[Dramatic Romance Anime Winter 2018] Like Clannad? Watch This!

A story of romance is never good unless it has some sort of drama to stir things up! Without the drama, there is little emotional connection for the audience. Romance needs that sort of tension to make it compelling for us, to make it more realistic. After all, just look at all the different shows out there that use drama to fuel the difficulties in a relationship! Of course, for a good dramatic romance, the relationship itself needs to be believable as well.

About Clannad

  • Episodes: 23
  • Aired: Oct. 2007 – Mar. 2008

Tomoya Okazaki has a rather boring life, until one day he runs into an unusual girl named Nagisa Furukawa. Their brief encounter was nothing to Tomoya, even though Nagisa walks away believing that they are now friends. However, Tomoya soon begins seeing Nagisa everywhere, and learns that she was held back in school because of an illness. As the two continue to grow closer, Tomoya agrees to help Nagisa fulfill her dream – to revive their school’s drama club.

Liked Clannad? Watch Mahoutsukai no Yome (The Ancient Magus’ Bride)!

  • Episodes: 24
  • Aired: Oct. 2017 – Mar. 2018

For Chise Hatori, life has always been a struggle. The 15-year-old girl has been alone, abandoned and ridiculed, for so long that she ends up being sold at an auction. Though she is uncertain about the unusual gentleman who purchased her, Chise is at least looking forward to a home of some sort. Her new owner introduces himself as Elias Ainsworth, a magus, and takes Chise back to his beautifully quaint home. It is there that Chise begins to learn of Elias’ intentions – to not only make the girl his apprentice, but one day, his bride!

Three Major Similarities Between Clannad and Mahoutsukai no Yome

1. Trusted Relationships Make Life Worth Living

As Tomoya gets to know Nagisa better and adds other friends to their group, he learns gradually that the happy faces everyone wears mask true sadness in each of their lives. Tomoya himself has a strained relationship with his father; Nagisa and her family had their lives forever changed by her illness; other friends suffer through health issues, emotional breakdowns and grief. Yet they begin to rely on one another as friends, lifting each other up through their problems to find true happiness and joy. Tomoya, who thought life was dull as he grew up, ends up surrounding himself with people who make life meaningful for him again.

In Mahoutsukai no Yome, the characters have also suffered in their pasts, leading them to close themselves off from one another. Even among the magical and beautiful world that they live in, Chise, Elias and their friends find it difficult to look past their former experiences and be happy. But when they finally do trust one another and open up their hearts, these characters also will find their lives changed for the better.

2. Growing To Love

As Tomoya discovers, not every love story begins with love at first sight! In fact, Tomoya thought Nagisa was a strange girl when he first encountered her, and was even reluctant to be her friend for a bit. The two found their way to love by caring for one another as friends, even as they got to know each other. It was only when Tomoya and Nagisa had really come to know the other person well that they fell in love.

Just like Tomoya and Nagisa, Chise and Elias find their way to love gradually. Although Elias had planned to make Chise his bride from the beginning, he was doing so for a reason other than emotion. Chise and Elias certainly have a stranger love story than Tomoya and Nagisa do, but their tale is no less endearing! Once Chise and Elias begin to spend time together and getting to know each other truly, they start to see the other person as more than just an apprentice or a teacher. In real life, love does not always come to us immediately, but after we see someone else’s heart for what it really is. And in these two anime, that is exactly how the characters find love as well.

3. Realistic Portrayal of Emotions

One of the best parts about Clannad is the way that the characters display emotions in a realistic fashion. Through all of their struggles in life and love, no matter how unusual these events might seem to us, Tomoya and his friends react to events as we might ourselves. This is especially true in the romance aspect of the anime, as Tomoya and Nagisa grow to love each other rather than have an instant connection sort of relationship.

Mahoutsukai no Yome also has a realistic sense of dealing with emotional turmoil, even as the characters are facing events far different than we ever would! Chise and her companions face real issues, like grief, abandonment and regret. Though both Clannad and Mahoutsukai no Yome are rather episodic in nature, these anime manage to maintain their emotional ties to the audience through each event. Anime with such emotional value, in which the audience can see in themselves as they watch, are certainly refreshing!

Liked Clannad? Watch Violet Evergarden!

