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Anime with accurate representation of Japan 2021/9/16 10:16
As I currently have 2 weeks holiday in a city in lockdown (not Japan) - I'm interested in potential anime that may give a more accurate representation of Japan. This might be culturally, spiritually, historically or other.

Some of the anime that I've enjoyed recently include:

March Comes In Like A Lion
Barakamon
Odd Taxi
Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu
Udon no Kuni no Kiniro Kemari

by mfedley  

Re: Anime with accurate representation of Japan 2021/9/17 07:29
Being fictional, not sure how accurate most anime can be of representing Japan. The bear driving a taxi is a good example on the ones you have watched and life.

If you get on crunchyroll, animelab, funamtion etc etc. You can select the 'slice of life' genre, tends to have the closest representation of life in Japan.

I have even watched some mecha anime that is 100% spot on for modern Japanese life. Just more giant military hanger, one more giant robot and girls in bikinis splashing around one episode (normal anime practive of a least one beach episode/scene), more than what real life is. Other then those few highlights, bang on 2000s/2010s Japan.
by H (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Anime with accurate representation of Japan 2021/9/17 13:43
I've only seen the live-action movie version of March Comes in Like a Lion (and I guess you could watch that if you've not seen it yet.) Outside of the ghost, you might like Hikaru no Go.

I think a lot of sports anime would fit the bill, like Haikyuu. It seemed very slice of life to me from what little I caught when my daughter watched it. I personally loved Whistle and I don't even like soccer.

My 10 year old loved Super Gals. I'm not sure how completely realistic it is and it's also very much about the late 90s in Shibuya vs. 2021. We're also huge fans of Fruits Basket here, though that might wander too much into fantasy.
by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: Anime with accurate representation of Japan 2021/9/17 15:19
@mfedley, can I ask a very basic question?

I have never watched any anime (not really any thing rose but gnormalh TV or cinema), so I wonder where do you actually watch them? Do you need some kind of Netflix subscription or where do you find the anime you want to watch?
by LikeBike rate this post as useful

Re: Anime with accurate representation of Japan 2021/9/17 16:25
Hi Likebike,

I normally watch them on streaming sites such as Amazon Prime, Netflix & Crunchyroll.

Like a lot of tv - a lot of it's not for me but there seems to be a good chunk of content with a more mature bent that is up my alley.

Two of the most recent series I've watched include:

Udon no Kuni no Kiniro Kemari - which basically involves a 30 something IT worker moving back to Kagawa after the death of his father. Some of the themes which it involves include death, expectations of marriage, younger people moving from home along with prefecture dialects which get teased at in Tokyo.

Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu - which basically covers Rakugo from around 1920 until the present day. It also covers such topics as the westernization in Japan, major changes during the showa era, censorship before and during WW2, destruction of housing in Tokyo during WW2 due to bombing and so on.

So to put it simply - I like things with a bit more heft and make me understand different facets of Japan including Takumis (Raccoon Dogs) and how they were seen to be shape shifters in folk tales. Also viewing sites in anime that I've visited in the real world and seeing how eerily accurate they are such as Shikoku Mura and Yashima Temple near Takamatsu.

Finding people with the knowledge of Japan, communicate in English and have a good knowledge of anime on a forum seems to be rare it seems. That's why I asked here instead of an anime forum - where people have a strong knowledge of the medium but not so much of Japan.....

Also thanks H for the suggestion of slice of life - I'm aware of this sub-genre but I often like a story with a bit more meat on the bone. I also get what you mean by realistic - with the twist in Odd Taxi giving an interesting spin on the human condition without going into spoiler territory. It did give an interesting spin on the underclass in Japan and I'd be interested to know if any of the commentary on the yakuza and the life of pop-idols holds any accuracy.

Rkold - I was not aware that March Comes Out Like A Lion had been made into a live action. If it's on one of my legal streaming sites I might give it a go.
by mfedley rate this post as useful

Re: Anime with accurate representation of Japan 2021/9/17 20:05
I'm not an "anime fan" per se, so you probably know much better than I, but the "properly made" ones are works by Mamoru Hosoda, Hayao Miyazaki, Makoto Shinkai and Hideaki Anno, so I would say that their works tend to pay more attention to accuracy, even though what they're depicting is mostly fiction and fantasy.

For example, I really liked Hosoda's "Wolf Children", because there was a lot of things that looked familiar to me. Hana probably went to college around the same time I did, and I remember us dressing and acting like, with some living in apartments like that near rivers like that. And there would be that one mystery guy who looks mature than the others and is kind of handsome, but there's something about him that makes people want to avoid him.

Of course, nobody I knew turned into a wolves, but the difference between the way a girl and a boy adapt, and the parent-child dynamics it leads to is, I think, extremely realistic. In the recent years, there have been many young families moving out to rural places, and that aspect is very authentic as well.

So, although anime is fantasy, there are many that tell stories very familiar to you, and at the end you realized that the message the stories tell could've been told only through the fantasy aspect of those anime.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Anime with accurate representation of Japan 2021/9/18 02:15
Yeap! It got a live action adaptation:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/March_Comes_In_like_a_Lion_(film)

I've only seen the first part. I don't know how readily available it is on streaming services, but there is an official English sub version of it, because I saw it on either a JAL or ANA flight on one of my trips to Japan. I have a hard time sleeping on planes and from NY, it is 14 hours direct, so it use to be a great opportunity for me to watch Japanese films. I've seen an interesting selection of Japanese films thanks to JAL and ANA. I personally find a lot of Japanese films (or at least the ones on ANA and JAL) end up being tear jerkers when all is sad and done, but I also cry easily.


