Believe it or not, in my mind at least, there has to be no better time to watch a coming of age anime than when it’s the Christmas season. At least for me personally, Christmas and the nights of New Year’s Eve always remind me about some of the best coming of age anime. From wherever you see it, last week was the end of our journey of 2018, stepping to another year where, again, we would waste so much time watching too much anime..,..
Anyway, what is coming of age, you may ask? Well in case you don’t know and you’re wondering, coming of age is a genre which tells the story about a young person’s transition from being a child/teenager to being an adult; comforting with real-life obstacles, finding a place for themselves to be a part of society, and of course, looking for their loved one to spend the rest of their life together with.
Just like any other form of cultures, this genre is most often go hand in hand with romance even though not all of them tell stories about a romantic relationship. In anime, we took the genre one step further as the show we come across is usually not only tell about a romance, but also a wild fantasy filled with ghosts, a musical drama, friendship, sports … a journey that we will dive into right very now. Without further ado, here are the few best coming of age anime that sit on the top of my list right now!
Nana is a TV anime adapted from one of the most popular shoujo manga, written by Yazawa Ai, which then the series in question became one of the most popular unfinished series of all time. In June 2009, the original manga went on indefinite hiatus with its chapters collected into 21 books of volumes. For your information, Yazawa-sensei is also the mind behind the creation of Paradise Kiss, a series that I gave a shout-out in the previous anime listing —top 10 tragic romances in anime.
From the surface, you may see this show as just a typical romance drama, but then after you spend a quarter amount of episodes of the whole show, you have to realize that Nana doesn’t only tell about two girls who happen to have the same name, but it also tells about the weight of their lives. As you watch them go through it, the period of time for the story to take place doesn’t really that long, but it’s long enough since what you’ll be witnessing through by watching this would be almost too much.
You’ll learn to get to know how to make friends, being in a rock band and releasing music albums, getting married, get pregnant, getting to know how to say goodbye … yeah, it’s too much. From friendship to a romantic relationship, the show is packed with a lot of feelings. Going through so many changes, Nana has to fin its entire unfinished series in 47 episodes long. And only in the last episode you will be revealed to the more mature characters with their new long hair and a different attitude in dealing with their lives, but the process you have to take to reach that point in life is definitely a banana that’s worth to eat … or I dunno … you get the point *rofl.
Onto the next one, Monogatari Series is an anime that has one of most complex stories I ever watched! And personally, it is also one of the few franchises (besides My Hero Academia) that I really want to have its every series and instalment reviewed here on #moe404! Of course that would take time, and believe it or not, currently I only have reviewed five instalments of this franchise so far. I really hope someday I will finish them tho..,.. But let’s talk about the anime itself!
Just like in any other great anime surrounding the coming of age genre, one thing that you will enjoy the most is how good the character development that the show has. And here, Monogatari Series has taken this element up a notch as the franchise would offer you so many unique characters with so many variations of quality for each of them; from ghosts and oddities, vampires and humans … to even the strangest and uncommon superpowers that can sit in the level of AAA role-playing games or some shit. I believe that if you’ve been around the anime community, whether it’s on YouTube or Twitter or whenever, you might have heard about how awesome this franchise is.
There are so many complexities colouring the story to the point where I don’t know where to begin with; from a tale of princess who lived approximately 600 years ago, a tale of an occult, a tale of time travel, a tale of world annihilation, and and aaand … and it’s so much more. Of course, there are a lot of shifts and changes that touch the genre of coming of age. Even throughout the story, our main characters don’t just witness, but also come through so many things all the way and beyond their comprehension. Anyway, just watch this franchise if you enjoy good storytelling and appealing characters to deal with!
puella magi madoka magica.
For this one, I need to warn you that the story is quite depressing, and that is exactly one thing that the show will deliver to you. Even during the pre-writing planning phase, the producer of its TV show instalment (Iwakami Atsuhiro) had to ask Urobuchi Gen to make the storyline as heavy as it could be, then even Shinbou Akiyuki (the director) specified it should contain copious amounts of blood and violence. Not being enough, Iwakami also asked for most of the magical girl characters to be killed throughout the series. With all that being said, Urobuchi-sensei doesn’t even bother with these requirements, considering that his reputation has been established as a writer of some very dark and sombre stories such as Aldnoah.Zero, Fate/Zero, the anime movies of Godzila, Psycho-Pass, and more..,..
Well this … for someone like me, this is a wet dream to watch.
And what is unique is how it managed to reach so many fundamental aspects of life, especially ones that are owned by teenagers —yeah, that’s probably you. No longer took the theme of cyberpunk like on Ghost in the Shell, or children who pilot some mechas like on Evangelion, Puella Magi Madoka Magica will have you deal with choices and decisions that have to be made by innocent young girls. Maybe this is one of the few shows that you cannot judge only by looking at their DVD covers, or don’t even judge how everything will be turned out only by watching the first episode.
