Some times it’s just too hot outside for action anime. The fiery blast of a mega explosion just irritates the sunburn. The blazing glare of the ultra dramatic detective closing the case is just a little too scorching for the air conditioning to handle. As the Summer drags on and the thermometer threatens triple digits daily, sometimes it’s nice to just relax in the cool breeze of low stress anime. Anime with no explosions, no chase scenes, no international intrigue. The only drama is to decide between going to the beach or going to the river to cool off. Gritty urban sprawl with it’s crime, Yakuza, and Yankees is no where to be seen in these anime, it’s nothing but gently swaying rice fields and shady forests in this world. Aliens can attack some other day, this is pure slice of life anime. So, kick up you feet, crank up the air conditioning, sip some lemonade, and enjoy the softer side of anime.
The first anime that comes to mind, that is totally low stress, is Natsume Yojincho. Even the name Nastume means Summer! And this is the perfect anime if you just want to get away from it all. This anime is about Natsume a high school boy that can see ghosts and other spirits. You would think that his life would be pretty awesome with a talent like that, but it’s actually been pretty awful. His parents died when he was young and he’s been passed around from one terrible relative to another. The series starts just after he comes to live with an elderly couple that are his distant cousins. The little village that they live in is rural and idyllic. Their modest house is surrounded by rice fields and farms, the roads are sometimes unpaved, and the people are warm and friendly. Because of his life up until now, Natsume tried not get too close to the people around him and is terrified of anyone finding out that he can see ghosts. Not long after he arrives at his cousin’s house Natsume gets a box of belongings of his long dead grandmother. In that box is a book of spirit’s names and with those names anyone can control that spirit. But, Natsume has no intention of controlling anybody, so instead vows to return the names to all of the spirits they were stolen from. As the series progresses he slowly starts to open up to people and even finds others that have similar talents to his own. This description could never be complete without mentioning Nyanko-sensei, the drinking, surly, violent, great spirit that hangs around Natsume in the form of a very fat cat. At first Nyanko-sensei had plans to eat Natsume and steal the book from him, but later decides to be Natsume’s bodyguard and wait for the book.
Another great anime for looking to the gentler side of life is the older anime Some Day Dreamers. It’s the story of a young magic user (Yume Kikuchi) going from the countryside to the big city to get trained and become certified to use her magic as an occupation. Being a country bumpkin in the big city, Yume has all sorts of trials to navigate and there are many problems she creates herself because she is the daughter of an extremely powerful magic user and she inherited all that power but none of the know how on how to use it. One thing that gets her in the most trouble is that she can create something from nothing, a skill that is very rare, as in no one but her mother can do that. So, when she makes a bunch of money to repay someone the money isn’t transported from a bank, it just appears from nothing. Not surprising, the local officials didn’t like that one bit.
But there isn’t any international outrage, no imprisoning the walking monetary threat, the main character just gets an sound scolding and she apologizes. See, even the trouble is low stress. With flash backs to her bucolic life in the countryside and an easy going cast, this anime will never get your heart racing too much. Even the sound track helps you drift back to a simpler way of life. If you like gentle, sleepy Celtic music, than this anime is for you!
Flying witch couldn’t get much more relaxed, whether the main character (Makoto Kowata) is picking wild herbs in the forest with her two adorable cousins or getting a flying lesson from her world traveling older sister. Because isn’t that what Nee-sans are for? The anime starts with Makoto getting off the bus to go to her cousins house where she will complete her training as a witch ala Kiki’s delivery service. Though, this anime is a lot more gentle then the Ghibli film. This anime is really just a series of beautifully animated whimsical little adventures. Like, the episode when the Makoto and her cousins find a hidden cafe that has a shy ghost as the waitress, or the time when they all woke up early to catch a ride on the flying whale with ancient ruins on it’s back. Not surprisingly, that adventure ended with everyone going home and enjoying a big pancake breakfast. Because when life is this low stress and carefree, how else would you end an adventure?
Do you have any favorite low stress, easy going anime? Leave a comment below!
Check out my podcast!
The anime exclamation of the week is: Baka! meaning Idiot!
I’m currently watching:
- D. Gray-man
- The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
- The case study of Vanitas
- Heaven’s Official’s Blessing
- Inari Kon Kon
- Kageki shojo
- Level E
- Life lessons with Uramichi Oniisan
- Fena: Pirate Princess
- Tokyo Revengers
- My Hero Academia
- Welcome to Demon School, Iruma-kun
- The Great Jahy will Not Be Defeated
- My Next Life as a Villainess
- Bungo Stray Dogs (re-watch)
- Peach Boy Riverside