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Old 2009-06-08, 00:05   Link #1
Guardian Enzo
Seishu's Ace
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Kagurazaka, Tokyo

So, given the depressingly homogeneous and boring look to the summer schedule, I'm thinking I may have to dig into the vault for something I might have missed. I have pretty wide-ranging tastes, but in particular I'm looking for a few good bildungsromans. What's that? A "coming of age" story, typically revolving around a young male character although it can be females or even adults, too.

I'll list a few of the series I rank as favorites, but what I don't want are schoolgirl moe series (you can't swing a dead squirrel without hitting a dozen these days). No offense if that's your thing, I'm just sick of 'em. I don't mind if there are schoolgirls in the cast, but there has to be more to it than that. I enjoy comedy, historical drama or action, romance (if it's really, really good), mecha... Honestly, as you'll see the list is pretty eclectic and I enjoy almost any genre as long as there's a good focus on character development. Thanks for any suggestions.

A few of my Faves:

Seirei no Moribito - My current all-time #1. As close to perfect as anything I've seen (and a great bildunsgroman)
Ghost Hound
Rurouni Kenshin
(before it jumped the shark)
True Tears
Eureka Seven
Oh! Edo Rocket
Natsume Yuujinchu
Bokura ga Ita
Zettai Shounen (First Arc)


Princess Mononoke
5 CM per Second

Last edited by Guardian Enzo; 2009-06-08 at 10:52.
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Old 2009-06-08, 00:15   Link #2
Deus ex Digital Boy
21st Century Digital Boy
Join Date: Nov 2007
Your tastes seem extremely similar to mine, which is where problem A comes up - my favorite show not on your list is Gakuen Utopis Manabi Straight which is a high school show. Oh, it's much, much, much more than that, but it takes looking past the schoolgirl moe thing.

Otherwise, I highly suggest any of the following: Simoun, Serial Experiments Lain, Kure-nai, Welcome to the NHK, Earth Maiden Arjuna, Revolutionary Girl Utena, Casshern Sins, Honey and Clover, Black Lagoon, Spice and Wolf, Red Garden, Texhnolyze, the SoulTaker, and The Legend of Black Heaven.

That much should hold you off for a little while.
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Old 2009-06-08, 00:30   Link #3
Senior Member
Join Date: Dec 2005
Age: 31
Really good "coming of age" stories featuring girl protagonists (not shoujo):
Haibane Renmei
Juuni Kokuki (Seirei no Moribito is often compared to this... much better than Moribito imho)
Majo no Takkyuubin
Mimi o Sumaseba
Paradise Kiss (didn't like the last episode or so, but I'll list anyways because it really, really fits)

And the guys, since you asked (sigh):
Hachimitsu to Clover
Nodame Cantabile
Koi Kaze (adult protagonist, and kind of twisted, but it fits)
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Old 2009-06-08, 00:50   Link #4
Senior Member
Join Date: Nov 2007
Full Metal Alchemist - if you haven't already seen it. Boys coming of age. Determination, growing up, selfish vs selfless love.

Honey and Clover
- boys and girls coming of age, real life issues.

Nodame Cantabile - boy and girl coming of age. Future decision.

Last Exile - boy coming of age and chasing after his dream.

Basquash - boy coming of age and making decision between past and future.

Mai Otome - girl coming of age and making decision between love and duty.

Chrome Shelled Regios
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Old 2009-06-08, 00:58   Link #5
Guardian Enzo
Seishu's Ace
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Kagurazaka, Tokyo
Why the sigh, Jedinat? Is it that politically incorrect to want to watch a series with a male lead?

Thanks for the suggestions - keep 'em coming. I have seen a lot of the ones you guys are suggesting, but by no means all. Some - like Honey & Clover - have been on my "I'll get to that" list for years...

And I should add, another series I love that really fits what I'm gunning for here is "Zettai Shounen", specifically the first arc.
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Old 2009-06-08, 01:46   Link #6
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: East Cupcake
To be a little different, how about Silver Fang...

Kaleido Star
Ookiku Furikabutte
Whisper of the Heart
Azumanga Daioh
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Old 2009-06-08, 01:56   Link #7
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Ohio, United States
Age: 37
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If you like Zettai Shonen, I strongly suggest Twin Spica even if the main character is female--both are very slow stories, that focus on character development first and foremost. The animation is has fairly impressive backgrounds but the character designs are very simple.

