Anime Recommendations | Slice of life, art, romance

Sunday, May 16, 2021

I've come to accept that I'm back to watching anime again. I thought my anime watching days were already over as more real life priorities and hobbies took its place, but since I'm still in stay home stay safe mode, and because of my recent obsession with Attack on Titan, I've decided why stop?

I realized that watching anime is something I do enjoy even until now, although nowadays I prefer watching them slowly. Unlike before, I would binge watch so much! This is mostly because I was in an age where they were making really good anime. This was the time of Fruits Basket, Special A, Ouran High School Host Club, NANA, Paradise Kiss, Lovely Complex, the list goes on. I could keep going! It was an era of wholesome anime.

These ones sparked joy for me, yet that era paused for some unknown reason, and I gradually dropped it entirely and moved on to watch other shows (like Doctor Who, Modern Family, etc etc). 

I would still watch anime from time to time, although mostly through recommendations. I would only invest my time if others have done the same and if it proved to enrich their life somehow. 

But now, I'm taking another step in exploring a bit more on my own and trying to find an anime that I can enjoy for myself. I've long forgotten that kind of feeling where I would initiate the search on my own, and feeling rewarded once I find a show that I can truly enjoy. It's like a little treasure hunt, if you will. 

Which is why I'd like now to share with you the treasures I've watched or have been watching lately, and a bit of insight on each one without spoiling anything. I may have mentioned them in my previous entries, but this time around I'd like to collate them into one entry. It also turns out I've missed some really good ones from years back! I now would like to take this chance to enjoy them:

If you are drawn into slice of life moments

Usagi Drop

The story follows the life of thirty six year old Daikichi who decides to take care of six year old Rin, who is an illegitimate child of his grandfather. 

This show was full of fluff and lightness, in a soothing way. There's not much plot, though there is a lot of focus on the smallest of moments, such as brushing their teeth together, Daikichi cooking meals, Rin noticing every plant she comes across while on their walks.. it's wholesome and fills the heart with warmth. 

The illustration is much like watercolor also, which was pleasant and soft to the eyes. It would make you want to make art. At least, that's the effect it had on me :-) 

I also liked Daikichi's internal reflections, on whether he would do a good job in raising a child. He had his hesitations, but as the story progressed, we would see how he consciously made room for her in his life. 

Wotakoi: Love Is Hard for Otaku

Wotakoi is about four young working professionals who are serious with their work, yet outside of their workspace, they are dedicated anime fans.

Watching Wotakoi is a great reminder that it doesn't matter even if our hobbies haven't changed since we were younger. It's a refreshing and inspiring watch to see the characters enjoy doing what they loved. Their passion for anime as a way to enjoy life, and I would smile at the scenes when they would anticipate payday just so they can buy more manga. 

There was also that element of romance, of course, since "Love is hard for otaku". Throughout the series it is shown how the main characters support each other in their interests. They understand and respect each other's interests, and they don't have the need to change themselves since they're already both in the same realm. I think it made their relationship a lot more natural, even though their personalities weren't always necessarily synced-- they found common ground through what they both liked. It's also nice to have someone you can talk to without fear of judgment. 




Super Cub (ongoing)

Koguma is a junior high school girl who has no parents, no friends, no hobbies, and no aspirations for the future. This all changes when she decides to buy herself a motorbike.

This series is still ongoing, but I just fell in love with how simple and relaxing it is to watch. It is quite slow paced, but I find myself rooting for Koguma in every episode. Slowly but surely, she gains confidence, opens up more, and allows herself to feel a myriad of emotions. Life is beautiful as we make and collect more memories.

It's been a while since I last stumbled across a slow, detailed, slice of life anime show, and I'm determined to enjoy this one to its fullest. 

The scenery and music is always on point too; lots of nature and classical music. I'm in the process of creating a playlist of all the classical pieces I get to hear from this show.


If you have a penchant for art and bright colorful illustrations

Arte

Set in 16th-century Florence Italy, Arte is a young woman who aspires to be a painter in an age and society where most artists were men. 

