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Old 2009-07-20, 05:44   Link #1
jaykaylol
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Serious anime, romance, slice of life, deep thought

I'm looking for anime that's serious and doesn't have a lot of comedy. I'm trying to stay away from the school setting anime because from the ones I've taken a look at, it usually ends up being too silly (an example would be Lovely Complex, the idea is great but the mood feels too immature for me to want to finish it >_<).

Most anime that I've tried watching don't have that serious tone to it or doesn't delve into deep thought subjects, which I enjoy pondering over. Things I have enjoyed watching that fall into this category:

-Welcome to the NHK - serious, romance, slice of life, just enough comedy; everything in a bundle for me, exactly the kind I', looking for.
-5 Centimeters per Second - serious, romance, great animation
-The Place Promised in Our Early Days - serious, romance, great animation again

I hope someone understands what I mean by the mood in those anime. Thanks for suggesting!
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Old 2009-07-20, 10:06   Link #2
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Well, since you mentioned his two other works it's logical you'd like Shinkai Makoto's other one, Voices of a Distant Star. The animation is more primitive but the feel is about the same. I'd also say Seirei no Moribito fits the bill. Great animation, extremely well-written and dialogue-heavy. Some action, book-ending a lot of slice of life in the middle. I describe it as simple and complex at the same time, because it's a straightforward narrative that takes on some very serious issues of human relationships in a very mature way, with no shortcuts.
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Old 2009-07-20, 10:55   Link #3
Theowne
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Definitely recommend Honey and Clover for you. It does start off with comedy and mantains it throughout, but a great deal of the show is serious in nature and deals with "deep thought" both about love and about growing up, becoming adults, etc. By the way, if you liked the internal monologues in 5cm per second, you will absolutely love Honey and Clover - it has some of the most beautiful and thoughtful monologues in any realistic anime series. I would be surprised if it didn't leave you "pondering" over some of the things these characters go through in regards to your own life. Any mention of mature -> Honey and Clover. You won't regret it.
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Old 2009-07-20, 11:38   Link #4
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Millenium Actress
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When film-maker Genya Tachibana decided to make a documentary in commemorate the 70th anniversary of the now defunct Studio Ginei, he travelled to a secluded mountain lodge to interview the idol of his youth, the enigmatic Chiyoko Fujiwara, who was the studio's leading lady from the 1930s to the 1960s. As Chiyoko reminisces about her life, Tachibana and his cameraman suddenly find themselves a part of a rich and dazzling journey through time. Chiyoko's films and personal memories intertwine with present events and stretch the boundaries of reality as she resumes her chase for the love of her life.
In my opinion, this is director Satoshi Kon's best work. Millenium Actress is a brilliant example of how, when used properly, anime can transcend reality in ways that live-action movies cannot. Film idol Chiyoko chases a mysterious artist she met during her childhood, a man whose face she cannot even remember. Yet, she is hopelessly in love with him, and she has been pursuing him her whole life and through her entire career as a movie actress.

If it's an epic romantic drama you're looking for, you won't go far wrong with this anime masterpiece.

However, if it's tragic romance you want, I'd recommend Samurai X: Trust and Betrayal instead.
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Taken by slavers when he was a child, Himura Kenshin is rescued only when an encounter with bandits kills off everyone but him. He is found by a master of the Divine Justice School of Swordmanship, a school so deadly that to train in it, means death for either the master or student, there can only be one master. Taken by the master, Kenshin is trained in this school, only to leave before finishing so that he may join the Meiji restoration and help prevent further tragedies like his own. Thus is born the Battousai, the greatest strength of the Ishin Patriots, a boy of 15 who kills for the sake of building a new, better world. One night, he comes across a mysterious woman, Tomoe. He must hide with her when the revolution stumbles. They marry for appearances, but soon fall in love. Tomoe has another reason to be with Kenshin, one she regrets but cannot stop. Revenge must be satisfied, and only blood can do that.
It's the OAV prequel to the evergreen Rurouni Kenshin TV series, but other than Kenshin, all the other characters in the OAV do not appear in the anime series. So, it's ok to watch it as a standalone movie, especially the re-mastered Director's Cut version.
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Old 2009-07-20, 12:16   Link #5
Kafriel
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Watch Casshern SINS, it's one of the most serious anime I've seen, as far as I remember there's not a single laugh in 26 eps and the mood is always pretty heavy.
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Old 2009-07-20, 13:09   Link #6
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Yeah, let's go with Honey and Clover before we move anywhere else.

