15 of the Best Coming-of-Age Anime You Should Watch

15 Best Coming-of-Age Anime Shizuku
Credit: Studio Ghibli

15 Best Coming-of-Age Anime Shizuku
Credit: Studio Ghibli

Coming-of-age anime have attracted audiences with their profound exploration of growth and self-discovery. So let’s have a look at this curated selection of the best coming-of-age anime series and movies.

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  1. Kids on the Slope

    Based on the manga written and illustrated by Yuki Kodama, Kids on the Slope follows the lives of three high school students who bond over their shared love of jazz music.

    In the summer of 1966, Kaoru Nishimi moves to Kyushu to live with his relatives.

    Having maintained a distant and studious demeanor throughout his life, his behavior starts to change when he meets Sentaro Kawabuchi, the school’s renowned delinquent.

    This encounter introduces him to the world of jazz music and paves the way for his first real connections and friendships.

    Kids on the Slope explores themes of identity and growth. I enjoyed how jazz music was showcased to express emotions.

    DISCOVER: Best Anime Based on Music That You Cannot Miss

  2. I Want to Eat Your Pancreas

    Released in 2018, this anime movie is based on the light novel written by Yoru Sumino and Ioundraw.

    The unnamed protagonist discovers an abandoned diary at the hospital. The diary belongs to a classmate named Sakura Yamauchi, who confesses to having a terminal pancreatic illness with just a few months to live.

    As the only one outside her family who is aware of this, the protagonist vows to protect her secret.

    Their personalities are poles apart yet they choose to spend Sakura’s remaining months together.

    The anime movie revolves around friendship, empathy, and self-discovery, which are common elements in a coming-of-age narrative.

    The main protagonist’s character arc is the highlight of this anime and watching this will certainly change the way you view life.

  3. Ranking of Kings

    The Ranking of Kings anime is based on the manga written and illustrated by Sosuke Toka.

    This coming-of-age, fantasy anime revolves around Bojji, a deaf and weak prince who is unable to even handle a child’s sword.

    However, he dreams of becoming the world’s greatest king despite being mocked as inept.

    Amidst doubt about his capabilities, he befriends Kage, a ground shadow who uniquely grasps his thoughts and feelings.

    The art style is unique, making Ranking of Kings a masterpiece. Bojji is an adorable character who is earnest in his quest.

    The way Bojji gives his best will make you want to cheer for him at every crucial moment in the series.

  4. Wolf Children

    A 19-year-old student named Hana experiences a whimsical romance with a wolf man.

    Throughout the 13-year narrative, she becomes a mother to two children: Yuki and Ame, who are nicknamed Snow and Rain.

    Initially concealing their wolf lineage in the city, the family’s life changes after the wolf man’s passing, prompting Hana to relocate to a rural town.

    As a coming-of-age anime movie, Wolf Children explores Yuki and Ame’s journey as they grow up and navigate their identities as half-human, half-wolf beings.

    The movie stresses adapting to one’s uniqueness and how staying true to yourself will go a long way.

    This heartwarming anime movie also showcases the life of a single mother raising unique children in a world that might not reflect her compassion.

  5. Nana

    A romantic, slice-of-life anime that weaves a heartfelt story of friendship and love, Nana revolves around Nana Osaki, a determined and guarded young woman with a rough history.

    She leads the punk rock band Black Stones and craves acclaim and fame.

    On the other hand, Nana Komatsu is a carefree woman, seeking marriage and love, shaped by a stable past.

    Their paths cross as they journey to Tokyo to chase their aspirations.

    Despite their noticeable difference, they become roommates and forge a deep bond.

    Nana is based on the manga of the same name written and illustrated by Ai Yazawa.

  6. Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad

    If you are a 90’s rock music fan, then Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad is for you.

    Offering a beautiful coming-of-age story, the anime celebrates the growth of a boy through self-discovery.

    Tanaka Yukio, commonly referred to as Koyuki, is a 14-year-old boy who feels detached from life.

    His encounter with an odd dog leads him to meet guitar player Minami Ryuusuke, leading him to Ryuusuke’s band, BECK.

    As the band struggles for recognition, Koyuki’s life undergoes a transformation, marked by the challenges and triumphs on their journey to fame.

    ALSO READ: Great Anime About Rock Bands

  7. Stars Align

    One of the finest school anime series and my absolute favorite, Stars Align is the story of young boys playing soft tennis.

    However, the series does a commendable job of showcasing the backstory of its characters.

    The boys’ soft tennis club at the middle school is notorious for its lackluster performance compared to the girls’ team.

