We’ve all been there. Making a decision between our usual restaurant or trying a new one, having to reply to an invite to something we’ve never done before that would cut into our time at home watching our favorite anime or playing our favorite games or doing some other thing we always do. Sticking to what we know is safe and it lowers the risk of failure or not enjoying ourselves so, for many, the first and most obvious reaction is to avoid new things.
Luckily, as repetitive as anime can be in regard to plots and storylines sometimes, it also likes to remind us that getting out of our comfort zone is actually a good thing and can lead to fun, self-discovery, friendships, and sometimes even saving the world! Today we’ll discuss a few anime that do just that. Take a chance and read on!
Turns Out I Love It!
Diary of Our Days at the Breakwater is a currently airing—and slightly delayed—club anime where new girl Hina gets lured into the fishing club instead of the crafting club she wanted to join so desperately. Even though we’ve only gotten to watch 3 episodes, Hina went from wanting to back out of joining the club because she hates slimy things and the whole idea of fishing creeps her out to planning on catching a fish to bring home for dinner. Sure, she would have been safe and comfortable continuing to sew and make crafts like always, but now her world has expanded so much that she’s learned fishing techniques, about different types of fish and equipment, how to prepare her catch, and on top of it, she seems to have made a pretty cool group of friends! That all sounds like it’s worth the uneven tan and handling tackle!
Coincidentally, A3! Season Spring & Summer—another anime that was recently delayed but is now back underway—has also given us a quick change of heart from a reluctant recruit to a devoted troupe member in Itaru. Itaru has found the perfect balance in his life, playing a serious businessman during the day just so he can spend all his earnings and free time on videogames. Looking for a cheaper room to rent, he finds the Mankai dorm and reluctantly joins, initially, only because it’s a requirement to live there. But by the end of the spring run of their first play, Itaru seems to be pouring himself into acting fully and loving every second. Even if it’s physically painful at times. He also goes from a reserved loner to a friendly part of the troupe.
You never know what new place, activity, or person you may fall in love with when you step out of your comfort zone!
Out of the Shell and Into the Team!
Sometimes it’s less about falling in love with an activity or situation and more about it helping one gain self-confidence, self-discovery, and sometimes, discovering a love for being a part of a team. Yowamushi Pedal showed us this exact point when Onoda, who is already good at cycling, is forced to join the cycling club when he really wanted to join the anime club. Reluctant and without really knowing about cycling other than how to ride his mom bike, he puts in the effort and discovers a persistent, more passionate version of himself. On top of that, he makes a ton of good friends, learns a lot about bicycles and the sport, and learns what it’s like to be part of a team and loves the feeling. The anime otaku who kept to himself becomes a social, confident athlete.
Another natural—this time more of a “mathlete”—is Shiki in Nana Maru San Batsu (Faster Finger First). He’s extremely intelligent, a great student, well-read, and definitely the guy you’d want to copy from if you forgot there was a test today. But he also lacks self-esteem and can’t speak up to save his life—unfortunately, partly due to bullying. That all changes when he’s forced to use his talents by joining the Quiz Study Group. He is uncomfortable and tremendously insecure at first, but the more he participates with his team in quiz matches, the more confident he becomes, the louder he speaks, and the more passionate he becomes.
Sometimes we’re more comfortable doing something on our own and avoid doing it with other people but sharing a passion can be extremely rewarding!
More Than You Could Ever Imagine
The previous examples are all based on real-life scenarios but we also see these lessons in supernatural and sci-fi anime, though usually, what’s on the balance is saving the world as we know it. Hear us out. In The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Kyon—and the rest of the SOS Brigade, really—are forced by Haruhi to join her in exactly the opposite of being stuck in a comfort zone. They all gain a wonderful group of friends and go on crazy adventures as to be expected but—without spoiling much—if it wasn’t for some reluctant members, everything would fall apart. Now, real life may not work like the world in The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, but you never know how positively you can affect someone’s life and even, eventually, the world by taking a chance and doing something you don’t really want to at first, especially to help someone else.
Charlotte is another interesting sci-fi anime in which our main character is forced to join a group he doesn’t want to join. Yuu is more than comfortable in his life; using his special power to hijack people’s minds to cheat in school and basically guaranteeing his success in life. When he gets discovered and transferred to a school for gifted children such as him and his sister, he is forced to join the school council which doubles as a recruitment team. He doesn’t want to do it and all sorts of things start to happen but if it wasn’t for the fact that he joined the council, many many things would turn out very badly in the end. It’s a great show so we don’t want to spoil it if you haven’t seen it. We highly recommend it.
The decisions we make have repercussions far ahead into the future, and more often than not, taking a chance now will pay off later in one way or another. Doing something we don’t necessarily want to one day may benefit someone or many others later on.
There you have it. More than enough reasons to try something new next time you are offered the chance and you just want to play it safe. We’re not saying to let others force you into doing things you don’t want to do if you feel truly uncomfortable, but maybe give more new experiences a chance! Life is full of choices and trying as many as possible and meeting different kinds of people enriches our lives. What do you think? Do you feel inspired to try something new sometime soon? Talk to us in the comments!