Don’t forget about reality.

I’m back with another one of these lifey blog posts.

Last time I wrote about how we need to make a conceited effort to improve our lives, that we can’t just sit back and wait for things to change or get better on their own.

This time I had another thought that I wanted to write about that’s in a similar vein, but also offers a different perspective.

Post theme:

Don’t forget about reality.

This is essentially the core message behind these posts that I’ve been writing. That’s what I realized.

At first I just had some ideas about how anime portrays life versus real life, and went along that line of thinking. But now I’ve realized that this really is the essence of what I’ve been writing about.

I was thinking about this today.

Today, more than ever, people are turning to forms of media such as anime for inspiration. We’re currently in an age where people are more connected, and yet, more disconnected than ever before. People see each other less often, and rely on the Internet for not just entertainment but actual social interaction.

It’s strange, isn’t it?

People are so connected to the Internet, that they become disconnected from the reality around them.

But that brings me to my original point, which is that more and more people now are influenced by, and taking inspiration from: anime (and other forms of media).

We need to stop Dark Reunion before it’s too late…!

Is this going to bring on some sort of chuunibyou apocalypse?
I don’t think so! But I do think that it’s possible for people to become too influenced by anime. I think it’s possible for people like this to start viewing the world through some sort of skewed lens as a result.

This skewed lens I mention is a lot of what I’ve touched upon already, and will likely touch upon even more in future posts. Be it someone who feels like their life isn’t good enough because it doesn’t hold up to the protagonist’s life in an anime, or someone who thinks that their life will magically get better if they just wait like it did for many characters in anime…

We can’t let unrealistic expectations cloud our perspective on reality.

The point I wanted to make is just to remember that anime is anime, and it’s not real. I know that there are a lot of impressionable kids in high school or even younger that watch a lot of anime because it’s so popular now… so I feel like this message is important, and will continue to become more important.

Real life isn’t as exciting as anime.
Or at least, it often won’t feel that way.

The thing is, life isn’t easy. But like I’ve mentioned in previous posts, if you want your life to get better, you need to work at it. Unlike in anime, you won’t just be transported to another world where you can live a fantastical life.

I feel like more and more people in the world are going to feel disappointed with themselves, or their own lives, because they watch anime and think that they are missing something, wishing that their life was like it is in anime.

Like I’ve said before, I think that Slice of Life anime is particularly dangerous in that it can lead people to believe that everyday life should be more exciting than it is, and then dwell on the idea that their life sucks in comparison. Actually, I guarantee that there are people that think this way, which is sad to think about.

Anime is designed to be entertaining, to make you feel excited, emotional, whatever it may be. The stories are crafted to make you feel that way, to draw you in and connect you to the characters and their lives. Designed to make the characters feel extraordinary.

But they aren’t real, and we can’t compare our real lives to fictional ones.

Zetsuen no Tempest Yoshino

If you aren’t satisfied with your life as it is now, the solution isn’t to wish your life was more like it is for a character in anime. The solution is to realize that there are steps you can take towards making your life better. Acknowledge that you want to do something about it, take the time to think about your life, and make the effort. Start small, and work towards your goals.

Life is such an amazing thing. A serious blessing.
But we can’t take it for granted.

Like I’ve touched upon in several of my previous posts, it takes effort and commitment to be one of those people that is looked up to by others. It’s not something that just happens randomly out of nowhere.

If someone is unwilling to make an effort here in the real world, then even if they were transported to another world, I’d be willing to bet they still wouldn’t end up putting in an effort. It’d all be a fun experience only until the new day-to-day reality sets in, and their new fantastical life would become just another grind to survive.

seitokai no ichizon paperwork

If an extremely unmotivated and socially inept person was suddenly transported to some fantasy world, do you really think they’d all of the sudden become a hard-working, charismatic hero?

Of course not, despite what several isekai anime may like us to believe.

And the type of change we often see in isekai protagonists is often fake anyways. While it’d be great to have all of the attention, being a powerful hero or whatever in a new world, the reality is that the people wouldn’t be looking up to you because of your personality. They’d be looking up to for because of some fake power you inherited.

The Rising of the Shield Hero actually does a pretty good job at showing this, with the other three heroes that become drunk on the power they’d inherited, as we eventually learn that all three are imbeciles. Only looked up to because of the title, not because they are actually people worth looking up to. Just three fakes who never truly earned or even deserved the title of “hero”.

Motivation and the will to change come from within.

