I believe we can find inspiration in anime, and use it to help push us forward in our own lives. If you have any questions, or thought of a different character that should be on this list, please share below. I only wanted to cover five so as not to be overwhelming.
#5 – Himura Kenshin -Rurouni Kenshin
Kenshin comes to mind as soon as I think of an anime character looking for purpose in their life. If you’re not familiar with the story, Kenshin was a hired assassin back in the Meiji era during a war in Japan. Since the war has ended he becomes a wanderer, along with most of those who survived the battles and live only to kill. Even though he trained to be a killer, he decides to reconcile for all the lives he has taken and desires only to protect those he can.
This isn’t an easy task for him, since even the scars on his face are permanent reminders of his past. He struggles at times with memories of those who died by his hand or while fighting old enemies who constantly remind him of what he used to be, similar to what Satan likes to do to us (Zechariah 3:1).
Yet even through the pain, Kenshin is always seen with a smile on his face and willing to help out in any way he can.
His purpose is found in lending his years of training, abilities and speed to those in need, just as Christ has taught us to live (Matthew 5:9).
9 God blesses those who work for peace,
for they will be called the children of God.
#4 – Vash the Stampede –Trigun
Vash comes from another world and isn’t even human. Add to that the fact that he lives much longer than anyone else. He is another wanderer, similar to Kenshin in that he goes around helping those in need wherever he finds himself.
At one point he has to kill his enemy, or the enemy will kill his friends. He pulls the trigger and breaks down in fear, sadness, and confusion as to why he had to take a life. After thinking about his past, the reason why he is fighting and who he has to defeat to end his suffering, he pulls himself together. Leaving with a smile and a promise to come back safely, Vash looks to resolve what he should have done years ago.
This reminds me of the verse where God reminds us not to look to the past, but look to the future. He has a purpose and a hope for each of us.(Jeremiah 29:11)
17 I will give you back your health
and heal your wounds,” says the Lord.
“For you are called an outcast—
‘Jerusalem for whom no one cares.’”
#3 – Kirito –Sword Art Online
Of course, if you’re thinking about characters full of purpose and hope, you can’t forget Kirito. I can take so much from this character, and one of those traits is hope. He always seems to find himself in situations that others call impossible, yet he believes he can overcome them. From freeing himself from a game where his very life is in danger, to rescuing the love of his life, he’s always on a new adventure.
We all have obstacles in life we need to face. Regardless of what they are, our hope is in Christ and we need to look to Him for help, guidance, and strength to not only get through them but to help others out as well.
1 Peter 1:21
21 Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory.
#2 – Sora –Kaleido Star
Kaleido Star isn’t an anime that gets much press, even though it is pretty old. Sora is the main character. She is an acrobat performer for Kaleido Star, the circus of dreams (imagine an anime Cirque Du Soleil). When she arrives there to fulfill her dream of being a star attraction, she realizes very quickly that there’s a lot of hard work, pressure from more experienced performers and tons of drama. On many occasions this makes her feel that this wasn’t what she wanted.
Sora imagined that everything and everyone in Kaleido Star would be full of joy, but instead she saw a lot of competition and not very friendly people. She decided to be the hope for the audience and it was evident throughout her shows. Whether she was passing out food, dressed up in an embarrassing outfit or doing a task that didn’t have much significance, she was happy to be there.
Her determination to not give up in spite of where she was, or what was going on, shows us how God desires us to have peace, joy, and live in righteousness regardless of where we live, issues we are facing, or situations we are in.
13 I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.
#1 – Tomoya from Clannad
The number one anime character that I found was full of hope was Tomoya. Now, the story of Clannad is a little odd. It’s extremely depressing because (SPOILERS) he loses his wife after she gives birth to their daughter. Later on he realizes it was a dream and his wife is truly alive (his daughter also dies but again, shown as a dream). (END OF SPOILERS)
The grief that he went through at first after they were gone is palpable. Then you see how much hope and love he has for his wife and daughter through how grateful he is to have had them in his life. Even though he is only beginning to learn what it is to be a father and husband, he does his best to see that they have a future together, with a home full of happiness.
The hope that Tomoya has that everything will turn out okay, even when they fall on hard times, displays the verse in Deuteronomy where God gives us the choice of life or death, blessings or curses. Tomoya chose a life of blessing, because he fought hard for his wife to be okay and dedicated his life to making sure his family is taken care of, and we see how he was blessed because of his actions: