‘Emo.’ What comes to mind?
Dark hair that covers the eyes?
Loose black clothes?
Some piercings or bracelets and chokers?
Well, you’re not wrong since that is the image of “emo” that was popularized and stereotyped by pop culture.
However, once you learn that “emo” is short for “emocore,” a form of music that is a combination of “emotional” and “hardcore,” think, does it have to look like that all the time?
In anime, this could be something similar to the Slice of Life genre with a little tragic streak to it, something that stirs up various emotions in you.
Does the image in your mind change? Don’t worry if it doesn’t. Here’s a list of the 15 best emo anime to help you realize what “emo” truly is!
15. Shion no Ou
Shirin no Ou starts perfectly.
A bold protagonist with a goal of her own and pursuing her goal to the best of her abilities despite her limits.
However, someone needs to tell her that sometimes, no matter how important or big this goal is, you have to break her sprint, stop, enjoy the colors, and smell the flowers on the side of the road.
Shogi is the only that connects her and her parents and not in a good way.
So, both to find her parents’ murderer and for her love of the game, Shion discovers life, herself, and the game of Shogi.
14. Kimi ni Todoke (From Me to You)
Due to her appearance, Sawako has been teased, shunned, and outcast, and thus has never made any friends.
A popular guy, Kazehaya, begins talking to her, and everything changes.
Like the trope?
A popular guy falls in love with a silent girl.
However, this isn’t going to be that easy. Why does being popular mean a lot of other people are going to crush on you and so on?
It is not going to be easy for this stand-out couple to be together, but how they manage to do it is very satisfying and worth a watch.
It’s not exactly very tragic, but it will give you “the feels.”
It is a story of a calligrapher who ended up having to take a vacation because he punched a critic in the face for calling his calligraphy “boring.”
He discovers what inspires his writing, what he needs to be truer to his art, and how does he get that?
A bunch of lively and rowdy village kids, of course!
They carry him through with their innocence and simple, non-problematic way of living life.
Slowly discovering different parts of himself, enjoying and taking life in stride, Handa Seishuu and the audience learn what they want in the end.
12. Boku Dake Ga Inai Machi (Erased)
Time Travel: Erased is a critically acclaimed series that involves time travel and an opportunity to undo your own, your mother’s death, and also have the chance to save three children from a kidnapping that happened eight years ago.
If I say anything else, I would be ruining your experience.
So, go ahead and watch this beautiful series about how we were given another shot, and how would change the way these things have been done.
11. Hikaru No Go
You know how Sukuna shares his body with Itadori, only switching personalities when required to?
This is somewhat similar, except that Fujiwara no Sai is not the King of Curses and all he wants to do is play Go to get the Divine Move, a perfect move.
The relationship between an old Heian Era Go player and a modern young boy is a treat to watch.
The highlight of the series is the character progression of these characters where Hikaru gets more and more into Go while Sai realizes that there are things more important than Go.
The way this interplay happens is story-telling worth giving credit for.
10. Natsume Yuujinchou (Natsume’s book of friends)
Natsume is considered strange for the ability to be able to communicate with yokai.
He has a book called the “Book of Friends,” which essentially serves as a look at contracts.
Natsume spends his time freeing this yokai from these binding contracts of servitude.
Good yokai promises to assist him, while evil yokai tries to possess him.
This series shows Natsume’s lonely world from two completely different lights.
One with the yokai and one without them.
This anime shows the complete emotional range of Natsume, what he wants and what he defines as good or evil.
9. Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day
This is a beautiful story of friendship that transcends distance… even between heaven and earth.
Menma’s friends gather five years after her death to fulfill a wish so that her soul will be freed from earth and can be passed on to the afterlife.
5 years is a long time, though.
Things change, situations change, and feelings also change.
The group of friends that once was fun now was only accusing and complicating things.
Jinta must figure a way out of everything!
8. Akame Ga Kill
Three kids want to make a name for themselves.
They leave their village, but only one can make it to the city.
Family, kindness, compassion, goals, fi
Akame Ga Kill is an anime that shows us the true horrors of having a class-based society.
