What Anime Means to Me
We all have reasons for why we throw ourselves into the world of Anime. Some of us are in it for the art, while some of us are in it for the adventure. Some people even use it as a means to escape from the pressures of life. Different life circumstance leads to different paths in life, as such, different reason for looking towards Anime as a source of fulfillment, creativity, or help.
For me? I remember hating the reality of this world as a kid. Not due to unfortunate circumstance or anything like that, simply because I hated the fact that no matter how many times I wished it I would never get to set out on a journey to become a Pokemon master or travel the world on horseback with a sword in my hand and a shield on back. I wanted so badly to discover new lands and fight the strongest of monsters. To live life of the heroes in my video games and in my Saturday morning cartoons.
I remember lying in bed every night thinking so hard about what I wanted to dream that night in hopes that I might be able to influence them one way or another. I believed if I thought about what I wanted to dream hard enough, that even if I couldn’t reach the worlds I wanted to in this reality, maybe I could at least get a glimpse of what it would feel like to live in such worlds in my dreams. And I remember waking up every morning disappointed, realizing there was no method to my madness–only madness–as I couldn’t even reach the worlds I yearned for in my dreams.
Born after the time of Kings and Knights but before the time of exploring new worlds far off in space, I was destined to live a pedestrian life. A life spent merely grinding day after day. Not towards getting stronger in hopes that I might save the princess or tame monsters, but rather grinding in hopes I might get that big promotion at work and be able to buy a house to settle down in. Not that those aren’t consequential goals–by this world’s standards they are practically the pinnacle of life–but they are a far cry from flying through the air or exploring dungeons in search of treasure.
However, there is one means of transportation to worlds full of magic and skills far beyond what is possible in this world–books and Anime. Books guide my imagination on journeys that I never would have thought possible, and Anime brings to life worlds even better than the ones of my imagination. Anime takes me to worlds and teaches me ideas thought of and brought to life by some of the most gifted imaginations in the world. Imaginations that can completely transform my mood. Imaginations that can bring me to the edge of my seat in excitement or even move me to tears.
To me Anime is a more or less participation trophy. It’s merely a moral victory for still trying to find the key that will unlock the door to the worlds I couldn’t get off my mind as a kid–even though I accepted the reality of this magicless and adventureless world long ago.