Among those who aren’t fans of anime, there’s somewhat of a tendency to look down on the medium and its fans. Instead of wasting time watching made-up cartoons, the criticism goes, shouldn’t teenage otaku be studying and learning how to do something useful in the real world?
But one 18-year-old’s love of anime may have saved an elderly woman’s life in Japan. A little before midnight on August 15, Kagoshima City resident Harumasa Kawazu went out for a stroll to his local convenience store in the Kamihonmachi neighborhood. Along the way, though, he found a much more pressing concern than scoring some snacks when he noticed a two-story house was on fire.
From his position on the street, Kawazu could see that a fire had broken out inside the wood-frame home’s front entrance. He quickly whipped out his phone and called 119, the number for emergency fire services in Japan, but he didn’t just sit around and wait for them to arrive. Realizing that whoever was in the house was in danger, he rang the doorbell, and when there was no response, he began pounding on the door. This got the attention of the occupant, a woman in her 70s who lives by herself and was just about to go to bed, completely unaware of the danger she was in.
Luckily, the woman was able to put out the fire before anyone was injured or her home was destroyed. In recognition of Kawazu’s attentiveness and bravery, he has been awarded a letter of commendation from the Kagoshima City Central Fire Department. During the presentation ceremony, which was held last Wednesday, Kawazu said “I’ve been watching an anime about firefighters, so I was able to stay calm while dealing with the situation.”
Kawazu’s heroism and hat-tip to anime have been met with praise and smiles from Twitter commenters:
“Maybe I’m getting old, but when I hear about young people saving someone’s life or protecting them from scammers, it brings a tear to my eye.”
“Nice of him to show an example of anime having a positive effect in the real world.”
“I wonder what anime he watched?”
“I bet it was Fire Force.”
“Fire Force is a great series!”
Of course, calling the fire department when you spot a fire and warning the people in the building aren’t exactly high-level concepts that one could only grasp after watching a full season of firefighting anime. Odds are his viewing habits kept him particularly conscious of both the danger fire can pose and the power people have to save others, spurring him to act before it was too late to help.
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