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The Ultimate Shows for Stress Relief

Recommendations to the best of positive, happy or laid back shows that work wonders to your mental wellbeing. If you’re stressed and need therapy, you might as well watch these shows at the end of the day. The shows are listed per series and loosely by genre/tags (iyashikei, slice of life, food porn, comedy, etc). I’ve excluded all moe and shows with pitchy voice acting since I find these shows hard to relax to.
1 Aria the Animation

Aria the Animation

Iyashikei, slice of life.

The aria series is one of the best shows out of the Iyashikei genre for a number of reasons: 1. It has some of the most soothing well composed soundtracks; 2. Each episode is relaxing and utterly stress free; 3. There is depth in the character interaction; 4. Perfect world setting & scenery porn.

Just forget everything bad that happened during the day and let yourself be healed. 

*If you don’t like the first season (the animation quality and pacing can be a bit jarring), just skip to the 2nd and 3rd because the latter two are simply better than the first. The Aria series is loosely episodic, so there isn’t much of a problem in skipping certain seasons. 

Personal score: 5/10 

2 Aria the Natural

Aria the Natural

Iyashikei, slice of life.

Second season. A je ne sais quoi healing effect.


3 Aria the OVA: Arietta

Aria the OVA: Arietta

Iyashikei, slice of life.

Episodes that come between Natural and Origination.


4 Aria the Origination

Aria the Origination

Iyashikei, slice of life.

Third season, and the most popular. Gem episodes are eps 4, 6, 7, 11-13. The last three episodes are gold. This show has so much rewatch value, I‘ve watched certain episodes over and over again on the most stressful days of the year.


5 Aria the Avvenire

Aria the Avvenire

Iyashikei, slice of life.

Continuation of Origination. Lovlier than ever.


6 Natsume's Book of Friends

Natsume's Book of Friends

Iyashikei, slice of life, episodic.

Ahh the Natsume Yuujinchou series...Where shall I start? This series is as good and effective as the Aria series if you’re looking for stress relief. Gentle, delicate and heartwarming. My favorite season is the second season, but all seasons are wonderful.


7 Natsume's Book of Friends Season 2

Natsume's Book of Friends Season 2

Iyashikei, slice of life, episodic.

2nd season and my favorite season.


8 Natsume's Book of Friends Season 3

Natsume's Book of Friends Season 3

Iyashikei, slice of life, episodic.

3rd season.


9 Natsume's Book of Friends Season 4

Natsume's Book of Friends Season 4

Iyashikei, slice of life, episodic.

4th season.


10 Natsume's Book of Friends Season 5

Natsume's Book of Friends Season 5

Iyashikei, slice of life, episodic.

5th season.


11 Natsume's Book of Friends Season 6

Natsume's Book of Friends Season 6

Iyashikei, slice of life, episodic.

6th season, and the most popular.


12 Barakamon


Slice of life, Iyashikei 

A god-tier show you want to watch if you need stress relief. Recommend to anyone who is in a slump, or needs a relaxed view of life.


13 Mushishi


Iyashikei, episodic 

Welcome to the peculiar world of primitive organisms. This is the type of anime you could meditate to. The second season is even better.


14 Mushishi Zoku Shou

Mushishi Zoku Shou

Iyashikei, episodic

1st cour of the 2nd season. You will experience something completely different in this series. This show makes you feel as if you’re going through a holy ritual, maybe an experience akin to zen meditation. 


15 Mushishi Zoku Shou 2nd Season

Mushishi Zoku Shou 2nd Season

Iyashikei, episodic 

2nd cour to the second season. Somewhat darker in theme than the first cour. My favorite cour. 


16 Haibane Renmei

Haibane Renmei

Slice of life, afterlife

Haibane Renmei is deeply, let’s say...soul searching.

Haibane Renmei is not an Iyashikei. It certainly has dark undertones but is not exactly depressing either. There is no other show that I know of that has the dreamlike, mysterious but strangely calming atmosphere that this show has.


17 Kino's Journey

Kino's Journey

Adventure, episodic

A traveller’s stories are amusing and good therapy. 


