10 Anime Shows That Got Too Real

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One of the many reasons why anime has been able to last so long thanks to the endless innovation and fantastic ideas explored in anime series. There is a level of unlimited freedom that is present with anime and the medium has dozens of unique genres that take advantage of the eclectic interests of the public.



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Anime is a great form of escapism that can tell stories that would be impossible elsewhere, but it also knows how tap into authentic emotion and melodrama. Realistic emotions and motivations are essential for even the most over-the-top anime series. Audiences like to feel something with their content and some anime get so visceral and raw that it’s too much to bear.

ten Clannad: After Story is a love story with no happy ending

Following the happy closing that concludes Clannad, his successor Clannad: After the Story almost feels like a cruel reminder that life doesn’t always go to plan. There are several episodes where Tomoya and Nagisa’s romance not only grows, but thrives, and their happiness is a constant joy. However, this serenity is short-lived and Tomoya is forced to roll with very dark punches. Tomoya manages to remain optimistic, but there is extremely sad material in his new life and what he has lost.


9 Wonder Egg Priority takes a delicate look at treating a child’s pain

Wonder Egg Priority is a recent anime fascination, but it’s already managed to solidify its legacy as one of the toughest and most unique dissections of loss and grief. Wonder Egg Priority embraces some fantasy tropes that are present in the Magic Girl and Isekai series, but there’s a melancholy atmosphere that hovers over these typically friendly elements. Ai Ohto struggles to properly mourn the self-inflicted death of her best friend and the incredible adventure she is on becomes a helpful way for the child to come to terms with her grief and the losses in her life.


8 Nana excels through her authentic and flawed characters

Ai Yazawa Granny doesn’t always get the attention it deserves due to its humble and restrained nature towards grounded slice-of-life storytelling. The emotional josei series centers on two twenty-somethings, both named Nana, who struggle to achieve their independence and passions as they enter adulthood.

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Granny is incredibly realistic when it comes to the unpredictable nature of life and how it can eat away at people. The series never gives its characters an easy way out, but Granny also carefully breaks down drug use in a realistic way that highlights the horrors of addiction.


seven Trigun lets his action hero process his pain and trauma

The anime has created countless heroes who can effortlessly take down hordes of enemies without breaking a sweat and exude pure confidence while they do it. Trigun is a moody 1990s action anime that draws on a lot of Western and action genre stereotypes, especially with its hyperbolized gunslinger hero, Vash the Stampede. The strength of Trigun stems from Vash’s self-loathing for all the lives he has taken as he pledges to lead a future of “love and peace”. Vash’s skills and weaponry are often necessary, but he hates to resort to them. Trigun has several dark scenes where Vash addresses his pain and breaks down.


Death is one of the most difficult experiences to deal with, and there’s no shortage of anime series to unpack the uncomfortable topic in creative ways. Anohana: the flower we saw that day delves into supernatural elements and the appearance of a ghost triggers the events of the series, but it’s far from a vast fantasy. Anohana centers on five friends who reunite after years of estrangement in order to help fulfill their deceased friend’s dying wish. The rforced confrontation of loss and grief is effortlessly handled, but the show’s presentation of how friends can naturally drift apart and change drastically is equally astounding.


5 Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 accurately highlights the random chaos of natural disasters

Animated series never struggle to convey outlandish stakes and apocalyptic terror as aliens, robots, or anything in between threaten the planet. These heightened horrors are effective in their own way, but the severity of realistic natural disasters can strike on a much deeper level.

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Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 works so well because of its grounded presentation of a devastating earthquake that ravages Japan and separates a younger brother and sister from their parents. There’s a clear emotional journey that drives the anime forward, and the fear Mirai and Yuki feel is palpable.


4 Kids On The Slope is the purest expression of acceptance

A humble coming-of-age anime series like Children on the slope isn’t on everyone’s radar, but it offers such a powerful look at the loneliness, acceptance, and strength behind coming out of your shell. Children on the slopes Kaoru has become accustomed to an introspective life due to his father’s career which often requires them to move house. It’s pure magic when Kaoru finally makes friends and is able to thrive and express herself through the community that these bonds and jazz music provide. Kaoru’s Unexpected Character Development surprises both the audience and himself – which makes his arc even more natural.


3 Neon Genesis Evangelion deals with flawed characters who have real doubts

Neon Genesis Evangelion is an iconic anime series for a number of reasons, but it’s not exactly the first program that comes to mind when reality is discussed. Mecha’s dark, abstract series presents an oppressive apocalypse like no other and places the future of humanity in the hands of disgruntled teenagers. The ideas that are preached, as well as the horrible angels that the Evangelion is supposed to fight, are anything but realistic and grounded. That being said, the crippling depression that Shinji experiences and the serious questions he poses to his flawed self could resonate with audiences in a truly visceral way.


2 Your Lie in April is a beautiful story about healing from pain and accepting its gift

Yesour lie in april is a beautiful anime that is concerned with the healing and connecting power of music, as well as the lingering nature of past trauma. Kosei is a musical prodigy, but he gave up his talent following the death of his mother. Kosei meets another musician, Kaori, and his passion suddenly returns. The two are able to create beautiful harmonies together, both through music and their feelings. He’s not afraid either a real punch of an end.

1 Made In Abyss sneaks up on the viewer then heads for the jugular

Many anime series manipulate the audience’s perception of the type of story and genre they are about to embark on. It’s only natural for a brave and optimistic underdog to embark on a noble adventure, only to rise to the occasion and prove their hidden potential. Made in the Abyss starts with all those familiar traps, but each level of the abyss presents more harrowing dangers. It’s not long until any pleasure from this adventure is replaced by pain and grief. characters in Made in the Abyss like Nanachi have cute designs, but they function as sad symbols of grief and sacrifice.

NEXT: 10 sad cartoons that aren’t sad anymore on a rewatch

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