And why not mention Whisper of the Heart? It's not exactly "serious," but it has most of what you need. There's slice of life, deep thought, light romance, but it also has some fantasy.

If you're trying to stay away from the school atmosphere, why not try REC? Both characters are 20 or older (I think), have jobs, and it's practically a "slice of life" even though it's not as carefree as the genre. The only problem is it's listed as a comedy, which it is really not in my opinion.
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Old 2009-07-20, 13:09   Link #7
Telmah
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I strongly second Voices of a Distant Star--it's only a 30 minute ova but has incredible depth. To think it was made by one man on a mac more or less...that's not a production but rather a work of art. It reminds me alot of the first arc of 5 Centimeters--I was really impressed with it.

Zettai Shonen--is slow paced but might be something you like. The romance is light but present, but the tone of the show is very serious and very much slice of life. There's some supernatural elements, but it's really well grounded in reality show all things considered, with realistic dialogue and well developed characters. The plot involves a boy being sent to spend the summer with his father in a small village--his family is divorced.

Twin Spica--again not as much romance, but it certainly is serious slice of life--the plot revolves around a girl wanting to be an astronaunt. There's a supernatural monkey wrench thrown in, but it's not really what the show is about. Again it is really slow.

Kure-nai--there's some elements of romance, and light comedy in it, but it is a heavily character driven show--the characters change on an episode to episode basis at times, so you really have to be engaged in the show to keep up. It has amazing direction perhaps the best I've seen in a series (some movies rival it though), that scenes are put well together--and the dialogue is some of the best I've seen in any format. There's an unrealistic elemental but nothing magic per say--instead it is used a symbol--yes there's alot of symbolism hidden in this show as well but it is harder to pick up on since its more Eastern than say Western (something like Haibane Renmei is much easier to understand because it uses Western Icons). The ending requires a special salute of respect--I guess I find myself often disappointed in endings and I value them highly because they are the last thoughts you have on watching something...this ending at first made me angry/unhappy, but as I really started to think about it, the ending worked--it was the only ending that could solve the central conflict...and the ending worked really well. It's been a very long time since something has surprised me like that. Also alot of the scenes that seemed odd, all fit into place--it was like putting a puzzle together in the dark and suddenly turning the lights on and seeing the big picture--all the character development up lead to the conclusion.
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Old 2009-07-20, 21:17   Link #8
blewin
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I third Honey and Clover. It's realistic, pressing concerns, serious, hopeful and bittersweet.

Other recommendations:

Natsume Yuujinchou - slice of life, supernatural, episodic in a way. It's about a boy struggling to build confidence and identity. A very thoughtful anime.

And if you like Natsume, you might want to try Mushishi.
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Old 2009-07-21, 03:05   Link #9
jaykaylol
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I've actually seen both Voices of a Distant Star and REC but forgot to list them. >_<

Thanks for the recommendations so far, keep them coming, I have a ton of free time recently.

Edit: Also trying to stay away from fantasy stuff.
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Old 2009-07-21, 06:50   Link #10
Kafriel
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Just remembered Higashi no Eden (or eden of the east, however you find it), and Monster. Dunno their fantasy levels since I haven't watched them yet, but they're both detective anime afaik.
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Old 2009-07-21, 09:18   Link #11
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I would have mentioned Monster in this thread, but the OP seemed committed to shows that have some romance which is nonexistent in Monster. That said, it's still one of the best programs I've ever watched in any format.

