This past year I have come across anime that makes me feel grateful for the original story writers, illustrators and production staff. For me, the largest appeal of anime as a form of entertainment is its combination of fantastic stories, art and music. The voice acting also plays a large part, as the emotion of the characters can be felt through the voice actor’s performances. Enjoy this feature and comment below on which anime you are thankful for this year!
Ancient Magus Bride
(Original Manga Written and Illustrated by Kore Yamazaki)
A blend of fantasy and modern times, this currently running anime is full of emotional distress and hope. Chise Hatori is a fifteen-year-old girl who believes she has no other choice but to be sold off. A terrifying sorcerer bearing the name of Elias purchases her with the purpose of making her his apprentice and bride. Chise encounters a whole new world that shows her that not everything must be feared. Yet the magical creatures she encounters are not always what they seem.
This is an anime I waited a long time to be produced, and it has finally descended upon us. It’s mix of British fairy stories and Japanese myths fuels my need for a fantastic fantasy story. Set in the UK, Ancient Magus Bride is a blend of mystery, fantasy and a slight bit of horror. Chise is the embodiment of what many people experience, the loss of family and feelings of hope. She slowly begins to learn the value each life has and that all living beings have a purpose.With each passing episode, I find myself waiting until the next portion of the story is revealed, and that’s the only downside– having to wait each week for a new episode to be released.
Restaurant to Another World
(Originally a Light Novel Series Written by Junpei Inuzuka and Illustrated by Katsumi Enami)
A restaurant bearing the name “Western Cuisine Nekoya” resides in the bottom of a large tenant building in an office district in Japan. It seems like a normal place filled with good food and a cheerful chef. Yet, on each Saturday the restaurant’s door is open only to exclusive guests from magical realms. On this day many people of various species and races come together to partake in the enjoyment of delicious western cuisine.
A perfect blend of comfort and mystery, Restaurant to Another World is an anime well worth spending the time to watch. Most of the time the story and the food take precedence over all else. Each character who wanders into the Western Cuisine Nekoya finds themselves comforted not only by the rich food but by memories of happier times and good company. The only complaint I have about the series is that each of the characters from another realm have backstories and plots that are not fully explained or given time to properly develop. Eventually I can see another season going deeper into their individual stories and how they connect to the restaurant, but for now I’m satisfied. I also recommend reading the manga, as it’s a whole different experience reading and seeing how each of the characters feel happier after their comforting meals.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica
(Original Anime Written by Gen Urobuchi and Features Original Character Designs by Ume Aoki)
Madoka Kaname is loved by all those around her. When a mysterious creature meets up with her, she is suddenly offered the chance to become a magical girl. Witches steal the lives of humans as they fall into despair, and magical girls have the power to defeat them. It doesn’t take long for Madoka to learn the price they must pay and that her life will forever be altered.
Madoka Magica takes on a heart-wrenching tone as it explores the idea of what heroic magical girls must sacrifice to have their dreams come true. Sadness and desire rule over this anime, bearing much in similarity to the Sailor Moon franchise. Despite the kawaii appearance of the characters and the pastel color scheme, Puella Magi Madoka Magica will rip your heart into pieces and give new meaning to the lives of magical girls. I often found myself thinking about the weight of this seemingly innocent anime. The series dishes out plenty to ponder over, and it offers a full-bodied story that shows how the magical girl genre has the potential to mature.
All of these anime are available through Crunchyroll.