As an avid fan of the medium, and someone who frequently blogs and engages in discussion about it, it’s no secret that Anime has both played a significant role in my life and had a huge impact on my growth as a person.
While many will likely claim that their choice of medium is simply a form of entertainment, to me, Anime is so much more than that. It’s not just something I watch for fun at the weekends or after work. It’s something that speaks to me. It’s a medium that taught me so many life lessons while I was growing up and that continues to make me realise things about myself to this day. It’s incredible.
Every single one of my favourite shows are more than just things I really enjoyed. They’re each something I think about on a regular basis, some almost every single day. They’ve played an active role in shaping my views on the world and how I approach various aspects of my life.
And this is all due to, what I refer to as, “the message” behind many of these shows.
By message I mean what the show is commentating on, beyond its plot. Be it an underdog story promoting the message that the audience should believe in themselves and work hard to achieve their dreams or an inspirational journey of a group of characters striving to overcome the corrupt regime of their world, many shows have something to say about the world we live in and our place in it.
And while this isn’t necessarily true of every show and it could most definitely be argued that many of these shows don’t intend to comment on our lives through a meaningful message, I feel that, intended or not, the message is almost always present in some way.
Many of my favourite shows or series I have fond memories of are ones that had a message that had a strong impact on me.
Part of the reason why Naruto made such an impact during my childhood was because of how closely I could relate to Naruto himself during that period of my life. As a character, he inspired me. Just like Naruto, I was a little weird, but I also had lofty goals. I had big dreams that, at the time, seemed impossible to achieve and far beyond my reach.
“I’m not gonna run away, I never go back on my word! That’s my nindō: my ninja way!” – Naruto Uzumaki
Growing up, many of Naruto’s words spoke to me, but none were as impactful as what you see above.
This line made me realise something important about myself: It didn’t matter how weird I was, or how little I fit in, my dreams were achievable. They always were. They still are today. The only thing stopping me was, and always will be, myself and the fact I was running away from opportunities to succeed as opposed to taking them up and reaching my goals.
It may sound a little dramatic, but these words gave me the motivation to work hard during these years of my life and made me into a far more diligent individual by helping me see beyond my “weirdness” and that none of it really mattered. I could still be an amazing person, even if the world was against me.
Of course, inspiration is one of many messages Anime has provided to me. This medium has also allowed for me to reflect on moments in my life and allow me to grow as an individual over time, something that no other form of entertainment has really managed to do.
I have a soft spot for shows that focus primarily on the natural growth of the main character over a long period of time. Seeing them evolve into a more confident, strong and charismatic individual always did the same for me. I like to think that, as a result of this focus, I’ve changed a lot, in a positive way, and even today seeing characters grow in such a way continues to resonate with me, and provides me with the opportunity to reflect on my life.
“I consider everything that happened to be precious moments of my life. The pain. The suffering. The fun… And I am here right now, because everyone was there for me. I couldn’t have accomplished anything by standing still, without anybody’s help. I treasure every moment I have spent here. Unlucky? I feel pretty lucky.” – Tsunayoshi Sawada
Just like Tsuna above, I feel pretty lucky. Every moment in my life, whether positive or negative, has had an impact on my growth as a person, and I’m grateful for each and every one of them. And many shows have sent out a message that allows me to reflect on my past and often move forward from it to look towards a better tomorrow while still never forgetting how important it all was in shaping the person I am today.
I still have a ways to go. We all do. We always will. But man, have I come far, and a show like Reborn! did a fantastic job of reminding me how much I’ve grown, while inspiring me to grow even more all over again.
And then there’s the shows that seek to teach us about the world around us. Whether it be the beauty of it or its often harsh nature, many shows have done a great job of shaping my views about the world I’m a part of and my approach to living in it.
“This world is cruel, and it’s also very beautiful.” – Mikasa Ackerman
I’d say this quote sums up my view of the world perfectly. We live in a world that is both wonderful and terrifying at the same time. As a result, much like the characters in a show like Attack on Titan, I treat every day as if it were my last, and I embrace the beauty of the world and the life I live in it with open arms, because who knows what could happen? A show like Attack on Titan, that has a statement to make about the world we live in, especially one that fits my own views, is always a treat.
But of course, no post about the message of shows would be complete without discussing what is, without a doubt, the most important lesson I’ve ever learned from an Anime series. It’s something that was taught to me by my favorite Anime of all time: Hunter x Hunter:
“You should enjoy the little detours to the fullest. Because that’s where you’ll find the things more important than what you want.” – Ging Freecss
One of the reasons why Hunter x Hunter is my favourite Anime is because of this line and how much it speaks to me. It’s a line spoken to the protagonist Gon, after reaching the end of a long, difficult and chaotic journey spanning 148 episodes and multiple story arcs. It’s a line that makes Gon understand that his final goal was never what was important to him, rather it was his journey towards the goal that ended up being what really mattered. The adventures he had, the friends he made and the memories he created with those friends while on those adventures ended up being what was really important. Was he happy to finally achieve his goal? Sure he was, but compared to what he experienced along the way, it never ended up being as big of a deal as he’d expected.
And this is something that really spoke to me, and it’s a philosophy I now live by. I have dreams. I have an ideal goal that I’d love to achieve some day. But the small things in between, the little moments I experience every day and the people I share those little moments with, are what’s really important to me. I have something I want to get from life, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s just an end goal. Without those little things, and by comparison, the goal I have means very little, if anything, to me. I appreciate the small things, the detours, in life. They make every day worth experiencing and I’d be lost without them.
And I guess that about wraps it up. I hope some of you found this interesting.
Are there any series that shared a message that you could strongly relate to? Do you have any inspiring quotes you’d like to share? Feel free to share in the comments, and thanks for reading!