I’ve always been obsessed with many things in my life. I have a passion for drawing, writing, reading, and music. I also have a passion for physical activity, travelling, and life adventures. It all started when I was a little child. I didn’t listen to what adults said to me, because I used to be a mischievous little girl who only cared about running free and liked to play with dirt and mug. Actually, that hasn’t changed at all even though I’ve grown up a little since then. Today I’m still a dreamer--someone called me a stupid believer--but I prefer to be true and live life to the fullest in my own way than be what society expects me to be.
Freedom, independence, overcoming your limits to become stronger and stronger, the will to not give up when you feel hopeless--that’s what anime was able to teach me and what they mean to me even now. I can proudly say that anime is a big part of my life and that it is one of the elements which influenced most of the decisions I’ve taken in my life. “Proudly” because there are few people who can understand the passion for this particular kind of art considered childish by the most.
Many times classmates and relatives pulled my leg just because I spent whole days creating stories, characters, reading manga, and watching anime. But I think they simply can’t understand that there’s nothing wrong with letting that sincere part of you that still believes fantasy is a necessary part for feeding your spirit. Actually, it’s me who didn’t understand how can’t people be touched by Lady Oscar’s struggles, Sailor Moon’s romantic soul, or Goku’s spirit of sacrifice. In my opinion, anime such as Captain Harlock, Kenshiro, Rayheart, Ghost in the Shell, and Tōkyō Ghoul could easily be worth the title of masterpiece of the worldwide television literature, but we were taught to categorize animation as “kid’s stuff”.
Well, by the way, I’m not here to judge people’s tastes when I’ve hated being judged for all my life. I’m here to introduce you to my world and all those wonderful stories that moved me, changed my life, and made my perspective broader.
Only for you, my super personal anime compilation from childhood to now!
5. Captain Tsubasa (Flash Kicker)
- Episodes: 128
- Aired: Oct. 1983 – Mar. 1986
Many of you weren’t even born when Captain Tsubasa aired – actually, I wasn’t born, as well – but it was more than famous in my country back in the nineties! For those of you who don’t know, Captain Tsubasa is the story of a young elementary school boy, Tsubasa Ōzora, who’s fond for soccer and dreams about moving to Brazil to learn how to play as a real champion. One day Roberto, a friend of Tsubasa’s father who had temporarily moved to Japan after an accident, sees the little boy playing and decides to become his mentor. To be able to realize his dream, Tsubasa will have to fight with all his strength against the strongest Japanese junior players in order to show himself worth of Roberto’s teachings.
As all spokon, Captain Tsubasa’s plot is very simple and, maybe, also a little childish, but it’s a story about a boy’s pure desire to make his wishes come true. And to achieve that dream he’s determined to do everything, even when it’s hard to stay strong and focus on the objective. That’s the lesson I’ve learnt thanks to Tsubasa and his friends; it doesn’t matter how far you have to run to reach the goal or how many times you’ll end up falling, if you really believe in something and work hard to make it real, that’s definitely going to come true!
4. Gensoumaden Saiyuuki (Saiyuki)
- Episodes: 50
- Aired: Apr. 2000 – Mar. 2001
A long, long time ago there was a land called Tōgenkyō where humans and demons could live together peacefully. One day a strange anomaly began to spread across those lands infecting demons’ mind. The harmony between the two races ended when demons, in the grip of madness, started attacking humans and plotted to bring the King of demoniac reign, Gyumao, back to life. To keep that from happening, the deity Kanzeon Bosatsu summons Genjō Sanzo, a rogue priest with a very dirty mouth, and assigns him the mission to take Son Gokū, Sha Gojyo and Cho Hakkai – three demons – with him and embark on a journey to the west to restore the balance between humans and demons.
I was a junior high student when Saiyūki has been aired the first time and I can honestly say that it was one of the main reasons why I’ve started to get interested in Asian literature, legends, and religions. More specifically Chinese and Japanese ones. Saiyūki is a story based on Buddhist beliefs in which characters often quote teachings contained in the Lotus Sutra, one of the most important Buddhist manuscript existing, so it’s perfect if you want to get to the heart of Asian culture as it’s seen by Japan’s eyes. But be sure to have some tissue with you because Saiyūki can be very dramatic!
