The first anime movie that made me cry was Hotarubi no Mori e (Into the Forest of Fireflies’ Light.)This is like, the perfect movie to watch in any situation; With friends or alone, when there is something else to see and when there is nothing else to see. It is kitschy but does not get carried away with clichés and answers more or less all the questions. Hotarubi no Mori e is not a fantasy story, even though enchanted forest demons appear in it. It draws on the development of friendships between Gin and Hutaro, which begins as something cute and over the years becomes a true friendship. So if you are looking for Anime Like Hotarubi no Mori e! You’re in luck, because we have a list of 40 similar fantasy romance titles! Let’s get into them!
1. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006)
Time is an uncontrollable aspect of nature that seems to drive people into something we call the future, but what will happen if a person gains the ability to control the very flow of time? Things will go really crazy, I guess. Makoto Konno is a 17- years old high school girl struggling with the choices that will shape her near future. She comes off as a cheerful girl who likes to go on with the flow of time, but her teachers and parents force her to decide on a career or regret it later.
Unable to decide, Makoto indulges herself in baseball with her friends. Amidst all this, She gains the power to leap through time. At first, Makoto takes it lightly and plays with this newfound power here and there, only to learn about the consequences the hard way. Toki Wo Kakeru Shoujo portrays youth and their lives in a manner like Hotarubi no Mori e. The elements like romance and drama are found abundantly in these anime.
2. 5 Centimeters Per Second (2007)
One of the magnificent anime movies created by none other than Makoto Shinkai himself. It follows the story of two teenagers who are helplessly in love with each other, but they are unable to meet each other due to long distances.
Takaki Toono is a young guy with a kind and dedicated personality. He couldn’t stay in one place for an extended period due to his father’s job. In elementary school, Takaki befriends Akari Shinohara, a cute girl who turns out to be his class fellow. Gradually, they fell in love with each other, but Akari moved to another prefecture due to her parents’ job. Despite the distance, they continue to exchange letters. With lingering feelings, Takaki and Akari decide to meet for better or worse one last time.
Like Hotarubi no Mori e, Byousoku 5 Centimeter also features forbidden love between two people who are torn apart by the relentless flow of time.
3. Kamisama Kiss (2015)
Kamisama Hajimemashita is a fantasy romance anime that features the development of a relationship between an ordinary girl and a demon.
Nanami Momozono is a kind and brave girl studying at an average high school. Her life seems to drift towards chaos as her father is under great debt. Eventually, Nanami loses her home and begins to wander for a place to stay. Through a series of events, a man named Mikage offers her a place to stay that turns out to be an abandoned shrine. Moreover, Nanami is tasked with taking care of this shrine as a goddess. She meets Tomoe, a rude yet powerful familiar. Somehow, she seals a contract with him, and now they must work together to survive.
Kamisama Kiss features a romantic relationship between a human and a demon which is similar to the concept of Hotarubi no Mori e, where a girl falls in love with a spirit.
4. Natsume’s Book of Friends (2008)
It is a supernatural, slice of life anime that follows the story of a boy who receives several enslaved hostile spirits under himself and his struggle to free them as he wants to live a peaceful life.
Takashi Natsume is your average high school student who likes to socialize with other people, but his strange inherited abilities prove to be an obstacle in leading an everyday life. He has a mysterious supernatural power that enables him to see spirits. Moreover, Takashi discovers that he has some enslaved spirits and a book called Book of Friends under his control that his grandmother passed on to him. However, the spirits are hostile; thus, Takashi wants to free them for better or worse. However, dealing with spirits might be more complicated than he ever imagined.
Natsume Yuujinchou offers a bumpy ride of the supernatural genre and interaction of humans with the spirits just like Hotarubi no Mori e.
5. Mushishi: The Next Chapter – Drops of Bells (2015)
The anime masterpiece series from 2005 returned to our lives surprisingly in 2015. It tells the story of the Mushi, they are mystic creatures of nature that are everywhere around us in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors. Not everyone is able to see them, but the Mushi may develop strange side effects in people. Ginkgo is a master Mushi who roams around 17th or 18th century Japan (no one knows), researching different varieties of Mushi and helping people who get into trouble because of them.
Mushishi Zoku Shou is special: Each episode has a new charm, and the atmosphere is solely unique. The special animation of Artland Studio manages to make dark forests look like an attractive destination and the calm music of the series is an experience in itself. Both Hotarubi no Mori e and Mushishi are touching animes that will grab your heart.
