The 5 best anime to watch if you love Stardew Valley

A brown-haired anime girl in an olive green gardening outfit holding a tool in one hand and smiling.
Image: Silver Link/Crunchyroll

Farming, cozy vibes, and friendships galore!

Fans of the beloved farm life sim Stardew Valley have a lot to be excited for this week with the hotly anticipated release of the 1.6 patch on Tuesday. The update is expected to include new festivals, items, late-game content, and improved multiplayer support, as well as a host of other player-requested features and improvements.

Stardew Valley has come a long way since its humble beginnings as a fan-made alternative to the Story of Seasons series, debuting as one of Steam’s biggest releases of 2016 and growing into a multimedia franchise that boasts a worldwide orchestral concert tour, a board game adaptation, and even a cookbook! To celebrate the game’s latest update, we’ve pulled together a list of our favorite anime we would recommend to Stardew Valley fans. These anime tap into nearly everything that has made the game such a phenomenon, from cozy vibes and lighthearted adventure to communal growth and agricultural fun!

Here are the best anime to watch if you love Stardew Valley!

Laid-Back Camp

The girls of Laid-Back Camp chilling by the fire Image: C-Station/Crunchyroll

Where to watch: Crunchyroll

I can’t think of a show that fits Stardew Valley better than Laid-Back Camp. Sure, Stardew isn’t so much about camping, but the two still have a lot in common. Both stories follow characters who just moved to town and are trying to find their place in a new community. The series will treat viewers to plenty of scenic moments, but the joy of Laid-Back Camp really shines through when watching its protagonist, Nadeshiko, connect with her new friends and herself through their shared loved of nature.

What’s more is that Laid-Back Camp and Stardew Valley share similarly comforting vibes. When watching the anime, the show has plenty of scenes where the girls cuddle up in their warm winter coats and sit around the fire. Everything about Stardew Valley and this show just screams, “Go curl up under a blanket and enjoy the two together!” All in all, Laid-Back Camp is the ultimate cozy anime for all the cozy gamers who like Stardew Valley. —Ana Diaz

My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!

Three anime characters in an ornate hallways alternatively smiling and frowning. Image: Silver Link

Where to watch: Crunchyroll

Based on Satoru Yamaguchi’s popular novel series, My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! follows the story of a 17-year-old girl who is reincarnated in the world of one of her favorite dating sim games, Fortune Lover. Sounds like a dream come true, right? Wrong — it turns out our protagonist has been reborn in the body of Catarina Claes, the game’s antagonist, who is fated to either die or be exiled when the game ends!

Relying on her robust knowledge of Fortune Lover, Catarina works tirelessly to avert her fate, and in doing so inadvertently makes the game’s entire cast fall in love with her! The parallels between the anime and Stardew Valley are obvious, with players taking on a multitude of different tasks and quests while romancing a variety of characters. If that weren’t enough, Catarina takes up a new hobby over the course of the series — vegetable gardening! If you’re looking for an entertaining fantasy comedy that overlaps with core principles of Stardew Valley, this is the anime I would recommend. —Toussaint Egan

Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End

Frieren standing in a field of flowers with a flower crown on her head in Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End. Image: Madhouse/Crunchyroll

Where to watch: Crunchyroll

I’d recommend Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End to just about anyone who’s interested in anime or fantasy series in general. It just so happens to be a great recommendation for Stardew Valley players. This story follows an elf named Frieren who once belonged to a party of heroes who defeated the ultimate evil in the land. Unlike her human compatriots, Frieren has a lifespan of thousands of years. Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End follows her quest to visit the final resting place of souls and reconnect with her departed friends.

Like other entries on this list, Frieren oozes a relaxing pastoral vibe perfect for fans of Stardew Valley. Instead of fighting the big bad guy in pursuit of some ultimate power, Frieren spends her days collecting eclectic spells and reflecting on the past. To her, months searching for a single kind of flower is time well spent. The show has its fair share of fights and action, but it stands out for its quiet and contemplative moments too. Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End makes for the perfect comfort viewing. —AD

Fruits Basket (2019)

tohru standing with yuki and kyo against a setting sun in Fruits Basket Image: TMS/8PAN/Crunchyroll

Where to watch: Crunchyroll

Fruits Basket is for anyone whose favorite part of Stardew Valley is integrating into the community by getting to know every single NPC and completing their little tasks to help them.

The anime follows the plucky and big-hearted Tohru, who finds herself embroiled in the drama of the Sohmas — a very old and wealthy family where 12 members of each generation are curs ed to turn into the animals of the zodiac when hugged by a member of the opposite sex. Oh, and also there’s a special surprise 13th member doomed to be the loathed cat. Every member of the Sohma family has more or less accepted their fate in life, but when Tohru extends her friendship and kindness to them, they begin to realize that they can be free of this curse. Meanwhile, Tohru, a deeply lonely young girl who lost both her parents, grows into herself and finds a community that she never knew she lacked.

Yes, it is a romantic anime, but the most important part of Fruits Basket is how Tohru helps the Sohma family by the power of just being a totally nice human being. It’s not really a tangled web of potential love interests. Instead the focus is on friendship, helping each other, and growing as people. And in true Stardew Valley fashion, there’s a sprinkling of some magic, but just enough to make things a little fun and funky. —Petrana Radulovic

Delicious in Dungeon

A group of adventurers in various outfits and armor dissecting a mushroom monster to cook in Delicious in Dungeon. Image: Studio Trigger/Netflix

Where to watch: Netflix

If you consider yourself a purveyor of bizarre monster parts in Stardew Valley, you definitely should check out Delicious in Dungeon. This anime follows a party of adventurers who, instead of using everyday ingredients to cook, concoct delicacies using the body parts of monsters. I adore Delicious in Dungeon because it’s got a little bit of everything. You’ve got a ragtag team of characters, plenty of adventure elements as the team fights monsters in the dungeon, and then of course we get to gawk at mouthwatering animated food.

Unfortunately, Stardew Valley doesn’t allow players to do all that much cooking with the parts of monsters. You can make fish bait, or use items like slime for certain machines, but the game limits the overall monster cookbook. It’s a bummer, because my previous Stardew Valley playthroughs consistently resulted in amassing massive amounts of monster guts and slime. Delicious in Dungeon at least allows me to imagine an alternate world where I can put all those ingredients to better use as I explore Stardew Valley’s darkest dungeons. —AD

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