I enjoyed watching this for many reasons, but what drew me in was witnessing Arte becoming stronger in many aspects, such as standing up for herself and what was right, improving her drawing skills, and becoming independent. She has a fighting spirit, and had a teachable attitude each time, in every situation. And of course, I loved seeing her drawing all the time; it inspired me to draw more, too.

Societal issues were tackled as well, such as certain professions being looked down on and gender inequality. Arte was outspoken and quick to call people out especially when they were out of line. I just think her character was refreshing and perhaps it could be considered as unconventional in that era. Although I have to admit there were a few disconnections here and there when it came to the setting of the anime, I still watched it at a slow, steady pace, which allowed me to appreciate it still. 


If you want to reminisce the joys and sorrows of young love 

Horimiya

Hori is a popular girl in school while Miyamura is the shy type, yet both of them have different sides unknown to everyone else. A chance encounter led them to discovering each other's quirks. 

I'm aware these two sentences are all too familiar for us, but alas, I fell for this cliche. I gave it a try and it did tug at my heartstrings majority of the time. It was nice to hear from their internal monologues, whenever Hori and Miyamura would try to be considerate with each other. Most precious scene was when they started spending more time together and realizing they were selfish to want to keep their moment together for themselves.

There were also themes of friendship, loneliness, and angst, which I think is quite realistic in some ways. There will always be drama in growing up, but that's simply part of life. 

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And that's it for this list. Which anime would you be willing to try, and have you watched any from the above? I would love to know :-) 

Happy Sunday, dear reader.

8 comments

  1. Nice recs! I've read some of these before so I didn't try to watch them. I'm very bad with watching anime if I've already read the manga because I can't stop comparing them....so I very rarely watch anime adaptations. I'm super excited for Blue Period anime though! I read the manga and am looking forward to seeing it animated. For slice of life I personally really liked Tamako Market. It's really cute and helped a lot with my Japanese language learning.

    I think it's a common idea especially in Philippine context na once you grow a certain age you have to grow out of certain hobbies din. I've always heard the phrase "I used to watch anime nung bata pa ko pero di na ngayon" a lot from friends who aren't in my manga/anime friend circle and it made me wonder why, because not all series are for kids naman. I've come to realize that some people just really grow out of it, I guess. Personally, as someone who's super into J-culture and whose SO is someone who works drawing anime-style illustrations, I don't think I'll ever move away from anime in this lifetime, haha.

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    1. Thank you so much Chai for your recommendations; I'm definitely checking out Blue Period and Tamako Market :) I see that Blue Period is about art! That's right up my alley alright :D

      I share the same view, with comparing the anime and manga.. but if I really like the anime/manga, I end up doing both: reading and watching so that the story will remain with me for a longer period of time haha!

      I very much agree with you also about the Philippine context. Sometimes I think people might find it childish, or people would want to portray a more mature version of themselves so they have to let go of some of their interests. But I think at this point in life, if there is something that brings joy and inspiration, and if it's not harming anyone, then enjoy more of it. It's the same as with people who love Kpop, Kdrama, videogames, etc. Walang basagan ng trip lol. I'm also going to enjoy anime in this lifetime, for sure. :)

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  2. Oh, man, this is so timely! I've been wanting to watch something of this genre. I recently watched Love is Hard for Otaku and found it hilarious. Now, I want to watch Arte <3

    http://bloomingsuitcase.com

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    1. I ENJOYED Love is Hard for Otaku!! It was such a fun watch, and I hope they continue to make more of these since they are targeted for young working professionals. :D

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  3. Not a big fan of anime but Arte sounds like something I might enjoy with my lil sis. She loves that kind of genre! xx

    lenne | lennezulkiflly.com

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    1. Hello Lenne, that's so cool, I'm glad you saw one on this list that would be interesting for you and your younger sister :") Hope you enjoy watching it together!

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  4. I love these recommendations! I haven't watched any of them but I will love to see Arte, usagi drop and super Cub.

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    1. Thank you, Epsita! At the moment, I'm really enjoying Super Cub, although it would have just 3 more episodes left until it finishes. I might just marathon it in one go all over again because it's such a pleasant watch. I hope you enjoy watching as much as I did :)

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