‘Ni No Kuni’ takes you on a magical and unforgettable voyage in which two high school boys, Yuu and his friend Haru, travel to another world that is far more fantastical than theirs, but still shares some similarities with it. With the intention of saving the life of one of their friends, they embark on an adventure of a lifetime, but not everything is as simple as it seems.
‘Ni No Kuni’ is in no way a revolutionary anime, and a lot of times, it is also quite predictable. But what makes it so memorable is its beautifully illustrated world, its cute and charming characters and most of all, its simple yet wonderful storytelling. If like us, you fell in love with this classic RPG-flavored anime, you’re probably starting to look for other similar shows. So here’s a list of all the anime shows that are similar to ‘Ni No Kuni’. You can stream most of the anime mentioned below on Funimation, Crunchyroll or Hulu.
5. Hoshi wo Ou Kodomo (2011)
There’s a reason why director Makoto Shinkai is often labeled as the “The New Miyazaki“. His exceptional talent and breathtaking visual work, especially in his recent movies like ‘Your Name‘ and ‘Weathering with You‘, just prove his brilliance.
‘Children Who Chase Lost Voices’ is one of his lesser-known films. It revolves around a brave young girl named Asuna who loves exploring the forests near her house while listening to a radio that is powered by a strange crystal. During one of these adventurous endeavors, her radio starts playing some terrifyingly beautiful music and she ends up running into a young boy who is presumed dead. As soon as he leaves, she is compelled to meet him again and she embarks on a journey into the underworld to learn more about him. Along the way, she ends up learning a lot more than she had initially asked for.
Pretty much like ‘Ni No Kuni’, the main character of ‘Children Who Chase Lost Voices’ willingly walks into an unknown world that is full of mythical creatures, serene landscapes, and terrifying enemies. All of this is melds with some romance and a timeless story that is reminiscent of Studio’s Ghibli‘s work. ‘Children Who Chase Lost Voices’ is a must-watch if you loved ‘Ni No Kuni’. You can watch it here.
4. ERASED (2016-)
The world of anime is not new to the concept of time travel. Shows like ‘The Girl Who Leapt Through Time’, ‘Mirai Nikki‘ and of course, ‘Steins; Gate‘ are so popular because they’ve done wonders with their execution of time travel themes.
‘Erased‘ is another one of these shows that is about a young man who possesses the ability to involuntarily travel back in time. With this ability, every time he finds himself in a disturbing situation, he is able to travel back a few minutes in the past to undo all the damage that has been caused in his present.
This “revival” ability not only changes his life but also allows him to save the lives of many around him. However, when he’s framed for a murder one day, he finds himself traveling back to his 10-year-old self, right before the tragic death of one of his grade school classmates. He must now put all the pieces of his life together to understand how the death of the young girl is linked to the murder he gets framed for.
On the surface, ‘Erased’ does not really have much in common with ‘Ni No Kuni’. But both of these stories present themselves from the unique perspectives of children who try to redeem themselves in a new world. The two shows also reflect on the importance of pursuing meaningful relationships and living a life that is not full of regrets.
Read More: Movies Like Spirited Away
3. Hotarubi no Mori e (2011)
‘Into the Forest of Fireflies’ Light’ is more of a Shoujo anime as it emphasizes the romantic relationship between its two main characters. It is about a girl who, while meandering in the forest one day, meets a jin who wears a festive mask. The jin leads her out of the forest and two of them become friends after this.
Following this, every summer, the girl visits the forest just to get a glimpse of her friend. Although she is forbidden to ever touch him, she still looks forward to her time with him every single summer. But the jin lives a cursed life and as the girl keeps getting older, he remains the same. Will they ever get to be together?
Though it is directed a bit more towards the romance genre, the existential themes in ‘Into the Forest of Fireflies’ Light’ add a lot more depth to it and make it similar to ‘Ni No Kuni’ in a lot of ways. Combining Japanese folklore and a heartwarming tale of forbidden love, ‘Hotarubi no Mori e’ is an unusually symbolic anime that defies all the stiff clichès of the romance genre.
2. Natsume’s Book of Friends (2008)
Natsume is a young man who gets ostracised by all the other kids of his age because he refuses to fit in. His eyes allow him to see supernatural beings known as Yokai and he is constantly haunted by their presence. One day, he finally discovers the true purpose of this ability. He learns that his grandmother possessed the same ability and would use it to collect the names of the Yokai and subsequently control them. Realizing that his purpose is to now set all of these Yokai free, he embarks on an adventure of a lifetime.
Unlike most other shows on this list, ‘Natsume’s Book of Friends‘ is not an Isekai anime. However, its main theme, which revolves around forging meaningful relationships beyond the confinements of time and other boundaries, is very similar to that of ‘Ni No Kuni’. The beauty of this anime purely lies in its simplicity. If you’re looking for a heartwarming and relaxing anime that’ll stay with you long after you’re done watching it, this is the show you should go for. You can check it out here.
1. Spirited Away (2001)
The ‘Ni No Kuni’ anime is produced by OLM Studio (‘Pokemon‘, ‘Inazuma Eleven‘). However, since its original game has the footprints of Studio Ghibli all over it, this list would certainly be incomplete without the Studio’s best work. One of the most celebrated anime of the West, ‘Spirited Away’ is a fantastical adventure anime that is steeped in Japanese folklore and very well portrays Hayao Miyazaki’s artistic fortè as a director.
It presents an intriguing tale of a rite of passage for a young girl named Chihiro, who plunges into a dark adventure where she gets trapped in a world that is inhabited by spirits, witches, monsters and other ghastly fantastic creatures. As she faces new challenges while trying to get her family out of there, she ends up learning some valuable lessons about love and friendship.
Read More: Best Anime Like Erased