Shows like Attack on Titan and My Hero Academia are tense and keep us on the edge of our seat, but they wouldn’t exactly be fun places to live. Constantly living in fear of being eaten by titans or killed by supervillains? No thanks! So it’s nice to know that some anime like to slow down a little and take us down the peaceful, scenic path.
It’s a genre known as “iyashikei”, or “healing” anime. In these worlds, there may be a few troubles in life, but they don’t get the characters down for too long. The main focus is to provide a calm, cozy, and sometimes comedic atmosphere to soothe the viewer while they’re watching. So forget your worries and come join us on our tour of the top 10 anime set in a peaceful world!
10. Yuri!!! On Ice
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: October 2016 – December 2016
At first, this anime about competitive figure skating seems to be chock-full of drama and difficulties for our main characters. How can that be peaceful? But if you look past that, you can see that the world Yuri and Victor live in is far more progressive than our own. These two are well-known athletes in a homosexual interracial relationship, and everyone they meet couldn’t be more supportive!
In recent years, acceptance of LGBT relationships has come an incredibly long way. But if Yuri on Ice were set in our reality, the happy couple would have more to worry about than just their own issues. Same sex marriage isn’t even close to legal in Russia or Japan, and the sporting world has its own complicated relationship with gay athletes. But for the sake of showcasing a beautiful love story, we get an enlightened world where homophobia doesn’t exist. That would sure be nice...
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: October 2005 – June 2006
Mushishi tells the story of Ginko, a researcher who travels around Japan in search of answers about the mysterious life forms called “mushi”. They’re neither good nor evil, but tend to create trouble when interacting with humans. Out of a survival instinct, they infect people and cause phenomena like deafness, endless rain, or prophetic dreams. It’s up to Ginko to help the people he meets along the way understand the mushi and appreciate our confusing world for what it is.
Even though the mushi cause problems for humans, the world of Mushishi is an overall peaceful place. Ginko’s goal isn’t to exterminate these creatures as if they were a plague – he wants to show people that the mushi are a valuable part of life. For example, the character whose mushi caused rain to follow her everywhere decides to use her power to help drought-stricken areas. It’s a world with all the bumps and bruises of our own, but where care and understanding can solve any problem.
8. Saiki Kusuo no Ψ- nan (The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.)
- Episodes: 120
- Aired: July 2016 – December 2016
High school kid Saiki Kusuo has psychic powers, which are so incredibly potent that he has to wear special antennae devices to keep them in check. He can read minds, move objects with psychokinesis, turn invisible, and much more. Does he use this gift to help the greater good, or even to take over the world? Nope! All he wants is a quiet, peaceful life with his dorky family and eccentric friends.
Actually, he does make the world a better place, but only for his own convenience. Injuries heal almost instantly and doctors are nearly obsolete because he was caught magically fixing a kid’s scraped knee and decided to cover it up by brainwashing the entire world into thinking that this was a completely normal thing. He also brainwashed everyone into the belief that his pink hair was natural and not worth commenting on, resulting in other weird hair colors becoming commonplace as well. Mind control sure sounds like fun in this world!
7. Miira no Kaikata (How to Keep a Mummy)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: January 2018 – March 2018
Mummies are scary, right? Reanimated remains of a person long dead, wrapped in decaying bandages and longing only to kill the unfortunate living who cross its path? Yikes! But Mii-kun, the tiny adorable mummy from this winter 2018 anime, would beg to differ.
He’s a kindhearted monster sent to accompany Sora Kashiwagi by Sora’s eccentric adventurer father. Along with the other small monster creatures who go to live with Sora’s friends (a dragon, an oni, and a dream eater), Mii-kun spends his time having fun and being cute rather than doing any of the terrifying things we might expect of a mummy. There’s truly nothing to be afraid of when these monsters are on your side!
6. Shirokuma Café (Polar Bear Café)
- Episodes: 50
- Aired: April 2012 – March 2013
Some stories are overburdened with complex plots and indecipherable webs of character relationships, but Polar Bear Café is refreshingly simple. As the title states, this anime is about a polar bear named Polar Bear who runs a small café for his friends. It follows a slice-of-life format that lets us learn bits and pieces about this world where humans and civilized animals live and work together as equals.
