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5 Wholesome Anime That Will Leave You Smiling



It’s October, which means Fall season anime are finally kicking into gear! You may be looking for a good show to relax with or something to tide you over between weekly episodes. At the end of a long day, sometimes you just need to wind down. Maybe you had a rough day at work or things just haven’t been going your way. Thankfully, anime has got you covered. These are (in no particular order) five shows that have aired and offer a comfy, cozy, and wholesome watching experience.

  1. Tanaka-kun is Always Listless (JP: Tanaka-kun wa Itsumo Kedaruge)

Tanaka-kun is a typical high school slice-of-life setting with an atypical sense of humor. The show’s comedy strongly relies on non-sequiturs, deliberately awkward pauses, and cloudcuckoolander logic. It’s strongly reminiscent of Western comedies like Bob’s Burgers or Home Movies in that regard, but the humor is never deprecatory.

Tanaka-kun is centered around the titular character, a master of being lazy, or “listless”. While the show uses Tanaka-kun as the impetus for several jokes, he also acts as the focal point for a strong cast of supporting characters. Tanaka-kun draws several characters into the fold and the show gives ample room for their relationships to expand, intertwine, and develop. It’s a show about nothing, but the characters are so delightful you won’t care.

Tanaka-kun is wonderfully weird and best watched wrapped up in a large blanket.

  1. Natsume’s Book of Friends (JP: Natsume Yuujinchou)

Wholesomeness is a concept that focuses on well-being and positivity; Natsume’s Book of Friends places it in the context of the supernatural. It’s almost like a storybook in that regard, where tales of fantastical spirits and creatures teach the audience a lesson. The lesson in this show is that there is always more to someone than you may first see.

The longstanding series follows a young boy, Natsume, who spends his time freeing spirits that are bound to the enigmatic Book of Friends. The Book was originally owned and filled by Natsume’s grandmother, who had bullied several spirits into servitude. Natsume’s ongoing mission is to release these spirits of their contract and offer them the freedom they’ve been seeking.

Where the wholesomeness kicks in is the audience slowly uncovering the whole picture. Over the course of the show we learn what kind of person Natsume’s grandmother was and what kind of a relationship she had with the spirits she supposedly bullied. Only through talking and understanding do the spirits find any peace, with Natsume as the primary driving force.

  1. ReLIFE

Everyone’s experience in high school was different, but we generally accept it as an awkward period of time. ReLIFE presents the oft-wondered question, “What would you do if you could go through high school again?” The way the show addresses this question is interesting, because it changes the word “What” to “How”. This distinction is important because it frames the dilemma as an issue of perspective and mindset rather than decisions and mistakes.

ReLIFE is a standard high school slice-of-life, the twist being the protagonist is a 27-year old man beaten down by the world. The protagonist, Arata Kaizaki, gets the chance to go through high school as a teenager again thanks to the ReLife program. Because of his actual age, his other classmates see him as mature and he quickly makes friends. Arata soon (re)discovers that high-schoolers are plagued by insecurities, pettiness, and misunderstandings.

Over the course of the series, Arata helps his classmates and friends gain much needed perspective on their lives. Communication and consideration become important values that solve most, if not all of the dilemmas the characters experience. By helping his newfound high school friends, Arata slowly regains a positive outlook on life and humanity.

Human relationships are a two-way street, and ReLIFE shows that it’s never too late to change or help others do the same.

  1. Silver Spoon (JP: Gin no Saji)

From the creator of Fullmetal Alchemist comes Silver Spoon, a show centered around (you guessed it) high school life. The author, Hiromu Arakawa, grew up on a dairy farm in the agriculture-heavy island of Hokkaido, Japan. There’s a level of detail, respect, and love that suffuses the rural setting of the show. Silver Spoon is equal parts slice-of-life and crash course on agribusiness.

The show eases the audience into the surprisingly deep world of farming through the protagonist, Yuugo Hachiken. Hachiken, born and raised in the metropolis of Sapporo, fails his high school entrance exams and instead enrolls in Ezo Agricultural, a school out in the boonies. His mindset at the start of the show is that if his academic workload is light, he can focus on college prep. It doesn’t take long before Hachiken finds that he’s in over his head and out of his depth.

