There are a lot of TV shows out there and in this golden age of TV streaming, the choices have never been greater. So how do you cut through the noise and find the “Best of” for any chosen topic? Well, we’re here to help celebrate and shine a spotlight on some of the latest, greatest and unforgettable shows through the years.
For our ongoing series of articles depicting the best anime, our attention this time turns to art and design. From heartwarming musicals to comedic office shenanigans, there’s a good choice to whet your appetite.
Of course, if we’ve missed any of your favorites, feel free to comment below and we’ll get them added on!
Hibike! Euphonium is another emotional and character-driven work by Kyoto Animation. It features a marvelous storyline, beautiful animation, and characters with relatable and motivational personalities. This anime’s music is also top-notch and meshes well with the emotional scenes sprinkled throughout.
Our tale focuses on a girl named Kumiko Oumae, who wishes to start off her high school adventure fresh without constant reminders of her prior school life. Unfortunately, that wish is tossed aside when she gets placed into her school’s band club. She’s also stuck playing her trademark euphonium instrument.
On top of that, her band’s at risk of not being allowed to compete at a national level because of everyone’s lackluster attitude and drive. This causes her new band advisor, Noburu Taki, a great deal of stress, as he offers them a chance to either have fun or practice diligently in hopes of making it to nationals.
To add an extra layer of stress on Kumiko, she also must play alongside Reina Kousaka, an old bandmate she had bad blood with in middle school. Faced with both issues on her plate, Kumiko must find a way to aid her team to victory if she hopes of wiping away her past failures.
Bakuman is a romantic comedy anime that delves into one’s aspiration to tell an incredible story through artwork. This anime features a compelling narrative and a profound protagonist.
It touches on topics like luck and hard work as the protagonist must jump through difficult hurdles if they hope to achieve their dreams. Many aspiring story writers will relate heavily to the trauma and turmoil their protagonists must overcome. The chemistry between all its characters also makes this a worthwhile watch.
Despite its deep narrative, Bakuman throws in a morsel of comedic dialogue and gags to grant viewers breathing room. The comedy never conflicts with the anime’s emotional content and feels like a necessity in some instances.
If you’re looking for a lighthearted comedic anime that delves into the mindset of aspiring young individuals then check out Bakuman.
Monthly Girls Nozaki-kun
Monthly Girls Nozaki-kun is another romantic comedy anime that centers around a misunderstood partnership between a bubbly female and a profound manga author. The characters are full of charm and will leave you laughing at their nonstop shenanigans.
This anime follows Chiyo Sakura, an upbeat female who develops feelings for a boy named Umetarou Nozaki. Unbeknownst to Chiyo, Nozaki is a well-beloved shoujo manga author, and he mistakes her confession to him as a request for an autograph. This leads to Chiyo becoming one of Nozaki’s manga assistant.
The anime focuses on the hilarious events that ensue between the two. Therefore, Chiyo must help Nozaki complete his manga writing goals while attempting to convey her true feelings to him. The steady growth of their misunderstood relationship along with the hilarity situations they find themselves in, makes Monthly Girls Nozaki-kun a worthwhile watch.
If you ever wanted to see what life is like for an animator, Shirobako offers a wonderful depiction. It doesn’t showcase the lifestyle in a fantasized light but chooses to portray the occupation in a more realistic fashion. The characters in this anime aren’t talented individuals, but their passion for the craft will entice anyone to stay engaged with its content.
Shirobako offers an excellent storyline with various subplots many viewers will find entertaining and relatable. It derives from most anime of the same kind by being a completely original work with an adult cast. While you’ll get some hilarity from this anime, you’ll also receive scenes depicting the characters in saddening scenarios.
Shirobako doesn’t tackle deep themes or feature grand drama, though. It focuses more on the everyday obstacles anime animators come across and depicts these characters solving said issues through realistic means. Obstacles like rushing to meet deadlines and making sure their projects are well-edited are a few issues that crop up in Shirobako.
If you’re looking for an anime that offers a world similar to ours, then Shirobako’s worth watching.
Kids on the Slope
Kids on the Slope is a wonderful coming-of-age anime full of drama and romance. This anime features incredible visuals, likable characters, and an alluring soundtrack. While its story doesn’t start off swinging, it’ll gradually spiral into something that will leave a lasting impression on you.
Our Tale follows an aspiring pianist named Kaoru Nishimi, who has just started up his first year at high school. Unfortunately, Kaoru isn’t too optimistic that he’ll make new friends or fit in with his classmates. This all changes after he meets a notorious delinquent named Sentarou Kawabuchi, who has a strong passion for jazz music.
Sentarou’s passion rubs off on Kaoru to the point where the two slowly become friends. After obtaining knowledge about this music genre from Sentarou, Kaoru ends up playing the piano at an after-school play session held inside a fellow student’s family-owned record shop. The anime follows Kaoru’s daily life with his newfound classmates as he strives to bring joy to everyone by playing music.
Kids on the Slope is a heartwarming anime about friendship, music, and love. The chemistry between these three students is remarkably wholesome. Each of them have lovable personalities and passions that will rub off on the viewer. If you’re looking for a dramatic and school-themed anime that delves into the mindset of aspiring music artists, then check out Kids on the Slope.
Have you wondered what it feels like to be a video game designer? If so, then New Game is the anime for you. This series contains adorable characters and a heartwarming storyline with touches of realism. Despite its cutesy art style, this anime delves into the struggles most game developers encounter on the job.
