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14 Of The Most Heartwarming Anime Series From 2020

Who doesn’t love all the conflicts and twists that shounen anime have in store for viewers? As it turns out, not everyone. On those inevitable blue days, anime shows with over-the-top storylines and slambang action don’t cut it. What some viewers seek is an anime that’s as heartwarming as a warm cup of cocoa on a cold evening.

Luckily, for days when life gets icky, there’s a long catalog of heartwarming anime that can not only make viewers feel good about themselves but also about the world around them. Among these, some of the best ones premiered recently in 2020 and can instantly serve as an antidote or escapism for those who want to have a good laugh or just feel uplifted.


Updated on May 18th, 2022 by Tanner Fox: While few would choose to relive the unfortunate year of 2020, it did come with a few upsides. It may seem like small recompense, but there were quite a few unique anime series that debuted over the year that ought not to be missed. Of course, many anime fans likely had ample time to catch up on new releases over that period of time.

That said, those who’ve just gotten into anime or are discovering new genres may want to check out 2020’s most wholesome offerings. In a decidedly less-than-wholesome time, these series made for a much-welcomed break.


Drawing its inspiration from the girlfriend renting service in Japan, Rent-a-Girlfriend tells the story of Kazuya Kinoshita, a 20-year-old boy whose girlfriend suddenly breaks up with him. To recover from his heartbreak, he uses an online app to rent a girlfriend. After setting up a date with the beautiful Chizuru Mizuhara, he hopes that things will finally change for the better. But, to his dismay, they get off on the wrong foot on the very first day.

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As the show progresses, a series of cosmic concordances keep bringing Chizuru and Kazuya together, and, as much as they would hate to confess it, they must eventually accept their romantic feelings for one another.

Uzaki-Chan Wants To Hang Out

Available on Crunchyroll and Funimation

Uzaki Chan Wants To Hang Out anime.

Uzaki-chan Wants To Hang Out garnered a bit of controversy when it debuted in 2020 mostly due to the strange proportions and extreme personality of its titular character. Uzaki-chan is loud and in-your-face, but it also tells a relatively wholesome tale of an underclassman who hopes to bring her sullen upperclassmen friend out of his shell.

While it wouldn’t work as a great introduction to anime given its abrasive nature, there’s a lot for seasoned anime fans to like here. The two form a reluctant yet wholesome bond, and it’s undeniably adorable.


Available on Hulu and Funimation

Set in the Renaissance era, Arte tells the tale of a titular artist who dreams of being bigger than what is expected from her. Defying all cultural and social obligations, she sets out to be an artist. However, her journey is replete with major pitfalls. Yet, she defies all odds and tries to make the most out of the opportunities she finds along the way.

While Arte’s awe-inspiring courage to follow her dreams is enough to fascinate many, her brewing love story with another artist makes viewers stick around for more.

Toilet-Bound Hanako-Kun

Available on Hulu, Crunchyroll, and Funimation

Characters from the first season of Toilet-Bound Hanak-kun.

Jibaku Shounen Hanako-Kun, better known as Toilet-bound Hanako-kun, concerns a girl named Nene Yashiro who attends an academy known for ghostly hauntings. One day, she attempts to summon the notorious Hanako-san of the Toilet, a ghost said to have the power to grant wishes. She does end up discovering the ghost, but she’s shocked to find that it’s actually a boy.

A romantic comedy with a supernatural twist, Toilet-bound Hanako-kun is both cheerful and eerie, and it hits all of the proper notes, leaving viewers wanting more.

Sing “Yesterday” For Me

Available on VRV

A still from the anime series Sing Yesterday For Me.

Bereft of any plot twists or exaggerated melodrama, Sing “Yesterday” For Me portrays its characters as real humans. At its forefront is Rikuo Uozumi who has settled for a rather mediocre life working at a convenience store after graduating from college.

However, after a fateful encounter with the lively Haru Nonaka and his college crush, Shinako Morinome, the course of his life slowly begins to change. At times, it’s for the better, while other times, for the worse. Because of how simple it stays with its premise, the anime may not be for everyone. But, capturing life as it is, the show encapsulates the very essence of the slice-of-life genre.

Aggretsuko Season 3

Available on Netflix

Despite its cutesy childish demeanor, Aggretsuko is a reflection of the day-to-day snags of every office-working adult. It revolves around the life of Retuko, a cute red panda who can no longer take the work pressure and misogynistic remarks of her stereotypical pig of a boss. To vent her frustrations, she gets drunk at a local karaoke bar and sings heavy metal music.

RELATED: 10 Shows To Watch If You Like Aggretsuko

Viewers will not only resonate with Retsuko’s everyday workplace issues but will also find solace in her zany approach to finding her way out of stressful situations.

BOFURI: I Don’t Want To Get Hurt So I’ll Max Out My Defense

Available on Hulu, Crunchyroll, and Funimation

A still from the anime series BOFURI: I Don't Want To Get Hurt So I'll Max Out My Defense.

