Life lessons from Japanese-made cartoons? You’re kidding, right?
From a general standpoint, Japanese anime is nothing but cartoons, and cartoons are for kids. It’s a common misconception with a weak premise: there are tons of anime with mature storylines and themes geared towards adults. Discounting the fact that the best shows today provide racy fan service scenes, life lessons in anime are pretty common, and there are dozens of shows that will render you to tear up and cry a river.
Don’t worry, this compilation is as spoiler-free as possible. Let’s take a look at some of the notable characters, shows, and the lessons they’ve taught us.
The Law of Equivalent Exchange
“Humankind cannot gain anything without giving something in return. To obtain, something of equal value must be lost.”
Taken from one of the best anime to hit the screens, Full Metal Alchemist, this “law” teaches us that nothing in this world is handed on a silver platter. Do bad deeds, and there will always be repercussions. Do good deeds, and you will be rewarded. Even if you did everything you can for something yet you failed, you’ve gained something (experience) of equal value. There are two versions of the anime, FMA (adaptation), and FMA Brotherhood (original), and both are guaranteed to leave you appalled.
The Best Things in Life Are always in Front of You
This is what you’ll learn after watching Clannad, which happens to be one of the most gut-wrenching, euphoric, and depressing series. The protagonist, Tomoya Okazaki, goes through life with his friends, and learns that whatever happens, always be happy of whatever’s in front of you.
Your Past Doesn’t Define Who You Are
A lesson taught by Jellal Fernandes’ life in Fairy Tail, one of the top-rated series today. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done in the past, as long as you’re ready to make amends and face the future.
Words Can Give People Heart Attacks
Or can kill. A lesson taught by the characters, particularly Light Yagami, of Death Note. An enthralling series with an interesting plot, it’s no surprise why it’s still one of the most-talked about shows despite having ended nearly eight years ago.
You Are Still You, Despite Your Imperfections
A lesson taught by the characters Persona 4: The Animation (whose game versions on the PS2 and PS Vita are one of the top-rated games ever). Your secrets, bad side, and imperfections are all a part of who you are: learn to accept them, and try to use them as a leverage to improve. WARNING: watching the show and playing the games are one of the most profound experiences you’ll ever go through.
Memories May Be Forgotten, But Love Can Never Be
I apologize if I’m getting cornier as the entry goes on, but if you haven’t watched the romance series, Golden Time, it’s about time that you should. After doing so, you’ll agree that love conquers and unlocks everything – even the deepest, darkest rooms of your brain.
True Love, No Matter the Medium or Circumstances, is True
A lesson you’ll learn after watching Sword Art Online. Once you follow Kirito and Asuna’s story, you’ll realize that relationships forged in games is true in real life. Who would have thought that a series about MMOs, amazing visuals, and sword fights has its gut wrenching, lovey-dovey, and teary-eyed moments?
Your Friends will Always be There to Back You Up
A lesson taught by Kokoro Connect, an amazingly well-done series that deserves a second season. It’s a shame the studio involved in making it was involved in a controversy. Regardless, this series shows the true value of friendship and how it is a way in overcoming adversity.
Lastly, Always Move Forward and Don’t Get Stuck in the Past
Undoubtedly one of the best romance manga artists out there, Seo Kouji’s Suzuka delivered. This follows the story of Yamato Akitsuki and Suzuka Asahina, and their journey to excel in the Japanese high school athletic circuit. This masterpiece teaches you to move forward or else you’ll end up missing opportunities and the persons you love if you stick with the past.
Japanese anime is never childish, and although it is categorized as cartoons, it’s better than most of the stuff we see on TV nowadays. The lessons certain shows teach are treasures you will cherish for the rest of your life. Try watching any of the above, and you’ll know what I’m talking about. Remember though, you shouldn’t forget about your real academic lessons while doing so!
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