2018 has been an anime intensive year, and 2019 doesn’t seem like it will be stopping that train. Anime is going through many phases right now. The Isekai trend is balancing out, and we are able to see more different/complex anime.
As an anime Youtuber, I watch a lot of anime. I wanted to talk about some of the gems that help promote the image of hope and happiness. Anime characters can face the reality of mental health issues, that is managed throughout different series. The ways these characters manage their own mental health is something that can be practiced in our own lives. The following anime listed touch on both hope and difficulty, and continuously inspire their audiences.
The Ryuo’s Work is Never Done!
This may be an anime some of you may not have heard of, but I was genuinely surprised how much I enjoyed it. Project No. 9 is a studio known for their cute art and stories like Ro-kyu-bu. They definitely follow Moe culture and I think they nailed it with The Ryuo’s Work is Never Done!
We follow the story of Yaichi Kuzuryu–a prodigy in Shogi. He won the Ryūō title at the age of 16, and finds himself in a slump. Amidst everything, Ai Hinatsuru (9 y.o.), finds him and begs him to be her master. Because of Yaichi’s slump he has this constant stress of not performing; which we are given glimpses of throughout the show. This built-up stress does end up becoming too much, and results in Yaichi lashing out. I remember thinking how human his response was. He is not a perfect person, and we as people may leave our stress unchecked without seeking help. There is a strong light of hope shining through Ai, who doesn’t leave his side and supports him. This ends up being the way for Yaichi to overcome his anxiety.
I found this series to have some of the most human characters of 2018. Yaichi and Ai aside, the side characters also undergo their own challenges–while keeping the message uplifting. It is definitely a show you should give a chance.
I could not make this list without mentioning Violet Evergarden. This may be one of the biggest emotional roller coaster rides of 2018. Showcasing beautiful visuals that demonstrates Kyoto Animation’s capability on creating stunning anime.
Violet Evergarden follows Violet, a child soldier devoid of emotion who slowly learns what they are/the importance of them. The character development that she undergoes is very impactful, because of how she starts from the beginning. We know what emotions she is feeling, which adds even more depth.
When it comes to mental illness, Violet Evergarden really does tackle it head on. Shedding light on amnesia, PTSD, and even Alexithymia. We see Violet as this human being akin to a doll. But the series builds up this image of hope by showing happiness in other characters, and the growth Violet undergoes. She comes to terms with her memories and feelings as she learns more about them each episode.
Every character plays such an integral part in developing Violet, and how she views the world–a story that truly grips you. Once she regains her memories and understands what her emotions are, is probably one of the strongest scenes in the entire anime. Violet Evergarden is undoubtedly an anime that people will talk about for years.
My Hero Academia season 3
You can’t talk about hopeful and inspiring anime without bringing up My Hero Academia. Deku, the main character, is an anxious teenager who is worried about doing his best. Does that sound familiar? It certainly resonated with me.
My Hero Academia has a ragtag group of personalities, so it is very easy to identify with one of the characters. A lot of these characters undergo their own personal struggles. Whether it be thinking they aren’t good enough, compulsively stressing, or simply just being worried about someone. All characters display these emotions, and as a viewer it can be something that reminds us “hey we aren’t alone,” these super heroes have these issues too. They work together to overcome problems, and show that with help they can all get the job done.
Witnessing that genuine strive to become better and work together shows me that we can all achieve something great. A positive mindset and someone to lean on can take you very far. I feel like that is something that isn’t mentioned enough today.
Rascal Does Not Dream Of Bunny Girl Senpai
This is probably one of the most satisfying anime I have watched as of late. If you are familiar with the Monogatari series this anime will bring you back to those days. It’s a relaxed show that lets you see the inner problems a lot of the characters face come to reality.
You see how issues we go through can start to affect the life around us. Of course, the anime does exaggerate, but it comes from a realistic situation. Not wanting to be noticed can lead to you being invisible, maybe fear of being left out of the group makes you repeat events until you get an outcome you agree with. They are all real situations many of us could go through, but with huge repercussions. It’s remarkable witnessing each character come to terms with their own situations, and how they genuinely want to fix it. This is an anime that brought tears to my eyes from how wholesome it is. It was comedic with strong doses of reality, which we can all relate to. Each of these characters grow and find new hope to go back to their lives and move forward. What an anime to end 2018 with.
Steins;Gate is an anime that is really dear to me, and I was truly intrigued when it initially released. This followed the world of a broken Okabe who was scared and distant. Coming from the original series this was a huge shock.
A character that’s usually active develops PTSD and depression was done in a way that you had to feel for him throughout the episodes. But there is a sign of hope that we see as he’s given reason again and is ready to pull out all the stops.
Seeing him go from such a low point, and overcome it for his friends was truly endearing. This only reaffirms Steins;Gate as one of my favorite series. A little bit of bias, but I believe it is warranted.
There was plenty more anime this year that were amazing but I just wanted to mention these gems that seemed relatable and very well done. Happy New Year!