Although “Yesterday” has yet to be sung, this curiously-titled anime has been a solid addition to this season’s lineup with its unique atmosphere and lowkey retro setting along with its more mature themes, literally mature characters, and subtle approach to storytelling that has made it stand out in a genre largely focused on middle/high school melodrama. It’s fair to say that Sing "Yesterday" to Me is a pretty unique anime but that doesn’t mean there aren’t others out there like it, so today we’re covering just that! We’ve based our picks primarily on similarities in general style and subject manner with bonus points for things like having an older main character, age dynamic relationships, etc. Without further ado, let’s get started!
Similar Anime to Yesterday wo Utatte / Similar Anime to Sing "Yesterday" for Me
1. True Tears
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: January 2008 –March 2008
Nakagami Shinichiro is a high school student who loves drawing and wants to be a picture book artist. He lives together with his family in a rural town in Toyama prefecture along with his childhood friend and crush Yuasa Hiromi who they took in a year ago after her father passed away. Although she is a popular and successful student at school, Hiromi becomes extremely cold and distant from her foster family at home, Shinichiro included, and is clearly suffering from unresolved childhood trauma that Shinichiro wants to help with but doesn’t know how to. Making things further complicated is his odd, chicken-loving classmate Isurugi Noe who “curses” him with misfortune after he teases her but later takes an interest in him.
As you might have guessed from our summary, True Tears is very much a love triangle and one that is set up particularly similarly to the one in Sing "Yesterday" to Me with the male lead having had feelings for a girl for a long time and then a quirky new rival for his attention appearing. While it lacks the more adult life situations that are part of the appeal of “Yesterday” for obvious reasons, True Tears nevertheless has very comparable character dynamics and a melancholic feeling throughout that we think fans will appreciate, along with more superficial similarities like the weird girl being associated with birds, original crush having lost someone in the past, etc. The OP by eufonius is also excellent!
True Tears PV
2. Golden Time
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: October 2013 – March 2014
Golden Time follows an amnesiac young man named Tada Banri who has just moved from his hometown to Tokyo to attend law school where he almost immediately makes friends with new classmate, Yanagisawa Mitsuo, after they both got lost on their way to freshmen orientation. The pair then unexpectedly run into the beautiful but overbearing Kaga Koko, a young woman who has been obsessed with Mitsuo since childhood when they promised to marry each other and used her connections to secretly follow him and enroll in the same university. Thus begins a whirlwind of new connections and experiences, with Banri seeing this as his chance to make a new life for himself. But as some details of his past are revealed, will it jeopardize this new future?
At its surface, Golden Time seems to be a mostly typical, upbeat romantic comedy compared to Sing "Yesterday" to Me and in many ways it is. However, the admittedly gimmicky amnesia aspect is used well throughout the series which, as a whole, has its fair share of complexity and dramatic moments that make it stand out beyond what you might expect from its lovey-dovey music and presentation. Like Sing "Yesterday" to Me, Golden Time deals with a more mature kind of romance between young adults not often seen in the genre and also shares a focus on love triangles and somewhat obsessive relationships that started from childhood. If you don’t mind the gimmick, like solid characterization, and want something that mixes in a lot of lighter moments with the dark, Golden Time is a good series for “Yesterday” fans to try out.
Golden Time Trailer
3. NHK ni Youkoso! (Welcome to the N.H.K.)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Jul7 2006 – December 2006
Although there are certainly some major differences, it’s not totally off base to describe Sing "Yesterday" to Me as Welcome to the N.H.K.-lite. The story follows Satou Tatsuhiro, a 22-year old college dropout hikikomori/NEET who barely ever leaves his apartment and lives off of his parent’s allowance. Although prone to delusions and obsessions—particularly conspiracy theories that he uses to rationalize his situation—Tatsuhiro’s encounter with Nakahara Misaki, an eccentric highschool girl who says she wants to save him, might just be the start of change in his life, or perhaps she’s part of the grand conspiracy herself?
In terms of similarities, both Sing "Yesterday" to Me and Welcome to the N.H.K. have older male protagonists that are conventionally unsuccessful in society, stuck in unfulfilling holding patterns, and have faced struggles in relationships in the past and present which become a major part of their stories. Yesterday’s Nonaka Haru NHK’s Misaki as alluring and mysterious young women also share a lot of similarities in personality and role in their series’ story. There are plenty of other similarities to point to as well but make no mistake, Welcome to the N.H.K. is overall a lot darker, more psychological, otaku-specific, and disturbing than Yesterday, going by what we’ve seen so far at least. It’s also considered a masterpiece by many for a reason; if you like the sad vibe of Sing "Yesterday" to Me and are looking for something more intense, it’s definitely worth checking out.
