So we all know that life isn’t always rainbows and butterflies and cute anime boys asking you out and magical Totoro moments of flying over a Japanese village…Life can fucking suck!
I used to always fear failure and berate myself if I don’t do this one thing perfectly. I used to always be afraid of speaking my mind afraid of what others say. I used to get so fueled when I would look at the news and see teenagers who identify as LGBTQ would get murdered in hate crimes. There were so many aspects of life that I thought were unfair but…I realized that life isn’t always fair. It can eat you up, beat you down, put you through hoops and scares, and can even take from you without permission. TAKE THINGS AWAY FROM YOU THAT YOU CARE ABOUT!
I used to get so bent out of shape with this topic, but, once again, anime appears beside me to teach me an important lesson: People die all the time. Whether it was by nature or by man. But we never lose them, for they are always with us in our hearts and memories. We fall down all the time, but are we gonna stay down and get trampled by the world or will we rise? We hurt all the time, but we have a say when the pain ends.
Below are 7 anime that have personally helped me realize this harsh reality and made me into the strong person I am today.
Your Lie In April
Okay, so this show is probably the cutest and happiest out of all the anime on this list, but it teaches us a really important lesson about value.
The story behind this series follows a young piano prodigy, Kousei Arima, who, after the death of his mother, had a mental breakdown and lost the ability to hear the music he played. Thus prohibiting him from playing the piano for a long time. However, he meets a beautiful violinist, Kayori Miyazono, who becomes an integral part of his recovery. Filled with kawaii and heartfelt moments but also filled with heartache, this anime teaches the very important lesson to live your life to the fullest today because tomorrow is not guaranteed.
I’m not gonna give too much away however I will say that we learn early in the anime that Kayori has a type of illness that has been pretty life-threatening in the past however that doesn’t stop her from going after she wants most in the show. You learn what that is in the very last episode. I won’t spoil it. It goes to say that Kayori didn’t ask for this illness just like no one asks to be born with an illness that causes your body to decay day after day however, that shouldn’t stop you from living your life. You only live once so enjoy your life today and value what you have now…because nothing lasts forever. Sometimes its taken sooner than we think.
This anime is filled with tough reality. Following the story of a team of pirates (Revy, Rock, Dutch, & Benny) known as the Lagoon Company who smuggle goods in and around Southeast Asia, it holds themes of survival, loss, and recovery.
A favorite moment of mine was during Episode 7, when Rock and Revy were having an intense argument. Revy had always harsh feelings for Rock because he was an ex-white collar worker who she didn’t believe had as fucked up of a childhood as she did. Well, they were given a mission to retrieve a painting from this underwater gravesite. Revy got a little avaricious and wanted to steal everything other than the painting down there. However, Rock told her his opinion that they shouldn’t steal from the dead. Pretty accurate statement, however, Revy saw that as Rock flashing his “high and mighty” cock in her face and she wasn’t too happy about that. This leads to a public argument where Revy pulls out a gun to Rock’s face and pulls the trigger. However, Rock didn’t go down without a fight and told her straight up, “Other than the fact that you know I’m white collar, what do you know about me?! It doesn’t matter who you are we all have to suffer. Instead of owning up to things, you’d rather play the part of the tragic heroine. That’s the most cowardly thing about you.”
This scene shows something we can all relate to. Revy, someone who didn’t want to own up to her problems was about to get rid of the person who challenged her ego. In life, we often run into people or become people who want to cut off friends because they revealed to us something about ourselves that we are not happy with. Another lesson to learn from this is that we get so distracted by our own pasts or situations that our specific trauma is all we know. We don’t consider the fact someone else may have it worse. Even if they didn’t we shouldn’t judge them and assume they are arrogant or condescending. Because, at the end of the day, Rock is right…we all have to suffer. That’s like signing the contract to be born. In the fucking fine print, it states, “You must suffer by the way. How often depends upon the signee.” But what are we going to do? Blame our past and not overcome it? Stop playing the tragic hero and get up to do something about it.
Another quote that stood out to me in this show was said in Episode 8. Revy stated, “Whether there’s justice or not, the world keeps spinning.” Shit’s tough right? But what are you going to do about it? You can fight and fight but after a point in time, you have to move on.
Attack On Titan
Okay, so we all know about Attack On Titan. It’s filled with heavy scenes and holds a harsh, gruesome tone over reality. There are so many moments that gave me that bitter taste of reality. So many people in this show sacrifice their lives to save mankind and so many others die without putting their lives on the line. Countless innocent civilians are eaten by these colossal creatures. This constant sight death reminded me (just like Black Lagoon) that people die all the time. Innocent. Guilty. Young. Old Whether by nature or by some other force, it happens. But this show doesn’t just tell us the fact that people die all the time. It actually gives us a glimmer of hope. There are many scenes where we see the Cadets show their valor and fight to see the fall of the Titans. Whether it’s Eren friends coming in to rescue him telling him to live or its Commander Erwin exclaiming to his troops to fight on while he is being launched into the air by a Titan’s mouth. (I know. Badass.)
Ahhh! Poor Kaneki. A boy who led a normal college kid life until he one day went on a date with this woman who almost ate him alive. Well, because of a miraculous construction site accident they become a part of, he is gravely injured and in need of an organ transplant. So they gave him the organ of the woman, who was a supernatural creature (ghoul) that preyed on humans, thus turning him into a half-ghoul. From there Kaneki becomes exposed to the world of Ghouls by learning how they survive and how they are constantly hunted down by humans. Ironically, you have ghouls who also hunt down humans mercilessly. This anime just gives a fresh reminder that sometimes in this world there is more than what meets the eye. Yes these ghouls have powers that can rip a human to shreds, they only long to live normal lives with their families. Well, most do. Some just want to kill and abuse their powers for fun. (That’s where the grey area comes in.) You also have the same “live for peace/kill for duality” in humans as well.
Another lesson to learn from this show is that there is inequality everywhere. As long as someone feels their race, gender, or group of people are more powerful and more superior than another, there will be prejudice and inequality. So you be like Anteiku and keep fighting to show the world a change. Keep being you. Don’t let anyone shut you up, but just know that struggle is out there.
With a very similar theme to Tokyo Ghoul, Psycho Pass hits all the nails of discrimination and corrupted government. In a society where your state of mind and likelihood of committing a crime can be measured via cymatic scan through a gun called a DOMINATOR that can either paralyze you or obliterate you depending on the level of your Crime Coefficient measurement… shit can get fucked up real quick! Again and again in this show, we find our team of investigators dealt with the harsh reality of how unjust their Justice system is especially when they face mass murderers who have the ability to avoid the DOMINATOR judgments.
This show also has consistent death and some brutality that allows us to realize that there are people out there who are just that cruel they will go to these gruesome measures of killing someone.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood