Iyashikei is a term used for specific types of anime and manga that have a “healing” effect on viewers. It’s a sub-genre that is uniquely Japanese and involves moe characters going about their lives with little drama and a lack of overarching goals. Expect subtle character growth, rural landscapes, beautiful background art, low-key humor and soothing soundtracks!
Here are some anime that best capture the iyashikei sub-genre.
1. Aria the Animation
Studio: Hal Film Maker / TYO Animations (Aria the Avvenire)
Episodes: 53 + 4 OVAs
Quick pitch: By the 24th century, humans have terraformed and colonized Mars. Now named Aqua, the planet is home to Neo-Venezia, which is a harbor city teaming with narrow canals and rustic beauty. Akari Mizunashi is a free-spirited teen from Earth and joins the Aria Company so she may become a tour guide for Neo-Venezia.
2. Tamayura: Hitotse
Studio: TYO Animations
Episodes: 24+ 2 OVAs + 4 movies
Quick pitch: Fuu Sawatari grew up loving photography due to her dad, and the pair often took pictures everywhere they went. After he passed away, Fuu locked away their old photograph album because they kept reminded her of his death. Years later, Fuu’s brother finds the album and looks through the pages with Fuu. Happy members start to flood her heart, and she is determined to take new photos with her dad’s old camera.
3. Flying Witch
Studio: J.C. Staff
Quick pitch: Makoto Kowata moves to the quiet town of Hirosaki, Aomori Prefecture to live with her second cousins as part of her witch training. The abundance of nature is ideal in helping Makoto hone her skills, which seem peculiar to her family and new friends.
4. Non Non Biyori
Studio: Silver Link
Episodes: 24 + 2 OVAs
Quick pitch: The small village of Asahigaoka lacks the conveniences of the city: their school only has a single classroom! But the five girls of different grades never fail to find and adventure in their rural community.
Studio: Kinema Citrus
Quick pitch: Seishuu Handa is a young, handsome, talented, and narcissistic calligrapher living in Tokyo. When an elderly curator criticizes Seishuu’s technique for being too generic, he loses his cool and punches the curator. Seishuu’s father exiles him to live on Goto Island, which has a small rural town. He must deal with the eccentric villagers (which include crazy children and fujoshi) while developing his own calligraphy style.
6. Natsume’s Book of Friends
Studio: Brain’s Base (seasons 1-4) / Shuka (seasons 5-6)
Episodes: 67 (74 when season 6 ends) + 2 OVAs
Quick pitch: Takashi Natsume has always been able to see spirits, which was inherited from his grandma. When she dies, she passes him the Yuujinchou (Book of Friends), which contains spirits that she formed a contract with. Takashi wishes to dissolve the contracts, so the spirits would stop harassing him. But, he slowly warms up to Madara and his classmates due to his interactions with the spirits.
Episodes: 46 + 2 specials + 1 movie
Quick pitch: Mushi are basic lifeforms that exist without goals or a purpose outside of living. Ginko is a mushishi: a person who can see mushi and help people who are being troubled by the beings.
Episodes: 58 + 3 OVAs
Quick pitch: Yuno has always dreamed of attending Yamabuki Arts High School, but is afraid of moving away from her parents. Luckily, her neighbors at Hidamari Apartments are fellow art students, and they are willing to do their best in showing Yuno the odd world of art.
Studio: White Fox
Quick pitch: Cocoa Hoto moves to a new town to attend high school and gets lost looking for a café she is supposed to work at. While wandering, she stumbles upon a place called Rabbit House. Thinking it’s a place where customers can cuddle rabbits, but there are no rabbits to be found! Cocoa learns that it is the very same café she is supposed to work at. She meets other waitresses from different cafés and unwittingly injects joy into their lives.
10. Encouragement of Climb
Episodes: 36 + 1 OVA
Quick pitch: Aoi prefers to stay indoors and has a fear of heights due to an injury. Her friend Hinata loves mountain climbing and is determined to help Aoi to overcome her fears. When they were children, they used to watch the sunrise from a mountain top, but their hobby died when Aoi became a shut-in. Now, they are both planning on reliving those childhood memories, one step at a time.
11. Tanaka-kun is Always Listless
Studio: Silver Link
Episodes: 12 + 2 OVAs
Quick pitch: Tanaka has mastered the listless way of life. Known for his ability to sleep anywhere and for being super laid-back, Tanaka’s only goal is to maintain his lazy lifestyle. His reliable friend Ohta is always watching Tanaka’s back and is willing to help Tanaka finish any tasks that get in the way of his listlessness.
Quick pitch: It’s time to friend up, partner.
What are your favorite relaxing anime?