Today I decided to compile a list of my absolute favourite feel-good anime titles and share them all with you! Whenever I’m feeling really down, or if my depression is alive with a conviction, I like to turn to these shows because they always manage to make me laugh, smile, and feel fuzzy all over. Maybe you can discover a new show that can do the same for you. 🙂
10.) Tari Tari
The slice-of-life, music oriented show originally released in the Summer 2012 season and was an original creation from the studio P.A. Works. The story revolves around a small group of kids who come together to form a singing club so that they may participate in an annual, special recital event at their school, Shirahamazaka High School. The show is very heart-warming with motifs that surround subjects such as friendship, facing an uncertain future or strenuous familial expectations, and growing up. There’s even some themes that follow the painful act of fighting through grief that’s most crippling. While it can be emotional, it’s feel-good with kindness, compassion, and characters that everyone can relate to.
09.) Princess Jellyfish [Kuragehime]
A boisterously comedic, josei series that was adapted from its manga by Brain’s Base, Princess Jellyfish aired during the Fall 2010 anime season. It’s about a 19-year-old woman named Tsukimi Kurashita, who’s been obsessed with jellyfish since her late mother took her to the aquarium as a child. Always day dreaming about creating the perfect jellyfish-inspired dress, Tsukimi aspires to become an illustrator. Then one day her entire life is turned into chaos when a gorgeous woman helps Tsukimi rescue a precious, little jellyfish from a pet store. Everything seems exciting and wonderful, until Tsukimi learns that this stunning young lady is in fact a dashing, cross-dressing dude. The best part of this show is how fucking funny it is. It is unhindered with it’s strangeness and crudeness, and the humour is used cleverly to examine what it means to face your biggest fears, which most of the time is nothing more than a reflection in a mirror.
08.) Summer Wars
A science-fiction, comedy film that released in 2009 via the brilliant studio Madhouse, this title is all feel-good in all of the fun ways! Kenji Koiso is a 17-year-old mathematical genius who works part-time as a moderator for an online program called OZ, which is a virtual world where people gather to socialise comfortably via vibrant and eccentric avatars. As summer arrives, Kenji’s crush shanghais him into visiting her large family for the season, conveniently neglecting to let him know that she’ll be introducing him as her “fiancé.” Kenji ends up having to do some minor work while on vacation and inadvertently triggers a time bomb that set to go off and destroy the vast majority of the planet… via a program that he’s acutely familiar with, OZ. Aside from being absolutely hilarious, there’s so much fun interactions with a highly dysfunctional family that all love each other in spite of all the crap they hate about one another. It’s also weird as fuck, which only adds to its charm.
07.) You and Me [Kimi to Boku]
This shōnen, slice-of-life series first aired in the Fall 2011 season as an adaptation of the manga, brought to us by J.C. Staff. It’s an episodic series about a group of 5 boys in high school–four long time friends, and a new transfer kid–just going through life, enjoying their youth. The show is very simple in its execution, and can feel slightly mundane, but getting to know these boys and their friendship–everything that holds them all together so tightly–is a spectacularly feel-good thing. Their jokes and interactions just make you smile and feel gooey on the inside. It makes me reminisce about my old friends, which is always a great feeling.
06.) Flying Witch
A more recent series that aired during the Spring 2016 season, Flying Witch was adapted into an anime from its original manga medium into a lovely, supernatural shōnen show that was pleasant and pretty. The mostly episodic story revolves around adolescent Makoto Kowata and her cat companion, Chito. She left her parents upon turning 15-years-old to become an independent, witch practitioner. Makoto’s peaceful everyday life is just filled with plenty of idiosyncrasies of witchcraft, which she shares with her family and friends. The show is cute and comical. The theatrics of Chito are adorable. But the good feelings come into play as we watch Makoto do a lot of trial and error adventuring and experimenting with her attempts at becoming a proficient witch.
