Achieving Enlightenment the Otaku Way
Osu! Greetings, shokun! Cross-shishou here. Last time I brought you some precautionary lessons on How to Piss Off Anime & Manga Fans. I hope with all my heart that you weren’t foolish enough to try any of them. Today will be a little different from the usual lessons. I will be providing you with a recommendations list of 10 must-see anime & manga series that I guarantee will inspire you to chase after your dreams. I assume that most of you are already on your holiday break and have time to watch some or all of these series, in time to motivate you to chase after your dreams as your New Year Resolution. Shall we start? Here we go. Osu!
10 Inspiring Must-See Anime/Manga Series for Chasing Your Dreams
10. Saiunkoku Monogatari (彩雲国物語)
I highly recommend this for all reverse harem fans. It has an intelligent yet romantic story. In the anime, the dream-chasing won’t be apparent until season 2 when Shuurei becomes the first woman to attempt to take the government exam and ultimately become the first woman in history to hold a government position. As a female, watching this part of the anime feels empowering. It reminds me that gender should not be a hindrance to our ambitions in life.
Recommended Post: 6 Must-Watch Reverse Harem Anime with Beautiful & Meaningful Stories
9. Haikyuu!! (ハイキュー!!)
One of my favourite sports anime. This series rocks! It’s so funny, yet inspiring at the same time. Shōyō’s dream is to follow the footsteps of the legendary “Little Giant” and become a strong and reliable ace despite his short stature. I’m not a very tall person, so I can relate to Shōyō’s complex about his height. I think that this series demonstrates that greatness isn’t achieved by what you are born with alone, but on the skills and knowledge you gain as you chase towards your dreams.
8. Hajime no Ippo (はじめの一歩)
One of the staples of my childhood anime life. As a Filipino myself, I know how obsessed Filipinos are with boxing so this series greatly appeals to me. Ippo’s dream is very vague: to learn the true meaning of what it is to be strong. He starts out as a weak coward, but through hard work, intense training, and passion for boxing, he successfully becomes a champion. The realization of his rivalry with Miyata can be seen as an extension to his dream. The manga is still ongoing and perhaps it’ll only reach the final conclusion when Ippo & Miyata fight for the last time. Anyway, this series is action-packed but watching the growth of Ippo through hard work and effort is guaranteed to be inspiring.
7. Naruto (ナルト)
There is not a moment in both the anime and manga where you forget Naruto’s ultimate dream: to become a Hokage. It’s this dream that guides him to overcome the discrimination he faced growing up by being the “cursed” jinchuuriki of the Nine-Tails. He’s clumsy and unimpressive compared to his genius rival Sasuke, but he always does his best to improve as a ninja in order to reach a step closer to his dream of becoming Hokage. As you already know, the anime is still ongoing but the manga is already finished. And YES, Naruto indeed achieves his dream and becomes a Hokage.
6. ONE PIECE (ワンピース)
Yay! My #1 favourite series ever! I’m sure you already know what a huuuuuuuuuge ONE PIECE fan I am simply by looking at the amount of posts I write about this awesome series. Wohoo!!! I love a LOT of things about this series but when it comes to chasing after dreams, Luffy and his crew will open the gates of hell itself in order to realize their dreams. What I love about it is that everyone in the Straw Hat crew has a clear goal that they’re chasing after. I’m severely biased towards this show, but so what? All of their adventures and fights bring them a step closer to their final dreams. I can’t wait to witness that moment. Luffy’s going to be the Pirate King! (squeals)
5. Glass Mask (ガラスの仮面 / Garasu no Kamen)
This anime is like watching a live action TV drama but in anime! It’s a really absorbing, deep, and serious drama anime for those who want to watch something different from the plethora of similarly clichéd shoujo series out there. Maya’s dream is to become a great actress in order to qualify for her dream lead role for the legendary stage play Kurenai Tennyo (Crimson Goddess). At the beginning, she already has the raw talent for acting but through passionate training to polish her acting skills and learning under the mentorship of legendary actress Tsukikage, she blossoms into a celebrated actress. I highly recommend this anime because it explores emotions, ambitions, and desires at a deep level atypical of common shoujo series.
