Let me confess that ‘drama’ is not my cup of tea, but I can vouch for the anime drama ‘Nana‘ as one of the best of its kind I have ever seen. I really liked the plot, characters and the way the story reveals its various layers. Amazing animation and music also elevate the anime as a new experience. Here’s the list of best anime similar to ‘Nana’ that are our recommendations. You can watch several of these anime like ‘Nana’ on Netflix, Crunchyroll or Hulu.
‘Sakamichi no Apollon’ is a Josei anime with lots of drama, music and romance. It is entertaining and engaging for both the drama and music lovers. ‘Sakamichi no Apollon’ evokes similar feelings like that of ‘Nana’ except a gender swap as the protagonists in discussion are male. The shows share common features like two close friends as main characters and a keen focus on exploring the musical potential of the plot. But ‘Sakamichi no Apollon’ takes a diversion when it follows the path of drama which is inevitable when it comes to the nuances of love and relationships.
Kaoru Nishimi, one of the main characters in the anime moves to Kyushu to enroll in a high school. He is good at academics and is a classical pianist. Having moved from place to place during his childhood, Kaoru finds himself an introverted blacks heep everywhere. He is apprehensive about being an outcast in the new place too. But when he crosses paths with Sentarou Kawabuchi, another delinquent who loves Jazz more than anything in the world, his life takes a turn for the better. Sentarou instills a fire for Jazz within Kaoru and he starts learning more about it. He starts playing the piano during their jazz-sessions at the basement of a friend’s home. Kaoru soon finds out that music can help a person to come out of his shell while entertaining others.
The romance drama anime ‘Paradise Kiss’ is a standalone piece of work which features pretty decent animation and other production values like a soulful soundtrack. The anime arouses similar feelings like that of ‘Nana,’ but in different wavelengths. The drama and romance are quite intense but what makes it interesting is its aproach that treats every characters with equal consideration. Like ‘Nana,’ the anime makes us keep guessing about the characters’ future, which is full of uncertainties in every corner. This makes the plot quite intriguing.
Yukari Hayasaka, one of the main characters in the anime, is knows as studious disciple. She nurtures the dream of becoming the topper in her university entrance exam. She doesn’t care which university she gets in as long as she can leave the sleepy hometown behind. But her parents set their own agenda for their daughter. One day she meets a strange individual with piercings and stuff. She tries to get away from him but instead, she ends up going with him and meeting his friends. They are a bunch of fashion-designers who want her to be a model of their final project. But she is torn between the offer and her dream of getting into some distant university. To make thinks more complicated, she falls for the leader of the group.
5. Kimi ga Nozomu Eien (2003)
‘Kimi ga Nozomu Eien’ is quite similar to ‘Nana’ when it comes to the complicated romance among the central characters. The show offers a fair amound of drama and falls into the category of the slice-of-life genre. So, if you are into drama and romance, go ahead and try it out. Takayuki Narumi, Mitsuki Hayase and Haruka Suzumiya are the main characters of the anime.
The plot follows Mitsuki and her best friend Haruka who hides feelings for Takayuki. In order to help her friend to express her love, Mitsuki befriends Tkayuki. But as time progress Mitsuki, Takayuki and Shinji, who is friend of Takayuki, become close friends. Finally, Haruka opens up her secret to Takayuki who, does not want to break her heart, starts dating her. But things turns upside down when Takayuki and Mitsuki develop feelings for each other. Though they don’t know what to do, all of them know that their life and friendships will never be the same.
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4. Peach Girl (2005)
If you are a drama anime lover, then you might come across the title ‘Peach Girl’ at least once. The series has lots of drama and romance and has a total of 25 episodes with each being 24 minutes in length. The series is kind of similar to ‘Nana’ mainly because of the high dramatic and romantic content. ‘Peach Girl’ also features a love triangle and the protagonist is a strong female character. Though ‘Nana’ is better than ‘Peach Girl’ in terms of production values, the latter is still an engaging watch for those who love the genre.
The anime revolves around a girl named Momo Adachi who a girl-next-door type high school student. She is an an excellent swimmer and a member of the swimming team. As an aftermath of her intense swimming lessons, her skin has become tanned. But people judge her for her tanned appearance and bullies her by calling names. In the midst of such day-to-day frictions, she keeps feelings for a boy named Toji who is known for his weakness for tanned girls. Momo tries to be the girl she thinks his ideal match. But things never go as she expected. Momo’s friend Sae, who is a trouble maker, decides to stab her friend in the back by starting an affair with Toji. During all these dramatic events, there was someone who really likes Momo without her knowledge.
3. Beck (2004)
Though a little lesser popular than the the other entrants on this list, ‘Beck’ is a decent anime with drama, romance and music at its core. It is an entertaining series with great music and a gripping plot. The series does share some similarities with ‘Nana’. Both the shows have outstanding music departments and they explore lives of musicians and the creative process behind good music. It does focus on drama, romance and relationships too, but not as much as ‘Nana.’ If you like musical dramas or are a fan of ‘Nana,’ then you should give this anime a try.
Koyuki is a 14-year-old boy who wanders aimlessly and known for his carefree attitude. One day he saves a dog named Beck and befriends its owner Ray Minami, a famous guitarist and a member of a famous rock band. Ray takes Koyuki with him to his former band and shows him his guitar skills. Koyuki is impressed with the music and guitar. He wants to learn western rock music and guitar. The boy also starts to help Ray to become the leader of a popular band. They soon form their band along Ray’s sister Maho and her friends. Rest of the story chronicles the struggles and rise of the band on its way to success.
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2. Skip Beat! (2008)
‘Skip Beat!’ is another entertaining anime which deals with drama, romance and music. It is a bit light-hearted and leans more towards comedy. The series captures a spot on this list because of its similarities with ‘Nana.’ Both shows feature a female character in the lead who hail from similar backgrounds. They want to become successful and popular in the entertainment industry. As I mentioned before, this series has a lighter tone while ‘Nana’ chooses a much more serious tone of storytelling.
The plot follows a 16-year-old girl named Kyouko Mogami who is a hard-working and intelligent student. The girl also keeps feelings for Shoutarou Fuwa, a rising star in the pop music scene and her boyfriend. She does everything she can to support him even if it means working tirelessly at burger joints as a part-time assistant. But soon, she learns that Shoutarou cheats on her by using her just for money. She leaves him and decides to take revenge by joining the entertainment business and outshine him in his realm. But things are never easy for a debutante in the cutthroat music industry. Can Mogami follow her dream and pay back her vengeance?
1. Hachimitsu to Clover (2011)
‘Hachimitsu to Clover’ is a Josei anime dealing with drama, romance and a slice-of-life stuff. It is again a less popular but entertaining anime. It shares many similarities with ‘Nana’. Both anime have nice and unique art and animation. They explore the drama and relationship in detail. They can be funny at times but it basically boils down to the lives of characters and the interpersonal relationships. Shinobu, Takumi and Yuuta are college students who come from poor families. They share a cheap apartment which has no bath. It still suits their humble needs.
The three friends are quite different from one another. Shinobu is whimsical and mysterious while Takumi is so passionate about everything. The simplest of all is Yuuta who has normal and reasonable dreams and desires. The students study in an arts college where they meet Hagumi, a talented girl who is always accompanied by her guardian, Shuuji. Initially, she is a bit withdrawn but gets accustomed to the boys as the days pass by. Yuuta and Shinobu fall for her but Yuuta tries his best to hide feelings. Shinobu goes the other way and stars weirdly expressing his love which repels Hagumi. The rest of the story relies on the dramatic developments that test the strength of their friendship and love.
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