As much as I love things that make me sad, sometimes
you need something that just lets you unwind and enjoy a simple, fun story. Anime
excels at creating these stories, so much so that the term “feel-good anime” has
become fairly ubiquitous. These shows can take many forms, but their defining
characteristic is that they make you feel happy on a fundamental level. They
don’t challenge or engage you in any significant way, but you enjoy them
nonetheless. These stories employ lighthearted tones, lovable characters, and,
importantly, very little real tension or struggle. The characters have
challenges to overcome, but there is never any doubt that they will succeed. Feel-good
shows won’t satisfy a hunger for intricate mysteries or gripping drama, but
they serve as a pleasant distraction from life’s darker moments. I don’t want
to dive into the philosophical ramifications of these goofy stories, as that
would betray what they’re all about. Instead of overthinking them, I will briefly
share my three favorite feel-good anime and explain why they bring a smile to my face.
Konosuba is a show
about the worst party of adventurers ever to grace the pages of fiction. All
four of the main heroes have serious personality issues that often prevent them
from being as successful as they should be, but their struggle only ever comes
across as charming and hilarious. The series’ consistently light and playful
tone keeps everything feeling fun even when the protagonist is gruesomely
killed. Twice. These characters may be idiots, but it’s impossible not to love
them. When they fail, you laugh. When they succeed, you cheer. No matter what
these morons are doing, it’s sure to make you happy.
No Game No Life
This is a pretty dumb show under the guise of a smart one. The basic idea is that two genius siblings are
brought to a world where everything is decided by simple games. They then decide
the obvious course of action is to take over the world and challenge God to a
chess match. The show may set up high stakes for many of these games, but Sora
and Shiro’s attitude towards everything neutralizes any tension that could be
established. They don’t lose. Period. This isn’t presented as a stubborn declaration
of pride, rather as a statement of fact. With that knowledge, the show devolves
into watching the siblings’ silly shenanigans as they trounce every opponent
they come across. Also, there’s fanservice. Like, a lot. All in all, No Game No
Life sacrifices its potential for intellectual stimulation for all around
fun. Nothing wrong with that.
Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid
I went into this show for the first time expecting an incredibly shameless, shallow mess about a lesbian and her pet titty dragon. I ended up being exactly right… save for the “shallow” part. Like the other two shows I’ve mentioned, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid does not shy away from fanservice. Look past that though, and you’ll find an incredibly sweet story about family that hits closer to home than it should. The conflicts in this show are incredibly mundane despite its wacky premise, and include moving, fitting in at school, and understanding your friends’ emotional needs. None of that ever gets too heavy though, as the cast’s wacky misadventures keep everything goofy and fun (for the most part). I highly recommend you check it out if you haven’t, just make sure you don’t lewd the dragon loli.
So those were three of my favorite feel-good stories, what are some of yours? They don’t have to be anime! Just tell me what tales put can put a smile on your face no matter how many times you experience them.