Welcome to the N.H.K. Trailer
Any Anime Like Sing "Yesterday" for Me / Any Anime Like Yesterday wo Utatte?
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: July 2016 – September 2016
If a pill could give you a second chance at starting over in high school, would you take it? That’s exactly what wayward, jobless 27-year-old Kaizaki Arata was offered by Yoake Ryou of the ReLIFE Laboratory. Without too much convincing, Arata agrees and wakes up to start his new ReLIFE where he will live as a 17-year-old high school transfer student for one year while being supervised by Ryou. Arata soon learns that reliving high school isn’t as easy as he thought it would be but tries his best to make the most of this chance despite annoyances from ReLIFE experiment oversight and the complications of high school relationships he finds himself tangled up in, particularly falling for his socially awkward but brilliant classmate Hishiro Chizuru.
ReLIFE is an interesting show that definitely turned out better than you might expect just going off of the premise alone. Some obvious common ground with Sing "Yesterday" to Me includes an unsuccessful young male protagonist trying to figure out his life, plot points involving somewhat age-imbalanced relationships (definitely more of a focus in ReLIFE since Arata is actually 27), and, more generally, many characters trying to move beyond their past. Besides the titular gimmick, ReLIFE does also have some key differences from “Yesterday” such as the absence of love triangle shenanigans that we think a lot of folks would appreciate and a less downbeat feeling overall, albeit it does have its share of dramatic moments. In any case, ReLIFE is another solid series we think has a lot to offer for the older audience of Sing "Yesterday" to Me fans.
5. Maison Ikkoku
- Episodes: 96
- Aired: March 1986 – March 1988
Older audiences aren’t afraid to go old school right? Maison Ikkoku is a classic anime based on Takahashi Rumiko’s manga of the same name following Godai Yusaku, a poor 20-year-old ronin studying for college entrance exams while living in the titular Maison Ikkoku boarding house where he is constantly being interrupted and annoyed by his noisy, frequently partying neighbors. Having had enough of their shenanigans, he decides to move out but ends up changing his mind after running into the building’s gorgeous new manager Otonashi Kyoko as he was leaving, falling in love at first sight. Things aren’t so simple, however, as Kyoko is still working through her own trauma as a widow who still feels deeply attached to her late husband.
Maison Ikkoku has its most direct similarities to Sing "Yesterday" to Me with the backgrounds of the main characters Yusaku and Kyoko. Yusaku, as a ronin (common slang for someone who failed to move onto their next level of education, in this case university), is in an awkward state of life and often finds difficulty in expressing himself when it comes to relationships. Kyoko is quite similar to Shinako as someone who lost their beloved romantic partner and feel like they can’t properly move on. Beyond that, there’s definitely a theme of growth in both series which is even more emphasized in Maison Ikkoku which also has a slow pace like “Yesterday” but uses its many episodes to show character growth over several years. While Maison Ikkoku is certainly different in a lot of ways as well, particularly its liberal use of slapstick humor, there’s a lot to love in it for “Yesterday” watchers to enjoy!
6. Koi wa Ameagari no You ni (After the Rain)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: January 2018 – March 2018
After the Rain is an unconventional love story between quiet, introverted high school girl Tachibana Akira and middle-aged divorcee Kondou Masami, a kind and easygoing literature aficionado who is a manager at the family restaurant where Akira works as a waitress part-time after an injury stopped her from doing track. She begins to notice her own feelings for Masami develop and seriously questions herself as to why but admires his deep care for his customers that their coworkers make fun of him for being soft and weak. After much deliberation, she decides to confess her feelings on a rainy day…
We won’t lie, the premise of this series is quite questionable with the wide age-gap between the main characters but After the Rain manages to rise well above what you might expect to become a thoughtful and emotionally rich anime with a lot of appeal, quite like Kotonoha no Niwa (The Garden of Words). In terms of Sing "Yesterday" to Me, there’s the shared age-gap dynamic between Haru and Rikuo and Shinako and Rou but the more substantive connection is in the overall storytelling style and feeling and focus on growth and relationships of characters at crossroads. If you give After the Rain a chance, you might be surprised! Perhaps the ED "Ref:rain", which features in this PV, will help persuade you.
Koi wa Ameagari no You ni PV
Altogether, Sing "Yesterday" to Me has so far been a solid, somewhat downbeat slice-of-life series with interesting character dynamics that explore some serious topics while still being largely relatable and realistic to a seinen audience. While each of these recommendations have their unique qualities, we think they all are worth your time to check out if you’ve been digging “Yesterday” and are looking for something similar. In any case, we hope you enjoyed reading this article! Be sure to stick around Honey’s for more of all things awesome, anime and otherwise, and please leave us a comment below with your own thoughts and recommendations. Thanks! Until next time, sing “Let it Bee” for Me?