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Worse Than It Sounds: Anime & Manga
  • Axis Powers Hetalia: A young heir willingly embraces a totalitarian ideology and joins forces with a Drill Sergeant Nasty and a Covert Pervert in their plans to world domination.
  • Bakemonogatari: An Ordinary High-School Student and a mysterious homeless man are brought together by fate to use the best of their unique abilities to help innocent girls recover from supernatural phenomena. A heartwarming story about overcoming one's own faults with the power of friendship.
  • Beauty and Warrior: An exiled princess manipulates twin brothers into fighting each other.
  • Berserk: A young knight embarks on a long, brutal journey in a world filled with gruesome demons and Knight Templar priests and experiences the worst kind of corruption - betrayal. Full of epic battles and awesome characters.
  • Cardfight!! Vanguard The simple story of an awkward kid who learns how to play a card game, and on the way, learns the values of fair play, driving yourself to improvement, and friends who can enjoy the things you do. Along the way, he meets people of all walks of life, to whom the game each means something different. He faces many foes and trials that challenge his commitment and passion for his hobby, but ultimately the values taught to him by his friends and his hobby bring him back around for the final showdown with the one man who hopes to undermine these simple values.
  • Chis Sweet Home: A child is separated from her mother and forced to survive in an unfamiliar world, her only true allies being alien True Companions and a fugitive with a good heart.
  • Claymore: A girl with a cursed existence wanders the land looking for revenge, accompanied only by a young orphan boy and her sword. Though she overcomes many obstacles and adversaries, will her object of revenge be her end - or the darkness looming inside of her?
  • Code Geass: A deep meditation on the rival merits of violent revolution from the outside versus reform from the inside of a government. Themes of parental abandonment, familial tensions, and the emotional fallout of revenge, war, and terrorism run throughout the show. Both main protagonists, childhood friends, commit parricide, and the show deftly explores their different reactions, and methods of transforming the world by their idealism. The second season delves far into the question: "how far can you trust a friend?" Full of epic mecha battles and Crowning Moment Of Awesome.
  • Cromartie High School:
    • After falling in with the wrong crowd, an Ordinary High-School Student attends a school where anything is possible. Along the way he attempts to unravel the mysteries surrounding the students: from the strong, silent upperclassman that bears a strange resemblance to a deceased celebrity, to a respected student who may not be human at all.
    • (Darker and Edgier of the above:) After losing his one reason for coming there, the Ordinary Highschool Student with a Dark Secret attends High School. He becomes part of a Dysfunction Junction. He forms a trio among these, including himself, a bitter man who fell from grace, and a student with strange hair who ends up giving a shocking Reveal later on. Together, they try to find out the truth about a peculiar student who can not walk in public without becoming the victim of strange and terrifying forms of abuse, and the mute upperclassman who is seen as the reason for the school falling into chaos. The story deals with Deconstructions of Living a Double Life, lesser forms of Fantastic Racism, and adultery. The anime has a Cruel Twist Ending including the death of a character, which undoubtedly have made many read the longer manga in order to find out the consequences of it.
  • Death Note: See a man consumed by the supernatural powers granted to him, from power over life itself, to plans of the most unbelievable nature. Even the meals he eats show his power.
  • Detective Conan: The tragic and endearing story of a brilliant young detective who has sacrificed his life and true love to make Japan a better place by putting an end to crime.
  • Detroit Metal City: A young musician is faced with a difficult choice: should he continue to peruse a lucrative but unrewarding career to pay the bills, or defy the expectations of his coworkers and employer to follow his dreams?
  • Dragon Ball: The deep, epic bildungsroman of a child who strengthens both his mind and his body through a long travel around the world; knows the joys of life as well as the most evil and wretched sins. As he discovers his true roots, he has to confront a moral dilemma and choose between the bonds of blood and family and everything he loves.
  • Excel♥Saga: An enthusiastic young woman teams up with a brilliant visionary to help enlighten the ignorant masses.
  • Fairy Tail: An orphan is searching for his lost adoptive father. On his travels he meets a boy who lost his mentor to an accident he caused, a former slave-girl, and a girl who ran away from home because of her overbearing father.
