Edited by Arnav Diwan
Distancing from friends, social events, and general avenues for serotonin has become routine in these extreme times. When reality becomes mundane, a world of fantasy and adventure can provide a refreshing escape. So here are some brilliantly crafted anime movies and series that you can watch during lockdown.
1. Howl’s Moving Castle, Miyazaki
Loosely based on a 1986 novel of the same name by Diana Wynne Jones, Howl’s Moving Castle follows the story of a young girl who’s cursed by a witch while working in a hat shop. It is set in the twentieth century, at a confluence of magic and technology. Miyazaki's opposition to the United States' invasion of Iraq translates into strong anti-war themes, flavoured by a unique and magical take on compassion and old age.
This film has some of the best animation Miyazaki has produced. It captures the ‘childhood dream’ aesthetic of Ghibli in the best possible manner. It will make you nostalgic for lands you’ve never even visited yet feel achingly drawn to. It also evokes a sense of wonder towards the world we once had as children.
“After the war, they won’t recall they ever were human.”
2. Haikyuu, Haruichi Furudate
This is a volleyball-based anime adapted from the manga of the same name, written and illustrated by Haruichi Furudate. The story follows Hinata, a boy of less than average stature who dreams of becoming a spiker--an attacking position in volleyball. This anime revolves around themes of persistence, friendship and personal growth. It is compelling and heart-warming in equal parts. Crunchyroll listed it in their "Top 100 best anime of the 2010s."
“The fact that he’s different from other people will probably end up being his strength.”
3. Orange, Ichigo Takano.
Orange is the anime adaptation of a romance manga series written and illustrated by Ichigo Takano. It revolves around the life of Naho, a girl who receives a letter from her future self. The contents of the letter show that she will have many regrets in the future and instruct her on how to make the “right” decisions. A slice of life, high-school romance, this anime revolves around themes of redemption, mental health, death and even chronicles multiverses and time travel.
“The orange juice was sweet, yet sour.The taste of sorrow.”
4. One Punch Man, ONE
This is a Japanese superhero franchise created by the artist ONE. It follows Saitama, a superhero with the titular ability to defeat every opponent with a single punch. However, his superhuman strength makes Saitama grow bored of being a hero. There’s no better way to describe this anime than the Rotten Tomatoes critic consensus: "With its state-of-the-art animation, unorthodox hero, and gut-bustlingly funny jabs at the shounen genre, One-Punch Man is simply a knockout."
“If you really want to become strong, stop caring about what others think about you. Living your life has nothing to do with what others think.”
5. Ao Haru Ride, Io Sakisaka
This is the adaptation of a Shōjo manga--a genre aimed at female teen readership. Illustrated by Io Sakisaka, it is a coming of age story focusing on self-discovery, young love and processing loss. The colourful animation sets off dark themes of grief and falling out of love that come up in this anime. The wordplay in the title signifies youth and the blooming of friendship and love in Japanese.
"There are things you can only achieve together. So that someday when you look back, the people you experienced it with will see it as a happy memory with the same warmth that you do."