The best part of Silver Spoon is seeing Hachiken change his perspective and evolve as a person over time. Like Arata in ReLIFE, he’s an individual who’s been beaten down by his environment. Despite Hachiken’s initial dismissive hostility, his classmates welcome him with the same passion and fervor they approach their schoolwork. His narrow-minded mentality slowly fades away, replaced by a strong sense of initiative, determination, and respect for others.

Silver Spoon is a journey of self-discovery that shows good people struggling to be better.

  1. Sweetness and Lightning (JP: Amaama to Inazuma)

A lot of anime have story arcs where the characters endure some sort of tragedy, ending on a poignant note. Sweetness and Lightning extends that narrative past the ending by focusing on rebuilding life after hardships. The show follows an endearing trio of characters: a single father whose wife died six months prior, his energetically free-spirited young daughter, and a shy, self-sufficient high school girl. Sweetness and Lightning slowly introduces other characters into the narrative, but the story largely follows the trio of Kouhei, Tsumugi, and Kotori.

Like most slice-of-lifes, the premise for Sweetness and Lightning is simple. Kouhei and his daughter Tsumugi have a chance encounter with Kotori, whose mother runs a hole-in-the-wall restaurant. Not wanting to feed his daughter another night of take-out, Kouhei stays so Kotori, who is more than happy to have company, can cook them a meal. The experience and meal delight Tsumugi so much that it becomes a regular occurrence for the trio to meet up and prepare home-cooked dishes.

This is what separates Sweetness and Lightning from other slice-of-life shows. The unique blending of character-driven narrative and the zen of cooking results in a delightful and heartwarming experience. Cooking in the show, just as in real life, is a communal experience that strengthens interpersonal ties. It’s an involved process for everyone, and getting to share in the fruits of your labor with friends and family is an essential part of being human.

You can stream all of these shows on Crunchyroll; posted below are links to each show’s MyAnimeList pages.

Tanaka-kun is Always Listless

Natsume’s Book of Friends


Silver Spoon

Sweetness and Lightning

Kyle grew up with a controller in one hand and a book in the other. He would've put something else in a third hand, but science isn't quite there yet. In the meantime, he makes do with watching things like television, film, and anime. He can be found posting ramblings on or trying to hop on the social media bandwagon @LikeTheRogue



  1. tazmeah

    October 8, 2017 at 10:23 pm

    I saw numbers 5, 3, and 1 and I agree with those, so maybe the other two are good as well.

    • Kyle Rogacion

      October 9, 2017 at 2:40 pm

      Natsume and Silver Spoon are both very solid choices. If you’re looking for something an overarching plot and character development, check out Silver Spoon. If you want something a little more chill and episodic, definitely watch Natsume.

  2. Kris

    August 28, 2020 at 8:58 am

    Great!!! Update with more wholesome anime please. I wanna see more!!! BTW Kimi no Na wa is my best.

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Anime Ichiban 33: Coming into Maturity



Anime Ichiban welcomes our anime waifu overlords, old and new. Join Matt and Kyle this episode as they discuss the return of the Goddess of Anime, Haruhi Suzumiya herself, then hop on over to the new virutal sensation that’s finally sweeping English-speaking nations: Hololive Vtubers!

For this episode of Anime Ichiban, the SHITSUMON! topic will have the duo diving into recently released Aggretsuko Season 3 and The Great Pretender and explore how the two shows work with mature themes.


0:00 – Introductions and what we’ve been up to
23:33 – The Return of Haruhi Suzumiya(‘s light novels)
37:23 – The Debut of Generation 1 of Hololive English Vtubers
53:07 – Minor news roundup: (Shenmue anime announced; Fate/Stay Night Heaven’s Feel Part 3 movie debuts to huge success; KyoAni fire updates)
58:35 – SHITSUMON! How does anime portray mature themes in its storytelling?