Anyone who says “if only I was in X situation, then I’d be more motivated” is just making an excuse. Certainly, your environment can contribute to a lack of motivation. But if you’ve identified your environment as a problem, then the solution isn’t to complain about it. It’s to take steps and work towards removing yourself from it, or changing it for the better.

Acknowledge that you want to change, take the time to think about your life, and make the effort to change.

If you truly envy the lives of anime characters, then maybe you should seriously look at what it is about their lives that appeals to you, compare it to your own, and seriously think about what you can do to change yourself.

Anime is a lot of fun, it’s an amazing form of media that is only getting more popular by the day. But it’s fiction, and we need to remember that, lest we begin to judge ourselves unfairly.

Don’t forget about reality.
Don’t ignore it, and bury yourself in fiction, either.
Anime is anime, and life is life.

Your life should always come first, even if it gets hard at times or you don’t want to think about it. Sometimes we just have to grit our teeth and get through the hard times. Let’s not put things off anymore and distract ourselves, but instead start making progress towards a better future.

We can still enjoy anime along the way.
I promise it’ll be worth it in the end.

Until next time,
Thanks for reading.

12 thoughts on “Don’t forget about reality.

  1. Personally I usually don’t envy anime people, I find their lives to be too stressful and have too much pressure on them. Plus people are mean and creepy for no reason.
    I might have more envy over how good the friendships and romantic relationships are, they always seem so perfectly loyal to each other, and anxious to help.
    I don’t find the enthusiasm over every day life to be very believable when I watch it, but I always thought that was more of the point, to try to get viewers to see more meaning in the ordinary and enjoy it more, because it’s not likely to change. (Which may actually be more depressing). But I do know a lot of people watch it for escapism primarily and don’t give a lot of thought to how beneficial it really is to focus on fiction so much.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Maybe envy was too strong of a word. More common is likely just that feeling of “I wish I had that”, “If only I had that…”. Not necessarily envy.

      That’s good that you think that way, that it’s not believable. I myself have had thoughts in the past where I’d wished that my high school life had been more like what I’ve seen in anime. At it’s core the idea of enjoying everyday life is good, but anime (as it and any good story should) omits the boring parts.

      Like my last post I guess I just worry that people will begin to think that life is supposed to be as exciting as it seems in anime, and then feel like something is wrong with their own lives.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m not sure if a lot of people “forget” about reality. I know that Asian drama watchers have said that the male leads in the dramas have given them unrealistic expectations of guys, but that’s one of the only examples I can think of. I’ve definitely joked about wishing to be isekai’d but they’re just jokes. Not a lot of people actually want to go through those challenges.

    I think using social media for social interaction is valid. Pre-COVID, I met up with my friends in-person every week but I don’t think social interactions via the internet are any less valid. I don’t see how being connected on the internet –> being out of touch with reality. Maybe you can explain a bit more about that. o:

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Forgetting about reality is just another way of describing escapism. And while it’s likely an extreme minority, I can guarantee that there are people out there who actively ignore reality, instead living their lives through a World of Warcraft character, online persona, or what have you.

      I don’t think that most people would want to be explicitly isekai’d, but the point is just that people who aren’t happy with their lives can get into that head space where everyone else’s situation looks better than their own. “I wish I had that”, “If only I could be in that situation”. Thoughts like that. I just want those people to understand that they can take steps to change, even if it won’t be as easy as anime / media / others can make it appear.
      It’s something that extends outside of anime for sure, but this is an anime blog so I just try to tie it into anime and media in general.

      It’s not that social interaction in the internet isn’t valid. This is an issue that has been taking place ever since the radio. Bowling Alone by Robert Putnam is what always comes to mind when I think about this, and that book touches on it, and how the social capital of American society has been decreasing with the increased consumption of media. There are many other studies on this as well, looking at the effects of social media and the internet on society, such as the potential link between social media and depression. I’m no expert obviously, but there is a big discussion taking place there.

      As for how that could lead to being out of touch with reality, the problem is that if someone gets most, if not all, of their interaction from others over the internet, there’s a good chance they’re only getting a skewed image of how people are. Like how instagram influencers will often make it look like their lives are perfect, people tend to only want to show off the best parts of their lives. While people can also do this in real life to an extent, it’s much more difficult.

