Adventure is something that creeps into just about any anime. The characters at some point throughout the series have to go from point A to point B, so at some point, while they may not stock up on items and equipment always, many characters do and then set out off towards the horizon. Going on the adventure could be physical in that the characters move around, but it also can be, and frequently is, a journey of self discovery and development. The characters are almost never the same from when they start and this is almost always triggered by a smile to let the viewer know that the characters are back to their antics. Adventure anime is so broad, much like Seinen, that you cannot pin it down completely, but we can certainly point out some popular characteristics of the series. All you need is a lot of time on your hands because if one thing is for sure, adventure anime can take a very long time. So welcome! Today, we will be exploring common aspects of adventure anime. Let’s go!
Anime loves to make the characters work towards some overarching goal off in the distance. It is what happens in almost all Shounen anime across the board driving both the series to continue on, but always conveniently drops a nice, further goal or point, that the characters then need to work towards. It is not easy and definitely, there will be trials and tribulations. Another common theme or feature commonly intertwined with the adventure genre is fantasy or supernatural. Take that journey or hero’s journey and make it so much more interesting with facets of demons, ogres, angels, and more mixed into the story. More than one anime has included supernatural or special weapons as well. It is not for the faint of heart though, as more often than not with adventure anime, you will need to invest at least around 36-50 episodes into the show. Bring snacks and be ready to explore what is available.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
- Episodes: 64
- Aired: April 2009 - July 2010
Edward and Alphonse Elric lived a happy life in their home with their mother and father. One day, their father disappeared, but it was okay because they still had their mother. In this world, alchemy is a thing and even small children can and do study it. It’s one where the beginning and end need to be equal. As long as you have the right ingredients, you should be able to make anything. There is but one taboo: human transmutation. When their mother suddenly falls ill one day and dies, the boys, stricken with grief, decide to try and bring their mother back to life. The process not only fails, Edward loses an arm and a leg in the process and Alphonse loses his whole body. In a desperate attempt to save him, Edward anchors Al’s soul to a suit of armor. Time passes and the boys learn of something called the philosopher’s stone which would not only allow them to reclaim their bodies, but bring their mother back. The two set out to learn more about it not realizing that others are also searching for this mystical stone.
Fullmetal Alchemist is a beloved series by anime fans and for good reason. All of the physical parts of a typical adventure anime are present. The boys losing their mother is the impetus to learn more. Meeting the military as well as homunculi are others that they did not necessarily anticipate. They run all over their world looking for more. Not to mention too, the face of danger and all of the kickass fights combined with alchemy and outside threats are just another great reason to watch this amazing anime..
Fullmetal Alchemist brotherhood Trailer:
Spiritual & Supernatural Adventures
It’s not all fun and games though. While the characters may journey, their development as well as what they encounter are both things that appear frequently in anime. It’s not always about the physical journey—albeit it does play an important role in the series—but sometimes half the fun of the series is just seeing who and what the characters encounter as they go along on their journeys to find both themselves and others along the way. There are so many different adventures and characters that will be packed into the concept of the adventure, that you might not realize when one ends and another begins.
- Episodes: 167
- Aired: October 2000 - September 2004
Kagome Higurashi is in a part of her shrine she isn’t normally in one day, when she approaches the forbidden well. From it, comes a monster who drags her in before taking a bit out of her. There was something called the Shikon Jewel inside of her, and she for some reason the monster wanted it. Waking up on the other side of this well, she finds out she is in feudal Japan and there is some human nailed to a tree. Freeing him, they try to stop the monster, but Kagome accidentally shoots the jewel with an arrow causing it to shatter. Pieces shoot all over the area and now she must travel with this half demon half human being named Inuyasha and try to bring the pieces back together.
Inuyasha is a classic adventure anime and brings a new group of characters to the table constantly. The growth of Inuyasha and Kagome, as well as Sango and Miroku, is stunted a little bit at first, but their growth as characters is all the more refreshing to see play out as they travel in search of the Shikon jewel. The series also features demons and monsters frequently meaning that their adventure as a nice healthy dose of danger to it as well. Inuyasha is a long journey, but it is a rewarding one as well.
- Episodes: Count: 26
- Aired: April 1998 - April 1999
Cowboy Bebop is set far into the future where humanity has spread to the stars. With the advancement of technology, intergalactic travel is now a thing. Crime, however, has also now taken off to the stars. Enter bounty hunters, people who watch TV shows advertising criminals and their bounties before taking off to try to find them. Spike is one such bounty hunter who works with Jet, but the two aren’t the best and sometimes have money issues. Starving, they move from job to job to take in criminals to eat. That is when their adventures take them to meet a woman of charm and danger, Faye Valentine, a genius hacker Ed, and a brilliantly intelligent dog named Ein. Somehow, they might just be able to bring in a big fish to get what they want.
Cowboy Bebop is considered to be one of the last great space adventure anime and to be honest, there aren’t many like it which is a testament to its legacy. This space adventure anime is so fantastic because not only do we get to enjoy a new locale almost every episode, we also get captivating backstories that make us all the more invested and interested in the characters. Seeing how people like Faye, Ed, and even Spike have reached their current selves is a fantastic adventure peppered among the actual journey that the characters themselves make. If you ever wanted a perfect mix of the two main types of adventure anime, then this is a fantastic place to start!
Cowboy Bebop Trailer:
With that trailer for Cowboy Bebop, our introduction to Adventure anime comes to a close. We did skip over the shounen genre, for the most part, as a whole and for fair reason: even Inuyasha is a lot to swallow with that episode count number. Rather than give you a 300+ episode series to digest, these are just starting points. Of course, there are other great shows that you must check out if you want more adventure anime. Shows like Hunter X Hunter, Spirited Away, Fairy Tail, Danmachi, Mushishi, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Kino no Tabi, Gurren Lagann, Dragonball, and Nanatsu no Taizai are just some to keep you occupied for months if you find yourself interested in diving into the world of adventure anime. If you are looking for more, then be sure to check out more articles we have here at Honey’s Anime. Till next time!