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Old 2011-01-08, 11:16   Link #1
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Serious plot-driven anime.

What I'd like to start watching soon is a serious, plot-driven anime.

Now, by "plot-driven", I don't necessarily mean an anime that is more about plot than characters; just that the anime clearly cares about its plot and story, and takes it seriously.

What I'm looking for here should have very little, if any, ecchi and fanservice. Sex scenes can be there, but if they are, they play a meaningful role in the plot (good anime example of this: Kimi ga Nozomu Eien ).

To give you a more specific idea, I'll throw out some prominent animes that fit the overall mood and feel of what I'm looking for here:

The Original Mobile Suit Gundam (with Amuro and Char)
Serial Experiments Lain
Ghost in the Shell
Record of Lodoss War
Legend of the Galactic Heroes
Death Note
The Miyazaki films

It can be grimdark, it can be lighthearted, it can be sci-fi, it can be fantasy, it can be a romance, it can have no romance at all, it can have moe, it can have no moe at all, it can have yuri, it can have no yuri at all, it can come from any year.

But the keys are:

1. An anime that takes its plot/story seriously.
2. Very little to no ecchi or fanservice (i.e. sex and nudity can be there, but if so, it's not there just for the purposes of titillating the audience).

Thanks in advance for any and all suggestions.
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Old 2011-01-08, 11:22   Link #2
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I recommend Kara no Kyoukai. It's a set of seven film each about murders taking place. Mostly dark, though the 6th film is more fluffy and lighthearted (still takes itself seriously though). It does have an overall plot to it aswell.
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Old 2011-01-08, 11:27   Link #3
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Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom

This definitely fits the bill. Protagonist stumbles upon a murder and winds up brainwashed by a mysterious mafia company.

Has themes of Drama/Action/Thriller. I highly recommend it.
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Old 2011-01-08, 11:32   Link #4
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I don't know if I understood your request right but here are some suggestions:
FMA - clearly knows where it is heading with the plot and has good character developments.
Baccano - has a well planed idea and connection between characters and what is happening and why.
Code Geass - main character is similat to Light, character knows what he wants and is moving forward.
Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom - plot does not stop moving and has two small time skips. Each character has goal of its own and are moving towards it.

Not my fave but maybe Wolf's rain? Characters goal is to reach heaven.
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Old 2011-01-08, 11:35   Link #5
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'Monster' may be a good match for you.
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Old 2011-01-08, 11:58   Link #6
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Yes, Wolf Rain might be a good suggestion, going by some of the examples given. I would recommend it though more due to the unique cinematography it uses than it's storyline in this case.

Some suggestions:

-Kemono no Souja Erin/Beast Player Erin- The anime follows a young girl named Erin from her childhood all the way to adulthood in her effort to understand and help the animals living in her world. There is a political side here that plays out later on in the series, though compared to the development Erin undergoes while trying to defend her believes, the tough questions and situations she needs to overcome and some of the best growth for a character in any anime I have seen. Mind you, the anime is for kids however its story and characters are deep enough for adults to enjoy as well and it takes it themes very seriously. Is very reminiscent of some Miyazaki films, but the pro nature side doesn't necessarily come out looking like the right side here.

-Eureka Seven- You might have watched this before, but the show also contains some great developments for its characters, and its BONES so the animation is pretty high quality. Story line pales in compression though to your examples.

-Revolutionary Girl Utena- I have recently started watching Utena after being recommended in the Star Driver, and I can see that the show clearly deserves all the praise it gets. Very multilayer and if you like Star Driver, you'll likely love it.

-Planetes- Now this might be more in line with what you want. The storyline here is about an everyday worker trying to break through and get his dream of building his own spaceship and travailing with it in space. Don't let the synopsis fool you, this anime is very realistic (at times painfully) and the main character, Hachirota, gets more than his own share of pain trying to make his dream become real.

-RideBack- I was hesitant to include this in my suggestions at first, but I noticed some of your examples included mecha in them so you might enjoy it. Great charcter development and a decent story as well about freedom and individuality.
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Old 2011-01-08, 12:11   Link #7
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Originally Posted by Arabesque View Post

-Revolutionary Girl Utena- I have recently started watching Utena after being recommended in the Star Driver, and I can see that the show clearly deserves all the praise it gets. Very multilayer and if you like Star Driver, you'll likely love it.
This a million times over. Theres some light hearted moments in some episodes, and occasionally theres an episode where it's just a comedy one, however every other episode is great. The final arc is amazing, as is the second.
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Old 2011-01-08, 12:27   Link #8
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Alas, I have to fall back on my old Production I.G. 2007 standbys - Seirei no Moribito and Ghost Hound. Both have common staff with the various Ghost in the Shell incarnations. If you want excellent plot and minimal fanservice, you could hardly do better.

