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Theowne 2011-08-14 13:51

Poignancy, sentiment, and good characters
I haven't done one of these in a while, and I'm looking for more series. The title is very broad, so I I think the easiest way to start is to list some of my favourite series:

Natsume Yuujinchou
Honey and Clover
Cross Game
Crest/Banner of the Stars
nearly all Ghibli films

...and my most "recent" find was Kemono no Souja Erin. These shows all come from various genres - essentially I like series revolving around good characters, using them to explore themes of friendship, loyalty, love, and etc, in a way which tends more towards the idealistic and honorable rather than the gritty and cynical. Whether in a slice-of-life show like Honey and Clover or a fantasy adventure like Kemono no Souja.

I also tend to like a degree of sentiment, but dislike melodrama. Natsume Yuujinchou is an example of a series which exemplifies this - quite emotional without wallowing in grief or self-pity. Shows which deal with poignant situations of loss, regret, or self-discovery, such as Honey and Clover, work well with me as long as they don't linger on melodrama (An example of a series I did not like was Bokura ga Ita).

I am open to all genres but with a few restrictions. No fanservice, visual novel-based series, or excessive gore, and I would rather avoid anime targeted at the otaku demographic as well as long-running shounen franchises. But older shows or longer shows are no problem.

As this is rather vague, here is my animelist: hopefully it may give a better impression of what I tend to like.

MeoTwister5 2011-08-14 13:57

Give Wandering Son a try. Very much character driven and written by the same author as Aoi Hana. Likewise you should definitely give the currently airing Usagi Drops a chance, though it's more family oriented than friendship.

I still say you should give Tatami Galaxy a shot. The comedic and slightly psychedelic presentation belies a very serious exploration of one man's struggles to find his place in young adult life.

Theowne 2011-08-14 14:13

I actually watched Tatami Galaxy back when it was first airing, and liked it very much. And I'm indeed following Usagi Drop which is also good so far. Aoi Hana was more of a mixed bag for me, but I'll certainly look into Wandering Son.

Haak 2011-08-14 14:21

Second Usagi Drop. It's the perfect one.

There's also Hana Saku Iroha but it does have some moe and fanservice.

Pellissier 2011-08-14 14:28

Fruits Basket comes to mind when mentioning character exploration through poignancy, loss and love (and humour, although in right doses and not invasive).

Bakuman since it's directed by Kasai Kenichi, the director of the Honey & Clover and Nodame Cantabile. A good anime, very intense although not everyone's cup of tea. It will get a second season later this year.

Have you seen AnoHana ? Among the best things this year had to offer so far, and since it's fairly short (11 episodes), it might be worth a try.
Disclaimer, while it contains melodrama at times, it's also genuinely touching at other times, it really depends at how you connect with the characters since the very first episodes.

I'll third Usagi Drop and second Wandering Son.

Kotohono 2011-08-14 15:54

I'd highly second Wandering Son and Usagi Drops :).

I'd also maybe suggest Juuni Kokuki/The Twelve Kingdoms, though to warn the female lead annoys some people early on, she changes greatly over the series; it's a very good fantasy series. With some good characters that definitely explore some of the themes you want.

Haak 2011-08-14 16:02

I forgot to mention Oujisan no Lamp. It's a single episode OVA and it's very good. I'm sure you'll love it.

I also recommend House of Five Leaves

Guardian Enzo 2011-08-14 17:03

Seconding Usagi Drop and Hourou Musuko. If you really haven't seen AnoHana, I certainly recommend that strongly. I also recommend Ikoku Meiro no Croisee in the strongest possible terms.

If you go back a ways, I don't see Ghost Hound on your list. It's intellectual, but I think it's subversively sentimental too. Sarai-ya Goyou (House of Five Leaves) is another show that meets that description. I'm also a huge fan of Zettai Shounen, which is unlike any other show you'll see but features extremely strong characters. Sola is another highly emotional, beautiful series. And Dennou Coil is a sci-fi but extremely character-driven, and features some of the best interaction with younger kids that you'll ever see.

Dawnstorm 2011-08-14 17:28

I see you've already seen Mushishi and Haibane Renmei, two shows I'd have recommended. (Was fun seeing Piano no Mori on your list; I don't often hear about it.) You might like Kimi ni Todoke, especially the first season (the second has highpoints, too, but doesn't quite reach the standard of the first - although, you do want to see that ending.)

Corwin_r 2011-08-14 18:28

I'm surprised nobody recommended Aria, it's the closest you can get to Natsume Yuujinchou in the emotional atmosphere department. Not based on melodrama and depression, yet very sentimental.

Theowne 2011-08-14 18:36

Thanks, folks. I have actually been watching Usagi Drop since day one, but I appreciate the enthusiasm regardless.

I might be imagining it, but there seems to be a sort of default tendency towards slice-of-life (see below) type shows, so just to reiterate, adventure stories like Banner of the Stars, Seirei no Moribito, or Kemono no Souja Erin also match what I'm looking for. In fact, a good, long adventure with great characters and poignant situations would be a real winner (and I really need to start on Twelve Kingdoms).

