An Update – No Friend Zone
It seems I failed to think of the people in my life outside of the internet who do indeed enjoy anime. Not to the extent that I do but will watch it with me. My significant other pointed out that I’ve made him sit and watch TWENTY EPISODES of a show at one time. First, key word: made. Haha. Second, I’ve never had him watch twenty in a row. Maybe 10. Maybe. Not to mention, he falls asleep! Then he doesn’t have discussions with me later. He doesn’t willingly ask to watch shows. But he’s right, he will sit with me so I won’t binge alone.
After that post, another friend text me to say that I also had him and I wasn’t alone. My harem anime loving friend. But here’s the thing, they are both male. Maybe I should have been more in depth in the previous post and specified no female friends. I have posted before about anime (blogging in particular) seeming to be a male hobby with many popular series catering to that demographic. It’s possible it’s a topic that needs to be rehashed. The paucity of the female perspective. It is not that females are completely ignored, there are genres that pander to females. It’s also noticeable at cons that females are a large part of the Fandom. It’s just male voices are more vociferous.
On this end, I’m working on finding more friends with similar interests. Stay tuned.
No Friend Zone
When I started this blog, I discussed not really having any people in my real life to enjoy anime with; watching together or having conversations about shows. I started this blog so I could get my thoughts out and interact with others who have this interest. Lately, it has started to bother me that I don’t have friends with similar interests. Or family members. Sometimes, I feel that anime watching and K-drama by default is a lonely hobby. I no longer mention to people that I watch anime or am interested in other things outside of reality tv shows or whatever popular sitcom is airing.
I didn’t grow up knowing anyone in my community who watched anime. Or played games like D&D, or read comics, or read books (fiction or non-fiction). I didn’t get introduced to anime formally until college. I had watched anime without knowing that was what it was, i.e. Sailor Moon, Pokemon, and Digimon. But I didn’t realize the magnitude and scope of the fandom until adulthood. I know there are people who have formed bonds with each other over the net and probably chat offline and watch streams together via video chat. However, I have not managed to create those bonds and mainly because of my reservedness. Many anime viewers that I see online are quite young and their tastes skew young (ish). Still I would prefer to have a circle of friends that I could count on that would always understand my anime references, my love for Gintoki, my aversion to extreme fanservice. I would love good-natured arguments on the best series over dinner and/or wine. I probably need to step outside of my box and see if there is a local anime community for adults that is active. Maybe I’ll have some luck there. Do you have a local anime community? Do you have real life friends that you share your anime fandom with on occasion?
I just realized that I hadn’t posted in a while. It’s not that I haven’t been watching anime because I have. I simply forgot about my blog. It might be easier to keep up with if the WordPress mobile app was a lot better than it was because I could start a blog anywhere. Still that is no excuse to why I have let my blog languish. It’s a lot more difficult to blog with a little one than I expected. I see these non-anime blogs written by parents and the way they have these lengthy posts; leads one to assume it is a lot easier than it really is. Or maybe they have nannies and personal chefs. I apologize I have not blogged like I said I would.
I do miss blogging and there have been some great current shows to talk about and some older series that I have finished. I would have loved to discuss Death Parade; that show is one that will get a rewatch because there is so much I feel that I missed. Tokyo Ghoul √A, which people did not seem to care for but I did even though it was pretty bad as it was all over the place. At least it got me interested into the manga. I never did get to blog about the garbage that was TerraFormars. What a horrid load of dumpster mush that turned out to be. Shirobako, I love meta shows. It was nice to get a slice of life that from my understanding was very close to reality. All the way down to characters looking exactly like their real life counterparts. It was great to see how much work actually goes into producing anime. It gave me even more respect for the industry.
Some good news that has been rolling around since February is the return of Gintama. Our favorite troll anime series. The hiatus the series seems to take every 1-2 years seems to work for them. Although, I haven’t done any true research to determine if it is actually helping the show. But I am always glad to see it return. Its hilarious. I hope to return to blogging more consistently. I can’t guarantee it because as you can see, I tend to come and go once every 1-2 months. I hope you all are watching good anime. If not; shame on you!
In a previous post, I discussed watching older anime series rather than focusing on currently running series. When I first started with this blog, I tended to blog about finished shows. Somewhere along the way, I started blogging about series that were currently running. I cannot remember why there was this switch. But I’ve decided to go back to my blogging roots and the first show I’ve started on is Wolf’s Rain. It originally ran from January 6, 2003 – July 29, 2003. I was watching anime during this time but I hadn’t gone hardcore. My anime watching consisted of what was on Adult Swim at the time.
