Anime Quotes that Hold Weight in Our Hearts

Those Anime Quotes That Hit Differently!!!

So, this editorial has been on my heart for a long time, actually. I remember watching the season of the Mugen Train arc of the Demon Slayer anime and seeing Kyojuro Rengoku blaze on the screen and into our hearts. He became not only my favorite Hashira of the Demon Slayer Corps but a character that impacted the rest of the characters and the narrative of the anime adaption (and later the manga series when I went back to re-read the beginning and finish it).

There was an underrated quote from the fiery and passionate man that I remember marveling on and writing down in one of my many notebooks that I later came back to and created the skeletons of this editorial. As I was outlining this piece, I kept coming back to words that anime characters were dropping that touched me and stayed with me. Boom there’s the tweet. Boom, there’s the post: Anime Quotes that Hold Weight in Our hearts aka those quotes from anime characters that just hit differently! Enjoy!

Spoilers for the following anime series and in some part their manga series as noted: Demon Slayer, Jujitsu Kaisen, and Skip Loafer.

Rengoku Kyojiro, Demon Slayer: “It Was An Honor To Be Born To Such A Person As You!

Now, I KNOW we have all committed Rengoku’s “Set Your Heart Ablaze” speech to our hearts and memory. With that, he sealed the deal of becoming not only my favorite Hashira of all of Demon Slayer but also one of the most impactful characters of the entire series. There was one quote that I have also never forgotten that has continued to stay with me. In the last minutes of Rengoku’s life, he recalls his mother. 

In her final days of her life, after being weakened by illness, she tells him of her desire for him to grow up and use his strength to protect the weak. She states to him point blank that he was born with more gifts than others, and he’s obligated to serve others and the world. With his baby brother asleep at his mother’s feet, young Rengoku sits still and listens to his mother’s words on duty and obligation.

His mother embraces him after he agrees to do so and the matriarch on the Rengoku family then reveals that she doesn’t have much longer to live. With tears falling down her face, she mentions that she, in the subtitled version of the Demon SlayerKimetsu no YaibaThe Movie: Mugen Train film that she has been blessed to have given birth to such a strong and gentle child. With this flashback on that pivotal memory ending, Rengoku Kyojiro with a fatal wound on his body fights back against his foe with renewed energy. His inner monologue roars out when thinking about his treasured parent: It Was An Honor To Be Born To Such A Person As You!

I’ve been watching shonen anime for a very, very long time and hearing Rengoku’s words reflecting on his mother–how she is the parent who shaped his life and his life’s work the best was the most heartfelt and moving experience. More so, than his father who was actually the Hashira in the family before him. In his fight against Azuka, the demon–the fight to daybreak not only protecting what he saw as the next generation of demon slayers–little did he know, they would be a part of the team who sees demons banished in their lifetime–he honors his mother knowing that he took the honest, true path.

Another translation of this quote: “Mother, it was I who was blessed to have been born to such a woman as you.” Rengoku, while suffering from a fatal blow that is surely stealing his life from him, continues to hold on to the foe, Akaza, who wishes to bring only death and destruction. As the demon slips away just as the sun slips over the mountains, The Flame Hashira collapses to his knees. Tanjiro and the boys are safe as are the people on the train. He listens to a passionate Tanjiro scream and chastises a fleeing Akaza that Rengoku–is no loser and is a greater warrior than him. This brings a smile to his face as she sees proof of his sacrifice: young Tanjiro sitting in front of him, alive with the others in the distance. 

In the Mugen Train version, The Flame Hashira then sees his mother, long dead in the distance behind Tanjiro. In his heart, he asks if he did right, did he do the correct course of action? She nods, smiles, and tells her son that he made her proud. This leaves him with the biggest and brightest smile on his face as he slowly slumps over in death. I love that dutiful Rengoku was granted this visual of her in his last moments on this earthly plane of existence. I love this quote and how the love for his mother and what she entrusted to him became his heartfelt mission: to protect the weak. It was realized in such an illustrative way, and his sacrifice sent ripples through the hearts of those who watched his last stand.