Switching from I.G. to Madhouse, I'll also suggest Dennou Coil. It's about kids, but very smartly written with an intricate plot that's always at the heart of the production. Finally Oh! Edo Rocket, which is a comedy but with a brilliantly crafted story by the author of Gurren Lagann.
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Old 2011-01-08, 12:41   Link #9
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Thanks a lot for all of the recommendations, everyone!

About half of the animes recommended I've already seen, but the other half are new to me (at least to the degree that I've never watched them), so there's plenty to choose from here.

kitten320 - Going by the anime that you suggested that I know of, you more or less got what I was referring to. FMA would definitely count, for example. Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom I'm not familiar with, so I'll definitely check it out.
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Old 2011-01-08, 12:41   Link #10
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I definitely want to say Tatami Galaxy, which is both character and plot driven (60/40).
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Old 2011-01-08, 13:25   Link #11
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Glad I got the idea right
If so, then you will like Phantom But out of all that I mentioned, it would be with the most dark atmosphere.

I can try to suggest followings but each one has slight flaws that might be not exactly what you want:

Fate/Stay Night - the final goal is to win the tournament and get the wish granted, characters are moving towards it but some issues arise on the way. Series felt a bit dragged at times but you still can enjoy it, there is also movie with different story line.

Ga-Rei Zero
- it has a nice plot but since it is a manga prequel, it leaves some questions unanswered.

Ghost Hunt - has different arcs, one arc per case. It is ghost detective so you get planning and solvings involved which go by logic. Also new knowledge about ghost hunting. However, anime ends with some questions arising and once again you need to read manga's continuation.

GTO - Onizuka aims to be the best teacher ever, but having past as gangster gives him not very teacher like attitude... but he will do all in his power to help his students, not in very standard way.

Otome Youkai Zakuro - the plot is quiet simple but it still is nice with some interesting characters. A lot of people got hooked by it when at first they didn't give much notice of it.

Hope that something of that will fit.

Last edited by kitten320; 2011-01-08 at 20:25.
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Old 2011-01-08, 14:21   Link #12
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Assuming you haven't seen either of them, then I'd highly recommend both The Twelve Kingdoms/Juuni Kokki and Seirei no Moribito both are very plot-driven with more or less no fan-service
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Old 2011-01-08, 14:48   Link #13
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Don't remember seeing you in the Shiki thread so I guess you havn't seen it.
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Old 2011-01-08, 15:23   Link #14
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Beck and Spice and Wolf might fit your bill.
Spice and Wolf has elements of nudity, especially near the beginning of the first season, but it's not fanservice based, more due to the character.
Perhaps Full Metal Panic! (although avoid Fumoffu as this is a comedy spinoff) This one especially has a tendency to humour, but there is an underlying story.

All of these are based off books/manga though so you could consider them unfinished.
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Old 2011-01-08, 17:01   Link #15
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I'm seconding Dennou Coil. It starts off lighthearted, but still with important information littered within the episodes, and then when the mystery and plot kicks into full gear you're left amazed. If you loved Ghost in the Shell then I guarantee you'll love Dennou Coil as well.

Also seconding Kara no Kyoukai, Wolf's Rain, Baccano!, Ga-Rei Zero, Shiki, and Spice and Wolf.

I also recommend Pandora Hearts. Its first and second episodes aren't that good, but the mystery of the story itself is really interesting. I heard that the manga was better, but the anime has Kajiura Yuki as its composer, so you can try both and see which suits you more.

Shigofumi is also an excellent series. It starts off a bit episodic, though, but the story behind Fumika herself is pretty good.

Sky Girls is another series that starts off lighthearted but has an excellent plot in its second half. There's a little fanservice in the lighthearted episodes - it's nothing too major, and a bath scene is the worst it gets. Sky Girls is often compared to Strike Witches at times, but really in my opinion Sky Girls is way better.

Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 is another one that takes is story seriously. It tells the story of a normal girl, bored with life until she and her brother are thrust into a middle of a massive earthquake that hits Japan and have to find their way home. It's a really realistic and heartwrenching series.

Higashi no Eden is considered one of the best anime of 2009 and it has such an engaging

If you liked Death Note, chances are you'll love Code Geass as well. The amount of twists it throws at you is insane, and Lelouch is truly a capable protagonist. There is fanservice in the form of Kallen, though, so be cautious.
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Old 2011-01-08, 19:42   Link #16
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Watch Legend of the Legendary Heroes I watched it out of curiosity and was hooked after episode 2. Great lead characters, all adults in their 20's too. Except for the female lead who is iirc 19. Anyway, lots of action, very plot driven, good comedy, strong characters, decent amount of blood if that doesn't bother you.
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Old 2011-01-08, 20:27   Link #17
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Boogiepop Phantom
Fantastic Children
Gunslinger Girl
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Old 2011-01-09, 19:32   Link #18
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Good list you got there.