The flight to Japan is also how I saw Erased:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erased_(2016_film)

which I think is also based on a manga and also might be something you might enjoy. I have again only seen the live action movie.

Chihayafuru also had a live action adaption:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chihayafuru

On the plane I think I saw the 3rd film based off this manga. I think the anime looks interesting and I've thought about watching it.

While High School, you still might enjoy Fruits Basket, I think it does a really lovely job discussing loneliness and trying to find your place. I've only seen the original 2000 anime, but I suspect the more recent and manga accurate version is also good. I would like my daughter to read the manga first though before she watches the new series.

My daughter is currently rewatching Princess Tutu. It's not very useful as a Japanese slice of life series, but is a fascinating look at classic western fairy tale tropes and rejections of said tropes.

Good luck finding something to watch! :)
by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: Anime with accurate representation of Japan 2021/9/18 10:21
J-dramas are probably more what you are after than anime. Judging by your follow up description of your likes.
by H (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Anime with accurate representation of Japan 2021/9/18 15:52
I've been thinking about this as I am a huge anime fan and I've found it surprisingly difficult. I think mainly because anime is generally an escape and so diverges from reality.
The only ones that sort of come to mind are Hanasaku Iroha about a young girl who has to go & live with her grandmother who runs a ryokan. The way she struggles to fit in always seemed entirely plausible to me. That and Golden Kamuy which I know is supposed to be very good but I havent watched it.
Straying a bit, Hyouka & Haikyuu are good too although both are high school set anime. Hyouka is Kyoto animation with all that entails in large eyed girls & the studio's other tropes, Haikyuu is a sports anime about volleyball. I enjoyed it a lot & I don't normally get on with sports anime.
Straying even further Serei no Moribito while set in a fantasy world always seemed to have good portrayals of medieval peoples relationships and expectations.
If any other more come to mind then I will let you know.

P.s. Yay for Barakamon. I really enjoyed that & always hoped for a season 2
I lost 3 Gatsu no Lion when it turned into teaching you about shogi for a while but I know I need to go back & pick it up again.
by Stan Norrell rate this post as useful

Re: Anime with accurate representation of Japan 2021/9/18 17:36
I realize that you're not necessarily looking for a representation of "modern" Japan.

In fact, a lot of anime depicting WW2 era is quite accurate and mostly realistic, because (A) about the only reason the creators chose to animate the story is because it's easier/cheaper than live-action, (B) it's taboo to fantasize war and (C) they want children to know the story so they chose slightly un-realistic visuals to tell what may have really happened.

Apart from the famous "Grave of the Fireflies", "Kono sekai no katasumi ni" is another sweet story that shed light on the everyday lives of people during the terrible war.
https://konosekai.jp/
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4769824/reference
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Anime with accurate representation of Japan 2021/9/26 06:35
Honestly, very little of what you see on ANY screen actually represents something like Real Life -- whether on a large screen or small, movies, TV, animated, live actors, "reality shows", social media (worst of all), even "news" programming, or whatever else is sold to you on a screen -- in Japan or anywhere else. If you fail to recognize the difference between reality and what you see on a screen, you are going to have a hard time in your life. Good luck.
by Realist (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Anime with accurate representation of Japan 2021/9/26 12:34
Thanks almost everyone for your suggestions.

To realist - the whole point of this thread was to find anime that DO SHOW different facets of modern or traditional life in Japan. It's not claiming that anime is at all a correct representation of Japan at all.

All of the other posters have been positive and provided different facets to explore. I've also lived in Japan and visited more places in Japan than probably 95% of the local population - which many of the forum are aware of.

As such, if you don't have anything positive to add to this thread apart from making assumptions and calling another person you know nothing about 'delusional', get off your high horse and do something positive or shut up.

I won't be responding to any of your posts after this one.
by mfedley rate this post as useful

Re: Anime with accurate representation of Japan 2021/9/29 07:50
Barakamon would be my pick, and the prequel as well.

I've watched quite a lot of anime and some of it has rung really true in my various travels. Even little bits of Natsume's book of friends (absent the fantasy aspects of course) which would be one of the best series I've seen, depict things that you see in the countryside.

The movie "Your Name" I thought was pretty good, and if you like your food, the series Food Wars is excellent, at least the first few years of it.
by Lazy Pious (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Anime with accurate representation of Japan 2021/9/29 07:54
Stan, I just noticed you were keen for a second series of Barakamon.

Handa-kun is a prequel to it, when the protagonist is in high school. I really liked it as well though my wife preferred Barakamon.
by Lazy Pious (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Anime with accurate representation of Japan 2021/9/29 10:20
This is really odd. I'm currently watching Natsume at the moment
by mfedley rate this post as useful

Re: Anime with accurate representation of Japan 2021/9/29 14:12
I hope you are enjoying it, our family loved it. The third season (I think) was my favorite, the one where they are walking through the snow in the credits.
by Lazy Pious (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Anime with accurate representation of Japan 2021/11/10 18:46
@mfedley, I'm late to the discussion. If you're still looking for some titles, I'd like to recommend Flying Witch and Kumamiko. There are fictional elements to it (like Udon no Kuni), but the settings are in Hirosaki and a village in Aomori. I'm biased to Aomori region, so seeing the sceneries of the city and landscape helps me relieving the good memories there.

Golden Kamuy takes in some Ainu culture, including their food and culture.

PS: Udon no Kuni, regardless of the supernatural element, is more like a tourism promotional series. I went to Takamatsu when the show was airing, there were life-sized cardboard of the main protagonist at some restaurants and shotengai.
by Moccy rate this post as useful

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