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Old 2015-09-25, 00:29   Link #1
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Recommendations: Drama

Provide your recommendations for anime, manga, light novels, web novels, visual novels, games, and other media within the genre: Drama!

Special Note: The use of the word "drama" here is to denote more serious stories that do not fit into other genres. It is generally seen as the opposite to a comedy. Not to be confused with melodrama.

These should be works that you've experienced personally and would like to recommend to others. No "troll" recommendations, or non-recommendations in this thread. For longer series, you don't necessarily need to wait until the whole work is finished before recommending it, but please at least wait until you've at least experienced enough of it to make a good judgement.

Please don't just post a list! You don't need to do a full review, but for each title you suggest, please also consider providing:
  • The full title
  • The author, studio, or other information that will help identify the work
  • A brief explanation of the setting and premise (no spoilers!)
  • A brief summary of why you like it and/or why you think others might like it
  • How much of it you've experienced (particularly for longer series)
  • Other works that it reminds you of, if applicable
  • A link to a review you wrote on our site, if applicable
  • Any other information that might help someone know if they should give it a shot
You may optionally post a few images if it helps, but please use thumbnails, and/or place it inside an [images] tag. Most third-party image hosting sites will provide a feature to copy/paste BBCode that uses thumbnails.

Please DO NOT post links on where to illegally download/stream/view the work you're recommending.

Again, for the purposes of this thread, please avoid all spoilers or hints that may ruin surprises in the plot, and absolutely no flaming another person's recommendations. If you see any problematic post, please report it so the moderators can review and take any needed action.
Kairin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2015-09-27, 01:27   Link #2
Join Date: Dec 2003
Age: 38
So, to start off, I'd like to recommend two works in this Drama category.

First, and this is maybe too easy/obvious, I want to recommend Spice & Wolf, particularly the Light Novels by Isuna Hasekura and the anime, but the manga is good as well. I would almost recommend this in the "romantic drama" category as well, but I think it fits best as a broader drama. I've read 14 volumes of the Light Novel so far (with 3 volumes left to go before series completion).

The story is set in what you might vaguely define as medieval "Europe", and follows the journeys of a mid-20s travelling merchant and a wolf goddess in human form (true age in the hundreds, but appears to be around in her mid-teens). Each story arc revolves around a conflict in the city or town they visit along their journey, which requires a combination of Lawrence the merchant's economic and trading skills with Holo the self-proclaimed wisewolf's wisdom and wit.

The reason I like this story comes almost entirely down to the dynamics between the two lead characters. Both characters are well-developed over the course of the story, and their rapport develops over time to form a deep bond of trust, forged through shared experiences. Each volume explores a new economic or political concept through a carefully-woven story full of mystery, suspense, and intrigue. But the story is really anchored by the two leads and the way they solve issues together, learning to deal with each other's quirks and weaknesses, and appreciate each other's strengths. Even the side-characters introduced in each story are interesting and well-developed, and make you curious to know more about them (which the author often indulges through side-stories).

All in all, I loved the anime when it aired, but later experienced the light novels when they were officially published in English by Yen Press, and the novels develop things even more than the anime could. I almost feel like it's a "freebie" to make this the first recommendation in the thread (since it's quite well-beloved by the community already), but nevertheless, if you haven't checked it out yet and you like the story of a relationship formed over a long and interesting almost RPG-game-esque journey, I highly recommend this work. Feel free to start by trying the anime (it's quite good, and rather faithful to the novels even if understandably compressed a bit for time), and if you like it move on to the novels.

The second work I want to recommend is this genre is the Idolmaster anime by A-1 Pictures/Aniplex based on the games by Bandai Namco. This too could possibly go into some other genres, but taken on the whole I think Drama is the best fit.

The basic story follows a group of girls who work as idols (basically a troupe of singing/dancing entertainers) for a small firm known as 765 Production, and the new Producer who joins the staff and whose job it is to help lead them to fame and stardom. The story follows their progression from up-and-comers to stardom, and the growth of each individual and the team along the way.

The reason I like this story too comes down to the characters, but I have to admit that it took me a little while to "get into it". I've never really been all that interested by the Japanese idol scene, although I do have an affinity for music. Each character has their own unique personality that, on some level, is really the embodiment of a stereotype. However, over the course of the anime they flesh out these characters by putting them in a variety of situations that play on their personalities and the dynamics between each other. Probably by about half-way into the show's 25-episode run, I became invested into the characters and the journey. The producer character, who is nominally the protagonist, really serves as a force to propel the story forward and tie things together, while still allowing the story to mostly stay focused on the various heroines themselves. He's a likable character that's there when he needs to be, but never feels like he gets in the way. Some of the episodes are one-off episodes that center on specific characters and take different tones and approaches (some of which may not be according to each viewer's taste, but I found fun), while others are more ensemble pieces. However, the real standout episodes to me happened in the second half of the show with two very powerful character arcs that capitalize on the investment built to that point. Episode 20 in particular is one of the most powerful and moving anime episodes I've ever seen.

So, this is one of those shows that I don't think will work for everyone, as even I found that it took me a while to get into it due to (for me) the largely foreign theme, and characters that seemed at first to be simple caricatures. But I certainly felt the journey was rewarding, and the characters (and certain scenes) remain engraved in my memory, even years later.
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