Have you ever been watching a truly immersive series and found yourself noticing that the main character and you share some common themes? Maybe you might not be as cool as Kamina from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann or as intelligent as Light Yagami from Death Note but there’s something in those characters that resonates with you. Trust us folks, we feel you there. Without realizing it, we often find ourselves seeing through the main character’s eyes not because we absolutely love the character—though sometimes we do—but because we see something within them that resonates within us.
In shows like Yesterday wo Utatte, the captivating theme of the show is seeing life through the eyes of the characters we meet. Rikuo Uozumi and Shinako Morinome both lead drama-filled existences due to their troubled pasts. One character—in this case Rikuo—finds himself listless after graduating college and Shinako is burdened by a relationship that she had as a younger girl. These are just two characters in the galaxy of anime but, are their troubles so unrealistic? We often forget that though these fictional characters might seem like nothing other than art on canvas, they can occasionally embody who we are on a deeper level. Don’t believe us? Let’s go through some series/examples and show you that it isn’t too crazy to become a character just from embodying their various values in life.
Drama, Love, and the In-Between
Whether you’re an otaku or a new anime fan, we all live quite busy lives. Daily, we deal with numerous trials and tribulations such as romance issues, job-related problems, and the desire to do more—or less—in life. As overwhelming as life can be when we watch anime, it’s not too uncommon to think… ‘oh god…that character is dealing with the same issues!’ There are dozens upon dozens of series that have real-world themes and maybe after mentioning some of these anime—and their main characters—you’ll realize the anime world and the real world aren’t too far apart.
ReLIFE, Kimi ni Todoke, and Toradora! are just three series that are beloved in the anime community. Not only are these shows great romance/drama series but they have relatable characters that aren’t too unreal. In ReLIFe—for example—we have Arata Kaizaki who longs for his high school days not because they are fun times from the past but because he feels like he wasted his youth and now is stuck in a ho-hum adult life. This feeling is all too relatable as many of us constantly reminiscence about our pasts—whether good or bad—and wonder what we’d do if we could turn back time. Would we do things differently or end up making the same mistakes we made again and again like an endless loop? Arata found himself loving life—while struggling with high school work—and we truly believe many could relate to the feeling of wishing that they could turn back time.
Lastly, we mentioned Kimi ni Todoke and Toradora! for their look at characters struggling with love—plus school life—due to their differences. In both series, the main characters are looked at strangely for their literal looks. Haven’t we all felt that ping of disdain for looking different from the others around us? Anime might have people with crazy hairstyles and over-exaggerated reactions but their struggles can be looked at with not just understanding eyes but empathetic ones.
The Need for More
Even if you’re an otaku wishing to grow your anime collection and/or a new businessman wanting to move up the corporate chain, you—as a human—want more. Even if it’s not physical, the drive to want more in life is a common feeling we all share. Did you know there is a multitude of anime characters who wanted more in life? You could look at series akin to Yesterday wo Utatte or Ballroom e Youkoso where characters felt the need to push themselves—at one point, at least—to their limits to remove themselves from their comfort zones. Yet, as realistic these anime can be, we can examine a few other anime out there that might seem outlandish but truly show even the most unreal series can connect us to the main characters in some way.
Code Geass: Hangyaku no Lelouch seems like a series with no relatable characters since it focuses on mech battles and a crazed high schooler who tries to overthrow the government—which none of you should try or do—but we can certainly say that the main protagonist is quite relatable. Lelouch Lamperouge doesn’t grab change in the way a normal human does—since he is a pseudo anarchist and has supernatural powers emanating from his eye—but within him is a drive for change. How often in the real world do you see people going to town hall meetings daily and going to the higher-ups in charge asking for a change to the system? Within those real-world people lies a Lelouch who dreams of a different world and aren’t okay just sitting by waiting for it to happen. If this example is too extreme, we have a simpler one that we know will hook you further into realizing how relatable almost any anime character really is.
Aggressive Retsuko isn’t about a “human” since it focuses on a red panda—who just so happens to act like a human—but the main theme of the entire show is something we workers understand all too well. Retsuko is a young woman who works in a demanding environment trying to push her way through the issues that come with overbearing bosses and rude coworkers. Despite the occasional hate for her job’s issues, Retsuko still works her butt off and then chills out by singing her soul out to death metal…relatable, right? All jokes aside, in Aggressive Retsuko, we see a hard worker being trounced by her company and, isn’t that a feeling many of us have at work? Goes to show you that even anime red pandas can understand our pains of daily life and the need for making it to the top even if that battle seems unwinnable.
Belting it Out, One Song at a Time
A common line we hear from non-anime fans is that there isn’t an anime for them to enjoy. Folks, that line is truly and 100% untrue! Regardless of your preference in anime, we here at Honey’s Anime can always match an anime to a person. Even if you’re a rocker who wishes to go on stage one day and perform to millions, there is an anime for you to sync with. Even behind our keyboards, we can feel the doubt but, as always folks, we have proof and here are just a few examples.
Beck, Given, and Nana are series embodying the concept of getting on stage and becoming world-famous. These three shows are just a few examples of music-oriented anime but those who struggle with the musical world and the trials it contains often hear themselves behind these fictional rockers. The main point, though, is that whether you’re a music enthusiast or a person with simpler dreams of just selling an album one day, anime can sing to any audience and capture someone within. Once that viewer is taken in by the tune of the series, they begin to realize…wow, that is character is you, just with crazier hair and outlandish anime-only proportions.
Young or Old Doesn’t Apply
Many of us anime fans know there is one age group that its pretty hard to sell the idea of anime to…older folks. Unless they grew up in the age of Tetsujin 28-go or Eightman—look those series up if you need to—then getting them to watch anime can be tough. We’ve had the gambit of excuses from older folks on why they don’t watch anime but we know of a solution to make them finally enjoy some Japanese animation! You need to find series with older protagonist, and we have some!
If you need a series with an older main character to resonate with then let’s look at Inuyashiki, Kokkoku and/or Master Keaton! These shows all have older characters that show even older folks can find themselves in the world of anime. Kokkoku has a literal grandfather who can teleport and tries to take care of his family despite his weaker body. Inuyashiki might be sci-fi with its main man becoming a literal robot but the pains he deals with in regards to his distant family is something many could relate to. Don’t ever let the phrase ‘anime is made for the youth’ stop you from getting into anime. We have some grandparents here at Honey’s Anime that have watched both classical series and newer age ones and love them nonetheless!
Anime might be art and animation done by a team of humans behind a desk/computer but their creations are meant to show us another world beyond ours. Often, these created characters with spiky hair or huge oppai might be considered laughable but their traits in their respective shows can be comparable to our own ideals/beliefs.
Next time you’re watching a series like Gleipnir or Darling in the FranXX, sit down and pay close attention—not to the fan service—and you might find that a character on screen is you on many levels. Then, when you accomplish that mission, let us know in the comments below what character feels like you but in anime form! If you like this article, we have many more for you to read here at the truly amazing Honey’s Anime!