What makes an orphan work as a character in anime?
This is a theme that pops up in a lot of anime series, examples are Son Goku from Dragon Ball, Uzumaki Naruto from Naruto, Eren Jaeger from Attack on Titan and Natsu Dragneel from Fairy Tail. A child that either lost his parents or is neglected and going through life as an orphan.
It may be that the creator of the character wants to create a person that is a survivor, that can take challenges in this world on that others might take for granted, self-efficient warriors like Goku that had to fend for himself when his grandpa Gohan died and learned to fish and hunt for food, while his son Gohan is different because his father and mother, Chichi, was there to do those things, not that Gohan is not an efficient hunter himself, but let’s face is, he is not Gohan.
Growing up without parents also shape characters in a certain way. Naruto was a prankster, trying to fight hard to win the approval of the people in his town. They all kept a distance from the boy since he is the jinchūriki of the Nine-Tails. Despite being shunned as the jinchūriki, Naruto never gave up on people and this inner strength made people warm up to him eventually.
This theme is an age-old tradition if you think about it. Even in Western comic books, there is Bruce Wayne (Batman) and also Kal-El/Clark Kent (Superman) who grew up parentless. Or in Mythology, there is King Arthur, son of Uther Pendragon. You find orphans turned hero in TV Series like Supernatural’s Sam and Dean Winchester. Orphans are there to inspire, proof that even from the worst circumstances, heroes are born, from a piece of unpolished, uncut rock into diamonds, that bring light and hope into the world. Chances are that your favourite character in an anime is such a hero.
Here is a video about the history of Goku. If you have not seen the series, be warned that it contains spoilers. Follow our link here: http://bit.ly/History-of-Goku
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