      On the Internet, you can be anyone. And everyone else can be anyone. Which can lead to a skewed way to look at things, because you can pose as someone you’re not, and others can do the same, creating a layer of “fakeness” of sorts on top of someone’s perceived reality. Again, people can do this in real life too, but it’s definitely way harder and some things are impossible to fake in real life that are possible to fake on the Internet.
      I’ll also tack on here that now we even have corners of the Internet where people will fervently validate each other, creating these communities where people can just shut out any outside opinions and constantly agree with each other. Just another form of becoming out of touch with reality, albeit not really one I was writing about in the post.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for the long response, Yomu! I appreciate it. ^^

        I agree with everything! I see what you mean now. I agree about the link between social media and depression, as well as how social media depicts a skewed reality. It’s easier to see it with Instagram but I haven’t really thought about it in regard to watching anime, which is why I asked for more clarification from you. I’ve actually been spending less time on Instagram now and prefer Twitter because more people show both the good and bad aspects of their lives. It feels more genuine.

        I also agree that even on Twitter, some people will fake their personality or other aspects of themselves. I mean, you see it a lot with avatar gender and online games. Some people definitely fake it in real life and I’ve caught some people fake online as well, but I agree that online is harder if you do not know that person personally.

        The validating thing you mentioned is really interesting. I haven’t thought about that before. I think the AniBlogging community is really supportive and all very nice to one other. When I see a tweet I dislike or disagree with, I just look the other way. It’s not like I’m going to actively start a fight with someone. In real life, there are more consequences for things and plus most people are not good at hiding their true feelings/facial expressions. Huh, very interesting.

        Well, thank you again Yomu for putting out another thought-provoking post

        Liked by 1 person

      2. No problem, I enjoy these sort of topics so I appreciate the question.

        I wouldn’t say the Aniblogging community is one of those self-validating communities per se. I’m thinking more like how some websites / forums / discords cater to a certain opinion, and ban / remove dissenting opinions, creating those echo chambers for people. Politics is obviously the biggest culprit, but then there are probably communities for flat earthers and stuff like that too.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. You know, there’s a secret flat earth society at my old university (UBC). I joined an online private group just for the memes hahaha. The scary thing was that I couldn’t tell if the posts were serious or not…

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Yeah, I wonder. I think sometimes people stick around in communities like that because they get a sense of belonging. Even if the idea is super niche, or memey, or.. wrong.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I do appreciate this post being a wake-up call to those in need of one, but I doubt change is easy enough for those people that just by being told to do so, they would.

    Also, rather than people despairing over the fact that they’re not anime characters in an anime world, I think the fundamental takeaway is that they’re just unsatisfied with how things are in their own present livelihoods. Not because they’re comparing between the two, but because the latter is just something that they’re not happy about to begin with.

    Anime in this situation is nothing more than a simple distraction. I highly doubt that people would be in demise over the disparity between their world and a fictitious world. They wouldn’t forget their reality either. If anything, they would be even more aware of their reality because of the obvious contrast between the two.

    I’m well aware that the crux of your post is to encourage people to strive to make an effort in everything they do. Thank you for that (even though it’s easier said than done). But I just wanted to say that I disagree with the implication that anime is the reason why people become disillusioned to the point of being disappointed with their own life as a result. It’s more than that, something that’s there with or without anime in the picture. At least, that’s how it was for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not once have I said that change is easy. In this post and my last post, I stress the opposite. That life, and taking charge of it, is not easy and takes a lot of hard work and effort.

      I’m not stating that anime is the cause of someone’s unhappiness, or even that comparisons with anime are the cause of someone’s unhappiness. I’m only pointing out that people can end up putting themselves down even further by making comparisons like that. While I mention anime / media, it’s more than just that. It’s the head space where someone may constantly look at others, be it in media or not, and think things like “I wish I had that”, “If only I was in that situation”, etc. that I’m pointing out.

      So it’s not that they’re in demise because of a fictitious world, its that the fictitious world can lead them to think negative thoughts about their own life because they can’t help but make the comparison. It’s sad but I’m certain there have been people who have had the thought “I hate my life, I wish my life was more like…”. Those are the kind of thoughts I’m talking about.

      So yeah, I think you’ve misunderstood a little in regards to my point. I’m not saying anime is the reason, just that anime and media in general can lead to people feeling disappointed in themselves, to feeling like something in their life is wrong or missing. The latter half of my post is just trying to say that people who have thoughts like that should instead try and look at themselves and think about what they can do to put themselves into the situation they want to be in, instead of just wishing for it, comparing themselves to others, and taking no action in the end.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yup I get that the whole point is to not compare yourself with others and that if you want to do better you’ll have to put in the work.

        I just didn’t agree with the way you said it is all. I know you mean good Yomu so thanks 🙂 Sorry if I sounded rude or anything!

        Liked by 1 person

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