Anime & Social Commentary: 10 Anime Addressing Real-world Issues
Keeping in mind the worldwide reach of anime in every corner of the world. Anime not only has the power to entertain the audience but it also speaks to them, it connects with them.
When an anime is centred around a real-world issue it immediately forms a connection with its viewers because it may be something they’re familiar with or something they’re also experiencing, it’s always good to know you’re not alone.
If the anime also potrays possible solutions to such real-world issues. The audience is also eager to try them out in their own lives.
10 Anime Addressing Real-world Issues
1. Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead highlights Exploitative Working Conditions in Corporate Offices
Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead is story about the protagonist, Akira Tendo who tries to escape his miserable corporate life due to office bullying, long working hours and exploitative working conditions.
Akira is forced to work 24hrs a day, seven days a week, constantly delivering productive results for the past 3 years.
The unlikest of allies come to Akira’s rescue to free him from the shackles of his exploitative company, the Zombies. You heard me right a zombie apocalypse is Tendo’s way out of his miserable life. Now his free, he doesn’t has to go to work anymore.
Unlike Akira, you don’t have to wait for a zombie apocalypse to push you to quit your exploitative jobs.
If working at a company is making you miserable and your life is turning into a living nightmare, maybe its time to take a step back and rethink things over.
2. Love and Lies: Arrange Marriages vs Love Marriages
Love and Lies takes place in a world where the government assigns marriage partners for you based on compatibility, social standing and genetic factors.
Protagonist Yukari Nejima finds himself in a precarious situation when he falls in love with someone outside of his designated partner.
Yukari’s struggles and triumphs mirror real-world dilemmas faced by individuals who must choose between following their hearts and adhering to social norms.
There’s always constant discussion on arrange marriages vs love marriages especially in my country, India.
In India, an individuals personal desires often clash with cultural traditions since arranged marriages still hold a sway.
Watch the anime to see if love triumphs over norms.
3. Oshi No Ko brings to light the Darker Side of the Entertainment Industry
Oshi No Ko anime that started making waves in the anime industry with just it’s first episode (1hr long special). That single episode was literally like watching a full movie.
If you’ve seen Oshi No Ko anime you might be be aware that it gives a unfiltered behind the scenes of the entertainment industry:
- It doesn’t shy away from bringing the non-glamorous side of the entertainment industry into the limelight
- The long hours of hardwork that goes into becoming a star
- It unapologeticallly talks about the entertainment industry politics that goes into making someone a star
- The mental strain artist experience due to the unnecessary criticism they get for your work as an artist in the internet
The mental strain of artist keeps piling up eventually leading to depression and worst case scenario it pushes you to the brink of death, suicide.
As audience, we’re purposely shows the glamorous side of the entertainment industry which is true to some extent no arguments there but it’s good to see an anime like Oshi No Ko that boldly talks about the other side of the story too.
4. Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 Spotlights the Aftermath of a major Earthquake and the importance of Human Connection during Crisis
Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 starts with an earthquake of unprecedented magnitude hitting Tokyo, leaving destruction in its wake
The series meticulously portrays the aftermath of this natural disaster, spotlighting the chaos, confusion and pain that comes with it.
The anime’s central characters, sibling Mirai and Yuki are thrust into a world where survival becomes paramount. Mari who also fell victim to the earthquake decides to aid Mirai and Yuki reach their house safely.
Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 highlights the lengths to which individuals go to protect and support their loved ones during crisis.
Something that I’ve learnt via Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 is that prioritising your own wellbeing over others is important but at times of crisis it’s important for people to band together to overcome that crisis.
5. Join Anohana: The Flower we Saw that Day on a Healing Journey
Anohana tells the story of a group of childhood friends who drift apart after a tragic incident involving the death of one of their friends, Menma.
Anohana addresses the following real-world issues:
- Themes of raw pain of grief and longing
- Regrets, burden and one’s guilt
- Coping up with loss and different paths to healing
- Process of moving on after a tragic event
6. Welcome to the NHK: Navigating Social Withdrawal and Mental Health
Welcome to the NHK follows the life of Tatsuhiro Sato, a socially withdrawn young man who believes he’s trapped in a conspiracy known as the NHK, a nefarious organisation he balmes for his isolation and failures.
Welcome to the NHK sheds light on:
- Challenges faced by individuals who have disconnected from society
- The feeling of self-doubt, fear and escapism
- Societal pressures and expectations
As Tatsuhiro grapples with his deep-seated anxieties and depression, he meets Misaki, a mysterious girl who offers to help him overcome his ‘hikikomori’ lifestyle- a term used in Japan to describe extreme social withdrawal.
7. A Silent Voice is a Emotional story about Bullying and Redemption
A Silent Voice addresses the following real-world issues:
- Bullying and redemption
- Importance of empathy
- Thinking you’re beyond repair
- The only way to make thing better is by suicide
- The world’s better without you
A Silent Voice revolves around Shoya Ishida, a young boy who during his elementary school years, bullied a deaf girl named Shoko Nishimiya.
Years later, grappling with guilt and self-loathing, Shoya seeks redemption by attempting to reconnect with Shoko and make amends for his past actions.
These anime not only leave the audience entertained but also make you aware of real-world issues.
Orange (Mental Health)
Blur Spring Ride (Overcoming loss of loved one)
The Tunnel of Summer, The Exit of Goodbyes