My name is Spacesquatch and this would be my first post here. I’ve lurked here for quite some time and have decided it to be time for me to dive headfirst in the breach. As for the topic, what better than a certain Japanese Television medium.
Perhaps I should back up.
Anime is rather important to the person I’ve become throughout my high-school experience. You see, early high school/late middle school was a rather miserable time for myself. While I wasn’t abused, bullied, or depressed, I was suffering through something of an identity crisis. I didn’t know what I wanted to be. It also didn’t help that there was a striking dissonance between how I looked and how I behaved. Physically, I’m rather on the tall and well built side of things. People, parents included, seemed to expect me to be the great athletic and macho guy. Mentally, I’m rather submissive, and a nerd of epic proportions.
However, instead of following I what I enjoyed as a person, I tried to be what others expected me to be. I took up skirt-chasing, and did everything I could to improve my social standing. And despite all my effort, it left me rejected and miserable. One late night, while browsing TVtropes, a certain Anime caught my eye.
Enter Birdy the Mighty: Decode
Birdy blew my middle school mind. Keep in mind, Middle School is the time where the nineties anti-hero is the epitome of cool. Anything even remotely colorful or energetic is shunned for colorless, bullet and cigar-ridden power fantasies. But here was a petite, luminescent, youthful women kicking as much ass as any Cable-clone. For me, it was mentally liberating. You see, here was a female character who I admired. In many ways, I wanted to be Birdy.
This was the beginning of something wonderful for me. Everyday, I would rush home to vigorously consume the next episode. Hours that would have been spent in a feverish frenzy of social worry were filled up instead with a story of a woman coming to terms with the world around her. In a childish attempt at maturity, I had tried to conform to the world around me. Despite this, something had enchanted me about this character. She was a headstrong character who fought her way out of situations with her fists. Yet she also had moments of melancholy, moments of tenderness, and moments of childlike happiness.
It was this role model that was the catalyst in a change in self-image. As I experienced moments of joy and happiness with Birdy, I slowly allowed myself to experience these moments as well. The facade I’d put on slipped away. Instead of obsessing over the girls of my grade, I shared small moments of companionship with my friends. When I spend the night at my friend’s house, instead of pouring out a never-ending stream of woes, I laughed with them and earnestly got to know them better. In short, I became a better friend to them all. One of them, who was by all definitions an Otaku, made a deal with me. If I watched Blue Exorcist, he’d watch Birdy the Mighty. He never finished Birdy.
Regardless, It was too late for me. To this date, I have watched Birdy the Mighty: Decode, Blue Exorcist, Gurren Lagann, Kill la Kill, Soul Eater, Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood, Trigun, Madoka Magica, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Fate/Zero, Lucky Star, Code Geass, Inari Kon Kon Koi Iroha, Fate/Stay: Unlimited Blade Works, Parts of Yatterman Night, Excel Saga, and JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (2012).
The most recent addition to the roster
Some would tell you that Anime is a visual art form. That’s misunderstanding of what storytelling is all about. Anime is an emotional art form, and for me that’s what makes it worth watching. And, for what it’s worth, I can earnestly say that anime has made me a better person.