You probably read and watched several anime series if you consider yourself an anime fanatic. But have you ever questioned whether your favorite anime is actually based on a true story? Surprisingly, a number of anime are based on actual occurrences. Despite the fact that many anime have fantasy elements, these 10 bizarre anime were truly inspired by actual events. As a result, this post will introduce you to a couple of these anime.
- 12. Oshin
- 11. Hi-Score girl
- 10. Welcome to the NHK
- 9. Golden Kamuy
- 8. Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
- 7. In This Corner of the World (2016)
- 6. Mawaru Penguindrum
- 5. Vinland Saga
- 4. Tokyo Magnitude 8.0
- 3. Kids on the Slope (2012)
- 2. My Neighbour Totoro
- 1. Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju
Oshin is an emotional anime chronicling a young girl’s life in early 1900s Japan. Based on a true story, it offers an authentic portrayal of daily struggles and triumphs during the pre-war era. Meticulous details bring history to life.
We witness Oshin grow for decades, facing hardships with perseverance and strength. Her inspirational spirit persevering through loves, losses and adversity makes Oshin relatable. The anime provides intimate insight into family life and culture in pivotal 20th century Japan.
Blending rich history and long-term character growth, Oshin stands out for its empathetic storytelling and educational insights into pre-war Japan. The simple animation complements the poignant narrative. Oshin pays respectful tribute to past generations of women and reminds us of the resilience of the human spirit.
11. Hi-Score girl
One of the most popular new anime series this decade is Hi Score Girl.
The narrative centers on Haruo Yaguchi, a video game enthusiast who spends all of his free time playing classic video games in arcades. A mystery female who is much out of his league and better than him at every game encounters him once. After that, he begins to feel a strange fascination with that girl. The romantic comedy genre from the 90s does a great job of portraying the arcade period of the 1990s.
10. Welcome to the NHK
Welcome to the NHK, a novel by Tatsuhiko Takimoto that served as the inspiration for an anime of the same name. The fictitious story’s central conspiracy hypothesis concerns a real-world Japanese television network.
The idea contends that the real NHK network is striving to produce more solitary, socially isolated people. The series’ creator said that the plot is based on his personal experiences as a hikikomori fighting against depression and royalties as depicted in the anime.
9. Golden Kamuy
Golden Kamuy is a historical adventure anime set in the early 1900s in Hokkaido, Japan. It follows Saichi Sugimoto, a veteran of the Russo-Japanese War, on a treasure hunt for Ainu gold. The story and setting are based on extensive historical research, accurately depicting Hokkaido and Ainu culture during Japan’s Meiji period. Details like the political climate, discrimination against Ainu people, influx of veterans, and the harsh terrain are woven into the story.
As Sugimoto teams up with Asirpa, an Ainu girl, to find the hidden treasure, their survival skills are constantly tested by the unforgiving wilderness. The anime puts great emphasis on authentic survival skills like hunting, foraging, and navigating rough terrain. Asirpa introduces Sugimoto and viewers to Ainu language, food, clothing, hunting practices and more. The treasure hunt itself is full of suspenseful action and unpredictable twists.
Golden Kamuy sets itself apart with its meticulous research, respectful cultural representation, thoughtful character development, and perfect balance of historical realism and gripping adventure. It manages to be profoundly entertaining while still expanding one’s knowledge. This wholly original anime is a must-watch.
8. Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
Among the most emotionally devastating anime films ever produced, Grave of the Fireflies poignantly brings to life the civilian suffering inflicted by World War II through a semi-autobiographical lens. This acclaimed 1988 film directed by Isao Takahata and produced by Studio Ghibli adapts Akiyuki Nosaka’s short story about struggling to survive the aftermath of wartime firebombings, a narrative informed by his own tragic childhood experiences.
With exquisitely crafted imagery and storytelling that wrenches at viewers’ heartstrings, Grave of the Fireflies provides an anti-war statement by humanizing the plight of children caught in the horrors of conflict. Though unflinching in its portrayal of poverty, hunger, and loss, the film ultimately stands as a testament to love’s power to sustain the human spirit through even the darkest tribulations.
7. In This Corner of the World (2016)
In This Corner of the World is an acclaimed anime film that immerses viewers in the lives of ordinary citizens during WWII-era Japan.
Set in Hiroshima, it follows a young bride named Suzu as she confronts the harsh realities of war. The story provides an intimate window into the small joys and harrowing struggles faced by civilians through Suzu’s perspective.
Brought to life through exquisite animation and empathetic storytelling, the film stands out for its emotional resonance and meticulously researched historical setting. It pays respectful tribute to the remarkable courage and resilience displayed by everyday people living through war.
