This is a response to Nopy’s My History with Anime project. If you are an anime blogger, go make one of these and link back to Nopy’s blog.
I am very open to people that I like anime. In fact, if you ask any of my friends IRL what makes me stand out among them, I’m sure that they’ll tell you that I’m the one to talk to when it comes to anime. While the part about being an “the one to talk to” isn’t really true (I have finished only 81 TV series so far), I guess I’m the one in my group of friends who has finished the most (51 series in 2010 and 13 series this 2011, and currently watching 16 TV series [12 from this season], aside from anime movies, OVAs and stuff).
It was not always like this, though. Before I got introduced to anime not shown here in the Philippines, I had a pretty negative view on it, to the point of actually hating anime for no clear reason. I mean, come on, I got tired of ‘Eugene’ (Yuyu Hakusho’s Yuusuke) shooting ridiculous beams from his finger while ‘Alfred’ (Kazuma) is too busy being a loser, fighting a seemingly endless cycle of dumb-looking enemies. At least that’s what I thought the story of Yuyu Hakusho was before, and I was not interested in watching it at all.
The kind of anime they show on local channels back then (Dragon Ball Z [for the nth rerun], Flame of Recca [for the nth rerun] and other shounen anime that I didn’t like when I was younger [10 years old]), made me change the channel whenever they started. I also avoided Cartoon Network’s Toonami segments and watched news instead. Anime that aired here just didn’t click with me.
This went on even after I graduated from elementary school as the Valedictorian of my class. I never watched anime, and thought that the people who did needed some medical attention (yes, I was a bastard), especially with the rising popularity of the Big Three which just fired up my disgust.
High school came (we have high school right after elementary). I was enrolled in one of the best ‘public’ high schools in the country. It was there that my pride and my oversized ego was crushed. As I said earlier, I was really a good-for-nothing jerk who tries to appear nice in front of my teachers and classmates while thinking that they are inferior to me in every way imaginable.
As the school was far from home, I had to live in a dormitory. I had three roommates, and one has a remote (I think) interest in anime. He would talk about sexual perversions and other things that I would rather not mention almost all the time, and it just added to my already very negative view on anime.
I was a total jerk in class. I remember blaming people for my own faults and just being an all-around SOB while maintaining a seemingly kind facade. Of course, people started to hate me. They started ignoring me when they saw through my pretentious self.
My grades started to drop since then. That school was certainly not an easy one, having college-level maths and sciences (I’m not joking) getting thrown at 13-year old students. You needed elite friends to survive; and I didn’t have them. I tasted my first low mark at math, one of my supposedly good subjects. I felt that the whole world was against me.
I started to learn from my mistakes and tried to change my horrible attitude the following year. However, I really didn’t put effort into it. I was still pretty arrogant and was still reluctant to accept and give help to others. While my grades and reputation were getting better as I finally made a few friends, I still had this feeling of emptiness and depression.
Until now, I still don’t know the reason why I just stood up and looked at the screen. Was it fate? A mere coincidence? I really don’t know.
What met my eyes were girls my age wearing school uniforms running with a 10-year old kid. I became interested. It was something new. There was comedy that was new to me.
It was the first series that I finished. I MARATHONED IT ON THAT SAME NIGHT.
So on October 2007, I became a Negima! fan. I read the manga, I got wallpapers and music.
And I became infatuated with Nodoka Miyazaki.
I didn’t touch any other series until mid-2008. I started to watch anything that my small circle of friends would recommend to break the monotony. I sat through anime like Kanokon, Shuffle!, School Days and Prism Ark. I started to talk to people more. I started to be kinder and more accepting.
However, I still thought that the world was rotten to its core. I had many hardships that I would rather not discuss. I got things stolen from me, and still got mostly ignored by most students because of my high and mighty attitude before I started watching anime. I felt that the world was not worth living in and that every human (including myself) is a pile of worthless, selfish garbage. I thought that it would be better if everyone in the world just died. Then came Clannad.
