The tags return, this time courtesy of Cactus Matt with the Why I Love Anime Tag. What’s the tag about? Basically the rules are as follows:
- Write a post about why you love anime. It could be your favourite thing about it or one of your favourite things about it, it doesn’t matter which, but just pick one!
- You can get as personal or as impersonal as you like. You might want to write about how anime helped you through a tough time or something that it has taught you or you might want to write about just how much fun you’ve had watching it over the years. Your choice
- Nominate three bloggers to do the same
- Link back to the original post. Ty would love to see what you’ve written and may compile a list of favourite entries further down the line
So yeah, this tag is pretty simple, and is also a really nice idea as well. Sharing our initial exposure to anime and how it has helped us through life is a wonderful way to engage the community.
My First Exposure to Anime
Like many western audiences, my first introduction to anime was Pokemon, more specifically Pokemon Diamond and Pearl while it aired on the british kids channel CITV on saturday mornings. I also experienced it through Digimon when I was even younger but I didn’t really remember much from it as I was like 5 years old. However as I grew up and began to morph into an awkward teenager, I began to lose a bit of interest in Pokemon as not only was the new series Black and White kinda boring to me, but I felt I was too old for Pokemon at the time (oh you fool little Average Joe, you still love Pokemon to this very day). One day, when I was around 14, I was browsing YouTube as one does and saw what I thought was a video of Cynthia from Pokemon, one of my favourite characters. But no…it turned out to be a scene from To Love Ru (Here it is). Now how this ended up in my recommended options from a Pokemon video is frankly beyond me and to this day it still baffles me, but at the time I was… let’s just call it interested. I found a full episode and despite it being from halfway through the series I watched it. After this I was hooked, and set out to find more.
The Plot Thickened
After this encounter I found a bunch of anime sights and basically dug my way through random series to see what stuck. Once thing I decided upon was to not watch anything that was deemed mainstream, e.g Naruto, Bleach, Soul Eater etc. I have still stuck to this rule with the only exception being Dragon Ball. I follow this rule not to be different and away from the crowd, but mainly because I realised that the genre of anime was massive, so there’d be no point to sticking to the relevant stuff and instead diversify into perhaps lesser known shows. My misadventures took me to the likes of Ladies vs. Butlers, Highschool of the Dead, Highschool DxD and many more with a ‘certain theme’. After this though I dropped watching anime for a while to focus on my school studies since at the time I was beginning to get really stressed out about mock exams. I know people will probably say “watch anime to calm down” but I was, and kinda still am, the kind of person that prefers to abandon all forms of distraction when focusing on a big part of my life, regardless of the stress it brings. So anime took a backseat and lived mostly in compilation videos for me. But then something changed, something happened that effectively changed me as a person, and I don’t mean that lightly.
During this time I was watching the YouTube channel Adamzonetopmarks AKA. Gamechap, a channel mainly know for Minecraft content but would occasionally dip into games of the ‘fanservice persuasion’. It was here that I found a game called Senran Kagura Burst, and when I saw this game my teenage curiosity brought me to buying their first 3DS game. This game was what made Senran Kagura one of my favourite gaming and media franchises (needless censorship from Sony notwithstanding). The story had an idea that I;d never seen before in a game, playing the enemy side. The game had two campaigns where you could play as the main good guys, and as the main bad guys. The bad guy story was my favourite mainly because they weren’t portrayed as evil, just a group of people doing what they felt was right. This is something that has been done before countless times in video games, movies and more, but this was my first big exposure to this idea. But what does all of this have to do with my supposed ‘change as a person’ as the last paragraph proclaimed?
Writing and the Creative Awakening
Well to answer that question, this concept inspired me to write my new novel idea, one that I worked on for years and to this day I still expand and rework. This is one of my proudest works as a writer, because out of the sea of small one off stories I wrote, this was the one I put the most effort into, I created a collection of 20+ characters for the world, all with unique powers and styles, as well as an entire mythos that I feel if you were to write it all out would make the Codex Gigas blush. Writing this series did many great things for me. It brought me out of a dark place when I was struggling with my studies, gave me confidence when people praised it at writing club, and helped awaken my creative side. It also lead me to learning to draw, something that helped nurture my creative streak in so many ways, I seriously have a massive office file briefcase full of fanart, original drawings and my own character art, it astounds me that I filled it up in such a short amount of time. So I guess I can attribute my ability to write and my overall creative mind to Senran Kagura of all things, guess it’s more than just fanservice and waifus, it’s also a creative kickstarter.
Why I Actually Still Love Anime
So after all this, why do I actually love anime? Well it’s because of the creativity it has and how it essentially transferred that creativity into me and made me the person i am today. I don’t mean that in an extreme way, rather it has helped sculpt my creativity and helped it to grow and expand. I’m honestly gonna admit this, compared to most people, I’m not an enormous anime watcher. While many have ‘watched lists’ in the hundreds and maybe even the thousands, mine is a few dozen. I was originally intimidated by this when I first started watching anime, mainly because I was afraid I would be laughed out of the community for my lack of viewing experience, but then I realised that thinking like that is stupid, if I want to watch only a few anime then I’ll watch a few anime. Anime has helped a lot of people through a lot of things, and I am no exception. It brought me into a new world of cartoons and animation, helped me through trying times as a friendly distraction, and most importantly helped to kickstart my avid love of writing. I think in many ways I can attribute the creation of this blog to anime itself. If it wasn’t for that fateful encounter with Senran Kagura I would have probably never taken up writing as a major hobby and as a result wouldn’t have found the opportunity to start up Average Joe Reviews.
Well there ya go people, that was my post on why I still love anime. I hope you enjoyed it and now for my nominations. If you’ve already done this tag, don’t worry but please send me a link to it so I can see it, I’d love to hear your stories.
Thank you for reading I hope you enjoyed it. If you did please consider leaving a like and following my blog for updates on future posts. Also follow me on twitter @joe_reviews for further updates and general nonsense. Till next time.