Always got good suggestions here :)
Wondering if anyone could suggest an epic story that has the full range: including character development, drama, romance, action, adventure? That's broad maybe so I'll narrow it down a bit...
Anime series that had it in some form or other that I've seen:
The Legend of the Legendary Heroes
Twelve Kingdoms (Juuni Kokki)
I know Tears to Tiara is a similar genre but I found it too rushed and character development was not executed well in my opinion. Could not hold my attention beyond first couple of episodes. Also did not like Code Geass.
For further reference... my favorite story-driven video games:
Suikoden 2 (the best)
Final Fantasy X
Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky
Star Ocean (1 and 2)
Most of the aforementioned series have pros and cons to them. For example, I got bored of Twelve Kingdoms after the first arc (though I really liked it), I did not like the near-ending plot twist of Utawarerumono, and I think the setting and art (and to an extent the characters) had generic moments for Legend of the Legendary Heroes. Also, although Gurren Laggan is one of my favorites, I am not necessarily looking for something identical.
With that said, action, drama, and romance would all be necessary. A large scale war is not necessary, but not at all against it. While almost all of my examples have a large war as part of it, it's not a prerequisite (eg. FFX and Trails in the Sky still qualify as epic scale for me). I suppose it's about the context of the story and the significance of what the characters experience.
Fantasy, or hybrid Fantasy + Future/Modern (Gurren Laggan / FFX) setting.
I feel this might be a bit of a lost genre. Or am I not in touch with the most recent productions?
Although I referenced a few video games, I am looking for an anime series, but would be open to suggestions for PSP games (and by extension PS1; it is the only console I play now). Mainly anime though.
Thanks in advance ^^
Both Fantasy and adventure series with other elements in the mix I'd suggest:
Katanagatari (Warning a lot of character development is dialogue driven at times so expect lots of talking per episode)
Seirei no Moribito (Very rich Fantasy setting, probably the best one besides Twelve Kingdoms that I've seen)
And a different type it's set in a Fantasy MMORPG in the future(still airing) Sword Art Online definitely has what you're looking for in the mix.
Another vote for Moribito, and a suggestion to give the same author's Kemono no Sou-ja Erin a try as well. It looks more like a children's show from a design perspective, but it still tells a complex and powerful story.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica is pretty epic in its own way.
Another show that just started this fall might be worth watching as well, Shin Sekai Yori ("From the New World"). It looks rather interesting based on the first two episodes.
Full Metal Alchemist / Brotherhood
D.Gray-man....prefer the manga though
Sword Art Online......ongoing
Now and Then and Here and There
All of these are excellent.
Berserk and Fate/Zero are both extremely violent, grim, and upsetting, not to mention sad but if you don't mind that, these are both fantastic.
Also, ditto to FMA: Brotherhood, D. Gray - man, Madoka Magica. Madoka is an instant classic for sure.
Seirei no Moribito got my vote too (3 votes)
Kara no Kyoukai movie (5-7 part movie)
Guin Saga. It's only real downside is that it only covers the first 16 light novels in a very, very, very long story; the author of which, sadly passed away in 2009. There are some 130 light novels in this story, btw. :p
But, it's still a grand example of epic fantasy anime with all the things you said you're looking for. Initially, I dropped it after one episode, because of a character with a leopard head, but boy (yes, I can be very shallow at times :heh:). Went back to it a year or two later on the recommendation of a friend, and slapped myself silly for being so dumb.
It's not as say...dark as Berserk (the author of Berserk drew a lot of inspiration from Guin Saga), but it's also not as light as many of the classics in this genre, such as Escaflowne, etc.
I'm not sure why, but it got very little attention here in the west (maybe the leopard head?), which is a shame. I think it's one of the most underappreciated/watched anime of the last few years (2009).
Vandread and Martian Successor Nadesico - Two of the best space dramas I've seen that were produced at the turn of the last century. Both contains the full range of char development/action/adventure/romance/drama. Introduced settings with lots of potential and delivered on it, hard.
Kyoukaisenjou no Horizon
I have to warn you though. This show throws most people for being tad too confusing, and makes a fool out of itself a bit too much. And the show operates on a different version of logic and common sense we're all used to. This show requires a lot of dedication to get into, since it has a very intricate world settings and a heck of a LOT of characters (actually, everyone in class is a protagonist). If you can overcome all this though, then you'll get your epic show.
Throwing in another vote for Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood , that series had me reduced to tears towards the end.
Also another vote for Seirei no Moribito.
Although many may disagree, I consider Terra e.. pretty epic. It starts a little slow and there isn't much romance but the character development is amazing.
Vision of Escaflowne is dated but has all of the aspects you are looking for.
Space Battleship Yamato is probably the most obvious choice. I guess most other people here are too young to remember it.
I'd also suggest:
Martian Successor Nadesico (has parody elements as well)
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
Crest of the Stars (romance mainly shows up in one of the sequels)
Tenchi Universe (eventually it gets there)
Full Metal Panic
The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya (you'll need to watch The Melancholy of Haruhi first though)
Neon Genesis Evangelion
A Certain Magical Index
Madoka is definitely epic, but it's not really a romance anime. (Okay, yes there is Sayaka and Kyousuke but I doubt that is what the OP wants.
No love for Last Exile? ._.
True I forgot about Last Exile
Rose of Versailles which I am happy to say is now legally streaming in the US via Viki.
It's a historical fiction series about the French Revolution with an awesome main character. The story spans over 20 years and is very much an epic. Although it has a bit of a slow start its very much worth your time.
I second these in the bottom (haven't watch the others he listed):
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood - this is something the OP wanted. Watch it!
Tenchi Muyo + Tenchi Universe - I love this series, it reminds me of Ranma, but it had more of a story than it.
Full Metal Panic - nice action and funny love twist.
Inuyasha - almost 200 episode, including the squeal.
Neon Genesis Evangelion - I like it. Very psychological theme to it.
A Certain Magical Index - I believe there 2 seasons (24 episode each) and a 24 episode side story of a certain character. This series is base off a novel, so the plot and story is very fluent.
Madoka - even if not you specific, you should give this short 12 episode series a try. It's not your average magical girl series.
Ergo Proxy - a futuristic peaceful utopia, with dark secrets.
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