We all watch anime for different reasons. To be entertained, to be moved, to be inspired. Sometimes, we watch for the deeper message. But once in a while, something we’re watching for other reasons lands in that latter category. And that happened more than once in the recent spring anime season!
Read on for a look at shows that started out as fun for one reason, but became so much more. These shows dug deep into the human condition: creativity, love and romance, and even how to defend the people we care about while still showing compassion. What other shows did you get positive messages from this season?
Yuri Is My Job! Addresses Many Kinds of Love
Yuri rom-com Yuri Is My Job! has a simple elevator pitch: a couple that’s cute on main in a café actually can’t stand each other. But that’s just the gateway. In actuality, this spring anime series digs into some serious relationship geometry. Love, hate, friendship, and simply coexisting as coworkers are all in the balance. But there’s also the elusive definition of schwestern, which is a question both inside and outside the show.
As our many protagonists confront their complicated feelings toward each other, some question whether romance—real, out-of-character romance—should have a place under the café’s roof. Exploring this question leads to the idea of many kinds of closeness. There’s more than romantic love. The true meaning of “sisters” in this setting is its own kind of love. And as much as that’s lampshaded in yuri media, maybe acknowledging that special friendship as its own category can help to process difficult romantic feelings, too.
My Clueless First Friend Has the Cure for Bullying
Okay, maybe that’s a tall order. Regrettably, bullying will always exist in some form, and there’s no sure-fire way to make it stop. But Taiyou Takada, the sunny co-star of spring anime My Clueless First Friend, has sure gotten close. His willful ignorance of his classmates’ teasing is one of the few things getting Nishimura (the “Grim Reaper”) through the school year.
Even if his methods aren’t a real-world cure-all, they do demonstrate the rhyme and reason behind bullying. Takada’s unabashed admiration of Nishimura—in particular the things about which she is being teased—defuses the consequences of the bullying. When the teasing is turned around and made into something benign, it spoils the whole exercise. It may not end it forever, but it stops it for now.
World Dai Star Understands Creativity
Spring anime Stella of the Theater: World Dai Star is the animated branch of a certain acting-centric media mix project. Thus, we expected a bit of fun and some cool character designs. But this series—set in a future where actors have evolved superhuman “Senses”—actually hits the nail on the head in terms of what it means to be an actor.
Throughout our time with the Sirius troupe, we see a lot of very real problems addressed. How do you work effectively as a team? How do you deal with getting cast in small parts? What happens if a co-star is upstaging you? And how do you make a role your own? This is just the tip of the iceberg, as later episodes dig deep into what makes people want to take the stage in the first place.