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A new year is almost upon us, and with it come tidings of hope and a fresh start for everyone. While many people are eager to make New Year’s resolutions in the moment, the majority of them will have failed these promises by the end of the very next month! If you’re one of those who plan on making a resolution for the new year, this can seem rather discouraging. A resolution is supposed to help you improve your life – which can be rather difficult if you’re unable to follow through!
Fear not, dear readers! While we at Honey’s Anime might not be able to personally motivate each and every one of you in your New Year’s goals, we’ve compiled a list of inspirational anime characters that might help! Each of these characters has achieved their personal resolutions and goals in their own way, often overcoming significant obstacles. We tried to vary our list a bit to include characters with physical, mental, and emotional goals. And if you’re having trouble coming up with your own personal New Year’s resolution, perhaps one of these characters could inspire you further!
10. Vegeta from Dragon Ball Z
- Episodes: 291
- Air Date: Apr. 1989 – Jan. 1996
Goku is all set to live out a peaceful life with his wife and his son, when an unexpected visitor named Raditz appears. Raditz claims that he is Goku’s long-lost brother, that they are both Saiyans and that Goku was originally sent to destroy Earth. Although Goku is shocked at this, he refuses to join Raditz. Raditz then tells Goku and his friends of a threat quickly approaching Earth, one that could destroy them all. And thus, the war for the seven mysterious dragon balls begins!
Vegeta is well-known among fans of the Dragon Ball series as the villainous Saiyan prince. Although he is arrogant, rude and prideful, he does change throughout the course of events, eventually joining Goku and friends to fight alongside them as a hero. Vegeta is an inspiration because of how much he grows in the series. He continues to improve himself through training, and allows himself to admit when he needs improvement. Vegeta has the heart of a warrior, allowing him to face new fears and challenges head-on while many others might balk. One of our favorite inspirational Vegeta quotes comes from episode 145, during the Imperfect Cell Saga – “I do not fear this new challenge. Rather, like a true warrior, I will rise to meet it!” Imagine if we faced our own trials in life with that resolve!
9. Gintoki Sakata from Gintama
- Episodes: 201
- Air Date: Apr. 2006 – Mar. 2010
A race of aliens called the Amanto have invaded feudal Japan and taken over the country, prohibiting swords all across the nation. As a result, samurai have become useless. Yet even with so many turning from the samurai, Gintoki Sakata will not give up his way of life! Although he must accept all sorts of odd jobs to get by, Gintoki still has the noble heart of a samurai beating in his chest. Along with his new companions Shinpachi Shimura, Kagura and a giant dog named Sadaharu, there’s no telling what sort of trouble this group will get into next!
Gintoki may act rather foolish at times, but he is a skilled and powerful samurai, having fought in past wars. His past greatly influences how he carries himself in the present. Although Gintoki is rather lazy and gets into many unfavorable situations, he is also quite loyal and tries to help people as much as he can. He is protective of his friends, though he sees no value in his own life, being willing to throw it away for others. Despite all of his many flaws, Gintoki has continued to show the samurai spirit in an age where being a samurai was looked down upon. He doesn’t care what others think, only acting based on what he believes to be right. Gintoki shows us the strength that comes with embracing who we are.
8. Lucy Heartfilia from Fairy Tail
- Episodes: 175
- Air Date: Oct. 2009 – Mar. 2013
Among all the guilds with magic in the land of Fiore, Fairy Tail is entirely unique – although not always in a good way! It is one of the most rambunctious and destructive guilds around, but it also known as a place of strength and family. Lucy Heartfilia is a young celestial mage who has always dreamed of joining Fairy Tail and being counted among the ranks of powerful wizards. Through a rather unfortunate series of events, she ends up being abducted! But when she is saved by Natsu Dragneel and his friend Happy, they reveal that they are members of Fairy Tail and can help Lucy get in to the guild! Will Fairy Tail live up to Lucy’s expectations?
Lucy has an adventurous spirit, which helped her leave her rich family home and travel until she could find a way to join Fairy Tail. She strives to be independent and kind, treating the celestial spirits under her contract as friends rather than tools to be used. Lucy is also much more powerful than she seems, being able to summon multiple spirits at one time. She is an inspiration because of her determination to strive toward her dreams, even when she has to follow a more unconventional path. Though Lucy’s father disapproved of her joining Fairy Tail originally, Lucy left home to choose the path she believed was right.
