In the world of Daikuuriku, all children are born female; but once they become a young adult, they may choose which sex they will become. In this world which is at war with itself, the women of Simalacrum find themselves charged with the task of piloting the ancient machines known as Simoun in hopes of turning the tide of war. Though originally simple ceremonial machines, the most gifted of pilots can turn the glowing "ri maajon" of their rituals onto their enemies and obliterate them from the skies using these Simoun. However, it takes a special bond between two highly gifted girls to successfully pilot a Simoun. With the toll of blood and pain that these previously innocent girls are taking, how many will be able to carry on, even knowing that they are the only real thing standing between freedom and subjugation of their land?
On Astraea Hill stand 3 prestigious female-only academies known as St. Miatre, Spica, and LeRim; and though the schools are separate, they share a single campus and dormitory. Nagisa Aoi is a 10th grader who has decided to transfer to St. Miatre's Girls' Academy. Though her transition has been smooth so far, while exploring the campus Aoi inadvertently falls down a hill, sees the beautiful Shimuza, and promptly (not to mention embarrassingly) faints. Nagisa continues to see Shimuza out and about, but soon discovers that she is the "Etoile" -- a well respected girl within all of the schools. With Shizuma taking a liking to the new transfer student Nagisa, secrets of Shizuma's past will unravel over the coming school year.
Simoun and Strawberry Panic are both about a young, enthusiastic, outgoing newcomer entering a world that she doesn't entirely understand but wants to be apart of nonetheless. They are surrounded by numerous other girls where they establish many close, life long relationships. Also, the group of girls in both series has a leader of sorts, a well renowned and highly respected person of great skill and incredible abilities. The leader appears cold and distant, marred by a great tragedy in her past that has left her damaged. Over time and though a series of fateful events she warms up to the newcomer and their relationship blossoms.
Though the two are incredibly different in setting, Simoun and Strawberry Panic ultimately have the same plot fundamentals while not being boringly similar. If you like one then you will most assuredly enjoy the other.
Here's an other REC for the shoujo-ai fans out there. Those two shows are conceptually pretty different (Simoun is a Fantasy-Sci Fi show, while Strawberry Panic is more of a School-Life Comedy/Drama), but the characters and the relationships that bind them together are similar in a lot of ways. First, both series feature an all-female cast (we could argue over Simoun being all-female or no, but that's purely technical). Secondly, both series deal with a group of girls and the different kinds of love that they feel for each others. Jealousy, unrequited love, deep love, you'll find all these themes in both series.
So if you happen to have a thing for shoujo-ai, or simply liked one of those two shows, I'm pretty sure you'll like the other one too!
Karada is an elementary school student who acts mature for her age, and asks that people treat her like an adult. While praying at a wishing stone (negai ishi), she meets an older girl named Shouko. Shouko had moved to this small town to start a new life, but the same day she meets Karada, she encounters her brother, Hiro. Tension builds as Shouko and Hiro reflect on their past relationship while sending Karada home alone, and by the end of the day, both Shouko and Karada end up at the wishing stone hoping for change. Karada wishes to become an adult, while Shouko wishes for things to go back as they were in the past. That night under the bright moon, the wishing stone grants their wish, and an unbelievable transformation occurs: Shouko becomes a child and Karada becomes an adult. Now the two girls must struggle with their new bodies while finding a way to return back to what they once were.
Taken at face value, these two series have nothing in common except for female main characters. However, if you can appreciate the philosophical issues raised as Simoun progresses, it is likely you will enjoy the only slightly less strenuous look into relationships that drives Asatte no Houkou. They share a sort of insightful atmosphere that presents many different views of the same situation. Another shared point is the learning progression that finally leads the main characters to see more clearly into their own desires and behaviors. If you find this sort of triumph satisfying then, Asatte no Houkou is also for you.
It is the early 1920s, and New York City has a problem of evil proportions – demons. With devil worshipping on the rise, foul spirits and monsters have begun to surface, causing fear and panic in their wake. Combating this threat is the Magdalene Order – a group of religious officials charged with exorcising the evil that is spreading throughout the city. Rosette Christopher is a young nun who takes on missions alongside her contracted partner – a young demon named Chrono. Now it is up to this unlikely pair to wield God’s power – and plenty of holy bullets – to destroy the menace in front of them and confront the demons of their past.
Both animes focus on a very strong symbiotic relationship between the two main protagonists. They also have the building background of pressure to make a decision and a limited amount of time. Further, for me, the wild female protagonists in both animes seem to have similar strong willed characteristics. Both strive to accomplish ridiculously impossible, yet meaningful things, even if it means dragging their respective co-stars out a daunting slump and giving everyone around them a whole new way to see things. The idea might be a little over-done, but both of these animes accomplish it with a captivating flair that keeps me watching. I like to see that.
In times of olde, humans live in constant fear of demons known as yoma. These vicious creatures can take the appearance and memories of humans they have devoured, thus blending into society as they freely feast on human flesh. The key to stopping the yoma lies with the tolerated yet feared Claymores - women who are half-demon, half-human, and fully fated to become the demons that they hunt. Meanwhile, in a village, the young Raki has been banished; his only crime was losing his family to the yoma. Raki is drawn to a Claymore named Clare, and together their journey begins. While Clare fights the yoma plaguing the land, can Raki help her in her struggle to retain her humanity?
Yes, both animes feature a certain battle specialty that only girls of a particular kind can participate in, but that is not the reason that I write this recommendation. The truth is that I enjoyed both of these very much because they both treat one particular theme with great care: the theme of forbidden power. In both animes, the characters struggle to balance the desire for more destructive power with their own humanity, and in both animes, this struggle takes a different unpredictable turn. It is this level of sophistication with old tired themes that I find most refreshing. If you agree, I highly suggest that you look to one if you enjoyed the other.
As scientists explore a new form of energy on the moon, an experiment gone awry brings the lead scientist's life crashing to a halt. In a freak accident, his daughter Kurau is engulfed in the energy and becomes the mysterious entity known as Rynax; a pairing that endows her with new superhuman abilities and a new personality. Years later, Kurau is using her unique powers to make a living as a bounty hunter, but the corporation has not given up on this new form of energy and will stop at nothing to find her. Now, Kurau must protect not only herself, but her Rynax "pair" named Christmas, a soul mate more precious to her than life itself. Can Kurau and Christmas find peace for themselves and the Rynax?
Kurau Phantom Memory is set in a futuristic version of this world, and Simoun is set in a rather more fantastic world of its own. Surface deep, both are visual and aural exceptions to the norm. They both boast exceptional use of both traditional animation and computer graphics layered over velvety sumptuous soundtracks. However the two series really find their stride in a deeper exploration of the meaning of self in relation to others, especially one's soul mate. These two very different approaches to an ages old philosophical conundrum are answered in subtly different ways, and yet both are certain to leave your heart warmed right around the cockle region.