  • Episodes: 14
  • Aired: Jan. 2018 - ongoing

Violet Evergarden is a girl raised to be on the front lines of the battlefield, destroying the enemy lines. But with the Great War finally over and Violet left recovering from the final battle, she has little idea of what to do with herself now. She tries to begin anew by working at CH Postal Services after a falling out with her recently appointed guardian family. One day, Violet happens to witness the work of an “Auto Memory Doll,” which helps bring people’s thoughts and feelings into words transcribed on paper. Violet decides to do this work herself, a decision which will change not only the lives of those she’s helping, but her own life as well…

Three Major Similarities Between Clannad and Violet Evergarden

1. Helping Others To Help Yourself

In Clannad, Tomoya has his own issues he is dealing with, mostly about his apathy toward life as he grows older. Perhaps it is because he sees the struggles that Nagisa is facing, but for whatever reason, Tomoya decides to help her fulfill her dream of rebuilding the drama club. Tomoya starts helping out a variety of different people, all of whom end up becoming part of his friend group. And because he reaches out to help all these new friends, he is able to in turn deal with his own emotional baggage, helping himself.

Violet goes through a similar situation as an Auto Memory Doll, helping other people process their emotions in words. Meanwhile, she is searching for her own way to process emotions. As Violet continues to help others, she learns how others around her deal with their own struggles of emotion, which in turn allows her to see some of these emotions in her own life. The audience can learn alongside Violet, seeing both the growth of the people she helps as well as Violet’s own. It is easy to see yourself in these anime, simply because of the way the characters deal with such a wide range of emotions.

2. Episodic But Emotional

Though both Clannad and Violet Evergarden have an episodic feel to them, they also manage to generate a compelling, continuous story throughout the course of the respective shows. Both anime introduce a variety of characters, each with their own problems, to be dealt with on their own time.

Yet the continuing stories of Tomoya and Violet make each plot cohesive. The overarching love story between Tomoya and Nagisa grows with each episode, even as they focus on other friends’ issues. Though Violet Evergarden’s plot is less cohesive, Violet learns from each person she encounters and grows in her own quest for self-discovery. Both anime bring their episodic feel into a united story plot, making them enjoyable to watch.

3. What Love Means

Tomoya’s apathetic outlook for his future gets completely changed around after he meets Nagisa. As Tomoya meets more people and helps them overcome their own issues, he can see the struggles in his own emotions that he needs to work through. And as he grows closer to Nagisa, he learns what his real feelings toward the girl are. Their growth into love teaches the two characters what love really means, particularly in the way you act toward another person. As Tomoya and Nagisa learn what love means, so do the viewers gain a little more insight.

The origins of Violet’s own emotional journey to discover what love is about closely follow that of Clannad’s plot. While Violet doesn’t necessarily learn about love in the same sense that Tomoya and Nagisa do, the former warrior learns about love for her fellow humans. Each person that she helps brings her a little bit closer to learning more kindness, compassion, and therefore love. Violet may not discover as much about romantic love as the characters in Clannad, but she learns about a love that we can identify with just as much. Since Violet is often looking at emotion through the eyes of the people she’s helping, we get to see all sorts of perspectives. This, in turn, leaves the audience, and Violet, with a much broader view of love.

Final Thoughts

A good romantic drama has not only a struggle or an issue for the characters, but also manages to make the audience connect through emotion. Depending on how realistic the portrayal is, some emotions can hit closer to home for some viewers more than others! Though Clannad is often touted for having the most emotional connection to its viewers, we believe Mahoutsukai no Yome and Violet Evergarden might prove to be worthy challengers.

Will you be watching any of the anime we mentioned here? Please let us know in the comments section below!

Mahoutsukai-no-Yome-The-Ancient-Magus-Bride-225x350 [Dramatic Romance Anime Winter 2018] Like Clannad? Watch This!


Author: Meghan May Dellinger

Konnichiwa! I'm a writer/daydreamer who gets a little lost along the path of life from time to time. I love watching anime and playing all kinds of video games - everything from RPGs to first-person shooters. I hope to be an author someday, but until then, I'll share my words with the world any way I can! I love making new friends, so don't be afraid to leave a comment!

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