4. Baby Steps (ベイビーステップ)
l personally like Haikyuu!! more than I like Baby Steps, but this series is higher in this list because its portrayal of chasing dreams is more “realistic” than the volleyball series. Eiichirou or Eichan as he’s affectionately called by others is not the most impressive protagonist. He’s not a natural-born tennis player; in fact, he only started playing tennis at the beginning of the series. He starts from scratch, training his mind and body, and learning the rules of tennis. In time, through his analytical mind and obsessive training, he gradually wins matches after matches. He slowly earns the respect of other players and build meaningful rivalries with most of them. What I love about this series is that Eichan is very relatable to the average anime watcher. Many of us ask how can we achieve greatness in a field that we have absolutely no talent of. Eichan helps answer that question in a very realistic way: by sheer hard work, constant training, single-mindedness for one’s ultimate goal, and the refusal to give up when things get rough.
3. Sore ga Seiyuu! (それが声優! / Seiyu’s Life)
For all seiyuu fans, this anime is a must-watch. Despite the chibi-kawaii-moe art style, it features realistic struggles many seiyuu face as they fight to survive in this super-competitive industry. It follows the journey of three beginning voice actresses: Futaba, Ichigo & Rin. The series feature them supplementing their meager income as beginning seiyuu with part-time jobs, and in the case of Rin, balancing the working life of a voice actress with the hectic life of a Japanese high school student. It’s a very short anime with only 13 episodes but it effectively shows that working as a seiyuu, especially as an idol seiyuu, is not as glamorous as we first thought. You will face many disappointments and you’re always worrying whether you’re going to land your next job or not. For such a hierarchical society like Japan, the seiyuu industry is no exception. You have to start at the very bottom and work your way up. . .if you can.
Recommended Post: There Are No Shortcuts to Your Dreams in “Sore ga Seiyuu!”
2. Major (メジャー)
Oh my gosh. This sports anime is epic. . .awesomely EPIC!!! With an anime series spanning six seasons plus various OVA’s and films, this is one of the rare sports series that documents the development of an athlete from childhood to veteran player. I love Major so much! Unlike Eichan (Baby Steps), Gorō is an extremely talented and charismatic player. But of course he still needed to train hard and hone his already impressive skills. He breathes baseball. Both his fathers, biological and adoptive, were professional baseball athletes and his goal is to surpass both of them on the world level. I think that Major is my most favourite sports anime. It’s inspiring in a general sort of way for me because it didn’t really make me play baseball, but it successfully made me interested in the sports. It’s also a surprisingly emotional series. I highly recommend this series, especially for sports anime fans like myself!
1. Bakuman. (バクマン。)
If not for ONE PIECE, Bakuman would be my #1 favourite series ever. As a writer, this series is perfect for me. It’s so inspiring and “realistic”, but still feels like a shounen series, if you know what I mean. Whenever my creative juices are not working properly, I just re-watch this anime and it never fails to inspire and motivate me every time. Bakuman is created by the genius creators of Death Note: Ōba Tsugumi (大場 つぐみ) and Obata Takeshi (小畑 健). You can’t help but speculate that they based the dual protagonists of the series, Mashiro Moritaka and Takagi Akito, from themselves. In short, this series is about two people making manga. Sounds unimpressive, but it’s totally worth more than watching. It’s worth re-watching over and over again! If you consider yourself as a writer, an artist, or even just a general dreamer, I highly recommend that you watch Bakuman. I guarantee that it’ll inspire you to work towards achieving your dreams—not tomorrow, not someday, but RIGHT NOW!
Recommended Post: Bakuman: Inspiration For All Writers, Artists, And Dreamers
And that’s it for my list of 10 must-see anime & manga series that I guarantee will inspire you to chase after your dreams. I hope that by watching the series I compiled in this list, you will be inspired and motivated to start working hard towards achieving your dreams in life. Enjoy! Osu!
Founder of Fujinsei Kempo
Baby Steps at NHK (Japanese)
Bakuman Anime Website at NHK (Japanese)
Glass Mask 2005 Anime Website at TV Tokyo (Japanese)
Haikyuu!! Website (Japanese)
Hajime no Ippo Manga Website (Japanese)
Major Anime Website at NHK (Japanese)
Naruto Website (Japanese)
ONE PIECE Portal (Japanese)
Saiunkoku Monogatari Anime at NHK (Japanese)
Sore ga Seiyuu! Website (Japanese)
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