If you liked the Barefoot Gen anime, the Anime-Planet community thinks you'd like:
In the war against neighboring countries, the Grand Duke’s warriors use dragon-like beasts called Touda as weapons. Touda are admired across the nation and villages take great pride in breeding them. Erin lives in one such village with her mother, Soyon, who is the best beastinarian in the country. However, life in the village is not so straightforward: Soyon is also an Ariyo, a woman of the Mist People - a race that is feared by humans for its mystical abilities. So that she and Erin can stay in the village, Soyon must flawlessly fulfill her duty capturing and disciplining the Touda; but while Erin wants nothing more than to become a beastinarian, she also feels sorry for the Touda and recognizes that there’s far more to them than meets the eye. Can Erin ever become an ordinary beastinarian when her deepest instincts tell her there is a better way to interact with the Touda?
I know it seems odd giving a recomendation with 2 completly different genre but I think it works. the character development in barefoot gen has you loving the characters and hoping that things work out they are simple people with hopes and dreams only to have things shatter and then rebuilt time and time again, Erin has many hardships in her road through life and emotional ups and downs in the show as did barefoot gen. So if you want a anime that give you somthing to feel somthing from hardship and success here they are Sang froid at its finest.
The One Year War is winding down and the principality of Zeon is desperate to keep the Earth Alliance Federation from completing its new Gundam NT-1. In order to keep it from being destroyed before completion, the Federation has moved this valuable asset to the Libot colony on Space Colony Side 6. Ai, son of one of the Gundam's designers, is a young boy who lives in this colony; he quickly becomes entangled in both the future of the colony, and the war against Zeon.
These two animes are more alike than meets the eye. They both tell the story of war through the eyes of a child and how it effects them, though their reactions and circumstances are different. Eventually, they are more directly involved in the conflict to a point that will forever affect their lives.
Amidst a beautiful sunset, Shu is violently whisked away to a grim future devoid of water, and empty of hope; a place where children are forced to become soldiers, and kill countless others in the name of King Hamdo. Shu's companion is a mysterious girl named La La Ru, who may hold the key to survival. Now, he must concentrate on the only things that matter: escaping Hellywood, and finding a way home.
This might seem like an odd recommendation, but both main characters are the type that refuse to give in, even when in the most horrific and soul-crushing situations. If you liked the tragedy and strong will in either NTHT or Barefoot Gen, I think you'd like the other.
One day, Tomoko Sato travels by herself to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum for a class assignment, eager to complete her task. However, after learning the horrifying details of what took place many years ago, Tomoko leaves, finding herself in front of a beautiful statue that turns into a little girl! Named Sadako, the youth quickly becomes best friends with Tomoko, and shares her tragic story...
Though Barefoot Gen takes place long ago and Tomoko's Adventure is more of a present-day look at the tragedy, both tales revolve around the famous WW2 bombings and how they affected the normal townspeople.
Kyoko is a cheerful girl who is growing up in war-time Tokyo. She has four elder brothers, doesn’t like music lessons, is frightened of her grandmother and is excited that a baby is on the way. When she grows up, Kyoko says, she wants to be a war nurse so she can tend to her uncle in the armed forces. As a child she’s a little prone to crying, but tries to be more mature when her younger brother is born. However, Kyoko’s typical childhood changes when the Americans begin to bomb Japan. Kyoko is sent into the countryside to live with her aunt, and soon she will have to face the reality of war.
Both anime take a tragic look at WW2 from the eyes of the people, mostly children, that were affected by it personally. Even though faced with plently of dispare, hope is never tossed aside. If you liked one check out the other.