Kento Nanami, Jujitsu Kaisen: “Being a child is not a sin

Rewatching a few episodes of season one of Jujutsu Kaisen after being emotionally devastated feels while watching the season season in Shibuya feels like such emotional whiplash, I’ll tell you. Our main protagonist with the golden retriever dog-like energy, Yuji Itdatori meets our favorite ex-salaryman first-grade jujutsu sorcerer Kento Nanami in episode nine of the first season of the anime adaptation. The man isn’t too impressed with Yuji at first during their first meeting or outing together and even tells the kid that he doesn’t consider him a proper sorcerer. (Ouch!) During their first meeting, Yuji sees that Nanami when compared to the happy to lucky Gojo is stern, a bit more blunt and hard to warm up to. On their first outing where Yuji is shadowing the older man, he feels a bit exasperated as they don’t seem to be clicking.  

Yet, Nanami soon picks up on the teen’s raw strength and his battling potential which improves as he goes. Not too much later, the older sorcerer notices Yuji’s sincere and righteous anger over finding transfigured humans turned curses that they later find are products of Mahito. Throughout this episode, Nanami repeatedly mentions that Yuji is a child and should be protected. Towards the end of the episode, the man even puts into motion a plan that puts the teenager in less danger while he goes after Mahito, initially. It is the start of an endearing relationship in Jujutsu Kaisen between an adult character who looks after the young people in his care (well into the second season) and a teenager who sees him as a trusted adult. 

This is an important relationship to take note of for Yuji, the boy with a ticking time bomb inside of him, thanks to Sukuna who has a very small support system that includes more of his peers than actual adults. In the anime adaptation of Jujutsu Kaisen, “Being a child is not a sin” is what Nanami says to Yuji Itadori in one of the scenes. The quote holds some significance because in season one of the anime the Nanami-centric episodes are also the Junpei-centric episodes. (Friends, the heartbreak I went through rewatching!) Yuji bonds with Junpei, another teenager with unusual circumstances, who sadly falls under the mentorship and allyship of Mahito and his allies.

Nanami’s words: “Being a child is not a sin” holds greater significance when we examine Nanami’s character as he too, was once a student in JJ high like Yuji. He empathizes that the teen is bound to feel guilt and despair as he continues on living and especially as a young adult navigating the world on their side of seeing and dealing with cursed spirits. When the second season of the anime finally arrived and audiences saw Nanami’s final scenes, we witnessed the older man’s final words to Yuji as he met his death mere seconds later.

We also saw Nanami seeing his dead former classmate, Haibara in Yuji, a cheerful boy who attended the same highschool as him. Haibara who most likely was the then teenaged Nanami’s close friend and whose death drove him to drop out and distance himself from their veiled world. Nanami endeared himself to us all even more in the second season to his very death, as he protected and looked out for Megumi, Maki, Nobara, and the other young people he saw around him–he saw the children and young adults in his life worth protecting and not burdens in any way.

Nao, Skip and Loafer: “Having a Little bit of a cringe side, will make you more endearing.

Let’s wrap up this editorial with another adult who is a protector of children! I had only read a volume of the Skip and Loafer manga before the anime adaptation was set to air in the springtime earlier this year, but I knew that I’d love it. I was really blown away by the infectious, fun energy of the manga translated on screen in its anime adaptation. I also loved the big coming of age vibes mixed into the narrative about youth, dancing to the beat of your own drum, and finding your tribe, your people. The anime follows sunny shine character Mitsumi, who is a country girl living in Tokyo for high school. She has lofty dreams: to attend a prestigious school and make the world a better place, starting with revitalizing her hometown.

Thankfully, she has a place to call home away from home by way of the apartment of her dear aunt, Nao-chan who works as a stylist in Tokyo. She also has a kind adult to look after her, give her fashion tips (which are sorely needed), and give advice after vent sessions. Nao is a bubbly, lovely person with all the best vibes who has moments where her confidence stills in situations where she is perceived as “other” by those who don’t know her. Mitsumi is a pretty accepting and lovable kid who sticks out because of her zest of life type attitude and her obliviousness. She manages to capture the attention of some, intrigue others, and even make some of her peers attempt to use her as a steppingstone or a measuring stick for their own insecurities and successes. Her aunt, Nao-chan, who is trans (biologically male as she states to remind her niece to tell classmates in a later episode when she has friends sleep over), sees this precious child and chooses to house her as she finds her way in this new environment where she occasionally stumbles.

High school can be a terrifying place full of unspoken social rules, cliques, emotions, and fifteen-year-old Mitsumi finds she’s a bit out of her element with much to learn. This country girl was sure she was ready for the big city! Well, at least she thought she was, and Nao-chan is the one adult she knows for sure that has her back. Mitsumi ends up being the polar opposite to her classmates, but eventually she is befriended by some of her peers and finds her groove at school. One of her classmates is Mika, a teenage girl who presents as very feminine and is also very particular in how she presents herself around others, in particular the boys.

