Guest Post: Chicken Soup for the Otaku Soul

Karandi: I’d like to thank Negative Primes! from Curiously Dead Cat for volunteering to be my first guinea pig guest poster on my blog. They’ve put together a great piece for the community and I hope you all enjoy reading it as much as I did.

First, a warm arigatou to Karandi for allowing me to guest post for her!

Ever felt depressed? What anime will you most enjoy when you’re down in the blues?

I was feeling particularly down recently, and posed this question to Twitter, where it got a lot more attention than most of my tweets! So I figured a post on the same topic was in order, and my second arigatou is to all of you who chimed in with suggestions! As I’ve written previously, anime basically saved my life when I was going through depression. And Karandi has also written about her experience turning to anime when feeling down as well.

Here I’d like to share with you first those series mentioned in the tweets that I have seen and can personally recommend, plus a couple additions of my own that seemed relevant; and then those which others recommended. I’ve divided these series into five categories, according to what the main thing you’re looking for might be: heartwarming, funny, uplifting/encouraging, light-hearted, and cathartic. Note that most of these shows have more than one of these five elements present; I’ve simply focused on what I think is the main aspect of the show, while noting a couple that seem outstanding in multiple ways.

Obviously, this is highly personal and should be considered a starting point for you, not a dogmatic assertion! Also, it’s obvious, but has to be said. This post is not a substitute for professional help, nor does it contain medical advice.

Guest 1

 

Heartwarming: These are the shows that leave you with a warm afterglow. You’ll be feeling peaceful and contented.

  1. Fruits Basket: An orphan girl living in a tent meets a family with an unusual curse. Humor and tragedy follow, but mostly it’s just a whole lot of heart. Message: Everyone has their hurts and their secrets, even those who seem to have everything.
  2. Interviews with Monster Girls: A comic slice-of-life about a teacher and his attempts to help his “demi-human” students and colleague. Message: People come in all varieties, and that diversity is something to be welcomed and enjoyed.
  3. Recovery of an MMO Junkie: An MMO-addict quits her job to focus on her gaming, and ends up falling in love. Message: Love is hard for otaku. Oh wait…
Guest 2
Funny: Any show here puts the humor front and center. For when you just need to laugh.
  1. Working!!/Wagnaria!! and www.Working: Two related series, totaling four seasons. Co-workers in a restaurant have to deal with each others’ rough edges. A similar message to Fruits Basket, just with the scale tipped slightly more on the funny side while FB is slightly more on the heart-warming side.
  2. Disastrous Life of Saiki K.: A pink-haired, nearly omnipotent psychic boy has a very hard life indeed. The laughs come fast and furious with this one.
  3. Konosuba: One of the funniest anime of all time! A boy hit by a moving vehicle is reincarnated into a fantasy-like world and quickly gathers about him one flaky goddess, one over-achieving explosion mage, and one masochistic crusader. Together, they try to resolve a lot of problems and usually end up causing even worse trouble.
Guest 3

 Uplifting/Encouraging: Down in the dumps or facing one of life’s hurdles? Here’s what the doctor ordered!

  1. My Hero Academia: One of the smash hits of recent years, with a lot of heart, humor, and humanity. Ultimately, though, it’s mostly about persevering in the face of seemingly impossible odds.
  2. Girls und Panzer: High school girls shoot at each other in tanks. As a sport. In order to become more womanly. Nothing unusual here. Many warm relationship moments between the all-female cast of characters. Message: You can do it!
  3. Naruto: If you’re reading this, you know Naruto. Iconic “you can do it/the power of friendship” shonen show. (Helps to have a guide to avoiding the “filler episodes“. My thanks to @irxson for pointing me in the right direction here!)
Guest 4

 

Light-hearted: Just want to shut off your brain and watch the anime equivalent of cotton candy? Here you go!

  1. Working Buddies: Two cats work temp jobs and have zany experiences, often involving a mysterious koala bear.
  2. BananyaNational Geographic-like “documentary” of cats that… live… in… banana peels. It just gets better from there.
Guest 5

 

Cathartic: Shows that help you through the tough times by depicting characters who are also going through tough times. Is this catharsis, where you experience a spiritual cleansing through watching dramatic tragedy? Or is it schadenfreude, where you just derive pleasure from watching others suffer? Does it matter? You be the judge!

  1. GATE: A portal opens up in the middle of Tokyo and Earth gets invaded—by a bunch of iron-age horse riders who can’t stand up to modern armies. Japan invades them back and gets involved in some deep political twists and turns.
  2. Golden Time: From the creator of Toradora!Golden Time is like TD but darker and edgier, and depicting college students. It’s pretty funny, and also very tragic, seeing as the main characters suffer through everything from amnesia to car accidents to mental illness to getting abducted by a cult to being possessed by vengeful ghosts to…
Guest 6

A Cut Above: These shows are those that incorporate more than one of the preceding elements, and do it very well. So you’ll get a concentrated dose of animedication with them.

