As many of you probably know, I don’t exactly hide my love for the medium that is anime; rather you could say I am very open and expressive in my love of it. It’s a big part of my life; it has shaped my relationships with others and changed the way I view certain aspects of life. It’s not a just a hobby to me at this point, it’s a lifestyle. But how did this deep seeded love for this medium come about? Well, allow me to tell you about my first “real” experience with anime, and how anime became a part of my identity.
Let’s rewind to the summer after I’ve graduated from the 9th grade, in the midst of preparing for an important transition in my life: entering High School. I had watched shows like Yu-Gi-Oh, Pokemon, and other older shows but I didn’t really consider them anime, and I still don’t really to this day, but I’ve never really been interested in anime before. I always viewed anime in a negative light, I thought it was too weird, too dumb, etc. I never really understood anime or anime fans, and I often made fun of it. It wasn’t until I saw my friend begin to get into anime that it began to draw my interest. I remember one day, I saw my friend’s Skype status talking about how the ending of a certain something was bad. The name of that certain something was a word I’ve never seen before and I didn’t really understand what he was saying. So I googled it to see what it was. The results of that search, and the decisions following it, would forever change my perspective on anime and life in general. The name of that certain something I googled: Clannad.
I read the synopsis of the story and I immediately thought it seemed interesting, I don’t know exactly what drew me in, but eventually I came to the decision that I should give this Anime thing a try. I thought I would get an episode or two in and then immediately stop, I was just trying this out, seeing why people were so drawn to this medium of anime. Boy, was I wrong. After witnessing the first scene, I was immediately hooked. After 4 days and many tears shed, I finished both seasons of Clannad. It was just so eye opening for me. I never had experienced something so beautiful from a storytelling medium before. The simple message behind the show also resonated with me and seeing how much the main character Tomoya changes throughout the show was just incredible. It changed the way I looked at life, honestly. It’s really hard to put how it affected me into words, but I can say for sure that I came out of it a different person. I reached out to my friend, the one who “inspired” me to watch the show, and we began to talk about it. It was a unique and refreshing experience for both of us, as he didn’t really have anyone to talk to about it before, and I wanted to just talk about anime. To this day, I consider him one of my closest friends, and I don’t think we would be as close if it wasn’t for anime. After Clannad, I wanted more; I needed more. I began to consume any anime people recommended to me and I enjoyed watching them simply for the fact that it was anime. I hopped from genre to genre, show to show, season to season, I just wanted to watch more.
Fast forward 3 years later, I’ve watched quite a bit of anime and my thirst for new shows has lessened, but my passion and love for anime has never dwindled. Because of anime, I’ve been able to form new relationships, experience amazing stories, and have gotten through some tough times in my life. Even though I don’t consider Clannad a masterpiece anymore, and I see it for its highs and lows now, I don’t regret that I watched it. Like many firsts in life, it’s something that I cherish and wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.
Well, maybe except for catgirls. That might be a deal breaker right there.
Thanks for reading