Before you start judging me for watching "kid's shows," it should be established that many of the concepts in anime can't be grasped until one has had enough experience with life. The examples I'll be using in this article derive from the show "Naruto" and its respective sequel, "Naruto Shippuden." Combined, it would take longer to watch both of these series than "Game of Thrones," meaning that there is a lot of character development and plot to be explored. As embarrassing as it is, I've proudly cried many tears to this show and continue to live a life based on what I've learned.
1. Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard
We've all heard this one before. However, the show Naruto does an exquisite job of displaying this lesson. Rock Lee, who is a ninja that is incapable of wielding "chakra" — which is this energy that allows you to perform certain powers/techniques — is at a huge disadvantage when compared to his classmates. This means he's only able to combat physically and is pretty much just an ordinary human. However, he's always pushing himself to the limit. One of his most famous quotes is "If I can't do 400 push-ups, I'll hit the dummy 800 times! If I can't hit the dummy 800 times, I'll do 2000 jump ropes!" He ends up being one of the strongest ninjas in his village due to his ability to work harder than everyone around him.
2. Justice breeds revenge
This was easily one of the most impactful things I took away from this show. To give some context, the antagonist is trying to establish world peace, however in his own way. His method of doing things would put every human being into an infinite dream where their reality is perfectly suited for them. His way of thinking is that it is impossible to achieve a perfect piece in such a cursed world and that the only way is to provide a false reality. Easily one of my favorite quotes goes as follows
"We both want the same thing. We both want the peace Jiraiya spoke of. You and I are no different...Everyone feels the pain of loss the same. We both know that pain. You are working for your justice and me for mine. We are just ordinary people driven to revenge in the name of justice. But if revenge is called justice, then that justice breeds yet more revenge. And becomes a chain of hatred. Living within it, aware of the past, predicting the future. That is what it means to know the history. We cannot help but know that people cannot understand each other. The world of ninjas is ruled by hatred."
It's sort of like Avengers where Thanos has his plan of "saving" the universe by killing off half the population. Everyone has their own sense of justice, but as long as there's not one uniting everyone, it's only going to breed revenge. In the picture above, the little brothers of me and my best friend won the lacrosse state championship the year after we lost. Man, vengeance tastes good.
3. Never, and I mean never, give up
This one may seem super cliche, but it's one that has to be reiterated. In the context of this show, Naruto- who is the protagonist- is rejected by his entire village as a kid due to a demon spirit sealed inside of him. His lifelong dream is to become Hokage, which is essentially the strongest ninja that watches and protects the village. However, he is literally hated by everyone. He has absolutely no friends and his family is completely dead. Nobody has any hope for him...other than himself. No matter how many times he falls to the ground, he always gets back up. Naruto won't let anything get in the way of his dream of becoming Hokage. And guess what...he eventually achieves his dream. This just goes to show that it doesn't matter if anyone believes in you, as long as you believe in yourself, you can make your dreams come true.