Both culturally insightful and profoundly moving, In This Corner of the World is essential viewing for those seeking a poignant dramatization of life in Japan during WWII. This award-winning anime masterfully captures the hardships and humanity of that period.
6. Mawaru Penguindrum
Mawaru Penguindrum is a psychological drama anime that blends mystery and surrealism. It follows brothers Kanba and Shoma, who must find the Penguin Drum in order to save their ill sister Himari’s life. Set in modern day Japan, the story depicts the siblings’ mysterious quest and the complex secrets that get unearthed along the way.
As Himari’s health declines, the brothers descend into a labyrinth of riddles, symbols and clues pointing to the Penguin Drum. Strange penguins and characters guide their journey, which seems to transcend space and time itself. All the while, the anime explores deep psychological themes about fate, identity, and the lengths one will go to protect loved ones.
Mawaru Penguindrum sets itself apart with its avant-garde visuals, unconventional storytelling, and philosophical undertones. It is a Surreal, dramatic and mysterious series that stays with you long after watching. For those who enjoy complex anime that goes against the norm, Mawaru Penguindrum is a must-see.
5. Vinland Saga
Vinland Saga is an epic historical anime set during the Viking era. It centers around Thorfinn, a young warrior seeking revenge for his father’s murder at the hands of the band of mercenaries who also raised him. As Thorfinn joins their journeys across seas and battlefields, he grapples with the morality of vengeance and his own identity as a Viking.
The anime boasts stunning visuals that transport viewers right into the middle of gritty Viking battles and idyllic rural landscapes. Yet Vinland Saga also has emotional depth through Thorfinn’s internal struggles. His character development as he questions the meaning of war and confronts his personal trauma makes for a gripping coming-of-age tale.
Vinland Saga stands out for its historical authenticity, breathtaking animation, and thoughtful themes on violence, fatherhood, and redemption. Its epic scope combined with intimate character drama creates a uniquely immersive and poignant viewing experience. For fans of Vikings, medieval sagas, or impactful anime, Vinland Saga is a must-watch series.
4. Tokyo Magnitude 8.0
Based on a real scenario, Tokyo’s magnitude 8.0 earthquake was anticipated and prepared for. Tokyo magnitude 8.0, which aired in 2009, correctly foretold the future.
According to the narrative, the show’s writers used the significant scientific study to tell the tale of an exceptionally powerful earthquake that would rock Japan in 2012. In reality, the forecast was accurate when a 9.0 earthquake actually struck Japan in 2011. Isn’t that terrifying?
3. Kids on the Slope (2012)
Blending thoughtful character drama with an immersive historical setting, the 12-episode anime series Kids on the Slope offers a resonant coming-of-age story steeped in Japan’s jazz culture.
Directed by acclaimed director Shinichirō Watanabe and adapted from the manga by Yuki Kodama, the series is set in 1960s Japan and centers on the unlikely friendship between introverted piano prodigy Kaoru Nishimi and troubled jazz drummer Sentarō Kawabuchi.
Through the lens of their bonding over music, the story provides nostalgic slice-of-life social commentary while also accurately spotlighting the nation’s thriving jazz scene during that era. With its stylish retro visuals and toe-tapping soundtrack, Kids on the Slope beautifully captures the transformative power of friendship and music.
2. My Neighbour Totoro
My Neighbor Totoro’s main character has a mother who has tuberculosis, however, it is never addressed officially. The fact that the writer’s mother also had tuberculosis, is a reflection of Hayao Miyazaki’s real life.
The movie is somewhat autobiographical in this regard. In reality, the protagonist was gendered as a female by the author himself because he felt that a boy would have been too painfully reminiscent of his own youth. The entire film is an examination of death from the viewpoint of a youngster.
1. Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju
Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju is a masterful blend of history, culture, and storytelling. It offers a colorful glimpse into a unique performance art during 20th century Japan while also delivering an emotional character-driven drama.
Created by director Shinichi Omata, this anime first aired in 2016 and offers a fascinating glimpse into rakugo during Japan’s Showa period. It centers around Yotaro, an ex-convict who decides to become a rakugo apprentice under master Yakumo upon leaving prison.
As we follow Yotaro’s journey learning this complex performance art, the show also delves into Yakumo’s complicated relationship with his late friend Sukeroku, who was also a renowned rakugo performer back in the day. Their backstory adds plenty of dramatic flair.
With its stellar animation and voice acting, Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju makes the rakugo scenes truly shine. The performances are brought to life with humor, emotion, and visual flair. For those unfamiliar with rakugo, the series makes it easy to appreciate and become invested in this cultural tradition.
Beyond rakugo, the plot provides twists and turns as it unravels the bonds between characters over time. Yotaro’s determination to succeed and the revelations about Yakumo’s past will keep you engaged throughout the seasons.