18 Coming of Age Anime Series About Kids on the Cusp of Adulthood

Ah, youth. You don’t really appreciate it until it is gone, but there are ways to reminisce, especially in anime. Coming of age stories focus on youth. Kids are just getting to that age where the future is wide open and full of possibilities. They get to experience mistakes when they don’t have as serious of consequences. They get to decide what they would like most for their life. Whether it is sorting out what their passion is or feeling the keen sting of love for the first time, we got tons of coming of age anime series for you to hunt down.




Clannad

Anime has a bit of a bad habit sometimes of only showing you the really good bits that come with growing up and kind of pulls the punches on the difficult bits. The first season of Clannad has kind of some typical “anime drama,” as I like to call it. All the girls have problems, and the main character helps them. They then grow because they had to deal with those long-brewing problems. However, the second season is almost exclusively about the main character having to grow through not only a difficult part of life to navigate (that “fresh out of school, what the fuck do I do with my life now” time) as well as a terrible tragedy.

Pet Girl of Sakura Hall

Sakura Hall was established for students on the campus of their school who don’t quite fit in at the normal residence halls. It is a simple set up that allowed the creators of this series to put a bunch of off-normal young people together and explore their different and occasionally surprising stories. Every young person has their problems, and this series doesn’t shy away from that. The main character struggles to find his passion among his extraordinarily talented peers. Some of his peers struggle with being ostracized for being too good at what they do. Others struggle with not being good enough and holding people they respect back. It is a fun show as a comedy, but it runs much deeper than you would expect.

O Maidens in Your Savage Season

This show is the complex relationships of the all-girl Literature Club when they one day realize that they want to have sex. Instead of being a lewd ecchi show about female perverts. It is a show of curiosity and the natural progression of hormones as we get to that age. However, like many of these hormone-driven relationships, the relationships get real complicated.

Toradora

Do you ever feel like the world has you all figured out? You look like a thug, so you must be one. You are super cute, so you must have an attitude to match. If you don’t fit that expectation, it makes things difficult for you. Toradora is a love story about just that. Two people become friends because they don’t fit the expectations on how they look. So they agree to help each other form relationships with their crushes. In the efforts of doing so, eventually they come to develop feelings for each other.

Kimi ni Todoke

A more touching coming of age story, there really isn’t. While it is a slow moving romance as well, Kimi ni Todoke is about the efforts of a shy girl trying to reach out beyond her shell. Trying to make new friends and get her classmates to understand that she isn’t creepy, just actually really kind.

Love, Chunibyou, and Other Delusions

Chunibyou, the term used to describe the feeling that those entering puberty have in which feel they are somehow more special that others. They have a god trapped in their eye, the are the super special edgelord Dark Flame Master, ect. Anyone who has honed their Naruto running or thought that a particularly cool stick was ever a sword knows this feeling. Now you know the term for it. Chunibyou is about one of these formerly Chunibyou people trying to grow up and reform himself, but meeting a girl that still suffers from those cringe-y delusions just as he gets started. Awkwardness ensues as he tries to reform her. It is a comedy, but also ends up quite touching.

Honey and Clover

Much of the series on this list take place in high school. However, when you graduate, you don’t always have your shit together. In fact, as Honey and Clover will show you, it often gets so much more complicated. This series is about the loves and struggles of a group of people. It is about their various struggles that often revolve around what they are going to do with the rest of their life.

Nana

Two very different girls that share a first name come together unexpectedly by renting the same apartment. However, they are past high school and in a different areas on their path to full-blown adulthood. This series is all about the mistakes you make as a young adult and the many different paths presented to you at this time. Youth is the time to make mistakes, and you watch the characters make tons of them, but it is also about what needs to be done next.

Anohana

Nothing sets up for a good coming of age story better than the death of a friend as a child. That is what Anohana is about. A friend who died very young comes back as a ghost. It is this phenomenon that reunites the group of friends that drifted apart, then ignites a powder keg of unresolved problems and pent up emotions. The tragedy shaped each of these people in different ways, and it all starts to come out throughout the course of this series.

Hanasaku Iroha

You know, a lot of people would probably just kind of give up if they were put into a situation like the beginning of this series. The main character’s mother runs off with a man, and she is sent to live with an estranged grandmother – one that hates her because of her mother, and also has to adjust to a whole new area. However, this series isn’t about giving up. It is about adapting to new situations and eventually thriving. Like most of us, the main character is put to work and she grows up because of it.

Tsuki ga Kirei

This series deals almost exclusively with first love. Do you remember yours? How utterly important it felt, like you would do anything to be together? Well, as we know, first loves don’t often work out. There are a number of complications, and luckily, this show manages to avoid a large number of the typical romance drama that can be manufactured, choosing instead to find problems more rooted in common reality.

A Lull in the Sea

A Lull in the Sea takes place in a world with two groups of people. They aren’t much different from each other except that one race lives under the water. Not only does this series have an impressive array of one-sides loves, but it also deals with some interesting themes such as depopulation and racism when everyone is looking for someone to blame. It affects these children deeply as their lives are already so filled with problems.

Eureka Seven

You know what Eureka Seven does so well as a coming of age series? Ambiance. It took a few tries initially for me to get into this series because the first few episodes, while visually pleasing, were rather immature in overall feel. This was supposed to be a sweeping mecha action-adventure series with romance, but it didn’t feel like it filled those shoes so well. However, as the series goes on, a little more clarity is given to why things happened and you really get to feel the show mature as the characters do. The last few episodes compared to the first few truly have such a different feel to them.

Kemono no Souja Erin

A coming of age story in a fantasy world is not exactly a new idea, but Erin pulls it off masterfully. It takes on an almost fairy tale-like story as it follows Erin grow and struggle in a world that is quickly spiraling into violent war. How does that all shape her as she grows up?

From the New World

Part of what makes this story so enjoyable is that it places a coming of age world where something deeply serious has happened to society and focuses a mystery around that. So, you uncover the world very much as these children uncover it. As they learn, you learn. As it progresses through their ages, more is uncovered and it very much mimics the way knowledge is gained as we go through this process. Plus, I mean, everyone can move things with their mind, so that adds an extra opportunity for action.

March Comes in Like a Lion

While the subject of shogi is of interest to a very small demographic, much of the charm of this series comes from the completely uncharming main character. He is a complicated shogi all-star who has the emotionally volatile combination of childhood trauma, depression, and some strongly suggested high-functioning autism. It makes him absolutely intriguing to watch as he makes attempts to deal with some of these problems, or rather, those around him make attempts. This is one often on the less encouraging side of this genre.

Silver Spoon

Silver Spoon isn’t just an anime about farming. That is the major thing they focus on, but the whole reason it is about farming is because the main character dropped out of the competitive academic rat race and went to agricultural school because he thought it would be easier. Unfortunately, as most people don’t know, it is not simple, but the main character does work to discover how he can help this community that is struggling with his own particular talents. As a city boy, he doesn’t have the same skill set as a dairy farmer’s daughter or a multi-generation farmer’s son has, but he still has some things he can contribute.

Kids on the Slope

As this is not the first music series on this list, you can probably glean that music anime are usually pretty good series for coming of age tales. Kids on the Slope has a lot of that. Not only is it a series about kids finding something they really actually love – Jazz music, but it is also has a lot of other themes like first love and how a mutual love can help two people overcome a lot of problems.

Got any more good good coming of age anime stories for people? Let then know in the comments section below.


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