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2016 brought us all sorts of anime to enjoy. However, the year also surprised us with a movie released in November 12th. The original creator of the story was the mangaka Fumiyo Kouno, from Hiroshima, who published Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni in 2007. The movie, produced by Genco and Animatsu entertainment, brought us a tale based on a real war.
Our protagonist is Suzu Urano, a young woman from Hiroshima who marries and moves to the port city of Kure in the times of the Second World War. The peaceful life at the port soon changes, as US rides the place with bombs. Amid the chaos and the unavoidable loss of lives, Suzu will have to survive and find new meaning for her life during and after the war. With its soft color palette and heart warming animation style, Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni delivered its painful message in the most human way possible. And yet, there are other anime that are clearly anti war and remind us a little of this one. Let’s check them!
Warning: we have some spoilers here. We also have some sensitive content related to war. Proceed with caution or chose another article to read instead.
Similar Anime to Kono sekai no katasumi ni
1. Hotaru no Haka (Graveyard of Fireflies)
- Episodes: 1 movie
- Aired: Apr 16, 1988
This is the most known anime on the list. The original Hotaru no haka was a short story based on the real life of the author, Akiyuki Nosaka. The death of his sister due to malnutrition inspired the character of Setsuko. Hotaru no haka was brought to life by Studio Ghibli under the direction of Isao Takahata.
The story follows a teenager boy (Seita) and his little sister (Setsuko) after their house is bombed and they lose their mother as a consequence. Although they seek refuge with relatives, the continuous uncertainty and the provisions shortage turns the family members against the children. If you have a tender heart, we have to warn you to watch Hotaru no haka with a lot of tissues, comfort food, comfort friend, etc. This movie is not for the weak. If you liked the country life depicted in Kono sekai no katasumi ni, you will love Hotaru no haka. If you also liked the warm interactions between people combined with drama, again, we cannot recommend you Hotaru no haka more. It has become a classic and for a good reason. This is THE anti war movie for excellency!
Grave of the Fireflies - Official Trailer
2. Rail of the Star: A True Story of Children
- Episodes: 1 movie
- Aired: Jul 10, 1993
On the same lines with our former two anime, Rail of the Star: A true Story of Children is a tale about war and its impact on people. But why do we keep saying tale? This movie was based on the autobiography of Kobayashi Chitose, who was a small Japanese girl living in Korea during the Korean-Japanese war. Brought to life by Studio Madhouse, the story follows the life of Chitose with her wealthy family in Korea. When Koreans recover the independency of their country, Chitose and her family are thrown to poverty. In the end, their only option is to flee on foot, always following the North Star towards Japan.
Although the animation of Rail of the Star is not as impressive as that in our former recommendations, the story is as touching and heart breaking as the former ones. At least we know that our protagonist survives in one piece, despite of the ups and downs to which she is subjected throughout the film. The characters are also brought to life in a realistic manner, with children behaving as children and adults as the usual bigots they become in times of war. We should warn you that Rail of the Star might bring touchy subjects for Korean and Japanese, though.
3. Anne no Nikki (The Diary of Anne Frank)
- Episodes: 1 movie
- Aired: Aug 19, 1995
Here we have another piece about the Second World War, just like Kono sekai no katasumi ni. Who has not heard about Anne Frank? In case that you haven’t, let me give you a brief introduction: Anne was a Jewish girl who lived in Amsterdam, hiding from the Nazi authorities. We know how that ended, with her family caught and only the father surviving the concentration camps.
Anne no Nikki was again a creation of Studio Madhouse. The character design, background coloration and overall style were different. Here, they opted for an even more realistic and detailed look. At first it is somewhat distracting, but once you are caught up in the story, you can really feel immersed on it. Anne Frank herself takes you with her to the secret annex, you enjoy the little joys of life with her and also anguish as the Nazi become a more powerful and dangerous menace. A true masterpiece that has humans in the center of the story, like Kono sekai no katasumi ni.
Any Anime Like Kono sekai no katasumi ni?
4. Rainbow: Nisha Rokubou no Shinichin (Rainbow)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Apr 2 to Sep 29, 2010
Rainbow is not based on a real story, but it falls in the historical category. The story shows the hard and merciless consequences of violence in a similar fashion to Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni. Created as a manga by George Abe and Masasumi Kakizaki, it was brought to the anime format by Studio Madhouse. Rainbow tells the story of seven criminal guys in the 1950´s. They are sent to a Reform School and the story follows them from the beginning of their education days until after they leave.
The experiences of these seven guys in the Reform School are scary enough to make you think twice about going to, well, jail. You don’t want to encounter sadistic people who are used to hurting everyone. You really don’t want to be in the shoes of these guys, who are criminals. But every single one of them had a backstory, realizing that they have to change and remain good on the inside if they really want to get out of the Reform School. The aesthetics of Rainbow are more appealing to a masculine public. However, although the story can be so brutal that is hard to watch, it also has good and deep moments of redemption, like Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni.
- Episodes: 1 movie
- Aired: Jun 23, 2012
We are going back to the stories based in real life, shall we? This time, we encounter ourselves again in World War II. We have an important difference though, as Himeyuri was not produced by the usual anime companies. There is an association who runs a peace themed museum in Okinawa that paid to bring to life the story of the victims of the war. Himeyuri tells us the story of high school female students in Okinawa. These girls served as nurses in the worst moments of bombing. Many of them lost their lives.
Himeyuri does not count with a high polished anime as our other recommendations. However, it is a warm story narrated from a female point of view, with a girl as first person narrator. This is similar to Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni, but that is not the only similitude. There is a certain atmosphere and graphic style that links both stories. They will make you feel “safe” instead of deeply sad or devastated, in contrast with Hotaru no Haka.
6. Giovanni no Shima
- Episodes: 1 movie
- Aired: Feb 22, 2014
This enchanting movie combines reality with a vivid fantasy. The curious point here is that Giovanni no Shima has several references to a famous Japanese children's novel called Night on the Galactic Road by Kenji Miyazawa. This book has had several adaptations to anime itself. Anyway, the twist in Giovanni no Shima is that the story is located after World War II finishes. The survivors have hard lives trying to cope with hunger and poverty, especially children. But things in the small Island where the story takes place get a new twist when the enemies move in and start interacting with the locals. A beautiful foreign girl called Tanya captures the attention of Junpei, our protagonist. Actually, he calls himself Giovanni to be more tuned to Tanya, and they begin a friendship that will be tested by the cultural differences and the post war tension.
The animation in this movie is probably the best from our selections. We just have to watch the sparkling sea and the greenery surrounding the island. Also, the moments where the children’s imagination takes center stage are some of the best. Nevertheless, the best part of Giovanni no shima is its message of overcoming the devastation of war in a way that is painless, just like in Kono sekai no katasumi ni.
Giovanni's Island - Official Trailer
So there you go. Six anime with a clear anti-war or anti-violence message. They all will move you to tears and remind you what is at stake when people with power get too ambitious and ruthless. Let us not forget the sad stories in which all of these anime are based or inspired. World War II left deep scars in the Japanese imaginary. That is why a clear anti-war spirit still prevails in Japan’s population and is reflected in its wonderful anime.
Which other similar anime to Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni do you remember? Do you think there should be more anime like this one? Why yes or why not? Don’t forget that we are open to all of your comments and suggestions. See you soon!