[Top 10] Anime Based on True Stories

Anime Based on True Stories
Based on an anime that was based on a manga that was based on a documentary that was also based on an anime.

10. Steins; Gate

A group of “mad scientists” attempt to change the timeline by sending text messages to the past. Of course, if you’ve watched Back to the Future and The Time Machine, something always goes wrong. Believe it or not, this anime was inspired by the story of a [pretend] time-traveler who stirred up forums in the year 2000. He claimed he was from 2036, and tried to warn people about the upcoming disasters he claims to have experienced. Basically, he was just trying to stir up some sh*t during the time of the growing internet. Although, I’m guessing stuff like this already happens today. And unlike 2000, there are MORE gullible idiots on this Earth today. 

What’s Great about Steins; Gate:

  • Fantasy
  • Adventure
  • Asshole characters you can’t help but love 

9. Mawaru Penguindrum

When their sister is ill with a terminal disease, her two loving brothers will stop at nothing to heal her. There’s an item called the Penguindrum that is said to save lives. At first when I read the title and looked up the images, I thought it was based on a kawaii business that involved penguins (like Tuxedo Sam from the Sanrio franchise). But no, believe it or not, this anime takes the events of the 1995 Tokyo terrorist subway gassing. This series not only “cutie-fied” it, but the event is seen from the perspective of kids and how it affected them. And it’s full of cute penguins. This is some Happy Tree Friends sh*t! 

What’s Great about Penguindrum:

  • Cute character design
  • Family love
  • Penguins 

8. Grave of the Fireflies 

Two young siblings must survive the aftermath of World War II. After their mother dies in a bombing, overprotective Seita cares for his little sister Setsuko. However, it becomes much harder when there is less food and the world is still harsh from the recent war. This was inspired by an autobiography of Akiyuki Nosaka, who based the main characters on himself, his adoptive father, and especially his sister (who died of malnutrition during the second war). This film is just one big tearjerker. Don’t watch it unless you want to stay up at night traumatized by an anime based on a war you only know from history class. You know what really hurts about this movie? That it takes after the book, which Nosaka wrote as an APOLOGY to his sister for not being a better brother. Jesus f*cking christ...  

What’s Great about Grave of the Fireflies:

  • Beautiful animation
  • Historical references 
  • Sibling love 

7. My Neighbor Totoro 

Two sisters move to the countryside with their father, due to their mother’s illness. As their mom resides in the nearby hospital, the girls are desperate to see she feels better. As if fate was answering their please, along comes three unusual creatures. One of them is a gigantic, bunny-or-cat beast that takes the girls on an adventure they’ll never forget. As if Studio Ghibli films don’t already start waterworks, this one really hits hard. According to the creator, Hayao Miyazaki, this movie takes his own childhood trauma. He based it on him and his brothers watching their mother suffer from tuberculosis (which the mother in the film is hinted to also have). Reason being that the main characters are girls is because it was way too painful to make them boys. Poor guy…

What’s Great about Totoro:

  • Adorable creatures
  • Hurt/comfort
  • The bus scene 

6. Tetsuko no Tabi 

Hirohiko Yokomi was always fascinated with trains and the trains stations he visited. He believed they were cool adventures worth being bragged about. He  actually had a manga artist accompany him to draw these experiences. And thus he turned his entire hobby/passion into this anime. Makes me wonder what would have happened if he was a guy who enjoyed loli-porn. Oh, wait, those people already exist.

What’s Great about Tetsuko no Tabi:

  • Adventure
  • Character design
  • TRAINS! 

5. Zipang 

A Japanese warship somehow travels back in time and discovers they are in the middle of World War II naval battle between Japan and the US. How the hell are they going to get out of this? And why the hell were they put in this timeline? One of the many stories (or urban legend if you want to be Michale Jackson about it), is how one of Japan’s ships somehow made an appearance during a similar naval battle. There was no explanation, and no evidence that this was something completely supernatural. They just called it coincidence. Of course, the story has been narrated many times, which resulted in this anime. 

What’s Great about Zipang:

  • Beautiful animation
  • Historical references
  • Makes you question what is “just a story” and what is actually accurate 

4. Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 

Three siblings are caught in one of the worst disasters to rock Japan. In the aftermath of it all, they struggle to survive the devastations it left behind. This is more of a prediction that actually came true, which makes it a true story. The creators of the anime based it on their scientific research. They predicted that an 8.0 earthquake would occur in Japan in 2012. They weren’t TOO far off. The actual earthquake happened in 2011, and it was a 9.0. *shivers*

What’s Great about Tokyo Magnitude 8.0

  • Family
  • Hurt/comfort
  • The fact this anime practically predicted a real life event! 

3. The Wind Rises 

The entire film revolves around the life of real-person Jiro Horikoshi, who was a jet developer in 1937. The anime depicts him as a pacifist lover of art who puts his heart and soul into designing fighter jets. Much like real life Horikoshi, he despised World War II and how his creations were being used. Much like Grave of the Fireflies, this is another Studio Ghibli film that will absolutely wreck you. I’d rather just stick to my precious Kiki’s Delivery Service than watch another anime-inspired war film. 

What’s Great about Wind Rises:

  • Historical references
  • Tease of romance
  • Howl’s Moving Castle vibes 

2. Welcome to the N.H.K. 

Introvert. Otaku. And even the more controversial slang “weeaboo”. All those words can best be described in this anime that is based on the life of the creator himself. No, not based. He still lives the anime to this day. Tatsuhiko Takimoto’s character is Tatsuhiro Satou, who dropped out of college and became a recluse (much like the creator himself). It deals with depression, isolation, drawbacks, and difficulty with relationships. I’m an extrovert-introvert myself. There are times I would prefer just being at home than being out socializing. But never do I want to reduce myself to this man’s level. 

What’s Great about N.H.K.:

  • Gives you a reason to leave the house 

1. Bakuman  

Remember the popular emo-phase anime called Death Note? Well, two people who worked on it actually documented their experience. And in the midst of making one of the most popular anime to grace both Japan and the US, they created Bakuman. In simpler terms, Bakuman features these two as anime characters who struggle to come up with the best manga ever (which was actually Death Note). The struggles of being a manga artist are real. And these guys hold back nothing about what they, their creative team, and anyone doing art/animation have to go through. 

What’s Great About Bakuman:

  • The inspiration behind Death Note
  • Advice to all who are getting into drawing and animation (this sh*t is really hard) 
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