Sunday, September 11, 2011

Anime that makes you Feel Good #1


With all the unrest in the world, the unease with the economic downturn and the changing fundamental nature of how we interact with each other the world right now is a pretty scary place. The unrest, unease, and the volatility of today’s world make it very stressful for many of us. It is compounded by very popular anime, manga, TV shows, movies, and videogames whose central premise is a dark storyline in a bleak world. All this negativity creates a self-fulfilling prophesy that spirals into thinking negatively and being negative. This series of articles focuses on anime that makes you feel good when watching it. I want to stop this spiral of negativity by introducing shows that make you feel good about humanity and will motivate you to do better and be a better person. Without further ado, here are 5 excellent anime that makes you feel good.

Kaleido Star

I cannot emphasize this, but Kaleido Star is one of the best feel good anime out there. The anime stars Sora Naegino, a Japanese immigrant who goes to America to join a circus called the Kaleido Stage. In the circus, she learns about the dark side of the fun of circuses; there is jealously, backstabbing, power grabbing, and bullying. Instead of falling into the cycle of the environment around her, she challenges the status quo through hard work and resilience. Sora teaches us that hard work can bring us to new highs and it can challenge the traditional paradigms of people who try to undermine us. As the series goes forward, she has to deal with ever more difficult challenges in which failure can lead to catastrophe. In the end, we see Sora succeed, not because of some inherent genius or because of destiny, but because of her hard work and her willingness to change the world around her.

One Piece

Of all the shounen series out there, One Piece is very special. One Piece is the highest selling manga of all time, and for good reason. The story of One Piece centers on Luffy and the Straw Hat Pirates to journey around the world in search of One Piece, the greatest treasure in the world. As Luffy goes around the world, he deals with an eclectic mix of friends and enemies who challenges him towards his goal. What makes One Piece such a great series is that it focuses on the best aspects of human nature, which is loyalty, friendship, ambition, and kindness. Luffy and his gang cannot leave a bad situation when it happens, so they do the best they can to stop it. What makes One Piece such a great feel good anime is that it does focus on loyalty and friendship, parts of human nature that is slowly being driven away with the advent of the internet age. We are drawn to the adventures of the Straw Hat Pirates because they do represent the greatest aspects of human nature. One Piece is the highest selling manga of all time because it represents universal themes that we can all relate to and aspire to be.

Summer Wars

Summer Wars is a movie that came out of nowhere, I didn’t know what to expect and I left very pleased with this extraordinary movie. Summer Wars is about Kenji and Natsuki, and how they deal with a worldwide catastrophe. In the world of Summer Wars, they use a virtual world where they interact and go about our daily lives. After this virtual world is hacked into and causes irreparable damage, Kenji and Natsuki use the power of family to change the world. Summer Wars has two great themes that make it such a great fell good anime, family and networks. Throughout the movie, the person who watches the film gets a strong understanding of Natsuki’s family. They are a very complex family, with their own squabbles and faults. As the world around them crumbles, they start relying on each other and their close bond is what saves the world. It shows us that even with our differences and little squabbles; we can all rally together for a greater cause. The second major theme in Summer Wars is the importance of the networks around us; Natsuki’s Grandmother uses her networks that she built around her to bring some stability to the town. We are so dependent on using the internet, and Summer Wars teaches us that the best relationships we should keep and continue to build is our human relationships we share.

Gurren Lagaan

Gurren Lagaan is one of the most popular mecha anime ever made. The anime had it all, beautiful girls, great action, wonderful storytelling, and it had an underlying message that we can all relate to, which is the power of the human spirit. Over the course of the storyline, the lead characters go through so much and they persevere through incredible odds. We as people do many things that may not be excusable or explainable, but Gurren Lagaan shows that humanity is capable of many great things because of our incredible spirit and drive. Kamina and Simon did what they did because of a universal desire for freedom. The Anime also shows us that with great freedom come great challenges to it. There is a reason why Gurren Lagaan is recommended among many anime fans, because it does make you feel good about the power of the human spirit.

Angel Beats!

When Angel Beats came out, it was extremely popular and it was referenced by many people as one of the best anime out there. It put PA Works out there as a studio to look out for. It stars older teens in this purgatory-like world shaped like a school, fighting a creature they call angel, preventing themselves from disappearing. At first, the story sounds like a dark cynical story that is about people who died tragically, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. The story is about older teens that died unfulfilled lives, doing the best they can with the situation they have. Against incredible odds, they challenge the greatest demon that they have, the guilt and pain they felt before dying, the unfulfilled spirit from within. Angel Beats is about the greatness of human nature, and how we can overcome even the gravest situation. It is an anime that isn’t about death, but it is about our desire to live. It was an anime that ended too short, but it was one heck of a ride that anyone should experience.

There are many more feel good anime series out there, tell me your recommendations so I can have it in my next column. Feel free to comment recommendations or email me at kriszphotography@gmail.com

1 comment:

amateur_cameko said...

Aria is my soothing anime series, especially Aria the Origination