Writing Prompt: Do you think anime can change someone’s life?

For once I found an interesting question to write about. It’s something I’ve thought about before, and I’ve seen this sort of concept mentioned several times as well, anime or not.

Can anime change someone’s life?

First off, the question is open to interpretation. Taken at face value, the answer is clearly yes, in that watching anime takes up time one could spend doing other things, and so technically it’s caused a “change” in one’s life.

For example, I’ve watched anime on and off for the past 9 years or so, and I’ve been writing about anime on this blog for the past 4 years. So there’s no question that anime has changed my life in that it’s taken up thousands of hours of my life. It’s also indirectly lead to me becoming a better writer, living in Japan for a few years, and likely more to come (future trips to Japan definitely happening!)

But I think the spirit of this question is aimed at the idea of changing one’s life; the way they live, how they view the world, their personality, or something like that. Like watching that anime caused a change in the viewer and who they are.

When I read the phrase “this anime changed my life“, which is not that uncommon to read when someone’s writing about one of their beloved anime, it often sounds like the anime actually invoked a change in the way the person lives their life. (Although I feel like many people say this, but it’s not actually true in the literal sense.)

And in this context, I can’t really say much from experience. Personally, while I love anime, and have spent a lot of my life watching or writing about it, I can say for sure that anime has never caused me to change who I am or how I live. It’s certainly elicited emotions from me; like sadness, feeling pumped up and motivated, and more. But I feel like who I am, my values, and so on hasn’t been changed or shaped by any anime – in the same way that no video game or movie has changed me. Because to me, it’s entertainment.

So it’s hard for me to answer the question using my personal experience.

That said, if we were to play the numbers game here, I have to imagine that there is at least one person out there who really took the core messages of an anime to heart; for better or worse. There are so many anime out there that do such a good job of drawing out our emotions, or making us think, or developing characters that we become attached to, and much more.

It’d be hard to believe that no one has ever been affected by one or more of these things to the point that they themselves change in some way or another.

And so, my answer is that, if we define “change” to mean caused someone to change the way they live their live, who they are, their values, or something along those lines, I don’t believe that anime has changed my life.

But I certainly do believe that anime can change someone’s life.


What do you think?
And has your life been changed by anime?

It’s certainly an interesting topic, and I’d love to hear any stories on how an anime (or anime in general) had an impact on your life, if you have any.

Until next time,
Thanks for reading.

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14 thoughts on “Writing Prompt: Do you think anime can change someone’s life?

  1. I have the same experience as you, more or less. While I can definitely say that there have been certain anime that helped overcome rough situations valiantly (Digimon Adventure and Love Live: School Idol Project), for the most part I’ve just gotten lessons to reflect and think upon; or find myself relating to a character and their struggles with my own (as did 5 Centimeters Per Second last year). Other than that, nothing really substantial changed. Not that it’s useless, but maybe I just haven’t found one which was particularly profound.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah there are certainly some anime and some moments that can be thought provoking or produce an interesting train of thought, but don’t shape my worldview. And of course, that’s not necessarily the goal of most anime anyways.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. True, having that “thought-provoking” aspect feels more as a bonus than a necessity. It doesn’t always need to go deep-end to be good, for isekai such as “Rising Of The Shield Hero” still manage to grab a great plot in its place; but when it does, and uses it rightly, it can greatly enhance the value and timelessness and keep me from twiddling during an episode’s runthrough. “Nadia: Secret Of Blue Water” is a recent example of this, if you’ve seen it 🙂

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      2. Yep, nothing wrong with “brainless” entertainment at times. Shounen are pretty much the epitome of that, and they can be a great time, but then even shounen can have some really emotional or interesting moments that elevate the status quo for a short while.
        I know of Nadia but haven’t seen it.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. That’s true, as BNHA has shown to be. I don’t know about you, but I find most shonen these days to be a shell of what it was like back in say, 2007. I get very different vibes when I see the action sequences and the twists compared to before – what do you think?

        I think you might like “Nadia: Secret Of Blue Water” if you’re looking to find an adventure series with the odd edgy theme or two thrown in. Honestly think that Hideaki Anno (yep, *that* Anno) really outdid himself with this story, and I found myself enjoying it personally after the first quarter of it.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Personally I don’t feel like the genre has changed all that much, I think that I view it differently now just from being exposed to so many episodes of various shonen anime. Like it doesn’t have as much of an impact now compared to before.

        I’ll keep that in mind about Nadia, thanks.

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  2. I would say it has changed my life. Not only did I go on to specialise in Japanese popular culture at uni, I also joined the anime and manga club (my only consistent club during my uni years, even during COVID) after the club at my high school didn’t take off and I eventually went on to do a Master’s in Translation, which I wouldn’t have done without getting into the anime and manga fandom and trying translation for myself. Without my passion for my hobbies, I’d have probably picked up (simplified) Chinese again and gone on to specialise in that instead.

    In terms of changing core values, I think I’m about on the same level as you – it’s entertainment which makes one think and possibly become more open-minded, but other entertainment can serve the same value.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It’s definitely an interesting discussion when it comes to how anime has influenced people’s life decisions in terms of things like learning Japanese, going to Japan, etc. I’ll bet that’s an area where many fans end up doing something they wouldn’t have otherwise, if it weren’t for anime. It’d be interesting to see how many vacations / trips to Japan by foreigners are (at least in part) thanks to anime, for example.

      It really does a great job at showcasing Japanese culture and garnering interest, even if real life in Japan isn’t quite as it’s depicted in anime.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I think the anime that had the most clear effect on my life had to have been Tokyo Godfathers. Before watching that movie I kind of thought that all homeless people were scary junkies that lived in dark allies and stabbed you if you got too close. I’m ashamed to say that in my younger years I saw people who were homeless more as characters than real people. But Tokyo Godfathers presented the characters in such an organic and natural way that it helped me to understand that people that are homeless are just people. Just like anyone else they aren’t all wide eyed lambs that need to be coddled, nor are they scary villains that people should avoid. Years after watching Tokyo Godfathers the library I was working for at the time was looking for volunteers to work on an out reach program to go to homeless shelters to hand out book donations, and I volunteered to go. I don’t think I would have done that if I had never seen Tokyo Godfathers.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That’s a really cool story. Homeless people in anime makes me think of Hinamatsuri, which had some very cute moments with Anzu.

      And that makes several of us who ended up doing things that they probably wouldn’t have if it weren’t for anime.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. lacartoonlover11

    I think it depends on everyone’s experience. For example, I love anime, even if I prefer cartoons (my favorite is Steven Universe): watching this series has profoundly changed me, but for various personal reasons, plot and episodes. So, I think everyone should answer this question for themselves 🙂

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