OK, here's the list that got me through these dark times. The majority of them are available through streaming on Netflix as of now.
Magi - Labyrinth of Magic
The story of Magi revolves around three friends: Aladdin, Alibaba, and Morgiana. It takes place in Arabia... somewhere in the mid east (although the characters travel elsewhere throughout their universe). Aladdin is a Magi which is sort of like an avatar that appears in the world to choose a king (Alibaba). The magic used in this universe is called Rukh which is sort of like this energy that flows throughout the world (similar to FFVII's lifestream) and Magi/magicians can use and manipulate it to create spells/magic.
At first I didn't know what to think of this anime but after you get through the first 10 or so episodes, it gets really interesting and omg, the story behind Alibaba and his friend Cassim made me cry so hard! The story can get pretty deep.
On the surface, Magi might have a childish look but the story is quite complex and there are many, many characters involved with each other. It's interesting to see all the interactions and country politics as well. This anime has a pretty good portrayal of history and how the rich shunned the poor and the trials and hardships that people have to go through in this time period.
I think this anime has it all. Comedy, romance, drama, action, adventure... It just makes me feel like as long as I try hard, hold onto hope, and do my best, anything is possible. That's what the characters teach me at least. :)
Can I just say, FEEEEEEEEEELS!!!!
Noragami will make your eyes puffy from crying so much.
Yato is an unpopular god who's just trying to make money doing good deeds so he can buy himself a shrine. x3 He crosses paths with a girl named Hiyori who pushes him out of the way of a moving bus, getting injured herself. Yato meets up with Hiyori in the hospital telling her that he's made sure she's okay and that she really didn't have to save him because he's a god. Only problem though is that now after the accident, Hiyori's soul has a habit of slipping out of her body making her vulnerable to the phantoms that roam around at night. Now Yato has to grant Hiyori's wish to fix her current predicament. Gods in Noragami use weapons that are disembodied spirits with lingering attachment to the living world to fight against phantoms.
Noragami has good comedy and is funny on the surface but is much darker beneath and has a bittersweet feel to it. The theme is centered around teamwork, trusting, and truly caring about other people. It also portrays how frustrating some relationships with others can be but how it's important to give others a chance and to have inner strength, not to giving into darkness and negativity so easily.
The animation is gorgeous and the anime takes place in winter, giving some really nice snow effects and pretty scenery. The opening and closing themes are also great and makes you want to listen to them over and over again.
This is just full of hilarity. Also called "The Devil is a Part-Timer," the majority of this anime takes place in modern Japan. Ente Isla is a fictional universe and somehow, the devil, his aid, and a warrior pass through a portal to our world and have to survive in our universe by getting a job.
The devil, 'Mao' gets a job at McRonald's (lol) and works there part time, keeping this new world he's now living in safe from adversaries who've also passed through the portal.
This was lots of fun to watch, probably because I can somewhat relate to the hardships of not only finding a good job, but also being able to survive in this world of ours. Hataraku Maou-Sama is kind of like those 'ganbatte' anime that are meant to increase the moral of a population and help them get inspired about the working world and convincing people that hard work will pay off. Sometimes I feel like it's Japan's way of lightly brainwashing people but eh, it's funny so whatevs. xD
Anyway, this is a feel good anime and although there's that Ente Isla backstory with the characters, it's just on the back burner and probably just serves to make the story more entertaining.
A fun watch nonetheless.
Think of modern day Power Rangers and this is what you get if it's put into an anime. Masayoshi is a young model with dreams of becoming a superhero inspired by his grandfather, called 'Samurai Flamenco'. He has an obsession with superheros, mainly the power ranger and kikaida types and has a large amount of merchandise and paraphernalia. One day, he gets caught naked in an alleyway due to a misunderstanding by a police officer named Goto and their fates intertwine.
Samurai Flamenco has a somewhat realistic portrayal of someone wanting to become a superhero and how they achieve that. But there's also some sci-fi elements that start midway through the series with the monster adversaries that start to show up.
I liked how the main character Masayoshi, literally starts from the bottom and works his way up to becoming a real superhero.
There are many funny moments but towards the end, it gets a bit darker, of course because being a superhero realistically, is very dangerous work.
This is a good breath of fresh air for an anime and worth watching if you want something a bit different, with that power ranger flare.
I'm sure Gurren Lagann is common knowledge to most anime enthusiasts and somehow, I never really got into it until now. The story is really interesting with people living underground and being liberated from that lifestyle because of these giant robots called 'Gunmen'.
This is pretty action packed and the art style is edgy but I got slightly annoyed with the filler episodes where the animation is just not up to par.
But that's besides the point. The story seems to continue on as far as seeing Simon (guy with the goggles) grow up into a smexy beast. :D I haven't gotten too far with this series yet but I appreciate the theme of brotherhood (never get's old), teamwork, and just believing in oneself.
Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun
What can I say... this is such an emotional roller coaster ride. Be prepared because although this looks cute, some of the themes are pretty heavy. A big one is loneliness and the basic Human desire of connecting with others. Some of these characters, mainly the three pictured above, have larger roles in the story because they all have the similar struggle of connecting with other people and making friends.
The center of the story revolves around the relationship between Shizuku and Haru who both have zero experience in love and relationships. They are a funny pair, because Haru is violent, often prone to accidentally punching Shizuku in the face, yet is innocent and honest with his feelings. Shizuku comes off as a cold and emotionless girl until she meets Haru. She is very focused on her studies and at times, puts that before anything else when she really should make time for her friends and relations with others.
Both Haru and Shizuku are polar opposites yet they're similar at their core because they both have a desire to make friends and become closer with others. They bring out the best in each other and it's very sweet to see that.
Feeling from this anime? Bittersweet and at times, emotionally heavy. This is a bit more realistic than average in the portrayal of real life relationships, I think.
Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn
Unfortunately, Gundam Unicorn is not available on Netflix. It's been in production for about 4 years, from 2010-2014. Each episode is about 45 minutes to an hour. I was recommended by my brother to watch this and although the name sounds silly, the anime is quite superb.
This story is based off of the novel from 2007. It has the typical 'gundam' plot: young boy somehow obtains a gundam and has to fight in a war between the space colonies and Earth. Girl who has a high position and influenced gets involved and kidnapped and held hostage, etc.. Guy feels like he has to protect girl. You get the idea.
The animation is beautifully crafted, doing a nice job of blending the CGI of the gundams with the animation of the characters. I highly recommend this anime because although it's a bit more dark and emotionally heavy, the story is engaging and you get attached to the characters. Just don't watch this if you're feeling really stressed or unhappy... because this will probably make you feel worse. lol
Try it out and see if you like it. If you like Gundam in general, you'll most likely enjoy this. The story, although similar to other Gundam series, is still just as entertaining.