It may come as a surprise, but anime studios rarely have international fans in mind when they launch new shows. Instead, the target audience for most anime and related media are generally young Japanese consumers aged 14-20. This is why so many anime are built around main characters that are in high school and have features this target group can generally identify with, like not being popular in class and having a crush on a person he can’t be with. The main character is often an “empty vessel” that we viewers can pour our personalities into, to better identify with this story and characters. Another common feature of many anime main characters is that they have no dreams or life goals, no idea what they want to do in the future.
It’s a theme that shows up in dozens of anime series: a teacher gives a student a shinro chosa, a questionnaire asking the student to report their future goals for life, whether they plan on going on to university or get a job, and if so in which field. The student invariably has no idea what they want to do with their future, and the rest of that episode involves the character going on a journey to reflect on what they should do with their lives. Which presumably is something most anime viewers can identify with, being in the same position themselves.
When I tweeted the above image, there was a spirited discussion of life goals as expressed through anime, and those life goals that J-List’s followers have. I like the idea of anime asking questions through its stories and characters that can potentially make us think, and possibly help us come up with positive answers.
Has anime ever caused you to think about a deep question, such as what your future life goals should be? Tell us about it on Twitter!
There’s nothing better than getting a box filled with wonderful Japanese snacks and other fun items, and we’ve got the new J-List Box boxes up for ordering! There are two December boxes, a normal “deluxe” snack box plus an awesome limited snack box with alternate snacks for Christmas. Which one will you order? See the new J-List Box snack boxes here.