The animal characters are drawn realistically and even conform to very specific species, which makes their human aspects all the funnier. They cook, smoke from pipes, edit local food magazines, spread gossip, and anything else that would be expected from people in the real world. And with no prejudice or even much of an indication that the situation is unusual, the world of Polar Bear Café is as peaceful as can be. Wouldn’t you love to go visit?
5. Non Non Biyori
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: October 2013 – December 2013
There’s nothing fantastical or revolutionary about Non Non Biyori’s world, but it seems so peaceful because of its laid-back atmosphere. The bustle of the city and large-scale problems of reality still exist, but they just don’t reach the sleepy village of Asahigaoka. Newcomer Hotaru takes a while to adjust to the slow-paced lifestyle, but soon gets into the swing of things and takes life one day at a time with her new friends.
The gorgeous green countryside serves as the backdrop for the exploits of four young schoolgirls, mostly consisting of small problems and impromptu adventures. Whether you grew up in a rural area and long for the simplicity of home, or you’re experiencing the quiet serenity of nature for the first time through this anime, Non Non Biyori is sure to leave you feeling peaceful and relaxed.
4. Demi-chan wa Kataritai (Interviews with Monster Girls)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: January 2017 – March 2017
This anime takes the “monsters aren’t evil” theme of Mushishi and How to Keep a Mummy and makes it even better by adding cute girls into the mix! Demi-humans are rare variations of regular humans, who are born with traits that resemble monsters of ancient folklore. Biology teacher Takahashi is fascinated by them and wishes he could meet and study a demi, but hasn’t had much luck over the years. Luckily for him, four demi girls suddenly drop into his life at the beginning of the new school year!
Interviews with Monster Girls does establish that demi-humans were persecuted in the past, but by the time of the main story, they’ve worked hard to get anti-discrimination laws passed. The four girls – a vampire, succubus, dullahan, and yuki-onna (snow woman)– can live freely with only a few weird looks and Takahashi’s unlimited curiosity to draw attention to their differences. It warms our hearts to know that even monsters can be accepted in this world with just some love and understanding.
3. Flying Witch
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: April 2016 – June 2016
Like Non Non Biyori, Flying Witch takes place in an idyllic country village where the larger problems of the world don’t dare to venture. Teenage witch Makoto moves in with a family there to hone her skills as a witch, accompanied by her black cat familiar Chito. The story follows her life – traveling through the forest, meeting nature spirits, getting to know her adoptive family, and just growing up.
Makoto’s relationship with the family’s youngest daughter Chinatsu is particularly cute. Chinatsu admires Makoto greatly and wants to be a witch too, something her parents don’t seem to mind at all. When even a young country child’s parents accept witch magic as commonplace and benevolent, you know the world is at peace!
2. Aa! Megami-sama! (Ah! My Goddess)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: January 2005 – July 2005
In 60’s-era American sitcoms, problems were always minimal and could be solved through comedic antics by each episode’s end. Romance was chaste and, if supernatural elements existed, they were always used for good. This is the kind of atmosphere Ah! My Goddess aims to recreate with its sweet love story of Keiichi, a hapless engineering student, and the Norse goddess Belldandy who comes to live with him.
Over time, their relationship grows just as much as their wacky friends and family continue to invade their lives. The series has its fair share of drama, especially in the manga (which ran for over 25 years), but the world stays peaceful overall because of the strong love Keiichi and Belldandy share with each other. Even in a reality where powerful goddesses exist, kindness can solve anything.
1. Aria The Animation
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: October 2005 – December 2005
If there’s one anime that perfectly encapsulates the word “relaxing”, it has to be Aria. After all, what could be more soothing than a slice-of-life story about young women training to be gondoliers in the terraformed Martian town of Neo Venezia? Nothing, that’s what.
Aria teaches us that offworld colonization doesn’t always have to be traumatic. In this world, humans transformed Mars into a glittering planet filled with water and charming scenery. Main character Akari learns to enjoy life as she makes friends and strives to become a top gondolier, called a “prima undine”. Forget your troubles and venture to the world of Aria, where happiness is just a scenic boat ride away.
In our hectic and constantly connected world, “iyashikei” anime serve an important purpose. Their idyllic, relaxing, and sometimes silly settings help us remember that life is still worth celebrating. By escaping to these worlds, we can look at our reality and see happiness and simple pleasures all around us. Or, at the very least, we can feel warm and fuzzy for a little while.
What did you think of our list? What are your favorite peaceful anime? Let us know in the comments, and thanks so much for reading!