It’s Valentine’s Day. There are a lot of romantic recommendations out there: Go to this restaurant to have dinner. Go see this movie, or stream this one at home. Those recommendations are fine, but this is the real recommendation you need. Whether you’re single or romantically involved, this Valentine’s Day, start watching an anime series.
If you’ve got someone to smooch, starting an anime together means not only having something to watch on Valentine’s Day, but beginning an ongoing commitment you can share together. Forget about movies, the one-night-stand equivalent of Valentine’s Day media. Start a show! Most anime series are long, but they have short episodes, which means they’re perfect for binging — you can get through a whole season in a day if you want to push it — but also for watching throughout a work week. Only have 20 minutes of free time together today? No problem, you can fit in one episode! Have a few hours? Also not a problem!
If you’re self-partnered (as Emma Watson puts it), or have recently consciously uncoupled (as Gwyneth Paltrow puts it), then a relentless barrage of anime will either be a wonderful way to spend a comforting day on your own, or distract yourself from heartbreak. After all, the perfect way to forget about your own angst is to get caught up in somebody else’s fictional angst.
Either way, it’s something you’ll start on Valentine’s Day that you’ll keep doing through at least part of the rest of the year, rather than something you’ll do for one day, then forget about. Commit to an anime series. Make it your thing. Happy Valentine’s Day from me to you. To make things even easier, we’ve rounded up a few compelling series below.
Hunter x Hunter
A young boy named Gon sets out from home, determined to find the father he’s never known. The first step in his journey is taking the Hunter’s Exam, a rigorous ordeal won only by the most physically and mentally adept of candidates. Of course, the real treasure is the friends he makes along the way, who range from too-horny clown magicians to vengeful teens with cursed chains.
Streaming on: Netflix, Hulu, and Vudu.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
Set off on a bizarre adventure with your beloved by starting JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, which follows different generations of the same superpowered family. There are initially rules to their powers, but don’t get too used to it. Each story arc breaks the last’s rules in an attempt to go bigger, weirder, and more fabulous. Variety is the spice of life, and spice is … the spice … of love …?
Streaming on: Netflix and Vudu.
Ouran High School Host Club
For an anime series that’s actually focused on romance, try Ouran High School Host Club. Haruhi Fujioka is a student at the prestigious Ouran Academy, and, after an unfortunate accident, she’s left with a debt to the school’s host club. The club’s five members spend their time entertaining female students with tea and sweets, and though Haruhi starts off running errands for them, she soon becomes a popular host in her own right.
Streaming on: Netflix and Hulu.
A magical-girl spin on The Ugly Duckling and Swan Lake, Princess Tutu focuses on a little duck who’s transformed into a ballerina to help the ghost of the writer Drosselmeyer put the pieces of Prince Siegfried’s heart back together. It’s on the shorter side (26 episodes, as opposed to, say, Hunter x Hunter’s 148), but it’s full of romance, heartbreak, and true love.
Streaming on: Hulu and Amazon.
See you later, space cowboy! See you forever, life partner! Follow along with the ragtag crew of the spaceship Bebop as they travel from planet to planet — you’ll love them all! There’s Spike Spiegel, the big-haired former hitman; Jet Black, the rough former police officer; Faye Valentine, the amnesiac con artist; Edward Wong, the young, skilled hacker; and Ein, a genetically engineered corgi. Will the team manage to escape or successfully confront their respective pasts? Only one way to find out!
Streaming on: Hulu.