  1. Silver Spoon: A funny, heartwarming, and extraordinarily well-crafted story of a high school boy from the city who transfers to a farming school. He finds happiness and love. From the author of Fullmetal Alchemist.
  2. Hinamatsuri: The sleeper hit of Spring 2018, this story is really hard to describe. I typically fumble over my words and say something like, “It’s the touching story of a yakuza underling and a weaponized telekinetic girl; she blackmails him into lettering her stay at his apartment, and then they bond over mass murder…” But that’s really just the first episode, which sets the rest of the show up. Like the Matrix, it must be seen to be understood. By turns funny, heartwarming, and heart-wrenching, Hinamatsuri strikes a unique balance and depicts some of the strongest secondary characters ever to grace the anime screen.

These are the series that I have seen and recommend—though I could certainly recommend others! If you need even more suggestions to try, my Twitter friends proferred the following ideas, which I have yet to dig into. These first three were mentioned multiple times:

  • K-On
  • Daily Lives of High School Boys
  • Non Non Biyori
  • Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid
  • Fullmetal Panic
  • Skip Beat
  • Nichijou
  • Natsume’s Book of Friends
  • March Comes In Like A Lion
  • Bunny Drop
  • Barakamon
  • Sweetness and Lightning
  • Aria the Animation
  • Shirobako
  • Hanasaku Iroha
  • Hoozuki no Reitetsu
  • Free!
  • School Rumble
  • Seto no hanayome (My Bride is a Mermaid)

If you have other ideas to add to this list, please let us know in the comments! Who knows, you may help someone! Thanks for reading, and remember to support 100wordanime.blog!

Karandi: Another big thank you to Negative Primes! for offering to write a post for July and for the fantastic job they did putting it together. 
If you would like to write a guest post for 100 Word Anime, please contact me via the contact page or twitter and we can hopefully organise something in future months.

Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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18 thoughts on “Guest Post: Chicken Soup for the Otaku Soul

  1. As far as I’m considered, any list that includes Interviews with Monster Girls is a list worth reading! It’s just a shame that people dropped/ignored the show because they believed it would go the harem route. As much as I enjoyed Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, I’m still a little bitter that Interviews didn’t get the same attention. More importantly, my anxiety was momentarily soothed by your other picks, so if you’re looking for a (gentle) punch to the feels, listen to Professor Primes. He has much to teach us.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I really would have liked Interviews with Monster Girls to have spent a bit more time on world building. I enjoyed it initially but gradually lost interest as the series progressed.
      However, I think you are right in that Negative Primes did give us all a lot to think about.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s fair. If I remember right, the girls didn’t get out of the school much (I think there was a pool episode), so we missed out on characters who weren’t students freaking out over the girl who carried her head around. Like, how does Human Mom react to Human Daughter having a sleepover with Demi-human? Forget it! This is anime! There is no Human Mom. This lack of interaction with non-students is a shame because showing students who like the Monster Girls defending them to people who don’t like/don’t understand them would be a good lesson in how we spread the message that people who aren’t like you and me aren’t (usually) deserving of fear/hatred/what have you. Of course, you were probably thinking on a grander scale about how the government deals with Demi-human citizens, such as my favorite vampire’s comment about receiving (monthly?) blood packs.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. On the flip side, A Centaur’s Life went to the opposite extreme, with beautiful and deep world-building and flat characters set in cliches a lot of the time. Something between the two would be downright amazing.

          Liked by 1 person

      1. Agreed. Just finished watching it with my kids and MiniPrimes kept commenting towards the end: “Wait, they skipped volume six! No, they rearranged the order. Wait, that wasn’t in the manga!…”

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I really think that it’s a great way to help you get through some rough times. I’ve either turned to anime, or my other passion movies to certainly help me get trough some depressing times as well. This was a great list. I was especially delighted to see Girls und Panzer make an appearance here, as it was an anime that I enjoyed watching so very much. I had a smile on my face pretty much straight from the start, and it stayed glued on my face until the very last episode.
    Recovery of an MMO junkie has been recommend to me by quite a lot of people so far, and it’s one that I definitely want to see as well. Wonderful post, that was well written: Great job Negative Primes! (And of course thank you for Karandi, for hosting this 😀).

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I think its definitely true that when life gets hard we go back to what we know or are comfortable with. For a lot of us it is anime or books or something similar that will give us either the rest we need or the boost we need to push through.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Well said and I could not agree with you more. I think there might have been times where I would have gone completely made if I would not have had some kind of outlet, and in that regard anime and movies really did that job for me😊

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I really liked that it was something I wouldn’t normally do on the blog, which is what I was hoping for when I asked if anyone was interested in guest posting. When I first read this I was really delighted to be able to have it on my blog, that and I thought of a few anime I’d love to watch next time I’m feeling down.

      Liked by 2 people

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