Ever dreamt of escaping the dreary day to day of a bustling city by moving to the peaceful countryside? Anime have picked up on that need and in the last decade a lot of titles have been produced, starting off along these lines: young people get discouraged after they fail to land a job or their career has become stale, so one way or another they end up in a small village, where their transformation begins. Honey’s Anime has picked the best titles to start off exploring this trend, and who knows, maybe by the end of the article you’d also be tempted to move to the countryside!
1. Barakamon - Master Calligrapher Rediscovers Himself
Kicking off with one of the funniest slice-of-life anime we have watched, we recommend Barakamon. Seishuu Handa is a professional calligrapher with multiple awards. He is the son of another master calligrapher and all his life has revolved around perfecting his craft to the point that his self-confidence is entirely based on his performance. When a renowned veteran critiques his work as unoriginal, Handa loses it and attacks the old man. He is then sent to the Goto Islands to cool off and rethink his actions.
What happens at Goto Islands helps Handa become less of a… snoot! The nosy villagers want to know all about him and young Naru is his self-appointed sidekick, leaving no moment of rest for the self-involved Handa. Don’t miss this heartwarming anime!
2. Hanasaku Iroha (Hanasaku Iroha: Blossoms for Tomorrow) - Return to the Inn
Ohana does not really decide to leave Tokyo: she is sent to live with her strict grandmother who runs a traditional inn. Ohana’s mother runs off to avoid the debt collectors and Ohana finds out why she had not met her grandmother... Sui Shijima is tough as nails and has high expectations - she’s an old school lady who inspires respect. Ohana has to work hard to get to her grandmother’s good side and she slowly comes to enjoy life in the remote inn. It’s not often that we see anime centering a granddaughter-grandmother relationship and the traditional inn setting would inspire you to visit one when travel is again possible.
3. Sakura Quest - The Manoyama Queen
Yashino Koharu cannot land a position in the competitive Tokyo job market, so she is forced to apply for almost anything, including an idol agency. One day she gets an unexpected phone call: she is going to be the queen (the “face”) of small-town Manoyama. When Koharu gets there, she finds out that there has been a mix-up, but ends up taking the job. This is the story of a young woman challenging her perception about life in a small community and a village dealing with change!
4. Udon no Kuni no Kiniro Kemari (Poco's Udon World) - Even Tanuki Get the Blues
Web designer Souta Tawara returns to his hometown and visits his late father’s now-out of business udon restaurant. This is where he meets Poco, a little boy that is actually a tanuki! Souta takes care of Poco and together they explore the town of Kagawa, while Souta reminisces of his dad and their old restaurant. Along with Poco, he reconnects with his hometown and understands things from his past that he has not dealt with. This is a sweet anime for fans of slice-of-life, Barakamon, and Sweetness and Lightning.
5. Gin no Saji (Silver Spoon) - Farming 101
Yes, this is a series created by the mighty Hiromu Arakawa of Fullmetal Alchemist fame! City boy Yuugo Hachiken transfers to agricultural school because he thinks it’s going to be a piece of cake. Yuugo escapes his overbearing parents and looming burnout but comes across unexpected new challenges: Agriculture school is not a walk in the park, and Yuugo’s classmates have lived on farms their whole lives. Silver Spoon is funny, educational, and emotionally honest. We are called to identify with Yuugo, as he learns the ropes in his new environment and to grow with him.
Living in the city has its perks but if you ever wondered what it’s like moving to a rural community, these anime will give you an idea. With relatable main characters, comedy, and sweetness, these anime will put you in the mood for at least a day trip to your hometown. What do you think of our picks? And, do you prefer life in the city or the countryside? Let’s discuss in the comments below!