It is certainly possible to jump into the second season without watching the first, but there is no reason you won’t watch both seasons; There’s a full season of Mushishi (and a quality special movie), so take your time and watch the series from the beginning. For those of you who have already seen it and remember nothing, Zoku Shou refreshes the memory even before the first episode ends.
6. Wolf Children (2012)
Wolf Children is a fantasy, slice of life anime film that follows the story of a woman who gets married to a wolf and ends up taking care of her wolf children alone after her husband’s tragic death.
Hana is a young college student who is living alone in a small apartment while working part-time to support herself. She meets Ookami, a mysterious guy with an unknown past. Gradually, the two become friends and begin to hang out to the point they fall in love. Ookami reveals his true wolf form to her, but Hana doesn’t seem to mind, and they get married. Later, Hana gives birth to a girl and then a boy. After the birth of their son, Ookami dies out of the blue, leaving her alone. Despite this tragedy, Hana swears to take care of her children till her last breath.
Wolf Children is a warm and soothing story of a mother who raises her children despite the unusual problems.
7. Kyousou Giga (2013)
Kyousou Giga is an action fantasy anime that features a paper world created by a legendary monk and the lives of people stuck inside it.
Myoue was a monk skilled in drawing things on paper. He has the mysterious ability to bring the painted stuff to life. Through a series of events, he ends up traveling to a paper world with his wife and children to escape the wrath of locals. Later, Myoue and his wife Koto disappeared out of the blue, leaving his younger child Yakushimaru in charge of this world. Moreover, a teenage girl with the same name Koto comes down from the sky in search of the legendary monk and his wife. With this situation in place, Yakushimaru must work together with this girl to solve the mysteries behind his parents’ disappearance.
Kyousou Giga has the same supernatural energy that we witnessed in Hotarubi no Mori e. The characters are lovable yet straightforward in both anime.
8. Patema Inverted (2013)
Patema Inverted is an adventure, sci-fi anime film that follows the story of two teenagers from different worlds and lineage and the change in the world brought by their seemingly trivial encounter.
Patema is a cute young girl living in the underground world where people survive on low-quality food and worn-out technology. Despite being a member of the Royal Family, Patema likes to wander around the awe-inspiring tunnels in their world. One day, She falls into the forbidden zone that takes her to the surface world, and because of inverted gravity, Patema continues to fall towards the sky until a guy named Eiji saves her. Eventually, they become friends, and Eiji begins to help her despite belonging to the surface world. Together, they continue to learn about each other’s worlds while trying to live together.
Sakasama no Patema is a story of how two individuals from different worlds fall in love with each other and decide to fight the system that refrains them from coexisting.
9. Spirited Away (2003)
Spirited Away is one of the most popular anime films of all time. It follows the story of a little girl as she unintentionally ventures into the spirit world full of mythical creatures and her struggle to return back home.
Chihiro Ogino is a 10-years old girl with a stubborn personality because of her spoiled upbringing. She doesn’t get along with anyone quickly and tends to think of the worst things about everything. On her trip to a new home, Chihiro’s father discovers an abandoned amusement park and begins to wander there while enjoying the food that tragically turns them into pigs. Soon, Chihiro learns that they have trespassed into the realm of spirits. She must take her next step with caution, as a single mistake can lead to a horrific outcome.
Spirited Away depicts similar elements of the spirit world in a broader sense and how spirits and humans can coexist.
10. My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
My Neighbor Totoro is one of the legendary anime movies created by the renowned Ghibli Studio. It follows the story of two young girls as they meet various spirits in a forest near their rural home and the fun adventures with these spirits.
Tatsuo Kusakabe is a profound university teacher and proud father of two cute daughters, Mei and Satsuki. Through a series of events, Tatsuo moves to the countryside so that his daughters can spend more time with their mother, who is suffering from a long-term disease. After moving in, Mei and Satsuki begin to enjoy the soothing environment and adventures their new rural life offers. One day, Mei wanders into the forest and meets Totoro, a giant rabbit-like creature who is one of the three Gods of this forest. Eventually, Mei and Satsuki became friends with Totoro and began to enjoy magic adventures and so much more.
My Neighbor Totoro features a spirit world existing in a seemingly ordinary forest and its impact on the life of the young girls.
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