Anime has this subtle way of spreading hope around. Of course, the disclaimer is that not every anime has that effect and the type of genre we select plays a big factor. But you might find that more often than not anime is like that.
Recovery of MMO Junkie (Netojuu no Susume)
In MMO Junkie, Morikawa Moriko represents a hope to ‘adults’ that are not doing so well adult wise. At the age of 30, which is already the age of ‘true adult’ in many culture and society, Moriaka is essentially someone who chose to run away from her societal responsibility to become a NEET. Getting totally absorbed in MMO is her escape from all the social anxiety and stress.
Not a very adult behavior, is it? However, the problems that she face are actually very real and common among us young adults. We see ourselves reflected on her situation and circumstances and wonder what will happen if we do what she did.
The main underlying idea that ran through the whole series is how a 30 years old MMO addict shut-in can break out of her shell and ‘recover’. For a lot of us, this is a form of hope and optimism; that someone like her actually has a chance to get better control of their life and head to a brighter direction. Just as we see our problems and issues on Morioka, we also see the light of hope that surrounds her.
This is not to say that quitting your job and play Final Fantasy 14 obsessively will grant your wishes, and everyone knows this. Instead, it is telling us that there is a sparkle of hope, a possibility, that things will get better and everything will be alright, and we shouldn’t give up trying. I think that is a truly important idea to have in our outlook to life.
Land of the Lustrous (Houseki no Kuni)
In Lustrous, we see Phos as someone who doesn’t have the skill, talent, and capability for any kind of work. In comparison to MMOJunkie where Moriaka actually has the skill and capability to do her job really well, Phos has only her desire.
We struggle to find something that we are good at, struggle to find a place for ourselves, and struggle even more to find acceptance, to be useful.
Despite Phos’ sarcastic personality and indifference to everyone’s jabbing, being useful and capable actually matters a lot; so much that when he is given a task that he thought as ‘useless’ he still work his best to complete it.
Phos represents another kind of hope to us: The hope that we can eventually get better at what we want to do or eventually able to find something that we can do best.
This will be a more controversial one because of how “unrealistic” the setting of the show is. However, because of that, the show has more room to play around with its ideas and explore deeper on how would it be like if an young adult is given the chance to restart and relearn a segment of his life.
Being able to start fresh is an attractive options I’m sure many of us have fantasized of. This is what Re:Life is showing us: Being able to restart the parts of our life where we regretted and strife to do it better this time.
The show represents a general positive idea that we can do better and change for the better. We might not be able to relive the segments of our life again but surely we are still able to do better in the present. As a nice touch, the show also tell us how even with a fresh start things might not work out. The more important things are our attitude and perspective, and whether we are willing to change.
Therefore, even if we are not going through such dramatic changes to our current circumstances, I like to think that this show convinces me that “yes, you have it in you all along to change for the better”, and on top of it I have the potential to do even more if I’m given a chance to start fresh. I think that’s really great.
Anime deals with many subject matters but I think ‘hope’ is one persistent value that appears in majority of anime titles, even when it isn’t the primary focus of the shows. I hope this speaks well to how we as people are inherently, or at least want to be, optimistic and hopeful.
This short piece is part of the 12 DAYS OF ANIME 2017 aniblogging series. I got the idea for this post after I notice that many of my favorite anime are very positive and optimistic. Thank you appropriant for hosting this and the opportunities it brings.