May 1, 2019
5th Monthly Topic: “Happiness”
Happiness is subjective. We all have different definitions of what happiness means to us and we also feel happiness in varying degrees. This month we will be exploring several questions describing our happiness in our fandoms, communities, and hobbies. Why do we find enjoyment watching anime or reading manga? Why did we decide to join the anime or pop culture communities? Why do we blog about our hobbies or cosplay as our favorite characters? This topic is all about the passions we have for our interests and why they are important to us.
Anime blogging community
Massive otaku collections
Please be sure to read BeckNaja’s post on Happiness!
Remember who you are
They say you never forget your first time. Do you remember the first time you saw anime or read a manga? I know I did. Do you remember when you thought anime was a cartoon and then later finding out that anime and cartoons are different? Do you remember getting hooked on a manga and buying the volumes in order to see the conclusion? These are kind of questions I ask myself whenever I remember my first experience with anime and manga. Some people may not like animanga like me and that’s okay. People will argue that it’s weird or it’s something really odd and geeky even though you can argue back and ask them about their hobbies. Remember the time when it was hard to find someone who liked anime because they kept it a secret? Here we are in 2019, we are seeing anime becoming part of the mainstream world such as stores promoting anime like Hot Topic, we had a Goku balloon the Thanksgiving Parade, and then we have celebrities like Michael B. Jordan saying like he loves anime like Dragon Ball and Naruto. For the purpose of this post, I want to share with you my story. Why do I still like anime and manga? How did my interest lead me to writing a blog? What’s my opinion on why we continue to enjoy these things today?
First anime: I choose you Pikachu!
When I was little, I was a kid who enjoyed animation such as cartoons on TV and on movies. I remember watching classic Disney movies like The Lion King, Aladdin and Snow White. Besides Disney, I used to watch movies like Space Jam, The Land Before Time and All Dogs Go To Heaven. In TV, you would see me watch Looney Tunes, DuckTales or even Rugrats. There was one cartoon that was really different, but I watched it because it had the cutest character and it only had a few lines when speaking: it was a Pikachu from the show Pokemon. When I first saw Pokemon, I feel in love. I remember singing along the Pokemon theme song and seeing the first episode of Pokemon where Ash Ketchum meets Pikachu. I was always happy to see Ash and his friends Misty and Brock tagging along in the adventure and taking down gyms and making new friends. I remember watching the movie, Pokemon the First Movie. Unlike the series, I noticed the movie was pretty dark and it was hard to see when seeing a clone Pikachu slap Pikachu for not fighting. When Ash got turned into stone for trying to stop Mewtwo and Mew from fighting, I was shocked to see him sacrifice himself. This movie was was probably the second time I cried when Pikachu was trying to bring Ash back to life; I believe The Lion King got me into tears with Mufasa death. Overall, my journey in getting into anime was Pokemon and this series helped me spread out to other shows I didn’t expect to enjoy.
First Manga: Trust in the Heart of Cards
The way I got into manga has a interesting start. I was still the kid who would watch cartoons and not read. I did read comic books but I mostly read the Sonic the Hedgehog Archie comics. One day, my sister had a giftcard to a bookstore called Walden Bookstore (this was a bookstore competing against Barnes and Noble, but they got their business closed like Radio Shack) and she wanted to buy me something. When she showed me the classic Yu-Gi-Oh! manga, I wanted it because I love watching the anime on TV so I figured it would be cool to have the series in my hand. However, just by reading the first volume of the manga, I noticed this series was not like the anime. The classic manga was pretty dark and violent and strangely enough, I wanted to read more. After the first volume, I wanted to get more volumes and I wanted to know how the books were different than shows I seen like Dragon Ball Z. I asked my mom to get me a Shonen Jump subscription and because of this big magazine, I got hooked on other series besides Yu-Gi-Oh! like One Piece, Bleach and Naruto. Because of a gift from my family and a out of business bookstore, I wanted to read as many manga out there and make my own library of manga.
First step into blogging: Write out your thoughts!
