Anime Serenity, too

The soothing qualities of anime; or a case for re-watching favourites during lockdown or any time, continues…

My previous post touched on the unfortunate nosedive my art motivation has taken due to lockdown. It’s harsh, but this has also enriched my ongoing efforts to pursue a source of research and inspiration in the form of anime. I mentioned the soothing qualities of a re-watch because revisiting old and faithful friends not only cheers and comforts, but you get to look at it again from a fresh perspective. I probably recall a lot of the story, so I see another viewing of the show as a good opportunity to really look at the finer details and probably (hopefully) pick up on things I’ve missed. I prefer to watch in the original Japanese, or Chinese (usually Mandarin) if it’s a donghua, so reading and watching at the same time will inevitably have you miss some of the finer details, but I don’t let this sway me.

If I first watched it in the original language then I have found switching to a dub feels a little weird, but to be honest it can go the other way – if I watched something dubbed it takes a bit of getting used to watching it in the original language. Ouran Highschool Host Club is an example of that, and I’m re-watching it in Japanese right now.

I really enjoy keeping a visual record of what I’ve watched using Pinterest which is a lot of fun in itself. I think I am one of life’s collectors, to be honest. It’s also very obvious as to which anime might have a special place in my heart as the number of pins I save can be a bit mental – or disappointing,  if the anime was not the hit I was hoping for.

I’m going to talk about four more of those favourites now. I’ll keep in mind my plan to do some fan art as a kick towards getting back on the arting track but maybe that’s for the future given the current limitations of spacelessness due to lockdown. I made that word up, by the way.

I have chosen these examples as they all have a pretty and elegant feel to the art and so make visual sense to me. They are not chosen for any similarities within the stories but mostly for their visual mood; they are very quiet and gentle to the eye which lends to the soothing and calm quality of the story telling, and that is all.

Ouran Highschool Host Club / Ouran Koukou Host Club

Ouran High School Host Club is just excellent. It is a romantic reverse harem parody and very, very funny. I think it is the go-to anime for me when I need some cheer. The characters are each and every one of them a wonderful part of that “ridiculous bunch” in their own way. Each character shines – each adding their own individual lunacy to the humour and I love them all.

The art style is soft and cute, fun and flamboyant.  I have watched this many times and I’m aware of the ending being brutally incomplete. Incomplete but surprisingly fine (for me) although I wouldn’t say no to another season. I collected the manga to address the lack of closure and I have no regrets.  

The manga cover art is actually shown in the ending credits which I think is a great touch. I think the manga’s cover art is to die for, actually. The entire collection is so pretty! The manga is just excellent – such gorgeous closure. I might take forever finishing this piece as I’m going to go re-read it…

Fruits Basket (2001)

The original Fruits Basket from 2001 is darkly adorable because for something so merry it has some rather dark undertones. It is a story about a family with a secret; and a story about friendships and romance. It is a tranquil experience which really connects with me and makes me feel soothed and calm. Its quirky humour is just wonderful. The inclusion of a best bits recap along with the delightful music at the end lends the show a unique feeling of warmth.

The story is, however, incomplete. It is frustratingly incomplete, but this has been addressed by a re-make which expands on the characters and the story in more depth. I love that show, too. The art is a lot fresher – dare I say, more sophisticated – the story more in depth, but it has not spoiled the original for me. There is definitely room in the world for both.

I decided I’d like to collect the manga some time ago but I don’t really have the ability (in terms of space and finances) – it feels like a must for me, though as this anime is incomplete and from what I understand it doesn’t exactly follow the manga, either. Because of all these differences there has to a place for all the formats we now have available.

Its opening and ending music is dreamy (both the Japanese and English versions) – the score goes from tinkling, sleepy music, to downright chaotic madness, throughout the show and the story is carried forward by this and we are happily taken with it. Just watching this slightly flawed, incomplete series is warming my heart all over again. It’s quiet, peaceful imagery with it’s cool muted colours feels like a sunny winters day. It’s like a dark fairy tale.

Kase-san and Morning Glories (Asagao to Kase-san)

Kase-san and Morning Glories is such a sweet, warm romance. A story about the blossoming romance between two girls who are quite different from each other.

It’s a story about the shy, self-conscious tentative steps at the beginning of their relationship, the threat of separation, and their sweet innocence – all delivered with a light airy sense of tranquillity. The short film’s opening credits summarises the development of their relationship where we see their confession has already taken place, and we are then taken directly to ‘the what happens next’ stage. The story looks at their hopes, romance and their insecurities and, as the end song finishes, it explains the meaning behind morning glories which I think adds to the closure of this brief but important episode in their lives.

I have watched this film a few times now – its so charming! Its whole mood is light and airy, and the art really supports this. The background art feels like a gentle watercolour painting. Its soft painterly quality is so aesthetically pleasing – with occasional sprinkles of warm light and vibrant flowers, its like drowning in Spring.

Tsuki ga Kirei (As the moon, so beautiful)

Tsuki ga Kirei is another extremely sweet romance. The characters portrayal is quite realistic, and they are innocent and precious and flawed. The story lets us take a gentle stroll with them as we experience their shy and careful approach to dealing with young love, school, friends, and family. The artwork seemed a little plain to me to begin with – it seemed a little too “pale”, a little too naive. But it really did grow on me – it became totally fitting – not plain, at all – just pure. It added to the charm and I came to appreciate its simplicity. I really can’t find an explanation as to why this story works so well – it really is just beautiful. The story also provides a lot of closure to what happens next during the end credits. I probably re-watched and paused that part way too many times than I’d care to admit but, in my defence, there was a lot of texting to read through and my only real complaint is they should have made that into another season or at least a special episode.

And yet – this is the difficulty a slice of life anime fan must endure. It’s a small, detailed fragment of the life of the characters we grow to love. Neither the beginning nor the end. It’s like some kind of torture if you really think about it. 


MAL (MyAnimeList)


  • Ouran Highschool Host Club (Ouran Koukou Host Club) – Bones
  • Fruits Basket (2001) – Studio Deen
  • Asagao to Kase-san ( Kase-san and Morning Glories) – Zexcs
  • Tsuki ga Kirei  (As the moon, so beautiful) – feel.


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