I'll second Telmah's mention of Kure-nai. Again it doesn't have romance in the traditional sense -- the male lead is 16, and the female lead is seven. Some of the other characters have romantic feelings for the male protagonist, but he's got other problems to deal with. The first half of Kure-nai is more comedic, while the second half more serious.

The OP might like Bartender, an episodic slice-of-life show that mixes the history of liquor with emotional stories about love and loss. Another serious slice-of-life show is Hataraki Man, about a 28-yo woman working as a Japanese magazine editor. Hiro's romantic life is pretty rocky because both she and her boyfriend are pursuing careers in workaholic Japan.

Like TinyRedLeaf I'm very fond of Millennium Actress; I'd also suggest Miyazaki's Mononoke Hime, for me the most intellectually challenging of his recent films.

Finally I'll add Ghost Hound to the list. This is a show by Shirow Masamune of GitS fame about three teen-aged boys who discover they can use "astral projection." There's a mystery or two to solve, and an uneasy mix of neuroscience, psychiatry, and the supernatural. Still, it's an intriguing story and beautifully animated to boot. What romance there is comes mostly in the form of "puppy love." This show comes closer to fantasy than the others I mentioned, but the story threads themselves are quite realistic.
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Old 2009-07-22, 11:16   Link #12
camilla
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I'd recommend you Berserk and Claymore, which are two of my faves.
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Old 2009-07-22, 12:08   Link #13
gigabrowser64
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I would have to say Gankustuou: The Count of Monte Cristo which perfectly fits all the qualities you're looking for.
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Old 2009-07-22, 20:58   Link #14
Fevvers
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I am disturbed with the lack of mention of I can Hear the Sea with its down-to-earth and subdued portrayal of teen romance and angst. It bears very little similarities with other Ghibli films (except for Only Yesterday I suppose, which is also something I highly recommend), in fact it feels more like an arthouse fare rather than a typical romance anime. Take that as you will.
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Old 2009-08-05, 20:19   Link #15
Yotsuba
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Koi Kaze. You can't get a more "serious" and deep thought type anime than that. Although it deals with incest, it's not ecchi at all, and it's actually very realistic and sad.
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Old 2009-08-05, 20:38   Link #16
mit7059
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Uh lets see.... Honey & Clover, Honey & Clover, Honey & Clover, Honey & Clover and throw in a little Honey & Clover for good measure.

I could make arguments for Planetes and Cross Game as well.

Seriously go watch Honey & Clover right now, it does have some comedy, especially in the first few episodes but I can guarantee you that it is the best most realistic slice of life out there.
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Last edited by mit7059; 2009-08-05 at 22:31.
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Old 2009-08-05, 22:09   Link #17
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Rec
Black Lagoon
Speed Grapher
Elfen Leid
Berserk
Samurai X-Trust and Betrayal
Cassern Sins
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Old 2009-08-06, 02:43   Link #18
Haak
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I would have to recommend Toradora!
The mood is the same if not better.

I thought it was even better than Welcome to the NHK
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Old 2009-08-06, 03:31   Link #19
mit7059
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Originally Posted by Haak View Post
I would have to recommend Toradora!
The mood is the same if not better.

I thought it was even better than Welcome to the NHK
As much as I loved Toradora it doesn't really fall into the category of 'serious' or 'deep thought' and it is no more a slice of life than any other school-life anime. It's a good series yes, but I don't think it really relates to the other series mentioned here, Welcome to the NHK fits better.
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Old 2010-06-10, 02:02   Link #20
AngelTsubasa
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My opinon

For deep romance there is Clannad after story, it has a prequel, Clannad, which isn't as serious but is very cute. their is also itazura kiss, which takes forever to develope but gets very sweet and cute. anothe is The Familar Of Zero, which is slow and has more comedy then seriousness
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