Made in Abyss, Houseki no Kuni (TV) Recommendations
the atmosphere, world building and how it starts with a mysterious world that you learn more and more about as the story unfolds.
Houseki, has better character development and tackles some interesting themes such as what it means to be alive and what gives us meaning, what we have to sacrifice to gain something special and so on its real beep if you are willing to look deeper.
Fantasy settings with the main characters starting out naive and inexperienced, yet grow stronger alongside their friends. Although Made in Abyss does not have a central villain and Houseki no Kuni does, they both share a mystical atmosphere that leaves the viewer intrigued. Furthermore, there is a similar ranking system (Whistles in MiA and Hardness levels in HnK). They both have fantastic soundtracks that pull you into the show.
If you're looking for a similar manga, 7 seeds is a fantasy horror manga where a group of children wake up in a post-apocalyptic world, decimated by nature, where they must learn to survive. Both 7 seeds
They both start with an adventurous and spirited girl in a mysterious world, of which she later discovers darker parts. Although they both have dark themes and can make you cry at some points, they also both have a lot of lighthearted cuteness and humour.
I would say that in Made in Abyss it is mainly the surroundings changing and secrets being uncovered that are the driving force behind the story, while in Houseki no Kuni it is mainly the character development that drives the story. Another big difference is that the style of the visuals is very different, but I personally think they both