7. Haruhi Fujioka from Ouran Koukou Host Club (Ouran High School Host Club)
- Episodes: 26
- Air Date: Apr. 2006 – Sep. 2006
Entering the prestigious Ouran High School is an honor awarded to only those among the elite class. Haruhi Fujioka is the exception to that rule, having been allowed attendance to the school thanks to a scholarship. One day, Haruhi is searching for a quiet place to study and stumbles upon Music Room #3. It is there that she discovers the unusual members of the Host Club. Haruhi accidentally breaks an expensive vase in her haste to leave, and becomes indebted to the club, being forced to join as one of its members!
Haruhi is both intelligent and wise, especially when compared to her fellow Host Club members. In fact, she was intelligent and hard-working enough to be allowed into Ouran High School when she is actually rather poor! She continues to study hard throughout the series, even among all the crazy antics her club members get her into. Haruhi earns the attention of many people, not only because of her looks but because she is a kind, smart, and caring person. She teaches us that if we study hard and are diligent, we can achieve any number of academic goals, no matter our social status.
6. Natsu Dragneel from Fairy Tail
- Episodes: 175
- Air Date: Oct. 2009 – Mar. 2013
Natsu Dragneel is the main focus of Fairy Tail, along with his friends Lucy, Erza, Gray and Happy. Natsu has been searching for Igneel, a dragon who became his adopted father when he was just a child. Although Natsu is antagonistic and loves fighting, he is also quite compassionate, having been known to forgive or even help his enemies when the situation arises. He picks fights with the stronger members of Fairy Tail often to test his strength. Natsu has strong bonds with his fellow guild members, considering them all to be a part of his family.
Despite being prone to motion sickness on transportation, Natsu is actually quite powerful and uses each experience to help himself grow. Throughout the course of the series, Natsu is repeatedly recognized as one of the strongest characters, especially in dire situations. While Natsu can have rather simple goals, his determination to always improve is what makes him so inspiring. It appears that no matter what goal Natsu sets for himself, he will achieve it!
5. Korosensei from Ansatsu Kyoushitsu (Assassination Classroom)
- Episodes: 22
- Air Date: Jan. 2015 – Jun. 2015
The students of class 3-E at Kunugigaoka Middle School were always degraded for their low grades and poor performance. But when an unusual creature destroys most of the moon, these downtrodden students are given a task – assassinate the creature before they graduate. Their target becomes their teacher, called Korosensei. He has superhuman powers, able to fly at speeds of Mach 20 and sporting weird tentacles with protective skin. A tale of a group of students growing into their own, Assassination Classroom is just as humorous as it is poignant and emotional.
Korosensei is talented in every sense of the word. Before he changed form, he was a master assassin in his own right. In his current form, he is powerful, intelligent and able to beat almost anyone he is put up against. Yet Korosensei chooses to use his gifts to teach the students of class 3-E to rise to their own strengths. He was a steadfast figure in his students’ lives, encouraging them even in their task of assassinating him! Through both Korosensei’s teachings and his own life, we learn that everyone can be great if they are given a chance, that each person has their own talents where they shine.
4. Rock Lee from Naruto
- Episodes: 220
- Air Date: Oct. 2002 – Feb. 2007
Next on our list is the story of the knuckleheaded, hyperactive ninja, Naruto Uzumaki. The Nine-Tailed fox demon Kyuubi was wreaking havoc on the village of Konoha. To protect the citizens, the Fourth Hokage sacrificed his life and sealed the beast inside the newborn Naruto. Feared and hated by most of the villagers for his entire childhood, Naruto grew up a loner. But Naruto has a dream to become the next Hokage, and he will continue to reach for his goal no matter what!
Rock Lee is a shinobi in the same village and age group as Naruto, but vastly different in his abilities. While most shinobi can learn genjutsu, taijutsu and ninjutsu in some form, Lee is unable to perform anything but taijutsu. Lee is an optimistic and kind person, but was often looked down upon for his lacking ninja skills. Yet he still strove to become a powerful shinobi using only taijutsu, training harder than anyone else to earn the respect of his peers. At one point, he was told he would never be able to fight as a shinobi again, but his strength of will and hard work in training allowed him to recover from serious injury! Lee is truly an inspiration, particularly for anyone with obstacles blocking their dreams. If you work hard, you can do anything you set your mind to!