The absolute best choice though, would have to be Kure-nai, so I have to second it. I was really impressed with how the development was done--it wasn't noticable the first time watching, but when I started to rewatch it, things that seemed random, were suddenly very obviously planned and decidedly so. I found myself really impressed by that. It has amazing dialogue that flows naturally, which is akin to Zettai Shonen, people talking, like people actually talk rather than getting recycled garbage. At first, I was frustrated by the ending, then confused, and finally come to really like it because it was the only ending that resolved the central conflict. The characters themselves, especially the leads, grow immensely and are flawed but likeable. I found how the characters evolved and grew to be really exciting because that's the point of shows to a degree to me--to see how the journey makes people different and perhaps wiser.

I'll add The Girl Who Leapt Through Time--it is a movie but well worth a watch. It takes a very mundane idea and runs with it well. There's nothing original about it per's not trying to be original in any way, shape, or form--instead it is trying to entertain and wow it does. The pacing is brilliant--whenever something is about to become a bit tiresome, it shifts gears and goes into a new direction--I again was super impressed by the anticipation of the audience, which I rarely see outside of Makoto Shinkai's works (5 Centimeters) or Ghibli work. The main character really grows over the course of the movie and its a blast to watch even for its comedic value.

It's not entirely on target, but Utawarerumono might be an excellent choice (though I am rewatched part of it with a friend this afternoon, so perhaps I am bias.) The main character has amnesia, and especially after the first 1/3 of the series, he starts really wandering who he used to be...who is the man beyond the mask. The way he reacts to things is different too--he is interesting because he has the introspection of an adult rather than that of a child or young adult--rarely do anime have adults in non comedic, non villian roles, let alone a lead. His internal dialogues are by no means the entire focus of the show, but they were a very nice and humanizing touch.

I'd suggest Mizuiro Jidai, but in all likely hood, we'll never see the rest of it subbed, its truly a shame since it is almost exactly what you want. The title roughly means "The Blue Green Years", which is a reference to the transition from child to adult. There's only 10 episodes subbed of 47...and it's been three years since the last one was released.
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Old 2009-06-08, 02:23   Link #8
Ichihara Asako
Join Date: Oct 2007
Rescue Wings. Very unappreciated series about a young pilot who flunks out of a jet fighter program and is sent to be a rescue helicopter pilot. It's a short, single cours series, but still shows how he matures and grows up in the face of the real world. My favourite 'real world' series (ie. no fantasy/sci-fi etc).
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Old 2009-06-08, 08:07   Link #9
Cross Game - I need more
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: I've moved around the American West. I've lived in Oregon, Washington, Utah, and Oklahoma
Age: 38
What about Cross Game?

Romance, death, baseball... what can be more coming of age then that? (Also, no moe)
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Old 2009-06-08, 10:07   Link #10
Guardian Enzo
Seishu's Ace
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Kagurazaka, Tokyo
I wish I hadn't seen Kurenai so I could take your advice and see it again! It is along the lines of what I'm asking about and yes, it's very good - though I can't help but feel it loses its way over the second half of the series. I'm watching and loving Cross Game - along with PH and Natsu no Arashi the best spring series IMO - so maybe Touch would be a good call, though 25 year-old animation will be a bit of a shock to the system. Other interesting nuggets to consider, too.

I'm interested that no one has suggested Denno Coil, including the poster who has it in their sig. That's one of the options I've been debating, along with Claymore.
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Old 2009-06-08, 11:12   Link #11
Ichihara Asako
Join Date: Oct 2007
Originally Posted by Guardian Enzo View Post
I'm interested that no one has suggested Denno Coil, including the poster who has it in their sig. That's one of the options I've been debating, along with Claymore.
Dennou Coil will probably appeal given some of your listed tastes. The ending of Claymore, however, disappointed a great many people (I didn't find it too terrible myself, but can see why people do).
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Old 2009-06-08, 11:35   Link #12
Guardian Enzo
Seishu's Ace
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Kagurazaka, Tokyo
Many things about Claymore seem to have disappointed its fans greatly, though it's certainly generated an enormous amount of posting traffic by said fans.
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