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?
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.