    The members are seen as lazy and entitled, except for the dedicated captain named Toma Shinjo.

    Best Coming-of-Age Anime Stars Align
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    Credit: Eight Bit

    A turning point appears when the student council president announces that underperforming clubs will start losing funding.

    To survive, they need to win a match in the forthcoming summer tournament.

    Toma is determined to save the club, even though he is stressed about the new developments. However, the arrival of his childhood friend, Maki offers new hope.

    But Maki has his own challenges and may not be able to save the club, even if he joins.

  8. March Comes In Like a Lion

    This anime is about shogi, which is a strategy game also known as Japanese chess. The main character, Rei, is a 17-year-old expert in the game of shogi.

    He leads an independent life without a true family and had very few friends.

    One of his acquaintances is a family comprised of a young lady named Akari, along with two young girls named Momo and Hinata.

    This family also cares for a multitude of cats. As a coming-of-age anime, the series is meaningful and handles depression pretty well.

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  9. Silver Spoon

    Yugo Hachiken opts to run away from the high-pressure urban school by enrolling at Oezo Agricultural High School.

    Unlike his classmates who are destined for agricultural careers, he chooses the school for its perceived academic leniency.

    In this new and unfamiliar environment, Yugo wishes to adapt to the world of agriculture.

    Silver Spoon is a wholesome anime about the world of farming, with many thought-provoking conversations between the characters.

  10. Honey and Clover

    Honey and Clover is a rom-com anime about three college roommates.

    Mayama Takumi, Takemoto Yuuta, and Morita Shinobu are undergraduates who live together in a modest apartment.

    Despite their financial constraints, they find joy in life’s simple pleasures.

    The story chronicles the intertwined lives of these characters as struggling college students and delves into their romantic experiences when a gifted 18-year-old Hanamoto enters the scene.

    Honey and Clover is based on the manga of the same name written and illustrated by Chica Umino.

  11. Nodame Cantabile

    Nodame Cantabile revolves around Shinichi Chiaki who is a talented pianist. However, his skills on the piano are only rivaled by his arrogance.

    A clash with his teacher leads to his relegation to the reject class, forcing Chiaki to pursue his conductor aspirations amidst a group of underachieving musicians.

    In the group, there is Noda, an irritating girl who insists on being Chiaki’s girlfriend and goes by the name Nodame.

    Their complex dynamics unfold as Nodame, his self-proclaimed partner, lives right next door.

    The story showcases Shinichi and Noda’s shared struggles, ambitions, and relationships, allowing them to mature and discover their true selves over time.

    READ MORE: Romance Anime About Adults

  12. Clannad: After Story

    A supernatural anime with shades of romance, drama, and comedy, Clannad: After Story has an unconventional coming-of-age story.

    Tomoya’s life continues. After confessing his feeling to Nagisa and a few months passing, he enters the second semester.

    There, he encounters diverse individuals that broaden his horizons. His bond with Nagisa deepens and even takes a more intimate direction.

    Through these experiences and his connections with Nagisa, he learns the significance of family.

    However, as Nagisa and Tomoya start their own family, they confront several challenges and trials.

  13. Whisper of the Heart

    A criminally underrated gem from Studio Ghibli, Whisper of the Heart shines in telling a heartwarming coming-of-age story.

    The plot revolves around a young girl named Shizuku Tsukishima as she embarks on a journey of self-discovery and growth.

    Shizuku is a junior high schooler with a passion for reading. One day, she notices a recurring name, Seiji Amasawa, on her library book cards.

    As she unravels the mystery behind this person, she sets out on a quest to find herself that ultimately shapes her aspirations in a profound way.

  14. Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day

    After the passing of their childhood friend Meiko Honma, a close bond between the five friends gradually weakens.

    Jinta Yadomi, who once led the group, becomes a recluse in high school.

    Then suddenly, he starts seeing the ghost of Meiko, which only he can see and communicate with.

    Meiko’s return is driven by a long-forgotten childhood wish, and she asks Jinta to help fulfill it.

    Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day shines in marrying poignant storytelling with beautiful animation.

    The emotional plotline and powerful set of characters make this a must-watch for all anime fans.

  15. My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU

    Unlike its goofy title, My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU goes above and beyond romance and delves into the day-to-day lives of young people.

    The anime revolves around Hachiman Hikigaya, an antisocial high schooler with no friends or romantic interests.

    He holds a skewed perspective on life and has no aspirations or the will to work.

    A teacher persuades him to join the volunteer services club, coincidentally led by the school’s most attractive girl named Yukino Yukinoshita.

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