With the recent release of trailer for susumedirected by Makato Shinkai, director of the highly acclaimed, your name, fans are wondering if this new project will also be a coming-of-age story. While many fans love anime because of the limitless possibilities in storytelling and visuals, character journeys are also a big part of the storylines that fans love to see.
Coming of age is a genre that has been explored hundreds of times in animated films, which add their own twist to the genre. It’s always interesting to see how characters progress and work through their arcs, even in stories that aren’t always about “humans” per se.
10/10 Tamako love story
Tamako love story was released in 2014, and it revolves around the life of Tamako whose life is completely turned upside down when her best friend confesses her love to her.
Reddit user sand heel say that Tamako love story “fits” the trope of a coming-of-age movie “beautifully”. The central point of the story is quite relatable, where the two teenagers struggle to express their feelings for each other. Throughout their journey with this struggle, the characters go through an arc of becoming more confident and empowered in themselves while overcoming the fear of rejection. Although the film is a sequel to a series, it is also enjoyable for first-time viewers.
9/10 your name
your name was released in 2016 and revolved around the life of a high school student in Tokyo and a high school girl in rural Japan. The two characters suddenly begin to switch bodies, which leads them through a journey of self-discovery and the search for love.
Reddit user sinzszd selected your name as one of the best coming-of-age stories and “loved” the moment they watched the movie. The characters realizing the struggles and nuances of different families’ different perspectives add a layer of self-realization that elevates the whole story, while also making the characters more mature as they live “another life.” It’s also one of the most unique anime settings of all time, especially due to the twist in the final act.
8/10 A silent voice
A silent voice was released in 2016 and revolves around the story of a schoolgirl who changes schools after being bullied for her hearing loss. Years later, one of his former abusers tries to redeem himself.
Reddit user Damarugaki says the film will be sure “to tug on your heartstrings”. The gradual realization of oneself as a bully and acceptance of the fact and the victim is a story that many teenagers and adults alike can relate to. The journey of the characters and the emotional trauma suffered by the victim make A silent voiceone of the saddest romantic anime.
7/10 Whisper of the heart
Whisper of the heart was released in 1995 and revolves around Shizuku, an aspiring writer who falls in love with Seiji, an aspiring master luthier. Both try to balance their personal lives with achieving their personal goals. The story here will remind many viewers The Earth.
Reddit user Wayayoshitaka recommended Whisper of the heart like a great coming of age movie. The film highlighted the importance of being persistent while pursuing any dream and the sacrifices one must make to achieve it. The character’s struggle and eventual realization of the balance between “love” and “ambition” is a story most people could relate to. It is thanks to these elements that Whisper of the heart can be classified as one of the most advanced anime.
6/10 summer wars
summer wars was released in 2009 and is a slightly different take on the coming of age genre. The story revolves around a young math genius who inadvertently endangers the Earth due to an AI system. While on a superficial level the story has broader science fiction themes, Kenji Koiso’s internal struggle while trying to solve the problem he has created brilliantly deals with themes such as guilt, responsibility and the existential crisis.
Reddit user EconomyProcedure9 recommended summer wars like a great coming of age movie. The light storyline also makes heavier themes more digestible for younger audiences.
5/10 Kiki’s Delivery Service
Kiki’s Delivery Service was released in 1989 and revolves around the story of a young witch-in-training who starts a delivery service on her flying broomstick. This is perhaps the truest form of a coming-of-age story, as Kiki must come to terms with the fact that she has lost her abilities and overcome her self-doubt to regain her powers.
Reddit user EconomyProcedure9 suggests this as a coming-of-age film, the protagonist is a young and insecure character that many young audiences can easily relate to. The larger theme of dealing with failure and the loss of Kiki losing her powers and her journey to get them back is a great motivational narrative.
4/10 reverse patema
reverse patema was released in 2013 and revolves around Patema and Age, who leave their community to discover why gravity has been reversed by an energy experiment. It’s also a great cross between sci-fi and coming-of-age story of a young boy who becomes more mature realizing that the people in power don’t always make the best choices for the people, they’re pretty often motivated by their personal agendas.
Reddit user Enginefour say that reverse patema is a “metaphorical take” on a coming-of-age story. The main focus of the story is restorative gravity attacks, but Patema’s whole journey is about becoming a young man from a child. Some fans also believe that reverse patema could be considered one of the best anime out there.
3/10 The girl who crossed time
The girl who crossed time was released in 2006 and revolves around Makoto gaining the power to time travel. Throughout the story, Makoto uses his abilities to his advantage, going back in time to correct mistakes or change situations to his advantage.
By the end of the film, Makoto comes to terms with the decisions she makes in real time while gaining a sense of maturity and responsibility after realizing the consequences of her actions. This is also why fans such as the Reddit user sand heel suggested it as a great coming-of-age story.
2/10 A letter to Momo
A letter to Momo was released in 2012 and revolves around the story of Momo, who begins to experience strange happenings after receiving a message from her father.
Reddit user sand heel also suggests A Letter To Momo as a great coming-of-age movie. The whole story is a coming-of-age story of Momo learning to deal with the grief of her father’s passing. Momo dealing with moving from Tokyo to a remote island also adds another layer of loneliness to her journey.
1/10 Its blue sky
Its blue sky was released in 2019 and revolves around the story of two sisters, Aoi and Akane, and her high school boyfriend, Shinno. There are supernatural elements present in the film.
Reddit user MapoTofuman suggests Its blue sky like a coming of age story. While the larger plot surrounds love in high school, the subplot of Aoi realizing that people change over time and trying to rekindle old relationships might not be the best idea leads her on. the path of emotional growth and realizing that being hurt is not always a bad thing and is a natural part of life.
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