Since long ago, the wolf goddess Holo has honored a contract to bless the rural village of Pasloe with fertile harvests; and in return she has been celebrated and worshipped by the villagers. But as mankind advances, the people have begun to take command of nature for themselves and have made their own god to worship. Holo finds that she is paid little more than lip service, if not outright mocked; and considering the contract annulled, she takes human form and enlists the aid of a passing merchant, Kraft Lawrence, to return to her home in the snowy forests to the north. As they journey together, Kraft finds that he has plenty to learn from this capricious god, and she from him as well.
Koyomi Araragi can't stop thinking about Tsubasa Hanekawa, the brilliant-yet-modest class representative who always follows the rules, but what the boy doesn't know is that beneath her facade, Tsubasa harbors an extraordinary amount of pent-up stress. Things change one day for the girl when she encounters a supernatural feline that allows her to break free from her normal self... causing immense chaos in the process! Luckily for Tsubasa, Koyomi will do anything to help a friend and he sets forth on a mission to return her to normal by any means necessary, leading to an unforgettable Golden Week.
These are quite different in setting and general tone, but they pair well together when you consider the protagonists. A fairly normal man/teenager boy paired with a supernatural female. The bulk of both shows are made up of dialogue where these pairings match wits. The content of the dialogues are much different, but it's the same style of using a lot of metaphors, along with witty, flirty banter. There's also a certain amount of sexual tension and a good deal of chemistry between each pairing.
The studious and uptight Chiaki is well-known as the top pianist of his school, and dreams of becoming a world-class conductor like his idol, Viera; but his fear of flying (which makes studying abroad impossible) combined with a recent break-up and dismissal from his piano instructor causes that future to seem both bleak and unlikely. After collapsing outside of his apartment, drunk, Chiaki inadvertently meets a young woman named Nodame who, while quite talented at the piano, is unclean, clumsy, and haphazard. Despite being almost polar opposites, the two begin to grow closer and work, together, to overcome the obstacles in their careers.
While on the surface S&W appears nothing like Nodame Cantabile, both series deal with the tension between pursuing your dreams and being with people you care for.
Nodame Cantabile also shares S&W's laid back tone, adult sensibilities, and beautiful imagery. In the end, if you liked one story about a driven man falling in love with a quirky woman you'll probably like the other.
Have a problem? Talk to Otogi Bank, a student aid group that helps people get what they need – for a hefty price. Led by Liszt Kiriki and staffed by tsundere Ryouko, inventor Majolica, jealous Otohime, flirtatious Tarou, serious Alice, nervous Ryoushi and maid Otsuu, Otogi Bank assists with everything from helping break into a rival school to convincing an upperclassman to not quit a sports team. Can Otogi Bank manage to make all their clients happy, and most importantly, will Ryoushi ever manage to win Ryouko’s heart?
On the eve of nobleman Oz Bezarius's fifteenth birthday, he and his loved ones gather to celebrate in a coming-of-age ceremony. But after Oz steps under a long-stopped clock and the hands finally move once more - thus fulfilling a mysterious prophecy - he is violently thrown into the legendary prison known as the Abyss by three cloaked intruders. Existing in another dimension, the Abyss is home to lifeforms born within its walls known as Chains; these beings can only live in the real world if they make contracts with humans, binding their power to the person's body. However, there's a catch - in time, the human will be overcome by the Chain's power and then thrown into the deepest level of the Abyss. When Oz wakes up in the Abyss he is quickly attacked by hungry Chains, only to be saved by one named Alice - a Chain who appeared just before he was thrown into the prison. Together, the two make a contract and return to the real world, where they are enlisted into the Pandora organization - a group researching both the Abyss and the trio that threw Oz into it. Along with members of Pandora, the duo searches to find Alice's lost memory fragments that are scattered throughout the world, to discover the secrets of the Abyss, and to determine if there's a way their contract can be broken without killing either Oz or Alice.
I’m aware this may be an odd recommendation, but just hear me out. Though these shows have little to nothing in common plot-wise, plot isn’t the only thing that can make two shows similar. In this case, the two lead characters in both shows are what I am basing this recommendation on. Horo (S&W) and Alice (Pandora Hearts) are two female leads with playful personalities and seemingly bottomless appetites. Their relationships with the male lead in their respective shows are also reminiscent of each other. Also the way they use their particular strengths to protect the other and vice versa along with their loyalty to each other. If you liked the dynamic between the two leads in one of these shows- give the other show a try.
In the year 2075, humanity has spread to the stars, along with their technology, colonies, and... waste? At such great speeds in orbit, even a tiny bolt can cause a tragic disaster. Enter the team of the half division. Their job? To gather the garbage and debris that circles the Earth, in order to keep space safe. From broken-down satellites to bolts and nails, there's nothing that the underpaid and underappreciated staff can't salvage. Join Hachimaki, Tanabe, Fee, and the rest of the gang as they risk their lives to keep space clean, and keep their wallets... empty.
Spice and Wolf and Planetes are both anime that I would highly recommend. Whilst Spice and Wolf does play a bit more to the stereotypical 'fan service' element of anime, in most other respects both series' run with the same themes and ideals.
Spice and Wolf involves a travelling merchant and his unexpected companion Holo and accounts their tales as they travel from city to city trying to make as much profit as possible.
Planetes is about a group of astronauts that clear debris from Earth's atmosphere to make way for mankind's development.
Both series are very driven by the feelings and lives of the individual characters, rather than a massive 'you must save the world' plot. In both fighting is infrequent and only occurs to highlight a specific plot point. If you want fast pace action and super-duper laser/missile/magic battles you'll find both rather lacking!
However, this is what I think gives both anime their charm. You get much more invested in the characters because whilst the events that occur may not be Earth shattering, they most definetely will change the livelyhoods of the characters you grow to know and love.
Since I personally love Fantasy and Sci Fi, I consider Planetes to be the Sci Fi Spice and Wolf (Spice and Wolf the Fantasy Planetes).
Regardless, if you want an anime with complex, deep characters and a story that will keep you wanting more, check these out.