If you liked the Special A anime, the Anime-Planet community thinks you'd like:
Tohru Honda is a compassionate girl who is down on her luck. Her mother having recently died, she has been forced to camp out in the woods for shelter. However, things start to turn around once she is invited to live with class hunk Yuki Sohma and his family... but all is not as it seems! Yuki's family is burdened with a dark curse which causes them to turn into the animals of the Chinese zodiac once hugged by a member of the opposite sex... and Honda may be the only one who can help them.
Both, Special A and Fruits Basket, share a main character,Tohru in Fruits Basket and Hikari in Special A, who would do anything to make their friends or complete stranger feel better no matter the situation. Also both girls share the same innocent personality. The similarity between them makes it that watching both gives the same feeling to the viewer.
After I finished watching Special A, I went straight to watching Fruits Basket! Special A is really good! Really romantic! The guys are hot and the story line is awesome! I highly recommend you watch Special A!
The average Tsukushi Makino attends the snobby, elite Eitoku Academy, which is dominated by the Flower Four (F4) – the sons of the most powerful families. Like the rest of her classmates, Tsukushi keeps a low profile until one day she can stand it no more! For her obstinance, the F4 declare war and it's Tsukushi against all. In the middle of it all, she finds herself drawn strangely close to two of the F4; they might not be as bad as they seem. With her heart torn between two boys, will Tsukushi be able to find the love she desires?
Both Hana Yori Dango and Special A are high school romance animes aimed at girls & women. Both have heroines who are not quite aware or appriciative of the love they are being offered.
Special A is an abridged, more comedic representation of many overlapping themes present in Hana Yori Dango (reciprocating emotion, the rearing of Japan's super-elite, the social groups of private schools, etc). If you're a fan of one series, you'd probably enjoy checking out the other. Each does, however, have a little something different from the other that makes watching both worthwhile.
One key difference between these anime is the dynamic between the leads (the source of much of the humor in Special A is derived from this--this pretext also changes some of the other elements ; for example, in SA the lead female is a high-achieving student while in HYD she is average in her school, which is reflected in the character's reactions to their school environments as they change).
Hana Yori Dango goes much further with characterization (a luxury of it's greater length). HYD also fills out the backstories of orbiting characters a little more than SA--viewers are assumed to be able to fill in the blanks when presented with standard frameworks, such as the relationships between Ryuu, Jun and the girl who uses cards in SA while the underpinnings of the relationship between one of the F4 and an alumnus of the school are explored in detail in HYD.
Stylistically, Hana Yori Dango is much more realistic ; both reflect the current styles of their times very well. SA has theme elements, cutsie repeating themes, and sparkles ; the characters are long-legged and pointy-chinned. HYD's characters have more human-like bodies and their environments are overall more solid.
HYD deals with class issues much more directly (we see the effect of the corporate group wars on the lead female's family in HYD, while these are only implied through walk-on characters that matter to side-characters in SA), while SA almost completely avoids them (still managing to throw in a line here and there about "Miss #2's" being "poor").
Gender issues are also portrayed in both series, reflecting current attitudes at the times of their making, though to a lesser degree in SA (again, length and also the show's comedic character prevent much depth here, but it's still present).
HYD has a greater sense of consequence, while SA will leave you with the feeling that life after the series continues in much the same way that we saw it during the show. While there are many common themes and devices in each series, they are still quite different--the personalities of the lead characters are strikingly different in important ways and the nature of their relationships and interactions are also very different (partly as a result of the characters' personality differences and partly as a result of the show itself being either more dramatic or more comedic). They're similar enough to cross-recommend, but different enough to justify viewing both rather than just chosing one.
Ryuuji Takasu has an eventful life: his classmates think he's a delinquent due to his 'killer' eyes; his crush Minori seems ever out of reach; and he’s just had an unfortunate encounter with 'palm-sized Taiga' – a feisty and dainty wench in his class. With different cleaning habits and tempers, the two clash like night and day; that is, except for the fact that Taiga and Ryuuji have crushes on the other's good friend! With school rumors abounding, the duo must now work together to play matchmaker for each other. Who will end up with their true love?
Taiga from Toradora! and Hikari from Special A are both teenagers who don't let anything stand in the way of their dreams. In both of these shows, the girls run headlong in the pursuit fo their goals, but discover a new side to themselves along the way. Hikari is naive and Taiga is proud, but both girls have sweet, soft hearts underneath, just waiting to be discovered.
Toradora and Special A both share the same romantic comedy feeling in realistic school settings without being overly dramatic or rediculous. Both have very funny characters without trying to hard and you get a good sence of who the characters really are.
Kodaka is a delinquent. At least, that’s what his fellow classmates seem to think. Thanks to his naturally-blonde hair and an unfortunate series of misunderstandings, the boy can’t seem to shake his false reputation and hasn’t made a single friend. That is, until one day he overhears the normally-aloof Yozora enthusiastically chatting with an imaginary friend, and discovers that she’s just as lonely as he is! In an attempt to finally meet people the duo decides to form the “Neighbors Club”, and are soon joined by a number of other fellow misfits such as Sena, the busty, popular daughter of the school president who can’t seem to connect with others. Together, the gang learns about the joys of friendship through many misadventures such as playing RPGs, visiting the swimming pool or even hunting down delicious takoyaki!
Special A features a club of elite academic students, and Tomodachi features a club of students who don't have any friends. Both anime focus on the inter-relations between the club members, and the fun activities these members share together. Get to know the club members and share in their slice-of-life moments of comedy and light romance.
One day, Rahzel's father decides that she should go on a journey and see the world, so he does the only reasonable thing – he kicks her out of the house! However, Rahzel is an optimist and decides to find a traveling partner, and within minutes she stumbles upon the beautiful silver haired red-eyed Alzeid. Rahzel tells Alzeid that she will free him from his boring life and take him on a fun and wonderful adventure. Joined by a mysterious yet lecherous muscle head named Baroqueheat, the travelers head out without a destination in mind, seeking enjoyment and fulfillment, and encountering friends and enemies at every turn.
If you enjoyed watching Hatenkou Yuugi then you'd be pleased to watch Special A and vice-versa.Although in general, Special A and Hatenkou Yuugi are different due to the setting of place, occupation and reason of the anime plot, there are similarities between these two animes.
Now the first thing that gives the whole similaity point away is that THEY ARE BOTH OPTIMISTIC people. Very happy infact Rahzel from HY reminded me of Hikari from SA within 6 minutes into the first episode. Both girls tend to look on the bright side a little too much which causes companions of theirs to nut at them. They are both strong and excel in physical skills. There is a small age different between these two girls and you will also realise that Rahzel and Hikari look very much alike, with long black hair and the slim frame.
Special A generalizes in school life and the goal of beating the love interest in academic, physical and other abilities althugh always failing to do so, whereas Hatenkou Yuugi is based around a girl with a rough past, forced to see the world by her foster father and ending up with two companions whom although like oil and water, seem to be tied together in surprising harmony.
Special A is the choice for a lighter read whereas Hatenkou holds a serious and more negative story withing another story. Both animes are supported greatly by comedy and you will not be disappointed by one anime more than another if it comes to funny scenes. Although both animes are light in romance and not heavily into love, Special A provides you with more romance scenes between the heroine and her love interest than Hatenkou Yuugi which is more about getting to know other while encountering a journey that changes there lives.