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mood: Beautiful

Rilakkuma and Kaoru is that perfect mix of cute and profound that you’d expect from a Japanese show about a woman living with teddy-bear roommates. The first episode is about cherry blossoms, but really, it’s about loneliness. Actually, the best term I can find to describe this show, and I’m not joking, is “slice-of-life.” The stories are endearing and intimate. You won’t be able to help but relate to the main character as she deals with being single while her friends are in relationships, her apartment building being demolished and she can’t find another affordable place to move into, her stressful job, etc. I have never seen a show combine this many absurd elements (the woman lives with three goddamn teddy bears), with so much realism. And all of this is done in an easy, quiet tone.

8.2

I can’t think of a good reason why this review shouldn’t just be two words: David Attenborough. With a voice that makes you wish every other voice in your life was the same, the star of Planet Earth teamed up with Netflix to make this new nature show. It took four years to film, and it bounces countless times between continents in every episode. It’s rich, vivid, and oh so beautiful. So they just made another Planet Earth? Not exactly. Our Planet has a much stronger environmental message. It’s not a line here and there about the negative impact we’ve had on the planet - it’s the theme behind the whole show. It’s frank, sad, but always, always, stunning.

8.5

Man, don't watch this show hungry. Chef David Chang has both the genius and humility to make whatever food he touches both fascinating and insanely appealing. Each episode follows a particular dish in the places where it’s made best, but also in the places that’s it’s known for. So for example the first episode about pizza goes to Japan to investigate a new pizza in a Michelin-star restaurant, but also goes to Domino’s. Chang has almost a f*ck it attitude towards the food industry that’s not only refreshing to watch on him, but also disarms his guests and sparks interesting conversation. One of the best food shows you can watch today.

8

An amazing binge-worthy show that is a mix between a coming-of-age story, a romance, and a crime thriller. It tells the story of James, a 17-year-old who believes he is a psychopath (for some very convincing reasons). James decides he wants the victim of his first murder to be a new schoolmate, Alyssa.  He befriends her and keeps waiting for the perfect moment to kill Alyssa until he finds himself on a journey with her to escape her home. Somewhere near the middle of the show, and without you fully realizing it, it transforms from an original coming-of-age story or odd-boy-meets-odd-girl story to an intriguing view on adolescent insecurities and the role of parents into shaping them. It transforms from a mysterious, almost charming story to an interesting character study.  This is when the show will blow your mind.  It's a fresh, smart, funny yet disturbing emotional thrill ride. 

9.6

Mushishi is one of those shows that you watch one episode at a time to relax after a long day of work. It’s a slow, atmospheric animation about a world where peculiar plant-like creatures called Mushi live alongside humans who are usually unaware of them. Think of Mushi as the most basic form of life. While being purposeless, they can unintentionally have a wide variety of effects on humans, sometimes helping them but always at an unforeseen cost. Ginko is a traveler who studies Mushi and on his way helps villagers with their problems.Each episode is an independent short story about a chapter of Ginko’s travels. The stories feel weirdly the same as folklore you grew up with. They are comfy, they hold a few moral lessons at the end of each one, and they’re sometimes scary and thought-provoking.  Despite being “anime”, this show might as well be a genre on its own. It holds none of the stereotypes surrounding anime, and it’s really just a collection of solid short stories coupled with great animation and an amazing soundtrack. If you’re tired and need a show to watch late at night with a loved one or by yourself, pick an episode at random and see for yourself how great of a show this is.

7