There’s no point denying the fact that anime is a large part of my life now. I consume it nearly every day. Whether that’s by watching an episode or two, or reading manga. Or whether it’s just looking at photographs of cosplayers on Instagram. Quite frankly, it’s everywhere. Why? Because anime, as a medium, has helped me.
I don’t mean to be dramatic in this post by any means. Anime has helped me out in so many ways and I thought that it would be rather nice to reflect on that for my 200th blog post. It’s a milestone that’s still crazy to me, but, yeah… 200 blog posts. Never thought I’d get this far!
As some of you might know, I’ve been a fan of anime for about seven years now. That isn’t as long as others, I know, but these seven years have been a rollercoaster for me. The part that anime has had in these past seven years is that of a support role. Sure, this isn’t a battle of any kind. It’s not some MOBA or whatever, but the journey of life is, as we all know, is sometimes a difficult one.
Let me start with a rather trivial way in which anime has helped me.
Seven years ago, I was still in high school and so would it be so weird to say this? Anime helped me with my studying. Seven years ago, I was studying for my GCSEs – the examinations that every student in the UK takes at the age of 16. They determine what you can do at college. It’s safe to say that at this age, I was finding a love for history. I had been interested in the Tudors for a long time (since primary school) but I never ventured out into other aspects of history all too much. During my GCSEs, I was studying the history of medicine, which I loved, and also Germany during the Second World War.
At the same time, I had also discovered an anime that was my obsession at this point. That anime was Axis Power Hetalia. To this day, I have a bit of a soft spot for it. Despite the interference from the stereotyping, Hetalia did help me out with my histroy knowledge. Not directly, maybe, but my History books from this time are littered with drawings of the likes of Germany, France and England. I don’t think my History teacher appreciated it, but these drawings did help me to visualise things that I struggled to understand straight away.
It wasn’t such a bad technique, either. In the end, I got a B. I went on to study History during college as well, but the technique didn’t work here. The topics we studied here were more complicated. There was no way I could somehow visualise all the US Presidents in this way. (This is something I still struggle with to this day!) Not only that, but I wasn’t actually interested in these topics either. Hetalia had opened up a lot of doors to me. I was interested (and still am!) in mainland Europe’s history. Wars such as the Franco-Prussian War or the Austro-Prussian War was what I wanted to study. It’s been four years since then and I still haven’t really studied them, but one day I will, I’m sure.
Anime didn’t just help me with my education, but it also helped me make friends. My first completed anime was Ouran High School Host Club and I was searching for every opportunity to talk about it with someone. None of my friends back in high school or college were interested in anime, so I had to look online. On Twitter, I made quite a few friends who were also interested in Ouran! I was so happy. In fact, it’s thanks to these friends that I discovered what Hetalia was, as well as other shows such as Magic Kaito and Gakuen Alice. Although I don’t keep in touch anymore, these friends were a massive part of my life. I still count them as a massive part of my life.
During college, whilst I would be on my phone talking to my friends on Twitter, my college friends would be talking about things I weren’t interested in. Sex, relationships, you name it. As a seventeen-eighteen year old, I just wasn’t interested. In actual fact, at the time, I was going through some major self-questioning about my sexuality. I didn’t want to be involved in the conversations they were having. So, thanks to anime, I could have conversations I actually wanted to have and deal with my problems in my own way. To this day, I don’t think any of my college friends knew about that…
Not only did anime help me make online friends, as it continues to do so, it also helped me make friends at university. Without anime, I wouldn’t have met so many interesting people at my university’s anime society. I know a lot of people of bad times at anime clubs (there’s a lot of horror stories online!) but I cannot fault the one I went to. Sure, since then, I’ve realised some people weren’t really worth my time after all. But each person I met during those three years have made an impact on me in some way or another. I’ve spoken about the society quite a few times on here, but that society really did make a difference to me. For the better.
As with a lot of people, I’m sure, anime has also opened the doors for me to discover new hobbies. Without liking anime, I would have never joined my university’s anime society. Without joining that, I would have never have made this blog. Blogging has become a big part of my life now. Although I don’t update everyday, I do love blogging. I think a lot of it is to do with the lovely anime community that we have here, but either way – I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t to do with me enjoying anime in the first place!
Second of all, cosplaying! It’s an expensive hobby, sure, but I love it. Again, because of it being so expensive, I don’t get to do it often, but I do enjoy going to a convention dressed up as a character from a favourite show or game. I get to show a creative side of me (to some extent), meet others in the same fandom and have fun!
Again, I’m sure people can relate to this point as well. In recent times especially, I haven’t exactly felt great. I’ve been pretty darn low a couple of times in recent years, starting from my third year of university. The past year hasn’t been great for my emotional wellbeing either, but one of the things that really cheers me up somewhat, that gets me on my two feet again, is some good old anime.
Like I’ve said, I’m not trying to be overdramatic or cheesy with this post – just honest. It’s not just me who uses anime as a way of coping either. Many people use anime as an aid to dissociate from reality in some way. For me, not only is it a chance for me to escpae to some other fictional world for half an hour at a time, but it’s also very comforting to me. It’s much better for me to find comfort in anime than a big tub of Ben & Jerry’s after all, right? The ultimate comfort, though, is combining the two of them!
I’ve spoken before about this, but, finally, anime is something I use to aid my personal development. In my ‘Anime That Have Resonated With Me‘ post, written for my 100th blog post celebration, I say this:
As a 21 year-old, the lessons of basic principles of life and society that we have as children have long gone. Despite this, I still manage to have manners – say please and thank you – as well as, for the most part, putting other people before myself in situations to be the selfless person I was raised to be. Sometimes, however, we get taught these lessons again and again, even in adulthood. Just simple reminders every now and again.
I still believe this to be true. Although in that post I focused on shows that focus heavily on children (such as Gakuen Alice), it definitely applies to other shows as well. Take, for example, my experience with the first season of Sailor Moon. Even as a 22-year-old, I was able to take away lessons from the same show that a lot of anime fans watched during their childhood.
And it’s not just shoujo anime, either. Anime that I have watched more recently, such as Boku no Hero Academia, have also had an impact on me. Like I’ve previously said, a lot of lessons are passed down through anime. A lot of my… wisdom, I guess, has come from anime. It’s certainly not a bad thing, especially if I can use that wisdom to help others as well.
Annd, that basically summarises how anime has helped me over the years. I could have gone into a little bit more detail, perhaps, but this post was already quite personal. That being said, it was quite nice to just sit and reflect on how anime has actually affected my life. All for the better, too.
Has anime perhaps affected your life in anyway? You don’t have to go into any detail you don’t want to go into, of course, but I think it’d definitely be interesting to read some responses either as a comment or as a blog post of your own!
Until next time!
– Amelia xo