Depending on the depth of your anime obsession, you might think this is about a bunch of anime with people named “Moe” in them.
Anime "Best of" Genre List
Actually, the word is pronounced “Mo-ay,” and it refers, simply, to things that are so adorable you just want to hug them a bunch.
Not surprisingly, Japan coined the term because they create a whole bunch of stuff that fits this description perfectly. And without question, there are way, way more than just 10. But there’s only so much time in the day – both for you to read this, and to watch the ones on the list.
So for your convenience, here’s 10 you absolutely shouldn’t miss.
Ostensibly, K-On! is about girls in a band at school. So you’d assume it’s an anime about music.
Certainly it is that, but by far the biggest component is “cute girls do cute things.” Actually, the fact that they just sort of hang around and do random stuff instead of practicing music becomes a recurring theme.
And when they do play music, it’s also cute and endearing, either because they’re singing about felt-tip pens, or because they’re tripping and embarrassingly wiping out on stage. It’s just a constant stream of feel-good from a cast of enjoyable characters.
It has been 7 years since K-On! came out, and even now it’s a difficult task to find an anime that does this premise better. But you might try this next one.
It’s from the same animation studio as K-On!, and it’s also about a bunch of girls in a band at school.
Of course, this one is a brass band, so it isn’t quite the same. And the slice-of-life themes move a bit more toward romance and emotional discord than in K-On!, where things don’t move off the “happy” setting for very long.
Still, you’ve got cute girls doing cute things and just living life. It isn’t exactly the same, but it’s a worthy successor.
Is the Order a Rabbit?
Okay, let’s move away from the music setting. Now we have cute girls doing cute things in a cafe.
Is the Order a Rabbit follows Kokoa Hoto, who has just moved into the boarding house (called Rabbit House) that doubles as a cafe. She learns to balance work and school, and she learns about coffee art, and there’s a rabbit there that they hang out with.
It’s a rather plain series if you’re looking for plot or character development, extended story arcs, and drama. What you’re going to get is everyday, slice-of-life stuff. It’s adorable.
If you want cute girls doing cute geeky things, or just talking about the most random, Seinfeld– level banality, then Lucky☆Star is what you’re looking for.
Whether it’s talking about the right time to watch anime, the right way to eat a chocolate cornet, or that thing that happens when you have a really good idea in the middle of the night but then fall back to sleep and forget what it was by morning, this series manages to touch something we can all relate to.
And of course, the girls are all absurdly cute and the opening theme song is about school sailor outfits.
If you like your moe on the wacky, unpredictable side, Nichijou is an absolute masterpiece.
If you don’t like moe style at all, and you just want completely inane comedy with pacing and subject matter that border on unquestionable perfection, you should still watch Nichijou.
This is a show that can make one girl’s quest to order coffee from a coffee shop into a 4-minute battle of attrition.
Now, if you’re a hardcore fan, you’ve noticed that of the first five series on this list, four of them have been Kyoto Animation series. That isn’t a coincidence; that studio is the king of moe style. This list could easily fill up with exclusively KyoAni series, but to keep things varied, we’ll move onto some other options and list Clannad, Hyouka, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, and Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! as honorable mentions.
Umaru Doma is a model student and citizen. She is smart, works hard, is respectful to her peers and elders, and is loved by all.
And then she gets home and becomes a total slob. She’s lazy, eats junk food, and she does whatever she wants. It’s honestly kind of endearing. Seeing the contrast between the two (illustrated by a stark change in Umaru’s animation style from normal to adorable chibi) is what makes this whole series.
Shinryaku! Ika Musume
This adorable squid girl is supposed to be coming to land to punish humanity for polluting her watery home. But she’s just too cute.
Instead, she ends up making friends with the girls around her and making incredible squid ink spaghetti. All the while plotting world domination.
Love Live! School Idol Project
There’s honestly an overabundance of moe here. Even the promo art has a girl tripping.
If you need your moe turned up to 15, then put on a stage to dance, then this is your show. It’s about a group of girls who, in order to save their school from shutting down, decide to raise the school’s profile by becoming an idol group.
Think of it this way: It’s an all-girl Japanese version of Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit.
The one, the only. Azumanga Daioh did irreverent “cute girls doing cute things” comedy/slice of life before anyone else on this list.
This is an excellent “starter” anime if you’re trying to get someone into the genre but don’t know how they’ll react to some of the more “out there” stuff. It’s cute, innocent comedy with plenty of heartfelt moments and a lovable cast of characters from top to bottom.
You can see pretty clearly that Yuru Yuri fits all the qualities of a moe anime, but it goes a step further than most of the series here.
See, Yuru Yuri covers all the same “cute girls doing cute things” points, but the difference here is that there are strong overtones of sexual curiosity.
Nothing is explicit, of course. It’s just a dirty joke here, an implied lesbian relationship there. In fact, the whole series is basically about implied lesbian relationships between various characters and how they play out. It’s all done for comedy, and the result of these explorations doesn’t even scratch the surface of ecchi material.
Instead, it’s just cute girls with wild imaginations about dating each other. And occasionally about them being magical girls.