Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Emerson chapter.

I started casually watching anime as a freshman in high school. I didn’t fully know what I was getting myself into; I merely wanted to discover more stories and get to know some attractive characters. Over the years, I’ve watched series that have transformed my worldview and left me in a fetal position, crying for days. Here are five anime series you need to watch. 

Disclaimer: You may subject yourself to intense emotional pain, but trust me, every second is worth it.

Death Parade (Rated: R)

After you die, where do you go? In the world of Death Parade, humans arrive at Quindecim, a purgatory bar that stands between reincarnation and eternal banishment. Two humans get off on separate elevators with no recollection of what happened in the past 24 hours. Decim, a lone arbiter, tells them they must compete in a game in which their lives and freedom are at stake. As the game progresses, Decim silently watches, forced to determine where these souls will end up. This series explores the complexities of morality and the humanity judged upon these ambiguous standards.

Banana Fish (Rated: R)

Don’t let the name of this series fool you. There isn’t really anything lighthearted nor funny about this story. Ash Lynx is a teenage gang leader in New York City, trying to separate himself from the mafia boss who raised him: Dino Golzine. A dying man hands Ash a mysterious vial and utters with his final breath, “Banana Fish”—the same two words his older brother has been repeating since his return from the Iraq War. Ash befriends Eiji Okumura, a Japanese photographer, who is swept up in this world filled with violence, drugs, and human trafficking. Together, they work to uncover a conspiracy that will bring down the very people poisoning the city.

Mob Psycho 100 (Season 1 and 2) (Rated: PG-13)

Mob Psycho 100 follows eighth-grader Shigeo Kageyama, nicknamed “Mob.” Mob exhibits incredibly powerful psychic abilities. Other than that, however, he’s a completely ordinary, unassuming boy dealing with all the normal struggles of middle school. To learn how to better control his psychic powers, he seeks advice from his mentor and boss, Reigen Arataka. With its colorful cast of characters, this heartwarming series examines what it truly means to be a hero.

Given (Rated: PG-13)

High schooler Mafuyu Satou has a chance encounter with guitarist Ritsuka Uenoyama at a closed-off, quiet space in the gymnasium. Mafuyu persistently begs Ritsuka to teach him how to play the guitar, wearing Ritsuka down little by little. Eventually, Ritsuka gives in, inviting Mafuyu to sit in on his band practices. Ritsuka soon discovers Mafuyu’s strikingly beautiful voice and tries to recruit him into the band. This series illustrates the inexplicable, overwhelming power of music and its ability to heal all wounds.

Yuri!! On Ice (Rated: PG-13)

Can you hear my heartbeat? Japanese figure skater, Yuri Katsuki, has the pressure of an entire nation resting on his shoulders. The stress proves to be too much for Yuri to handle, especially after a crushing defeat at the Grand Prix Final. He returns to his family’s hot spring resort to figure out his plans for the future. At age 23, he doesn’t have much time left for his skating career and his stress eating habits sure aren’t making things easier. To momentarily take his mind off of all this uncertainty, he visits his local ice rink and perfectly mimics a skating routine performed by his idol: Russian five-time world champion, Victor Nikiforov. A video of Yuri’s performance is secretly uploaded to the Internet, and well, the rest is history…

Caitlin Taylor So is a senior Emerson student studying publishing and marketing. She loves nothing more than curling up with a good story.