Wolf’s Rain was produced by Bones Studio, created by Keiko Nobumoto and directed by Tensai Okamura. I tend to not read the descriptions or summaries of a completed anime before I watch it to avoid spoilers. So I was not expecting the dystopic setting that reminded me of the cities of Trigun. I have not completed the series, I am halfway through at episode 15. If I am satisfied with the final episode, I plan to watch the 3 OVAs associated with the series.
As humans, what is our purpose for living? Is it because we are searching for paradise? Whether this paradise be on Earth for some or in Heaven for others; are we searching for it? Isn’t the pursuit of happiness, a world just for us where we have peace and joy, isn’t that akin to paradise? Is there someone or something that will lead you to this paradise? In Wolf’s Rain, an embodiment of this “something” that leads to paradise is Cheza, a lunar flower. She is to lead the pack of wolves to a paradise that is specifically for them. To the non-discerning eye, these wolves appear human. They put on this glamour to blend in and to protect themselves from being killed by frightened humans.
A paradise specifically for the wolves. They live their lives in search for this paradise. They don’t know why they want this paradise, they just feel they should find it. It seems at times, that we as humans, are in constant search for a paradise but we don’t know why. Is it too difficult to enjoy our lives on Earth and find a paradise here rather than waiting until we die? We’re given an allotment of time, why not make the most of it? However, many humans are like the wolves in Wolf’s Rain. They are not happy with their current state in life and feel as if they are just passing time until paradise is found. Though, I am only halfway through the series, what the wolves seemed to be missing was not paradise but kinship. They were all on their individual paths and converged to become a pack in their search for paradise. Different personalities bonding and finding ways to work together. A minority among the humans they attempted to coexist with but could not find that bond that they found with each other.
Paradise doesn’t have to be in the ephemeral sense. As an anime community, we have found a sort of paradise for those like us. We are a minority among humans in terms of the entertainment media we enjoy. Some of us have suffered ridicule because of it and the internet has become our “Cheza” in our search for paradise. There are those who wish to destroy Paradise and others who seek to have it for their own. We’ve got net neutrality and the “nobles” wanting to charge for every second we use the internet in addition to our monthly fees for the service. There are characters in Wolf’s Rain who have a hatred for Paradise such as Lord Darcia and those who want it for themselves, Jaguara. The battles have started in the war for Paradise and I look forward to seeing who wins.
That Nostalgic Feeling
Barakamon aired during the Summer Anime Season 2014. For a split second, I wondered why I hadn’t watched it. Then I remembered that I had just introduced into the world a baby anime fan. I’ve started watching it during the Winter Anime Season and it leaves me wanting for childhood and summer. The ending theme “Innocence” by NoisyCell solidifies this nostalgia. The song combined with the show evokes a combination of feelings: sadness, joy, regret, and love which embodies nostalgia.
It’s not a new storyline: guy is redeemed by the village people and their charm. The main character, Saishu Handa, is not a character we haven’t seen before. But I haven’t seen one who was a pro calligraphy artist. That was new for me. The show was also able to clearly invoke the feeling of summer and warmth within me during a cold season. The art is whimsical and I could feel the sun upon my skin and the water splashing on my face. I felt the joy of being let out of school for summer vacation all over again. I used to look forward to summer every year as a child. I still look forward to it but not with the same anticipation and excitement. This show rekindled that feeling in me if only for a little while. I’m also a sucker for little children playing happily and enjoying life. I don’t see children being children much these days and Barakamon captured their innocence and love of life seamlessly.
There are times that I feel sadness that I will never be able to relive my childhood. Regret that I didn’t enjoy it as much as I should have. Joy because there were a lot of fun times very similar to some of the scenes in Barakamon: catching bugs, jumping in a pool (when I couldn’t swim), getting lost in the woods, crushing on an adult male, and doing very unsafe activities. Barakamon wasn’t exactly a coming of age story but it was a very similar story; finding yourself when you’re already an adult. This particularly hit close to home as I am on a personal journey in finding myself again. I don’t have the option of spending time away in a beautiful village by the water like Saishu. But I will find my own way. If you’re on a personal journey, I wish you the best.