Iyashikei

"Nothing really happens, but in a really good way."
Sayaka Ohara, voice of Alicia in ARIA

Iyashikei (癒し系) is Japanese for "healing", a term used for anime and manga created with the specific purpose of having a healing or soothing effect on the audience. Works of this kind often involve alternative realities with little to no conflict, emphasizing nature and the little delights in life. If anybody talks about a "Moe" genre about cute girls doing cute things, it may very likely be in this genre.

Even though many iyashikei creations seem to have a strong escapist basis, the goal is not only to offer a means of getting away from daily worries, but to let the audience embrace a calming state of mind. As these works tend to involve normal people in normal situations, this trope often overlaps with Slice of Life. Other tropes often associated with iyashikei are Arcadia, Ghibli Hills and Scenery Porn.

Iyashikei often involves the subtler kind of Crowning Moment of Heartwarming. Compare and contrast Warm And Fuzzy Feeling, Tastes Like Diabetes, Sweet Dreams Fuel, and Happiness Tropes. Contrast Utsuge (the closest genre to its diametric opposite in Japanese media), Glurge, Nightmare Fuel and Paranoia Fuel. Works adhering to this trope might function as Real Life Brain Bleach. See also Escapism for very similar concept.

Examples:

  • Ah! My Goddess: Two very caring people fall in love, as their friends and family members have wacky harmless hijinks in the background. In particular, Skuld's subplot about learning to ride a bike is devoted to showing that just living a normal human life can be pretty sweet.
  • Amanchu! is a story of a high school girl who befriends a scuba diving enthusiast and joins the school diving club. It's a story of their friendship while learning how to scuba dive, accompanied with beautiful visuals.
  • ARIA A woman practices to be a gondolier in a futuristic Venice. Gorgeous visuals and an easygoing storyline makes it ideal for those who just want to relax.
  • Azumanga Daioh Slice of life story of a group of high school students and some of their teachers. Full of gags and cuteness.
  • Bunny Drop A man without much purpose in life impulsively adopts a grade school girl. This is a story of how they interact and become a family.
  • Is the Order a Rabbit? embraces the "cute girls doing cute things" idea, as it is about five girls and their friends/relatives living in a beautiful European-style city with Bunnies for Cuteness everywhere and the focus is their friendship and working in various cafés.
  • K-On! is in essence a Moe-fied, Gender Flip version of The Beatles set in school. The main characters however spend a lot of time drinking tea, eating cake and having fun just about as much as they practice music or play on concerts.
  • Umi Monogatari is about accepting your inner darkness. Marin, Kanon, and Urin have to go through a lot while fighting Sedna, including facing their own fears and sorrow. In the end they don't destroy Sedna, but accept her and their sorrow back into their hearts.
  • Wife and Wife is a story about a lesbian married couple moving in together and how they adjust to their new lives.
  • The Magical Girl Warrior Yuki Yuna Is a Hero is according to Word of God a "new type" of this anime. It doesn't contain much "healing" until the literal end. In fact, it's the complete opposite—it's dark and depressing once certain revelations come out.
  • Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou An After the End manga focused on a female android minding a cafe in the middle of nowhere. Despite the post-disaster world that has left humanity in decline, it's a soft and easygoing story about the android's life. Much of the story is told through pictures versus words.
  • Yotsuba&!: A Slice of life comic about a preschool girl and her discovery of the world around her. Today is always the most enjoyable day!

Alternative Title(s): Healing Anime, Healing Manga

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Iyashikei