The Metamorphic Relatability of Anime

Are there moments in your day to day where you just stare blankly into space, not knowing what you want to do with your life? Or maybe, you’re someone who regularly finds themself feeling tired after a long day of work. Or perhaps, you’re going through some rough patches in your life and you want to cheer yourself up. Whatever your situation may be, there’s one thing for certain… There is an anime out there that says something, whether good or bad, about your current status in life. And personally, I think this is one of the most possibly life-changing characteristics of the media.

Anime as an Inspiration

One of anime’s biggest strengths is how relatable the characters and storytelling are. No matter what kind of person you are, there’s bound to be either a character that you have some sort of semblance to, or a story that relates to you in one way or another. A personal favorite of mine is Shigeo Kageyama or “Mob” from Mob Psycho 100. He is a powerful esper whose powers are linked to his emotional state. In order to prevent himself from hurting others, he deliberately holds back his emotions, as it causes him to go out of control when it reaches 100%. To me, the most relatable part of Mob Psycho is Mob himself. Having the perspective of Mob and following along his story to understand himself and his emotions is something that I find very endearing and inspirational.

Another example of a great anime that a lot of people can relate to is “Bocchi the Rock”. Most people can relate to some extent to its main character Hitori Gotoh, or more known as “Bocchi”, due to her loneliness and social anxiety. Many people, including myself,  find inspiration and enjoyment from watching Bocchi the Rock, as we can follow the struggles of someone like Bocchi to see how she deals with her own personal struggles and see her grow as a person. This allows its watchers to gain a perspective on how to deal with similar struggles in their personal lives.

Anime as a Reality Check

Sometimes, another way anime can improve your lives is by depicting situations that are shocking, or situations that you’d rather avoid thinking about. These can range from something like dealing with love or to more mature themes like dealing with loss and abuse to name a few. 

For dealing with love, there is a vast ocean of romance, drama, romantic comedy anymore that says a lot about this topic. One notable show for me is Kaguya-sama: Love is War. The basic premise of the show is that two geniuses at a highly prestigious academy are at “war” with each other, as neither wants to confess their feelings towards each other. Throughout the anime, we get to understand how these two people think and we get a perspective for this issue that not only tackles the subject of love, but also how to live your life as whole, which is something that I value as a takeaway when watching anime.

On the mature side of things, I’d like to highlight the show “Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation”. This show is about a NEET who was reincarnated into a fantasy world as a kid while retaining his memories of the past. Having a newfound life, our main protagonist is now determined to apply himself in his newfound world and to live his life without any regrets. Throughout the series, we learn more about the characters of the world and how deeply flawed many of the characters are. One instance of this, which has caused a great deal of controversy for the series, is the pedophilic nature of the main character. In addition to this, it is revealed that the main character was actually bullied immensely during his childhood, and has had a fear of going out. To me, the main value of this series comes from the fact that this character is not meant to be a role model and someone you should imitate in real life. Ironically enough, the fact that you can contrast these characters to what is moral in real life and seeing the characters grow into something more is what makes Mushoku Tensei special. It isn’t afraid to depict a grotesque character and to take risks with its audience. This makes the anime more realistic and all the more impactful when relating it to one’s life.

Anime as an Escape

Perhaps your situation doesn’t exactly call for inspiration or a reality check. Maybe you just need time, and what better way to pass the time than it is to be entertained? Anime has an endless amount of plots you can think of that range from being hyper-realistic to surreal. Are you in the mood for something feel-good, look for something like Spy x Family. Are you in the mood for some action-packed anime, well choreographed fight scenes, and beautiful animation, try something like Chainsaw Man. Maybe you’re in the mood for something completely absurd, like having a real life historical figure war tactician be reincarnated into an aspiring musician’s manager in order to help her succeed in the music industry. Watch Ya Boy Kongming / Paripi Koumei. The point is, there is an endless amount of diverse anime with diverse plots that there’s bound to be something that suits your interests

Anime, due to its relatability, can be a great source of inspiration, a grounded reality and an escape. There are many more reasons why anime is great, but these three are the reasons why I find the media so compelling. I find it really interesting how the best anime of many different plots and genres are all bounded by a particular theme, relatability. Practically speaking, I think the best anime has the most impact in our everyday lives. Combined with one’s initiative, the stories that come from anime may very well serve as a catalyst to improve our lives.

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