Guardian Enzo 2011-08-14 18:46

FTR, Theowne, the only show on my list I'd call slice-of-life is Ikoku Meiro.

Theowne 2011-08-14 18:53

Oh, that's just my misuse of the term slice-of-life to refer broadly to shows like Usagi Drop or Aoi Hana (maybe, "character dramas in a modern setting"?). Essentially I just want to reiterate that sci-fi or fantasy is A-OK, perhaps even preferable.

Guardian Enzo 2011-08-14 19:22

Excellent - GH, Dennou Coil, and Zettai Shounen are all SF/Fantasy to some degree...

Reckoner 2011-08-14 20:31

Legend of the Galactic Heroes. There will never be anything like it ever again.

Alternatively since you loved Millennium Actress, you should check out Satoshi Kon's only anime series, Paranoia Agent.

Kaioshin Sama 2011-08-15 16:21

I'll second Legend of The Galactic Heroes, but also add Escaflowne in the fantasy category and the Gundam franchise in the Sci-Fi category as well starting from the original movie triology.

Also there is still no decided upon definition for "slice of life" that the majority of people can agree with clearly so I don't see what it's worth to argue definitions in this case. It's not as clearly defined as say Drama or Action or even something like Space Opera.

Also just to keep the topic going from the OP by Theowne, it's pretty much the opposite for me. I don't mind a bit of melodrama, but absolutely hate when I see what I feel to be overly sentimental scenarios that characters have failed to earn through their actions. For example certain scenes in LOGH where key characters are killed off and they get quite sentimental and arguably melodramatic death scenes had a lasting impact on me. I grieved those characters losses because they earned that grief through being great characters that did many great things. However when characters die in say....a Key story, and they get very sentimental and very melodramatic death scenes I don't really feel anything to the same degree and arguably feel patronized since those characters never really earned my sorrow through their actions (most of them are cute and friendly, but never really did anything beyond that) and the nature of the stories usually allow for them to come back to life anyway. For this reason these overly sentimental scenes arguably end up having a pretty neutral effect on me in the long run. Just something I've been looking to share for a long time and was waiting for an appropriate moment or topic to do so.

Theowne 2011-08-15 17:12

That is a rather misguided way of interpreting my original post, so I hope future suggestions won't be coloured by it.

It is somewhat obvious that emotion which is earned gives greater satisfaction, but I am not sure how this is the "opposite" of disliking melodramatic excess....perhaps a suggestions thread wasn't the best place for this...

SeijiSensei 2011-08-16 07:05

I hope you're enjoying Dennou Coil. It's really one of the great series of the past decade.

I still don't see Monster on your list. Perhaps you've tried it and dropped it? Perhaps it's just seems too long? But if you haven't really given it a chance, you should.

The other show that's strikingly absent from your list is Twelve Kingdoms. Maybe you couldn't get past the opening? Like with Erin, you have to wait half-a-dozen episodes or so to see its true worth. No character in anime grows more than Yuuko, even Erin.

Finally I'll toss out a suggestion that I made recently to Guardian Enzo and that's Hikaru no Go. It's amazing to see how the characters grow older and become more mature during the series. Subtle changes in how the characters are drawn and how they behave build up slowly over the 75 episodes. Hikaru's appearance and demeanor at fifteen differs remarkably, yet believably, from those traits at eleven.

upiro 2011-08-19 13:08

Many of my favourite animes are in your list, Theowne, which shows that your preferences in anime are similar to mine. But, since your list is more comprehensive than mine, itís a little hard for me to suggest something you havenít already watched.

However, I donít see Fantastic Children, so if you havenít watched it, I highly recommend it since it contains all the elements that I think youíll like: a deep and interesting story, interesting and well-intentioned characters, poignant moments and emotional relationships. It also tells an exciting adventure story will lots of sci-fi elements added to it. Oh, and the story has lots of twists so stay away from spoilers if you want to enjoy the story!

Quite a few people have recommended Twelve Kingdoms and I agree with them that the main character undergoes outstanding character development, all framed within a remarkably unique and interesting storyline. Itís probably my favourite anime of all time so I hope you get to watch it soon.

The previous poster, SeijiSensei, mentioned Hikaru No Go, and I would urge you to watch it as well. I know that you mentioned that you donít want ďlong-running Shounen showsĒ but calling Hikaru No Go a Shounen series is like calling Crest of the Stars a show set in space. Technically true but it doesnít reveal anything. It has outstanding character development, a deeply engrossing and unpredictable story-line, a wonderful soundtrack and many poignant moments laced throughout the story.

Iíll also recommend Gankutsuou: A Count of Monte Cristo. Itís a very unique adaptation of the novel, set in the future with a lot of sci-fi elements incorporated into the story. Itís very different from the other animes in your list but very poignant and compelling and the characters evolve and develop some powerful chemistry over the course of the series.

Finally, Iíve watched only a couple of episodes but I think youíll like Kaze No Shoujo Emily, which is based on the novels written by L.M Montgomery, the author of Anne of Green Gables. It has all the elements that youíre looking for and might fit your description perfectly.

The links are all from an anime blog that I enjoy reading. Hope these recommendations help!

Elegance 2011-08-19 13:31

Macross Frontier

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