The value of anime to us

I have never had any problem with people and the hobbies of their choosing, from kite-flying to skydiving to model creation. I can only admire people’s dedication and passion for what they like. Besides, I personally don’t think my avocations are socially accepted compared to other methods of whiling away time: I love anime, and I love obtaining unique and antique video games. They’re not exactly basketball, women-watching, or cars (although I also love basketball). I thus wasn’t the least bit surprised when my friends (all men, of course), joked about my wastage of money: I did buy an expensive video game, and to most people it’s just considered as such, and nothing more. History, the appreciation of the past, and the role of the Super Micro in the evolution of video games to them seems like flatus vocis – empty air. They told me that I could play Othello practically anywhere, and their argument to my spending was rational and justifiable: there is no way around the fact that I saved 250 dollars and asked help for 100 more. For that amount I could have bought the newest version of the PSP, or the Nintendo DS: why would I even spend my money earned through thrift and miserliness in that manner?

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I can’t really rationalize and prehend through an analysis why I purchased it: I can only say that I like it, I appreciate it, and at the end of the day, despite spending that much, I have no regrets having it or getting it. I could have gotten a PSP but I really don’t enjoy its games; the same could be said about the Nintendo DS. One can spend all the money he has on things he doesn’t want but at the end of the day it won’t make him happy. I just stuck to what makes me happy, and it’s worked.

The same can be said about me and anime. Ever since I became really engrossed and involved with anime, my father would try to discourage me every step of the way (no disrespect to my father, I love him, but he just can’t appreciate the medium) saying that it was for children and that I should outgrow it. My father grew up in a more traditional family lifestyle where interests and avocations outside of study, basketball, and the occasional women were clearly believed to be abnormal. He had grown older seeing anime in television targeted primarily at children, and he concluded that its enjoyment was only for children: adolescents and young adults clearly should move on from the medium.

I didn’t back then, and I wouldn’t have made this post if I did now. I wouldn’t have been happy if I did, because I recognized that all my father had was a misconception. He couldn’t see the other side of anime, the side that gave us series like Cross Game and movie series like Kara no Kyoukai. He never allowed the color of Honey and Clover to paint his feelings, or the ineluctable tragedy and redemptive love of Ga-Rei Zero to affect him. I think the same thing happened with my classmates.

The evolution of video gaming is such an iridescent story of failures and successes painting the development and continuous improvement of the fleeting way to entertain people. All they could see is the price: I could see that as well. Beyond that, however, I can also perceive its effect on the history of video gaming. I can see the reasons why it failed, why it became so rare (and thus expensive), and why even a game that can be played anywhere on the Internet feels more special when played in that console. It’s something most people fail to see. Perhaps that’s why anime is special to us, and only to us.

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8 Responses to “The value of anime to us”

  1. Angelus Says:

    Well said, Michael. I’ve been spending years “educating” my partner in the ways of anime, to the point where we can now watch and enjoy together such disparate shows as Clannad, Hanamaru Youchien and Mushi-shi. I’m not so sure she’s ready for Ga-Rei Zero yet, though!

  2. Ryan A Says:

    Ah yes. I think being able to regard this medium highly does require a certain mindset, but beyond that, and I’ve stated it before, I do feel there are works which break the boundaries of the medium to the point where a less informed viewer does not question the capability. With these kinds of works, preconditions and requirements can be forgotten, and we become more interested in occurrences than we do classification. These are exceptional though, and there is still an inner sphere within the medium which requires the necessary mindset for grounding.

    Open-mindedness helps, I believe 🙂

  3. The Popularity Of Anime | Get Direct TV Says:

    […] anime|otaku » Blog Archive » The value of anime to us […]

  4. Ronin AnimeLover Says:

    Kudos to you, my friend, for standing up to your “passion”. Even when I’m not showing it around anymore (my aniblog is dead, btw), I still procure the latest news about a subgroup of pop culture such as anime and manga, and get this good feeling about having to re-experience the joy of having seen and watched/read them.

    Anime and Manga, are indeed, antihypertensive drugs to me. 😛

  5. Michael Says:

    Angelus:

    I’ve tried doing that with my friends. A lot have become anime fans because of me, and I’m proud of it. 🙂

    Ryan:

    Indeed. Elfen Lied and Gundam Wing did it back then for me: both series jarred me from the traditional misconception toward anime and Honey and Clover offered an apotheosis of what anime can really achieve.

    And yes, open-mindedness helps a lot.

    RoninAL:

    I think I tried commenting on your goodbye post only to note that it was probably eaten by spam or something. I still check on your posts about once a month (if I have enough free time) and I remember I posted there.

    Thank you!

  6. Mr. Mister Says:

    Did this blog include the necessary snarkiness? Just curious.

  7. Michael Says:

    Haha. I don’t think so.

  8. Hana Says:

    If it isn’t too controversial to say this, I love the fact that I watch most of it for free (internet and fansubbers ftw!). However, regarding the value (as opposed to the price) of it for me – well, quite simply it’s invaluable. Plus, randomly, I recently found out one of my work colleagues was a otaku too, how cool is that? I guess there are more of us out there closer than we think 🙂

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