3. Free! (Free! – Iwatobi Swim Club)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jul. 2013 – Sep. 2013
Free! is Haruka Nanase’s story, a high school student in love with water and swimming. Together with his childhood friends Makoto Tachibana, Nagisa Hazuki, and Rin Matsuoka he took part to a relay race when they were still junior high students. After winning the race, the group of friends had to separate for some time, before meeting again in high school, except for Rin. Excited about the reunion, Nagisa and Makoto decides to start a swimming club, but Haruka claims he has given up swimming competitively. Maybe the reason lies in Rin’s sudden change; he seems now to hate his old mates and is obsessed with proving himself better than Haruka.
Not about many spokon can be said they have a deep plot and well-structured characters, but Free! – especially its second season Free!: Eternal Summer (that’s actually my favorite of the two) – is a different matter and this is one of the main reasons why I love it so much. There are times in your life when you need to take an important decision to move forward, but the path to your future is always paved with doubts and fear of failures. Characters in Eternal Summer face this stage of transition, most of all Haruka, who’s paralyzed by his own incapability to understand what’s the best for him.
As Haruka, all of us goes through this particular moment of our life and has to struggle for happiness. Lately, I went through this moment many times and I must thank also Eternal Summer if I was able to deal with it and find at least a little self-confidence.
2. Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan)
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Apr. 2013 – Sep. 2013
Here’s one of my favorite shōnen anime of all times. I watched it so many times that I know most of the lines by heart! Based on the manga of the same name by Hajime Isayama, Shingeki no Kyojin is a story about the last survivors of humanity and their fight for freedom. Feeling caged between tall walls erected to prevent themselves from being eaten by mindless titans who wander on the other side, Eren Jaeger, a young boy whose mother got killed during an invasion of titans, and his childhood friends Mikasa Ackerman, and Armin Arlert will join the Survey Corps, an anti-titan military force, to exterminate them all and take back that freedom that was taken away from humanity.
Stories like Shingeki no Kyojin are pretty intense and it’s easy to identify yourself with characters having the will to change the situation they’re caged in, although being reluctant and totally scared by the cruelty of the world. Changes always require a sacrifice and there’s no way to know how things would turn out after a choice is taken, so the only thing we can do is to move forward and hope for the best. Actually, Eren can’t accept that rhetoric very well and he gives all he has to make things turn the way he would like them to be. But unluckily, the world is a wicked place and he’s still too reckless, impulsive and naïve to decode it. I think I can easily empathize with Eren when it comes to rush into things without even thinking, so I consider him my little stupid brother…
1. Bishōjo Senshi Sailor Moon
- Episodes: 46
- Aired: Mar. 1992 – Feb. 1993
Aaand the top of my list could only be for my favorite anime of all time: Bishōjo Senshi Sailor Moon! Sailor Moon really represents everything I’ve always wanted to be in my life, that is a strong, independent and powerful woman who’s able to take care of the ones she loves and to deal with any kind of situation. Sailor Moon follows Usagi Tsukino and the Sailor Warriors’ adventures. One day, the clumsy Usagi, still a junior high student, happens to meet Luna, a mysterious cat able to speak human language. Luna will grant her the power to transform into Sailor Moon and will give her a dangerous mission to accomplish: to find the Moon Princess and to stop the evil plan of the Dark Kingdom ruled by the evil Queen Beryl to destroy humanity. With her friends’ love and support, Usagi will be able to overcome the hardest battles.
Sailor Moon is definitely an unforgettable masterpiece. Not only is it an amazing story about friendship, but it’s also one of the oldest anime to have covered topics still relevant today, such as women’s empowerment, gender, and homosexuality, that are all very dear to me. Through the Sailor Senshi’s growth, Sailor Moon tries to inspire new generations of young ladies to get in control of their life without fearing the unknown and the different. Moreover, Usagi’s strength and kindness, tolerance and determination are an example those values coming from a broader perspective that not only women, but all people from a society aspiring to live in harmony with each other should possess.
Whoever said that anime are just a “kid’s stuff” has probably never watched one of the works listed above. Anime is not just about childishness but culture. It’s a source of emotions. It’s the world of fantasy, and it’s something that can help you not to forget that you still need to dream in your life even if you’re a grown-up.
So I’m really happy to be able to share my passion with you all writing about something that means so much to me. And I hope I’ll have the chance to do it forever!
Minna-san, kore kara mo yoroshiku onegai shimasu!