Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann was one of the major reasons that my outlook on life changed, it was also something that made me a massive fan of Gainax. Within this series it was someone, who I could very much relate to named Simon, who starts off unsure of himself and is filled with self-doubt, even the feelings of not being good enough when a girl he likes (Yoko) ultimately loves someone else. Drawing strength from his friend, brother, and father-figure (Kamiya), he eventually evolves into his own person and realizes he is who he is and someone who draws strength from his belief within his own abilities, “Do you know who the HELL I am?!”. I felt something awaken within me, that it is fully all right to be myself and that I can achieve great things as long as I am proud of the person that I have become. I alone control my destiny and my friends around me will support me as long as I never falter in my ambitions and do the very best that I can. Even if the masses were to rise up against me, I cannot appease everyone, the only thing I can do is continue to be me and live a life I can be proud of living.
Dragon Ball Z and Hajime no Ippo taught me very important lessons about strength and kindness. Goku and Ippo are examples of people who will shake you to the very core in fights, showing no mercy to their opponents when engaged combat, but they are so gentle they would not harm a fly outside of their respective battlegrounds. If you were to examine others in their series who wanted to be strong, such as Vegeta in Dragon Ball Z and Sawamura in Hajime no Ippo, they were strong but not enough to overcome the odds of the protagonists. This kind of thing showed me that I can still be who I wanted to be, to be strong without having to resort to being as low as those who would go as far as cheating in order to obtain power. In the end, your resolve and staying true to people will garner you support to keep you afloat when you need it the most. Ippo had all those hands at his back from his gym and people who cared for him in his most critical of moments, due to his friendships, Goku was able to summon help from everyone on Earth to create the spirit bomb that defeated Majin Buu. I honestly use to think in order to obtain more respect, power, and to not be looked down upon I needed to change my views on the world, but I realized that there are some people out there who will never like me and that is all right, I just need to keep being me and doing what I can.
Something else I have learned from anime is the fear to regret. There have been many anime in which characters have experienced death of someone they loved (Such as Gokukoku no Brynhildr), will have to risk their life, or have died themselves. A lot of times, they have never gotten the chance to truly tell someone how they feel, take on that new ambition, or become who they wanted to be. We do not have time to constantly think about what others will judge us on, life is too short and everyone dies and fades from memory. What I do in the here-and-now may not matter a few years down the line if I fail, but what try and succeed at could very well change my entire life. Too many times do I feel like I suppressed myself due to the pressure of failing when it is inevitable that we will all be rejected at some point…but if we were not, how would we measure our success? Anime like Naruto showed me that you need to push forward without fear, your whole situation and people’s perception of you could easily change as you make strides towards your individual destiny. I refuse to live a life with regrets, I’d rather die having no questions than to wonder “What If”?
When it is all said and done, I still have many things I need to improve on and somethings in life I still have to work through, but they have been made significantly easier through the inspiration given to me by anime. Influences that are bigger than life to show me that sometimes things are not as big as they seem, and that within everyone, even the meekest of people, there lives a hero. We are all capable of writing our own stories that leave behind a great legacy, we just have to make sure that we believe it to be more than delusions of grandeur, but a reality that WE can make possible. Take hold of yourself because no one else can live for you, the last thing you want when lying on your death bed is regrets from things you could have did, and the feeling of being ashamed from letting those who do not matter hold you back from enjoying what is rightfully yours, life. Even now, some people will read this, laugh, and disregard it, but who cares? Others will identify with it and it may help them as anime has helped me, so I hope that me sharing a piece of my soul has inspired you to go out and live your life the way you should, by being yourself to the fullest.
Thank you for reading.