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Written by Nena Serafimovska
Anime is on the up and up, there’s no denying it. Anime characters dominate cosplay at cons, artist alleys are 70% manga and anime, etc. Whether you’re new to anime or a seasoned viewer, here’s a list of titles to add to your must-watch list.
Set in modern-day Tokyo, where humans live in constant fear of ‘ghouls’, creatures that look and act just like regular people, but feed on human flesh. Anime vampires basically. Ken Kaneki’s life is thrown into chaos when a violent encounter with a ghoul turns him into a ghoul-human half-breed, trapping him physically and ideologically between their two worlds, and forcing him to play both sides as he tries to come to terms with his new powers, and the realisation that maybe ghouls aren’t the real monsters…
Gripping supernatural horror with fantastic pacing and character development.
Violet Evergarden, an orphan and former soldier who lacks emotional awareness, starts a new life at the CH Postal Service as an “Auto Memories Doll”, tasked with translating people’s thoughts into words. She’s unwittingly thrust into a world full of emotion, which she doesn’t understand, and herein starts her search for meaning and connection with other people.
Described as a “rollercoaster of feels”, you’ll probably want a box of tissues handy for this one. Kyoto Animation once again demonstrates that the studio is in top-form, with the colours and detail in every scene being just as beautiful and engaging as the storyline.
ANCIENT MAGUS’ BRIDE
Abandoned by her parents and neglected by family members, 15-year-old Chise Hatori sells herself at a slave auction in the hopes of finding a home with someone who will want her. When a sorcerer with great power (and a wolf’s skull for a face) buys her with the intention of making her his apprentice, Chise is transported to a rural England that looks like something straight out of a Miyazaki film. Magical creatures, dreamlike landscapes and dangerous encounters become a part of everyday life as Chise learns about a whole new realm, herself, and the master that wants to make her his bride.
A Japanese re-telling of Beauty And The Beast that deals with complex issues like self-worth, family, love and more.
Netflix And AnimeLab
Satoru Fujinuma is a young manga artist who has a rare ability called “Revival”, which sends him back in time to prevent life-threatening situations moments before they happen. During one of these episodes, he is mysteriously sent back 18 years in the past, to when he was still in elementary school, giving him the chance to prevent a kidnapping that resulted in the death of three of his childhood friends.
A great mystery series; beautifully illustrated and deeply enthralling.
Retsuko is a 25-year-old, single, Red Panda that works in the accounting department of a traditional Japanese trading firm. Her workday is dominated by pushy superiors, sexist bosses, annoying co-workers that won’t let up about their ‘amazing’ children, and paperwork that never seems to end. To deal with the rising aggression she feels toward everyone and everything, Retsuko unleashes her emotions via death metal, which she secretly sings at her local karaoke every night.
Highly relatable for anyone who has ever worked an office job, or any young professional who may be frustrated with their work, really. With hilarious death metal ‘office inspired’ karaoke sessions at the end of each episode.
YUUNA AND THE HAUNTED HOT SPRINGS
Kogarashi Fuyuzora, a psychic who has had a string of bad luck leaving him homeless, is forced to find whatever he can on the cheap. He lucks out when he stumbles across the Yuragi Inn, a cheap boarding house and famous old hot springs inn. But things seem too good to be true and Kogarashi quickly realises that the inn is haunted by the ghost spirit of Yuuna, a high school student whose body was found abandoned on-site. Adventure abounds as Kogarashi helps Yuuna with unfinished business and discovers the supernatural secrets of the inn’s other occupants.
The folks at Madman Entertainment have dubbed this a “slightly naughty hot springs and ghost romantic comedy”.
OVERLORD SEASON 3
Set in 2138, when virtual reality gaming is at its peak, Yggdrasil, a popular online game, is scheduled to be shut down. Momonga, who has spent hours of his life crafting himself into the most powerful wizard Yggdrasil has ever seen, refuses to log out, only to discover that once the game goes offline he is still fully conscious as his character, and the non-player characters have developed personalities of their own.
A great adventure series in which Momonga and his servants take control of the new world and try to figure out how they’re still active, if there are any other ‘survivors’ and just how much freedom they have in this lawless land.