By Yali Perez
The world of parenthood is a magical, beautiful and often challenging place. It has its highs and its lows, similar to the world of anime. Of course, that’s without the magical outfit changes. Wouldn’t that make getting ready in the morning so much easier?
As a single parent to a 10-year-old son, I sometimes use anime as a way to connect with him. Anime is something we mutually enjoy and is a great medium to discuss subjects without the pressure of feeling too serious. The aim of A Mom’s Guide to Anime is to use anime to help you navigate the world of parenthood.
This month’s focus: Hope! As we kick off a new year, it’s a little harder to feel the excitement. Look, 2020 was tough, and for us parents, life may have drastically changed for our kids.
But we could all use a little hope. And while hope isn’t a solution, it’s the spark that will get us there. In anime, hope is often a special power that protagonists wield over their adversaries. Though the trials of a shounen hero might be a bit rougher than what we’re used to, those trials are no match for the hopeful!
So let’s dive into some characters from anime that can help you and your children feel some hope! By staying hopeful, we can work toward an even better solution.
Keep in mind, some of these shows have adult humor in them, so as always, you’re the parent. You know what’s best.
Be like Naruto Uzumaki from Naruto
Naruto Uzumaki might seem like the obvious choice for this list, but that’s for a good reason! As a young boy, he endured a lot. He’s an orphan, ostracized by the Hidden Leaf Village for reasons he doesn’t understand.
And in this loneliness, he plays pranks on others and causes mischief in his hunt for recognition. After all, he will be the next Hokage! Sure, these hijinks could have led him down a dark path, but instead, he hoped to show that he was worthy of love and respect.
His “ninja way” is all about never giving up, and his push to always keep his word is fueled by a never-ending sense of hope (and the flames of youth, of course). Naruto can teach kids that when you have that glimmer of hope, you can inspire great change in yourself.
Watch Naruto on Funimation!
Be like Aladdin and Alibaba from Magi
In Magi, the adorable Aladdin takes hope and positivity to another level. And while he may be borderline incapable of feeling negative emotions, his naive nature and heart of gold make him an easy character to love.
Aladdin comes into Alibaba’s life when he needed it the most. Together, the pair go off on adventures exploring dungeons, looking for Djinn and working with a whole lot of magic.
Along the way, Aladdin encounters others who have suffered trauma, like Morgiana. The mental chains of her painful past keep her from being free and happy, but her time with this hopeful pair allows her to be free from it.
Aladdin’s optimism becomes his friends’ strength, and when we’re helpful ourselves, we can inspire that in our children. And vice versa!
Watch Magi on Funimation!
Sora Naegino from Kaleido Star
Hope might seem a bit meager in the face of super ninja powers or magical abilities. But when applied to more “realistic” conditions, hope can be unstoppable!
In Kaleido Star, Sora Naegino dreams of becoming an acrobat in the famous circus, Kaleido Stage. Her faith in her talents has her leave her home in Japan and audition in Los Angeles. But success doesn’t come easy.
A random mugging, failure and insecurity plague Sora’s quest, and she almost gives up! Luckily, her winning charm and hard work allow her to take a risk and become a star. And when your children build confidence in themselves, it helps them realize that failure is only a stepping stone.
Watch Kaleido Star on Funimation!
Kenshin Himura from Rurouni Kenshin
Now let’s move on to a character that didn’t start off with so much hope. Kenshin Himura, once a ruthless assassin, vowed to never take another life. Renouncing his past, he took on the name Kenshin and wandered Japan, protecting those who couldn’t protect themselves.
Like some others on his list, Kenshin could have let his past consume him. Yet, on his quest for peace, he developed a happy and hopeful personality. Rather than ignore his past, he sought to start again.
With New Year’s just passed, now is the perfect time to turn over a new leaf and start fresh. Hope gives us the opportunity to be better versions of ourselves, and Kenshin’s hope allowed him to be more than just his past.
Watch Rurouni Kenshin on Funimation!
Yukiko Asai from Rainbow Days
Yukiko Asai is not the main character of Rainbow Days, but she’s got just as much hope as anyone else on this list. Combine that hope with another powerful force, love, and you’ve got the perfect match.
Yukiko dates Tsuyoshi Naoe, and the two are otaku and love to cosplay together. They share plenty of things in common, yet also have their differences. Tsuyoshi is studious and serious, while Yukiko is creative and warm.
And when it came time for her love to attend a university far away, she refused to lose hope in that love. When you combine hope with love, you can overcome indifference, doubt and fear. It’s good to remind your kids that a heart filled with these two things can overcome almost anything!
Watch Rainbow Days on Funimation!