Earlier today I saw a post on my Facebook from Funimation...
This...it really got to me people. I completely lost it. I posted a long comment about it but had to stop myself before it got too long. For anyone interested... Here are my thoughts:
If you are over 15 and still like or love Anime, I salute you. In this crazy world, filled with people trying to tell you what to do, how to dress, what to be, what to like, what to hate...etc., it takes courage to continue to do things you enjoy. It takes courage to continue watching the shows you love, no matter if people hate them or think they're stupid. It takes even more courage to open up to people and let them know the things you like, because not everyone understands how you could like it. Trust me, I know. I've been there. Now I am literally in love (as in my heart skips a beat whenever they come onto the screen) with hundreds of characters. Women who love Anime will not dis a guy who enjoys it, in fact, we will respect them more because some Anime actually contain valuable life lessons.
When I was growing up I was the shy/timid/quiet girl in the back of the class. The one that never smiled, never talked, never looked up. I never actively tried to make friends, yet I always found myself with at least one or two. This continued well into my high school years. I was born in 1990 so in the late 90s I was introduced to the likes of Pokemon, CardCaptor Sakura, Naruto, Inuyasha, Sailor Moon, Yu-Gi-Oh! and many others. I watched them well into my high school years but kept to myself, never let anyone know about it. One day in middle school, one of the kids I had known for a majority of my school life (and who had basically adopted me as a younger sister) began talking to her friends about Yu Yu Hakusho and Inuyasha. This, as you could imagine, caught shy-me's attention. I looked at her and she looked at me...then smiled. It was in that moment that I realized I had unintentionally found a true friend...someone I could be open with. She was one of the few I started to talk with. It was because of our mutual love for Anime that I was able to start opening up to others and working on coming out of my shell. In high school I was introduced to Fruits Basket, Vampire Knight, Gundam Wing, and a lot of others that later became some of my favorites...all because of her friends hanging around with her (and me since I never left her side), and discussing their favorites and ones they'd recently started watching on a DAILY basis.
No matter how much I stayed around them, though, I still felt like an outsider. There were a few things I was too afraid to admit. I was too afraid to admit I liked things with a lot of action or "Adult" language. I was too afraid to admit I liked overly cute things like Hamtaro. I was afraid to admit that there were certain ones with highly adult situations that I was interested in watching. I was even afraid to admit simpler things like my favorite color or my favorite type of music...or even my love for art and Norse & Greek Mythology. Basically, all I did in these group situations was sit silently, listen, and occasionally offer a few words on the subject...I was still super shy and timid. But then...something happened that changed all of that. While I had been introduced to Fruits Basket, I could never get past the second episode...either I'd get distracted or I just never had the time. But one day I did...I managed to finish the entire series. And you know what? There was one scene that really spoke to me. It was in the third episode, after Kyo loses his temper with Tohru when she stops the (soon-to-be) fight between him and Yuki. He's laying on the porch outside of Shigure's office and they're talking about Kyo's training. It went like this: Shigure:
So you're home. Had enough school for one day?Kyo:
I don't want to live in this house anymore.
If you can train on a mountain for four months, I think you can endure more than three days here.Kyo:
I said such terrible things to her...terrible.Shigure:
And by her I take you mean Tohru? Let me guess. You lost your temper and yelled at her again, right? You know you shouldn't do that if you're just going to regret it. Not to bright now is it?Kyo:
Save your breath. I'm just not meant to get along with other people, period. End of story. Shigure:
Oh sure. Some people just aren't, but you're not one of them. You just lack experience, that's all. For example, I know you could smash this table to bits with your bare hands...but I'm equally sure you could punch the able without breaking it. And why is that? Because I know your training has taught you to control your fists...at least I should hope so after four months of fighting bears and what not.Kyo:
I DIDN'T FIGHT BEARS!Shigure:
My point...is it takes just as much training to get along with people. Only, training by yourself in the mountains won't do you any good. You need to surround yourself with others. As you get to know them you'll take a chance that you'll end up hurting them...or they'll end up hurting you. One of those things might very well happen. That's the only way we learn...about others, and about ourselves. You're a black belt in martial arts, but I'd guess you still have a white belt in social skills. Someday you're going to meet someone who truly wants to be your friend...and you theirs. If you don't keep training, you won't be ready when that happens.Kyo:
It'll never happen anyway.Shigure:
Uh-Uh. Never say never.Kyo:
Okay, fine. Maybe if I meet someone with brain damage...or something.Shigure:
That's the spirit!
This scene...it spoke VOLUMES to me on a PERSONAL level. I honestly felt myself being the Kyo of my high school. Granted, I wasn't good at sports, fighting, or anything like he is...but I couldn't connect with other people. I had some people trying to talk to me but I still felt as though I couldn't open up to them. When I finished the series then started rewatching it...that's when I truly took notice of this scene. Kyo was going through the same issues I was in dealing with people. From that moment on whenever I was around my friend and her friends, I'd hear Shigure's voice in my head "As you get to know them you'll take a chance that you'll end up hurting them...or they'll end up hurting you. One of those things might very well happen. That's the only way we learn...about others, and about ourselves."
This, paired with Tohru's mother's words of "Just be yourself and you'll be fine."
