“In a sense, they are like mirrors. Neither machines nor dolls. Reflecting the love they receive from their owners, they grow up.” This is a Hybrid Child. The story is set during the Meiji era, following a devastating war. The upper-class has taken an interest in these humanoid dolls that are usually in a servant’s role while fulfilling some emotional need of their master’s as well. Each Hybrid Child learns and grows differently, responding to the different forms of love their master presents them. While they can learn human emotions and behaviors, one thing that separates them from humans is their shorter lifespan.
Hybrid Child is a fanciful story characterized by complicated relationships and the subtle growth that arises from suffering. It explores not only love between a human and an android but how love shapes those around us; how it drives us. This OVA is a collection of several BL stories, but don’t get excited, BL lovers! This OVA is rife with pain, and if you only want to watch for some boy on boy action you will be disappointed. Now, if you’re a fan of romance that pulls at your heartstrings without the ‘but we’re both guys!’ trope shoved down your throat, this is for you! It is a short series, so if you haven’t had your fill of robotic or nonhuman love, or just love in the wrong place at the wrong time, here are 6 anime like Hybrid Child!
Similar Anime to Hybrid Child
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: April 2002 – Sept. 2002
Hideki is a down-on-his-luck student just hoping to make ends meet and get into a good college. When he finds a persocom, an expensive, humanoid computer, he thinks things are finally looking up for him; until he realizes she has no operating system and is of very little use! However, he can't get rid of her and takes it upon himself to teach her about life even as he struggles to provide for himself. Named after the only sound she could make when they first met, Chii grows closer and closer to Hideki, and is able to learn basic skills and language. While they struggle over simple things every day, Chii may have far more abilities and powers than either one of them realizes.
Chobits features a similar world to Hybrid Child, with computer/robot comrades assisting their masters in every-day life, with Chobits taking place in a more modern setting. No one expects the persocoms to be capable of love, though, and thus are treated more like helpful robots than as lovers or beloved children. While the pace of Chobits is much slower than Hybrid Child, mostly due to Chobits having 26 episodes to use for the plot, the Hybrid Children and Persocoms both show stages of memorizing and understanding, and coming to grasp with emotions they did not previously have the capacity to feel. We don’t want to give too much away, but they both share a story of irrevocable loss that is only made known towards the end that seems to cast a touch of sadness over the whole show.
2. Fuyu no Semi (Winter Cicada)
- Episodes: 3
- Aired: Feb. 2007 – April 2007
In the Meiji Era, two distinct groups with conflicting ideologies fight to spread their ideals. The Choushuu believe in closing Japan to foreign influence and trade in order to preserve its culture, while the Bakufu wishes to open Japan and embrace Western technology and customs so it can be on level footing with the rest of the world's powers. Kusaka of the Choushuu clan and Akizuki of the Bafuku have always wanted peace for Japan, and know their pride is not more important than the good of the people. They bond over their shared respect and understanding and eventually fall in love. Alas… peace cannot be kept between such volatile factions forever. Refusing to shirk their duties to indulge in their love, the two must face each other in battle.
Fuyu no Semi and Hybrid Child take place at around the same time, so a lot of the settings and clothing are similar. The battle is definitely more focused on in Fuyu no Semi, but it still plays an important role in shaping the stories in Hybrid Child. These shows also demonstrate new technology propelling unwilling people into a more futurist existence despite wishing to cling to older customs and dogma. Fuyu no Semi focuses on one relationship, but it is a spin-off of the series Haru wo Daiteita, as the two main characters from Haru wo Daiteita are in one of the dramas. Like Hybrid Child, it shows a complicated love hindered by war and obligation and is a similarly short OVA. The cruel passage of time tearing away lovers is also a shared theme. If your heart can take another beating after Hybrid Child, you can at least enjoy the very graphic sex scenes in this series!
- Episodes: 1
- Aired: Aug. 2010
“What is love?” Asked one robot of the other. Under the guidance of scientist Masa-san, robots Haru and Natsu struggle to understand human emotions. Haru seems eager to comprehend ‘love’ while Natsu seems resigned to never compute its true meaning. As they go along, they start exhibiting weird behaviors neither one of them really understands. Natsu begins secluding himself more, while Haru finds himself consumed with negative emotions he doesn’t understand the cause of.
