Our anime-loving correspondent Seiji says these anime series will give you a case of Japan’s dreaded, productivity-killing “May disease.”
In Japan, there’s something that happens each spring called gogatsubyo. While it literally translates to “May disease,” it’s not a viral sickness, but a psychological phenomenon that’s often observed in places of business and education.
See, April is the start of the school year in Japan. It’s also when new recruits start working at companies, and generally when existing employees get transferred to new departments. For the first few weeks, everyone gets caught up in the hustle and bustle of meeting new people and starting new projects. Then May comes around, and a dreary, down-to-earth sameness starts to replace those heady days of April, as all that motivation and vigor dissipates and leaves behind a fog of forlorn ennui.
The period right after Golden Week, the string of holidays Japan is currently in the middle of, is said to be when people are most likely to come down with a bout of gogatsubyo. Making the situation worse, according to SoraNews24’s in-house Japanese-language anime fan Seiji, is that some people spend their free time during Golden Week watching anime, and certain series can trigger an especially acute gogatsubyo reaction.
And so we present Seiji’s list of the five currently airing anime most likely to give you gogatsubyo and leave you saying, “You know what? I just can’t see the point in going to work/school today.”
1. What Do You Do at the End of the World? Are You Busy? Will You Save Us?
Also known by its much more compact fan nickname Sukasuka, the comically long official title had Seiji originally thinking this was going to be a gag comedy. Instead, it’s a story about mankind facing extinction, with its female characters being committed to sacrificing their lives by serving as weaponry in humanity’s fight for survival. “Watching it, a feeling of depression sets in,” Seiji says, and it may have you questioning what the point is in getting your reports done by their due date if we all might end up getting killed by monsters eventually anyway.
2. Sakura Quest
While its name may make it sound like another fantasy tale, Sakura Quest takes place in the mundane setting of rural Japan, where protagonist Yoshino tries to revive a small town’s tourism industry. Produced by P.A. Works, the same company behind Hanasaku Iroha and Shirobako, anime which followed the employees of a traditional Japanese inn and anime studio, respectively.
“Seeing Yoshino cheerfully giving it her all in the face of adversity, and then comparing her constant enthusiasm with your growing feelings of insignificance at work, you might feel some gogatsubyo coming on,” remarks Seiji.
3. Tsuki ga Kirei
Tsuki ga Kirei translates into English as “the moon is beautiful,” but this series bears the official English title of as the moon, so beautiful. That odd syntax and punctuation is, in a way, a good fit for this tale of two junior high students taking the first halting steps towards a pure-hearted romance.
If you’re still in junior high, watching the events unfold could be inspiring. But if your student days are behind you? “You realize how your soul has become corrupted as you’ve grown older,” says Seiji. “It makes you recall that girl you always had a crush on, but never worked up the courage to talk to…and then you start to wonder if she also lost her innocence on the way to becoming an adult.”
4. Hinako Note
Seiji is a pretty big fan of laid-back, slice-of-life anime, a genre that’s not represented in large numbers this anime season. He does, at least, have Hinako Note to watch, in which shy teen Hinako moves to Tokyo and builds a high school theater club with her classmates who live in the same apartment building.
But sometimes all that sweetness leaves Seiji feeling pretty sour. “Sitting back and enjoying an episode, you can forget everything that’s bothering you, but after you get sucked too far into its world, which seems filled with nothing but cute girls, the real world can start to look like hell.”
5. Little Witch Academia
Continuing straight into its second season following a January premier, this magic academy-centered anime continues to show the progress of Akko, who aspires to become a witch even as she struggles to handle such basics as riding a flying broom. But she never gives up…which once again has Seiji feeling down in the dumps. “Watching it, you’re reminded of how full of wonderful dreams and shining enthusiasm you were as a kid, which only makes your lack of them now feel all the more depressing.”
Now, we should point out that as with art, reactions to any specific anime series will vary by individual, and given certain recent events in Seiji’s life, his reactions may be darker than those of the average anime fan. Still, he recommends watching these shows in moderation if you’re trying to avoid the productivity-killing effects of gogatsubyo.
Come to think of it, we hope Seiji follows that advice himself, seeing as how he works for us.
Top image ©SoraNews24
[ Read in Japanese ]
Follow Casey on Twitter, where if you’re feeling the effects of anime-induced gogatsubyo, his recommended prescription is 30 to 60 minutes of Slayers theme songs twice a day.
[ Read in Japanese ]