As the winter season gets a bit more weepy and a bit more creepy, it’s time to retreat inside and glue yourself to some worthwhile cinema. Yes, all of the below listed anime shows are available, in some form or another, to binge watch online. Can you ask for anything more? If you’re not a fan of anime, now’s the time venture out of your comfort zone. Japanese anime is not purely comprised of cartoonish characters and kiddy plot lines intended to only amuse children- rather, there are hundreds of anime series out there specifically made to entertain and intrigue adults. The following are a few anime shows that, once tasted, are hard not to devour.
Perhaps one of the most unforgettable and entrancing pieces of media available to viewers today, Mushi-shi is an anime series that easily ranks among the masterpieces done by Hayao Miyazaki himself, although it is not one of his pieces. Comprised of only 20 episodes, Mushi-shi encapsulates lifetimes of thought, living, and emotion in each episodic experience. The plot line revolves around Ginko, a “Mushi-shi” who travels the world to investigate the troubles and appearances that “mushi” make in various circumstances.
“Mushi” are ambiguous spiritual creatures who are mostly unseen by mankind, but often affect mankind with their accidental or intentional behavior. Mushi-shi explores both the shallow and the deep, tugging often at audience heartstrings and leaving viewers with lingering thoughts and emotions.
Even for anime enthusiasts, Mononoke presents a unique and memorable experience. Mononoke’s artwork is, at times, both brilliantly conceived and terribly eerie. The show meshes together elements of mystery, drama, and horror into each episode, along with symbolic imagery that provokes both confused and thoughtful interpretations from audience members. There are only 12 episodes with this series, making it an easy binge-watch for a rainy day.
The show focuses on a “medicine seller” who vanquishes evil spirits known as “mononoke.” Set in feudal Japan, this medicine seller must use his Exorcism Sword by discovering the Form, the Truth, and the Reason of the mononoke- meaning the overturning of many rotten stones in the lives of the rotten people around him. You may not understand exactly what has happened at the end of each episode, but your confusion will be an enjoyable one.
- Kino’s Journey
Mononoke might confuse you, Mushi-shi might break your heart, but Kino’s Journey offers a bit of a lighter touch on some of the same or similar thematic elements. Also episodic in structure, Kino’s Journey is the story of one young woman traveling the world to visit various “countries,” each with their own unique culture and historical background.
Each visit to a country has a tale to teach to its viewers, leaving thought-provoking stories on the table for you to gobble up and digest in the hours to come. Kino rides a “motorrad,” her staunch and mouthy motorcycle companion who introduces a more humorous flavor into the mix of the darker and more probing themes. It may feel a little jolting at first, but once you get the hang of watching Kino’s Journey it’s much like riding a motorcycle yourself- it’s hard to want to get off.
Watch Kino’s Journey
Don’t Bother Waiting for a Rainy Day
The time is ripe for testing out these anime series for the first time (or for watching them for the hundredth). As the skies grow ever darker and the clouds grow ever heavier, snuggle up on the sofa and toss some popcorn in the microwave to carry you through episode after episode of master storytelling.