Throughout the series, audiences will see Mika’s struggles as a teenage girl in a society that values looks and thinness as the baseline for how girls are judged and valued. I never thought badly of her in her approach to navigating her life at the high school level–we get a deep enough dive into her insecurities and all the hard work she’s put in to improve herself to be liked and potentially loved. The clash between her and Mitsumi comes in when her jealousy–over Shima–the sweet and handsome male classmate who becomes Mitsumi’s first friend–and her jealousy over how Mitsumi becomes the center of attention manifests.

Mika’s representation of messy girlhood is one that I adore in this series. She’s so conscious of herself and others and is steadfast in doing her best to maintain being pretty enough, being liked enough to “make it” in the hierarchy of life via this high school level. In a class,…no, a school of different personalities and looks, she wants to stand out. This is in comparison to Mitsumi who simply wants to get to know everyone and build solid relationships with them. Mitsumi is earnestly wanting to connect with others for her ideal dream. 

In a later episode, Mika is invited to Nao and Mitsumi’s place for girls only hang out. Mika tries to duck out with a made-up excuse about a family obligation. She sees it as not a place for friends, girl friends to enjoy themselves but a place where she might be vulnerable, which she doesn’t want. Upon exiting, she runs into Nao who sees right through the teen and gently challenges her to not be so uptight. In 2023, we, as a society, have this love-hate relationship with the word: cringe. In some ways, there are people who make us want to cringe: politicians who do anything but their jobs, the weird folks who make the dates from hell stories to retell and of course, the main characters of Twitter (sigh, FINE! X) and TikTok on any given day. 

And yet…giving into cringe sometimes means allowing yourself to love nostalgia, to be silly and freed from obligation. It can be life changing advice to love oneself and rid oneself of terrible, toxic relationships, behaviors, and all manner of things we allow in our lives. Mika is attempting to leave a safe place that she doesn’t know is a safe place where her friends, not rivals are at. For so long she’s viewed other girls as competition that carefree, snacks, study sessions, fashion talk, and silly gossip terrifies her. Some heart-to-heart conversation started by the other girls make Mika fearful of sharing and serves as the catalyst for her early departure as her insecurities start suffocating her.

But the thing is, she was enjoying herself with the girls but wanted to bounce before relationships were talked about as she did not want to hear Mitsumi talk about her blooming friendship with Shima, whom she was crushing on. In the elevator down to the entrance of the apartment building with the girl, Nao recognizes that Mika is a girl who works hard (she ended up at an elite high school) and pays attention to what she wears as she’s a girly girl who loves fashion and keeps up with the trends. 

She’s a child worthy of validation and love, simply put. Nao’s inner monologue mentions that Mika is a child who lacks confidence and fears getting hurt. As she thinks this, a visual that is meant to be a flashback shows a teenage boy sitting alone by himself at the shore. She thinks, “Sounds awfully familiar” as it is implied it is her past self as a teenager before she transitioned and left home and became who she is now. Before Mika can leave, Nao-chan reminds the girl that she can go back to her friends with an excuse that the family dinner was actually another date that she got confused about.

Mika refuses to, bringing up cringe. Nao-chan confidently says, “Having a little bit of a cringe side, will make you more endearing” which helps cement the teen’s decision to stay. Having friends, real friends is worth it, especially when you’re young.  Nao being this protector of children, some not even her own blood, means the world to me. Having trans representation that includes this caring adult, who is safe from the big tropey traumas that follow trans characters in most manga and anime is golden too. She understands how isolating it can be to be a young person set apart and lonely and doesn’t want that for any young adult–those struggling with their gender or being in a world that doesn’t welcome it or not.

Mika is better for it. The end of the episode presents a short montage of the girls cooking themselves dinner, doing their skincare and bedtime routine in their pj’s before settling in for the night with a scary movie. I love that Nao-chan saw Mika for who she was and gently pushed her to pursue her heart’s desires: to enjoy her youth with friends and be loved on. I love that Nao-chan did this, hoping to spare another young person from the type of loneliness that can make or break a person so early in life.

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  • Carrie McClain is writer, editor and media scholar. Other times she's known as a Starfleet Communications Officer, Comics Auntie, and Golden Saucer Frequenter. Nowadays you can usually find her avoiding Truck-kun and forgetting her magical girl transformation device. She/Her

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