I’ve heard every criticism there is about anime.
The most common was the sentiment that I, even as a young teen, was too old to be watching these Japanese imported “cartoons.” Or that the content is a disruption of the moral fibers in society’s youth. Or that it’s just plain stupid.
I don’t care, only because I still use scenes from some anime as a positive factor in my real life.
Before I got into sports or became an adult, I was huge into that fantasy world where limits are pushed and the unimaginable is realized.
I’m not on the same level as this kid, but the heart of his reasoning makes sense. Anime does inspire.
Whether I’d like to admit it or not, three scenes still resonate in my current life and I credit them for much I have accomplished.
1. “Dragonball Z” – Goku goes Super Saiyan 3
Scene: Goku is stalling for time, so he gives his enemies a lesson on how each level of Super Saiyan makes him stronger. Out of nowhere, he summons strength from so deep inside that he achieves a new level right on the spot. The transformation takes like five minutes, but it’s incredible to watch.
Meaning: Every time I’m pushing myself physically, Goku’s line, “This is to go even further beyond!” echoes in my head and strengthens my resolve. Sparing you all on the details of DBZ history, this is the only Super Saiyan form that comes without an external stimulus, such as pain of loss. It emphasizes digging into yourself to find the maximum power you are able to harness.
2.”Yu Yu Hakusho” – A reason to fight
Scene: Young protagonist Yusuke has upset the whole balance of the Demon World by declaring a tournament to determine the world’s ruler. Before, three powerful demons and their forces were in a power struggle, but the tournament made each demon fight as an individual. Yusuke is fighting Yomi, one of the three rulers who gave up his position to participate, and is totally outclassed. A year after leaving his life in Human World, Yusuke forgets his reason for fighting.
Yusuke’s ancestor comes to remind him of his purpose, that being his friends and the woman he loves. With that motivation his becomes as powerful as Yomi. Spoiler: Yusuke ends up losing the fight, but gains much more.
Meaning: Sometimes we get trapped in the vortex of routine and forget what is important. I have been consumed by my profession, only to lose touch of the people who mean most to me. In the end, I have to remember why I am doing what I’m doing. It’s because of them.
3. “Rurouni Kenshin” – The will to live
Scene: Kenshin is about to depart for his toughest battle yet, but he needs to learn his master’s final technique to stand a chance. The master would not teach it unless Kenshin found what was missing inside his heart. He could not.
As his master charges for one last attack, Kenshin has visions of his loved ones and his mother before she died. He battles with his fear of death for a split second until he realizes that death is not an option. He must stay alive to protect everyone and avenge his past sins. In this instant display of emotion and revelation, he unleashes the final technique.
Meaning: Later in the show when Kenshin is on the brink of death, he says, “Nothing is stronger than the will to live!” Recent events relating to my health have caused me to think about my mortality, but I have always thought of this scene when confronted with life or death situations. I think of those who willingly throw their life away and leave behind those they should to protect. It is cowardice. Giving up or committing suicide is taking the easy way out. But to harness the God-given essence of life and continue living in order to be there for those who need you most is greatness.
I’m sure glad I watched.