Drama Anime are stories that have a plot featuring exciting, emotional, or unexpected series of events or sets of circumstances. The plot of a drama makes consistent movement toward an end. We generally see hints toward that end spread throughout the entire series and culminating in a dramatic reveal in the last act. A great example of that is the famous “Luke, I am your father,” line from Star Wars the Empire Strikes Back. We are using a well-known movie as an example because we don’t want to ruin a great drama anime simply because we need an example. The idea of a drama tag is flexible because it can be applied to any number of settings: school, fantasy, or even the afterlife.
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: April 2010 - June 2010
Otonashi awakens one day in an unfamiliar place to learn he is now dead and residing in what could be called purgatory. The purgatory he experiences isn’t an ethereal place but a school populated by students who died and now live there and people they refer to as NPCs. The NPCs make up all of the adults of the world and are strictly focused on maintaining order. A beret-wearing girl with a commanding personality explains his current predicament and that his only way of “surviving the afterlife” is to join her and the Shinda Sekai Sensen (Afterlife Battlefront). The SSS is a secret student organization that fights a guerilla war against the NPCs and a girl dubbed Angel. Why, you might ask? Because when certain conditions are met you cease to exist, something the SSS is railing against. Otonashi inexplicably finds himself drawn to Angel and she to him as he tries to learn the mysteries of the afterlife. You will be moved as the tragic individual stories of each of the students unfold, divulging the ways they lived and died and, in a special case, the way they wish they'd lived. The characters are well written and have some performances that will stick with you. A bonus for this anime is the musical performances by the SSS’s distraction unit “Girls Dead Monster” whose music is awesome, anime or not.
Coming of Age Drama
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: January 2018 - April 2018
A wars’ victims are not only the dead but the survivors. The war that enveloped an entire continent for four long years has finally come to an end. The world that begins to prosper is one that mirrors our own around the turn of the 19th century. The land that had been torn asunder was beginning to heal and so too are the soldiers from both sides. A young woman named Violet Evergarden who was raised as a child soldier and forced to fight on the front lines is one of those poor souls that bear the scars above and beneath their skin. Violet leaves the army after not only losing her emotions but also her arms. She was fitted with mechanical arms and fingers. Her commander, the first person who ever showed her kindness, died in one of the wars’ final battles, leaving her with his simple last words, words she has no frame of reference to comprehend. She finds herself working for an Auto Memory Doll service after the war. The job of an Auto Memory Doll is to transcribe or ghostwrite letters and documents for people. She throws herself into this job and is exposed to her clients' most intimate and raw feelings. Violet is on a mission of self-discovery as she tries to comprehend what her kind commander said, the simplest yet most meaningful phrase: I love you. You will feel watching this anime. You will probably cry watching this anime. You, like Violet, will find yourself drawn into the heart wrenching personal stories of her clients. Violet Evergarden is simply one of the most cathartic stories in anime.
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: October 2013 - March 2014
Banri was in a terrible accident the day after his high school graduation. He stood on a narrow bridge awaiting his best friend Linda who was on her way to give him an answer to his romantic confession. A vehicle rushes by and knocks him over the guardrail, causing him to end up in a coma and losing all his memories up to that day. The world he grew up in is now foreign to him so he decides to move to Tokyo and attend law school. On the first day of school, he finds a friend in the handsome Mitsuo. The new friendship leads him to a fateful encounter with Mitsuo’s childhood friend and self-proclaimed fiancé Koko. The story of Golden Time revolves around Banri’s and Koko’s relationship as they evolve from allies, to friends, to lovers. The evolution of their relationship is enough for the drama tag, but it gets far more complicated. The first part of the story is Banri helping Koko get over her mountain of insecurities that make her a hot mess. The second part focuses on Banri and what could be described as mental illness as he fights to maintain his current personality as his pre-accident personality attempts to assert itself. We also get some small arcs dealing with the other members of their circle including Linda, who he had forgotten all about and is now his Senpai. The drama and romance can make you feel like you’re watching a soap opera with storylines that involve amnesia, deaths, and mistaken identity. A romance drama, however, is a perfect example of drama anime because it is completely focused on the relationships of people and is constantly moving forward toward a confession or marriage. As a bonus, this is one of the few anime that deal with adults, or at least college-aged characters.
You can call them many things--soapy, feels, or tear jerkers--but they are about life. Through the ups, the downs, the perpetual moving forward, all life is drama. A drama is can be about the regret you feel from not doing something in the past, or fear of the consequences of doing something in the future. We can't go back in time and change our mistakes, leading to heightened emotions. Drama is about life and the whole complex web of emotions that is being human. Yes, you can add a drama tag to most genres but the three mentioned above are some of the best examples of writing and art that will touch your heart.