Who doesn’t love all the conflicts and twists that shounen anime have in store for viewers? However, on those inevitable blue days, anime shows with complex storylines and slambang action don’t cut it. What viewers seek is an anime that’s as heartwarming as a warm cup of cocoa on a cold Christmas evening.
Luckily, for days when life gets icky, there’s a long catalog of heartwarming anime that can not only make viewers feel good about themselves but also about the world around them. Among these, some of the best ones premiered recently in 2020 and can instantly serve as an antidote or escapism for those who want to have a good laugh or just feel uplifted.
Drawing its inspiration from the girlfriend renting service in Japan, Rent-a-Girlfriend tells the story of Kazuya Kinoshita, a 20-year-old boy whose girlfriend suddenly breaks up with him. To recover from his heartbreak, he uses an online app to rent a girlfriend. After setting up a date with the beautiful Chizuru Mizuhara, he hopes that things will finally change for the better. But to his dismay, they get off on the wrong foot on the first day itself.
As the show progresses, a series of cosmic concordances keep bringing Chizuru and Kazuya together. And as much as they would hate to confess it, they must eventually accept their romantic feelings for one another.
Set in the Renaissance era, Arte tells the tale of a titular artist who dreams of being bigger than what is expected from her. Defying all cultural and social obligations, she sets out to be an artist. However, her journey is replete with major pitfalls. Yet, she defies all odds and tries to make the most out of the opportunities she finds along the way.
While Arte’s awe-inspiring courage to follow her dreams is enough to fascinate many, her brewing love story with another artist makes viewers stick around for more.
8 Sing “Yesterday” For Me
Bereft of any plot twists or exaggerated melodrama, Sing “Yesterday” For Me portrays its characters as real humans. At its fore is Rikuo Uozumi who has settled for a rather mediocre life, working at a convenience store after graduating from college.
However, after a fateful encounter with the lively Haru Nonaka and his college crush, Shinako Morinome, the course of his life slowly begins to change. At times, it’s for the better, while other times, for the worse. Because of how simple it stays with its premise, the anime may not be for everyone. But capturing life as it is, the show encapsulates the very essence of the slice-of-life genre.
7 Aggretsuko Season 3
Despite its cutesy childish demeanor, Aggretsuko is a reflection of the day-to-day snags of every office-working adult. It revolves around the life of Retuko, a cute red panda who succumbs to the work pressure and misogynistic remarks of her stereotypical pig of a boss. To vent her frustrations, she gets drunk at a local karaoke bar and sings heavy metal music.
Viewers will not only resonate with Retsuko’s everyday workplace issues but will also find solace in her zany approach towards finding her way out of stressful situations.
6 Ascendance Of A Bookworm Part 2
The central character of Ascendance Of A Bookworm is a young girl who loves books. But as fate would have it, just when she’s about to become a librarian, she meets doom. Luckily for her, she gets a second chance at life; this time around in a world that is bereft of books.
Reincarnated as a frail five-year-old girl, it now comes down to her to make her dream of reading books a reality. Although it begins as a typical Isekai, Ascendance of a Bookworm later defies most stereotypes of the genre and weaves a compelling adventure that makes viewers ask for more.
5 Somali And The Forest Spirit
In the world of Somali and the Forest Spirit, humans are on the brink of extinction. Spirits, goblins, and other fantastical creatures now rule the planet while the remnants of the human population are persecuted.
One fine day, a lost human girl crosses paths with a Golem who guards the forest. And it’s this fateful encounter that changes the course of the hateful relationship between humans and other creatures. There’s a heartwarming father-daughter dynamic between the two main characters of the series, which is further amped by the show’s stunning animation and calming visuals.
4 Kaguya-sama: Love Is War Season 2
For the uninitiated, a tsundere is a character who is initially all hot-headed and hostile towards their lover. However, with time, the character slowly starts warming up and shows a friendlier and loving side. Kaguya-sama: Love Is War is all about two tsundere high school characters who are smitten by each other but won’t confess it because of their big egos. It’s this conflict in their interests that lead to hilarious outcomes.
While the first season of Kaguya-sama: Love Is War is all about endless gag reels where the two protagonists duke it out in high school, the second one instills some warm lovey-dovey drama.
3 My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Season 3
My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU focuses on Hachiman, a cynic whose mockery of modern social relationships infuriates his teacher. As a result, he’s forced to join his school’s Volunteer Club and assist those who need help. What starts as a forced endeavor, later becomes an activity he learns to embrace. Along the way, he also befriends two girls, Yukino and Yui, who help him change his shallow perspective of the world.
Towards season 3, drawing close to graduation, the show starts wrapping up the high school adventures of its dynamic trio. While they try to pan out their lives ahead, they learn some life-changing lessons.
2 Fruits Basket Season 2
Ranked among the most popular Shojo anime of our time, the Fruits Basket reboot has surpassed almost everyone’s expectations. With its final season around the corner, the series is still going strong because of its beautiful writing and relatable characters.
The show centers on Tooru Honda, who starts living in a tent all by herself after some unforeseeable tragedies. When the Souma family learns about her homelessness, they offer her a helping and let her stay with them. Soon, Tooru discovers that there’s a lot more to the Souma’s than meets the eye—they can turn into Chinese Zodiac animals. This marks the inception of her adventures with her new fantastical family.
Unlike most slice-of-life anime, Kakushigoto does not revolve around romantic high school relationships. Instead, it focuses on the struggles of an adult man name Kakushi who is a manga artist and also a single parent. The biggest dilemma of Kakushi’s life is that he only writes manga that has “inappropriate” content.
Due to this, he’s too embarrassed to tell his daughter about his line of work. While he attempts to lie to her by claiming that he’s a regular corporate worker, his daughter’s curiosity leads to some very hilarious situations. In all of its comedy, there’s a dash of reality where the anime highlights the cutthroat manga industry and also highlights the issues faced by a single parent.
NEXT: 5 Anime That Are Great For Beginners (& 5 For The More Seasoned Viewer)
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