With the very unique character designs by the people on Shaft (the same studio that worked on Monogatari Series), this franchise is a blast, and even the animation is also so heavy! There are a few instalments in the franchise, and one of the most popular is its TV series. But for you who still haven’t touched this franchise, I would really recommend you watch the three-part of the franchise’s theatrical movie instead of the TV series. These are basically a recap/remake of the TV series, but it’s so much better in quality.
The first movie is titled the “Beginnings”, which then revealed to cover the first eight episodes of the TV series, while the second movie that’s titled the “Eternal” covers the rest of the total 12 episodes. A year later, the third movie that’s titled the “Rebellion” is released, features a new story which written by Urobuchi-sensei himself, and acts as the sequel of the TV series. And let me tell you … the final ending is awesome! One reason in particular why I recommend you to watch the movies first is because they wouldn’t feel rushed at all, you’ll feel the weight and everything is just done so right. So yeah, I might have to review the franchise for the future content of #moe404. Hmm, I dunno..,..
boy and the beast.
Boy and the Beast is one of the best work from Hosoda Mamoru. Wh’s he? Well, he’s a drop off from Madhouse studio, and he’s undoubtedly one of the best director and animator in the anime world right now. I have reviewed some of his works here on #moe404, and I always generally giving him a lot of props. So, the actual translation of this movie’s title is actually “the child of the shape-shifting beast” which in my opinion, this title is better on representing the actual tale of the movie. It’s literally played around the theme of a boy who is raised up by a beast, and it’s beautiful.
Like any other good coming of age anime, the story doesn’t only tell about a kid growing up and become an adult, but it also explores the connections between the young and them who are matured, questioning how cruel society can become, learning how to deal with a powerful void of anxiety, and so much more. You’re introduced to Ren; a normal lonely and stubborn child, but his mother has passed away in a traffic accident, his father is nowhere to be found, and the rest of his family are cold and distant.
I personally see the Boy and the Beast as an emo movie, but not as if the movie is bad … instead, it’s more like an emo story that’s done right. Of course, most people would see this in a totally different way. But if you ask them for a recommendation, they might have to throw this movie to you too.
Next up, we have another movie by Hosida-sensei, titled Wolf Children. This is a movie that I’ve reviewed early this year. Spoiler; my final verdict is nine out of ten … and that’s huge, in case you don’t know yet, I almost never rate a show or a movie above an eight.
Anyway, Wolf Children is an amazing movie, debated to be the best works of Hosida-sensei. They took the Animation of the Year of the 2013 Japan Academy Prize Association, along with the Animation Grand of the Mainichi Awards for themselves. With the theme of love between the parents and their children, the story covers 13 years of one’s life. Begins with a 19-year-old college student named Hana who encounters and falls in love with a werewolf. She gets married, gives birth, and raises two
children wolf children named Yuki (English: Snow) and Ame (English: Rain).
This is a movie that you have to watch at least once in your life, because Wolf Children is definitely a quality of a lifetime. With the fascinating fairy tale where werewolves exist among you, the movie surprisingly manages to grace you with a very down to earth narrative. It’s beautiful, but also brutal and cold. You may be expecting the story to be filled with a character who has dignity and grace, but once it takes the turn, it will embrace you with one’s fights and struggles dealing with life.
Watch this with your parents, watch this with your children, watch this with your loved one. You have to watch Wolf Children.
Postscript; I really want to list also the new movie called Mirai from Hosida-sensei, but sadly I haven’t been able to watch it, so I don’t really know how good the movie actually is, which banned me from talking about it. But yeah, just letting you know that there’s also a coming of age movie from Hosoda-sensei that’s just released in the middle of 2018, you may want to check Mirai out as well.
Okay, that’s it for now.
For you who may ask, “But, nesha, these are only five and you usually would do a top 10, where are the other five?” Well, don’t worry. Since I didn’t have enough time to complete the whole post, I have to separate this one particular anime listing into two parts, and this is just the first part. The second part, however, I have to finish writing it first before it gets posted.
In the meantime, comment down below your thoughts about these anime series! Do you like watching some coming of age anime? Have you watched them? What do you think about them?
Also, please follow #moe404 to get notified when the second part of this list gets posted. We write about anime critics and reviews, also recommendations like these ones you’re reading. Follow us on Twitter @moenotfound, and we also have created an Instagram account, don’t know what we will use it for, but you can follow our Instagram as well if you’re interested.
Anyhow, keep watching anime, and I’ll see you guys in the next one! Bai-bai now~
© written by nesha5971 proofreaded by sliceofalfredo featured images are credited to Yang-do