  • Fate/stay night: One part gripping adventure story, one part philosophical meditation on the nature of death.
  • Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu: A boy raised in war-torn Afghanistan is forced to cope with the cultural dissonance of trying to adjust to normal high school life despite having No Social Skills.
  • Garzey's Wing: From director Yoshiyuki Tomino comes a Sword And Sandal epic in which a legendary hero returns to rescue his people from their oppressors through creative application of technology. The English dub in particular is renowned for its stellar voice acting.
  • Gravitation: A teenaged boy finds love in all the wrong places and musical success along the way. Notable for its groundbreaking inversion of traditional gender roles.
  • Gunslinger Girl: Emotionally moving tale centered on several girls rescued from tragic circumstances and given a new lease on life by a public welfare branch of the Italian government. The relationships between the girls and their guardians are particularly profound.
  • Haiyore! Nyarko-san: a reinterpretation of the Cthulhu Mythos for the twenty-first century that plays with the Mythos's iconic status in modern geek culture in surprising ways. It avoids the xenophobia of Lovecraft's original work - in fact, the human protagonist is a young Japanese man - and includes several strong female characters, human and otherwise. It's also notable for its examination of interpersonal and interspecies relationships and alien psychology.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya: An Ordinary High-School Student has his world turned upside down when he meets a fellow classmate with a dangerous power. With the help of an ever silent bibliophile, a mysterious transfer student, and a victim of constant sexual harassment, he must prevent this classmate from destroying the world as we know it.
  • Hayate the Combat Butler: The story of a teenager trapped in a debt worth more than a million US dollars to pay it off by working as a butler for one of richest and most prestigious families in the world.
  • Hellsing: A leader whose ancestor is Abraham Van Hellsing uses Dracula to exterminate vampires terrorizing the UK and soon afterwards fights against the Nazis invading England.
  • Higurashi no Naku Koro ni: Murder mystery meets divine power in a series of short stories that will have you on the edge of your seat.
    • Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai: The tale of a young girl who gets the non-videogame equivalent of One Ups. Enough to make the Konami Code jealous.
    • Umineko no Naku Koro ni: A young man and his large family get caught up in a murder mystery plot allegedly orchestrated by a devious Witch and her associates. His spirit attempts to unravel what is really going on while trying not to lose faith in his family and himself.
    • Umineko no Naku Kori ni Chiru: The one who is truly behind the murder mystery time-loop steps forward, hinting that she is the sadistic combined spirit of the young girl's past lives. She and her ally proceed to take over completely, requiring the young man to ally himself with the previous Witch, who has been reduced to a shell of her former self. He encounters several anthropomorphic personifications of logic, including the young leader of a group of witch-hunting paladins and a detective from heaven who grew sick of the bureaucracy and forged his own path.
  • ICE: In the grim Desert Punk future, humanity is on its way to extinction. It's up to a badass Amazon Brigade to uncover foul plots, punch out Eldritch Abominations, and save the world. Also, yuri.
  • Jewelpet (first season): A convicted rebel's sister attempts to gather all the weapons he needs to carry out his revenge, while several teenagers oppose him and advocate the ideology that the rebel originally fought for.
    • Jewelpet Twinkle: An insecure young girl is forced to build character when she discovers that she is the only communication link between two forcibly estranged siblings who are seperated by whole dimensions.
    • Jewelpet Sunshine: An in-depth study of the dynamics of a world where humans and sapient magical creatures have equal rights, giving particular emphasis to the school environment.
    • Jewelpet Kira Deco: The seminal genre of Sentai is picked apart when one such group is forced into an unexpected situation which de-powers them and forces them to confront their issues from the past.
    • Jewelpet The Movie: Sweets Dance Princess: Two neighbouring countries have to unite in order to fight corruption from the inside of one of them, particularly the living weapon of mass destruction that is awoken.
  • Kannazuki no Miko: Two magically gifted young women come together during a spiritual war and must figure out how to love amidst all the chaos and evil in their lives.