I'd recommend;

- Osamu Dezaki works;
Rose Of Versailles - You'll dig this one.
Ie Naki Ko - Don't look at this as a child's story, it'0s heavier than most stuff around. and the animation and Desaki's direction is unbelievable.
Oniisama E...
Ace Wo Nerae
Ashita No Joe

- Future Boy Conan - First and only Miyazaki directed TV series.

And since you enjoy Miyazaki stuff you'll certainly enjoy most World Masterpiece Theater series as well as Isao Takahata works.

- Isao Takahata on the World Masterpiece Theater with Miyazaki on the animation;
Akage no Anne

- Other World Masterpiece Theater series;
Dog Of Flanders
Daddy Long Legs
but you need to check on the rest too, everything WMT is very good.

- Leiji Matsumoto
Galaxy Express 999
Captain Harlock
Queen Millennia

- Glass Mask - I've only watched the original series and it's very addicting.

- Top wo Nerae - Classic and obligatory OVA

-When you talk about Gundam, you're only refering the first series or the first and it's sequels? If you haven't watched Zeta ZZ and Chars Counter Attack, they're obligatory. As well as Gundam 0080 OVA. You can also browse Tomino other works like for example.

-While we're on mecha it's imperative to dwell on some Ryosuke Takahashi titles as;
Fang of the Sun Dougram - probably the smartest mecha series.
Armored Tropper Votoms -

- Touch - Serious and some subtle comedy unlike anything else. As well other Adachi titles.

- Kaiji Kawaguchi works.
9 Love stories

- Seiji Arihara works;
Ushiro no Shoumen Daare
Tsuru ni Notte: Tomoko no Bouken

- - "Modern" anime
Boogiepop Phantom
Kenshin OVAs
Seirei no Moribito
Honey And Clover
Juuni Kokuki
Casshern Sins

Osamu Kobayashi works;
Paradise Kiss
Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto: Natsu no Sora

Abe Yoshitoshi and Chiaki Konaka stuff;
Haibane Renmei

- and of course Satoshi Kon;
Paranoia Agent.
Millennium actress
Perfect Blue
Tokyo Godfathers

There's some more but this should get your hands full for now.

Last edited by ragnarokr; 2011-01-09 at 19:49.
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Old 2011-01-09, 20:17   Link #19
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Just going to quickly comment on a few recommendations so far.

Originally Posted by JRendell View Post
The first six episodes were too heavy on "mission of the week" for me, but once it started to use arcs in episode seven it got very engaging.

Originally Posted by kitten320 View Post
Otome Youkai Zakuro - the plot is quiet simple but it still is nice with some interesting characters. A lot of people got hooked by it when at first they didn't give much notice of it.
It is very light on the fanservice and takes its story seriously, but I would have said that Zakuro is the kind of show you watch for the great characters, not the plot, which was so-so. That said, I love this show.

Originally Posted by totoum View Post
Don't remember seeing you in the Shiki thread so I guess you havn't seen it.
Having watched this series in its entirety over the past couple weeks, it was the first thing that came to mind for me. Basically, it's about a small town that is being "colonized" by vampires, and how the townspeople (who have no idea what's going on at first) react to the various strange deaths this entails. Just be forewarned, it's pretty grim watch.

Originally Posted by yukirosuzuka View Post
Shigofumi is also an excellent series. It starts off a bit episodic, though, but the story behind Fumika herself is pretty good.
Yep... serious and engaging plot, plus I liked Fumika quite a bit.

Originally Posted by ragnarokr View Post
I don't know how many episodes of this I would have watched in one sitting had I not had homework. It involves time travel, WWII, and a modern JDSF warship, and yes, it is very, very engaging.

Originally Posted by ragnarokr View Post
I can attest to the greatness of this show, although the sheer length (74 episodes) can make it hard to stay interested throughout.

Originally Posted by ragnarokr View Post
Like Shiki, a very grim but very engaging work. I won't spoil too much.

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Old 2011-01-09, 21:17   Link #20
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Originally Posted by 0utf0xZer0 View Post
The first six episodes were too heavy on "mission of the week" for me, but once it started to use arcs in episode seven it got very engaging.
It was different for me, I loved series till the first time skip, I think it had the most bad ass and emotional moments there. Not that other arcs don't have them, they all are great.
But begining was the real aweasomness for me.
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