angst and indie music:
Everyone has a history and everyone has a present. Generally everyone has a future. The thing is that a lot of the details are not easy to talk about. Whilst not much actually happens in the course of this series, what it really excels at is character studies, with each of the four main characters ending up as interesting and subtle people with a lot going on in their hearts and minds. The main romantic pairing may be pretty obvious early on but the hoops that they have to jump through to get there are many and unexpected and that just makes it all the sweeter. The main thing I took from Given is that love is messy and complicated and I think on Valentine’s Day that is something worth remembering and even celebrating.
The one for those who prefer food (and dragons) to people:
Restaurant to Another World
So with restaurants closed here at the moment I can’t exactly go out for a romantic meal but I sure as hell can learn some great recipes and embark on adventures with people from many different worlds. The characters may be from fictional worlds but the cuisine served at the Western Restaurant Nekoya is all based on real food and if you particularly like potatoes there is even a special episode just for you. So if you’re a budding chef who particularly likes their food served by a telepathic dragon waitress then you should definitely grab some snacks and dive into this one right away, it will certainly take your mind off Valentine’s Day!
The one for those who believe ghosts can fall in love:
Dusk Maiden of Amnesia
Yeah, if she says that again I’m definitely going to kill her but not even that will stop her if she’s already dead right? If you like a good mix of serious horror and absurd humour with a dose of ghostly romance thrown in then this is the show for you. That actually sounds quite niche but in all seriousness Dusk Maiden is a good show that does both horror and romance surprisingly well, and is at its best when combining those themes with humour and/or extreme darkness. A romance between a ghost and a living human doesn’t sound like something that can end well but the journey you go through along the way is certainly worth experiencing.
The one for those who know that loving your pets is real love:
My Roommate is a Cat
The love between humans and their adopted animal companions is an incredibly powerful thing. Pets become part of the family they are in and perhaps for you that is the kind of love you’re after today. My Roommate is a Cat is a deceptively emotional anime about a loner who accidentally ends up with a cat that kind of saves his life. Perhaps that is too dramatic but the effect Haru the cat has on her unwilling new owner Subaru is really quite special and makes you look around and realise how amazing people can be and how deep their bonds can be if they open their hearts to the possibility of love.
The one for those who love love:
Yuri on Ice!!!
So here we are, my last pick. As well as being a stunning and compelling sports anime, Yuri on Ice is (and I hope this isn’t a spoiler) a story of romance. Outside the main romance though this show has so many different representations of love. The themes of Agápe (unconditional love) and Éros (sexual love) are explicitly referred to, but in simpler terms we see in the show the love and support of friends, romantic love, the love of family, the love between pets and their owners and, er, the love of pork-cutlet bowls. Despite the Éros theme, the show also appears to look at non-sexual romantic love, and this is something I’d love to see explored further in the next series as it is something which does not get enough coverage in anime. I know everyone’s tastes are different but I really feel there is something to warm even the iciest hearts in this show.
So there we have it! Nine anime’s you should consider watching on this Valentine’s Day no matter what else you have planned! Do any of you have any Valentine’s Day anime favourites or anything you’ll be watching for the first time today? As always, let me know below in comments and make sure you join me next time for more anime and video game based nonsense!
Thanks for reading,
NB. Just in case you’re wondering, I will be watching Dr Stone tonight. I mean, what’s better than a cute boy who’s good at science 😉
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