By Breanna Sak
Anime has held an unfavorable stigma about it that has made many feel deterred from seeing what it has to offer. However, I am here to help make the jump into anime feel more approachable by showing a close-up view of what you can expect. Having been a part of the anime community for almost eight years, I know which animes are sure to get your heart pounding with anticipation. I am also pairing each of the shows with another, so if you enjoy one of them, there is a strong probability that you will also like its counterpart. While this anime recommendation series is intended for newcomers, it also embeds sneaky ploys to keep even long-term anime fans interested.
For this issue, we will be looking at two shows with lighter themes that are sure to become a comfort anime that you can effortlessly watch over and over, because of the emotional investment you’ll have in the characters and plot.
There will be minor spoilers throughout, however, they will be kept to a minimum so that the full journey is left for you to discover and explore on your own.
“Talent is something you bloom, instinct is something you polish,” Coach Ukai Sr.
Haikyuu is the story of Shoyo Hinata, a short-statured boy who desperately wants to play volleyball and follow in the footsteps of his role model, The Tiny Giant, who played at the National tournament on the Karasuno High School team. Even though Hinata wanted to play on a team when he was in middle school, his school didn’t have enough members for one and he had to spend most of his time practicing on his own. Luckily, thanks to his friends, who he convinced to become a temporary team, he was able to participate in the last tournament of middle school. However, during his first and only match of this tournament, he faces Tobio Kageyama, an allstar competitor who relentlessly shuts down Hinata’s ragtag team. Even though he was defeated, Shoyo is determined to follow his dreams, and declares Kageyama to be his rival. And as fate would have it, both of them choose to go Karasuno High School and are forced to become teammates.The Karasuno volleyball team has big shoes to fill, but with talented newcomers and supportive upperclassmen, the team once again dreams of going to Nationals.
Haikyuu is so enjoyable because of how unpredictable and intense the matches become, each episode keeps you thoroughly engaged and rooting for Karasuno the whole time. It also succeeds by balancing a lot of the serious and intense moments with its comedy and lightheartedness.The author managed to create a lot of depth by adding many detailed supporting characters and their different views of what it means to be a part of a team. Finally, the absolute best part of watching Haikyuu comes from learning each characters’ motives and the progression of getting to know and understand them.
“It’s not always easy to see the good in people, but if you can somehow, find a way to believe in them, because sometimes that’s all it takes for someone to help someone else.” -Kyoko Honda
To start, Fruits Basket was originally animated back in the early 2000’s and only covered a small portion of the manga. However, in 2019 the show was given a reboot and the studio immediately committed to telling the entirety of the source material, which translates into three anime seasons. The third season is currently airing, and the story should reach completion by the end of this year. It is the reboot series that I am recommending, as the original is outdated and does not hold a candle to the new rendition.
Fruits Basket follows the story of Tohru Honda, a teenage girl who has been finding her own path after the sudden death of her mother. We learn about her situation and her chance encounter with a special neighboring family, the Sohma’s. Once acquainted with a few of the members, she accidentally learns of the Sohma family secret, which is that 12 of them are possessed by the animals of the Chinese zodiac. This ailment can make them turn into their designated animal form when they are stressed, weakened or embraced by a member of the opposite sex who are not zodiac spirits themselves. The Sohma family keeps their condition a secret, only allowing certain people into their fold and, as a result, Tohru’s knowledge creates quite the predicament. On the surface, the foundation of the show sounds rather quirky, but it smoothly matures into an amazing story about the different forms of love and hate and the acceptance of genuine compassion from someone who loves you.
Tohru’s mother, Kyoko, instilled in her a lot of emotional intelligence, which grew into an innate ability to have empathy for others. Tohru always does everything in her power to be the best person she can be with the remnants of her mother’s teachings, this draws people in and makes them want to stand by her side.