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The Only Guide You Need to Start Watching Anime: Shows and Movies to Brighten Your Day

Pop Culture

October 09, 2022

Thanks to shows like Naruto and Attack on Titan, Japanese animation (also known as anime) is becoming increasingly popular worldwide. Unlike traditional animation, anime shows and films are often made for teenagers- or even adults. Through the use of complex, rich storylines, relatable characters, and varied animation styles, it isn't hard to understand why so many enjoy anime.

Through the pandemic, anime served as a source of comfort for many, hence the term 'comfort anime'. Regardless of genre, these shows and movies are the perfect pick-me-ups. Whether you're feeling stressed and tired, or generally having a bad day, we hope you can find some comfort in these shows and films.

If you're looking for something to make you smile...

Tokyo Godfathers

When a middle-aged alcoholic, former drag queen, and teenage runaway find an abandoned child on Christmas Eve, what could go wrong? Determined to find a home for the child, the three spend their Christmas trying to piece together the child's true identity, with only a few cryptic clues. Under the direction of renowned artist Satoshi Kon, Tokyo Godfathers is an unlikely holiday film that is sure to make you smile.


At first glance, Doukyussei is a film that is easily overlooked. However, if you take the time to watch it, Doukyusei reveals itself to be a very simple, but very lovely film following the romance of two Japanese schoolboys. One quiet and reserved; the other, nonchalant and headstrong. Although this film isn't an action-packed, laugh-out-loud comedy, the serene watercolor style of art will surely lift your spirits.

My Neighbor Totoro

Studio Ghibli is a beloved animation studio in Japan, and My Neighbor Totoro is one of its most popular films. Even the most mature viewers will find themselves delighted in the adventures of two sisters, and of course, their giant friend Totoro. A reverse coming-of-age story that is sure to take things off your mind, My Neighbor Totoro is a classic.

. . . and pretty much any Studio Ghibli film

We find that almost any film produced by Studio Ghibli offers comfort, warmth, and a strong feeling of nostalgia, but we recommend Whisper of the Heart, Ponyo, and Only Yesterday.

If you're looking for a good coming-of-age story...

Kiki's Delivery Service

Kiki's Delivery Service follows teenage witch-in-training Kiki, who embarks on a journey to regain her lost powers. On the surface, it seems like any coming-of-age film, but Kiki's Delivery Service delivers a touching message about what it means to grow up-and the loneliness that comes with it. A remarkably profound message for a children's film, Kiki's Delivery Service is here to remind us of the trust we have in ourselves, and learning to accept failures along the way.

Your Name

Your Name doesn't quite touch the same feeling of nostalgia that Studio Ghibli does. Rather, it tells a powerful narrative of searching for identity. Two teenagers, Mitsuha and Taki, are from opposite parts of the country: one from the rural countryside, the other in a bustling city.

When they wake up in each other's bodies, they must navigate the other's life before returning to their respective lives. With breathtaking artwork and a personal message, Your Name is a must-watch.

If you're looking for some classic romance...

Fruits Basket

Hailed as 'a classic fan favorite in manga', the Fruits Basket franchise includes two television series and a film. It follows the story of a young orphan named Tohru, who finds herself living with the Sohma family, who are trapped by a strange curse, and her journey to release them. A sweet slice-of-life drama with supernatural elements, Fruits Basket also touches on themes of loss and family as Tohru helps the Sohma family heal from the past.

If you're looking for some action...

Jujutsu Kaisen

Jujutsu Kaisen is an unlikely comfort show, but it turns out to be surprisingly humorous, with plenty of action woven in. In a world where curses and spirits run free, Yuji Itadori (miraculously) swallows a finger by accident and is possessed by an evil spirit. His teacher, Gojo Satoru, takes him under his wing to train him into a jujutsu sorcerer, and thus, his adventure begins. Jujutsu Kaisen is a relatively new show but has gained vast popularity thanks to its fresh plot, unique storytelling, and likable characters (villains too!)

Cowboy Bebop

One of the older shows on this list, Cowboy Bebop, stands out from other anime in its time with its neo-noir style, jazz music, and unconventional setting. Initially set in 2071, Cowboy Bebop follows the journey of a rag-tag group of bounty hunters including the laidback, indifferent Spike Spiegel, the dauntless Faye Valentine, the lovable Edward, and a number of other memorable characters.

A perfect blend of action and humor, Cowboy Bebop provides an engaging story without being too overbearing. It's also a fairly short anime, with only 26 episodes and a film adaptation.

If you're looking for some Sports Shows...


Haikyuu!! is one of the best-known sports anime shows, for good reason. Shoyo Hinata has dreams of becoming the next great volleyball spiker. The only problem? He's 5'4.

As he makes his way into the elite world of high-school volleyball, viewers are introduced to a variety of lovable characters, making it one of the most praised aspects of the show. Many characters have comedic, yet readable flaws and viewers are able to see characters grow throughout the course of the four-season show. A must-see for volleyball fans and anime watchers alike.

Prince of Tennis

Prince of Tennis follows young tennis prodigy Echizen Ryoma, overshadowed by his father, a legendary tennis player in his prime. Throughout the course of the show, he joins the ranks of some of the best middle-school tennis players, and makes a few friends, and enemies, along the way. Unlike Haikyuu!!, Prince of Tennis may seem a little unrealistic, with tennis seeming like more of a superpower than a sport, but it proves delightful nonetheless. A perfect show packed with plenty of action, while delivering a few touching life lessons for viewers.

If you're looking for some all-time favorites...


A strange mix of an intense spy thriller and family drama, SPY x FAMILY follows Loid Forger, who assembles a family consisting of a trained assassin posing as a wife and a young orphan who can read minds. Under the facade of a normal family, Loid spies on an enemy by enrolling the adopted orphan in the same school as the child of his enemy. A relatively new anime, SPY x FAMILY has gained a large amount of popularity thanks to its appeal to a diverse range of people and genre-bending storytelling.

Lupin III

Throughout the Lupin III franchise, spawning many different films and shows, the lovable, though infamous, thief embarks on a variety of heists and adventures. Ranging from darker comedies to family-friendly sagas, the Lupin III franchise offers plenty of choice. If you're looking for a place to start, we recommend watching Lupin Part V (2018) or Lupin III: Castle Of Cagliostro (1979), although most films in the Lupin III franchise can be watched independently.

Jojo's Bizzare Adventures

An over-the-top adventure classic, Jojo's Bizzare Adventures follows various members of the Joestar family. Taking down enemies with unusual powers and fighting villains may sound dark, but the dramatic fashion of the show will make you laugh out loud. The show has also been the source of various online memes and jokes, taking lines out of context. If you'd prefer some comedy over comfort, we highly recommend this fan favorite.

We hope these films and shows brighten your day, and that you enjoyed our recommendations. We encourage you to explore the vast range of genres that anime caters to, and find new movies or shows that interest you. Want to read more? Make sure to follow the Teen Magazine for more movie and film recommendations, reviews, and new content!

Peggy Chen
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Writer since May, 2022 · 7 published articles