Alright, weebs, it’s time for us all to reach our peak and power up by using the medium of anime as inspiration and motivation to push us and go beyond! Plus Ultra!
Today I will be going through some of my favourite anime series, and their specific episodes that I find particularly good for motivation and getting me inspired.
I went through a bit of an emotional low earlier this year and I credit anime — and VTubers, actually — as being one of the biggest driving forces in wanting to get myself into better shape and take steps to become a better version of myself.
My Hero Academia – Season 1 Episode 2
The very first season of My Hero Academia hit some real emotional notes for me and I found myself easily relating to Deku throughout the first 2 episodes — I don’t know, I found it easy to put myself into the shoes of a powerless person surrounded by all of these amazing people.
The story starts with Izuku Midoriya, or Deku, being introduced as a powerless person in a society where 90% of people are born with some form of innate power, or Quirk, as they’re called in the series. Deku, despite having no power, looks up to the heroes of the world and still believes that it is some way for him to follow in the footsteps of those he admires and become a hero.
When he is told by All Might, the hero who inspires him the most, that there is no possible way for a Quirkless kid to become a hero, Deku is defeated. However, in episode 2 Deku performs an immensely heroic act, even considering his lack of power. In this act of heroism, he shows that the essence of a true hero isn’t the power, but the person and their willingness to throw themselves into danger in order to save someone.
No matter how many times I watch this scene in the anime, I can’t help but get a surge of motivation — sometimes I would even watch this scene before a workout on the days where I really didn’t want to push myself.
Haikyuu – Hinata Shoyo
I’ve spoken about the power that sports anime has when it comes to motivational and inspirational scenes — the whole genre is a real powerhouse. There are numerous series that I could have listed here that fulfil the role of being a motivational series, such as Ace of Diamond and Run with the Wind — this series, in particular, has one of Yuuki Hayashi’s greatest songs, in my opinion, called We Must Go.
Haikyuu, though; this series seems to have absolutely mastered the art of filling the viewer with hype, excitement, and it just wells up this motivational energy inside of you that spurs you forward. Whereas some other shounen sports anime start off as fairy grounded and realistic, they soon find themselves blending superpowers into their characters — I love me some Kuroko no Basket, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes it’s nice to enjoy something a little more realistic.
Haikyuu keeps things much more down to earth with regards to exactly what characters are capable of doing. The biggest source of inspiration though, ultimately, is the main character himself, Hinata Shoyo. He is a complete underdog and is powered purely by his love for the sport and the belief in himself to be able to compete in a sport dominated by the tall when he himself is short.
Shirobako – Episode 23
Shirobako… man, I love this anime. I’m not sure how popular this series was when it was first released, but it became a fast favourite of mine. Shirobako is a story about a group of girls who all love anime and all aspire to work in the industry. The most interesting part of the series is that each of the five members go down very different paths on the way to their goal.
Although I would consider the group of five girls as the main characters, Aoi Miyamori is the character who we see the most of, and it’s through her perspective that we see the other characters grow and overcome challenges — as well as seeing Aoi’s challenges first-hand as well, of course.
The most notable scene of all comes towards the end of the series. One of the main girls, Shizuka, is aspiring to become a voice actress, but she has faced nothing but rejection — she is plagued with this feeling that she is falling behind all of her friends. When suddenly, as Aoi sits down in the recording booth to watch the voice actresses record their lines, Shizuka walks in.
The part she plays in the anime is small, but it’s her perseverance and unwillingness to let the continuous rejection get her down — her aspiration and motivation to catch up to her friends are stronger. It’s such a fantastic and emotional climax to Shizuka’s character arc and if the fact she got her break doesn’t get you crying, Aoi’s tears of happiness that pour as her friend takes steps towards her dream will get you sobbing. It’s not the same kind of motivation that I talk about when it comes to MHA and Haikyuu, but it’s a more realistic look at never giving up and it’s just as powerful.
VTuber – Ironmouse
I suppose I should at least somewhat explain myself when I mentioned at the very beginning of this piece that VTubers became a source of motivation for me — it all comes down to Ironmouse. I have spoken about how amazing this girl is in my piece I wrote when I first started watching some English VTubers, specifically VShojo girls, and I cannot imagine living through life as tough as hers while still retaining this incredible energy and being an embodiment of entertainment.
Watching some of her old clips had me on the verge of tears — some had me bawling my eyes out — but all of them got me thinking about how, if this girl with all of these horrible medical conditions can still be this positive and this wonderful… surely I can be doing something to better myself as well.
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