While most Otaku don't spend their evenings battling alien invaders using futuristic mecha weapons, that doesn't mean anime fans can't learn anything from watching their favorite shows. Many series – even ones that focus on violent conflict – contain inspirational messages of personal growth and triumph over adversity.
Anime fans from around the world came together on Anime Underground to share stories about how anime changed their lives forever. Some found a hopeful model for accepting loss by watching a favorite character overcome the sudden loss of a loved one. In less dire scenarios, many were motivated by outcast heroes who beat the odds and made it big.
The best anime do more than entertain; they help viewers gain insight into their own lives. Vote up the epiphanic anime you think could change other people for the better.
"Helped me through some rough spots in my life and showed me what it means to be human, and that even though life can be tough, it will get better."
"The tale of triumph in the face of having everything stacked against you and having no one to call family or friend. It really helped me in so many ways and it still does. I always watch it when my depression starts to really kick in."
"Deku was looked down upon and shunned for being different, but he pushed forward and became the world's best hero. He didn’t listen to what others said about him and even if he wasn’t born with some crazy power he earned one. Despite the pain that came with that power he kept pushing himself."
"This anime talks about the importance of bonds and relationships. I often struggle with loneliness and suicidal depression and have very few friends to talk to. The age gap between me and my parents is very wide so it can be difficult for me and them to understand each other because we see life very differently. Anime like A Silent Voice reminds me that there is still meaning in life even when there is no one to turn or hold onto in the midst of everything."
"I started watching in middle school and embraced his loud sarcastic style as my own armor against bullies. As the show progressed and the more friends were added to the group, I found people in real life who saw my own worth. Fifteen years later me and my best friend are still close, all because of a little anime called Inu Yasha."
"Bleach was the anime that changed my whole perspective of anime itself. I didn’t think I could cry for characters or relate to them. Although I don’t dress as a shinigami and fight hollows, I still felt a strong connection to a lot of them. If it weren’t for Bleach, I wouldn’t love anime as much as I do now."
"...it did things to my head that I've since realized I love."
"Kamina is a really inspiring guy lol. I was unemployed when I watched it. I got a job shortly after that I still have. I moved away from my hometown, I met a lot of awesome people. I even tattooed the core drill on me to remind me to keep moving forward. I look at it whenever my depression is kicking in and I feel stuck, and it always helps."
"I was watching Cartoon Network and a show about a kid who fights demons and shoots a gun from his finger came on, and that is how I fell in love. It was dark, bizarre, and full of imagery of the spirit world!"
"They're the reason why I love drawing monsters. Also, as a kid, they taught me to never give up."
"It was the first anime to ever make me cry (for 2 whole episodes no less) but it was so hilarious throughout and had...genuine life advice sprinkled throughout the whole show... Koro Sensei in particular is somewhat of an idol figure as far as fictional characters go... So is Nagisa, his development throughout the series was really inspiring... It's helped me move on from a lot of things that were plaguing me mentally."
"I never knew how I got into it since I was watching it when I was in pre-school, but I had almost all the VHS tapes and every time my dad went to Best Buy on a Saturday morning I would go with him to see what Sailor Moon VHS tape I could find. It wasn't until middle school that I wanted to pick up the show again and Sailor Moon made me want to discover other types of shows just like it, which lead me to learn more about anime."
"Even though it was considered a kids' show, they fought the things within themselves. Specifically Sora and Hikari. I related to Sora who felt like her mother didn’t love her because she was so strict and rarely seemed to make time for her. Hikari was my favorite. Especially in season 2, where she clearly struggled with severe depression, but always tried to be the light for everyone else."
"I was going through the same motions as Naota. Boring neighborhood, just as closed off, the ambiguous relationships with older women 5-8 years older than 11-year-old me. I never went for being true to myself. The soundtrack alone converted me to j-pop and it's relevant to me to this day. It took time afterward but now I kick ass just being me."
"Berserk taught me the weak who have dreams and are too afraid to pursue them are basically dead and the ones who pursue their dreams are the ones who are alive everyday no matter the hardships."
"I was a total loser in high school, I thought it was gonna be just another 4 years in my life, but Angel Beats was the anime that helped me learn me to appreciate every moment. Because some people don’t get to."
"I had only seen the shonen battle anime...so Clannad showed me anime had so much more to offer 14-year-old me. Now I'm 24 and have spent many many years watching new and old shows!"
"It was so trippy and convoluted, it showed me that animation can create some deep themes and weird sh*t!"