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Anime Ichiban 32: The Art of Following a Formula

Corporate shakeups and Galapagos Syndrome spell omens of a changing global landscape for the anime industry.



diary of our days at breakwater

Corporate shakeups and Galapagos Syndrome spell omens of a changing global landscape for the anime industry and that the crew digs into along with how a series can effectively perform within its genre conventions.


0:00 – Introductions
12:28 – Legacy piracy site KissAnime shuts down
28:45 – AT&T reportedly looking to sell Crunchyroll
43:27 – Galapagos Syndrome: Is anime in danger of losing its global identity?
58:41 – News Reel
1:02:20 – SHITSUMON! How do shows perform effectively and still entertain in genres whose formulae are already well known and expected?


Intro – “Cagayake! GIRLS” by Houkago Tea Time (K-ON! opening theme)
Outro – “Tsuri no sekai e” by Umino High School Breakwater Club (Our Diary at the Breakwater ending theme)

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‘One Piece: Stampede’ is an All-Star Behemoth Buckling Under Predictability

Does One Piece: Stampede sail all the way to Laugh Tale, or remain anchored in an East Blue of mediocrity?



As the fourteenth film in Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece saga, One Piece: Stampede was released in 2019 to critical and financial success. As a big-budget commemoration of the anime’s 20th anniversary, Stampede has lots to live up to, from successfully stamping a momentous two decades, to satiating the hype of a passionate global fanbase. Does it sail all the way to Laugh Tale, or remain anchored in an East Blue of mediocrity?

It’s party time at the Pirate Fest!

The Pirate Fest, a grand gathering of the sea’s most infamous individuals, is underway! At the festival, the Straw Hats compete with their Worst Generation rivals to retrieve a treasure of Gol D. Roger. But behind the scenes, festival organiser Buena Festa and legendary pirate Douglas Bullet are scheming something sinister.

Cutting to the chase, One Piece: Stampede soon kicks into an all-out battle against said Douglas Bullet, with Luffy working with friend and foe alike to fell his opponent.

Much like Dragon Ball Super: Broly, also animated by Toei Animation, each frame of One Piece: Stampede is a treasure to behold. Fluid animation and colors spell eye-candy magic, and the odd bit of 3D animation isn’t (too) visually jarring.

One Piece: Stampede nails its mission statement of lightning-paced popcorn entertainment to a tee. Goofy shonen films don’t have to transcend ‘awesome action and silly superpowers’. Rather than shooting for the moon and coming up short, Stampede settles for smashing the sky. With white-knuckle fights and satisfying character moments conveyed with a zippy pace, One Piece: Stampede assuredly brings what fans want. And whilst not as developed or memorable as other film baddies (One Piece: Strong World’s Shiki or One Piece: Z’s titular Z), Douglas Bullet is terrifyingly tough enough to tick the boxes.

Playing It Safe

Whilst the ‘playing it safe’ ethos of One Piece: Stampede succeeds on the surface, the imaginative innovation of One Piece: Baron Omatsuri and the Secret Island is missing, and the excess of characters prevents the possibility of channeling the simplicity of One Piece: Dead End Adventure. Stampede works as anniversary celebratory bombast but isn’t the series’ smartest, and with the core of the film occurring in a single spot and under dull skies, location fatigue rears its head.

For some, the draw of One Piece: Stampede is its constant character cameos. From the instantly recognizable to the deep cuts, it’s a fun gimmick for fans, although the absence of big names like Kuzan and Jinbei are noticeable. Some cameos fall on the side of groan inducing-ly forced, shoehorning a requisite Zoro fight, or overtly shouting to audiences “Remember them?!” Having no effect on the story, these cameos are clunky and break narrative immersion.

Far from the worst of One Piece’s wildly varied films, Stampede is what it needs to be. It lacks the creative spirit of One Piece’s heights and is dampened by its inconsistent cameo execution, but it’s a fine anniversary celebration for one of manga and anime’s, if not the world’s, best works of fiction. For the uninitiated, it’ll be like an avant-garde acid trip, but for those clued-into Luffy’s antics, it’s a barrage of ballistic glee!

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