...they literally helped me come out of my shell and actually engage in conversation with other people. Not only did I begin talking with my friend and her group more, but I was actually accepted into the group. I also began reading out loud in class, participating in discussions, and finally had courage to do a speech for my communications class that was worth 70% after already refusing (and failing) the one that was worth 30%. By the end of my senior year I was no longer the shy/timid girl I had been all through my childhood and early school life. And you know what? It was thanks to a FICTIONAL character. It was thanks to an ANIME that I was able to find the strength to come out of my shell. Because of several FICTIONAL characters, I learned that it's OKAY to be alone at times, to do your own thing, and basically how to associate with people.
But it doesn't stop there.
Anime is NOT a simple and stupid cartoon. It is SO MUCH MORE. There is action, romance, sci-fi, comedy, drama...every genre you can think of...and then some! The characters go through love, heart-break, depression, friendship, adventures of self discovery and growth...they find the strength needed to live their lives the way they want, they have to get jobs to make ends meet, they fight to save the world from evil, they lose friends, they have families, they get married... Literally everything any one person in real life can do or does actually experience, somewhere an Anime character is going through the same things. Anime characters also go through things no normal person could ever experience, like saving the world from some evil being who wants to destroy it or using magical powers to grant wishes for their friends... Granted, some anime are more "Adult friendly" than kids should be introduced to, with highly adult-only situations/scenes/language...but even these will sometimes be relatable in some way. Some anime is filled with death and murder, violent altercations and interactions, suicides, and a wide array of highly graphic images that children should NOT see...but, again, some of the things the characters say or think may be relatable to some people...be it they're depressed and see no other option, or their heart is so broken that they can't function in any other way.
Many, many MANY anime have valuable life lessons that kids can learn from. Many of them talk about the power of friendship, how friends will sometimes hurt the ones they love without realizing it and how to fix that situation, how to get through the tough days at school with a little fun, or how to discover your own inner strengths when you need it most. Through Anime I learned how to open up to other people, come out of my shell, make friends, interact in society in general, find things/people I enjoy doing/being around, AND find the freedom to enjoy it in public without caring what anyone else thought. I found strength I didn't know I had BECAUSE OF ANIME.
People, you don't understand. Anime contains morals, life lessons, wisdom...it can cheer you up when you're feeling down...it can make you laugh when you want to murder someone...it can change your life for the better. And if you don't give a damn about the life lessions/morals thing, then enjoy it for the art! It is literally one of the most unrespected forms of art out there...and I don't just mean the designs of the characters/worlds. There are many forms of art that go into Anime. First of all, you have the characters themselves. Someone has to draw them out on paper, then digitally animate them...THEN they spend literally DAYS getting the motions just right for every scene...and this is true for every single character in one anime, granted it usually involves an entire crew of creators drawing/animating different characters and not just one person doing it all. Secondly, there is the backgrounds/worlds that the characters live in. Someone, again usually a team, has to design every single pixel of the worlds by hand...easier with the invention of digital animation...but they still have to draw every aspect of the worlds from the insects to the buildings. Thirdly, someone has to translate the scripts from Japanese (or whichever language since Japan isn't the only country to create anime, just the main one) to English, which is usually a team of writers. Fourth on this list is the person who then takes the script and adapts it to the scenes. Fifth on the list are the voice actors...This is perhaps the hardest part of the entire production. If you get someone with the right voice who can truly bring the characters to life through use of pitch and vocal range, and fuel the words emotionally...you have a true master of the art. The right VA is everything. Voice acting, on it's own, is a form of art. Finally is the final product that we get to see on our screens. What takes perhaps 20-30 minutes to watch may take more than a month or so to produce, yet not everyone realizes that. The characters, the worlds, the dialogue...it is all an art form and should be appreciated as such.
Also, on another personal note... I don't date. I've never dated, never drank, never smoked...nothing. BUT, If I ever do decide to find someone... If he likes Anime and has his own favorites, or if some of his favorites are some of mine, or if he's willing to give my anime faves a chance...even if he only likes a few of them or likes a few of my fave characters... I will MARRY that guy. We will be married by either Sebastian or Undertaker or Grell from Black Butler, Sesshomaru from Inuyasha, the ENTIRE club from Ouran High School Host Club (or just Tamaki/Kyouya), Kaname from Vampire Knight, Itachi from Naruto, Ikuto from Shugo Chara, Goku from DragonBall Z, Kyo from Fruits Basket, Hero or Chang Wufei from Gundam Wing, or even Alucard from Hellsing. Our honeymoon will be at the San Diego Comic Con. We will be in cosplay as our favorite anime couple, even if the characters aren't from the same anime. Do not be ashamed of liking Anime if you are over the age of 15. Do not be ashamed of liking Anime if you are over the age of 20. DO NOT BE ASHAMED OF LIKING ANIME NO MATTER WHAT YOUR AGE IS.
Anime is life. Anime is love. Anime is drama and action. Anime is entertainment and education. Anime is wisdom and creativity.
If you ever start to regret liking or loving anime just remember...you have literally THOUSANDS to MILLIONS of people who understand your passion and will support you. Anime is powerful. Anime will bring people together. You are NEVER alone. Next time you start to feel this way look outside after dark...look at all the stars and the moon...imagine the moon is Anime and the each star represents at least three people who enjoy/love it. That is us. That is our community. You will NEVER be alone.I'm sorry this has turned into a long rant but people don't understand the true power of Anime... it brings an entire community together...people you never would've talked to on your own, you can now become friends with through a mutual love/respect for Anime. It's really a powerful creation and I love it. I'll stop now before this gets any longer...
PEACE, LOVE, ANIME!