You’ll see these characters stress to meet deadlines, reworking character models and environments, and living up to their higher-up expectations. While this anime offers the downsides of game development, it also provides a positive outlook on the process. From celebrating the release of their title to climbing the ranks in the studio, there are many lighthearted moments in New Game that will delight you.
This anime is about a girl named Aoba Suzukaze who receives a job opportunity to work as a character designer for a gaming company she’s admired since she was a toddler. She’ll meet many friends and co-workers who share a similar passion. Despite the happy vibes, Aoba will endure the complications that come with her job which will put her passionate mindset to the test.
The Garden of Words
From the director who brought you popular anime films like Your Name and Weathering With You comes The Garden of Words. While this film didn’t reach as much popularity as those films, it’s a staple film that every Makoto Shinkai fan needs to watch.
Our tale focuses on the meeting between a middle-aged boy and a mysterious woman. During their meetings, they discuss their passions and issues in life. While their relationship starts off platonic in nature, it gradually transforms into something mildly romantic and charming.
From its beautiful storytelling to its gorgeous visuals and animation, The Garden of Words is a fantastic romance anime full of wonder. This anime showcases excellent visual storytelling from its subtle rain effects to its character’s subtle facial animations. It uses its weather and shine effects to generate the tension between the two characters.
Our two protagonists have wonderful personalities and chemistry. Despite starting off as strangers, each conversation gradually builds upon their bond. It will remind fans of the times when they first met their best friends or soulmates. While their relationship spirals into something romantic toward the end, it never leads to anything over-the-top or off-putting.
This is a mesmerizing animated film that will remind people of the joys of meeting new people and building bonds with those individuals over time.
Carole & Tuesday
Carole & Tuesday feels like Shinchiro Watanabe’s answer to fans who loved the jazzy and catchy soundtrack found in his famed work Cowboy Bebop. While the protagonists in this anime aren’t bounty hunters or fighters, they do have a wonderful passion for music. This is a music anime many fans need to see for its characters, story, and themes alone.
Carole & Tuesday takes place in a distant future where humanity has inhabited Mars and live alongside intelligent AI companions. One of our protagonists named Carole lives in the metropolis of Alba City (a location on Mars), where she’s a hard-working woman by day and keyboard player by night. Meanwhile, our second protagonist Tuesday has run away from her home to pursue music with her acoustic guitar.
Eventually, both females meet and decide to perform music together. Unfortunately, the technological advancements in their society have deemed human music artists unworthy. However, Carole and Tuesday conclude that humans can present music that rivals that of AI. Up against wonderful AI singers and musicians, Carole and Tuesday embark on a mission to reignite people’s love for old-fashioned music playing.
Despite music serving as a focus in this anime, it showcases the horrors behind a possible AI-based utopia. Whether it’s allowing machines to steal work from humans or providing you with entertainment, it shows how terrible humanity can become if it relies too heavily on AI.
Sketchbook: Full Color’s
Sketchbook: Full Color’s is a slice-of-life anime with a relaxing atmosphere and lighthearted tone. This anime is charming, humorous, and wonderful to watch if you’re looking to sit back and relax. Despite having a simple premise, you’ll fall in love with its characters and soothing soundtrack.
Our tale follows Sora Kajiwara, who adores felines and drawing to the point where she brings her sketchbook with her wherever she goes. Her passion for art leads her to join her school’s art club. Although she’s shy and childish, she meets individuals who have wonderful imaginations and colorful personalities like herself.
Therefore, the anime focuses on Sora’s growth to become a more confident individual and phenomenal artist. The story’s plot feels formulaic and episodic in nature. Each episode will feature Sora and friends enduring something new that’s never touched upon in follow-up episodes. This anime focuses more on Sora’s internal and external emotional development than anything grand.
The animation and artwork aren’t ground-breaking, either. While this show doesn’t push boundaries, its art style and animation remain consistently neat and polished from start to finish. There’s never a moment in this show where characters look strange. The soundtrack follows a similar trend. If you’re looking for a cozy anime to watch about a girl and her friends’ artistic endeavors, check out Sketchbook: Full Color’s.
Despite Ai Yazawa’s Paradise Kiss and Neighborhood offering a pleasant time, Nana is a series that helped put her name in the limelight. Nana offers a grand cast of colorfully realistic characters who endure breathtaking events that revolve around the music world.
Our tale is about two women named Nana who travel to Tokyo to accomplish something phenomenal in life. One of them wants to find a romantic partner, while the other strives to become a famed musician. Their stories intertwine, leading to a heartwarming friendship between two distinct individuals.
This anime is a fantastic amalgamation of themes concerning music, companionship, and competition. While one of our Nana’s is more focused on generating a stellar career for herself, romance serves as one of her greatest hurdles. Unfortunately, this aspect of her life weighs down on her psyche, and the anime does a fine job at demonstrating this fall from grace.
The Nanas’ aren’t the only ones affected by the hurdles of romance. The side characters’ relationships get some time in the spotlight, and the anime highlights these individuals’ struggles in maintaining healthy relationships. This is a show that tackles multiple forms of entertainment but manages to draw its viewers back to its favored theme of love. Nana is a must-watch anime designed for romance and music fans alike.
So, there we have it, our picks for the best anime through the years about art and design!
What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!