Anime Series Like Smile Down The Runway

Fujito Chiyuki has dreamed of being the star model for her father’s modeling agency since she was a girl. Unfortunately, she stopped growing and is considered too short to be a good model. Regardless, she kept pursuing her dream. Only did her resolve start to waiver in her last year of high school. However, after meeting Tsumura Ikuto, a classmate with a passion for designing clothes, does she join him on a seemingly impossible journey to achieve their dreams.

Unexpectedly intense and even more unexpectedly interesting despite the subject matter, even those who aren’t into fashion can enjoy this one. If you are looking for anime recommendations like Smile Down The Runway, sashay your way on down below.

For Fans of Fashion

Skip Beat

Although extremely bright, Kyouko Mogami’s naivety shines brighter as she toils endlessly to support her childhood friend and rising pop star Shou Fuwa. However, when she learns that all her hard work is like free servitude to her friend, she decides to get back at him by joining the ruthless world of entertainment herself.

Although more about showbiz than just the fashion industry, both shows highlight the unpleasant realities that comes from these industries. They are stressful, take hard work, and not everyone makes their big dreams come true.

Paradise Kiss

Third year high school student Yukari is only into studying so she can get into any college outside of her boring town. One day, she meets a suspicious stranger with bleached hair and piercings. She tries to politely leave him, but ends up meeting his friends who are fashion design students for an art school. They want her to model, but she is afraid it will interfere with her studies. Still, she ends up agreeing and it leads her into another less boring world.

Paradise Kiss is essentially Smile Down the Runway from a different perspective. Instead of being too short for it, Yukari is perfect for modeling but hesitant. Both shows highlight different perspectives of the fashion industry, but Paradise Kiss has a bit of a darker tone.

Princess Jellyfish

Kurashita Tsukimi loves jellyfish, to the point of obsession. One day, when she sees a jellyfish being mistreated in a pet store, she tries to stick up for it, but her social awkwardness gets in the way. Thankfully, a sparklingly beautiful woman steps in and sparks the beginning of an unlikely friendship. While Tsukimi’s new friend charms her and her roommates, what they don’t know is that this princess is also a man.

As Princess Jellyfish has trouble committing to an actual plot, it isn’t really similar to Smile Down The Runaway in that regard. However, you will note that both series follow fashionable people that are trying to make their dreams come true, but Princess Jellyfish has way more quirky NEETs.

For Fans of Chasing Your Dreams

Carole & Tuesday

This is the story about two very different girls with the same goal. Tuesday, a girl raised in wealth, and Carole, a girl just scraping by, both want to make music. A chance meeting brings them together, and together they may just make their dream come true.

Both series are about two young people that are different in race, economic class, or gender that work together in order to achieve their dreams. However, while Carole & Tuesday has as many happy moments as it does dramatic ones, Smile Down The Runway is more intense.


As a child, Moritaka Mashiro wanted to be a manga artist like his uncle. However, after certain events transpired, he refocused his efforts towards studying in middle school. One day, aspiring writer Akito Takagi notices some detailed drawings in Moritaka’s notebook and approaches him to propose they become a mangaka together. Realizing that he might be able to get his crush if they make an anime adaption of it with her as the voice actor, Moritaka agrees, and thus, the mangaka Muto Ashirogi is born.

Smile Down The Runway is about high school kids angling towards fashion, Bakuman is about high school kids making manga. They are different, but both about dream chasing.


After being inspired by the small, but talented volleyball ace Little Giant, Shouyou Hinata revives the volleyball club at his middle school. However, when he is brutally crushed by King of the Court Tobio Kageyama, his first match ends up being his last. Swearing to surpass him, Shouyou joins the volleyball team in high school only to discover Tobio is now his teammate.

Immediately notable is the fact that both shows are bout people “too short” to excel in their passionate areas. Yet, they don’t let their height stop them as they aim for the top. Although fashion is quite different, in many regards, Smile Down the Runway is quite a bit like a sports anime.

For Fans of Obscure Anime Subjects

Welcome to the Ballroom

Tatara is rescued one day by a professional dancer and teacher named Sengoku. Ending up back at his dance studio, he meets a school mate that he had secretly come to idolize. From this moment, Tatara is thrust into the world of dance, aiming to improve as a dancer in order to be acknowledged by his peers and rivals while Sengoku nurtures his natural talent.

Ballroom dancing and fashion do not seem like they would make interesting anime subjects, but shit – they did it. Both shows provide an intriguing watch to people who aren’t interested in the topic. To be able to do that is nothing short of talent.


Growing up in the shadow of her older sister, Chihaya Ayase is strong-willed and a tomboy with no dreams of her own. However, after meeting a young boy with a passion of a card game called karuta, he inspires her to become a karuta master.

In both series, you don’t necessarily watch them for the subject material, which is great because it is in the characters where the shows really shine. Both shows are all about females with near-iron wills that are bolstered by their male companions.

Hikaru no Go

One day, Shindou Hikaru is rummaging through his grandfather’s attic and finds and old Go board. This board also happens to be possessed by Fujiwara no Sai, a once great Go player that committed suicide. This spirits begs Hikaru to play Go so he can search for his perfect game.

To be perfectly honest, the characters look similar and it made me immediately think of Hikaru no Go. However, they are similar shows about a lesser known topic in anime and characters trying to make their dreams come true.

Do you have more anime series similar to Smile Down the Runway? Let fans know in the comments section below.

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