As I mentioned in my monthly update, last month was somewhat of an exercise in coping with stress for me. So the recommendations for this month are going to cover the various ways I de-stress. Each week I’ll pick something I use to de-stress myself and cover the ideal anime and game of that type…
Week 1’s theme is excess. Participating in glorious excess is such a fantastic de-stress, allowing you to take out your stress in ways that make no sense in your day-to-day life.
If you’re talking excess, you’d be hard pressed to find a better example. Sabagebu gradually pushes the boundaries on excess as the show progresses. But it does so without seeming unpleasant or venturing into any creepy sexual territory. Creepy humour, creepy violent behaviour, creepy twintails… but not creepy sexual territory, for the most part.
It’s just pure hilarity. Every episode you think you’ve seen the weirdest thing they’re going to throw at you, and every time you’re proven wrong almost immediately after. The show continuously adds new elements to outdo the previous adventure. And as much as I’d love to see more, the final episode is such a tremendous exercise in excess that it makes me almost glad they ended it where they did. How could they possibly ever top the craziness?
Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls
Wading into a field of demons and watching them get shredded by thousands of arrows is exactly what the doctor orders after a stressful week. There is nothing that says ‘relief’ quite like the unique combination of loot and slaughter present in the Diablo series.
And with a new patch just recently released, the game is finally starting to approach its true potential. Whether alone or with friends, this game is my go-to stress relief after dealing with management a bit too much at work.
This week’s recommendations are going to focus on laughter. Because laughter is the best medicine, or so they say… but really, laughter is an awesome way to de-stress… so today we’ll feature an anime whose first season had me laughing so loud my wife could hear from floors away and a game that, while it isn’t always hilarious, features some fantastic humour alongside everything else.
In my honest opinion, Nisekoi’s first season was just about the funniest thing I’ve watched in a long, long time. Every episode was a constant parade of laughter, I just couldn’t stop watching. Literally… I was too busy laughing to stop watching. It’s weird love dodecahedron, the absurd premise, and the hilarious string of awkward situations just worked so well together to create humour during those first 20 episodes.
Omega Quintet is an extremely Japanese JRPG… it’s about Idols and saving the world and cuteness… and those girls have some crazy personalities. Whether it be everyone picking on poor Otoha or Nene raving about guns (“Show off your manliness with unparalleled firepower!”) or Aria simply being Aria, it’s often hilarious. And when you mix in poor tactless Takt, it is just awesome.
Oh… and the game has a rather in-depth dance studio for the characters. Doesn’t sound funny? Just wait until you start using bombs to send them flying off the stage left and right. Then you’ll get the humour.
This week’s focus will be relaxation. The game and anime will both focus on calm, whether it be through music, visuals, or story… there won’t be much in these titles to get you riled up so you can just be soothed by them.
Wish Upon the Pleiades
There were a few I was torn between – Celestial Method, Sound! Euphonium, Locodol – but I went with Wish Upon the Pleiades because I felt that the others featured too many emotional ups and downs. While that’s a good thing in general, cliffhangers and sharp emotional changes can be a little contradictory to the goal of calming down.
Wish Upon the Pleiades is a Magical Girl anime with very little conflict, adorable characters, and a very soothing colour palette. While you do become attached to these characters, it is safe to become attached to them because, for the most part, they’re not going to have any real tragedies happen. It’s just a nice, calming show. And sometimes, that’s just what the doctor ordered.
While there aren’t a lot of games that offer this type of soothing, calming experience… those that do are extremely good at it. One such is Eufloria. This is a very simple real-time strategy game for the console. Which sounds like it would be enormously stressful… but by keeping matters relatively simple and by using a very constructive premise(spreading life throughout the universe) and subtle, muted imagery they’ve managed to create a soothing RTS.
Our final week of stress relief will focus on distraction. Sometimes, the only thing you can do to reduce your stress is distract yourself so completely that you just have no room to think about it. And this week’s recommendations will help you with just that: occupying your mind and entertaining you so you simple cannot think about anything else.
Nanana’s Buried Treasure
I’ve watched a lot of emotionally engaging shows but not that many intellectually involved ones. That isn’t to say there haven’t been a lot of smart shows, but smart isn’t necessarily the same as intellectually engaging. Nanana’s Buried Treasure offers a series of puzzles and labyrinths that you can solve alongside the cast. The solutions are interesting, and generally if you follow their steps you’ll be able to figure it out as well, which is unique. It was really good to see a show not resort to deus ex machina and contrived solutions. Every puzzle had a solution, and the solutions fit the information the show gave you.
But what makes this show perfect for this week’s category is that it pairs those labyrinths with a strong cast and a great sense of humour. Every character has ulterior motives and affiliations, and their personalities work together to create some hilarious moments.
It should come as no surprise that Catherine tops this list. It is among my favourite games, and it is by far the best puzzle game I’ve ever played. The level of detail that went into crafting the mechanics to allow for everyone to create their own style for climbing and still complete the game is amazing. When you combine the difficulty of the puzzles with the intense feeling of satisfaction that comes of completing a stage, you get an experience that is great for keeping your mind fully focused.
Add to that some of the most believable characters and a really intricate story and you’re looking at a nearly perfect distraction. With numerous endings, an incredibly challenging hard mode, and the infinitely replayable Babel and Competitive modes, it might just go beyond stress relief… I know it has for me.