What Anime Has Done For Me
I’m the type of person that loves cartoons in general. I’ve never grown out of the joy that an animated series can bring. I distinctly remember being in middle school and watching programing that was geared towards and audience that was much younger than me. While I enjoyed the shows and could marathon them with no hesitation, I could never put my finger on why these shows resonated with me.
I felt weird compared to my peers because they didn’t even watch the shows made for our age range. I found myself talking to a specific group of people about the shows I watched and they were never the cool kids. I even remember the day I realized I was different. I tried to play “Sailor Moon” with some of the girls at school that I assumed watched the show. Because why wouldn’t they? A show about girls that fight monsters and magically change their clothes? We were in 5th grade! What else were we supposed to be watching!
Much to my disappointment, the girls showed quickly that they knew absolutely nothing about the show. They were quite excited about the idea, but proceeded to release amazon shrieks as they chased the boys they liked. Needless to say, I never tried this again.
I acquiesced to being the weird one and drawing out my passions until I reached the higher grades where I could meet more people. The more types I met, the more I could talk about shows I loved and get recommendations for shows I didn’t know existed! I felt validated in my obsession and began to seek out more.
This is when I was exposed to shows that weren’t just action adventure or the magical girl troupe. I began to find shows that were focused on the everyday lives of people. I can’t even remember the first show I watched that didn’t have a sci fi sub plot but the first anime that stuck with me for its gorgeous animation and incredibly simple story line was Working!! A simple show about a young man that gets a job at a family restaurant and his relationship with his weird variety of coworkers.
I watched shows like K-ON or the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and while I give them points for being the leaders of a more relaxed kind of anime in America, Working!! Came at a time when I really needed a show that didn’t put pressure on me to keep up with the rules of a new universe or try to throw some crazy twist at me.
It was then that I realized the true range of what anime and general animation could be! After watching Working!! I upped my game again and started searching for slice of life shows that allowed me to relax my mind and get swept away in the mundane actions of everyday life. I hated going to work! But I loved watching the funny misadventures of the people in Working!!
What I learned after broadening my anime watching horizons, was that I wasn’t weird, it was people who were missing out! If a person sticks to their preconceived notion of what anime is, they won’t give anything past Pokémon and Dragon Ball Z a chance. They’ll continue to believe that anime is just for children and adult have better things to do with their time, which is the biggest lie ever told.
As an adult, I believe we need anime now more than ever! The idea that there is such a wide variety of anime out there proves this to be fact. You can get absorbed in a fight scene set in another world, you can enjoy kawaii school girls doing kawaii things and learning about friendship, or you can watch a salaryman go through a mid-life crisis and find a simple love that makes his life worth living again.
Anime taught me to stop looking at things from one perspective. It taught me that everything, even the shallowest things, have layers to their existence. Without even realizing it I started carrying that mentality with me to everything I did. I gave time to things to learn more about them before making an opinion, because god forbid I listened to some of the people growing up that believe anime was a bunch of screaming and boob jokes.
I now have anime as a relaxing part of my daily life and it’s helped me through some of the more frustrating and tough parts. At this point I can’t imagine not liking it!