You’re stuck at home, bored out of your wits. You’ve spent most of your money on takeout in the past month, you don’t have Animal Crossing, spent way too much time on Tiktok watching too many people dance to Renegade, and have finished all the TV series and movies you’ve had on your ‘to watch’ list... what else is there to do? Well, it doesn’t matter how many days left of the 14-day self-isolation period you have left; these anime series and Ghibli films will help you kill some time for sure.
Netflix Anime Series
Haikyu!! – sports, school life
Even if the gym is closed, Haikyu!! allows you to enjoy some form of sports (volleyball in particular) in the comfort of your home. And even if you hate sports or going to the gym, fret not, because this anime series can be enjoyed by anyone. The story makes it easy and engaging for you, as you follow the characters through their volleyball club and their stages of personal growth. (There’s only one series on Netflix, and if you’re already hooked, Series 2 and 3 are on Crunchyroll.)
Hunter X Hunter – fantasy, action
With 6 seasons on Netflix, follow Gon on his mission to be a hunter to look for his father, who left him when he was younger. The series was first released in 2011 and you may find a bit slow in the beginning, trust me, the plot only gets better (and darker). The characters and storyline are incredibly authentic and well developed. The characters are also psychologically challenged to a great extent, which is not very common in most animes.
Kaguya-Sama: Love is War – comedy, romance
A more recent anime series just released last year, this light-hearted rom-com anime pretty much depicts two students who have crushes on each other, but both refuse to admit that they do. They each develop witty schemes to try to trick the other into confessing first. If not for their pride and narcissism, they would’ve been happily together way before. But to them, love is war, and whoever confesses their feelings first, loses the war. (PS: Season 2 will be released in April 2020 on both anime sites AnimeLab and Crunchyroll)
My Hero Academia – superheroes, action, school life
Izuku was a normal student before inheriting the powers of the world’s best superhero, All Might. He then enrols in superhero high school, which he discovers is much more complicated than it seems. The comedy is hilarious, and the fights are intense. The characters are probably stand out the most. As this is a pretty long series spanning four seasons, you get to watch the characters develop. And they do get developed well, with unique personalities that stand out.
Violet Evergarden – slice of life
Gorgeous visuals, stunning soundtracks and a storyline based on dark emotions of acceptance and loss, Violet Evergarden is probably not for the light-hearted. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful story and the animation is one of the best. Every episode is refreshing, evoking emotions, and teaching us how to understand them. You may find the first few episodes relatively slow but do yourself a favour and keep watching. It gets better. Once you’re closer to the end of it, do yourself a favour and get a box of tissues ready too.
Studio Ghibli Films
Ah… Studio Ghibli. The studio that produces co-founder Hayao Miyazaki’s beautifully hand-drawn films. Films with storylines mostly stuck in fantasyland, yet easily entwined into an everyday children’s story. The studio whose movies Joe Hisaishi’s scores are commonly associated with. Combine unrivalled animator with remarkable composer, and you get Studio Ghibli films.
If you didn’t know already, Netflix Australia acquired the rights to 21 of Studio Ghibli’s iconic films late last year. All the 21 movies would’ve been released on Netflix by the time this article is up (April 1), just in time for your self-isolation needs! These movies would also be good background knowledge if you plan to visit Studio Ghibli’s museum in Mitaka, suburban Tokyo, in future! It was difficult to pick between all the delicate films ranging so many genres, but here are five of our favourites below:
Spirited Away (2001)
This is Studio Ghibli’s most popular release yet, and it isn’t difficult to understand why. This movie sure brings you on a captivating fantastical rollercoaster – it’s heart-warming but heart-wrenching at the same time. The movie won an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, making it the first and only hand-drawn and non-English animated film to ever take home the prize. It’s also regularly ranked among one of the best movies of all time by movie critics internationally.
My Neighbour Totoro (1988)
This was probably Miyazaki’s breakthrough film, a classic that his Studio is famously known for. Another fantasy film, Totoro is all about innocence around the joyous discovery of, well, Totoro. The fantasy world is seamlessly weaved into the two young sisters’ innocent reality. Also, did I mention how cute the theme song is? And that the Museum has a real catbus?
Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)
Like the above mentioned films, fantasy is intertwined into an everyday children’s story in this one too. It covers a bit more than that, gently broaching topics of coming-of-age issues such as teenage independence and insecurity. Follow 13- year old Kiki and her flippant cat Jiji as they embark on their broomstick aviation adventure for Kiki’s mandatory witch training ‘gap year’.
This would have to be my favourite films. I may be biased, as it’s the only Ghibli film I watched in cinemas when it was released. I was only 8, but this one had me bawling over my popcorn bucket then. It’s a thrilling story about the friendship between a five-year-old boy and a goldfish princess who yearns to be human, and who has the magical powers of the sea. There’s never a murky moment in Miyazaki’s films, with the smart use of bright splashes of colour. Hisaishi’s scores capture the simple, heart-warming story, evoking bouts of emotions, helping you connect with it so much more.
Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)
Fantasy, action and romance, Ghibli style. This film is calming, without a dull moment. Hisaishi’s pieces really shine through in this film, he got my head in the clouds with the main theme. It’s a whimsical and warm fairytale. While the films above allow you to see the world through the eyes of a child, this film is seen through the eyes of an adult who longs to be young again.
Hopefully, this list helps to ease the self-isolation boredom. Tuck yourself in and get binge-watching!