Five short anime series for beginners
Toradora!This anime series is relatively popular, and a great way to a glimpse of Japanese high school life. Ryuuji Takasu is cursed with an intimidating, stern looking face, that does not match his gentle and shy nature at all. One day, he meets his next door neighbour Taiga Aisaka; a short, cute and delicate girl with the personality of a loud, fierce tiger. Two polar opposites you would say, but they also have one thing in common, a crush on each other’s best friend. Despite their differences they decide to help each other get close to their crushes, and they even begin to see the possibility of becoming actual friends.
Number of episodes: 25
Side stories: “Toradora! SOS!” and “Toradora! Bentou no Gokui”
Baka to Test To ShoukanjyuuThe story centers around Akihisa Yoshii, who is honestly a bit thick and doesn’t score well academically. The school system at Fumizuki Academy is very unusual; all students are divided into academic levels and put into ‘suitable’ classrooms. Akihisa takes his entry test, and he soon learns he is in the F class, the lowest ranked class in school with battered desks and shabby tatami mats. His new intelligent classmate Mizuki is also in F, but only because she had fallen ill and was unable to finish her test. To impress her, Akihisa is determined to challenge other classes to battle with their fantasy avatars, and together with his friends they fight for better classroom conditions and school supremacy (and some romance of course).
Number of episodes: 13
Sequels: “Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu: Matsuri” and “Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu: Ni”
Non Non BiyoriThe story of this series is set in the quiet countryside village of Asahigaoka, at least a few hours away from any big cities. The number of inhabitants is extremely low, and there are only 5 school-going children, 4 of which you will get to know very well. Renge, Komari and Natsumi, though different ages, are all classmates and try to find new things to do to make everyday life a little less boring. They are soon joined by Hotaru, who just moved from Tokyo with her parents. Her life is about to become very different, as she joins the group of three and tries to adjust to countryside life.
Number of episodes: 12
Sequel: “Non Non Biyori Repeat”
Side story: “Non Non Biyori: Okinawa e Ikukoto ni Natta”
Masamune-kun No RevengeThis is another great anime if you’re into a slow-building high school romance. Masamune Makabe used to be a chubby kid, and was often ridiculed by his peers. One day, he gets the ultimate insult thrown at him by a rich girl called Aki Adagaki; he is being called “Piggy”. An insult he will never forget. Masamune throws all his energy into working out and becoming a handsome, admittingly narcissistic, heartthrob. All girls fawn over him, but he is only interested in getting revenge on Aki. His plan: become close to her, let her fall in love with him, and then break her heart at the right moment. But things do not go as Masamune expected, and he starts to doubt his own feelings.
Number of episodes: 12
Usagi DropThis is a heartfelt family story about Daikichi Kawachi and his newly adopted daughter Rin. Daikichi is living a mundane life working a respectable job when his grandfather suddenly passes away. It turns out that his grandfather had an illegitimate 6-year-old daughter, who is now an orphan. Daikichi’s family turn their backs to the young girl who is deemed an embarrassment. This ridiculous mentality makes Daikichi determined to raise Rin himself, even without any prior experience with children. We follow two people who start off as strangers, and watch them go through difficulties to grow into a loving and caring family.
Number of episodes: 11