After reading Irina’s blog post and several others with the original creator post by Ty-chama, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the topic. Why do I still love anime? I mean I have been really thinking about this since reading it at work yesterday. And after a nearly sleepless night without the internet, I think I can answer why.
Before I begin however, let me give you guys the rundown of what is going on. Ty-chama has fired a community wide flare; a call to arms to flex those fingers. The call requests that you share why you still love anime. So far, I have thoroughly enjoyed the post I have read so far and I wanted to participate even though I wasn’t officially nominated
Here are the rules of engagement:
- Write a post about why you love anime. It could be your favourite thing about it or one of your favorite things about it, it doesn’t matter which, but just pick one!
- You can get as personal or as impersonal as you like. You might want to write about how anime helped you through a tough time or something that it has taught you or you might want to write about just how much fun you’ve had watching it over the years. Your choice
- Nominate three bloggers to do the same
- Link back to (the original) post. Ty would love to see what you’ve written and may compile a list of favorite entries further down the line
So without further ado, Let’s go for broke!
Anime has been apart of my life since I was very little. My earliest memory of the media was Sailor Moon and Dragonball Z when it used to air SUPER early in the morning during week sometimes and Saturday. That was back when the concept of Super Saiyan was only featured in opening with that amazing song by Ron Wasserman and Jeremy Sweet called “Rock the Dragon”. And lets not forget Sailor Moon’s iconic opening that I still find myself humming whenever I see the series merch.
But understand at this time, these two series were influential in shaping my mind and thoughts. For lack of a better term, I was a street urchin who was fatherless and being raised by a mother who abused drugs on the daily. When we weren’t out begging for food and money, we were in our space that fortunately for me had a television. These shows, along with those in the Saturday morning block was my escape and ultimately my role models. Lessons like always helping out your friends, not backing down to bullies, and never giving up were instilled in me by these shows.
Due to unfortunately circumstances, I was fortunately taken in by my grandparents when I was six. This change of scenery into an actual house with walls came with quite a few perks. One of those and the one I valued the most was them having cable and access to Cartoon Network. It was here that I got introduced to second era of anime for me which was Toonami on Saturday nights which required me to used my Metal Gear Solid skills to sneak from the second floor to the basement to tune it.
But at this time, I did not feel like I could relate to people. Going to school after actively walking the streets and for nearly three years prior does some nasty stuff to your brain. I wouldn’t relate classmates because I couldn’t tell them why I would just start crying in class. When I did, the teasing came and I responded in anger often times getting suspended for fights and saying something very inappropriate.
It was here that started consuming anime anyway I could. Some of the favorites at the time were Gundam Wing, Outlaw Star, and Ronin Warriors were some of my favorite at the time. These shows had themes that I somewhat understood at my age with everything I had been through. Facing hardships and challenges was captivating at the time and seeing them pull through those trials told me that I could as well.
In a way, these were my books. I didn’t read. But I watched anime. These were my fantasy tales. And because of the subject manner, I felt more mature than most of the kids around me. Especially after going through two years of counseling and being able to talk about the episodes and subject matter with my counselor.
It was in High School that I first realize just how much anime had influenced me. Growing up in a black community where the popular thing at the time was gangs, girls, and sports made it extremely awkward for me who just wanted to discuss shows like Trigun and Cowboy Bebop. But it was here that realized that the lessons I learned in all those hours of watching anime helped me give friends advice when they were facing hardships. Because I knew how to navigate my feelings and emotions with the help of anime and counseling, I could help others and also introduce them to anime by relating the problems they were facing with the shows I had seen.
It was all good until an upperclassmen let me borrow Samurai X: Trust and Betrayal. The single most influential movie in my life at that time. Watching end of Samurai X had me emotionally wrecked for weeks, invoking tears every time I thought about the final act of that film. Up until this point, the shows I watched did necessarily make me shed tears. I thought of them as empowering shows that could boost your spirits. This movie here, especially when I thought about it in context of the show and everything Kenshin when through after the events of the movie shattered all notions I had for what anime of capable of. It clicked with me that this medium was so much more and I sought out to discover all that I could.
That has lead me to internet to seek out more Bleach once Adult Swim abruptly stopped showing new episodes. I learned that there were so much more out there to watch and so much I had missed. I discovered manga and began consuming series like a madman. I learned about fansubs and started supporting them so that I could download and watch more anime. I discovered conventions and YouTube channels all about anime. And by a recommendation of a friend, started this blog so that I share my thoughts with others while discovering others who have different opinions.
Every time I have gone through life altering event, there had been an anime that I have found to pull me through it. When my relationship that lasted since I was in high school ended over horrifying decisions and I thought love was dead, I found Toradora. When I did not know how to deal with the lost of my mother and other family members who had lost their life, I found Your Lie in April. When I found myself thinking of my mother while on the cusp of losing my grandparents (both because of heart failure), I watched The Boy and the Beast and Wolf’s Children. And just recently, I cried several times while watching Violet Evergarden because at the time, I was looking for a reason to continue this game we call life.
I had never thought of why I continued to watch anime after all these years. But I know why now. Anime has been there for me which and every step of my life. I’ve laughed. I’ve cried. I’ve gotten angry and I have felt disappointed. I have rooted for villains and screamed for the heroes to prevail. I’ve fallen in love and I found sense of belonging that no one can take from me. And at times, I have been able to enjoy this others. Debated and fought over plots and characters. It even sparked me to role-play and create characters and stories of my own. (Though I really wish I would have read some books as well. Audible has introduced me to some amazing authors.) I’ve even picked out a couple of waifus.
I still love anime because it has been that friend walking beside me all this time. It has been there all this time, introducing me to shows and movies that it feels like would help me during this journey of life. It has help me make some of my closest friends and even convince my grandparents to enjoy a few shows. Along the way, I have met so many people through communities and forums that carries this same love for the medium. And it secretly feels like it has been growing up with me, giving me shows like Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid and Aggretsuko. So i hope it doesn’t abandons me, I still have a long way to go.
I have drawn my sword and raised my shield for battle. Who else will heed the call? I don’t have a lot of people to tag and I have discovered that those I do know has already been tagged. But as I said, this was an amazing topic I really wanted to participate.
Edit! I do!
- I nominate Merlin!