  • K-On!: A young group of ambitious school girls gets a new member and practices their music skills for a grand finale, while showing the true value of True Companions.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha: In a World where combat success and failure affects interpersonal relationships, one girl must consider the consequences of another's seeking approval from a parent who has been driven by lost love to extremes, including but not limited to artificial replacements. Just when she has the answers to this one, she finds herself needing to resolve the effects of misguided loyalty and the weighing of a few people's happiness against that of entire dimensions. A few years later, the judgments she made on the first issues are muddied by newfound arguments and evidence.
    • Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force'': A boy tries to protect a girl despite being forced on the run from the authorities, losing control of himself and becoming a danger to those around him. With so many competing values at stake and the revelation that he must kill in order to survive, he must decide what is most important to him and what sacrifices must be made.
  • Mirai Nikki: The adventures of a lucky Ordinary High-School Student who falls in love with a girl who really admires him and is capable of wiping out anyone who dares to bring harm to him.
  • Miyuki-chan in Wonderland: A girl may never wake up from her mad hallucinations. The series is also notable for subtext indicating repressed homosexuality.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny: A young man with anger problems joins a foreign military service against the birth country that betrayed him, but ends up fighting both a racist superpower and adherents of his birth country who want to protect the peace.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam AGE: After losing his mother to a strange, unknown enemy, one boy designs a mech that would help his country fight back. Over the course of three generations, the boy finds himself engaged in a war that will split his family apart over different opinions regarding that unknown enemy. Lovers will die, women will motivate men, shocking twists will be revealed, and understanding for the enemy will develop as the series reaches its climax.
  • My Balls: A young man who was at the wrong time at the wrong moment, finds himself with a demon trapped in his body by accident. He was told to never summon the demon for one month if he must prevent The End of the World as We Know It. However, The Legions of Hell will do all in their powers to bring the demon back.
  • Narutaru: A plucky, young girl is drawn into a dangerous struggle against the forces of evil after she finds a mysterious creature with magical powers, and learns important lessons about friendship, growing up, and the inherent good in mankind.
  • Naruto: The quest of a teenager possessed by a malevolent entity to prove himself worthy of leading his village, in a world where human life is worthless, revenge is the law and children are thought to kill from a young age. Individuals with supernatural powers are forced to make intense moral choices, as their ideals and worldviews clash in a merciless battle of epic proportions.
  • NEEDLESS: A vivid tale of oppression and poverty that takes place in a ghetto that was quarantined by society. Only the strong survive and the weak die out. Even worse, there is a Mega Corp. that oppresses every piece of the people's lives. There is one group though that is willing to stand up to them, though. They work together for the greater good of the people and to end oppression.
  • NieA_7: A destitute girl lives with an outcast, low-caste alien girl that is not accepted anywhere due to prejudice. They both live in the poorest district in Japan trying to eke out a living under the harshest of circumstances where a piece of fried fish means the difference between wealth and poverty.
  • Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu: Within a rich family, lives an influential girl who holds a dark secret. Such is the power of the secret that its revelation will destroy the lives of those whom she values.
  • Ookami Kakushi: In the style of another well-known psychological thriller, a boy and his family arrive to a mysterious rural city where he must struggle for his own survival and uncover the dark secrets of his classmates. Along the way, he is caught up in a revenge tragedy that ultimately leads to a thrilling climax. The last episode is an exploration of surrealism.
  • Ouran High School Host Club: After inadvertently catching the eye of a group of handsome and wealthy young men who show her a world she never knew existed, a middle-class girl must face issues of class warfare and gender identity as she struggles to repay them for the events of that fateful first encounter.
  • Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt Two angels are sent to Earth to stop malevolent forces born from negative thoughts and emotions from destroying humanity with assistance from a priest, their Non-Human Sidekick, and a boy who falls in love with one of them. At the same time, they must resist temptation from Earthly desires and battle their devilish rivals who want to open the gates of Hell.
