CULTURE CLASH / SHOCK!
Off the top of my head, I can list a number of Hollywood films with a premise involving a character from a more advanced culture coming to understand and eventually find the beauty in a more primitive culture. Lawrence of Arabia, Dances with Wolves, The Last Samurai, Avatar... Pocahontas, even. In comparison, anime has next to nothing. In fact, out of all the anime I've seen, only Macross Zero and Gargantia deal with the subject. Neither series can compare favourably to some of the Hollywood classics mentioned in terms of the culture clash/shock aspect - it being more of a subplot in Zero - but it's better than nothing.
The male leads in both shows pilot robots (well, robo-jets in Macross!) and have heavy military backgrounds. At the start they become stranded WAY outside of their comfort zones after a battle goes wrong, without any way of linking back up to their comrades. Zero's lead wakes up to find himself on a remote island where the natives worship a bird God, which leads to much confusion... until he gets to know two sisters; one of which being the love interest--an openly hostile priestess, wary of outsiders and the "Kaduns" they bring. Gargantia's lead wakes up to find himself on a post-apocalyptic, water-covered Earth with some level of technology but nothing compared to space war robots. Language issues provide an initial barrier before a difference in mentality between a soldier trained to kill and people not accustomed to killing adds conflict. But, like in Zero, romance proves to be the key - forming a bridge between the culture gap - as a squirrel-loving girl becomes close to the lead.
Gargantia's lead starts as blank slate; only knowing how to kill and follow orders. This allows for a basic 'see how we do things here; NO DEATH' adjustment--a black & white development path. In contrast, despite being a solder Zero's lead isn't clueless due to not having being brainwashed/having grew up on the same planet. So, while he does come to understand and care for his new surroundings/nature, it's not a case of becoming a new person by learning lessons--both himself and his love interest learn from each other. This is the main difference between the two; the other being that Gargantia's setting is all water and metal, while Zero is all about nature/an island.
Before long, the wars they had temporarily left behind finds the respective leads in their new peaceful environments; bringing tragedy and destruction. A choice has to be made, and it is... read more
The basic concept of both anime is quite similar:
They feature a male protagonist, that knows nothing but war and fighting and suddenly finds himself confronted with a (more or less) peaceful and technically less advanced community, that he slowly learns to appreciate - mostly because of a young woman (or, in case of "Macross Zero", two young women). This development is overshadowed by the raging war and mysterious aliens.
"Suisei no Gragantia" is more humerous and colourful though.
The couple Oguna and Kajika has some similarity to Shin Kiduo and Sara Nome, as well as Kidou and Oguna are foreigners who are attracted by a popular girl native of the place.
Furthermore endings are a bit similar, by the ambiguity between tragedy and not so tragic.
These are about the nature of life, death and how the universe takes part in this process here on earth. I found these both to have a sort of spiritual feel to them. If you've seen one or the other, you'll understand what I mean. Both are also moderate romances.
Hikari/akari = Sara
Ninomiya/Takeru = Shin
I highly recommend both of these series.
Both animes are serious and introspective, more dedicated to work with character development and psychological aspects.
The difference is that Macross Zero has more adrenaline, the air battles can let you out of breathe easily. RahXephon has magnificent battles too, but it focus more on dialogues and storyline.