Robotica*Robotics, at least in Haru’s case, shows a more stereotypical idea of how a robot acts and talks. His voice is more computer-like, and he shows hesitation when asked questions about morality as if he is trying to compute what is right. Natsu on the other hand speaks with the inflections of a human and doesn’t seem stumped by such questions, though his speech is rather cold. Both feature robots or humanoid machines learning and experiencing emotions in halted and disjointed ways. You can see their struggling to come to terms with feelings they can't process and the question and influence of love are very prominent. While the male romance is between two robots in Robotica*Robotics, it still features the love of a human for a robot, though as a father figure.
Any Anime Like Hybrid Child ?
4. Kono Danshi, Ningyo Hiroimashita (This Boy Caught a Merman)
- Episodes: 1
- Aired: Nov. 2012
Shima has always been a good kid. Even when his parents got divorced, he continued to excel at school and mask his pain so his grandfather would have nothing to worry about. After his grandfather passes, Shima goes to the ocean to contemplate his lonely life. When he accidentally falls in, a merman saves him from drowning and asks Shima if he’d like for him to stay. Shima names his new friend Isaki and endures new burdens because of it. Before he knows it, Shima finds he’s experiencing new emotions too. As the two become closer, the impossibility of their situation becomes more apparent. However, they’ll find there’s more they can do for each other than either of them thought.
Both Seya from Hybrid Child and Shima from Kono Danshi show the effect on oneself and others when suppressing and hiding your feelings from those who love you. Both stories share themes of isolation and loss, as well as love changing people for the better. While not a robot, the two shows share a similar difficulty in finding love between a human and nonhuman, with love triumphing after all. The artwork in Kono Danshi is gorgeous and lends to the magical feel of the story. If you liked the self-exploration of Hybrid Child, this is a must-see!
Kono Danshi, Ningyo Hiroimashita trailer
- Episodes: 1 (movie)
- Aired: June 2013
Q01 is a robot who is charged with the task of ‘becoming' the dead boyfriend of Kurumi, who, after losing him in an airplane crash, has fallen into a severe depression. Kurumi rejects the robot version of Hal at first but as Q01 becomes more immersed in his role, Kurumi finds herself enjoying the things she used to and opens up about her relationship with the real Hal. Robot Hal finds that he’s starting to have feelings for Kurumi beyond those fitting of his role as her emotional support. While Q01 initially only wants to help save Kurumi, he will learn things about himself that will prove invaluable.
While the other anime on our list portrayed robots or Hybrid Children as having distinct personalities of their own, the merit of Q01 is the character he can play in order to bring a teenager back to life, so to speak. Hal has a very interesting story and beautiful artwork to accompany this melancholic tale of a robot and human. There is a pervasive theme of sadness throughout Hal, but it shares with Hybrid Child the theme of the importance of treasuring one’s memories without being held back by them.
Hal Official Trailer
6. Plastic Memories
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: April 2015 – June 2015
Tsukasa is eager to begin his first day at Terminal Service One, despite knowing nothing about the duties he must perform. After a luke-warm welcome, it is explained that he will be in charge of recovering Giftias that are about to expire from their owners. A Giftia is a sentient robot capable of learning and creating bonds. They do not grow, but their mental and emotional understanding can change with experience. After about 9 years, however, a Giftia will begin to lose their motor function and memories, turning them into aggressive Wanderers. Tsukasa is assigned to work with a Giftia named Isla, who is approaching her own expiration date. Tsukasa and Isla must overcome their complicated emotions to preserve the precious memories of the Giftia and their owners, and the memories the two will make together.
Plastic Memories has a different focus than Hybrid Child, in which one couple is responsible for separating human and robot pairs in a sense. The robotic lifespans do have a shorter time limit and both stories cause you to tense up with every mention of time. When Isla from Plastic Memories and Hazuki from Hybrid Child start to exhibit clumsy motions or slowed mobility, you can feel the panic rising as time races heartlessly on. While both shows are quite funny to the point you might forget their serious nature, you’ll want to have your tissues ready. If you wish for more life after loss, look no further than Plastic Memories!
Plastic Memories Trailer
There’s something mysterious and appealing about robotic love. Perhaps it is at its core, our love of romance that surpasses all obstacles. When two people, or one person and one nonhuman, should not by all rights develop feelings for each other and yet go against their very natures, it’s extremely moving. The Boys Love element of Hybrid Child is nice for fujoshi, but the love on this list transcends gender and even biology! Another thing robotic love is good at teaching us is that while love may be transient, it can be extremely powerful. Even if we lose the one we love most, we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that we ourselves are loved, and we must continue on for their sake. If you know any other compelling anime with boy-on-bot love, let us know in the comments!