Picturesque village

The most aesthetic Cottagecore anime

Wildflower meadows against a forest background surround a cozy chalet with its adorable farm animals and a garden full of fresh produce. Cottagecore is a fictionalized depiction of rural life in the West, often depicting European countryside before or after the Industrial Revolution. With our ever-growing reliance on technology and the anxiety-provoking pandemic, the calming images of the great outdoors and homemade bread are understandably heartwarming. Critics downplay it as a subversion of our technological world, noting the irony that it mostly exists on internet blogging. However, this is only scratching the surface, neglecting the fact that it brings forth simple pleasures that are quite within reach and not at all unrealistic.

Cottagecore offers a different way of life, which prioritizes self-sufficiency, baking and caring for others. These themes of the simple and beautiful life are often found in animated films. It’s no surprise that moodboards typically share screenshots, leaving viewers wondering which movies they are from or where they might find more. Here are some recommendations for fans of this aesthetic.

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Hakumei and Mikochi

Hakumei and Mikochi picking raspberries

This anime slice of life presents an enchanting twist. Two young women, barely a few inches tall, live together in a treehouse in a magical forest. While they couldn’t be more different, tomboy Hakumei and Lady Mikochi make a great team. It’s a fun glimpse into the everyday life and adventures of its namesake characters. They spend their time enjoying their little world, which seems to be taken from a fairy tale, going to markets and exploring the wonders of the forest. This magical adventure is also full of woodland creatures, like their friend Iwashi the weasel.

Hakumei and Mikochi Lean into the cute side of Cottagecore and it’s visually reminiscent of classics like Strawberry Shortcake. Originally a Takuto Kashiki manga, Studio Hibari’s Lerche adapted it into a 12-episode OVA series in 2018. It is available to stream on HIDIVE.

Humanity has declined

Humanity has declined may look like rainbows and sunshine, but this social commentary has a lot to say about our often frivolous world. This satire creates a pastel post-apocalyptic world ruled by fairies, which doesn’t look all that different from reality. These little creatures have cutting edge technology, but their ability to do good is distracted by their relentless sweet tooth and their taste for fun. They have little respect for humanity, which is on the verge of extinction due to constantly falling birth rates.

The story follows an anonymous protagonist, a girl with pink hair, whose job is to act as a mediator between humanity and the fairy world. She thinks the job will be pretty straightforward, but sorting out the havoc caused by ignorant fairies in their quest for sugar takes a lot more effort than she expects!

This 2012 anime was adapted from a manga of the same name, written by Romeo Tanaka and illustrated by Tōru Yamasaki (2007-2011) and Sunaho Tobe. It is available to stream on HIDIVE.

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The bride of the ancient mage

the ancient mage bride anime and manga

Chise Hatori, an orphaned Japanese high school student who is rejected by society, decides to auction herself off, in the hope of finding a place to call home. At auction in London, she is bought by Elias Ainsworth who becomes her fiance and master. He looks human but has no face. His skull-shaped head gives him the appearance of some sort of ancient evil deity. This romantic anime feels strongly inspired by the fairy tale The beauty and the Beast, but it also introduces a lot of new concepts.

This series was adapted from a manga and published in several episodes. Wit Studio developed the three-part OVA anime prequel in 2016 in collaboration with Crunchyroll. After that, they created an animated TV series, which premiered in late 2017. Studio Kafka then produced an original three-part OVA series, which was released last September.

The bride of the ancient mage is available to stream on Crunchyroll.

No No Biyori

no no biyori

This anime follows the story of five colorful friends and their country life. The newest member of the group is Hotaru Ichijo, a transfer student from Tokyo. She is going to have a big surprise because their basic life does not have the conveniences of her city life. However, it doesn’t take long for her to become friends with her new classmates, after all there are only five of them. They may be of different ages, but the five buddies are all in the same class, which is the only class in the only school in their small village. Throughout the series, discuss themes of doing with what you have and showing empathy for different people. Audiences will surely appreciate this slice of life series with its story of friendship and adventure.

This series has been adapted from the manga written and illustrated by Atto. First published in 2009, the manga ended in February of this year. In 2013, Silver Link turned it into a 12-episode animated TV series.

No No Biyori is available to stream on Crunchyroll.

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Kiki’s delivery service

Kiki flying next to the seagulls

A cottagecore movie list would be incomplete without an anime from Studio Ghibli. While most movies would easily fit the bill, the 1989s Kiki’s delivery service feels extremely relevant in today’s world. The story follows 13-year-old Kiki as she spends the year alone in a quaint seaside village with her talking cat, Jiji. Kiki spends her free time honing her witchcraft skills and establishing a flying delivery service for her community. The themes of loneliness and innovation as well as the use of home delivery seem very relevant in our quarantined world.

Kiki is successful in her activities, but she always struggles to make new friends. She wonders what she is doing wrong and why life is so difficult. The insecure young witch begins to doubt herself and loses her magical abilities as a result. The lesson of the movie is to always believe in yourself, no matter how others treat you. Your natural talents are what sets you apart as a unique individual, and it’s what makes you beautiful.

Kiki’s delivery service is available to stream on HBO Max and for purchase on Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, Google Play, and Vudu. Physical copies of this classic can also be purchased from Amazon, Target, Walmart, and many other stores.

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