The corruption of Microsoft’s anime-loving AI, Rinna, left many dispirited. When even a synthetic otaku schoolgirl can fall to harmful influence, what hope is there for the rest of us? Clearly, it’s time to reflect on the stories instilled in anime and why they actually inspire us. If you’re glum about the state of the world, here are shows guaranteed to restore your faith, turn your frown upside-down, spray some sunshine into the dark clouds, etc. Please… enjoy!
This might be the only feel-good movie ever made about the internet! Imagine John Hughes directing a mash-up of War Games and Tron. Several generations of family pull together during a big reunion to assist one of their youngest–an elite gamer–as he battles a demon-like computer virus that’s over-run a MMO everybody’s plugged into. Any one who’s ever scrolled through a thread knows how nasty comments can get. In Summer Wars, likes, shares, and texts may actually save the world, though!
This is somewhere between Groundhog Day and It’s A Wonderful Life. A senior’s wish to relive college is granted so he finally can get the “best years of your life” he was promised. Each week, he joins a different activity club; but somehow, he never gets closer to the girl of his dreams. Without giving away too much, the show veers from cliché towards the end and offers a real, honest message about appreciating friends you take for granted–even the embarrassing, creepy ones.
Becoming a single parent is a scary prospect already. Imagine how much more daunting it’d be if the child-in-question is technically your aunt. That’s the set-up here, wherein a 30-year-old guy becomes the caretaker of his grandfather’s illegitimate six-year-old daughter. It’s an unusual relationship, to say the least, but this series (otherwise known as “Bunny Drop”) is an encouraging reminder that families come in all shapes and sizes, and life always has a nice way of going on.
We needn’t fear all super-intelligent machines of tomorrow! Some want to be our friends, and maybe even teach us some useful facts, too. If Mr. Rogers merged with the Magic School Bus, he might become this flying, ear-less, blue robot cat. No matter your age, it’s impossible to look at the gentle adventures Doraemon and his gang of junior propeller-heads go on and not think there’s something right in the world. Heck, the Big D’s even good for a quick brush-up on some basic math!
So magical is Hayao Miyazaki’s paint brush that even his unfinished projects radiate whimsy. In the 70s, he pitched an anime adaptation of the world-famous pirate princess’s misadventures, but was sadly rejected by Pippi’s creator, Astrid Lindgren. Lucky for us, the proposal’s conceptual art recently re-surfaced, and it’s impossible not to smile when seeing all the charming personality conveyed in just a handful of loose drawings. Really, we don’t even need a film at this point. Somebody just put these pieces in a storybook like that early draft of Princess Mononoke.
Anime doesn’t always have to be dystopian futures and the cybernetic Apocalypse. What shows do you turn to when you need to cheer up? Stuff our talkback with suggestions
Featured Image Credit: FUNimation
Image Credit: FUNimation, NIS America, Disney XD, Hayao Miyazaki