05. My Love Story!! [Ore Monogatari]
This adaptation of the original manga series aired during the Spring 2015 season with gorgeous visuals courtesy of studio Madhouse. It’s a syrupy sweet, shōjo romantic comedy that follows Makoto Sunakwa, his best friend Takeo Goda, and Goda’s girlfriend, Rinko Yamato. One day day on his way to school, Takeo saves Yamato from being molested on the train. Seeing his kindness and genuine selflessness, she develops feelings for him. But Takeo is not your average shōjo hero, so he has difficulty putting all of the pieces together. This leads to a whole world of laugh-your-ass-off hilarity and plenty of tender moments between the two. Takeo also has such realistic and sincere interactions with his best friend Sunakwa, that it will leave your cheeks aching and your heart melting. Also, the food looks so fucking good. If you don’t get hungry watching this series, you must have the restraint of a GOD!
04. Bunny Drop [Usagi Drop]
Also another anime adaptation of a manga, courtesy of Production I.G., this josei show originally aired during the Summer 2011 season. This is a drama, slice-of-life story about learning to grow, no matter what age you are, and how it can come in the most unexpected of ways. The focus is on Daikichi, who’s a 30-year-old bachelor doing the 9 to 5 gig. Then one day his grandfather passes away. Upon attending the funeral, he encounters a little girl named Rin. She’s about six or seven years old, and an unwanted burden that’s been passed around the family like a rotten egg. When he learns that Rin is in fact his grandfather’s illegitmate child–Daikichi’s aunt–he decides to take Rin home with him so that he can raise her. Heart-warming is an understatement for the emotions evoked while watching this. Equal parts poignant, whimsical, and heartfelt you just cannot feel anything but fuzzy and fantastic while watching. It also makes you very nostalgic for a childhood laced in memories of your mum or pop.
This josei slice-of-life, literature oriented series was originally a manga of the same name until it was adapted into an anime in the Fall 2011 season by Madhouse. It follows the exuberant adventures of Chihaya Ayase, who’s a head-strong, tomboyish teenage girl. As a child she befriends an eccentric and timid boy named Arata Wataya who introduces her to the card game, Karuta. Karuta was created from the classical Japanese anthology, Hundred Poets. An immensely sweeping passion overtakes her for the game and she begins to play competitively. Between the well-designed characters to the music to the breathtaking aesthetic of the Karuta sport–there’s so much to enjoy about Chihayafuru. It positively promotes the notion that dedication to a passion, no matter how seemingly daunting, will eventually pay off. The show is funny, intense, emotional; filled with deep friendships, profound first loves, and lots of eloquent literature.
02.) The Pet Girl of Sakurasou [Sakurasou no Petto no Kanojo]
The show aired in the Fall 2012 season, adapted from the light novel series, by J.C. Staff. It’s a romantic-comedy, slice-of-life series that is all laughter and the warm-hearted connections that people form with one another without even realising it. The anime revolves around a dormitory called Sakura Hall for Suimei High School, and all of the tenets of the dorm. Sakura Hall is famous for housing all of the “delinquents” of Suimei High, one of whom is Sorata Kanda who’s only crime was rescuing too many kitties. When a brilliant artist, who’s incapable of caring for herself, arrives at Sakura Hall, Kanda is tasked with caring for her. You will laugh your ass off at all of the crude humour and kitty-theatrics. However, the best aspects of the anime are the real-life concerns that this tenets have, such as how to establish a real career post-high school and having to decide between work and college; balancing multiple jobs just to make ends meet, particularly if you’ve got a large family to care for; and how to deal with awkward first romances especially when their unrequited.
01.) Natsume’s Book of Friends [Natsume Yuujinchou]
Quite possibly my favourite anime series of all-time (at least one of them), this supernatural/fantasy, drama series was an adaptation of the beautifully illustrated manga by Brain’s Base, and has spawned six total seasons. It’s a tale about a young, orphaned teenage boy named Takeshi Natsume, who since birth has had the ability to see yōkai, or supernatural creatures. This has made life very difficult for Natsume, which is further complicated when he inherits the Yuujinchou, or the “Book of Friends,” from his late grandmother, Reiko. The Yuujinchou is a magical book that contains the names of the spirits whom she brought under her control by placing their real names into the book. In an effort to obtain their freedom, yōkai stalk Natsume to retrieve their name. This is my ultimate feel-good anime because it’s entirely about loving yourself, understanding that you can never truly judge someone by their appearance, accepting yourself and all of the things that make you different, and the wonderful beauty of friendship no matter what form or shape it takes.