Over the last couple of years I have become more and more obsessed with Anime. No particular genre, just a couple of random episodes here and there so that when it grips me I am completely consumed with the story until there are no more episodes, spin-offs or relating Manga that I can indulge my obsession with.
After this last binge, I started thinking about why it was something that I was so easily lost in. Why I spent every waking moment thinking about the characters, the stories and why I was trying to learn something from their situations that I could apply in my own life.
So here are my ramblings and musings on the lessons I have learned from Anime. I am going to put a disclaimer here- these are just some of the million thoughts I had about some of the million Anime I have watched…mmmmkay…so to all the hard-core followers, just take this from whence it comes.
Kids or young adults are more likely to be the “chosen ones”
- I spent a lot of time thinking about this as why is it hardly ever a random 30-something year old who one, particularly uneventful day, realise that they have been chosen for a greater cause. This is weighing quite heavily on my heart as I am at the moment, busy looking for that bigger cause, greater meaning and feeling that I am too old to offer anything valuable to society. Essentially I was looking for myself in one of these characters.
- I think that this is because children are still bold. They have the courage to try and do things without worrying about what others might think of them. They have seemingly unrestrained potential and they are only really limiting themselves by the constraints of peer opinion. They have enough imagination to accept that the “fantastical” situation is not what you’d consider “normal” but still real, whereas an adult would spend too much time worrying about whether or not they should believe or accept this situation into their realm of perceived reality instead of running with the challenge.
- On a negative, most of these “kids” that are deeply conflicted as they are still dealing with childhood developmental issues, like parent issues, schoolyard mentality. This leads to a lot of them having a whiny teenager attitude and moaning about “why me”.
- Having said this their training is still relatively quick (hooray for montage) and although a lot of them take the failures to heart, they are still motivated enough to keep going. Failure is not an option.
The battlefield is more psychological than physical
- It doesn’t seem to matter where or what kind of battle is going on, it seems to be more focused on internal drive and ability. Even amidst a violent, overly bloody battle pitting 2 evenly matched characters together (don’t even get me started on the underdogs)…there is always focus on 2 things:
- The dialogue between the hero and antagonist. This draws attention to the motivations behind the battle and the mind games that happens when you are facing certain death. This normally brings up back-stories and flashbacks (especially in cases like Bleach).
- The inner monologue on the character’s motivations for finding their own strength to continue this fight even when they are losing. Also how they are rationalising this fight and the toll it is taking on them physically and psychologically.
- I found this quite symbolic in my own life because we are normally trying to justify the decisions we make, find the strength to carry on in difficult situations. I find this also in daily life where I could be sneering at my opposition across a business table and strategising my next move and anticipating his, analysing his weaknesses whilst all the while trying to keep motivated and have the resolve to see this through without letting my own insecurities get in the way.
Love has many different forms
- The one thing I love about the characters I watch is that they have the same intensity of dedication and compassion for family, classmate, team mate, mentor and partner. The fierce loyalty that you can feel towards someone else is not only for a “master” or a significant other.
- I marked this down to young, unrestrained passion but when I was thinking about my own life, I realised that with age my opinion of a loved one has changed. It is the people closest to me that I would die, and more importantly kill for. Whether it is a partner, family member, friend or mentor, I think that there are some bonds which can’t be explained by a word more powerful than pure love.
- A lot of the characters when they are “powering up” or fighting a nemesis, there is a lot of primal screaming as their power grows. The more energy and feeling they seem to exert as well as the more committed to cause they are, the more powerful their attack.
- I love this. I think that in life (and especially in my case) there is so much that we internalise and generally “keep our mouths shut” with keeping our opinions to ourselves that things end up building up inside. I have had many a thought of just standing in a crowded street, with legs apart and arms out, starting with a low growl and ending up with a full blown roar as the wind slowly starts to pick up and dance to the song of my war drum and hot energy starts to swirl out from my hands until everything climaxes into a bright white explosion which leaves me feeling satisfied and my enemy defeated! (that ended up sounding a little more porno than I intended)
Dark and Light
- There is a lot of emphasis on personal demons in Anime. Whether they are portrayed as a separate character which is physically embodying these traits or just internal dialogues between our angels and demons, this is quite a popular theme.
- I personally love this as my personal tag line for myself is that for every ounce of light that radiates from my soul, there is the same amount of darkness lurking beneath the surface. I am a child of light and a child of darkness.
So in conclusion, I still have many hours left in my life to spend on living vicariously through my favourite characters in Anime. I hope one day when I look back at my life, playing on a movie screen for a theatre filled with my loved ones that they will be just as entertained, touched and motivated by my story as I have been by these.
Now I’m off to work on my powers…..