Clannad was my savior. It provided me with a reason to live. It gave me hope. It showed me that there is kindness in this world of pain that I’ve been through. I cried over a TV show for the first time in my life and I came to realize that the world is not really as bad as I thought it was. I learned to appreciate my family and friends more and my fundamentally rotten personality took a sharp turn for the better.
I started to participate seriously in group activities and actually had fun in high school. I started to get along with almost everyone I knew, even those who hated me before, and I think I have anime to thank for that.
I started to spread anime in the dormitory myself. I would recommend Clannad to anyone who watched anime. I got some weird stares and some probably even laughed at me for watching “girly” cartoons.
Some of my friends got convinced by my fanboying and watched it. And the Clannad fever started in the dorms. One would be out of place if he didn’t know ‘Dango Daikazoku,’ and I even got those who haven’t watched anime before get hooked on Clannad to the point of actually watching it a few times.
It was also because of Clannad that I started to take an interest in visual novels. I saw one of my friends (let’s call him ‘X’) playing one when I was still in my junior year, but I never really cared about it. But as I read Clannad’s Wikipedia article, I found out that it was actually a game. I started to be curious about these text-driven games and wanted to play one. I looked for an English translation of Clannad but there was still no completed translation for it back then.
I started to look for alternatives. As fate would have it, I saw ‘X’ and asked him for one. He was playing Da Capo at that time, and he gave me a copy. As soon as I got back in the dormitory, I tried it out. I cringed at Mangagamer’s parental warning on mature content and was slightly discouraged from playing at first.
I was amazed by how Da Capo entertained me. I finished a route in the same night, holding down the CTRL button every time an H-scene appears. I finished the whole game in half a week.
I wanted more of these unique games. I asked ‘X’ for more. I got hold of games like Ever17, Tsukihime and Princess Waltz and enjoyed playing them all. However, ‘X’ got transferred to a different school and I was left in the dark as we didn’t have internet at home back then.
I was introduced by ‘X’ to another schoolmate, ‘Z’, through Yahoo! Messenger at the start of my senior year in high school (15 years old). ‘Z’ was an avid anime and visual novel fan, even more so than I am. I got lots of good anime and visual novels from him.
‘Z’ was also the one to introduce me to yuri. I only had a fleeting interest in yuri back then (Negima!’s Konoka x Setsuna), but he’s the one who fired it up. He introduced the all-powerful yuri anime, Strawberry Panic!. It woke up my dying romantic side and I became an instant yuri fan. ‘Z’ was also the one who introduced me to the Sono Hanabira Series and has made me an eternal yuri fanatic.
I became very interested in the Sono Hanabira Series to the point of actually researching it. Of course, it’s inevitable that I will come across Listless Ink. I enjoyed the well-written articles and I was inspired to hone my writing skills too. At first, I wrote some poorly constructed comments that will make one think that I’m an idiot. I also started to visit this blog because of one of Valence’s comment in Listless Ink. I became a regular reader in both blogs and decided that I should make one of my own.
So I created a humble blog here at WordPress. I started by reviewing visual novels and anime. They were really badly written and downright stupid, but I got better in time and eventually moved to this very blog you’re reading. I started to visit more blogs and made a few internet friends who share the same interests. I found very nice people on twitter and I regularly talk to them about almost anything. My RL friends who watch anime also started to turn to me for information and news on the blogosphere. They started to call me ‘Master’ (no kidding).
My life and attitude was changed so much by anime. I has made me a better person. Perhaps I would have become a shut-in or I may have killed myself if it weren’t for anime. I doubt I’ll stop watching anime anytime soon; I just became so attached to it, that I can’t imagine my life today if I didn’t look at that laptop screen.
As of the day that I wrote this post, am am a 17-year old college student who is content with his life, and I couldn’t ask for more (except a higher allowance, I guess ^^;).