Often compared favorably to Sword Art Online, BOFURI: I Don’t Want To Get Hurt So I’ll Max Out My Defense is a lighthearted series that works as one-part video game isekai and one part slice-of-life. Its characters are cute, and believable, and the anime absolutely nails the thrills and follies of getting invested in a new MMO.

Unlike Sword Art Online, the characters of BOFURI aren’t trapped in the game. Rather, they’re free to come and go as they please, meaning that the stakes aren’t nearly as high and the series can adopt a more laid-back approach that melds well with its cutesy aesthetic.

Ascendance Of A Bookworm Part 2

Available on Crunchyroll

The central character of Ascendance Of A Bookworm is a young girl who loves books. But, as fate would have it, just when she’s about to become a librarian, she meets her doom. Luckily for her, she gets a second chance at life—this time around in a world that is bereft of books.

Reincarnated as a frail five-year-old girl, it now comes down to her to make her dream of reading books a reality. Although it begins as a typical Isekai, Ascendance of a Bookworm later defies most stereotypes of the genre and weaves a compelling adventure that makes viewers ask for more.

Somali And The Forest Spirit

Available on Crunchyroll

Stills from the anime series Somali and the Forest Spirit.

In the world of Somali and the Forest Spirit, humans are on the brink of extinction. Spirits, goblins, and other fantastical creatures now rule the planet while the remnants of the human population are persecuted.

One fine day, a lost human girl crosses paths with a Golem who guards the forest, and it’s this fateful encounter that changes the course of the hateful relationship between humans and other creatures. There’s a heartwarming father-daughter dynamic between the two main characters of the series, which is further amped by the show’s stunning animation and calming visuals.

Kaguya-sama: Love Is War Season 2

Available on Hulu, Crunchyroll, and Funimation

A still from the second season of the anime series Kaguya-sama: Love is War.

For the uninitiated, a tsundere is a character who is initially hot-headed and hostile towards their lover. However, with time, the character slowly starts warming up and shows a friendlier and loving side. Kaguya-sama: Love Is War is all about two tsundere high school characters who are smitten with each other but won’t confess it because of their big egos. It’s this conflict in their interests that leads to hilarious outcomes.

RELATED: 10 Ghibli Anime Creatures That Are Too Cute To Take Seriously

While the first season of Kaguya-sama: Love Is War is all about endless gags where the two protagonists duke it out in high school, the second one instills some warm lovey-dovey romantic comedy.

Smile Down The Runway

Available on Hulu and Funimation

Characters from the Smile Down The Runway anime series.

Chiyuki Fujito has her sights set on becoming a fashion model, but she’s constantly told that she’s too short to make it as a professional. In a similar situation is her classmate Ikuto Tsumura, who dabbles in fashion design but struggles to succeed due to his impoverished family.

While those with a background in fashion will perhaps get more out of Smile Down the Runway than the average viewer, it is, at its heart, a compelling tale of underdogs overcoming long odds to live out their dreams.

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Season 3

Available on Crunchyroll and Hulu

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU focuses on Hachiman, a cynic whose mockery of modern social relationships infuriates his teacher. As a result, he’s forced to join his school’s Volunteer Club and assist those who need help. What starts as a forced endeavor later becomes an activity he learns to embrace. Along the way, he also befriends two girls, Yukino and Yui, who help him change his shallow perspective of the world.

Towards season 3, drawing close to graduation, the show starts wrapping up the high school adventures of its dynamic trio. While they try to pan out their lives ahead, they learn some life-changing lessons.

Fruits Basket Season 2

Available on Hulu, Crunchyroll, and Funimation

Ranked among the most popular Shojo anime of our time, the Fruits Basket reboot has surpassed almost everyone’s expectations. With its final season around the corner, the series is still going strong because of its beautiful writing and relatable characters.

The show centers on Tooru Honda who starts living in a tent all by herself after some unforeseeable tragedies. When the Souma family learns about her homelessness, they offer her a helping and let her stay with them. Soon, Tooru discovers that there’s a lot more to the Souma’s than meets the eye—they can turn into Chinese Zodiac animals. This marks the inception of her adventures with her new fantastical family.


Available to purchase on Amazon Prime Video

Unlike most slice-of-life anime, Kakushigoto does not revolve around romantic high school relationships. Instead, it focuses on the struggles of an adult man named Kakushi who is a manga artist and also a single parent. The biggest dilemma of Kakushi’s life is that he only writes manga that has “inappropriate” content.

Due to this, he’s too embarrassed to tell his daughter about his line of work. While he attempts to lie to her by claiming that he’s a regular corporate worker, his daughter’s curiosity leads to some very hilarious situations. In all of its comedy, there’s a dash of reality where the anime highlights the cutthroat manga industry and also highlights the issues faced by a single parent.

NEXT: 5 Anime That Are Great For Beginners (& 5 For The More Seasoned Viewer)


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