3. Saitama from One Punch Man
- Episodes: 12
- Air Date: Oct. 2015 – Dec. 2015
Saitama is a completely average unemployed man, with one unusual hobby – he is a genuine hero! After training unceasingly for three years, Saitama was able to achieve the peak of his power. Unfortunately, he is so strong that he beats everyone he faces in only one punch, and it has gotten rather boring for him. When a young cyborg named Genos decides to be Saitama’s disciple, life gets a little more exciting for the pair. Will Saitama ever find someone who will be a worthy opponent?
Saitama is the most relatable hero around, spending most of his free time lazing around or shopping at a discount in the supermarket. The reason that Saitama became so powerful was due to his discipline in training (which is also the reason that he became bald). This change leads us to believe that anyone could become like Saitama if you were willing to train hard enough. Talk about an inspiration to go to the gym every day!
2. Edward Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
- Episodes: 64
- Air Date: Apr. 2009 – Jul. 2010
When brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric set out to learn the forbidden secrets of alchemy, they are not prepared for what dangers they find. The Elrics seek to bring their mother back from the dead – but the law of alchemy requires that for something to be obtained, something of equal value must be lost. Thanks to their disastrous failed experiment, Ed loses a leg and Al loses his soul. Ed transmutes one arm in order to bind his brother’s soul to a suit of armor, and the brothers are left worse off than when they had started… Flash forward a few years later, as the Elric brothers seek a way to get their bodies back. They begin to seek the mysterious Philosopher’s Stone, which is said to overcome the laws of alchemy. Little do they know that their search will lead them down an even darker path, one that affects the fate of the whole nation!
Edward and his brother Alphonse have undergone so much horror in their lifetime. Their search to somehow get their bodies back is an emotional and traumatic experience, especially after they uncover the truth behind Philosopher Stones. Yet both brothers are surprisingly resourceful, taking care of each other efficiently and still finding time to achieve in alchemy. Though Edward has his own shortcomings, particularly about being called short, he also has strength to his spirit that is inspiring. When a girl named Rose despairs over whom to rely on in her life or where to go next, Ed tells her, “You’ll have to decide for yourself. Walk on your own. Move forward. You’ve got a strong pair of legs, Rose. You should get up and use them.” That strength in self-reliance is something we can all learn from!
1. Naruto Uzumaki from Naruto
- Episodes: 220
- Air Date: Oct. 2002 – Feb. 2007
Coming in at the first spot on our list we have the ultimate ninja, who overcame all adversity to achieve his dreams! Naruto Uzumaki is a character we should strive to be like in a number of ways. He is kind and compassionate, despite being a bit foolish and hardheaded. Although he began his life as an outcast shunned by his village because of the sealed demon within him, Naruto gains the respect and friendship of many people in Konoha as time goes on. He is said to have a personality that draws people to him, particularly those who have suffered in life like he has, like Sasuke Uchiha or Gaara. He is always striving toward his goal of becoming Hokage, no matter what people around him may say. And because of his unique fighting techniques, as well as the Nine-Tailed Fox’s power, Naruto is able to continue to improve throughout the series.
Even with all of his inspirational attributes and achievements, the best thing about Naruto is the optimism that he always exudes. Before Naruto graduated from the Academy, he was sad most of the time, spending long periods in solitude because others feared him. But when his sensei Iruka became the first person to acknowledge and root for Naruto, he started to see that he might actually be able to achieve his dream. One by one, Naruto was able to win people over, gaining more friends with each passing day. That was all thanks to his personality, rooted in the optimism that he would one day achieve his goal through hard work and dedication. This sort of bright look at our day-to-day lives and our own goals is something we all need in our lives, and it’s why we’ve placed Naruto at our top spot on this list!
So, what do you think of our list? Which anime character do you find most inspiring? And be sure to share your ideas for New Year’s resolutions in the comments below. We would love to hear your goals for the upcoming year!