Anime X Life : Leadership Theory and Angel Beats!

Anime x Life will be small series of articles that I’m going to write about how things in anime can be applied to real life. Anime is about the human condition and deserves a closer look into what we can learn from something we enjoy.

This first set of articles will be about something near and dear to my heart: Leadership Theory. For most of my college life I was a student leader for various clubs and organizations around campus. Now, that’s not to say I was always good at it. In my sophomore year I was voted in as Vice President of my Architecture club. We hardly met that semester because of poor communication and dwindling interest in our group activities. A week before finals we decided that there was no point in holding elections again and our club disbanded.

I blamed myself for being a poor leader. Clubs in a similar situation as us had survived and became so much stronger. After many more failures and an informative management class I took my junior year, I was able to become a much more effective in my positions of power. Many of you, too, will lead your own teams in the future. Whether they be for a school project, a job, or a blog you decided to start with a bunch of your friends, eventually, a position of leadership will present itself to you. To get the most out of these articles, previous knowledge of the series or characters being discussed is required. To keep things simple I will be using series from the last 3 or 4 years that were relatively popular. So, class is now in session.

The problem of effective leadership has been a thorn in management sciences since its inception in the late 40s. There didn’t seem to be a strict formula on how to do it right. But before we continue, let us define what exactly makes a leader effective.

  • Maximizes group efficiency and effectiveness to optimal levels
  • Creates a vision for the group to follow and idealize
  • Motivates others to perform the best they can
  • Achieves goals that are important to the individual and the group
  • Provides guidance to individual members

Over the course of this series we will be looking at three of the classic leadership styles: democratic, autocratic, and delegative. While any of the three do not appear exclusively in a person (or character in this instance) there is generally a style they favor.  The first of these three we will look at is autocratic and Afterlife Battlefront leader Yuri Nakamura (from Angel Beats).

Autocratic Leaders:

  • Take control of the entire group
  • Rarely open to suggestions
  • Self Monitor tasks for completion

Now how exactly does Yuri show these qualities?

  • Yuri essentially decides who is invited into the group, like when she bring Takeyama even though the others oppose.
  • She decides which missions are going to be tackled, usually to the chagrin of her companions
  • When Iwasawa decides the next GirlDeMo song should be a ballad, Yuri shoots it down and tells her to stick with the formula
  • When deciding the new name for the Battlefront she shoots down all the ideas presented
  • During the mission to make Kanade fail her exams, she forces her teammates fly into the ceiling on rocket propelled chairs so they can serve as distractions

Actions like these do have negative impacts on the team. The most glaring example in the series is when Otoshinari, Hinata and Naoi decide to release the others from their school ground purgatory. Their objective directly clashes with the overall vision that Yuri had set: to fight their fate and survive in this intransient world.

Regardless, there are some benefits to this mode of leadership. During times of crisis, the autocratic leader does not need to assume full control because they already have it.  It allows for quick responses to problems because the leadership is centralized. Everyone knows whom he or she has to turn to for direction. When dealing with Kanade’s clone, it’s Yuri quick decision making that keeps them alive.

Autocratic leadership should not be confused with tyrannical leadership.  The well being of the team is still in mind even though even with the lack of communication or input from individual teammates. When in a dire or harsh situation, like the youth of the Afterlife Battlefront, this form of leadership can be very adaptive.

I hope you all enjoy this first entry into Anime X Life. I’ll be looking to write these articles when there is a lull in my workload. If you have any questions regarding this topic or have any suggestions please say so in the comments below!

Also there’s a Deep Analysis article coming up this week where we look at the psychological appeal of harems and reverse harems! Well maybe, maybe not. Depends on whether or not I find something better to write about.

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