Most Influential Anime

Foxy Lady Ayame writes:

“Pinpoint the anime or even manga titles that aren’t just a mirror of us or even our favorites but to highlight these stories that changed the way we viewed the world. List and talk about 5-10 anime/manga that have influenced your way of thinking and your actions.”

I find this task extremely challenging. Are there any anime that changed the way I view the world? Undoubtedly, some animation that I watched as a child influenced my worldview, but I do not recall the tittles of most of those animated stories.

As for the later years, animation had some impact, but most influences came from the books. I can easily come up with a list of books that influenced me, but trying to put together a list of animation is much more difficult. Nevertheless, I’ll list some of the anime that influenced me, at least in some way, including specific examples.


Sailor Moon

Well, what can I say… I love Michiru! The most striking scene for me at the time was when Michiru talks about music.

Sailor Moon S: Episode 4 (93)

Usagi: “Are you going to play violin for a living, Michiru?”
Michiru: “I’d love to, but I do not think I am good enough.”
Usagi: “What? You are amazing!”
Michiru: “Thanks, you are sweet.”
Usagi: “Does it take long to learn to play a violin?”
Michiru: “Yes, it takes years. Years of dedication only to find out you might not get to play – your fate is something else. ”

The original Japanese is very different. Michiru states that she is lost and does not know what she was born for, feeling uncertain what path she should take. This is quite a different feel from the English translation listed above.

The English liberal translation impressed me because of the resolve and courage needed to pursue such an activity. Can you imagine dedicating a quarter of your life training just to find out your limit, to find out that you can never be above a certain level? I thought about it for a while. Do I have what it takes to become a surgeon? Is that something I really want? Just like Michiru, I was not sure yet what to do with my life, but one thing was certain: when I do decide what I really want, I’ll pursue it will all my heart, regardless of how difficult it can be, and even if I don’t have the talent to do it.

Another moment I recall well is a race between Ami and Michiru (Sailor Moon S, episode 97)! I love it! They both performed at their full strength!

Ami: “Now I understand. It is important to do something with everything you have. To worry is the same thing as to stop.”

So do not stop and fly to your dreams! 😀

Exploring Consciousness

Serial Experiments Lain

What would happen if Gaia, the spirit of the Earth (yes, actually there is a scientific basis to this), became aware of itself and manifested as a girl in Japan? The answer is given by this anime with some extra symbolism and science fiction mixed in. At least, this is my personal interpretation of it, partially influenced by the documentary on biosphere I watched on TV shortly before watching the series. You can read about other interpretations on this comprehensive website.

This anime was so different and so perplexing that it took a while to think about it. The series inspired me to read more about Gaia hypothesis and collective consciousness. Also, I started following Yoshitoshi Abe’s work very closely, which also influenced my artstyle.

Memory is one of the most important aspects in Lain and in life in general, requiring careful consideration and contemplation.

Ghost in the Shell (1995)

This scene. Amazing. Absolutely amazing! Kenji Kawai and Mamoru Oshii are great!

There were two aspects that fascinated me about the film. The first one is more technical: animation quality. During those days of VHS, I had a videoplayer that could play films frame by frame or at least skip just a few frames at a time. I spend a lot of time studying action scenes, observing how they were animated. The second, and more substantial impact was conceptual. Somewhat related to the Serial Experiments Lain anime, the theme of consciousness appeared again.

Two questions particularly interested me:

1) Can consciousness just emerge, given sufficient complexity of a system? Some people give a positive reply.

– Consciousness is an additional fundamental building block
Integrated information theory (leading theory of consciousness)

Note how this overlaps with Serial Experiments Lain in that we have two levels: one at the level of a planet and another on a level of an emergent individual (Puppet Master).

2) If we take the Ghost in the Shell example to the extreme, can we transfer our brains in a fully artificial body, and, taking it further, can we essentially upload our consciousness to a digital medium?

Some people say yes and even give a date: 2045 Let us be realistic – there is a very low probability that it will actually happen by that time. Nevertheless, it is helpful to have such an initiative because it will help fund some useful research in the long-term.

When in doubt, ask Michio Kaku. Here is what he thinks about consciousness based on the interviews and research he’s done.

Consider reading his new book, The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the Mind

These questions are some of the things I am considering in my research, but it will be a while till I’ll be able to explore it more deeply.

One exciting development is improvement of devices such as this


Kafuka Fuura

Well, it is simple really. As you grow older, life becomes more difficult. There are many good coping strategies, but you often need an extra source of energy to keep you going. There is at least a part of Kafuka’s optimism and energy in me! I consider myself a very positive person, not naive – just positive. It helps me to move on in life, and helps me to inspire other people. I definitely took some inspiration from Kafuka Fuura! 😀 Yay!

“I am an optimist. It does not seem too much use being anything else.”
– Winston Churchill

“Let my soul smile through my heart and my heart smile through my eyes, that I may scatter rich smiles in sad hearts.”
– Paramahansa Yogananda

Here are additional lists of the most influential anime by other bloggers

Foxy Lady Ayame & Neko-chi of The Beautiful World
Josei from Josei Next Door
Michael Huang of Anime Diet
Marina of Anime B&B
Kai of Deluscar
Justin from Lost My Thesis


3 thoughts on “Most Influential Anime

  1. Medicine are long studies. I admire you for your resolve.

    Oh the consciousness theory appears interesting. I’ll look it up later.

    Ok, now I know to whom I can turn to when I feel pessimistic! 😉

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