Who doesn’t love a classic shonen anime with young, energetic characters and a cool story full of superpowers and fantasy? Many have probably grown up watching them as TV stations often prefer shows with action animations to appeal to audiences, especially younger ones. Those that watch them will feel the satisfaction of the protagonists in defeating evil, courage, and journey compared to watching romance, drama, or comedy anime.
For people who grew up watching one, or just started watching anime but are already past the stage of teenagehood, shonen anime may probably not be your only cup of coffee anymore. As anime is an industry with many different genres and plots, some have an adult character as the protagonist who is more relatable to people of a range of ages.
Here are some anime that are geared towards those with grown-up characters and good stories.
Note: This article is based on the author's opinion and may contain some spoilers for the anime series on the list.
From Uramichi to Ginko: 8 anime with relatable adult protagonists
1) Life Lessons with Uramichi Oniisan's Uramichi Oniisan
Have you felt tired at some point in your life doing the same thing repeatedly? The feeling of wanting to call it quits but can't because of everyday expectations? Uramichi Oniisan may be the perfect watch for those who wish to relate to the situation.
It tells the story of Uramichi, a 31-year-old former gymnast who works in the entertainment industry as a host of a children's TV program. While on the outside he appears happy-go-lucky, deep inside Uramichi suffers from depression, doing his job despite hating it. While it may sound depressing, the anime managed to wrap it up in a dark humor sort of way.
2) Kakushigoto: My Dad's Secret Ambitions' Gotou Kakushi
People can't help but keep secrets from others and sometimes justify it as a need to “protect” others. The secret is kept either out of fear or possible shame from when it might be discovered and judged. Kakushigoto tells the story of Gotou Kakushi, a manga artist who wrote a manga with inappropriate content.
When his daughter Hime was born, Gotou struggled to keep his job a secret from the fear of feeling ashamed and disappointed. The anime portrays a simple father-daughter relationship, as Gotou has to balance between being a single father while hiding his work and finishing it before deadlines. His ongoing rivalry with his editor makes for some of the best cynical banter on the show.
3) Gintama's Sakata Gintoki
Some may already be familiar with Gintama, a 367 episode action-comedy anime full of gag jokes and parodies. The main protagonist, Sakata Gintoki, unlike the typical Shonen protagonist, is a 27-year-old man with a lazy personality who wants a carefree life because he wants to die in peace one day without being tied by anything. He does odd jobs to pay his bills, willing to do any kind of job he's given.
At first, Gintoki is judged by people around him as an immature person. But in reality, his carefree persona is just a diversion that hides his past full of war memories and losses. The series sometimes portrays how the weariness of losing another loved one ever again has made him apathetic.
4) Wolf Children's Hana
Another anime depicting a single-parent struggle is Wolf Children. As a 1 hour and 57 minutes movie, the anime is aptly able to portray the strain of being a mother of two not-really-human children. Hana, the protagonist, found herself being the only parent of her unborn children as her partner passed away. Her partner was a werewolf, the last of his kind, and together they had two children, Ame and Yuki. While not knowing how to raise werewolf children, she decides to take her kids out to live far away in a house in the countryside where she learns everything, from farming to fixing things, to support her children while hiding their race.
Being able to take care of oneself is already hard for some people, but taking care of two other individuals and being consistent in doing so is one of the traits that makes Hana a formidable character.
5) Cowboy Bebop's Spike Spiegel
In reality, no one is absolutely good or evil, as we are a mix of the two with our own set of morals and codes. Spike Spiegel from Cowboy Bebop is a perfect example of a morally gray protagonist. As an adult whose job involves hunting bounty, Spike's hobbies involve sleeping, smoking, gambling, and sometimes brooding in the rain.
His life is empty, as he often gets bored because of not taking anything seriously. He doesn’t allow himself to be invested in anything or anyone because of the fear of his past. Spiegel is a villain sometimes and a hero at other times, like when he risked an old lady’s life in a hostage situation but also put a stop to a murderer before he could take many more lives.
6) Wotakoi : Love Is Hard For Otaku
According to some people, adults are grown individuals with responsibilities for their own lives, who have to work for the things they want. Economically, adults have no choice but to work in order to earn money for their living, and socially, have to blend with their environments in order to not be left out. But this proves to be hard when you are an Otaku.
Otaku is a Japanese word that describes people with obsessively intense interests, particularly in anime, manga, and video games. They can be very consuming in their interests and are often time shunned by society. One portrayal of the same is in Wotakoi: Love Is Hard For Otaku.
The anime is an office romance comedy series revolving around four different characters with their own circumstances as an Otaku. One of them even has to desperately hide her interests in the workplace, until she finally finds people she can relate to.
7) Mushishi's Ginko
There are times when we just want to lay back and enjoy a show that is not fast-paced and relaxing, all the while not being boring. Mushishi is a perfect example. As you watch the show, you will find yourself immersed in Ginko, the main character of Mushishi, who wanders from one place to another.
Ginko is a rather laid-back individual who can’t stay in one place for too long. He is caring, with an open-minded view, but can also be serious at times in need. His journey leads him to places with gorgeous natural landscapes and engages him in a variety of troubles as he tries solving them while also wishing for a simple and quiet life.
8) Berserk's Guts
Guts from Berserk may look like a rough character at first. Turns out, it can’t be helped as he had to face a harsh life from the moment he was born and it didn’t get easier afterwards. From being orphaned, hunted, forced to kill another, enslaved, and betrayed, it is safe to say that he is the epitome of all bad things experienced by a person in life.
This makes his personality difficult to approach as he struggles with his trauma and thus affects his relationships with others. But his growth throughout the story is incredible, as he goes from an aggressive and touch-sensitive boy to an understanding and compassionate but still beast of a man.
There are many more anime creations aside from the aforementioned that have shown many interesting and relatable characters and are still continuing to. This list only contains some of them and is a purely subjective article made up by the author.