18 Cowboy Bebop

Cowboy Bebop

Action, Adventure, Episodic

Some people watch this show for stress relief. That’s me 5 years ago when I was stressed from having to prepare for exams and everything.

Somewhere in the idle atmosphere of this show lurks a sense of loss and nostalgia...which puts you in a comfy “oh well, it’s life” sort of mood.


19 JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable

Shounen, Action, Mystery 

Unbreakable Diamond has a really nice everyday-slice-of-life-ish tone and a handful of episodic episodes that are oddly amusing.

The specific episodes I am referring to: 10, 20.


20 A Place Further Than the Universe

A Place Further Than the Universe

Slice of life, Adventure 

A very refreshing show about positive friendships and life progression. Bits of comedy included. Binged it, loved it. Most importantly, it made me feel good. The plot is progressive, the quality is consistent. 


21 Space Brothers

Space Brothers

Drama, seinen

A feel good show about a guy’s road to becoming an astronaut. It’s generally happy and wholesome. The show has a powerful message: Have courage to make your future.

It’s the perfect human drama that reminds you of that gut positive feeling you have when your heart is set on pursuing a dream, the wonders of being part of a great team who share the same goal. If you ever feel like you’ve forgotten your purpose in life, this show is for you.

Just beware of episodes 40-44, as these episodes are tearful than relaxing. Otherwise, it’s a generally happy show.


22 March Comes in like a Lion 2nd Season

March Comes in like a Lion 2nd Season

Slice of life, drama

A very mindful series with pretty visuals. This show focuses on spiritual growth achieved at the end of a life plough. It‘s ok to skip the first season.


23 Bunny Drop

Bunny Drop

Slice of life, childcare

Ahh the difficulties of raising kids. But they say you get to learn a lot from the experience. Nice and laid back slice of life.


24 Sweetness & Lightning

Sweetness & Lightning

Slice of life, childcare, food.

Stress relief through savory food and one adorable child who needs feeding. This is high quality uwu material. Are you eating well, even when you’re stressed and busy? 


25 Silver Spoon

Silver Spoon

Slice of life, food.

Again, stress can be relieved through food. You’ve just got to love the food...with the addition of cute animals. 


26 ACCA: 13-Territory Inspection Dept.

ACCA: 13-Territory Inspection Dept.

Political, food.

Very chill. Pay attention to the soothing jazzy soundtracks and the food. Yes the food.


27 Fruits Basket 1st Season

Fruits Basket 1st Season

Shoujo, Romance

A remake of the older version, with better VA and visuals. One thing I really like about this show is the overflowing sweetness of the female MC. The characters in the story are healed by her sweetness, and so am I. 

Golden episodes: 12, 18, 24


28 Fruits Basket 2nd Season

Fruits Basket 2nd Season

Shoujo, romance

There’s more focus on the curse that binds the Sohma family.

I think the message is that even though you may find yourself bound by things in life, it doesn't mean that you can't ever be happy. You‘ll find happiness, eventually.

Golden episodes: 12, 18


29 Snow White with the Red Hair

Snow White with the Red Hair


This one focuses on romance. Nonetheless, everything about this show is healing; from the awesomely calming classical soundtracks to the pretty visuals and thoughtful dialogue. The relationship between the MC and her significant other offers something you want to learn from.

Also, happy endings, for almost every episode.


30 Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun

Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun

Comedy, romance.

Comedy. And a good one too. If you’re so depressed you can’t think of anything positive, the first thing you should do is to laugh your stress away.

The female MC is so adorable you’ll find yourself grinning throughout the entire show.


31 Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu

Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu

Comedy, military.

The best comedy you will ever come across in your anime life. If this fails to make you laugh, I don’t know what will do. The prequels and sequels can be skipped unless you are in for serious Mecha.



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Akishima Jul 31, 2020

I think Poco's Udon World might fit here- it reminds me a bit of a cross between Barakamon and Sweetness and Lightning.

Balthasaurus Jan 15, 2020

How about Laid Back Camp? I think it's an absolutely fantastic show to wind down and relax with.