It attacks the problems of society at large when the monarch isn’t a capable leader.
A child who is completely manipulated by his minister, nobles who can do as they please, slavery, assassin schools, and groups and a band of outcasts are here to rid this land of the government.
Akame Ga Kill will pierce your heart with a strong sense of melancholy while still managing to provide entertaining action.
7. Plastic Memories
A world where robots are made to be just like humans, including their feelings, emotions, and memories.
However, maintaining such a system over the long term isn’t sustainable, often having the androids spiral out of control in acts of violence and so on.
Falling in love with a robot who’s at the end of her lifespan…
You knew it was going to be painful from the start, but you still couldn’t help it, did you?
Plastic Memories is a well-known tear-jerker employing a very creative plot.
An altered version of the plot where one character is supposed to kill another but instead falls in love with them.
Pain is always what makes the concept of forbidden love so attractive.
There’s a reason for the success of this anime though which is one, storytelling, and two, character development and progression.
It’s a lot of pain but it’s worth it.
6. Shigatsu ha Kimi no Uso (Your Lie in April)
If you haven’t watched this anime yet despite all the recommendations from any anime fan, the internet, positive reviews from critics and the audience, and so on, then I request you to please not be so stubborn and give it a chance.
Your Lie in April has everything that you could want in an anime of such a genre!
Pain, sacrifice, music, love and so much more!
A heart-wrenching story of two people who just want to be and play music together at a concert!
A story about revival… of a dying school club, but revival.
A delinquent who befriends a weird annoyingly persistent girl who says the names of things she likes to motivate herself!
Clannad is a rollercoaster.
Clannad will not let you go until you finish, and when you do, you’ll either walk away weeping tears or with a crippling angst anime addiction.
4. Kono Oto Tomare! Sounds of Life
This wholesome high-school anime has everything you need!
A dying school club, a bunch of misunderstood delinquents, a high and mighty arrogant princess, and a member whose only aim is to prove that ‘friendship’ and ‘belief’ is nothing but nonsense with a shy club president.
This anime takes you on a journey to discover yourself through your sounds and music.
Why did the characters become the way they did?
Are they really at fault?
Who made them this way?
Let’s grab their hands and discover them…as they discover themselves.
3. Hachimitsu to Clover (Honey and Clover)
So, there’s this concept called “benign masochism,” which says that humans inflict themselves with the pain occasionally intentionally and derive pleasure from it.
Honey and Clover is the embodiment of benign masochism.
Honey and Clover tells the story of five college students who all carry the suffering of unrequited love in their hearts.
Also, they’re college students, who will soon graduate and they need to be able to navigate through all of these love triangles by learning more about themselves.
Also, let’s not forget that they’re going to functioning adults and must find jobs to get their lives together!
2. Fruits Basket
Fruits Basket is, in general, one of the best shojo anime that anyone can ever watch! It revolves around Tohru Honda, who gets accidentally involved with Souma, who is hiding a secret.
Her wholesome interactions with the entirety of the Souma family and her friends, a delinquent, and an incurable goth girl, are a treat to watch!
It is complete with everything, emotional moments that will break your heart, the ones that send you floating on the clouds, handsome men, villains, personalities, issues, developments, sacrifice, promises, love, everything!
Everything about this anime is so tightly wrapped that once you start, you won’t be able to stop until you finish the story!
1. 3-Gatsu no Lion (March Comes in Like a Lion)
This anime revolves around the story of Kiriyama Rei, a high-school student and professional shogi player, his past, his present, and his inner and outer worlds.
This anime puts such a beautiful display of the emotions of a variety of characters, ranging from loneliness, sadness, overwhelmingness, stress, fear, determination, happiness, and so on, and their ways of dealing with them.
The show puts on a beautiful spectacle of all of these different emotions using such creative visuals that perfectly capture the essence of these emotions without getting too intense or heavy or too bland and lacking impact.
3-Gatsu no Lion takes the top spot with a perfect balance of engaging story, eye-catching visuals, and captivating sound.