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2022 is right around the corner, and while it feels fair to say that most are not exactly excited for the new year itself, they are excited to leave 2021 in the past, and I find myself there as well. Thus, rather than sitting around and feeling bummed, I was thinking about the kind of shows that have made me feel hopeful about things to come. So, in dishonor of 2022, here are some shows that will (hopefully) give you some warm feelings going into the new year.
Kuroko no Basket
Part of me wanted to just find five comedy anime for this list and call it a day, and while comedy does often make us happy, they rarely bridge the gap into inspiring hope. Sports stories, on the other hand, can do that pretty effectively. Kuroko no Basket is one such series.
Though the show’s namesake character is not always the underdog, the show does a great job at making one want to root for him, because even during his moments of brilliance, it becomes obvious how much further he has to go. That, combined with its typical never-give-up shonen attitude, makes it an inspiring anime to watch.
Speaking of inspiring sports stories,
The 2018 smash hit Megalobox is not only fun to watch but brings back a nostalgic feeling for a certain era of 1980s film, one where people were justified in being excited about a Mel Gibson movie. Regardless of the obvious Rocky influences, this is an anime that, even more so than Kuroko no Basket, inspires you to root for the main character Junk Dog.
Trapped in poverty, he has resorted to underground fighting rings in order to scrape by. However, given the challenge of Megalonia, along with the opportunity to once again face his rival, he feels more motivated than ever.
While I cannot speak to the quality of the show’s second season, since it ultimately got lost in a sea of seasonal watches to keep up with, the first season of Megalo Box is one that will definitely get you motivated.
A Place Further Than the Universe
Given the events of a…certain episode, which I will spare detailing here for anyone who has yet to see the series, including A Place Further Than the Universe on this list might be a bit controversial. Still, if there is any anime that rises above its somber moments to instill a bit of hope, it is this one.
Whether it be Mari’s desire to live her life outside of the anticipation of adulthood, Hinata’s drive to escape already pending adulthood, or Yuzuki’s wish to be like, and secretly find, her mother, all of these stories collide together beautifully. What is created at the end is an unbreakable bond formed by those who love adventure.
I could honestly say the same thing I said about A Place Further Than the Universe about Violet Evergarden as well, but like, multiplied by five. Still, though there are a lot of moments of tragedy, including in the case of the main character herself, it is those same moments that drive the series’ more hopeful moments.
The profession of auto memory doll, in the context of the series, is one that is deeply intimate, as it requires the auto memory doll to understand the person they are servicing on a familial or even romantic level. While dealing with the trauma of others, Violet learns how to contextualize her own, and comes to love herself even more.
A few first impressions on the isekai series In the Land of Leadale.
An above average film from Hosoda which is unfortunately brought down by a pretty terrible English dub.
A quick update on life and a change to reviews on Animated Observations.
Would it really be my list if I did not include some sappy romance?
Apart from becoming one of my all-time favorite anime, this series does an incredible job at creating a complex romantic dynamic and exploring its implications fully. Almost every character’s arc feels fully resolved, everyone from the main couple, to even Nana, the rockstar who seems to be making a guest appearance from the manga of the same name. Golden Time is a series that not only makes one feel good by the end, but it may even leave some questioning the state of their own relationships.
Which shows have made you feel good recently? Let me know in the comments below. Also, Animated Observations is currently running a survey to gather opinions on the content we put out here, so if you have a few minutes and are willing to help out, it would be greatly appreciated.
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