We humans are very receptive creatures. Our environment and interests influence who we are. These influences can come from anywhere. Our personalities are even molded by fiction.
We are influenced by movie characters. We are swayed by those bullheaded, sarcastic outcasts on TV. The fairytales of old can teach us how to be better people, so why shouldn’t anime or manga? It seems like saying “I admire Monkey D. Luffy’s tenacity. I want to be like him” isn’t quite as accepted on a social level. Why the stigma?
When I was a bit younger, I knew a girl who didn’t exactly have the best home life. She was always sickly, and when no one was looking, she always looked very sad. Her parents pulled her from public schools because “she was being difficult.”
I do not remember the chain of events that led up to it, but I did get to talking to her on a regular basis. She was always wearing a Dragon Ball Z shirt when I saw her. That was a convenient way for me to spark up a conversation. Her face seemed to light up when I initially brought it up. It took a few weeks, but she really started to open up to me. This is how I found out about her lackluster life at home and the other tribulations she faced. One day, she outwardly told me that she often thought of – and had attempted to kill herself.
With hindsight being 20/20, maybe I should have done a bit more. I find it to be sad. I didn’t at the time, though. Maybe I didn’t fully realize the gravity of it all. This girl was 14 years old. The weight of the world was too much for her to bear. Fourteen. Years. Old. There was one thing that kept her from going through with her suicide:
She related to him. She burned with a bitterness towards her life. Her strive for something better drove her to live her life. Vegeta would never give up. Neither would she. I feel terrible for it now, but it took every ounce of my mental fortitude to keep my composure. How silly. Stubborn Vegeta kept her going. I do not find it so funny now that I am older and ever-so-slightly wiser.
The more I think about it nowadays, I suppose I can admit that I, too, have been influenced by anime characters. While we are on the subject, I will stick with Dragon Ball Z characters. Piccolo is my favorite, but he is hardly someone whose lifestyle should be copied. I would like to think I am pure of spirit and good-natured. I am like Goku.
Arguably the most iconic character in the history of Anime, Goku is the embodiment of all things good. He has an unwavering love for the people close to him. His child-like innocence is something we all yearn to have. He even gave the monster that killed his best friend a second chance. When push came to shove, though, Goku could get serious and protect his loved ones.
Admittedly, the whole abstract thing isn’t my strong point. So I will provide blunt, straightforward examples of the influence that Goku has had on me as a person.
1. We share a lot of the same philosophies, Goku and I. Love your friends and family. Defend your beliefs. Adhere to your principals of discipline. ACADEMICS ARE BULLSHIT. Yes. I dropped out of school to pursue a lifelong devotion to martial arts. The stint only lasted about 4 weeks, and I spent the rest of my days sitting on the couch, shoveling food into my nutrition hole, BUT C’ EST LA VIE. That actually brings me to my next point…
2. Yo, man. Food is boss. This is probably where Goku and I are the most alike. I don’t really have the ability to lift an entire dining room table, but I can eat an entire watermelon with one gulp. I did not really know that I had to train in 100x Earth’s gravity to counteract the disgusting intake of calories. Now I have my own gravitational pull.
3. I was never really bullied in school. I followed Goku’s ideology, and I defended those who could not defend themselves. I guess you could say I taught bullies a lesson. If I witnessed someone being harrassed, I would channel Goku. I would power up for around 3 hours and then PUNCH THE BULLY RIGHT INTO THE FUCKING SUN.
4. This one time I died, and then I came back to life. I just had my friends search for the Dragon Balls. Easy.
5. I now make it a point to show up at convenient times. Well, inconvenient for some.
6. When faced with a fridge full of beer during “rigorous training,” I will turn it down in favor of a sports drink. Most of the time. Probably. I don’t know, man. I really like beer.
7. I have taken a liking to hanging out at hot springs.
8. Finally, I am an oblivious schmuck around women. I guess I cannot say that Goku has influenced me on this per se. I am just terrified of women.
What anime characters have influenced you in everyday life? Leave a comment below, and be sure to head over to our forums for further discussion!