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There was a time when going to the movies was a great treat. There were not many forms of entertainment, and the movie theatres were luxurious, so people went in their best outfits and behaved with elegance. The actors and actresses who performed in the film were idols, and a few of them had such everlasting success that you could literally see them growing throughout their filmography. In a time when Japan was devastated after World War II, such stars revived the ideals of the past and projected them to the future. Millennium Actress is a rendition to a whole begone era and the artists who preserved Japanese imagery. What other films bring us memories from other times and a lingering feeling of loss? Let’s find out in the following article! All aboard the anime memory train!
Similar Anime to Sennen Joyuu / Similar Anime to Millennium Actress
1. Ohoshisama no Rail (Rail of the Star: A True Story of Children)
- Episodes: 1
- Aired: Jul 10, 1993
Warning: this film contains some references to excessive nationalism. Proceed with caution.
This film is based in the true story of Chitose Kobayashi, a Japanese girl who grew up in Japan occupied North Korea. She goes from being part of the “winners” to, after World War 2, part of the “losers”. The conditions worsen so much that the family decides to run away to the South. Will they be able to make it unscathed? You will have to watch Ohoshisama no Rail to find out.
Chitose Kobayashi became an actress when she grew up, so… that automatically ties her to Chiyoko Fujiwara. Being the protagonists of their respective movies, they get most of the screen time. There is also a tendency in both stories to show different points of view of the same situations. The main difference is that the continuity is more linear in Ohoshisama no Rail, and that well, this was a real story. If you ever have felt curious about North Korea and the relationship between Japan and the Korean peninsula, this is a good option for you.
2. Otona Joshi no Anime Time
- Episodes: 4
- Aired: Jan 7, 2011 to Mar 24, 2013
Warning: this anime is rated R. Proceed with caution.
Otona Joshi no Anime Time is composed of 4 stories written by women. In Kawamo wo Suberu Kaze, we meet a 33 year old called Noriko. She migrated from the countryside to Tokyo, where she worked, got married and had a child. After living abroad for a while, she comes back feeling that something is missing in her life. In Yuuge, a wife named Mimi leaves everything behind to follow a young man. In Jinsei Best 10, a business woman named Hatoko is going to be 40 years old soon, but she re-encounters her crush from middle school. Finally, in Dokoka Dewanai Koko, a 40 something housewife watches a complicated relationship between a mother and a daughter.
There is nothing like women telling their own stories from different perspectives, analyzing how they used to be and where they stand in life. This is a common characteristic for Sennen Joyuu and Otona Joshi no Anime Time. There is also a sense of nostalgia throughout the stories. If you are more on the reflexive side and less on the action, these movies are perfect for you.
3. Omoide Poroporo (Only Yesterday)
- Episodes: 1
- Aired: Jul 20, 1991
So many of us like the active city life, so full of entertainment, especially if we come from the countryside. A great place like Tokyo is the capital of our dreams. But what happens when we go back to where we grew up? Taeko Okajima finds her childhood memories when she visits her brother in law, which makes her question her later decisions, and thus, her entire life.
We have women in charge once again in this movie. Throughout the story, we see Taeko growing up, experimenting joys, disappointments and everything in between. Like Chiyoko Fujiwara, Taeko is pursuing a success, an ideal that might only just live in her head. However, they keep chasing that ideal and they do not reflect deeply about their lives until years later. Also, both films go backwards, forward and sometimes jump in time. However, this does not confuse. The action is fluid and the art keeps you engrossed. If you like movies full with nostalgia, Omoide Poroporo might be the right recommendation for you.
Any Anime Like Millennium Actress / Any Anime Like Sennen Joyuu ?
4. Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu: Yotarou Hourou-hen
- Episodes: 2
- Aired: Jan 9, 2016 to Apr 2, 2016
Many of us have committed misdeeds, but when we hit the lowest level, we tend to give up. A man who worked for the yakuza in the Showa period had a different outlook at life, though. When he watches the masterful Rakugo performer Yakumo, he decides to become his apprentice once he gets out of jail. With a new name and a new life, Yotarou starts his road towards mastering Rakugo. This is the OVA version of the T.V. series, in a compact format for people who want to check on this story quickly. Funny, irreverent and also dramatic, the lives of those who are touched by Yotarou’s Rakugo will capture your heart.
Sennen Joyuu and Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu are set roughly in the same era. Both protagonists are performers and are in touch with traditions and culture. However, they both project those traditions into the future. Chiyoko and Youtarou are stars on their own accord! However, they also have dramatic background stories, and as they age, they see life differently.
5. Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo (The Girl Who Leapt Through Time)
- Episodes: 1
- Aired: Jul 15, 2006
Have you ever had difficulties while deciding about your future? Our protagonist, Makoto Konno is at such a crossroads in her last high school year. Add to this the fact that she discovers that she can travel to time when she leaps. Things get complicated when she goes to the past and changes a few deeds, which bring undesirable consequences… and what will she do when she encounters love? Nope, we are not going to tell you. Just watch Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo!
If what you like about Sennen Joyuu is the romantic first love of Chiyoko, you will find something similar in Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo. The drama also keeps growing in both stories. Also, did you notice that the figurative concept of both movies is a girl running to reach their beloved? The main difference is that Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo is set in a more modern environment, with a more relatable leading character.
6. Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni (In This Corner of the World)
- Episodes: 1
- Aired: Nov 12, 2016
Warning: This film includes scenes of war. Proceed with caution.
We move back again to the times of the World War II in Japan, to the little seaside town called Kure in Hiroshima. Our protagonist is Suzu Urano who marries a local clerk and moves in with his family. When the US bombs Kure in 1945, Suzu’s life is changed forever. Will all that is precious to her survive to the devastation? You will have to watch this award winning movie to find out!
Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni also highlights life in the Shouwa period. Both protagonists are well rounded and realistic. There is also drama in their lives and an important portion of the films is devoted to their maturing process. The two movies are beautiful films that bring back a begone area and might break your heart, but that also include a note with hope for the future. The main difference is that Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni portrays its characters with a more plump proportion and softer colors. Also, the backgrounds look like watercolors.
Japanese anime cinema shows us what is able to do with masterpieces like Sennen Joyuu and similar anime movies. Excellent narrations, well rounded characters and timeless messages conquer screens in Japan and worldwide. It does not matter that sometimes, these movies are not set in our time. The protagonists are humans, and we are able to suffer with them and enjoy the good times in life with them. Which are your favorite movies similar to Sennen Joyuu? Do not forget that we are open to all your comments and suggestions. See you soon!