  • Pilot Candidate: An alternative take on the Super Robot Genre in which the focus is placed not on pilots, but rather on young cadets on their journey to become pilots and ground crew. While less action oriented than most shows of its type, it has breathtaking CG animation, an amazing dub with Michael McConnohie in an unexpected role, and an intriguing plot that is sure to leave the audience begging for more.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Young girls, through a wish of any kind, can change their lives and unknowingly save the Universe. But, for that, they will need to pay a really high price by sacrificing themselves and fighting against curses of similar pasts, while avoiding themselves to fail and fall into despair.
  • Puni Puni Poemy: Devastated by the murder of her parents, a young girl must awaken and master her latent magical powers to save the world from impending destruction. Tragedy occurs as the man she loves betrays her for the enemy, and her adopted family is captured. A spinoff of a wildly popular anime series.
  • Saint Seiya: A gripping religious tale of struggles and sacrifice of boys who had known only hell throughout their whole life, raising issues about what it means to grow up, how loyalty to an ideal and and something that represents that ideal are radically different, and whether or not such notions like "good" and "evil" are even allowable in the space of a debate or should be derided as childish.
  • Sands of Destruction: A chivalrous and honorable man and his competent female sidekick set out on a heroic mission to bring an end to a committee that is conspiring to destroy the world.
  • School Days: A romantic comedy that takes unexpected twists and turns ending with a boy and the girl of his dreams happily embracing while watching the sun set on a nice boat.
  • Sora No Woto: A new recruit to the military joins a small platoon. The recruit must defend the the local town from possible threats using the limited supplies that the platoon have while reflecting on the events and wars that brought the world into its current post-apocalyptic state.
  • Space Thunder Kids: This Massive Multiplayer Crossover between several works of Korean animation shows a struggle of Gray and Grey Morality featuring epic battles which explore the impersonal nature of warfare.
  • Speed Racer Years after the tragic death of his brother; a man pursues his dream of becoming the world's greatest racecar driver. On his journey to be the best, the man's ideals are challenged by the corruption and greed of his opponents. However; he ultimately achieves his dream; and in the process finds out the truth about what happened to his brother.
  • Strawberry Panic!: A LOT of Schoolgirl Lesbians hook up.
    • An emotionally distant Broken Bird suffers from the loss of her beloved and becomes distant and even cruel towards her peers until an idealistic and soft spoken new student reaches out to her to heal her wounds and make her believe in love once more. Through the power of love, they overcome tragedy, academic stress, a generally socially unacceptable age difference, and the stigma their Catholic school *might* have against lesbian students.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: A story of conflict between a miner's union and the local government over their land rights. Confronts its audience with the ethical ramifications of population control, genetic engineering, and the exponential growth in technological development. Grips its audience with the juxtaposition of rationality and foolhardy appeal to emotion.
  • Transformers Armada: A slave-race caught in the center or a war between two larger and vastly more powerful factions struggles to win their freedom and find a world where they can live in peace, free from both the horrors of war and the shadow of their sinister creator.
    • Transformers Energon: Years after this epic conflict,all sides have joined together in harmony and a new energy source has been discovered. This discovery has caught the eye of another race who want it for their own sinister purposes and several enemies, once thought destroyed, have returned and once more, these two sides must do battle once more. Immerse yourself in this exciting and inventive story with complex themes of war, betrayal, and discovering where your alliances lay.
  • Trinity Blood: A young woman, in her quest for vengeance against an oppressive dictator, joins unlikely forces with a bumbling priest with a Dark and Troubled Past, as well as a gun-toting android and an imperial emissary, uncovering the threads of a plot by a mysterious group to destroy earth. Again.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: A young, frightened boy discovers a magical artifact that grants him a more powerful alter-ego. Together, with the help of some holographic monsters, they explore the themes of power and compassion as they search for similar artifacts and those who would use them for evil.
  • YuYu Hakusho: A misunderstood boy Desperately Seeking A Purpose In Life dies twice,tragically upsetting everyone close to him,the Token Evil Teammate included the second time.This boy turns out to be partially demon and uses his powers to fight epic battles against the evils of the Demon World.
  • Manga/Zeorymer: A powerful supervillain sets up an Evil Plan to reclaim his doomsday device and Take Over the World. The series pays homage to older toku science fiction and is remembered fondly for its pivotal role in a popular crossover.
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