Let’s face it. A lot of people have done their best to chase their dreams, some might have dedicated their life believing that dreams do come true; but the fact is, they won’t. Not that easy. Even if you’ve put lots of hardwork and passion into realising them. Same applies to every task that you’ve ever poured your soul into. Hardwork ≠ Success. In fact, the worst thing that can happen is when all the efforts you’ve spent just poof—gone with one simple mistake, all for nothing. Blank. Na-da.

Yet, there are still fools inside these 7 stories burdening their lives with endless practices, heavy responsibilities, with some even spending years trying to achieve one single goal.



#7 Bakuman

Two middle-schoolers team up to create manga; one draws the art, the other writes the story. A promise is made by one of them to a girl that if their manga gets adapted into anime, and she voices the main heroine inside, she will marry him. But until then, they will not meet/date and only exchange emails to encourage each other.

Comments: In this harsh manga industry of Weekly Shōnen Jump, works that are not interesting are cancelled straight away. So they can only continue to squeeze out ideas, improvising skills while handling the ups and downs of various relationships—all such a dreadful and bothersome work just to cross the line between dreams and reality. It’s the prime example of what a down-to-earth hardworking people look like.



#6 Haikyuu!!

Who would want to spend their entire high school life playing volleyball? Apparently, a short guy with orange spiky hair does, after watching a small player nicknamed Little Giant in national tournament that is able to stand toe to toe (in skills) with other big and tall volleyball players. But little does he know, there are others who share the same passion in volleyball (if not greater) that would like to take themselves and the abandoned Karasuno team to the nationals, proving that even crows—when in pack—can bring down a much larger enemy.

Comments: Too much passion. The higher you try to climb, the greater the pain is when you fall. But only if you choose to endure that soreness, can you become stronger afterwards. On a side note, think really carefully before watching this or else you’ll somehow be dragged along into their abyss of passion and ended up as a volleyball club member. I’m not even joking.



#5 Chihayafuru

“You can buy your meat buns after I beat you!” – Chihaya

If there’s one to describe Chihaya’s passion in karuta and her interpersonal skills, it would be straightforward. Chihaya is a tomboyish-girl who is introduced to the world of competitive karuta by one of her shy classmaters, when she played against him in his home. Ever since then, she only has eyes on competitive karuta, and even joined Shiranami Karuta Society to polish her skills and eventually form a karuta club in her high school. As she tries to recruit more members, she will also need to reconnect with her two best friends, all while aiming to be the karuta Queen and reach the top!

Comments: This is the classic example of the portrayal of passion, hardwork and rivalship all over again, but you’d be surprised by how two people swiping cards across each other can fuel your motivation.



#4 Barakamon

A young professional caligrapher punches an eldery curator of an exhibition for criticising his caligraphy as unoriginal, which got him sent off to an island for a retreat where he met an ENERGETIC kid there. Yeah, this is pretty much how everything begins. Barakamon is the exact opposite of passion and hardwork, yet it has an unorthodox way of bringing the lessons with his interaction with the villagers.

Comments: It’s not about how hard you hit, but how thick your face is, to be able to get back up again and again. Barakamon takes this with quite an enjoyable and relaxing twist, perhaps it is the exact mood that you need if you are dealing with a burnout. Or, you hate the normal I’m-fired-up-because-of-this-being-shounen anime with a passion. Then, this is your poison.



#3 Smile Down The Runway

Can you still smile after being harshly criticised? That as a fashion designer, your designs are horrible and lousy? That as a model, no matter how hard you train, you can never be one if your height cannot even meet the lowest requirements? That you shouldn’t waste time in things that you are not good at? He has a creative mindset and polishable talent to be a fashion designer, yet his family struggles financially. She has a proper body proportions, her father’s connections in fashion world and actions to prove her efforts, yet is too short to be a model.

Comments: They do have two things in common though: they are not afraid to grab any chances, can work hard and smart. But sheer will and pure hardwork could only take them so far. Or does it? Does it not?



#2 A Place Further Than The Universe

“Have you heard? There’s a strange girl next class doing lots of part-time jobs to save up money to travel to Antartica.”

“Really? What a freak!”

“Yeah! I heard she has also invited a girl who’s too afraid to step out of her comfort zone, to join her. Another girl who’s working in a convenience store—who has skipped her school for a whole year—decided to join them too! Plus, there are also rumors that a friendless child actor is also on their team! Can you believe this?”

“What a bunch of freaks! They should join circus while they are at it, ha!”

“Yeah, right? Ha, ha, ha!”

Comments: The hardest part in getting something done is to have to embrace the voices of evil and annoying antagonists that are always around us. You can try to hide, but you can never escape them. So, if you are not strong enough to stand against criticisim (even if it’s constructive), then you should just give up on it. JUST. GIVE. UP. Else, rub your success right in their face.



#1 Shirobako

Five friends made a simple anime while they were in high school. Years later, they moved to Tokyo with each of them working different jobs seperately in anime industry: production assistant (PA), animator, 3D graphic artists, script writer and voice actress. But even after most of them have landed their favorite job, there are always doubts about themselves and unforeseen problems that mess up their plans.

Comments: This is perhaps, the most realistic anime about anime production and life out there that highlights that—dreams do come true.

ONLY if you can withstand the really, really painful feeling of being rejected again and again, be responsible on mistakes that are not even your fault, willing to ask, having the courage to chase an uncertain future yet still stick to your dreams. No detour. Fall, fall, fall and move forward. Then, you’ll be able at least be one step closer to your dream.



In the end, there’s no easy button to any dreams or tasks. You are the director that decides whether or not to take a task, to bear the responsibilities of it and see it ’till the very end. No words can push you forward, if you choose to stand still. That’s the very truth lies beneath every motivational speeches and quotes.

Dreams, are just dreams until you decide they are going to be something more. Now, I hand over the mic to you. Surprise me!