In my years of college, I never really considered myself a fanatic in writing. I didn’t really care about being writer for stories or teaching how to be one. After going through changes in major, I stuck with writing since it was the only thing I was good and I was terrible in computer science and graphic designing. In one of my classes, we were assigned to create a blog and write news in order to get graded. After I passed the class, I left my blog behind and went about my life. It wasn’t until near the end of 2014, I felt like doing something different and I thought I should keep a journal, but I think I decided to do something related to my hobbies. It wasn’t until I decided to use my blog and use it a place to talk about anime and manga. Through out the years of writing in my blog, I have met many people who enjoys the same hobbies like me and I made many friends. I created this site so I can express myself and be me.
Why are we still fans?
So now, after I shared with you with my experience on my first encounters with animanga and blogging, I want to ask you guys this question. Why do you guys continue to watch anime or read manga? This is question I ask myself all the time. The answer I came up with is only a matter of opinion, but I feel like anime and manga helps people feel happy. When you watch your favorite anime, you can’t help but get hooked on the series. You watch it for the story, characters and visual effects. For me when I watch anime, I watch it for peace and pleasure and to escape. Life can be hard and frustrating and we just need to a moment to breath. People will use outlets to escape from life such as going to the movies, watching a sports game or even play video games; the same goes with anime as well. When watching anime, it’s more than just watching fictional characters get into situations or getting involve with a story. Anime is a medium that has relatable characters and has exaggerated features that you wouldn’t see it today. We could be watching Naruto and get inspired to strive through the trials of life and feel motivated when completing goals. Some of us could watch a slice of life anime like Clannad and see do people handle life and learn how to feel for others. The same goes with manga. Just like how people can enjoy reading comics like Marvel or DC, there people who read manga and get into the series. As a matter of fact, there are some anime that started as manga before appearing on TV. Like I mentioned, people read manga to escape from life and get connected to the story. Series like My Hero Academia, The Promised Neverland and One Piece all started from the manga and they are ahead of the anime. People who enjoy anime will always face the common issue of having a season completed and only to wait until next year for another season. To pass the time, people can read the manga and get caught up in the story. Overall, people who watch anime and read manga are looking for some excitement and they want to break free from the norms. Rather than watching something you would expect to see like The Simpsons or SpongeBob, how about sit down and watch a character try to confess their love to someone or watch a young person tackle an adult challenge,
With the power of the internet, we are able to connect to the world. What do you with your knowledge of anime and your passions? You share it to the world. Anime fans and manga readers want their voices to be heard and meet people to discuss their favorite series. This is why we have anitubers on YouTube reviewing anime and manga or writers like myself who can write out their thoughts. I became a blogger because I wanted to use my skills on writing to express my inner thoughts. I am not a very good speaker and I get nervous talking to people. There is a lot I want to talk when having discussions, but I can never find the right words. However, whenever I write, I can speak calmly and choose what to say. As a writer, I write as a way to speak and say things I wasn’t able to say in person.
Conclusion: Who are you and what do you want?
“Why do we find enjoyment watching anime or reading manga? Why did we decide to join the anime or pop culture communities? Why do we blog about our hobbies or cosplay as our favorite characters? ”
Going back to this prompt, I want to give you my answers. After today, ask yourself this question and share with me your answers. I find enjoyment in anime because I want something different and I want watch a show where I can get into and be happy. As someone who grew up with cartoons like Mickey Mouse, I appreciate animation and I like how anime can make me relate someone who is hand drawn and voiced. Same with manga, I want to read and feel surprised from the story. I like being able to hold the story in my hand and seeing everything unravel. I take pleasure of writing because it helps me voice out my thoughts and be heard by others. If I want to write about a certain anime and describe my experience, I will write a post big enough to be made into a book if I wanted. Enjoying anime and manga is what also led me to meet new people. Whenever someone asks me about a title, I can easily jump into discussion and form a bond. In the same way, it also introduce me to a title I haven’t seen it and it becomes brand new for me.