By Kathleen Townsend
Spring is a time for new beginnings. As the cold of winter is shed and everything turns green, new possibilities abound as we gather around our phones and computers looking for something to watch. Well, it’s the perfect time to watch some anime!
What better way to complement the season than with a look at the supernatural, mythological and folklore-inspired anime sure to delight fans of all ages? Here are five of our picks that you should be watching.
The Morose Mononokean (2016)
Hanae Ashiya spends the first few days of high school sick with a mysterious illness. With nowhere left to turn, he calls the phone number on a flyer offering the expelling of youkai. The exorcist on the other end turns out to be a boy in his class, Abeno. Unable to pay Abeno’s fee, Ashiya begins working with him and the Mononokean. Together, the pair must help all manner of youkai—sometimes dangerous, sometimes misunderstood—cross from our world back into their own.
Originally airing in 2016, it was followed by a second season in Winter 2019, making this the perfect time for some binge-watching!
Toilet-bound Hanako-kun (2020)
If you’ve been keeping up with recent anime, this one will be no surprise. If you haven’t, now’s the time to get on board with this stunningly beautiful, watercolor-like anime stuffed with manga-styled elements and visual eye candy.
From studio Lerche, this brilliant adaptation of Iro Aida’s manga comes to life! The series is heavily steeped in Japanese folklore, along with some more modern urban legends. It follows student Nene Yashiro, who seeks out one of the school’s urban legends in order to get a wish fulfilled. But Hanako-kun, the third floor bathroom’s resident ghost, isn’t anything like the stories she’s heard.
Nene soon finds herself embroiled in the mysteries of the school, helping Hanako-kun keep the supernatural entities from getting out of hand and scaring or harming students. Between its gorgeous artwork and fascinating folklore roots, you can’t go wrong with Toilet-bound Hanako-kun.
If you’re like us and love listening to anime openings, you’ve probably stumbled across this one before. Noragami is an anime that combines our everyday world with magic, resulting in exciting battles between ancient gods and frightening creatures. Director Kotaro Tamura brings us an adaptation of the manga Noragami: Stray God by Adachitoka.
Yato is only a minor deity with no real worshippers and no shrine, a terrible fate for any god. His goal? Work for five yen a job to eventually buy a shrine of his very own. To make matters worse, he’s left weaponless after his partner leaves. Yato takes an easy job, during which his actions cause high schooler Hiyori Iki to be hit by a car and her soul knocked loose from her body. Ouch. How’s he going to solve this one?
This is the story of a god looking to find his place in the modern world and a young girl thrown unexpectedly into a world invisible to mortal eyes.
Kamisama Kiss (2012)
Another supernatural anime featuring deities is Kamisama Kiss. Though, these deities are of a much different nature. A frenetic and wacky series based on Julietta Suzuki’s manga, Kamisama Kiss explores the world of yokai, gods and their relationship with our own.
Nanami Momozono, due to her father’s extreme debt, ends up homeless. As thanks for her assistance in getting rid of a dog harassing him, a stranger offers Nanami his home. When she gets there, she finds a very put-off fox familiar and two other shrine servants.
With nowhere else to go, Nanami takes up her duties as a god, tries to get her new fox familiar, Tomoe, to return, and deal with threats that youkai quickly impose. There’s romance, comedy and folklore…what more could you want from a show to enjoy in spring?
Fruits Basket (2019)
With the second season now airing, of course we had to recommend Fruits Basket! Celebrate the return of this amazing shoujo series by experiencing the first season for the very first time so you can jump right into Season 2!
Fruits Basket follows Tohru Honda who, after dealing with the death of her mother, is forced to live in a tent. But unknown to her, she’s actually camping on the property of the Soma family, and they have a secret. They are cursed and can turn into the animals of the Chinese Zodiac.
As far as spring anime goes, there’s not much of a stronger recommendation than Fruits Basket. With its pastel appearance and comforting artistic style, combined with a dash of the supernatural, it’s the perfect series to send you on an emotional journey you won’t soon forget. And Season 2 is sure to pull on the heartstrings even more, as the anime sees some never-before-seen animated content. Get ready!
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