This year has been rough. Now we have the stress of Holiday on top of everything else. There are many ways to take the pressure off. For us at Right Stuf, we like to chillax to some calming anime. The type of anime that warms the soul and soothes the mind. If you’re reading this, you probably are looking for shows that do just that, so grab a cup of your favorite drink and let's get to it… calmly.
Non Non Biyori
One of the hallmarks of calming anime is the focus on rural Japan, and Non Non Biyori is a good show that explains why. The village of Asahigaoka has only one school, and it's 5 member student body is in a different grade from one another. The nearest stores are miles away, so this is a very isolated village. So what on Earth do kids around here do for fun? Super cute things, obviously! The characters are adorable, from their designs to their eccentric personalities. But the real star of the show is the countryside. Brightly colored and lushly drawn, the backgrounds form a comforting and warm atmosphere, like laying outside on sunny day, as a comforting breeze waves by.Add to CartLearn More
If meditation took the form of an anime, it would look like Mushi-shi. From the first chords of the beautiful opening song and the simple image of rainfall, the show calms the mind. Then it presents the episode's story with muted colors, never overwhelming your mind so you can focus on the story. The story often concerns Ginko, a traveling shaman of sorts, who researches Mush-shi, creatures of the spirit world. The steady pacing makes you slow down, allowing you to be more receptive to the deep message or theme the episode wants to explore. The show ends with a still image and calm instrumentals. Here you reflect on the episode, and come to your own truth of what it’s about and what to take from it. There’s nothing like Mushi-shi, and it’s a must-watch.Add to CartLearn More
Did you ever want to get away? Travel to an island isolated from the big city, filled with friendly people that support one another? Sounds like a dream, but it’s the relaxing reality of Barakamon. Big-city lover Seishu Handa is a professional calligrapher who is in a rut creatively and professionally. To get him out of it, Seishu’s father and art dealer force him to go on a long vacation to Goto Island. While other calming anime rely on setting, Barakamon relies on characters. The islanders Seishu meets are a colorful assortment of personalities. The biggest of them all is Naru, a seven-year-old with a big head and a big heart. Always up for adventure, she pulls Seishu into many hilarious situations. Along with bright colors and low-stake plots, the audience evolves along with Seishu to fall in love with the island and its inhabitants.Add to CartLearn More
Cute cats hop around in bananas and have adorable adventures. It’s catnip for the soul. Need I say more?Add to CartLearn More
Aria The Animation
A common element of calming anime is the focus on travel. While most protagonists travel to the countryside, in Aria they travel to Mars! You see, Aria is set in a future where Mars is a picturesque, Venicain paradise. Akari Mizunashi, our main character, dreams of being an Undine, a person who rows the famous gondolas. She travels to the Martian city of Neo-Venezia to become an apprentice. There she finds a position at the Aria Company, and begins to learn the ways of the Undine. Besides the calming atmosphere, the music and locals are just peaceful. It makes you feel good in ways most anime can’t. You haven’t experienced true bliss until you listen to Alice Caroll sing Lumis Eterne.Add to CartLearn More
My Neighbor Totoro
Hayao Miyazaki films are often filled with nostalgia, and My Neighbor Totoro is a prime example. The plot is very simple: A family moves to the countryside, and a pair of sisters discover a big fluffy forest spirit, Totoro. What this movie lacks in story it gains in the universal shared experiences and the animation. When the girls run through their new, run-down home, they do so with such youthful energy that you can’t help but think, “Remember when I could get excited over something so simple?” When the girls help Totoro make a tree grow, you think back to when you also accomplished amazing feats with your imaginary friends. It captures that innocent wonder we experienced as kids, and does so with wonderful imagination.Add to CartLearn More
When people want to get away from the stress of life, some go to their TV and watch anime. Others escape by camping, enjoying the beauty of nature. ¿Por qué no los dos? It’s possible in the form of Laid-Back Camp. As I’ve said of other anime on this list, the plot is simple; a high school camping club goes camping. But what that plot summary doesn’t convey is how great the show is. Laid-Back Camp is often described as C O M F Y and it’s easy to see why. Set during the winter, the characters bundle up in clothes, sit around the toasty fire sipping a hot beverage. The series is just warm. The landscapes… oh, those landscapes. This show is able to capture the wonder, scale, and beauty of nature like no other anime show. A great one to watch during the winter season.
While we all wait for the anime to release of Blu-ray, read the manga.Add to CartLearn More
Natsume's Book of Friends
There’s nothing like an uplifting story to calm the nerves, and Natsume does exactly that. Natsume has seen spirits his entire life, and one day he comes into possession of the Book of Friends. The name is ironic; it’s a list of spirits his grandmother had forced into servitude. Natsume sets out to dissolve those contracts, and help spirit and human alike. Natsume also gets a bodyguard/companion in Nyanko-sensei, who is after the Book of Friends himself, but his cat form is adorable so we look past that. This eye-catching anime is about optimism. The anime shows the innate good in all things and how we can lift each other up. It’s a heartwarming anime just when we need it most.Add to CartLearn More